One of the biggest things for me to feel guilty about is how I spend my days at home with the boys. I am a trained primary School teacher, working mostly these days in Early Years. This causes me immense guilt. Part of our initial teacher training deals with how to extend and challenge the kids in your class, so that their learning is taken to the next level.
I wish I could shut this part of who I am off. It follows me around constantly. As a teacher at school, this is great that I am always thinking about how to push the children on and how to keep them achieving. As a Mum to my own boys, it's a complete pain in the neck. Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to be a Mummy who doesn't give a flip about her kids education, far from it in fact. But somewhere along the way I got the lines between making sure Noah had enough to keep him entertained and spending EVERY single minute playing with him or entertaining him blurred. I am told lots that children need to learn to play by themselves, that as a parent we cannot give every single minute of the day to them. We have stuff that needs doing, cleaning, cooking, errands etc. I have no intention of staying up until 11pm to clean, so during the day it is.
When he was younger, we went to a group most days, I would set up lots of different activities; messy play, building, etc..we were always busy. These days I struggle to leave the house on days when I don't have to do the nursery run. When we stay home I hardly set up any practical activities as he has the attention span of a fly, so I spend ages getting craft stuff ready or setting up a train track with him, just for him to be bored within 5 minutes and leaving me with a big mess to clean up. On the days when he doesn't go to nursery, Noah plays with his cars or train tracks, he will happily empty the toybox on the floor, just to refuse to help tidy it up.
I feel the pressure to be an interactive Mummy. Lots of friends do lots of activities with their children, take them to lots of places. I honestly don't know when I lost the enthusiasm for this? Certainly during my pregnancy it became a struggle, physically - SPD, mentally - the crippling depression I suffered from, which you can read about here did nothing to help me motivate myself to engage on a quality level with Noah.
I emailed a friend today to ask her advice, on how she "structures" her day with her young ones. As always she made me feel totally better. She reminded me I don't have to be a perfect Mummy, that it's ok for me to not be doing stuff ALL the time. Noah attends pre-school 3 days a week, plus Little Kickers Football club after the Wednesday session at pre-school. He comes home from these consecutive days totally exhausted. So I feel Monday and Friday are days that we as a family need to take it easy, and not be rammed with crazy running around, just to make myself feel better about sitting around and watching tv or playing in the garden.
I just wish the teacher inside my head would take this on board and listen to the Mummy side of me.
How do you structure your days? Do you do lots of interactive stuff or go out lots? How do your kids cope with the physical exertion?