I had such a great weekend away, but inevitably after a break from routine, chores pile up. Sometimes figuratively, and sometimes quite literally.
Laundry, cleaning, food prep, etc- I had quite the list. Knowing the girls would be running around but really needing to get these things done for the sake of my sanity, I considered asking our sitter to come over for a couple hours. However, it felt too indulgent after just spending money on myself all weekend.
Then I considered letting the girls watch a movie. But we’ve been so great at no TV lately and I felt like bringing it back in the morning would only result in more of a pain for me when we eventually had to turn it off.
I decided that the girls could help, but after the squabble over who got to push which washing machine buttons that occurred in the first few minutes of chore time convinced me otherwise.
I felt stumped.
Then I remembered the phrase that I so often forget to utter.
Moms, how often do we get caught up in feeling like the cruise director? I know I do! Though it’s great to do crafts with your kids and help build pillow forts, it’s not our job to be their primary source of entertainment 24/7. In fact, I’d argue it’s even detrimental to have your kids be entertained 24/7, without putting forth their own effort.
Children are incredibly capable of entertaining themselves. Hailey is 4 1/2 and Kaitlyn is 2. Sure, I can’t send them off down the street on their own, but given some boundaries and occasional check-ins from me, they can and should be able to entertain themselves for a reasonable amount of time- and they do.
Yesterday morning after breakfast, the girls dressed themselves, skipped brushing their hair themselves, then after my restating of the boundaries, they got to playing. I overheard dancing, shows, weddings, monster chasing, and fort building. I’d hear the occasional squabble (which I stay out of), and the occasional silence (which always brings me running), but all in all, I got 2 hours of chore time in and felt like a brand new mom.
When they started circling back around a couple hours later, I enlisted their help with some chores, then we turned to book reading and lunch. With so much checked off my list, I had the afternoon free for an extra long bike ride with the girls, for feeding the fish and ducks, and for just hanging out. My mind felt uncluttered so I could focus on the fun.
It’s easy for me to forget I don’t have babies anymore. I remind myself of when my 6 month old had a particularly demanding/needy day of how nice I thought it would be to be at the point where I could say- go play! Well, I’m here now. And I need to remember this beautiful phrase a little more often, as it’s not only helpful for me, it’s fun (and necessary) for them to use their imaginations and solve problems on their own.
Cheers to growing independence!
Moms, how do you get the hour to yourself to get things done?