The Daily Parenting Marathon

marathonI’ve said before that this stay-at-home mom gig isn’t exactly my jam. I think I’d be a much better part-time stay-at-home mom, but that’s not really in the cards right now. Once a week or so a friend watches the kiddos for a few hours in the morning so I can work and the rest of the day is amazing. Since the littles had some different social interactions, another kid to play with, new and fun activities, etc., they’re normally a lot of fun for the rest of the day because they spent the day in good spirits.

Those are good days.

The rest of the time, the days are… long. They are very, very long. From the time they wake up until they go to sleep… it’s long.

Did I mention the days are long?

I’ve been trying to keep them as entertained and happy as I can. I sit with them, play with them, we paint and color and play with trains. I try to do as much as I can with them in hopes of being a “good” mom.

I do not recommend this.

What happens is that, by Noon, I’m all out of ideas and my kids have gotten so used to us doing all the fun things all morning that they want to do more fun things for the rest of the day. It’s worth noting that they haven’t been going to sleep until 10 p.m. so you can imagine the pressure I find myself under as I clean up their lunchtime scraps.

So I’ve been pondering my options.

I can keep their expectations super low –TV and granola bars all day–so that when I do step up my game it’s new and exciting.

I can keep up the pace I’m at… which will inevitably lead me to Pinterest purgatory and unrelenting exhaustion.

Or I could find a happy medium and realize that day-to-day parenting should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint.

I can’t do all the fun things one right after the other or I’m out of ideas before the PBS morning lineup ends. I can’t do nothing because…. that’s not fair to the kids. So I have to space things out across the hours and across the days. My kids need to know that, yes, Mom does do fun things with you, but there’s also a good chunk of the day where you have to (gasp!) entertain yourselves.

My kids are 2.5 and 3.5 and they play really well together. When I let them. Because I’m also realizing I’m a bit of a helicopter parent and I just need to let them do their thing and stay out of their way. And ignore the mess they make.

So to sum up, I can’t do all the things. My kids don’t need all the things all the time. We’re all going to end our day knowing we’re loved so I just need to calm down, breathe, and pace myself on this parenting race.