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To not want to play with my children after work

(86 Posts)
lecce Thu 13-Jun-13 19:47:51

I am really struggling at the moment with being with the dc after work. I am a teacher (f/t) and at this time of year (exam classes have gone) I can usually be home at about 4pm. The rest of the year it is about 5pm most nights. So, I currently have about 2-3 hours with them until bedtime. They are 6 & 4.

The problem is, I feel like this should be the best part of my day. I am lucky to be able to get home pretty early and I should be making the most of it but I am so tired. I get up at 5am to get work done and often (though less so at this time of year) have work to do after they have gone to bed. I just ache and I can't seem to summon any enthusiasm for any activities we could do.

Dh is sahd and when I get in they are usually watching telly, having been home for about 20 minutes. I feel I have to tell them to turn it off after the programme ends, but then I can't really be bothered to lead/suggest anything else. I fee like they should be able to amuse themselves with me taking more of a passive role. They often do, sort of, but it usually seems to descend into tears before too long. Tonight was awful - they got into a stupid row over who could use a chair and, tbh, I handled it badly, without patience and made it worse.

I feel like I should have just left the telly on - at least we wouldn't have all ended up shouting, but, had I done that, I would have felt guilty. On the nights when I am home at 5.30ish, there seems to be little time to do anything other than read with ds1, and that makes me feel guilty. On nights like tonight, I find mysef wishing I had stayed at work a bit later and that makes me feel horribly guilty and sad.

Why is it so hard?

foreverondiet Thu 13-Jun-13 19:51:48

Does your DH look after your 4 year old all day - ie not really enough information to indicate what's reasonable. If he's at home all day alone I suggest you change your schedule so you do your marking at school after school and stop getting up at 5am. If he is looking after your dc all day or otherwise working then you both need to deal with the DC after school.

ouryve Thu 13-Jun-13 19:52:34

More than 20 minutes tv isn't going to harm them - they probably need to decompress as much as you do. Why don't you simply snuggle down on the sofa with them for a chat while you have a cuppa?

lecce Thu 13-Jun-13 19:54:57

4yr old currently attends pre-school 2.5 hours 4 days, and all day on the other day. However, dh is doing online exam marking at the moment so has work to do as well (he only does this at certain times of the year).

Dozer Thu 13-Jun-13 19:56:05

You sound really tired, 5am is very early. If your H is at home, why do you need to be there everyday too? You could stay at school, get work done, go home at 7ish to do bedtime, and avoid the early starts, just get back early a couple of nights a week.

Letticetheslug Thu 13-Jun-13 19:58:22

I've been in the same position ( FT teacher and Senco), although my husband also worked full time ( and wasn't home til 6.30+) It may not be what you want to hear, but you will never get those years back .

All parents are knackered, I know teachers work hard, but you are back by 4 , spend time with them -in years to come you will wish you had.

Mone are 20 and 24 and I look back to when they were small and wishI had had more time

pennyink Thu 13-Jun-13 20:01:30

My kids have watched loads of tv at certain points, hardly any at others. I wouldn't worry about your kids watching loads when you are really tired - it's just a way of managing your current situation. i would just sit between them on the sofa and snuggle while you all watch.

I am similar to you in that I leave at 7am, 1.5 hr commute, 8 hr day then 1.5 hour commute home, it is bloody exhausting! My parter is a SAHD too, but works evenings. Some nights I'm tired and grumpy but I force myself to be smiley playful mummy because I only have 2 hours with them til they go to bed sad they are 4yrsold and 20mnths old.

No advice just lots of sympathy because I know it sucks sometimes! thanks

hellohellohihi Thu 13-Jun-13 20:02:30

I am in a similar situation... I work 4 days a week 6am-2pm. I collect DD (17mo) from nursery/grandparents at about 2:30-3pm and then have the afternoons and 1 day a week with her (as well as weekends obv).

The afternoons are quite hard if I'm honest; I'm tired from being up early and then there are jobs to do (DH is out 6am-8pm so a lot is left to me) yet I feel I should be thinking of fun/exciting/stimulating things to do with DD but am a bit brain dead so get stuck in this ridic guilty cycle. I've even thought about getting one of those "how to entertain your toddler" type books but feel a bit of a failure when I read the reviews that say "if you need this book there must be something wrong with you, surely everyone knows how to keep their own children entertained".

So I'm afraid I don't have much advice but am glad you posted as its reassuring to know I'm not the only one struggling with this.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 20:03:48

Watch TV with them...chat to them about what's on, ask them questions about what's happening, what they think is going to happen next and completely random ones like - How does Peppa's car manage to park on the top of those hills? rofl

It doesn't take much effort at all and it turns TV from a passive thing into an active thing which also builds important transferable skills for decoding and analyzing other texts - no need to feel guilty at all about it then.

pizzaqueen Thu 13-Jun-13 20:05:29

YANBU. My son is 2.5 on days I work I pick him up from nursery around 5:30 home for 5:45, dinner, TV, bedtime.

I don't have the physical energy for anything else on work days, I have an hour commute and by the end of the day I'm completely drained. DS is also tired from nursery. My DO works shifts so isn't at home on the evenings. I feel real guilt that I see my DS for one hour on work days and its the most stressful hour of my day, I want to give him more quality time but neither of us are in the mood. I just try to make up for it on weekends, days off and holidays and make sure he gets that quality time at other times, the end of the day when we're tired and crabby is not it.

MinesADecaff Thu 13-Jun-13 20:13:40

I feel exactly the same as you do. Except it's not my DC, it's my stepchild. So I'll probably get flamed.

tumbletumble Thu 13-Jun-13 20:19:06

I like the idea of getting home early / late on alternate evenings. On the late days you stay at school to do marking etc so you can get up later than 5am; on the early days you try hard to switch off TV and play with the DC.

Try not to feel guilty - you are doing your best.

MummytoKatie Thu 13-Jun-13 20:31:08

I discovered when 8.5 months pregnant (and too exhausted to be fun all the time) that dd (3) loves to watch telly whilst cuddled up to me. It was really really nice once I stopped having "TV guilt" and focused on enjoying the cuddle.

lecce Thu 13-Jun-13 20:49:52

Thank you for the replies. In the nicest possible way, it's nice to know others feel the same. I think from September I may try and rework things so I'm not up at 5am as I think that has a kind of snowball effect on everything.

joanofarchitrave Thu 13-Jun-13 20:58:43

I agree re stopping the 5am. It's unbelievably draining long-term.

I'd second others saying just sit with them for a bit - just be. Give yourself time to pick up the pace of the day they have already had. Some of the very few memories I have of our entire family being together and not having a massive row, are of us all sitting around commenting on a telly programme. Also, if they enjoy telly (and most people do), there's a lot to be said for you effectively saying 'it's ok to do what you actually want to do/a little of what you fancy does you good'). TBH these days telly is pretty sociable as screen time goes.

The holidays are coming. You will have time to spend with them then. Don't sweat it - you are doing a hard job and it's OK.

luckymamaoffour Thu 13-Jun-13 22:05:39

No doubt I will be flamed, but I think you are being very selfish. Your children NEED you. You haven't seen them all day and they deserve your attention for those few hours that they can see you. They won't be young for long. Try to find ways to boost your energy levels - go to bed earlier, take supplements, whatever, but don't deny your little ones those few hours of playtime with you.

joanofarchitrave Thu 13-Jun-13 22:10:52

lucky, did you note that actually the OP DID spend time with her children after work? She just found it very difficult to be fun-loving directive supermum, as opposed to exhausted interested but more in the background parent.

missmapp Thu 13-Jun-13 22:11:15

I work f/t ( also a teacher) but dh works f/time aswell. I find it easier as they come in with me at half 5 ish, so the telly just doesn't go on.

Boards games work well for us at this time (mine are a bit older, 8 and 6) as I can chat to them, it is organised , but I can also sit down with a cuppa and collapse. However, there are times when they are on the naughty step after about 10 mins in my care!!

I am trying to do more with them though, as , especially with ds1, I can really see time slipping away.

Roll on the summer, eh!!

Guitargirl Thu 13-Jun-13 22:11:17

I am not a teacher but I do have a stressful job which takes up a lot of headspace. I get home early enough to have evenings with the DCs most nights and quite often I am exhausted and struggle with energy until their bedtime after which I usually have to do more work. I try really hard to forget about work and focus on their day and their news from school. I often wonder how teachers who have their own young children cope with being surrounded all day with other people's children and then have their own to deal with when they get home from work! No advice - just sympathy from me.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 22:12:01

She isn't denying them it...she's saying she's struggling with it. hmm

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 13-Jun-13 22:14:12

FFS most full time parents would bit your hand off to get in at 4.30/5 to have some time with their DC. Most full time working mums get up at 6ish and get home at 6ish is they lucky. And don't have a six week holiday with their family to look forward to. Some of them are dropping and collecting from chold care too and coming home to tea, baths, housework AND the work. Sorry I thonk you need to get effing real, be grateful and pull your socks up angry

WilsonFrickett Thu 13-Jun-13 22:14:38

Well I'm not going to flame you exactly mama, more point out that in many homes the parents or parent work f/t and hardly see their DCs before tea time. The ops children have a parent at home so I'm not sure why it's incumbent on her to come home and then break into a full on Mary Poppins routine.

Let them unwind with the tv, you unwind too. Then have an early tea and play a couple of games after that. Sit with them in the bath and chat, then a nice snugly story. Perfect.

Although I also think the 5am starts are killing you. Far better to do two late nights a week IMO.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 13-Jun-13 22:15:34

Apols for spelling mistakes - on phone.

WilsonFrickett Thu 13-Jun-13 22:16:45

Hilarious x post there. I think me and married may have slightly different viewpoints....

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