Days at home with toddler: how self-indulgent are we allowed to be?

(45 Posts)
Lilybugbrain Thu 22-Sep-16 14:07:00

This post comes as a result of my own guilt I guess and a comment made by an older lady this afternoon.
I work part-time in a crappy, demanding job with colleagues who act like bullies, not much towards me anymore, but others. I hate the negativity and find the job soul destroying tbh.
On my days off with my toddler, I've been feeling completely exhausted particularly since he has begun having tantrums. I'm used to trying to squeeze in toddler activities and meet-ups with other friends and toddlers to keep him occupied on my days off. However, DS would just have huge tantrums and I'd feel exhausted by all of the noise of childrens play areas and constant chatter about potty training etc etc.
I now do just one toddler activity per week with other mums and spend the rest of the time either at home with DS, going for a walk or pottering around the shops. I've felt much much calmer and rested as a result.

Today, I took DS out for lunch to an old fashioned tea room in the centre of town. It was v quiet, but DS is always well behaved when he has sandwiches and cake! No dishes for me, a restful trip out and enjoyable 1:1 time with DS.

The waitress seemed surprised when I said I needed a table for just DS and I and there were a few snooty women sitting around the table next to us. One of them commented that DS was being very well behaved but said "I'd bet you'd much prefer to be playing some here noisy and having fun with your friends though wouldn't you."

I may be taking this too seriously and sensitively but I left the tea room feeling really guilty that I've become quite self indulgent on my days off with DS. Should I be doing more child friendly activories with him and other children? Or is one activity a week enough? We don't have any other children in the immediate family so he doesn't see other children at home, however he goes to nursery on the days I work. How much stuff does everyone else do on their days off with DCS?

Absy Thu 22-Sep-16 14:11:10

I only have a baby but am going to respond. You don't need to feel guilty - you don't have to take him to tons of activities, particularly if it sends up stressing you both out. Going and having a nice quite lunch together is really sweet, and you could even argue that it's educational as you're teaching him how to behave in restaurants. Children need time to just be, not be rushed all over the place from one activity to the other. What you're doing sounds awesome, and if means you have more energy and don't feel stressed that's a huge bonus

YesILikeItToo Thu 22-Sep-16 14:16:30

Give it not a further moment's thought. What an absurd comment, we can't all be rushing around in noisy places all the time - we have to eat!

fuxxake Thu 22-Sep-16 14:19:17

What Absy said. Plenty of stimulation in nursery, nice to have some downtime

Oh please don't worry. There is a time for soft play and a time for enjoying something nice with your well behaved child. You'd know if he wasn't enjoying it. Frankly if it were me, I'd defo have had a cake too! As long as there is a balance then I don't see a problem. You will look back so fondly on your little lunches and afternoon teas out. Playgrounds, not so much.

I LOVE taking my 3 out to eat. They are well behaved, love watching the world (eating on a terrace is heaven for my 3yo boy as he can watch all the cars and lorries and bikes and scooters driving past), like trying something new. Things don't have to be plastic and 100 decibels for kids to enjoy them.

freddiefrogpercypig Thu 22-Sep-16 14:25:10

You sound amazing! What a lovely thing to do. I bet he loved spending more 1 to 1 time with you PLUS you said you feel more chilled and happy so double win.

Absy Thu 22-Sep-16 14:26:23

And, I'm pretty sure when he's older you'll remember more fondly the times you had lunch together or hung out, vs going to a stressful soft play session

Jenijena Thu 22-Sep-16 14:29:21

Totally not self indulgent. I've never had a scheduled activity on my day off with DS, the variety of things we've done makes me really happy, including the occasional lunch out. Lovely.

pinocchiosnose Thu 22-Sep-16 14:29:38

Dear god please don't feel guilty . I would adore to take my two out for lunch but it would be a disaster . Your ds clearly enjoys it . Spending some nice one on one time with his mum , sure what could be better ?

Mol1628 Thu 22-Sep-16 14:29:59

Don't listen to other people. Do what's right for you.
Always amazed how many people take words of complete strangers to heart.

sleepykidsplease Thu 22-Sep-16 14:30:03

Sounds like a lovely lunchtime. Pleas don't worry, better to be enjoying each other's company than not!

Hufflepuffin Thu 22-Sep-16 14:33:37

The best thing for me about working part time is it means I feel completely guilt free about having pottering about days with ds on the other days of the week - he's had lots of toddler stimulation at nursery and I am giving him lots of attention, just not doing toddler groups or classes. I did too many classes on maternity leave and it made me miserable.

panad317 Thu 22-Sep-16 14:45:23

What you're doing is definitely enough for him. He develops so many skills in nursery, doing 1 activity a week as well as going for a quiet lunch with you. And he's learning that he needs to adapt his behaviour to all the different environments, which is an essential skill. A very good balance I'd say, well done 😃

Tralala33 Thu 22-Sep-16 14:48:22

You sound like me. Today is my First day off after working 3 days in a very demanding job and I just want to veg with DS. Thursdays are usually spend indoors/garden playing and then a toddler activity on Friday morning. I often can't face meet-ups with loads of others with small kids or tons of groups. I see my best mate and her baby every few weeks and the odd other friend with toddler.
I'm going to take inspiration from you and take ds for tea and cake tomorrow for lunch, sounds great!!

Lilybugbrain Thu 22-Sep-16 14:50:37

Thanks everyone. I wasn't expecting so many lovely comments. I feel so much better!
I think the poster that mentioned too much stimulation is right, it seems to make DS go utterly bonkers if he has too much noise and visual stimulation and I have to deal with the tantrums and tiredness as a result. Bad day all round.
It's good to see that I'm not the only one who doesn't enjoy soft play areas and too many baby groups.

Lilybugbrain Thu 22-Sep-16 14:52:36

Love that! Enjoy your tea and cake Tralala! Mine was delicious smile

Mummyshortlegz Thu 22-Sep-16 14:54:00

I'm at home with a 12 month old and a 3 year old (when he's not in preschool). The baby and I go to swimming and a music class and walk the mile to and from preschool. On a Friday we do sod all. I do what suits me. I think my week is pretty much as my mum's would have been. Chores, some toddler focused activity and playing at home. I found meeting with friends stressful and so I've edged it out apart from weekends when it's easier.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Thu 22-Sep-16 14:59:07

I think being self indulgent would be having a seaweed body wrap, pedicure and facial while your toddler was sobbing in the corner of the beauty salon with a stale biscuit.

Please don't take those ladies' comments to heart. I think if he wasn't enjoying himself, he'd soon let you know!

Lilybugbrain Thu 22-Sep-16 14:59:34

Do you find it easier to meet with friends at weekends because DH is with you Mummyshortlegz?

Mummyshortlegz Thu 22-Sep-16 15:01:16

Yes. Or because he takes the 3 year old and I stay at home with the baby. I know that's bad but play dates make ne really anxious. Somehow at the weekend it's easier and more relaxed and I have someone to take over when I get home or back up there.

wayway13 Thu 22-Sep-16 15:04:59

I take my DD out just the two of us all the time! She loves going to cafes. She's not even 3 yet but she loves pressing her nose up against the glass and choosing a cake and a juice. We sit and chat together perfectly happy. It's an excellent social skill! If we're in town I've taken her to Prezzo or somewhere. Table for two, ladies at lunch!

DD goes to nursery two mornings a week plus we go to a music class one morning a week with friends and their children. We have the odd play date too - once a week or every other week. I do keep one weekday just for us though. We have a lazy morning, DD "helps" with housework, we pop to a cafe, do a small shop etc. Time alone with mummy or daddy is so important! Your DS has your undivided attention and is learning about actual everyday life. I see that as being just as important as toddler groups.

It sounds like you have a great balance smile

FurryGiraffe Thu 22-Sep-16 15:05:55

Taking DS1 out for tea and cake was my absolute favourite activity while pregnant with DS2- very restful quality time. In all seriousness, I really don't think constant activity is good for them. Pottering about helps them learn to self-entertain, which is vital (especially when DC2 arrives!) We're on holiday at the moment and DS2 is ill and will only stop screaming when walked around in the sling, so DH and I slept in shifts last night. I am profoundly grateful to DS1 (3.4) for spending hours investigating the huge box of Duplo in the house (nearly as grateful as I am to the owners for leaving it!)

robindeer Thu 22-Sep-16 15:07:01

What ILostIt said. My boy is 2 and I love the occasional lunch just the two of us. I don't even think I'd judge you for drinking gin while your toddler watches cbeebies but perhaps that's too accurate an insight into my life...

Cuppaand2biscuits Thu 22-Sep-16 15:09:59

I think it sounds lovely, these years are so short. Do what makes you happy before you are obliged to take him to school 5 days a week. My youngest is 3 and has just qualified for free pre school hours. I send him for just 2 mornings a week because we enjoy doing classes together and seeing the friends we have made in those classes.
No one has questioned me this time round (yet!) But when I only sent my daughter 2 mornings a week people couldn't understand. I had people tell me she would be really behind, she wouldn't cope with full days at school etc.
Make the most of these early years, this time next year my son will be full time at school and all those cosy afternoons will all be over.

Peppardew Thu 22-Sep-16 15:11:42

Honestly one of the main things I miss about just having one child. Dd used to love a little outing for cake. We still do it occasionally but just so much more stressful with toddler and baby. Enjoy it!

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