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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?

meglet Thu 13-Jun-13 22:19:37


When I get in from work (3 days a week) the TV goes on. The DC's watch TV while I potter and wind down. Then there might be homework too. I make sure they get 15 mins one-on-one time for stories and chatting at bedtime but I certainly don't play.

starkadder Thu 13-Jun-13 22:21:21

Uncalled for, married and mama...

YANBU, OP, and I agree with a) not getting up at 5am at least a few times a week (!) and b) watching tv with them and kissing goodbye to the guilt.

deleted203 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:24:49

I just knew you were going to be a teacher when I clicked on the thread!

Guitargirl has it pretty much spot on with wondering how teachers cope, IMO. I teach teens - and when mine were small I would get in on my knees having left home at 7.30am and got home at 5.30pm. That's a ten hour day. Children would shout, 'Mummy!' excitedly - and some days I would think, 'Christ - the first kid that's been pleased to see me all day!' and would summon the energy to be lovely and smiley. And other days I would think, 'I cannot face another bloody child. I give all my time and all my energy to other people's children'.

I think what other people often don't realise is the amount of work we generally have to do in the evenings. Sunday I spent 7 hours planning work for this week's lessons. Tonight I got in at 6.00pm, cooked tea and ate with family at 7.00pm. And then I sat down to mark a set of books. I finished about 10 mins ago. Last night I worked from just after 7.00pm til past midnight.

Give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can. It is BLOODY hard combining f/t work, of any kind, with being a Mum.

echt Thu 13-Jun-13 22:27:01

I'd second the advice to do the prep after school, not first thing in the morning. When you get home, no need to rush around being proactive; take it slowly, cup of tea, chat and then when you're unwound, time to turn off the TV. Or not.

I've been teaching full-time since DD was 7 months old, and found the getting back from work quite hard. I felt as though the children I taught got the best of me, and there wasn't enough left when I got home for DD. I took a self-hypnois course that taught me some relaxation techniques I found useful.

Ignore married and mama.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 13-Jun-13 22:27:16

Far more kindly put than me *wilson. Still don't really understand what the op's whining aboout though. I'm regularly up at 5 to get work done - when the house is deliciously quiet and nobody wants anything. BUT I'm rarely home before 6.30 and DH works more than full time too. Perhaps the OP wpould like to swap for a month or two and then tell me how tired she is. Bet she's not 53 either grin

sameoldIggi Thu 13-Jun-13 22:27:26

This is a hard time of day though. I find after 4pm hard, whether it's a day I work OTH or a day when I've been at home.
Much better to take them out somewhere, now and then at least - to the library, park, even to get some messages - and supermarket cafe teas are cheap and mean no washing up!

morganster Thu 13-Jun-13 22:28:06

I'd just leave the tv on and do odd bits now and then. You can talk about the programme, snuggle up, do some colouring at the same time if you feel like it. They need to wind down too. I work half days. I don't really "play" after school. I make tea, wash up, get clothes ready for the next day. I interact whilst I'm doing it, but I don't get the Monopoly out on a weekday.

maddening Thu 13-Jun-13 22:28:37

what about 2 nights arrange for dh to meet you from work with dc and go and do something - eg all go swimming, all go to the park. Maybe a 3rd night see if there's an earlybird offer on somewhere and go for tea. Then the other 2 nights choose a family film and sit down to watch it together and don't feel guilty about it.

also - your dh could organise the after work activities so you just come home and enjoy watching the dc.

frazzled74 Thu 13-Jun-13 22:30:24

if I were you I would stop the early mornings and stay at work late twice a week.If they are happy watching tv when you get in on the other 3 days then either have a relax in the bath for half an hour or join them watching tv.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 13-Jun-13 22:32:13

married that was harsh.

OP - don't feel so guilty. Come in, get yourself sorted and then sit down with your kids and leave the TV on. Mine are 2 and 4 and once we have got back from school pick up at 3.45/4 they have a snack, we chat about the day. They often play outside for half an hour or so, but then they are in and just want to flop in front of the telly because they are tired from the day - the 4 year old especially because of school.

I work 5 days a week and pick my DCs up from school/nursery and arrive home about 3.30-4pm. We just hang out really, I prepare tea for them, we chat, collect eggs, wander round the garden, play with the dog, etc etc. They have friends round. We also snuggle up and watch TV. Sometimes we read or play games but quite often after a day at school they want to chill out too. You're feeling that you should be doing all this focussed play but actually hanging out in a low key way is probably what they want to do as well smile

goodasgold Thu 13-Jun-13 22:48:01

I'm not sure that married was harsh.

I opened this thread expecting to see a mum that gets home at the dcs bedtime.

I don't understand this. If I was sahm and my dh was getting home at 4/5 pm too tired to do anything I would have precious little sympathy for him. Especially if he was coming home and turning the TV off and expecting the dc to entertain themselves.

Athrawes Thu 13-Jun-13 22:52:30

Six weeks holiday. You're having a laugh!!! No way do teachers get six weeks, far less.
As a teacher myself I come home at 5pm and lie on the floor and let my two year old play the jumping on Mummy game. Then he helps me cook tea. After tea it is back to the jumping on Mummy game. No TV until half an hour before bed. I would like to be thinner but would be less amusing as a trampoline to jump on.

marriedinwhiteagain Thu 13-Jun-13 22:55:24

Right: tues, weds, thurs - usually work 5-7 in the mrnings just to keep on top.

Every day drop dd at school bUs for 7.45 and rhen drop ds before going to work and starting at 8.30. Try to leave work at no later than 6ish but often later and at least once or twice a fortnight have meetings until 7. Once a week do a school pick up too 8hat involves a 30 mile round trip.

DH works at least 11 hour days.

Fridays involve an after school activity for dd and Sainos. At least once a week there is an evening commitment. - either parents eve, pcc, or PTA ( two schools, opposite directions). At w/ends both have sport/artistic activities that involve usually about 50-60 miles in the car.

Have 5 hours of paid help but it is me shopping, cooking and organising. DH works much harder.

Am awfully sorry but although our dC are older teenagers I really don't understand what the OP"s problem is when she has a SAHD doing all the jobs while she works. I just don't.

hellohellohihi Fri 14-Jun-13 07:40:53

Married, it's not a fricking competition! People have different tolerances, the op is clearly struggling with her set-up and you piping up with "my day is even harder" is doing nothing to help. What do you expect op to say to your post? "Oh yes why didn't I see it like that before, I'm almost at breaking point, but hell, you're right, I should feel lucky, so lets just add that to the list of things I feel like I'm failing at because that will make me feel sooooo much better!"

Seriously why do people both responding to a post if they have nothing useful to add. I guess it's easy to hide behind the anonymity of an Internet forum.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 14-Jun-13 07:48:00

Jesus, it's the end of term - give yourself a fecking break.

I'm sure you're enthusiasm for crafts/playing with dollies/answering all questions beginning with 'Why'? will come back in a few weeks.

All the teachers I work with are on their knees right about now.

Let them watch tv, play board games from the couch, or made up games - a favourite of mine is bring me 10 things beginning with the letter 'L'.

You don't need to apologise for being without energy, you've run out.

Children are mostly dull and talk shite - anyone who can get through 4 hours of directed play without alcohol is doing a great job grin

tanukiton Fri 14-Jun-13 08:36:06

Haha fairycake I read my kids far more books at bedtime with a large glass of winesmile if you are struggling how about Friday pizza and games night? Monday 4 year old mummy and me. Tuesday tv night. Wed 6 year old help make supper? Thurs daddy night. What I am trying to say, if you schedule in your time it might make you feel less guilty about being normal and not super mum. It is ok to turn the telly on . If you feel bad watch chuggington in French.

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Fri 14-Jun-13 08:48:42

I pick DS up at 5.30 most days and we do have the tv on for an hour. Sometimes we watch together, sometimes he watches while I potter around. Sometimes he wants me to play with him so I do. Whatever we do, I don't feel guilty. I see him at weekends and have plenty of quality time. Having quality time after work is tricky, and to be fair the kids need to unwind too, they don't need to be engaged in full on play if they just want to chill in front of the tv.

Working and having kids is knackering and there is no point in making it more knackering than it has to be IMO.

xylem8 Fri 14-Jun-13 08:49:14

'Watch TV with 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? '

sorry but I think this is an awful idea! It will spoil the programme for them and teach them it is ok to yap away while someone else is watching TV.TV will become aural wall

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Fri 14-Jun-13 08:51:45

Marriedinwhite your life sounds horrible exhausting. I would have a nervous breakdown if I tried to live like that. I know people like you exist (boundless energy, need to fill every hour of the day with productivity) but most people aren't like that.

TantrumsAndBalloons Fri 14-Jun-13 09:01:58

I'm pretty sure that even SAHP struggle to be enthusiastic and playful and interesting every single day.

It's not a reflection on how good a parent you are or how much you love your children.

There are plenty of threads on here from SAHP who are on their knees because their DCs get up at 5am.
So no wonder you are exhausted.

I'm not going to engage in how hard my life is as a full time working parent with 3 DCs because its irelevant.

The fact is, you are tired
Everyone gets tired, and I bet there's not a parent in the world who hasn't had a day when the last thing they want to do is switch in to Mary Poppins mode, or start doing something wonderfully creative/energetic/messy.

Please don't feel guilty about it.

Try and implement what pp suggested re the early mornings.
And sometimes, just sit next to them and watch tv. Have a cup of tea.

orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 09:05:52

I knew this would have been posted by a teacher. I too am absolutely wiped out at the end of the day. My legs hurt from standing up all day and I am beyond exhausted.

I have worked in other jobs and never felt like this at the end of the day, in fact I posted a thread about it a few months ago.

I put tv on and don't care. I lie on sofa for 1/2 an hour to recover and chat to dd. then I start tea etc.

I start to recover about 8.00pm at night. Teaching is a tough job

justwondering72 Fri 14-Jun-13 09:11:00

We too have found that board games with the tv quietly in in the background is a great way to fill the pre dinner gap. DH is a teacher too, and I know he finds it really hard to go from full on work mode to Fun Daddy the minute he gets home. I certainly don't expect him to start doing craft projects or building tents at that point - all I ask is that he keeps them amused while I cook dinner and hide in the kitchen for a while ! So he leaves the tv or cbeebies games on, plays some board games, does some drawing etc. with them. If he does come home and not do anything with them I get a bit annoyed partly because they so look forward to him coming home and partly because it makes my life harder! But I try to cut him some slack, teaching is such an all consuming job it doesn't leave a lot of emotional energy for your own children at times.

So my advice is leave the Telly on, play some games and make up for it in the holidays!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 14-Jun-13 09:12:23

married if there was just one thread where you didn't feel the need to brag about how hard you both work, and if you do it why can't anyone that would be good!

You and DH have a very very good income - you work through choice, you don't need to. Not everyone is motivated by the same things.

The OP is teaching all day, her senses must be totally battered by the time she gets home, and she still wants to be a good Mum to her DCs. What is wrong with that?

MorrisZapp Fri 14-Jun-13 09:18:23

Everybody's different but when I finish work early it wouldn't enter my head to go and get DS from nursery to spend time with him. I'd pop to the shops, have a coffee etc. What is there to feel guilty about? Your kids are probably among the top 1% of the worlds population in terms of the love, care, material security and intellectual stimulation you provide for them so what's the problem?

Kids telly is great, I watched tons of telly as a kid and I'm practically a genius. Nobody will thank you or give you a prize for turning the telly off and dragging yourself and your knackered kids into some activity none of you have any interest in.

Piss off down to Starbucks, I would.

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