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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?

icklemssunshine1 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:09:14

Oh and married is definitely been hard.

Don't we all love a teacher-basher!! Blah, blah, blah.

(Puts on a broken record)

icklemssunshine1 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:01:26

*than my own

icklemssunshine1 Fri 14-Jun-13 18:01:04

I'm a teacher too (0.8). Leave house at 7 to drop DD at nursery before going to work. I always leave by 4pm & spend time with her before her bed. At times I feel energetic & we play or sing, other times its sitting watching (bloody) Peppa Pig & snuggling on sofa. She "helps" me cook dinner & DH gives her her bath so I get 30 minutes rest time before cracking on with school work in evenings. Sometimes I find it hard to summon the energy but I make myself do it. I don't want to turn around in years to come & think I spent more time with other people's kids thank own.

Just look forward to the summer smile

mrsjay Fri 14-Jun-13 17:21:13

when My children were small my DH didnt really play with the children when he came in from work he would sit with them or read a book but nothing to taxing wink

holly47 Fri 14-Jun-13 17:19:55

I don't play with my children after work..they generally watch tv while I potter and drink tea. We are all tired by the end of the day and although its not ideal, it is what it is...

whois Fri 14-Jun-13 16:37:35

Oh god OP, don't sweat it! I don't think my mum ever 'played' with me in the evenings as such. Sit and have a cuddle while watching TV, set them up with some colouring while you make tea, go out for a little walk or trip to the park, get them ino bed early for plenty of time to read to/with them.

No need to actually 'play' when you're physically tired and emotionally drained.

Animol Fri 14-Jun-13 14:58:53

I really sympathise with you OP but I can't help remembering my own childhood when I read your post. My Dm - also a teacher - left the house before we got up then came home stressed and knackered while we watched TV. When I hear about parents who can't wait to get home to their kids after a day at work I can't help wishing mine had been like that. It's one of the reasons I'm a SAHM as I don't want the same sort of relationship with my kids as I had with my parents sad rant over - sorry if it's not very helpful for you

fromparistoberlin Fri 14-Jun-13 12:26:54

saw you will drop 5am


OP just to say, I do feel the same. I start work 730am most days and get home for 6/630, I do struggle with the washing up/kids time/bathtime when all I want is a wine and read my book

Its hard

and I also want to get home earlier so we can go to park/have a walk as its such a fun way to spend evening

evertonmint Fri 14-Jun-13 12:20:34

Ah piprabbit said the same thing first grin

evertonmint Fri 14-Jun-13 12:19:13

I work freelance in a crazy full-on for 2 months then totally off pattern. When I'm working do 9-3 and all evenings and then full on childcare (5yo and 2yo) the rest of the time incl school run as DH is out 12 hours a day. I find my DCs watch more tv when I work and I cut them and me some slack. However if I need a break but don't want them watching telly, I have a few things I can quickly get out on the kitchen table - Hama beads, playdoh, colouring books, sticker books. I get them settled with this and then can sit and chat to them with a cuppa, or leave them to it if I need to decompress a bit. It buys me a precious half hour or so where they're not aimless, are more focused as they're sat at the table rather than being able to flit around, less able to kill each other, less likely to create havoc by chucking toys everywhere and it takes me no thought to set up. Might be worth just having a few things like that which you can grab quickly.

fairyqueen Fri 14-Jun-13 12:04:42

May I suggest DVDs of serials you enjoyed as a child? A long story Makes it exciting looking forward to next episode rather than yet another Peppa Pig. I loved the old BBC version of the secret garden and enjoyed it with DD. Cosying up on the sofa together is not wasted time, it's happy, loving time.

NicknameTaken Fri 14-Jun-13 11:24:25

I think it's a recent thing to expect to be Super Fun Mummy the minute you walk in the door. Previous generations didn't put that kind of stress on themselves.

Personally I'm fine with some post-school watching TV and having a cuddle. Sometimes we'll be more ambitious and do a board game or jigsaw - dd is currently obsessed with "Guess Who". But by not doing it every day, you're keeping it special....

piprabbit Fri 14-Jun-13 11:17:05

I have been known to lay on the floor and nap while DS drives his cars up and down my body (I make a good mountain range) blush.

On a more positive note I've found that my DCs enjoy doing activities alongside me. So we sit at the kitchen table and we all have a colouring book/ bit of paper and we all sit and draw and colour. I find that the fact I'm sitting there doing the same activity as them means that they stop fighting for my attention and I can enjoy a coffee or glass of wine while I colour. It gives me 20 mins of stillness while I gather myself. I find the colouring quite therapeutic (plasticine too - but it's a bit more of a PITA to clean up afterwards) and we just chat about what we are colouring (and I can say stuff about how nicely they are colouring, what good colours they have picked etc.) and talk about our day. We all seem calmer for it as the sibling fighting for mummy to play is vastly reduced.

persimmon Fri 14-Jun-13 11:03:05

Are you me? smile

I chat with my DS after work, he watches a bit of TV, I take him to bed, we read a story and chat and then lights out. What else are you meant to do? He knows I love him and value his company;; we don't need to be making Lego Taj Mahals in the working week.

relax! (literally!)

perpetuallypuzzled Fri 14-Jun-13 11:02:26

Youi cannot force enjoyment. You will all end up pissed off and crotchety.Just focus on weekends

motherinferior Fri 14-Jun-13 10:57:35

Or Wot A Thing Said, again grin

motherinferior Fri 14-Jun-13 10:56:58

Darling, the thing is that most parents are desperately getting through to the bit of the evening where they can crack open the gin wine.

The other thing is that I really don't think you get fathers beating themselves up to carve chunks of time out of the day where they can be with their kids before resuming work. It's usually mothers stretching themselves incredibly thin because of feeling that if they can be physically present with their kids they should be. I reckon you should get up at a sane hour, stay on at work to finish what you can and then come home. At which point (a) you will be far more able to manage a smile, even if it's a bit forced (b) it will be closer to gin time, which will in any case help with (a) above.

theodorakisses Fri 14-Jun-13 10:56:53

I am so over the "tv is evil" crap, it is so sad. There are tvs everywhere here, even an outdoor one by the pool. Who cares? As long as everyone is happy and content, so be it. Mind you I have a nice car and live in help as well so not really an average person on this forum

AThingInYourLife Fri 14-Jun-13 10:55:26

"The problem is, I feel like this should be the best part of my day."

The only way 4-6pm can be the best part of your day is if you can go for a nice relaxing pint, then sneak in another. Then call some friends to join you. Then get some food before you all get too drunk.

If you have to spend it with children, it's the worst part of the day.

orangeandemons Fri 14-Jun-13 10:50:57

My HIV used to call all time after 4:30 until kids are asleep the Witching Hours, as everyone was tired and hungry. She said it was always the worst time of day from her experience with families.

Morriszap, I like your style....

mrsjay Fri 14-Jun-13 10:14:30

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

most parents are not doing anything in the evening with their Dc honestly give yourself a break you sound tired and very sad

Phineyj Fri 14-Jun-13 10:12:06

How about get some decent kids' DVDs in - BBC and so on and watch those. My nieces (about the same age as your DC) love all those old things like the Flumps. I second the advice to get outside when the weather's good too. School is an artificial atmosphere and you don't get a lot of fresh air. I would be dying by that time if I'd got up at 5am and taught all day.

Your kids will not care what you did between 4 and 6 pm when they were little but they might remember if you were always grumpy, so give yourself a break and do whatever's easiest. Also as an average over the year they get more time with you than most DC of ft working parents so no need to beat yourself up.

Depends how much mess they'd make, but is it possible to have a craft table set up so they can make stuff with minimal supervision? This works for my nieces.

mrsjay Fri 14-Jun-13 10:11:55

let them watch tv it is ok one of them is at school so they need to relax too don't stress and dont read teacher bashing shock @ that , keeo your time for the weekends I honestly think slobbing in front of the tv and spending time with your chldren is much more worthwhile than trying to do fun things with them when you can't find the enthusiasm for it try and relax

WilsonFrickett Fri 14-Jun-13 10:07:20

What Savoy said. My DH still sits in the bathroom and chats to DS7 when he's having his bath - that's 'their' time. He's never really been one for coming home from work and being fun, engaged daddy - that's for the weekend, when he does loads of creative, interesting things with him.

And tbf, since DS started school, it's park, home, snack, homework, TV, tea, snuggle on couch with us maybe watching something we all like for half an hour, then bath and bed - he's not up for a big active evening either.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 14-Jun-13 10:04:06

It is tough trying to be super lively mummy, isn't it? DH works full time, I work full time in 4.5 days. DD (18m) is at nursery full time and one of us picks her up by 4.30 so we have a couple of hours together. We both work hard to do this and don't get up early but often bring work home in the evenings.

I don't think you should be getting up at 5am as this is unnaturally early for most people. Of course you are shattered by 5pm. Couldn't you get up at a normal time, come home a little later and finish your work when the kids are in bed? Anyway if you alternated long/short days you could have some easy TV snuggly days and some more fun activities.

Your DH is at home with them all the time and you have frequent holidays which presumably you spend with the DC. I actually think your DC have a pretty good time of it. As others have pointed out, most working parents don't have those holidays. I'm not having a go at teachers, just stating a fact.

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