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Becoming a better parent - Daily Challenge, anyone?

(52 Posts)
sootythecat Thu 07-Nov-13 13:25:27

I want to change so much about the way I parent but it is too much to do in one day, I do not have the energy or organisation skills! So I've decided for 2 weeks to think of one thing to change each day, and see how things are at the end of the 2 weeks.

Today: Late afternoons are rubbish for me, we go out for a trip somewhere then get home its cold and dark, the kids are whingy, I'm tired and I give up and put the TV on. Today, instead, at 4.30 we are going to bake some rice crispy cakes and then do nursery rhyme action songs, and not put the TV on till 5pm.

Would anyone like to join me? What one change are you going to make today?

MotherofBear Thu 07-Nov-13 14:34:53

What an excellent idea! I am always trying to be a better, and more organized parent, but always fail after a couple of days.

This afternoon/evening I shall play that game with my DS that I keep promising to play 'later'. I always do intend to play it, but time runs away and it's bedtime before we know it. I shall also make sure bedtime routine starts on time! Ok, so that's 2 things... is that allowed?

sootythecat Thu 07-Nov-13 17:34:05

Just you and me MotherofBear so make the rules up as you go! Hope you get your game done and bedtime goes smoothly.

Today 4.30 - 5pm was great, plus there now is chocolate crispy cake for pudding, hooray! I think baking & music is now the official plan for that time of the day.

Tomorrow I am going to spend lunchtime talking to my children rather than ignoring them and browsing the web on my laptop... like I'm doing now... blush

mummyxtwo Thu 07-Nov-13 19:27:10

Good thread! Tomorrow I am going to take ds1 to his school fireworks display in the evening, just the two of us while dh stays at home with dd2 (12mo, would be terrified). Although we have plenty of time together, we never have time just for the two of us as dd2 is always with me. I too usually bung on the tv after fetching ds1 from school because I then have to get separate suppers ready for both the children - ds1 s hugely fussy. I feel guilty about not spending more quality time with ds1 and making more effort but always feel too tired to change that. Tomorrow when we get home from school we are going to make edible sparklers - breadsticks dipped in melted chocolate and covered in sprinkles!

tillyann2013 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:36:49

What a great thread! I'm also guilty of sticking the telly on when they get home from school, def gonna truth evading / cooking. And maybe do some jigsaws together.

CatAmongThePigeons Thu 07-Nov-13 19:40:23

This thread is just what I need. I don't think DS2 would recognise me without an electronic device in my hand.

Tomorrow I will spend 3 x 10 minutes with DS2 during the day just reading or playing with no distractions. I want to do 30minutes one to one with DS1 tomorrow night too.

It's basic stuff but I dont do it.

purrtrillpadpadpad Thu 07-Nov-13 19:41:04

God these threads always make me feel so much more guilty than I did already. The last one of these I read, some lady said she was going to stop putting time aside for her hobbies and focus 100% on her children and as I was sat with my mouth hanging open, other women were applauding her for basically volunteering to deny herself the basic right to have non-mummy-based interests. It's not good for children to grow up believing they are more important than mummy. They're not.

Twilightsparklesmama Thu 07-Nov-13 21:15:25

Great thread! Are you having a bad day purrtrill? Perhaps you should let some steam off in AIBU?

mummyxtwo Thu 07-Nov-13 21:22:05

purrtrill I've just read another thread where you have let loose on a pointless rant. Perhaps you should put the wine glass down and stop reading threads that you think might irritate you.

purrtrillpadpadpad Thu 07-Nov-13 21:29:43

Wow. I was a tad caustic on one thread and I apologised. Get a life.

CatAmongThePigeons Thu 07-Nov-13 21:55:00

hmm You can hide threads if you don't like them.

lifesobeautiful Thu 07-Nov-13 23:07:27

I commend the OP, genuinely a lovely idea. However, at the risk of a cyber flaying...I must admit I hear you Purrtrill! Guilt, guilt, guilt - have I played enough today, has DD1 had the same attention as DD2. Did I spend longer than five minutes on the loo when I could have been doing ABCs, painting egg boxes or reading them a story, I shouldn't have checked Facebook...I think we forget just how fortunate (most of) our children are in the UK compared to anywhere else. Lavished with attention, love, health care, education, no lack of food... we as mums give ourselves FAR too much of a hard time and spend too much time analysing our every move. Think we need to relax and take it easy a bit. I hold my hands up and say I'm guilty of this too!

lifesobeautiful Thu 07-Nov-13 23:31:17

PS: read the brilliantly written blog of the day on the Mumsnet homepage today - - it puts things into perspective!

sootythecat Fri 08-Nov-13 07:57:32

purrtrill and lifesobeautiful I guess this thread isn't for you, so if it annoys you please hide it!

Over the last couple of months I seem to have spent an increasing percentage of my day ignoring or only half-heatedly engaging with my kids, most of that negative rather than positive. I count the minutes till the day is over and am wishing their childhood away. I feel depressed and a failure as a parent, I know it can be different and I want it to be different, but as anyone who has struggled with making a lifestyle change knows, the idea can sometimes be more scary than the reality. Hence trying to make small changes rather than wake up one day and be a different mother.

This is not about stealth boasting about the amazing craft activity you spend 10 hours preparing last night! This is about saying 'today I will not lose my temper once' or 'today I will stop and read a book to my child when they ask rather than saying I'm too busy cleaning the dishes'. Or even, today I will not hide in the bathroom and cry for 10 mins because I tried to make a start at being better mother, and people just kicked me right back down again.

There are threads on other boards where people support each other trying to lose weight, get fit, etc. You don't go on those and say 'stop giving yourself a hard time and just be happy with the way you are', whether in a rant or more politely lifesobeautiful!

lifesobeautiful Fri 08-Nov-13 08:39:14

I'm so sorry Sooty, i've read what you just posted and I totally get it. Didn't mean to hijack your thread. And actually I think it's a really good idea to get support when feeling like this. Today I'm going to attempt to chill about the state of the house and just have a play in our slouch gear day!

purrtrillpadpadpad Fri 08-Nov-13 08:54:40

Sorry that my comment here has been twinned with a stupid and mean comment I made elsewhere. I was trying to say something here, that is about feeling guilty, and having to surrender yourself entirely to become Super Mum. I'm sorry that wasn't seen by anyone other than one poster. It wasn't meant to be an 'irrelevant' rant.

Op, I get where you're coming from now. I did think it was going to be another vaguely stealth boasty thread rather than a more useful one, as you've outlined.

MotherofBear Fri 08-Nov-13 14:07:11

Well, I failed on both counts yesterday! blush In my defence, my DS didn't want to play the game in the end. And things went horribly wrong in various ways around dinner/bedtime, so he ended up going later than usual. We did have lots of lovely snuggles though, and I read him a new book, which he enjoyed. So I guess we had some quality time in the end, albeit not what I'd planned.

I can't try again this evening as we're both staying at other family members' houses, but I will attempt it tomorrow.

sooty, well done for sticking to your plan! I bet you all had a lot of fun. How did lunchtime today go?

RichInBunlyGoodness Fri 08-Nov-13 21:44:36

I'll join if I may. I am simultaneously trying to ease up on myself and not feel constantly guilty about everything but also enjoy my kids more. The stuff Sooty wrote about only half heartedly engaging really rings a bell for me. I sometimes feel like I am caught between wishing the seconds of the day away desperate for bedtime and blind panic that their childhood is slipping away.

So my challenge for tomorrow is to spend less time frantically cleaning before my neat freak folks arrive (another of my ishoos) and more time playing with DD when she wants me to join in one of her games.

Bedsheets4knickers Fri 08-Nov-13 22:10:39

This is such a good thread. I get the balance right about once every 10 days ( everyone's happy ) (no-ones lost out ) ( I've gone to bed guilt free)
Past 2 days I've made a conscience effort to not shout. To not shout I've had to let a lot of things go to pot. Ie housework. It means tomorrow instead of having a family Saturday daddy's holding fought child wise 3yr and 1yr while I do domestic chores. So still not got balance right but I feel better with my parenting. Tip of the ice berg so I'm going to keep reading this thread to keep me going :-)

RichInBunlyGoodness Fri 08-Nov-13 22:23:49

Really is tough getting the balance right. Housework feels like a never ending battle. It's not as if I'm sat around polishing the silver or ironing doilies just trying to prevent anyone being killed by a landslide of dirty washing and clean the loo occasionally. Still feel like I spend my whole life saying 'in a minute'.

sootythecat Sat 09-Nov-13 09:40:42

Thanks for the support and sorry for throwing the toys out the pram in previous message!

Today we're going on a 2 hr drive to visit ILs, the car journey is usually horrible. Bedsheets we have a 3yr old and 1yr old too. I'm going to try to make it better today by packing each one a bag of toys, snacks, stickers, bubbles, nursery rhymes, musical shakers, etc, and engaging in lots of imaginery play and story telling, rather than putting on my music loudly and ignoring them.

Yesterday's no internet over lunch was hard. I've realised half the problem is dealing with my online addiction...

Good luck to everyone with your one change for today!

LittleBlondeNinja Sun 10-Nov-13 00:18:01

Please can i join
what a great idea

mummyxtwo Sun 10-Nov-13 12:33:35

Welcome littleblonde! Hope the car journeys go okay today sooty. Ds1 is older, now 4.10yo, but we'll frequently play a game where we have to spot certain vehicles. I'll tell him, "shout when you see a white van!" often when I've spotted a white van heading in our direction on the other side of the motorway and he'll get excited when he sees one, crying "I see one! I see a white van!" We also count bridges on the motorway. Fairly tedious and I usually forget what number we are on and make it up, but it can keep ds1 entertained for a good while. He is too loud to drown out with music.

Rich I too seem to be constantly saying "In a minute!" It is one of my most hated phrases, along with "Just let me... <do such and such>" and "Just wait a minute!" because I frequently say them with an edge to my voice of forced gaiety / starting to lose the plot, and increasingly higher pitch / volume. It all ends with me wanting to scream "Just give me a MINUTE!!"

I am going to make the effort today to put on voices and play with ds1's cars / planes (from the disney films). Or pretend to be angry birds star wars characters (the latest obsession). With ds1, obviously, not by myself... grin

All the best to everyone today!

sootythecat Sun 10-Nov-13 21:53:07

Yes, 'in a minute' in our house is when 'mummy has finished her jobs'... unfortunately the jobs are never ending...

Today has been good. I made a real effort to say yes and play with the kids when they asked, instead of normally saying no.

Tomorrow I am tackling the internet addiction head on and have put a timer switch on the wireless router to turn it off between 9am and 1pm, and again from 2pm to 5pm. That still allows me a browse at breakfast, after lunch while kids nap / watch a video, and at dinner time. Hoping to cut it further in future days but just taking small steps to keep it manageable.

Hope everyone's doing well with their small changes!

MotherofBear Mon 11-Nov-13 13:45:26

Hi all, hi sooty. How did the trip on Saturday go? Did you find it easier?

I'm glad you had a good day yesterday. How is the internet timer control thing going?

I managed to do something with my DS both Saturday and yesterday, and I also got the bedtime routine down pat both days - yay!

Today's challenge is to ensure he does 15 minutes of reading, and 15 minutes of homework (with a short break in between), without it devolving into a shouting match. AND I will patiently play whatever game he wants afterwards. Wish me luck...!!!

How is everyone else doing?

mummy, how did the voices/angry birds star wars character playing go yesterday?

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