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Housework Vs Funtime with kids-wher does the gulit come from?

(14 Posts)
spina Thu 22-Feb-07 15:06:25

7 week old baby is fast asleep and I've just spent his nap whizing around doing housework and prepping veg for tonights dinner. Don't feel guilty because I'm not missing out on any quality time with him.

HOWEVER when my three yr old is around(at nursey today) I'm racked with guilt for not spending my whole time baking cookies,going to park,etc.My house becomes a state if I don't do some housework though.

Do you think that we're made feel extra guily for not spending enough time with our LOs? I'm sure when I was little, my mum spent her time doing housework and I'm fairly happy as a person.

What does everyone else feel? I did have a system that (while I was working and not on mat leave) that one "day off" I'd do housework and the other I'd do kidtime. Now i'm on Mat leave the housework is left to me more that usual by DH(which is fair enough because he's still doing a reasonable ammount of it-lucky me) This means though that i'm spending more time doing it!

I pose the question because DS2 has only just started to sleep anywhere other than strapped to me in our babybjorn or in my arms when we're not out and about in his pram!!

Is the guilt just an excuse not to do my housework or am I really turning my children into overweight tv addicts because my three yr old knows how to put thr lazytown dvd on by himself?

StrawberrySnowflakes Thu 22-Feb-07 15:16:25

its hard isnt it..ive had a couple of days off and have been trying to get house up to reasonable standard but all ive heard from dd is 'ive got no one to play wiiiiiiiiiiith'(im a cm, so ususally we have children round) im torn, all jobs only half done and be feeling like ive stood on one spot and spun for last few days!

KathyMCMLXXII Thu 22-Feb-07 15:25:43

Hey Spina.
I am in a very similar situation to you (mat leave, 2 month ds plus toddler dd at nursery, dh who does housework) and I know exactly how you feel.
My dd was a very clingy baby so I was lucky to be able to put a load of washing on, let alone do loads and cook dinner in advance, but ds is happy to lie in his babygym for half the day.... and yet I feel guilty for ignoring him.
OTOH if I don't get stuff done I feel guilty because it means that dh (who does lots already) ends up doing more.
It feels a bit damned-if-I-do,damned-if-I-don't sometimes.

I suppose my theoretical ideal with dd is for me to be doing housework but involving her, but this only works for some things - she can help me sort washing but not empty the dishwasher, for instance.

However I do think the expectations in terms of quality time with children have got a bit silly - they do not need to be constantly entertained for their development; we need to keep them safe and spend some time with them, but they don't need our full attention every moment, or shouldn't anyway! I will be happy if my dd can put on a dvd by the time she's three as long as she doesn't watch it all day.

spina Thu 22-Feb-07 15:26:58

my SAHM friend said last week she'd read a study that said SAHM's didn't spend enough time playing with their kids. What I wonder though is what is enough time?How is that measured? I woud love to spend all day playing with my boys and they really only are this little for so long..but don't you think you can't really get it right? i'm trying to feed them(7 wk old by indirect methods) healthy wholesome food and that involves peeling carrots! If my three yr old was here that would mean less time with him.I know silly example,but if i'm going to attempt to have a tidy house and cooked meals, i wouldn't be spending enough time with kids. I am by no means a domestic goddess and i'm only keeping quite basic standards!

I just go back to my point. My mum didn't spend a lot of time playing with me. I just ran around the garden a lot and built dens!

spina Thu 22-Feb-07 15:33:44

crossed posts, kathy. Yeah I agree. My 3 yr old helps me to do housework and even insists on making his own toast, heavily supervised by me!!!

I'm really just pondering on what my friend said. Also I see a lot of my friends dedicating their "days off"(those who work outside of home) and a good proportion of their weeks(all involved) to going around to one another's houses and doing fun things with kids.

Of course i've realised the easiest way to keep a tidy house is to tidy it and then take your kids out so thay can't mess it up again!

KathyMCMLXXII Thu 22-Feb-07 15:34:42

And peeling carrots is important, not just because you are actually getting good food inside them, but because you are also sending them the message that it's worth spending time on healthy food and thus setting them up to eat well later on in life.

Looking back, I think my mum did spend a lot of time playing with us - I have lots of memories of the things we did - but she must have also spent time on housework and cooking, because we had proper food and a clean house - hell, she even grew vegetables for the family. So there must be time to do both.

I wonder if maybe women were smarter (or maybe other women still are) about how to entertain children and do housework. Eg. I remember playing with plasticine or with a tray of old lentils on the kitchen table while she did the ironing; we must have played in our sandpit in the garden while she gardened. Perhaps there are lots of tips for this I need to learn - maybe one can bake cookies while peeling the carrots, or am I being naive?

The study sounds a bit tendentious - 'enough' for what? 'Enough' for them to develop properly? As much as the child wants?

Kif Thu 22-Feb-07 15:36:06

It's silly. Guilt tripping nonsense.

The benefit to child of sahm is security not personal entertainer. Being 'in their face' all the time robs them of the chance to develop imagination and self sufficiency. In fact, you'd stunt their personality by always being there setting the tone, not letting then get to know themselves.

sod the housework though- have a cup of coffee and read a magazine. You've nothing to prove.

KathyMCMLXXII Thu 22-Feb-07 15:36:08

x-posts again!

Tortington Thu 22-Feb-07 15:36:12

your fucked no matter what you do. i opt for easy life - fuck the housework.

and i guarentee when they hit 15 they won't like you anyway.

bundle Thu 22-Feb-07 15:37:33

what is this thing, "housework"?

spina Thu 22-Feb-07 15:53:10


I grew my own veg as a child. my mum did do stuff with us(i must defend her in case I've made her sound like someone who just hoovered instead of spending time with us!) It just seemed a lot less "forced" that the level of "playing" one is expected to do. I'll defend my brand of parenting, where I think I'm nuturing a very independant child who doesn't need me to set the schedule.

I've obviously got too much time on my hands not doing housework or looking after my child to do all this pondering on here!!!

KathyMCMLXXII Thu 22-Feb-07 15:55:04

Yup, you should be feeling very guilty about going on MN!

Milliways Thu 22-Feb-07 16:05:44

I used to LOVE this poem:

I hope my children look back on today
and remember a Mother who had time to play.
There will be years for sweeping & Cooking
Children grow up whilst you're not looking.
So Quiet Down cobwebs, and dust - go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

spina Thu 22-Feb-07 16:14:29

I know that poem!!

Maybe my real question should have been???

"Should I according to "Society" feel guilty for not actully feeling guilty?"

Must wake my baby up for some booby!!

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