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How to connect with your kids when you're exhausted

(23 Posts)
Nucleophilic Tue 17-Nov-20 19:06:24

Hey all,
I am a full time everything, with no childcare help. I do have a DH but he doesn't do very much to help out at all.

I am exhausted pretty much all the time now and I am struggling to find time to give my kids quality time. If anything I find their constant needs adding to my burden and exhaustion. I do not want to feel like this any more, but everything is draining me and I do not want to take it out on my kids.

I find when they ask me for things, which is every 5 minutes, I am instantly in a bad mood!

What can I do in the evening with my kids to make our time fun, and not just watch the crap on TV they want to watch? Ideally something that does not take a lot of planning or organising!

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
Iwonder777 Tue 17-Nov-20 19:08:40

I'm watching for tips xx

TotoroPotoro Tue 17-Nov-20 19:10:47

How old are your kids OP?

I hear you on the exhaustion and the need to connect front. I'm not currently doing a very good job of this but have thought about it.

Mine are young, but they enjoy reading stories, making up stories, me getting on the floor and playing cars for 5 minutes (which takes a LOTof my mental energy), marble run, dominos, watching videos of marble runs and dominos on YouTube.

Not to de-rail, but is this really a DH problem?

Finfintytint Tue 17-Nov-20 19:12:51

Your DH needs to engage with the children too. Why is it down to you?

sabrinaq Tue 17-Nov-20 19:12:56

I'm in similar shoes. What I do is, I force myself to be present for playing and chat for 30-40 mins when DD gets home. Then I find she gets more absorbed in playing and less needy because she's not competing for my attention so much. I also feed her and get her a drink as first priority so I'm not having to jump up and get all the time. It's exhausting though so I do sympathise.

Skyla2005 Tue 17-Nov-20 19:14:29

It’s your lazy husband that’s the problem.

TotoroPotoro Tue 17-Nov-20 19:17:55


I'm in similar shoes. What I do is, I force myself to be present for playing and chat for 30-40 mins when DD gets home. Then I find she gets more absorbed in playing and less needy because she's not competing for my attention so much. I also feed her and get her a drink as first priority so I'm not having to jump up and get all the time. It's exhausting though so I do sympathise.

I really like this idea of dedicating 30 minutes to undivided attention. Already providing a buffet of snacks as soon as they get home, but it's not enough

peakotter Tue 17-Nov-20 19:19:30

I was going to come on and say “watch tv together” but I see you are already one step ahead of my knackered parenting!

Seriously, curling up together to watch tv can help to recharge your batteries. Then I find jigsaws are good as you can sit down and only need half a brain. Reading stories if you have a tiny bit of energy. Board games if you’re really brave.

Or a kitchen dance competition while you all tidy up. Sometimes getting moving helps with energy but I think this is a lie really

AnnaMagnani Tue 17-Nov-20 19:22:11

Do you have to connect with them?

Would it be the end of the world for them to know that you are tired and they have to leave you alone for 30 minutes. Sometimes it's about survival.

Also your DH needs a rocket up his arse.

historygeek Tue 17-Nov-20 19:24:00

I agree that you have a real DH problem here. Have you asked him to be more present? Why is this all down to you?
We both work full time and have no child care other than after school club. It is exhausting. We make sure we have a clear bedtime routine that involves bath and story with one of us. Then we call the other up and each say our favourite thing that day. It's really nice at the end of a shitty day to all climb into DS' bed and end the day on a positive note.

Beechview Tue 17-Nov-20 19:26:38

How old are they?
Have dinner or nice food together. Or sit with them and have hot chocolate/tea. Light some candles and listen to a chapter from an audiobook at the same time, if they’re old enough.
Some good ones here -

Watch a documentary together and talk about it. Attenborough ones are good. Or find a series that you’ll enjoy too.
Simple and quick board or card games.
Start a jigsaw puzzle that’s a bit trickier and do it together over a few days.
Have 10 minute tickling and chasing games or hide and ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ where you hide something and you can just sit saying hot or cold.

Clockstop Tue 17-Nov-20 19:26:40

Read together, my DD (5) likes to sit and colour together and we chat at the same time. Could work with older kids with adult colouring books too! We often do a quick board game, or she helps me cook which kills two birds.

Smallsteps88 Tue 17-Nov-20 19:28:49

When I’m exhausted I don’t try and connect with anyone- I’m in Survival mode. I put the DC and myself to bed as early as possible every night until I start feeling better. You can’t be super mum on zero energy. Your husband, their father, needs to do his part. Being useless isn’t an option when you’re a parent. Don’t let it be an option for him. Tell him you’re going to bed and he can sort the DC.

MessAllOver Tue 17-Nov-20 19:51:57

Not sure how old yours are but I curl up in bed with DS. He watches videos on the tablet, cuddled up to me, while I cat-nap. Does that count as quality time?

mammmamia Tue 17-Nov-20 19:59:45

Physical closeness and cuddles so all get into your bed together and read.

GrumpyHoonMain Tue 17-Nov-20 20:04:01

Depends on their age. DS is 11 months old so I’ll just sit and cuddle him for 30mins - he loves it and we’ll watch TV or I’ll snooze while holding him. With DN8 she likes going to the playground or park so I’ll usually take her and we’ll walk or swing together otherwise I’ll fall asleep lol

Fortyfifty Tue 17-Nov-20 20:15:35

How old are your kids? When mine were primary age and I had to solo parent when exhausted, I remembering getting them in to bed and I'd lie on their bed and we'd take turns reading but they'd do more of it. If they are very little, get them to 'do your hair' so you can just sit there? Agree, colouring is therapeutic. There's nothing wrong though with snuggling up on the sofa and watching something on TV together.

What is your DH doing whilst you're with your children?

ComeOnBabyHauntMyBubble Tue 17-Nov-20 20:16:57

First of all you need to tackle the real issue here,which is the lazy DH. Not only are you overwhelmed, but it is bound to add to your frustration knowing there is another adult who can help,but won't.

Secondly, it depends on their ages, what you enjoy,what they enjoy.
Just talking about their day, be outside in the garden with them for a bit, make "potions" water,cups,and whatever they might want to put in, do a puzzle or a board game, read together,cuddle up, watch something you all like on telly, cook together..or you cook and they read to you/tell you about their day, colouring , tell jokes to eachother,take silly pics ... anything really.

Lazysundayafternoons Tue 17-Nov-20 20:27:29

I know the feeling, in the evenings I am just completely exhausted. With ds7, I will tell him to pick a movie that I (pretend to) watch with him. Other evenings I will play a board game with him. The odd time I'll play on his switch with him. Agree with PP if I just dedicate a small amount of time solely to him, then I get more of a breather for the rest of the evening

anon444877 Tue 17-Nov-20 20:33:31

What @peakotter - what is wrong with watching a film together?

Colouring together is good too and even when knackered it's relaxing. How about listening to an audio story together snuggled up? So you don't have to read it.

BertieBotts Tue 17-Nov-20 20:46:07

Oh god this. This is the age old question.

Agree: How old are your children? It makes a difference.

My only answer so far is to put things on a timer. I know I can read with DS1 for 20 minutes and that's a safe amount of time. If I try to read much more with him he starts sitting in a million positions or asking unrelated questions or just doing stuff that in my exhausted state makes me rage and that isn't fair, he's not doing anything wrong. Keeping it to a set time ensures that I interact with him nicely and we have a pleasant experience.

Likewise, I will watch one TV programme with him, not loads in a row.

I like the suggestion of colouring as well. And I've had success with just getting a big jigsaw and laying it out on a communal table. I do bits of it and he joins in.

Mainly try not to be too hard on yourself. And also prioritise self care in whatever form you can. I have a rule that nobody is allowed to demand my attention after 8pm unless they are bleeding or vomiting. OK the 2yo is exempt because he doesn't understand.

Do you get to have any mealtimes together? If you do this is also a win. (If you don't, it's not a reason to think you're failing, it's just a bonus if you can. When I'm absolutely exhausted I can't make everyone else do family mealtimes, so nobody wants to and we don't.)

Also, not being flippant: Consider getting rid of the husband. Your workload may well reduce to a manageable level.

Icenii Tue 17-Nov-20 20:51:49

We just go to bed and watch TV too. Sounds bad but sometimes I'm so tired. To make it more exciting we have sleep over in our room where we bring her mattress up, stick on a movie and have popcorn.

anon444877 Wed 18-Nov-20 11:37:28

Yes relaxed parents who are watching bits of the film snuggled up - you can find a lot of talking points and values transferring from tv and films and can be bonding.

And sometimes it's ok to use it as a babysitter too when you need a rest and a bath. Yes, id like them to be assembling leaf collages and creating beautiful art or reading at all times but that's not real life and most adults watch some tv end of day to relax.

It did get easier when they can read on their own for stretches of time a d then you talk about what they've read.

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