If you are a work at home mom one of the biggest challenges you face is finding the actual time to work. I remember watching shows like Super Nanny and seeing moms juggle screaming kids and phone headsets and thinking there is no way I could ever do that. Flash forward a few years and that is exactly what I am doing, not the screaming children but the juggling.
I have found ways to work while my daughter is home, can you say, I love naptime because I do, but naptime is not always enough to get everything done and once it hits 5 o’clock my husband is home, we have family time, and there is also the housework that must get done. Sometimes you need to get creative to get actual work done!
I have found when you are a work at home mom one of the biggest time bonuses you can get is solo playtime. I know as parents we tend to feel like we need to be at our children’s sides 100% of the time. If they are awake and playing we feel the need to be their playmate and never ignore them. This string is tugged especially hard when we hear “Mommy come play!” and you should, but not all of the time. We think, “They might get the wrong idea and think we don’t love them” or “They are not learning if I am not fostering some kind of activity”. This is a very incorrect concept. Children learn whenever they play, whether a parent involved or not. In fact it is very healthy to encourage independent play when the child is young. They need to learn they are they are their own people not simply an extension of you.
You can let your kids do a number of things:
- Play with legos or blocks
- Draw, color, finger paint (non-toxic of course, we use yogurt so she can eat it without my heart stopping)
- Dress up
- Read books
- Use their imagination (have a tea party, go grocery shopping, cook)
- Have one cabinet (in your kitchen) that is theirs to raid with Tupperware and plastic utensils
- Have limited time using an educational app on your tablet or computer (those skills are needed now even if we don’t love it)
Solo play helps build motor skills, teaches confidence, imagination and possibly most importantly independence. It gives you, the parent, some of the same lessons. You learn how to let them teach themselves, it gives you confidence in who they are, that you’re parenting is working, and possibly, most importantly it teaches parents their children can exist independently. Each of these can be a tough lesson, especially for first time parents.
With all of this wonderfulness there are a couple things to remember. Never leave them completely unattended. Always have one eye and ear on them at all times. Little ones move quickly and can get into things very easily. Make sure that the activities you give your child will interest them. This will help them focus on the activity. Try and incorporate this solo time into your everyday schedule. The more you do it the more comfortable both you and your child will get with it. This can be invaluable when your child becomes older. Quiet time or alone time is very healthy for people of all ages.
Take the time in your day to let your child play alone, even if it is just for 15 minutes. In that time you can make dinner, change out a load of laundry, work on a report, check or return some emails or even just take a breath. As difficult or unnatural as it might feel to give them space, it can be wonderful for both of you!
The Perfectionist Mom
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