I ignore my son, and I am a better mom for it

My son is nearly two years old, talking in nearly full sentences, listens incredibly well and has been called exceptional by his sitter, teachers and friends. He’s learning his alphabet by identifying them in books and on magnets, loves art and is incredibly compassionate. And while this has all happened, I ignore my son and really do feel like a better mom for it.

“What the in world is she talking about? She’s got to be the worst mother in the world!”

Hear me out. I often get told “I have NO idea how you do it all!?!”. I almost feel like Sarah Jessica Parker in the early scenes of her movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It?”; like a Super Mom most days. Up at 7:00, breakfast, volunteer work, lunch, nap-time, paid work, snack time, errands, play time, dinner prep and quality time with the hubby…How DO I do this all day, every day? In a small way, I ignore my son. I am there for him when he needs me, and am the first person to jump by his side in an obviously emergency situation [as I am sure I will hear from the enraged, if not]. He does not sit in front of the T.V. or have a smart phone or a tablet. He is genuinely independent and happy. 🙂 Here are a few ways I have incorporated this:

  1. Nap Time: Since he was born, he’s been a great sleeper. I know, I am super lucky. But it wasn’t always that way. I had a lot of help from my mom when she visited during his first two weeks. She got me to think about HIS needs, and how that fits into MY schedule. His routine, not-so-quickly, adapted to mine and we were so much happier! Now, he’s almost two and his nap time starts around 11:30/12:00 every day. This is also when I work (READ: on my schedule), so I make sure that he and I have lunch every day before that time and get him to calm down in his room, even if he’s not ready for a nap. This prepares him for the days he goes to “school” as well, because that is how they operate nap time. And, it allows me, even if he sits and plays in his bed, to have some me time during the day. I will ignore his play/quiet time, while he is in a safe environment.
  2. Awake/Play Time: For those who have tried to work at home with a little one or two running around, it can be a challenge…to say the least. For me, it remains a challenge but I use my ignore technique here, as well. We recently converted the downstairs “under-the-stairs” closet to a play room for G. It includes all his previously designated “downstairs” toys, plus a few of his favorite that we move up and down all day as he wanted to. Now, he’s got his own space – his own tools to play. I sit on the floor with my computer, or at the kitchen table, 1 – 2 hours a day and work, while he quietly plays on his own – in my direct sight and listening to everything I say to him. This, again, didn’t come over night, but with time that I was able to establish this independence by giving him the opportunity to build it. We have always given him the option of what to do, what decision to make and since he’s started talking, we ask him to “use his words” to let us know. It’s working for me!
  3. Bed Time/Middle of the Night: This was a hard one, especially for my husband. After the much debated “sleep training” in the first few months, and the nursing time was over, G was sleeping through the night. On that routine of ours, he heads to bed between 7:30-8:00 every night, whether he is about to pass out or not. We let him talk or read a book (he’s even feel asleep with his book in his hands still….adorable), allowing him some quiet time before falling asleep. This does a few things: it has given my husband and I some time to ensure we have “us” time, allows his independent quiet time in a safe environment and for the love of all things holy, I can take a shower! Middle of the night, he will wake up occasionally for a drink, a wet diaper or he lost his binkie. We have established that we give him 5 – 10 minutes to calm down and get back to sleep on his own, before going into his room. Ignoring, not necessarily, but not jumping the second he makes a peep. 🙂
  4. Tantrums: This was and still is the toughest of all – his tantrums have escalated in the previous few months, so much so that some may be embarrassed for me when we are in public. Don’t be – please. I am not embarrassed that this is the way my son is learning to control his emotions – all kids do it, and it’s our job as parents to react in a way that indicates that behavior is inappropriate – in public or at home. I happen to do this by gently correcting once, then ignoring the “nos” that follow. It’s a bit easier at home, but in public I use the ignore technique, as well. Here’s my most recent experience: We were exiting the doctors office and he had been walking on his own for some time, no stroller. We head down the long narrow hall way, passing the pharmacy and the lab, where he decided he wanted to head back through the double doors to the waiting room. I quickly grabbed him, said it was time to go to the car and he threw his body on the floor in a full fit. Calmly, I picked him up – told him it was time to go, we need to walk like a big boy and with limp limbs he fell to the floor again, kicking and screaming. At this point, I told him, “I guess you want to stay here, then.” I turned to walk away with him in my peripheral view, and within three steps, he got himself off the floor, ran up to me and held my hand until we were at the car.

I don’t claim to have it all figured out. But, I feel like this has worked for me and helped in the development of what I feel is an exceptional child. I’ve been able to use my multitasking skills to accomplish everything I set out to in a day, and sometimes more. I don’t feel like a bad mom, but a mom that never wavers in her passion for both the mommy and the entreprenuer in her.

Now, this is not to say it’s a perfect picture every day. Somedays, I just want to rip my hair out and just turn on the T.V. – don’t judge, we’ve all done it – but I regroup at night, catch up on deadlines, projects and maybe a glass of wine, then start again the next day. As goes with children, you never know how you are going to go about your day. This is just my story and one way I manage it “all”.

Up next: How do I accomplish my work, volunteering and manage to spend quality time with my son, too?

 How do you manage your day with kiddos at home and still get things done? Share your thoughts below!

Image credit: Victor Trovo Afonso via Flickr

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