Author Topic: I want to outsource something to get more time with my kids. Am I a wussypants?  (Read 7607 times)

chilliepepper

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Hello everybody! Wow, I must have missed a notification and didn't realize people had still been chiming in over the past few days. Lots of right on stuff here, which I don't have time to comment on methodically right now, but I will say that though you wouldn't know it from how I've described the current challenges I'm facing with my kids, I am actually a big Love & Logic fan. Maybe I just haven't done so well at implementing it. I've also read Have a New Kid by Friday. I seem to recall a couple of "huh?" moments in that book, but all in all I thought it was a good one too.

Whoever it was that critiqued my method of charging a dime for picking up my kids' crap, yes you are right on. Of course I see my error now. Dang it...I try so hard and come up with these half-baked ideas that make sense to me at the time, but I don't see their pitfalls.

Anyway...I'll say more later but just wanted to pop in and say I'm still paying attention, and yes this has turned more into a general parenting thread than a mustache grooming thread, but I don't mind if you don't mind!

chilliepepper

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Only have time to reply to one post right now; I'll start with this one.

The example of charging a dime to pick a kid's stuff off the floor for them: I could have told you that would not work

Allright, allright. DoubleDOwn, since your first post in this thread, you've grown on me. Even though you started right out with an insult ("absolutely no way a SAHM does not have time to maintain an orderly household with 3 kids") that took no account of all the possible challenges that I (or any other SAHM or any other mom or dad for that matter) could be facing, I didn't write you off completely. You are right on with what you're saying about my stupid dime idea, and starting today I'm doubling my efforts to ensure there is one toy or project (per kid) out at a time. Doing this with a one-year-old in the mix, who considers it his job to take things off shelves and shove things off tables and dump Legos all over the floor and divert my attention from what the other boys are doing, does present a bit more of a challenge, and to be fair to the older two I need to figure out how to keep track of who got out what---as well as work with the baby on picking up after himself.

HOWEVER: would you mind easing up on the discouraging remarks? I love your ideas, as well as a lot of the other ones being shared here. But do ya HAVE to accompany your advice with "I could have told you that wouldn't work," "you should be able to do this, no problem" etc.? Does belittling someone who is obviously NOT spending her days chatting on the phone and watching Dr. Phil really accomplish anything?

(ok...and now to continue with our regularly scheduled programming)

and the lesson you unwittingly taught them is Mom will pick up after you for the right price.

I really do think you're right here.

There is NO connection you have set up for a child to build on to gain responsibility. The logical consequence of a kid not picking their things up is they can't get anything else out to play with, or do anything else until the item is picked up.

I'm not completely convinced that there's absolutely NO connection, but I can agree that the connection might be weak. The logical consequence...again, I'm not totally sure; I think that the logical consequence, really, is that things get lost and people get hurt because they trip over stuff. However, I do think that not getting anything else out till the prior thing picked up is a reasonable consequence. I can work with that.

Ten cents to a small child is meaningless.

Heh. You have not met my kids. :)

Or at the age it does become meaningful, they just might decide to pay that fee to watch you clean up after them.

Yeah, that is definitely not a direction I want to go.

These kinds of lessons day in and day out will almost certainly translate into lazy, entitled, and irresponsible teens and adults (typically associated with delinquency, drug use, hanging with the wrong crowd, etc.).

Wow...I think I'd better go search their backpacks now!


Getting to play with a toy matters to kids though, so having that limited until they pick up their other stuff will instill in them that their behavior has consequences. That kind of lesson day in and day out will translate into responsible teens and adults, even when "no one is looking."

Yep. I'm 100% on board with you there.


Or asking about making oatmeal -- assuming that was a rhetorical question by you, then when the kid answers "No I don't want to", the next statement is a clear choice with limits: "Well you can either help make oatmeal, or you won't eat. Which do you choose?" If they choose not to make the oatmeal, that's it, the consequence (not eating) is realized, and the matter is resolved until the next meal time, period. You can be pretty certain their hunger will change their approach for the next meal time. They learned a valuable lesson that their actions have real, understandable consequences, and it becomes part of their character.


Yeah I know, I really did goof on that oatmeal day. I hadn't decided, before I asked the question, where I was going with it. I really didn't intend to require him to do it on that particular morning; I didn't think I would have to because I thought he would want to do it. Since I didn't set it up as a choice between making it or going hungry from the getgo, I didn't feel like I could switch tactics with him midstream. So in that case, I just let it go. But in the past week I have had much better success with getting my guys to do stuff---so see, we're getting better. :)

And that's all I can say tonight. Thanks again, all.

liquidbanana

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I only have one kid, who is 5 now. I've worked outside the home and I've also been a SAHM. I have to say, working outside the home was much easier, as odd as that sounds. My house was immaculate, I was much more organized, and I actually probably spent more one-on-one quality time with my kid.

One thing, is that I actually had breaks when I worked outside the home. That gave me plenty of time to plan my day, write my to-do lists, make appointments, and just have a few minutes of peace to make sense of everything and make good judgement calls as far as time management went.

As a SAHM, you do not have those breaks. At all. There is always something that needs to be done. It's like working in an understaffed restaurant when there is line out the door of people waiting for a table. Except the restaurant never closes.

Another thing, when you have even one kid at home all day, you have 3 times the mess. More meals to make (and corresponding dishes and stuff to clean up---even if you are just making leftovers), more crumbs that accumulate on the floor, more pee all over the toilet (lol...my kid misses all the time!!), etc etc.  Normally, this mess would be happening at daycare...and you would only have to keep up with the mess made during the time after daycare, which is manageable.

The only way to get ahead is to plan plan plan and make it harder for the kids to actual make messes to begin with. Otherwise, you are just chasing them around cleaning their messes all day and have no time for anything else.

De-cluttering is absolutely necessary. Besides that, man, it's just hard. Try to enforce eating only in the kitchen, only getting a different toy or game out after another is cleaned up. It's hard because you end up spending just as much time trying to enforce the rules as you would just cleaning everything yourself, but it's worth it eventually.

Anyway, it's hard. I think it would not be a bad thing to outsource some stuff until your toddler gets to Kindergarten. That's only a few years and if it will make life easier and allow you to enjoy your kids while they are still young more, it's well worth it. Postponing retirement a tiny bit would be worth it if some outsourcing really did allow you to enjoy your kids now. Retirement will still happen, but your kids will be grown waaaaay to fast. However, only you can know if outsourcing some hellp will really make the difference. 
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 12:09:11 AM by liquidbanana »

chilliepepper

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Since "consequences" for kids was brought up again, I'll repeat: Every parent should read the short book, "Setting Limits" by Mackenzie (no, I don't get royalties). It is all about using natural or logical consequences (those are different things, and if you don't know the difference, you really need to read it) in order to raise responsible, independent children....Please read the book.

This sounds very similar to "The Book" I recommend, which is called Love and Logic. It can be a bit pedantic with set phrases and whatnot but the methods have been very effective for us, though I have had to modify them to suit the very different temperaments of my two children.

Yep, I'm also a fan. Just before DS#3 was born, I was just about at the end of my rope with some of the crap the older two were throwing my way. A friend was at the time blogging about how L&L methods were transforming her family. So in the newborn weeks with DS3, during long nursing sessions I read her blog from cover to cover and also got two of the books and devoured them. It really did help with some of the issues we were facing at the time.


For clean up, I have started calmly telling my 2 year old, "Your choice: you put it away or I throw it away." He's old enough to put things back in a bin, but he got too sassy with me once ("No, mama, YOU clean it up!"), so I started very methodically putting all his toys in the trashcan. I did let him earn them back because that was our first time with that particular consequence, but now he knows.

My poor 1yo barely has any toys of his own. Well...he does have some passed-down babyish toys that the other two are no longer interested in, but for the most part he wants nothing to do with them. He wants the Good Stuff, lol. So I often can't use the "put it away or I throw it away" tactic with him, because I'd be throwing away something that belonged to someone else who had nothing to do with it being gotten out or left out. I'm not sure what to do about that...it would be hard to not allow DS3 to play with any of their stuff, since our house really isn't big enough to accommodate entirely separate play areas...so yes I do have to teach him to put it away, but I have to come up with a different logical consequence. And...the shorter attention span of a 1yo means that he can get things out pretty quickly, including things that have a lot of little pieces, but I feel that to ask him to pick every piece up would be asking a bit much. When we started out with him, the Lego table was supposed to be off limits. But it was just too hard. It's right in the middle of the playroom and soooooooooo tempting. I know, choking hazard. So far, so good...but I did find a tiny Lego sword in the contents of his diaper once.


Since I hate the amount of crap in our house anyway, it's really no skin of my back to donate a few toys. I tell my 8 year old: "you can clean your room or I will." It's all very calm, no screaming, but she knows I will clean in about five minutes with a black plastic trashbag. She knows this because she chose not to pick up one time and so I did it for her. She didn't need all those little plastic doll things anyway.

I started the "badass decluttering" thread in hopes of getting people to talk me into donating more. My problem is that I hold out the hope of selling stuff, so a lot of it is still in the house. I need to just let it go.


My pet peeve is threatened but unenforced/unenforceable consequences.

Mine too. If I can't come up with an enforceable consequence, I keep my mouth shut.

chilliepepper

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I only have one kid, who is 5 now. I've worked outside the home and I've also been a SAHM. I have to say, working outside the home was much easier, as odd as that sounds. My house was immaculate, I was much more organized, and I actually probably spent more one-on-one quality time with my kid....
Another thing, when you have even one kid at home all day, you have 3 times the mess. More meals to make (and corresponding dishes and stuff to clean up---even if you are just making leftovers), more crumbs that accumulate on the floor, more pee all over the toilet (lol...my kid misses all the time!!), etc etc.  Normally, this mess would be happening at daycare...and you would only have to keep up with the mess made during the time after daycare, which is manageable.

Yep. The days when DS3 and I are out all day are distinctly different. When we come home in the afternoon, wala---the house is in the same condition that we left it at 9am!

DoubleDown

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Hey chilliepepper! My sincere apologies that my comments came off as insulting and discouraging. Although that was not my intention, I understand they could be perceived that way. I would be full of sh** if I tried to claim I have everything figured out and had not made plenty of mistakes myself. And I'll repeat what I said before, I do think you sound like a good mom that struggles with things all us parents have at one time or another.

I was intentionally provocative in this thread because I was trying to elicit a reaction from you (or others) and provide some insight into how some of the circumstances you described sounded to me, an outsider. I've had a co-parenting counselor figuratively give me a face punch so I would wake up and take his insights to heart, but maybe you didn't need the face punch or maybe it will help in the end. Again, sorry that I "provoked" too hard, but I've been only impressed you've bared with me thus far and have been willing to air your situation and take advice from a bunch of strangers :-)
"Not all quotes on the internet are accurate" -- Abraham Lincoln

chilliepepper

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Hi DoubleDOwn,

Now you're growing on me even more. :) Apology accepted.

If your goal was to elicit a reaction, it looks like you succeeded. And, it has been productive. So...it's all good. (now where is that group hug emoticon?)

Love, Chillie

mm1970

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First time in here, and I haven't read all of the responses, but some good ones.

I have two kids, a first grader and an infant. And I understand where you are coming from.  I feel like I don't get enough time to play with the 6 year old.  When I get home from work, I'm either cooking or feeding the baby. 

I know I could let him make his own lunch.  But it's more efficient to do it myself.  It would take SO LONG the other way.  Same with cooking.  Or laundry.  I have the same problem at work.  I'm a manager and there are things I need to get my coworkers to do...but it's faster and easier to do it myself.

I guess I don't have too many solutions.  The way I spend time with my kid: when he wakes up at 6 am on Saturday, I sit and play chess with him while I eat breakfast, even though I hate chess.  I read to him at night.  I help him with homework while feeding the baby.

I cook alone - yes, I use the crockpot a lot, and I chop the veggies and prep the meals the night before while my kids are getting a bath or after they are asleep.  I choose things during the week that only need reheating or very little work.  It often means that after dinner I put food away, get the kids to bed, pack lunches, prep for the next night, and then pass out.  I remember how IMPOSSIBLE it was to cook with a toddler.  Aged 18 months to 3 years. Couldn't do it.

Anyway, I gotta go snuggle with the 6yo.  Time for the bedtime book.

mm1970

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and also, by the way...I outsource cleaning.

chilliepepper

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Just wanted to post a quick update, now that I've had a week or two to implement some of the suggestions that have been offered here. My boys are now making their own oatmeal, making eggs in the microwave (sometimes), consistently emptying the dishwasher every morning (I used to start it while the coffee brewed before they woke up, but have realized that I can save that job for them and do something else while the coffee brews), helping (sometimes) to make their lunches, making their own banana shakes, helping me more with dinner prep, and carrying stuff to the table at dinnertime.

(Side note: I think Love & Logic led me astray in a way. Mostly I love L&L. It's so much about giving kids choices, and I'm all for that...but I think I had slipped into making some things optional that shouldn't be optional. Or maybe I just didn't do a good job of setting up the options. Anyway...blah blah blah.)

I've cracked down on whining. As in, if you whine, something bad will happen (usually in the form of a lost privilege), no second chances. We've had some very sad moments in our house this week as a result. But guess what---less whining going on around here!

I stepped my 7yo through doing a load of laundry. I also plan to teach him to sort dirty clothes into their appropriate baskets according to color. (Because I just can't quite bring myself to wash underwear and dishtowels in the same load in cold without bleach!). They will also have a Saturday morning routine of stripping their beds and bringing the bedding down to the laundry room.

7yo vacuumed the den and stairs. This was much easier for him, now that we've removed the very valuable Persian rug with scary, fragile fringe that could ruin, or be ruined by, the vacuum cleaner.

So yeah, that's all good. The fact remains, though, that between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., my 1yo is a crying, screaming, melting down mess. I don't know what it is, but every day when he wakes up from his nap he is MISERABLE, and of course these are the busiest hours of the day---the hours when I most relish an extra set of hands (hub came home from work early yesterday and the evening was so pleasant. I even served dinner by candlelight and gave the boys their milk in wine glasses). This really does make it hard to focus on supervising/coaching the other two as they do their homework and/or help me with stuff. But anyway...this too shall pass...I'm sure I'll look back on this in 6 months and say whew. We made it through.

totoro

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Way to go!!!

DoubleDown

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Great work! I can't even find anything to critique ;-)
"Not all quotes on the internet are accurate" -- Abraham Lincoln

caligulala

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The fact remains, though, that between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., my 1yo is a crying, screaming, melting down mess. I don't know what it is, but every day when he wakes up from his nap he is MISERABLE

Is the 1 year old having night terrors? Our two year old started having them about that age. We called them "bad wake ups" until I read something about night terrors on the internet and realized that is what they were. The kid will look awake and be screaming, but they aren't really awake. Trying to calm them down is futile, so you are supposed to sit with them and make sure they can't hurt themselves. At some point, our toddler will turn over and be fast asleep all of a sudden. It is the weirdest thing. Once we learned to let him be when he woke up screaming, he'll usually go back to sleep for another half hour or so and wake up all sunshine. We notice that he has them more often when he is over tired, which is another reason I am fanatical about the sleep schedule. It may be that you just have an afternoon grumper on your hands, but the night terrors are worth looking into if it is a regular happening.

ShavenLlama

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I also enjoy milk in cocktail glasses. :)

MountainFlower

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Sorry to revive an old thread, but I had to chime in.  I am listening to a book right now which is all about getting kids to pitch in and WHY we HURT them when we do everything for them.

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement

I love this book.   I downloaded it from audible.  It is also on amazon and available for kindle. 

She is very Christian and she brings this into the book at times (once or maybe twice a chapter, not a lot).   I am not religious and it doesn't bother me a bit.  I kind of like it actually. 
'

chilliepepper

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Oooooh, that sounds really good. I'm off to download it now. Not that I've ever needed convincing that we need to get them to help, but I'm guessing she also has some good ideas on the nuts and bolts of getting them involved.

By way of update...I'm still frustrated. I've incorporated a lot of the ideas here---my older 2 are helping much more---but I still have those couple hours after school when I WANT to pay a lot more attention to them than I do, even if that means working together on dinner or whatever---but the little guy seems determined to thwart my efforts.

Oh well. We'll just keep trying.