Author Topic: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler  (Read 1167 times)

dinkhelpneeded

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 74
Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« on: September 08, 2017, 05:25:04 PM »
We have a one year old, full time working parents, and we find the weekends exhausting. We havent mastered the art of cooking, taking a shower and such while also being with a very active toddler.

There has to be a better way to spend the weekend.  Any tips?

Some of the things we've learned already:
We realized for example - that one of the problems was that we were lounging during his nap, instead we should probably take a shower and get moving!
We also hired a baby sitter for 3 hours for the first time this weekend, so we can clean out the garage without having to supervise him.

Things we've tried and failed
-Toddler hates the car seat, so no go on road trips
-Very active and anywhere we take him, we are chasing after him saying "no" (good thing, but exhausting)
-The park is the only place we find relaxing where he isnt getting into any major safety issues (probably because he's still too young to get on some of the equipment himself)
-We tried the library and he's all about shoving books off shelves. I'm not giving up but basically it was exhausting!

wordnerd

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 05:52:06 PM »
First, there's time. If your child is right at one, things improve considerably (in my experience--n of 1 :)) as you get past 1.5 and edge towards 2.

Second, split up. I know people have differing feelings on this, but DH and I have always done a lot of things separately, so it feels normal to us. I take our son on an adventure, and DH can get things done or just relax around the house. Our current weekend routine (20 month old) is the library to play with the puzzles, the park (I follow him up on the playground equipment since he's a climber), and (if we're feeling fancy) Dunkin Donuts (I get black coffee; he gets a very exciting straw). Once the kiddo can follow directions a little better, all of these activities are easier and more fun, but we have been doing them in some form or another since he was 8 months or so.

Third, lower your standards. How much are you trying to get done in a weekend? Cut it in half. :)

Fourth, after-bedtime pick-up. DS goes to bed at 7. Immediately after tucking him in, I take a shower (though having your partner watch the kid for 15 minutes also easily solves the shower situation), pick up toys, and put dishes in the dishwasher. I might do a tiny bit of vacuuming, but cleaning/picking up doesn't exceed 15 minutes. It's just enough to make me feel like my house/life isn't in shambles. As you mention, this could also be done during nap, but I like a break in the middle of the day to read a book.

Fifth, do things you like to do! Instead of searching out kids' activities, adapt your interests to be as kid-friendly as possible. I'm lucky that I really like being outdoors (so we go to really great parks), books (I always pick up and drop my books when I take DS to the library), and coffee shops (switched from cool indie coffee shop to Dunkin with toddler, but hey sacrifices). This makes me feel like the weekends are mine, and hanging out with my kid just makes it better. If you hated these things, then trying to do them because they "kid-appropriate" would make your weekends suck.

Good luck! I am really loving the second year. I hope you have a similar experience!


« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 05:55:12 PM by wordnerd »
Earn $14-22/hr teaching English from home: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=6482114

tthree

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
  • Location: Canada
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 06:29:06 PM »
(1) You do not have to engage with your child the whole weekend.  That is exhausting, and you are not doing anyone any favours.  You need a toddler proof space in your home that your child can play in destroy while you are showering, cooking, cleaning, reading, or just ignoring them.

(2) Yes to divide and conquer.  My DH works every Saturday and I assure you Saturdays are easier than Sundays.  The only thing worse than managing child(ren) is managing child(ren) and another adult.

(3) Go outside.  Stay there as long as possible.  Go for walks, go to the park, bring a blanket, have a snack, read a book, play on the playground, go for bike rides.

(4) Go to the gym.  They have this wonderful thing called childcare, and you get a workout.

(5) Repeat step 1.  I see a lot of parent's that feel guilty about working full time, and feel it necessary to engage with their children all the hours they are not working.  When I was working full time I knew that was the right decision, no need to feel guilty!

Goldielocks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4291
  • Location: BC
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 09:36:11 PM »
I can't help much, other than to say that it is quite hard for the next year or two.

I relied on   1) High chair  and 2) playpen, especially after the second was born and inside. It helps a lot around the home to have the safe zone where you can put them down for 10 minutes while you chop veggies.   Some friends got one of those "baby fences" that worked well for them.

   The outside comments are great.   Very long walks -- 2+ hours to the park, bike rides, even walking / playing at the shopping mall (indoors in winter) worked well. 


bogart

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 947
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2017, 09:52:43 PM »
Honestly, I was not a huge fan of that time (and I have a pretty easy kid), so mostly my advice/thought is (a) pay for help, if you can afford it (hiring a babysitter is an excellent plan IMO) and (b) it gets better.  Besides the things you mention, I spent a lot of time with my son in an indoor pool when he was that age (and older).  He didn't learn to swim independently until about 3, and we didn't do lots in the way of swim lessons (though some, from time to time), but we are fortunate to have a very kid-friendly, indoor, public pool (thank you, MCOL area with a good tax base and high-ish taxes) and used it A LOT. 

I don't know how little your LO likes car seats, but I certainly wouldn't be above strapping a toddler in one (anyway) and going somewhere, and allowing them to sleep on the ride back, if there were a reasonable somewhere to go.  But that may or may not have appeal and be workable, depending on your kid and on where you live.

We are fortunate to have a couple of good kid museums and playgrounds in our general area, and those are pretty much priceless.  No idea if that's an option for you, though.

Jane

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 78
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2017, 07:38:02 AM »
Once DS was mobile, I baby proofed the heck out of main living area and gated off anywhere he shouldn't be. I made it so there was very little I had to redirect him from so that he would be free to play and explore. It significantly improved our time at home.

I will echo the advice that it gets easier. I found around 18 months to be really hard because he was fast, curious, and had no sense of self preservation. And I also agree you should divide and conquer with your spouse as much as possible rather than trying to do everything together.


CindyBS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2017, 06:04:28 PM »
We used to arrange for each of us to have 1 weekend morning to sleep late, while the other person got up with the kid(s), handled breakfast, etc.  DH and I slept in 1 day a week (one took Sat, the other Sun).  A day to catch up on sleep helped a lot for both our sanities. 

Cranky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 635
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2017, 05:36:48 AM »
I do think that 12 - 18 months is a hard age, because they are soooo mobile, but not yet verbal.

It does help if you childproof your main area realllllly, really well, so that he can play independently as much as possible. 1yos are busy, busy people, so the house will look like a tornado hit it, but if you have baskets for toys it doesn't take long to pick up at the end of the day.

I agree that this is a good age for the divide and conquer technique - dad gets Saturday morning or afternoon off, and mom gets Sunday morning or afternoon off.

My 1yo grandson goes to a baby swimming class with his mom on Saturday morning - he absolutely loves the water - and his dad has some time to run errands then.

But it does get easier!

chaskavitch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 143
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 07:06:13 AM »
I'm mostly posting to follow with my 15 month old, who is tired of our living room, and is seriously cramping our bedroom renovation work.

We do have a Museum of Discovery in town that I just found out about, and it is awesome.  They have a "tot corner", but also literally everything in the museum is touchable.  There is nothing off limits - musical instruments, tornado simulator, train table, local animal displays, etc.  I've only been once, but he loved it.  I'd say that's the best place I've found so far for a single parent to be able to easily entertain a toddler, because it is so safe overall, and lacking exposed electrical outlets, stairs, or animal poop to step on/eat.


mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4558
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 11:00:28 AM »
First, there's time. If your child is right at one, things improve considerably (in my experience--n of 1 :)) as you get past 1.5 and edge towards 2.

Second, split up. I know people have differing feelings on this, but DH and I have always done a lot of things separately, so it feels normal to us. I take our son on an adventure, and DH can get things done or just relax around the house. Our current weekend routine (20 month old) is the library to play with the puzzles, the park (I follow him up on the playground equipment since he's a climber), and (if we're feeling fancy) Dunkin Donuts (I get black coffee; he gets a very exciting straw). Once the kiddo can follow directions a little better, all of these activities are easier and more fun, but we have been doing them in some form or another since he was 8 months or so.

Third, lower your standards. How much are you trying to get done in a weekend? Cut it in half. :)

Fourth, after-bedtime pick-up. DS goes to bed at 7. Immediately after tucking him in, I take a shower (though having your partner watch the kid for 15 minutes also easily solves the shower situation), pick up toys, and put dishes in the dishwasher. I might do a tiny bit of vacuuming, but cleaning/picking up doesn't exceed 15 minutes. It's just enough to make me feel like my house/life isn't in shambles. As you mention, this could also be done during nap, but I like a break in the middle of the day to read a book.

Fifth, do things you like to do! Instead of searching out kids' activities, adapt your interests to be as kid-friendly as possible. I'm lucky that I really like being outdoors (so we go to really great parks), books (I always pick up and drop my books when I take DS to the library), and coffee shops (switched from cool indie coffee shop to Dunkin with toddler, but hey sacrifices). This makes me feel like the weekends are mine, and hanging out with my kid just makes it better. If you hated these things, then trying to do them because they "kid-appropriate" would make your weekends suck.

Good luck! I am really loving the second year. I hope you have a similar experience!
Pretty much this.  Divide and conquer!  When our kids were that age (and that age is freaking exhausting.  THey need you all. the. time.) ... my workout day was Sat.  Hubby's workout day was Sunday.  We eat had the kid or kids for 2-3 hours solo those mornings.

The same thing goes for chores.  We totally split up the chores and to this day, still don't do them together like we used to.  I've got the kids when he's doing yard work or home improvement or laundry.  He's got the kids when I'm cooking and food prepping.

brycedoula

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 06:38:24 PM »
We used to arrange for each of us to have 1 weekend morning to sleep late, while the other person got up with the kid(s), handled breakfast, etc.  DH and I slept in 1 day a week (one took Sat, the other Sun).  A day to catch up on sleep helped a lot for both our sanities.

+1,000,000 to arranging sleep-in days. In the earlier days of motherhood I was *always* the one getting up early with our daughter, and I got resentful real fast. Once she started eating solid food reliably (or at least solids for breakfast) I demanded a sleep-in day and it was amazing. She's now almost 20 months, and we're both working FT, so that one sleep-in day is amazing!

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2017, 07:54:47 PM »
21 month old here. We have one speed - "go" and one time frame "now". It's rough! just in the past few weeks, she started coloring on her own (well within view but not within reach).   Library is good. So are walks and playground and outside. Also it's all in the marketing Today we ran errands in the morning - "Hey, do you want to go ride in a cart?!?" I say excitedly. Oh boy! The grocery store! and you can hold a package of whatever crinkles the loudest! Yea groceries!!

CloserToFree

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
  • Location: Major U.S. City
  • 30-sth lawyer (for now), traveler, lover of nature
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 07:54:03 PM »
I echo the divide and conquer advice!  It's definitely how we stay sane with our now 3yo DS.  Also, lounging during nap time is not necessarily a bad idea.  It's actually one of the things I love the most about our new rhythm of life as parents.  I feel like I/we now have permission to take naps ourselves or just read/watch TV/lounge on the couch while he naps in the afternoons, and it's glorious.  (Granted, we need the rest a lot more now than before kids, but still.)

Another idea: try to set him up alongside whatever it is you need to get done.  While doing yard work, give him a little rake and some toys and let him go at it while you weed/trim/whatever.  Get one of those toddler safe stands for the kitchen (if you have room) and let him play at the sink (yes, water will get everywhere, but it'll entertain him for 15-30 minutes so totally worth it) or at the counter with plastic bowls, spoons, etc. while you cook or clean up from meals.  Have him "help" with the laundry by moving clothes from the basket into the washing machine, or bringing you individual pieces of clothing to fold.  You get the idea.  And take him along with you for not fun errands (grocery shopping etc.) so you don't have to use your precious "you" time for that stuff.  Good luck!  It gets easier as he gets older and is more steady on his feet/able to entertain himself. 

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 929
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2017, 02:29:23 PM »
A few things from a SAHM who works part time while her extremely active toddler naps (toddler is advanced on milestones, so I know how rough a very physically active young one under 2 can be). I do all the household chores (cooking, cleaning, errands, etc) with her in tow so I've had to get better about learning how to get stuff done while also simultaneously being the only person responsible for supervising her.

1.   Train your kiddo to be able to be alone for a half hour in their crib as needed. Put the kid in the crib with their favorite, safe toys and books, and go take your shower. There is nothing wrong with letting a young toddler sit and play in a safe area for 20 minutes while you get shit done. And if they cry or fuss? So what? You aren’t disappearing for an hour, you are taking a 15 minute shower. This option works best for activities that are short in duration (showers, important phone calls, etc) but where you can't actually supervise the child adequately.

2.   Enforce naptime/quiet time – if your kid wakes up from naptime but is happily rolling around and talking to themselves, why jump up and go grab them? obviously don’t leave them in there for hours, but like point #1 – if the kid is fine being alone for a little longer, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and purposefully forgo such a great opportunity.

3.   Be smart about your choices when you do have free time – like you have discovered, lounging while the kid naps is a surefire way to get nothing done. I use daily to-do lists of what I need to get done during naptimes, and I try my best to complete it. Sure, that means I don’t have down time during the day, but the upshot is that I don’t have to do all this stuff at night when I’m even more exhausted. Prioritize the activities that are least likely to be achievable when the kid is awake. So for example if you need to fix the kitchen door and need 2 people to do it, that is a perfect task to do while baby is napping.

4.   Learn how to operate around the kid rather than wait to do everything while they are sleeping – toddlers need a lot of supervision, but they do not need 2 parents just hovering over them staring at them all the time. Baby gates are your friend. Gate off your kitchen while you cook and leave pots, pans, boxes, and toys all over the floor.  You can cook, do dishes, clean up, etc while kiddo plays. Similarly, gate off and baby proof your living room so you can lock the kid in there while you run and grab the laundry. Yes this means you will have to leave the baby unsupervised for 60 seconds. No they won’t die, I promise.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 02:36:01 PM by little_brown_dog »

gluskap

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
    • Money Savvy Mommy
Re: Optimizing weekends, FT parents with toddler
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2017, 04:56:42 PM »
I'm a big fan of play gyms.  It can work out cheaper than a babysitter.  It's usually $10-12 for entry for the whole day.  Many places have coffee and the areas are contained and safe enough where I can usually just lounge and watch them play with other kids.  It's easy so you can have one parent do it and the other parent gets free time and then switch.  Or try to find a kid friendly museum that offers a membership.  It's something easy to do that keeps them occupied.  Every year or few months switch to a different membership.  Maybe not the most mustacian solution as it does cost some money.