Running Yourself Ragged?

I see many mothers this time of year really running themselves ragged with taking their small, preschool-aged children to “things” – museums, group play dates, the zoo, music and gymnastics and dance classes…And the mothers are exhausted and stressed out trying to get their children out the door!

I know this is not popular opinion, so please do take this and meditate on it (even if this idea totally irritates you for this moment!) and see if anything about it resonates with you! I think small children under the age of 7 need rhythm and being home, especially if this under -7 child is your oldest child.  Those of us with babies and older children lament that the little ones have to come along to things – when your preschool aged child is your oldest, you have options!   Trust me, there will be plenty of time for “field trips”, classes, lessons and other things as your child matures, and these things will mean much more to them at that time.   I have written many back posts on this!

Here are some things I think are important for small children:

  • A strong rhythm of in-breath and out-breath, ie, quiet times and more active times.
  • Learning how to do lots of practical things around the house with cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, baking.
  • Having lots of time in nature.
  • Having lots of time to help prepare for festivals, holidays, religious celebrations. Surrounding yourself and your child with your deep spiritual beliefs.  If you don’t know what those are, now is the time to figure it out! :)
  • Having unhurried time.  Time to sleep and to rest, which a child cannot do if they are rushing around.
  • Doing activities that stimulate the imagination and limiting adult stresses.
  • Parents who are doing inner work in the five things that every parent needs:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/29/five-things-every-parent-needs/
  • The Laws of Childhood: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/23/carries-laws-of-childhood/

These are the years that you will not be able to get back, and it is important to meditate mindfully upon what is best for your family.  Please do!

If you need some back post help, here are a few that you may want to read or re-read and think about:

Many blessings to all of you!

Carrie

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12 thoughts on “Running Yourself Ragged?

  1. Yup, I am very much a believer that dragging young kiddies out and about to “socialise” them is twaddle. They learn socialisation skills just being with their parents and seeing their parent’s friends. Very young kids don’t play together andfrankly, toddler goups are more for the parents to chat and enjoy other adult company.

    I do go to one toddler group – although more as a business need.. as a childminder it’s handy to be known as such ;-) And it’s unstructured, so lots of free play and riding around on ride on toys in a large hall. And I go to a Home Ed group, more to make links and friends with other home educators than for my 3.5 yr old son – although he does enjoy playing with the older children and of course, the HE group meets in a lovely country park too.

    And that’s it I prefer going to the parks, beach etc with my son and also spending time at home. Time enough for the groups he’ll probably want to join when he’s older.

  2. So, so true. I don’t think I went totally overboard with my first, but I would have done a lot less if I had to do it over again. I was wiser with my younger two, although, of course, it was never as peaceful as when I had only one…

    It’s funny that I don’t remember much from the classes I took and the mom’s meetings I went to with my oldest, but I DO remember, in detail, our nightly routine his first winter. Since it would get dark so early, I’d give him an early dinner and a long, leisurely bath. Then I’d swaddle him in a towel and play our favorite CD of lullabies while we sat quietly in the dusk. I’d give him his last feeding, and we’d dance slowly around the room as his eyes grew heavy. Then I’d peacefully lay him down in his crib. DH was working late then, so it was just the two of us, and it was the same routine every night for months. So simple, but those remain my single best memories of my son’s babyhood.

  3. I totally agree and have kept our lives pretty much at home. The only problem I have is that I live in a city, in a noisy part of the city and to find nature, we need to leave the house, usually in the car. Then I have to schlep so much stuff “just in case” as my kids are only 4.5 and 15 mo. By the time we get home and I carry my little one and all of our stuff up all of our stairs, I am exhausted and still have 1/2 the day to go. But if we stay home in our little 1 bdrm apt, we don’t get good exercise. If I go later in the day, we lose our ability to find a parking space. Our yard is shared and not very toddler friendly so while we have a small yard, we can not dig or make a mess.
    We are trying to find a way to leave the city, but for now that is where my husband’s job is and moving is very difficult as housing is super expensive and finding a place to rent with a family is expensive and nearly impossible as well. (it’s not a very child friendly place).
    I guess I just want any city dwellers who read this know they are not alone in their challenge to keep kids close at home and to also get good outside time. Nature in the city can be just plain difficult. We usually opt for playgrounds, with fences. Not ideal, but better than home sometimes.

  4. Carrie,
    Great post. My kiddos are 7 now and we do a lot of outings but more with just our family. We do like to get with other HS families, but for the most part we like to spend time together at the beach, bike riding or at home.

    My daughter is just now taking piano lessons and my son is talking about wanting to take guitar lessons. I am with you I think even 7 sometimes is too soon to start a lot of lessons and things. We are still in the learning life lessons at home.

  5. Hi Carrie
    Great post, a topic dear to my heart.
    I have been been ill for the last 4 weeks with flu and complications and my husband was ill for 2 weeks.
    We do stay at home a lot but over the last few weeks we have barely left the house.
    And the kids surprised me, as always. They played for hours outside with one of the parents laying on a blanket ;-) the sandpit was especially a favourite with a whole road being built. Inside they made up a whole story of a boat (the sofa) that went on for days and kept on changing. They went fishing, then all the soft toys and dolls were put on the Ark, (I just need to put a blanket roof on their boat) and then we all went for a long trip on a steam boat ( including a fold up tent and made up sammies). I was amased by the 2 year old, not only did she understood the stories, she actually participated and even made suggestions to her older brother.
    They got up in the morning and run to the sofa, played with such joy the whole day and never tired.
    I do think they enjoyed themselfes and benefited from this time just at home. I enjoy the way they play together and get to know each other as siblings.
    This summer we wil definetly stay home even more.

  6. Wow, I so needed this post today. I just started back at my last year of school and I’m feeling the effects of running myself ragged already. And gosh the mom guilt is kicking in big time since I have to rush my daughter around to get to class on time…. golly, I’m glad I only have one year left.

  7. I love this post. The possibilities of filling up our children’s lives so much, so as not to miss out on anything, or to give them new experiences, has come at the cost of just being. Childhood. Learning to be still and the gift of time for imaginative play is a wonderful gift to be had.

  8. I logged on to post, and then found that Amy had pretty much written what I wanted to post!

    We live in a very green part of a city. However, our house is very small. We don’t really do any organised activities, but we do spend a lot of of the day in the surrounding parks and gardens. Ideally we would like to move further out, but until we reach that point, this is the rhythm of our lives now.

  9. Thank you for this post. As you know recently I had to cut some ties that were very painful for me to do. But I found a 30 minute drive to an activity was too much. I chose something closer to home for my children and something better suited for my Son who is much older. Sadly it is difficult to find older children near me who are well suited for my special guy.
    On the other side of the coin my daughter can make friends with everyone…and being younger there seems to be allot more to choose from. And I find that keeping her in a rhythm at home works best with her fiery nature.

  10. Pingback: Simplicity Parenting » Blog Archive » Running Yourself Ragged?

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