Thursday, July 22, 2010

Only one child at home

Change #3

To be honest, this is the change that I am most apprehensive about. Now that Mr 7 and Miss 5, I have only Miss 2 at home.

I find the pre-schooling years very hard work, enjoyable they are - but also tough. My suspicion has often been that the school years will be ones we really enjoy and so far with Mr 7 that has proven to be the case. It’s probably not ‘school’ so much, but the added development, maturity and thought that a child over 5 has, compared with the under 5s.

Miss 2 has had playmate siblings at home since she was born, and she will especially miss Miss 5 now that she has gone to school. That means I am now the playmate. I wish I could say that it fills me with joy, but it doesn’t really – I have always struggled with pre-schooler play: the pretending, the dress ups, playdough, painting, etc.

So, here are my thoughts about the next few years:
  • My main prayer points for myself will be for patience and contentment, knowing that these will the areas I will be tested in.
  • We have decided not to ‘overschedule’ our time. It is very tempting to enrol in dance, kindergym and swimming classes so that we don’t have to fill in so much free time together. However, that is not beneficial for Miss 2 (I think) and definitely not necessary. We might do one activity like this together, but not yet. Realistically, with bible study, mothers group and other things, the week can actually fill up quite fast.
  • I want to use some of our time to catch up with friends. Coincidentally, I have a lot of friends that will also soon have only 1 or 2 children at home (who are close to the same age as Miss 2), and other friends whose eldest or only child is the same age as her. I hope to use that time to strengthen those friendships for her, and also me with their mums.
  • I discovered some time ago that you do not have to be a mum who loves everything. Having realised that playing with playdough drives me nuts, I no longer make it. Having realised painting creates a lot of stress, I don’t get it out. In our house you “play with playdough at crèche and you paint at kindy”. It’s OK not to do everything.
  • We will continue to have ‘rest time’. 1 hour of ABC2 or DVD time after lunch, rest time for Miss 2 and rest time for me. We will also continue to have ‘daycare day’, otherwise known as ‘Mummy’s mental health day’.
  • One wise friend told me to turn these few years into a more indulgent time. Take them out for lunch. Go have a coffee. Go on a bus trip. Do fun things together that you didn't do (due to money or ease) with more kids at home.
  • I will keep reminding myself how much easier things are with one child. One child who doesn’t need a day sleep. One child who can walk everywhere. One child who doesn’t need a pram. One child who can climb in and out of her own carseat. One child who can feed herself. One child who can talk and tell me she is hungry, thirsty or tired.

So, this is what have I decided:

We will have fun together. We will go to the zoo. We will go to the park. We will play with friends. We will play together. We will do craft (when I can handle it!). We will talk about things just the two of us. We will do some little bible studies aimed at her level, not the level of her older siblings. We will read books together. And we will have fun Mummy & Miss time, because we will never get the time back again.


Jenny said...

I have loved having one child (3 yo) at home this year. You're right about being able to do a few more fun things together. They are a bit older and with only one you can afford to pay for an extra treat.

And you are so, so, so right about not doing the stuff you think you should be doing as a proper mum if you can't stand it. Play to your strengths and your kids (and you) will be much happier and more relaxed for it. I gave up on playing board games with my kids because it just presses all my buttons (no patience). Poor husband has just spent two weeks of holidays playing games with them to compensate!

Great to have you back Wendy!

Wendy said...

I sent my youngest off to school in January. He was at home with me for three years while his brothers were at school/kindy. We really enjoyed the "just J and Mummy time" as he knew it. We even celebrated the end of that time by going to the donut shop. It is a precious time.

I am really enjoying having everyone over five now, though! Not everyone loves the baby stage, you're right.

You are also right to suppose that you don't have to do everything and that you don't have to do stuff that stresses you out. Know yourself - that is one of the keys to parenting! Know how much you can handle, when you are getting too stressed etc.

Enjoy and may God prepare you for the next stage.

Pip said...

I really hope you enjoy your time with 2 at school and one at home. I just love having one child at home this year - for me it feels like I am back to the days when I just had one small baby to care for - and those were precious days.

On the downside I have found the afternoons after school hard work with a very tired, hungry 5yo arguing with her big sister.