Why It's Good to Ignore Your Kids
Sometimes I ignore my kids.
Perhaps ignore is a strong word. It has a negative, slimy feeling to it that doesn't quite express what I'm talking about. Maybe I should use a euphemism here. How does encouraging independent play sound?
Okay then I'll carry on.
Last week as I tossed and turned waiting for Cameron's next hourly wakeup (night weaning, more on that later for sure), I reflected on my day with the kids. Did I leave the TV on too long? Do I always make eye contact with my kids when they speak to me? Am I spending enough time engaging with them in age appropriate but mentally stimulating ways? Should they be reading by now or something?
I started to question whether I was doing enough as a mother. We visit the museum, library, toy store, parks, restaurants, and more. We get around but was I doing the right things? What are the right things?
Am I doing them?
I stopped beating myself up. In the midst of one of the most difficult periods of my life I wasn't going to allow myself to make things worse by obsessing over the minutiae of my mothering. I adore my kids and live to make them smile.
My mom was a good mother and SHE used to take naps on the couch. Know what I did while she napped? I ate raw hot dogs out of the refrigerator and spaghettios straight out of the can. Why? Because mom was asleep! My mom was a single mother who worked long hours and then worked a second shift at home and carting us around to extracurricular activities. She deserved a nap. SHE didn't stress out about her daily 3:00 p.m. nap.
Why am I killing myself at 3:00 a.m. because I forgot to change the channel before Spongebob started? SHE wasn't beating herself up over my raw hot dog consumption. Then again she is the woman who chased me with a plastic lobster when I misbehaved.
Then it happened.
Yesterday the kids and I were hanging out on the porch working on some cute little craft kits I bought from Michael's. We had a rocket and a boat. Preston was working on painting his rocket while Cameron rifled through my camera bag. Preston was really eager to glue the rocket together but I kept telling him that we needed to wait for the paint to try.
Also, I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to follow the instructions since I am a total failure at anything requiring engineering or construction -- even a toy rocket. I figured waiting for the paint to dry would buy me a few hours until my husband's return from work.
I left Preston alone while I took Cameron to her room for a nap. I can't lie. I was nervous. Was he eating paint? Destroying the white couches? There wasn't much I could do. Preston was really excited about his rocket and I would have felt awful pulling him away from it. I left him alone.
A little while later after Cameron decided that she didn't want to nap after all but dump Cheerios on the floor I checked on Preston.
He glued all the rocket pieces together himself. Correctly. I was stupefied.
I was so proud but I was surprised. Preston is a lot like me. He gets frustrated when he is faced with something he thinks he can't do. I hate to watch it. I know he can do it and it kills me when he won't try. I hate it. I hate that he inherited that trait from me. He is smart and capable but he'll sometimes say "You do it. You can help! I CAN'T DO IT!" I gently encourage him to try but I don't force the issue. He's still a little guy.
I left him alone and he accomplished a difficult task by himself and without asking for help.
ignoring encouraging independent play isn't so bad after all? I'm going to try it again. Maybe I'll take a bubble bath tomorrow. Who knows? Might even go nuts and attempt a nap. Kidding! Cameron would probably take up insider trading or something.
Do you encourage independent play for your kids? What were the results?
More Like This
Recent Posts by VeronicatheBlog
Most Popular on BlogHer
Most Popular on Family
Recent Comments on Family
By Lisa Owen
By Lisa Owen
By Lisa Owen