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Lately, I’ve been bothered by feelings of guilt each time I am on my computer, writing and working (or playing) while Kai is on the floor playing by himself. Because suddenly, he would just ask, “Mommy, I want to play with you.” Each time he does, I’m in the middle of something.
As I’ve said in a previous post, if you want to make sure you don’t miss the time spent with your attention-demanding toddler, you have to wake up earlier than everyone else. I’ve been trying my best to do that but I have to be honest it’s hard sometimes. I can no longer write as fast as I once did and an hour of writing wouldn’t be enough.
I still take breaks in between work, which is bad since that disrupts my train of thoughts. But I had to because I’d be a totally bad mom if I don’t make time for my toddler. Of course, there’s Daddy to step in but let’s face it – boy mom here – it’s going to be Mommy always. 😀
I also want to limit the screen time but I can’t get him to do that. I have to write but I can’t concentrate because a) when he’s awake, he’d always demand attention or ask me to get things like food, etc. b) I have a partner who also constantly breaks my train of thoughts by asking me every 5 minutes what’s the right word for this and that (He’s also doing home-based writing). As I write this, I realize I need my own space where I can work quietly even just for an hour. Since there’s not a room in this house where I can do that, we go back to the wake up very early part, eh?
But after genuinely turning to Google for help, I found the most sensible tip ever from Amanda of Messy Motherhood. It’s simple, doable, and I think moms like me should try it. Buy yourself a kitchen timer and let that be the thing that helps you make time for your attention-seeking kid.
Amanda writes that you need to set a timer for things you do. She tells her kid that once the timer goes off, that’s the time that Mommy will play. And at Kai’s age, I’m pretty confident that he’ll understand if I try to tell him something or get him to do something.
If you’re going to use this tip, make sure that you really do what you say. Stop everything you do, finished or unfinished, once the timer goes off. This way, your child sees that he or she matters and you’re keeping your word, Amanda, who is a child mental health counselor, said.
More importantly, if you’re already playing with your child, give him or her your full attention. No multi-tasking, no checking of messages on phone, etc. Spend the playtime well.
I find this idea to be great and I’ll be trying out and see how it goes. Now… I have to get myself a kitchen timer.
[Featured Image by nicolas will/Flickr]