I feel like a bad mom. My husband travels a lot for work, and I work part time so that I can spend more time with our 6 yo son, an only child. I also provide the bulk of the rule-setting, discipline, and mundane stuff like meals, bath, bedtime routine, due to DH's work schedule. I'm starting to feel (and hardly dare admit it to myself) that I'm not enjoying my time with him. Although he often asks me to play with him, he can entertain himself for hours if I have to do housework or pay bills. The trouble is, I'm not a great playmate with him. We don't enjoy doing the same things. I have little patience for Legos and matchbox cars (his favorites), and I can't seem to create any interest in him to try things that I enjoy doing. Almost everything I suggest he says "No, that's boring!" even if he's never done it before. I'm so frustrated! I began to realize that I was spending more time on housework, etc as a way to avoid playing with him, to have a legit excuse as to why I couldn't play Legos with him. There are no children his age in our immediate neighborhood, and he doesn't have any favorite friends at school that he asks to have over to play with. He is in after-care 3 days a week with lots of kids, but he says it's boring and he prefers the afternoons home with me. We have suggested after-school activities where he could do something with other kids that he knows and likes, like soccer, taekwondo, ice-skating, cub scouts, but he refuses. We tried a basketball program at the Y, and he needed one of us to stand right next to him, and pretty much refused to participate, which was frustrating for all of us. This is not a happy situation for me. I'd honestly be happier putting him in after-care all 5 days, and working full time at a job that I enjoy. But I'd rather develop a great relationship with him and have our afternoons and weekends together become an enjoyable time for both of us. Help! Any ideas?
by robyannOctober 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM
First I'll suggest you not "ask" him to do things with you. Just tell him, "get your shoes on it's time to go"....and take him to different places that you think you'd both enjoy. You don't have to enjoy playing leggos or hotwheels, you can play with him some though, but then decide it's time for the two of you to do something else together, crafts, taking a walk, watching a movie, reading a book, exercising...whatever....It's really not about WHAT you do it's about doing it together, communicating with eachother, talking and listening and getting to really know eachother. The relationship between mother and son can be a great one, just put in the time and make sure you tell him you love him and are proud of him. GL
by DarlaHoodOctober 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM
Personally, I don't feel like you have to just suck it up all the time. It's hard being the primary parent most of the time, and sometimes our kids have personalities and interests that naturally jive with ours, and sometimes not. You sound a little burned out. Perhaps you could arrange for him to be in extra day care one day a week (or have a play date once a week) where you could have some time to yourself to pamper you and be a girlie girl. You could also reciprocate and have a friend come play with your son once a week to give the other mom a break, which keeps him happy and lets you have some time.
I believe you can have a great relationship with your son without always forcing yourself to fake it. Yes, there are times when you won't be thrilled to be at every activity he wants to do. That's o.k. But it doesn't have to be this way all the time.
I would suggest not asking him what he wants to do. Just say, I have a surprise today when we get home. You can bake something together (many easy recipes to do with kids). You can go do active things (batting cages, mini-golf, petting zoo, volunteer at an animal shelter or some other charity together, pottery class, art class, or just an art project (many suggestions online and on pinterest), puzzles, games, children's museum, natural history museum. The options are endless. If you don't give him a choice, and you ignore any negative reaction and just be positive, happy, and persistent, you will find things you like to do together.
If he is struggling to participate in things on his own, you can push him in that direction. But he is still young, so I wouldn't be overly concerned. I wish you luck. The main thing is don't make it a chore. Try things that you really can enjoy and just relax.
by Roo1234October 22, 2012 at 4:24 PM
Talk to him, and more importantly, listen to him. Find out what his likes and interest are and then look for free or nearly free events in your area that play to those interests. Spend time doing something new to both of you so that you can truly share the expereince.
by kirbymomOctober 22, 2012 at 5:22 PM
I agree with the other moms. Its all in attitude. If you change the way you look at playing with your son then you can enjoy your time with him. And you can help change his attitude towards the stuff you would like to do by having an optimistic upbeat attitude towards what you want to introduce. Make it an adventure! Hope this helps.
by bbmkfo03October 22, 2012 at 5:41 PM
I understand your situation. My DH travels for work too, he only comes home one weekend a month and I do everything. I'm not always interested in what my DD wants to play but I do it anyway. When I first asked if she wanted to take a ballet class she said no but I signed her up for Mommy & Me ballet anyway and she ended up loving it. There's only so many books I can read in a day but that's what she loves most so I read them.
October 23, 2012 at 11:00 PM5 kids? 2 for soccer 2 for baseball 1 for football! I have no idea what so ever about soccer! Y did they choose it what's the point! Wow a ball 2 goals an hardly ever a score! I hate it bc its cold I have to stand an travel for hours! An have awkward conversations with other parents! But I would never tell my kids that! Haha