Thursday, January 11, 2007

Feeling guilty

I'm feeling guilty about the way I parented (or rather, didn't) today.

Julian was being particularly needy (I say "needy" in the most loving way - I mean the kid is only 7 weeks old, of course he's needy) and maybe going through a growth spurt (Is that possible?? He weighed in at 13 lbs., 14 oz. on Tuesday.) because he was nursing a LOT and just needing a lot of mommy time today. And because I didn't have my hands free and was pretty much tied to the Boppy or the bouncy exercise ball (which he loves to bounce on), I let Ava watch a crapload quite a bit of TV. And then when I told her she'd watched enough and we needed to find something else to do, she turned it back on and said she "needed" to watch something else. Ugh.

I don't mind her watching some TV, but since Julian was born, she's watching more than I would really like. Pre-Julian she'd watch Sesame Street on some mornings and that was usually it. That was cool with me because she was learning things and it was only an hour of TV time. Now she watches Sesame Street as well as Teletubbies and Barney, which is two-hours' worth total, and that's pretty much every week day. Some days she also watches a 30-minute DVD (Laurie Berkner or LeapFrog Letter Factory) too. *gulp*

I don't want her to turn into a TV junkie and her turning the TV back on today and saying she "needed" to watch something else scared me a bit. Maybe things will get better once Julian is a bit older and doesn't command so much of my time or once the weather warms up and she can play outside again. But it certainly is easy to flip the tube on, knowing she'll be occupied for the next 30 minutes or whatever, while I tend to Julian, throw in a load of laundry, wash some dishes, make lunch, or whatever.

And that's another thing, if I don't have time to spend with Ava, I really don't have time to take care of all the necessary household chores. Making dinner is a colossal effort most evenings. Tonight I had every intention of making a decent dinner, but then Julian couldn't be set down and wasn't happy in the Moby (*gasp*), so I had to wait until Jody got home and could hold him, and then Ava just wanted Mommy time so I had to hold her for a while. At 7 o'clock I finally made banana pancakes for dinner (with Miss Ava's help). Oy.

I should add we did have a couple nice outings this week. One day we went to the library (my first time taking both kids out by myself) and yesterday, since the weather was warmer, we went for a walk and then Ava played out in the snow in the backyard. It was good, for all of us I think, to get out of the house. :)

I need to wrap this up now because I have things I need to get to before bed. Just wanted to vent a bit. Tomorrow is another day. I can only strive to do better.


At 1/12/2007 12:30 AM, Anonymous Heather said...

Don't beat yourself up, you can only do so much and you are only one mama. Having a very needy 7 month old, there are days Ryan watches way more TV than I would like too, but sometimes that is what gets us through the day. At first he would want to watch more TV too, and now he is pretty good about watching Sesame in the morning and then being ok with turning it off. Now that he is potty training there is a Once Upon a Potty DVD that he HAS to watch when he is trying to go- the other day it was on for an hour. I just tell myself, it is a phase and it will pass- he won't be 4 watching TV for an hour while he tries to go. Some days are better than others, and at least Ava is watching somewhat educational shows and it isn't like she'll be doing this forever. I was really hard on myself too for this, and I made myself just feel terrible about it. In a perfect world that isn't how I want to parent, but in the grand scheme of things it is a very small amount of time, and as Cole has gotten bigger and slightly less needy, the TV time has gotten shorter, and tomorrow is another day. :-)

At 1/12/2007 3:54 AM, Blogger Kellie said...

I don't have two kids yet at all, so I can only imagine! But when Dennis was deployed and I was working full time, it was hard to get things done around the house and keep up with sammie ... so she did watch quite a bit of TV, especially right after we got home from work... now that I am a SAHM with her, there is not as much TV going on and I don't think she even notices! So I don't think a few weeks of some extra TV will scar Ava for life LOL She probably is so in awe of it right now because it is new, and once she realizes playing outside and doing projects is more fun, she will tune out ...

As for dinners, do you have a crock pot? we use our crock pot a ton! throw everything in it in the morning, and a nice warm nutricious meal that night!

Good luck :)

At 1/12/2007 7:18 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

i'd say that for the first 6 months of ellia's life, my son kaeden watched way more tv than i liked too. after she was able to sit up by herself and play with some baby toys, things got much easier. the tv was on way less, and i got more one on one time with kaeden.

cooking supper can be hard too.. i did it in stages thru out the day.. a few mins here, a few mins there. i tried to get all the prep work done before 5, so that the actual cooking didn't take long at all. i'd chop my veggies, cook the rice or whatever grain ahead of time, and stick it all in the fridge.

and on days where everyone is just a bit "needy", then pancakes for supper is an okay option too :) or take out.

it will get easier!

At 1/12/2007 9:57 AM, Anonymous Steph (Sydney's Mom) said...

(((hugs))) It WILL get easier, I promise!

When Adam was a newborn, I thought our life would never, ever get back to normal, and I'd never make dinner again and never have enough time for Sydney again. Granted, Adam had severe reflux, which made him even more needy than your average newborn. It was so hard, and Sydney watched a loooot of TV. You guys are kind of snow-bound these days too, so it's not like you can even let Ava go outside to play.

Make the Crockpot your best friend! I'm not too fond of the "quality" of meals that come out of the crockpot, but hey...I told my husband, at least you have something hot to eat, LOL!

Hang in there. The first few months are really frustrating, feeling like you can't give *anyone* (including yourself!) enough quality time. It'll get better. :)


At 1/12/2007 11:53 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

Yes to what everyone else said. It DOES get easier. The first few months are the hardest, by far.

And don't feel guilty about a little TV time. I think we all have times where we use the TV trick more than we'd like. But don't worry - a little extra tv here and there does not a TV addict make. Gabe watched a lot of tv in the early months of Dante's life (a colicky preemie and bf issues added up to a very stressed out mommy who didn't have a whole lot of energy or time to give to poor Gabe), but once things started going more smoothly, we cut way back on the tv, and he adjusted fine.

And lastly - I think pancakes are a great dinner! You could do a lot worse :)

At 1/12/2007 1:18 PM, Anonymous Grandma S said...

Big hug, Amy, from your Mom. Don't feel guilty! Both kids got what they needed from you and even Jody survived, didn't he? At least Ava is watching good quality TV. It's going to take some time, and, as Julian gets older, it WILL get easier. Hang in there, kid, you're a great Mom and I am proud of the job you're doing. It all works out in the end. Kisses to Ava and Julian from Grandma 'n Gramps.

At 1/12/2007 1:53 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Amy, I've been there. Many many times :)

It does get easier, and try not to feel too guilty, your doing the best that you can and thats what matters!

If you ever (and Im serious!) want someone to hang out with let me know, I'd be happy to come over and hang out, hold a baby so you can do laundry or take a shower or what ever else you need to do, and Elliana would love to spend some time with Ava playing :D


At 1/12/2007 6:38 PM, Blogger Liesl said...

I hear ya! And my second kiddo isn't even here yet; I'm still in the late-pregnancy exhausted and crabby phase. So, yeah, Liam's seen some Sesame Street recently, and since he goes to a Waldorf school, I've been feeling like a truly crappy parent.

The advice I got from some other parents at school? Pretty much what everyone who's already commented has said - a few weeks of TV viewing is not the end of the world, that it's a rare day when any of us can uphold all of our parenting ideals, and that thoughtful compromise of those ideals from time to time is in itself a valuable lesson to model to our kids.

So I think the guilt is normal (although not fun); it's a sign of thoughtful parenting, and not a sign of bad parenting at all.

At 1/12/2007 8:11 PM, Anonymous Janice said...

I am Dawn's MIL (is that right for "mother in law"), I love to follow the events of young mothers and her friends)...just a suggestion....and since you don't know me, and didn't ask for this, I won't be I know how to do this internet stuff....When Daniel (Dawns' son, was 4 years ago, and my beautiful daughter, Sarah, came along....I would use all "nursing time" (which was all feedings) with Sarah as story time for Daniel. Baby would nurse and Mom and son would read together. It was great for all of us! And circumvented the TV issue

At 1/13/2007 11:29 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and for your reassurance. :) I have such awesome readers!
I'm still going to feel guilty (it's hard to stop that), but it's good to know I'm not scarring her for life. ;)
We actually had a nearly TV-free day on Friday, which I'll write about when I have more time.
Thanks for the crockpot suggestion. We do have one. I just need to get organized and plan ahead so I can start using it more regularly or do little bits of food prep throughout the day like Michelle suggested.

And Janice - thanks for sharing what worked for you. :) We do read stories on occasion while I'm nursing and I agree, it's a nice way to spend quality time with both kids.

Liesl - We've been having a lot of discussion on an AP yahoo group I belong to about Waldorf vs. Montessori lately. I have some questions about Liam's Waldorf school if you don't mind. I'll have to email you some time. :)

At 1/13/2007 11:31 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

And Dawn - Thanks for your offer. :)

At 1/13/2007 1:42 PM, Blogger Ninotchka said...

Let go of the guilt. You have to do what works. Sometimes that is letting the TV babysit. You're an awesome Mommy!

At 1/13/2007 11:55 PM, Blogger Tiffiny said...

You've gotten lots of nice things said here. All I'm gonna add is this....We LOVE Laurie Berkner!!!! Even I like her music.

"I'm gonna catch you, you better run. I'm gonna catch you here I come!"

Hugs! :)

At 1/14/2007 8:26 PM, Blogger Liesl said...

Hi Amy, sure thing, ask away. Hope you're feeling better today :)

At 1/15/2007 8:13 PM, Anonymous Leigh said...

I know how you feel, but I think as long as you are conscious of it (as you are) and do some sort of limiting, and don't have the TV on constantly as background...then you are just fine. You are doing a wonderful job with your two kids and they obviously get time to be creative, playful, and totally loved. Also, my Kaia loves her L. Berkner movie and she luuuuuvvs Toy Story, Over the Hedge, Lion King, etc. I limit to one and day and she never even finishes them.
Keep on mommin' just the way you are.


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