My son helped me appreciate it.
He helped me manage it better and forced me to get even more organized.
I realized things had to change when my thoughts kept zeroing in on all the things I hadn’t finished or needed to get done. I was eagerly awaiting nap time and finding the hours before it seemed so long. How would I entertain my kiddo for that long? Could I try and get snatches of work done? Nope. I felt guilty for doing work, for not playing with him every moment. It was bothering me and I didn’t have mommy friends to confide in or ask. Internet research said letting them be independent was good for developing the ability to not depend on others to be content, but I couldn’t refuse my son plopping a book on my lap to read or a stuffed toy to play music. I felt I was being selfish for wanting me time. I wasn’t transitioning into toddlerhood as well as I would have hoped.
After writing a few poems and gleaning some much needed help off the internet from some moms of multiple kiddos, I found my answer: perspective.
My son won’t be 1.5 forever. He won’t want to sit and read with me. He won’t want to follow me everywhere. Soon enough he’ll want to play on his own and be with friends, which will have its own challenges. I needed to embrace this transition for what it was an adjustment in my thinking and I would find the peace I was craving.
I could no longer expect to have long stretches of time to do anything. I could no longer expect to complete multiple tasks, knowing even just one will get interrupted. I needed to accept it.
Once I embraced this new stage in all its eccentricities, I could learn to work with it. I found this article from a mother of five super helpful, especially the note in the beginning that encouraged me saying it was harder to get anything done with kids under two.
Make the Most of His Attention
My favorite tactic I tried was involving my son in what I was doing. He would whine or cry as I was making dinner. My husband would try to distract him, but he only wanted me, hands clinging to my shirt, wanting to be held. So I pulled a chair over and he stood on it. He ‘washed the dishes’ in his sink (they were already washed) while I washed the real dishes in my sink. He even put them in the drying rack after (then pulled them out again to wash them).
Next he washed the veggies. I cut them put him down so he could put the end pieces in the trash and the plastic bags they came in. He followed instructions beautifully. I was impressed. Soon I ran out of things for him to do and the crying ensued. So on the carrier went for him to cuddle and watch while I finished.
The next day he patted the chair or the cabinet under the sink to let me know he wanted to help with the dishes. Cute. I’ll have to try more of this.
Use my Time More Efficiently
I experimented by getting up at 4:20 am one morning instead of 5:30 when my son usually gets up. I had an hour to myself to get a lot done. I have decide that this will be my new routine to get up an hour before he does. I have also found the hour after he goes to bed works well for getting things done and still have time with my husband before we go to bed too.
So I will have to give my son a big thank you hug for helping me prioritize my time better and helping me to focus on what really matters: special moments and time with him.