“The quickest way for a mother to get her children’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.”
Okay, everyone who agrees with the above statement, raise your hands. Everyone, I see. Hmm, why am I not surprised?
I saw this gem somewhere on Pinterest and couldn’t resist sharing it. Every parenting magazine or blog out there advocates ‘me – time’ for mothers, asking them to make that time sacrosanct.
This ‘Mom-me’ time roughly translates into time away from the children as well as other parenting/household/work responsibilities; time to simply while away or to engage in something of the mother’s interest.
Said magazines also suggest ways to achieve this – ask your husband to take over, engage the grandparents, or hire a babysitter.
These are obviously very good suggestions – if you can get them to work out. The reality is that most Indian mothers are overworked and stressed. Many have husbands who are either not supportive or who actually need me-time themselves!!
As to grandparents, many of them are still active in their careers and thus busy. Several others live too far away to help. Or some might be too ill or tired to care for a bunch of boisterous little ‘uns.
And it goes without saying that finding a reliable and safe babysitter in India is no piece of cake. The stress and trouble of finding one will probably negate the effect of your ‘me time’.
So, does that mean that all is lost and that we are to forego those simple pleasures that shine a light into our toy-strewn and milk-spilt lives??
No way!! We mothers are after all, the smartest of the species and we will find our way. The trick is to not make your child realise that you are doing something for your pleasure. (See quote at the beginning) Do something that looks like a joint activity, and then leave them to it. Sneaky!!
There are many ways to go about this:
1. Put your laptop by your side on the table while you and Junior settle down with his coloring books and crayons. Act really interested, wait till he gets settled in his drawing and then go back to surfing for those awesome heels.
2. Set up a reading nook with pillows and loads of cushions. Then set him down with some of his favourite books, while you recline on the other side with your own bestseller. He’ll be completely drawn by the new setup, he’ll hardly realise that you’re engrossed in your novel.
3. Want to spend some time tending to your plants without getting those pesky little hands into your delicate blooms? Give him a tray filled with mud and let him have a go with his trucks and bulldozers. You can have a joint wash up session together later.
4. You want to catch up on what the desperate (and otherwise) housewives have been up to, but the minute Princess finds that you’re switching on the TV, she demands Dora. Put on a CD into the computer and both of you have your fill of screen time. Tell the parenting magazines to go to hell.
5. The eggs are at room temperature, the butter’s softened to the point of melting and you really have to get down to bake that cake. But when Mr. Clingy doesn’t allow, a collage is your best bet. Make him sit down on the kitchen floor, spread out lots of newspaper and give him old magazines, a sheet of paper and glue and let him go crazy tearing and sticking. This could take a while, so bake your cake in peace.
There are a few other things that could keep kids occupied, but you’ll have to rotate them since kids are notorious at getting bored easily:
2. A piece of chapati dough to play with while you roll them out
3. A frosted cupcake and some sprinkles, while you decorate the rest of the cupcakes
4. Old toys that have been in hibernation for a while
Well, now there is nothing stopping you from getting some ‘me-time’, is there?? Recharge yourself even if the kids are close by. That way, they also learn some valuable lessons in improvising and making lemonade out of lemons!!
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.