I’m not the best mom, but I’m trying.

Baby Beez had a ROUGH week at school this week. There was some hitting. There were some not-nice words. There sure as heck wasn’t any napping, and a certain little person even had to be moved into another room during naptime becaue she would Not. Stop. Talking. The daycare teachers have not shown any outward hostility toward us yet, but I’m starting to get paranoid that my kid is going to be expelled.

The root of this behavior is twofold:

1. Baby Beez is three. Three year olds are jerks.

2. Baby Beez wants attention. Specifically parental attention. I took her on a walk on the nice day of weather this week, and she told me “I feel mad when mommy and daddy go away.” Ok kid, I get it.

We need to spend more time doing this...

We need to spend more time doing this…

I stepped into parenting with the full intent that I was not going to be one of “those parents” who disappear from all grown up social activity once their kid is born. To the contrary, as my twitter feed evidences, I am guilty of swinging to the other end of the spectrum, and saying “Yes” to every single social, fun, and professional/business development event that comes on my radar. I’ve known for a while that I need to dial it back a little. Baby Beez’ behavior this week was a stern reminder that I need to dial it back now.

Case in point, I happened to learn about Baby Beez’ bad behavior when Mr. Beez was texting me on Wednesday, while I was at the Arcarde Fire concert.

Arcade Fire

It was an excellent concert and a lot of fun, but certainly not a rare event. I’ve been numbering after-work events two or three nights a week, plus a couple of activities each day on Saturdays and Sundays. It is just too much. I’m not a responsibility-free 20 year old. I love to be active in the city, but I need to be mindful of spending more of that time as family time. Pittsburgh events will get by if I’m not there, but Baby Beez will not, and she is my priority.

I’m making an effort to cut out the multitasking. It’s a hard habit to break, but if I’m on my phone or computer when I’m spending time with Baby Beez, I’m not really “spending time” with her. There is an immediate, positive behavior change with her when I read books or play or even just talk with her, when I actively engage with her, instead of just doing grown-up things alongside her. It’s such a simple principle, but so easy to forget in the face of competing demands on my time and attention.

I read so many articles about working parents feeling “guilt.” I don’t feel guilt about being a working parent, ever. By going to work I am providing for my family and Baby Beez is making friends and learning about the world, in a classroom full of people who care about her. I feel a little bad that it has taken some bad behavior from Baby Beez to remind me that I need my schedule to match my priorities, but I don’t feel guilty. After all, I give myself some credit for acknowledging that I have created a problem, and taking specific steps to remedy it.

Have you dealt with attention-seeking behavior from your kids? How did you respond?

How do you strike the right balance between personal time and family time?

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