Holy smokes this is freaking hard.
I always wanted to be a stay at home momma but this isn’t the same. I’m still working.
I catch myself getting frustrated with my little guy because he’s frustrated and needs constant attention. I catch myself getting frustrated with my work because it takes away from my kid. It’s a no-win situation. No one is getting 100% of me.
The first week was okay. I felt like super mom. Cooked three meals a day, got up early, got in work, he woke up, we played, he napped, I worked, he woke up and we learned, we played outside, then he got in a few episodes of Paw Patrol or Bubble Guppies and I worked. Then we ate dinner, did our bath and he went to beth, and I worked.
About a week and a half in and I lost it. I yelled at him. I don’t yell. He knew something was wrong. He cried. I cried.
What’s happening in our world today is so hard to navigate. I’m beyond blessed that I have a job and the ability to take care of my family. We’re healthy. We’ve been hunkered down since this all started so it’s pretty safe to say we aren’t going to get sick.
My parents are considered essential. They are still working. We usually spend Sundays with them. My grandfather is ill and I can’t go visit him. There are so many emotions and I’m frustrated.
I’m tired of cooking and tired of being tired.
I just want to go to Target and walk around aimlessly to give myself a minute to breathe, but I can’t.
I’m sure that there are a lot of other parents out there that are going through the same thing and even much worse. I’ve got it easy, I know this.
I wanted to share with you a few activities to occupy your little one for a few minutes that are super easy, can be done with supplies you probably have on hand.
I don’t think I need to say it but I will, all activities still require adult supervision.
THE CUP GAME
I used to do this with my little guy when he was a baby. I would fill solo cups with random objects. It would keep him busy forever. Switch up what is in the cups. If your little one is crawling, spread them out so they have to go to each cup. Obviously, the items in the cup should be child friendly. I put some puffy treats in some of them, toy cars, teethers – the options are endless!
TOILET PAPER ROLLS
Toilet paper rolls can be your best friend when paired with some tape an a few bouncy balls. My son (and I) spent way too much time building different tunnels to put the balls through.
Use a cupcake tin and fill each slot with a different snack. Apples, goldfish, cheerios – mix it up. My little guy loves the variety and loves to try all the different snacks.
I use our snack time when he is eating to get some work done. Anything that makes him take a little longer eating.
I put my kiddo in his highchair and gave him a few pumps of shaving cream to smoosh around on the tray. He loved it. He drew in it, smashed it, tired to put in on his face (I stopped him) but overall an easy activity that requires minimal effort. Pro tip – let them play in just their diaper or underwear so you just have to rinse them off.
We don’t have a lot of dress-up items at our house so I dug through some of my clothes and his old baby clothes and pulled together a random box of things he could use to play dress-up. I thought my attempt was pathetic but he loved it and spent a fair amount of time trying on all of the different hats and sunglasses.
PAINTING WITH RACE CARS
We had a BLAST doing this one! I put a little paint on a big sheet of paper (you can use wrapping paper and draw on the back of it). Then I picked out two of his race cards that I knew we could wash easily and let him run them through the paint to make tire tracks. He made the cutest Vroom Vroom noises.
RANDOM BOX OF THINGS
This is a no-fail option. Get a box, put random things in it. Wooden spoon, toilet paper roll, cup, whisk, old remote control, ball. Give them the box and let them explore. It doesn’t take a lot for kids to have fun. He was pretending to cook and playing baseball with the whisk and ball.
Kids love dirt. I gave my son a bucket of dirt and some cups to fill up (then helped him put seeds in). We have grown absolutely nothing because I am a terrible gardener but he spent about an hour playing in the dirt. Pro tip – do this one outside if you can get in some work on your laptop.
I grabbed a few rocks from the garden and washed them and then gave him some markets and let him color away! He loved it and I have some adorable little paper-weights to put on my desk (if I ever see my office again).
TOY WASH STATION
Get a bucket. Add soap. Add water. Add toys. Kids love to play in the water. Pro tip – put them in their swimmies and put down a towel.
It’s the Easter season. If you have a few extra plastic eggs to spare fill them with beans or rice and then duck tape them shut. My son loved listening to each egg and how they sounded different based on what was in them.
Every kiddo’s favorite! Play-Doh never gets old but gets all over your house!
I was having a really hard time with the amount of screen time he was getting. I don’t mind him watching some TV but I felt like it was a little excessive. So, I found this Blippi guy who goes on adventures to different places like museums and zoos. It made me feel a little bit better about putting him in front of the screen.
Learn more about Blippi here.
Don’t forget that this is not normal. We are being stretched to the limit and it’s okay to feel stressed. It’s okay to put them to bed a little early. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel lonely.
Just remember, one day when they look back at this time they are going to remember it very differently than how you do. They are going to remember the extra time with you. They are going to remember getting extra time on the TV, staying in their pajamas, getting special snacks.
Make sure to explain to them what is going on in a way they can understand that’s not scary. They might be feeling lonely too. They are looking to you for guidance on how to navigate their new little world.