My 5yo, Adam, really likes to do arts and crafts. I can see that he has a knack for these things, and I love that about him, really I do.
Enter the 2yo brother, Mark. This is where things get interesting, and tricky. Mark will get into (read: grab, throw, ruin) practically anything he can get his hands on. This means that Adam has almost no choice but to do art projects in his room, with the gate up to keep Adam out.
At that point, if he needs help with something, I have to step over the gate into his room, leaving Mark to his own devices in the rest of the house. If I’m lucky, nothing disastrous will happen in those 1-2 minutes. If I’m not lucky — well — let’s just say I’ve come into the living room to find $700 worth of camera being dragged around like a pull-toy — and NOT because I’ve neglected to safeguard my valuables. There is only so much you can do when your toddler likes to push chairs around the house so he can climb up and get things from high places.
Another dilemma occurs during those precious few hours when Mark is napping. That is the perfect time to do arts and crafts with Adam, right? Well….not always. Many days, by the time Mark goes down for a nap, I am either exhausted, cranky, or ridiculously behind on house work (or any combination of those things).
This is a dilemma that I very often face, but I am wary of trying to explain this to my own mother. At times, especially when a holiday is coming up, she likes to send “craft kits” to Adam. While I appreciate this very, very much, I also know – the moment she brings up the topic – that I will soon find myself in the naptime dilemma once again.
Even though she raised three kids of her own, often I don’t feel comfortable sharing my exhaustion or even my logistical dilemmas with her. I don’t want to sound like I’m just whining or complaining, or like I just “can’t handle” being a mom. I don’t want it to sound like I don’t want her to send craft kits to Adam. But in the past, when I have put myself out on a limb and have shared things with her, it has often not gone as I wished it to go. As a result, I keep a lot of my struggles and feelings of burn-out to myself.
How about you? Does your mom “get” your exhaustion, frustration, and burn-out? Or do you try to keep it under wraps?