Momma Life: “Mommy, Let’s Play!”

Said my almost four-year old daughter.

I was in the middle of a writing task, which I need to submit ASAP, when my daughter incessantly calls my attention. She wants to play. She wants me to read her a story. She wants me to draw Peppa Pig or Bing Bong or whoever character she could think of. 

I told her to wait. Mommy needs to finish work so I could submit it on time. As soon as I finish, I will play with her. It will only take a few more minutes then I’m done. 

“Mommy, no. Let’s play now. Sit down.”  Momma Confessions 4Yup, she won. I closed my laptop, sat beside her, and played. I’ll worry about finishing work later. 

This is a normal scenario at home. Every time I open my laptop, my girls will constantly bug me and ask me to play with them. Otherwise, it will be a crying fest because mommy doesn’t want to play. On good days, they will understand and cooperate. They will wait until mommy finishes. They will stop asking me to play with them. 

But it breaks my heart. I felt a pang of guilt for not giving them time and importance. I listened to my kids play and can’t help but watch them. A few minutes, I’m joining them and forget about work. I can do it later once they’re asleep. 

So I start to wonder: Does it always have to be this way? Is it really hard to strike a balance between kids and work life? What do I have to do to make sure nothing and no one will suffer? 

Then I decided to set a time limit and maintain a schedule, at least when it comes to kids and work. 

“Mommy will play with you for 20 minutes, or at least until Peppa is asleep.” “Okay, mommy,” she said. And somehow, it worked. So far, these tricks helped me a lot. 

Do as much as you can early in the morning. 

I wake up extra early before my kids does. I can’t do so much if one of them wakes up before I do. As soon as my husband leaves, I sleep for another extra hour and get up before the alarm wakes my kids up (since we all sleep in the same room). This gives me a good buffer to start with work or finish whatever is left from last night. It’s hard to fight back with our bed, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s this or kids constantly asking you to play with them until you give in. 

Set a time limit in the afternoon. 

I bring my daughter to school and wait for her since it’s just a 2.5 hour class. While waiting, I make sure to do as much as I can since my afternoon could be chaos. 

As soon as we get home and after I put my youngest to sleep, I try to finish as much work as I can, especially if my eldest allows me to. Most of the time, it’s me and her until she fell asleep (if I’m lucky). I usually set a time, say 20 minutes to play with her and when the time is up, mommy has to go back to work or finish whatever chore I need to do. This makes her feel that I value her and she is also important. 

Make use of the evening. 

I put my kids as early as I can because 1) my eldest has school, and 2) I could use extra time to pick up where I left, and 3) it’s the husband and I’s time too. I’ll just figure out which goes first in my To-Do list.  

Take advantage of downtime. 

Most of the time, my eldest doesn’t want to sleep in the afternoon. If I’m lucky, she’ll doze off few minutes after my youngest. I take advantage of downtime to do what I have to do. And yes, “forcing” my eldest to sleep is always part of the routine. 

Spend time wisely.

Above all this, whether my kids are awake or sleeping soundly, or either I play with them or just let them do whatever they want, spending time wisely is a must. No social media, no side trips, no excuses, just pure focus. I tried reaching for my phone or type a word on my laptop and ended up being scolded by my eldest.  

Lesson learned: use time wisely. Bugging and craving for attention could be their love language. No matter how annoying they can be, spending time with my children is one of the best things I could give while they are still young. 

19 Comments

  1. The Art of Being a Mom

    September 14, 2015 at 6:21 am

    I know exactly how you feel. My little one will ask me to play, read with him and I have work to do. So I stop work and take 10 minutes here, 20 minutes there to give him time. People think being a WAHM is easy but it’s a tough thing to balance. Cheers to us!

  2. Cheanne

    September 15, 2015 at 1:22 am

    These are very helpful tips and I can soo relate! I have an eldest also who fights sleep as much as he can. I bring one to school in the morning and another in the afternoon. The only time I have for myself and some work is during those times that I wait for them in school!

  3. Melisa Sanchez

    September 15, 2015 at 4:35 am

    I can relate so much! di ka lang nag iisa mommy. In my case I want my zd be tired, so we will play together or isasama ko sya sa mga ginagawa ko hanggang sa mapagod hehe! Hanggang sa antokin nalang sya at makatulog. Wala nang disturbo sa mga gagawin. hehe

  4. Tina Elaine Ruste-Madrazo

    September 15, 2015 at 5:45 am

    This is so true and great reminder for me. Blogging and working at the same time could take a toll at our kids. It makes me wonder how supermoms can still blog frequently without sacrificing time with their kids. Quality time (offline time) is still essential to kids especially to their ongoing personality and EQ development.

  5. islesgilian

    September 15, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Prov. 31 sets a really good example of how we can attain excellence in being a wife. Staying up late, waking up early, etc. it’s not easy. 🙂 but it’s worth it.

  6. Maan Laxa

    September 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Ang cute ng pic haha. The same situation for me and I always feel guilty for telling my son to go play on his own first while mummy works. You see, I cannot just leave work because it’s not flexi-time and I talk to colleagues all the time. So bumabawi nalang talaga ako after work.

  7. Edel San

    September 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Its really hard to work at home especially if you have toddlers … well, my daughter is already a teener but there are still times when she wanted my full attention just when I am working 🙂

  8. rolledin2onemom

    September 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I can relate sis. I also had difficulties finding that balance. Sometimes, when Im in the middle of work and my son asks me to play with him and I have to say no, I feel so rotten inside. thanks for the tips sis. this is helpful to me.

  9. jennie villanueva

    September 15, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    awww… charged guilty as well. my daughter would always do everything she could to get my attention whenever i look to focused on something else otherbthan her. i should keep reminding myself that i’m doing this for her, therefore… when she calls out.. it’s baby time. 🙂

  10. mhaan.a-ds

    September 17, 2015 at 5:10 am

    I also want to try the no-gadget rule while playing with my lo. Ayoko kasi na lumaki siya sa gadgets kahit gusto na siyang ibili ng lola niya ng Ipad (lo is just 8mos old ha). so as much as possible I let my phone to be kept inside the drawer para full attention ako kay lo.

  11. Arge

    September 17, 2015 at 7:47 am

    So true, Ayi! It’s best to spend time with our little ones while they are still young and want to have our attention. 🙂

  12. Lique Dimayuga

    September 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    My son would often tell me: Mommy wag ka mag work or Mommy wag ka mag cellphone, dito ka lang… and it make me so happy, tugs my heartstrings every time. I know may time na super busy tayong moms, pero mahirap tanggihan yung anak mo, who’s asking for a bit of your time noh?

  13. Joy Domingo Gurtiza

    September 18, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I share your sentiments! When my kids asked me to read books before they go to bed pagod na pagod na ako… minsan kaya ng powers madalas hindi. Cheers to being WAHM.

  14. Alarcon Alfonso Noel Ruth

    September 28, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Aww.. Guilty ako dito. Minsan masyado na ako pagod to play! Or sometimes pag may nira-rush ako doon ako niyaya ni baby magplay! 🙁

  15. May De Jesus-Palacpac

    September 28, 2015 at 1:36 am

    The best thing about having gone freelance is that I can work early mornings when they’re asleep and evenings when my kids have their dads to play with them.

  16. Rhoda Fajardo

    September 28, 2015 at 5:14 am

    That sounds like my 3-year-old daughter. I can totally relate. When I have projects, I can’t help but piss my kid off just so I can hyperfocus on my work. But my daughter couldn’t understand boundaries and schedules. I’m not sure if I passed on my ADHD to my kid, or maybe it’s just a phase in toddlers.

  17. Monica

    October 8, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Thanks for the tips! I have a toddler, he’s not as demanding as a three year old yet but I can see he tries to get my attention when I’m doing a task. So yes, evenings (late evenings) are the time I can focus on getting anything done!

  18. mumwrites (@vixquips)

    October 14, 2015 at 11:14 am

    most of the time i feel guilty when i have to put a pressing deadline or work first before my little man, it is difficult to strike a balance between work + children but it really is a must that we set our priorities straight.

    those are nifty tips especially for new mums who have yet to find their balance

  19. Karen Gillies-De Guzman

    November 9, 2015 at 3:08 am

    Thank you so much for the tips. My one and only son who is now 2 years and 9 months old demands so much of my time now. Same thing, every time I sit behind my laptop he would say mama, no working! and drag me or climb my lap and pull my glasses.

    I still breastfeed and have been trying to stop but since it is the best quality time I have with him, I feel really guilty when I give him the bottle instead but breastfeeding him makes me feel really sleepy too. Even if I take a cup of coffee in the evening to try and work while he’s sleeping, I end up snuggling with him too.

    I am struggling so hard to balance work and family. I will try these tips and see how I go. Again, thank you for sharing.

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