What I'm struggling with is when QS goes on work binges and the kids don't see him for days/weeks on end.
Our evenings are weird. They're empty, boring, and the silence is deafening. When Dad's not home, everything is just off. It wasn't so bad when they were younger, but now they're older and catching on.
I don't really know what to do to help keep it fun and fill their time so they don't miss him as much. We do all manner of "fun" during school and the day. I don't want it to be another, "Great, now what Mom?"
They would kill me if I broke out more schoolwork or made the fun stuff obviously educational. Don't ya know? Learning is a bore! (That's what DD says)
They have downtime to do what they want in the afternoon and I don't want them sitting in front of the tv from dinner to bedtime.
My creativity is failing me. Any ideas?
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - J. Wayne
When my kids were younger, we enjoyed game night and movie night and chore night (not their favorite) and do your own thing night and puzzle night, among other things. Really, the best thing you can do is allow your children the time to figure out how to amuse themselves.
Really, the best thing you can do is allow your children the time to figure out how to amuse themselves.
and Screen time isn't always a choice... (TV, Computer, Computer/Video Games) They can find ways to entertain themselves that don't require electricity.
I'd resist the urge to occupy them all the time or like mentioned earlier it gets so you have to do it all the time. You are with them all day so I'm sure you need downtime too.
I just feel bad that they're sitting home, waiting for Dad to show up. Sure they do stuff, but there's this underlying anticipation of hearing the truck come up the drive.
Just feel a little overwhelmed and kind of heartbroken for them. Maybe if evenings are "fun", they won't think so much of him? I don't know.
[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 7:13 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
Does he not see them at all? or can he maybe do a breakfast date with them before work?
Since you homeschool, you could get them up early for breakfast with dad and then send them back to bed for a bit before your day actually starts?
Does he not see them at all?
Don't really know how the breakfast thing would go over. My DD is turning into a morning hater. But that is a neat suggestion. Maybe we'll try that.
[This message edited by Aubrie84 at 7:18 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
[This message edited by SI Staff at 7:21 PM, September 23rd (Monday)]
Is there any way he can explain to them where he is and when he is expected home?
I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten a text or call that pushes of TOA hours away. I don't even tell the kids anymore because when I say dinner time, then dessert time, then bedtime, I'm the liar. I've started saying, "He gets home when he gets home. I don't know."
I can't write anything out or make concrete plans on anything with him unless he "only" has a half of a work day scheduled. Cause the half day turns into a whole day, which would put him home at dinner. Crazy making, but that's what I'm reduced to.
Still thinking over the breakfast thing.... Good idea jrc.
After dinner each kid writes a little something in their own notebook. Something about their day, a poem, a story, etc. Then, after they go to bed, QS reads it and write a response. Comments on their day, continues the story they are writing, his own funny poem, whatever.
That way they feel like they are interacting with him, and he gets to do some quality time with them as well.
Trust is like paper. Once it's crumpled it can never be perfect again.
Aubs... maybe DD won't be such a morning hater if she knows it's a date with daddy.
Also what about some extra curricular sports for them to get involved in?
Or, are there places that cater to homeschooling families. Our Y offers gyms classes specifically for homeschooling families only.
First, I agree that it isn't your job to *entertain* this kids 24/7. They do need to be able to occupy themselves.
Then....can't remember, but is QS's job cyclical at all? Where he has *busy* times and *down* times? If that's the case, then a simple "this is dad's *busy* time of the year and so he'll be working a lot....." explanation might tide them over.
But I seem to recall that *he's* his own boss. If I'm right, then he needs to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with himself about his priorities. If the amount of money he can bring in by working a *normal* work-week is enough to pay the bills and get you guys by....then he needs to learn to say *no. can't stay. gotta get home." This is a difficult concept to get a self-employed person to accept because you are always coming up against the "but, but, but's* as far as *building their business* and the potential *damage* to their reputation if they say *no*....but again. Priorities and boundaries come into play here.....
He should be able to, at the very least, commit to being home at <x> time a couple of nights a week.
(and the journal idea where QS *talks* to each kid every night is awesome!!!)
In my effort to be *concise*, I often come off as blunt and harsh. Sorry, don't mean to be offensive.
Thanks a lot for this post and all the great ideas to keep them busy!
The grass is greener on the other side. But they put chemicals on theirs.
You trying to find ways to amuse them/keep them occupied so they don't miss daddy will be a never ending battle. He's their daddy...they want HIM..not fun.
If he is his own boss,then during his "busy" time, he needs to carve out some time every day and spend some time with his kids. Even if it's just taking an hour out of his schedule to come home for dinner. He needs to schedule it, just as if he were scheduling a meeting or an appointment..and make sure he makes it the *most* important meeting of his day. Because..it is.
[This message edited by confused615 at 8:12 AM, September 24th (Tuesday)]
..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.
I know you spend a lot of time at church on Sundays, and I understand that is very important to you.
BUT as this is the one day every week he will be there....can you cut all activities after 2pm off? At 2pm, the family including Dad is home, no one else around, period? That would add family time, and give the kids a kind of bank of Dad's time to pull from emotionally during the week.
As for weeknight evenings, I would say extracurricular activities are probably the easiest answer. The community center(s) near you should have something available at a decent price.
Doesn't even have to be sports really; we have a bunch of different community centers within 20 minutes of us, and they offer indoor pools (lessons and open swim times), art classes, open gym for the kids to just kind of play, computer classes, etc.
If you are trying to do something as nearly free as possible, can you get with other homeschooling mom's and swap specialties? Let's say one of you is good at art, then other can teach piano, another loves conducting science experiments...maybe Tuesday night the kids are at Piano Mom's for lessons, then Thursday at your place for art, that sort of thing? Even a 30 minute appointment could break up the evening.
Or if they love to watch sports, make some popcorn and head out to the community ball fields. Usually free to get in on nights other kids are playing, and they can munch popcorn (or drink hot chocolate, if the evening is cool) and watch soccer, baseball or football.
Can he set aside one night a week that he makes it home period?
is QS's job cyclical at all? Where he has *busy* times and *down* times? If that's the case, then a simple "this is dad's *busy* time of the year and so he'll be working a lot....."
I probably sound like an ungrateful witch. That's not my intent. I understand his hang-ups on finances and the reasons behind it. I'm trying to be patient with him. But this is our children. DD is 8 now. 8! She needs her Dad. She craves his love and attention. And I can only teach her to be "independent and strong" so much. There's a void in her life. Same with DS. QS gets upset because DS is such a Mama's clinger. DS adores his Daddy. But there's no time spent with him. He turns to me.
It takes a friggin' act of Congress for him to come home and spend a day with us. He enjoys himself tremendously when he does. It's just getting him to do it habitually that's the issue. He literally hasn't taken one day off, other than Sundays, since the 9th. Which doesn't seem like a huge deal. Till you realize he left at 6 a.m. and didn't get home till 9-11 p.m. every single day. That's very hard on the kids! It's hard on him. When he's here, he's a zombie. Utterly exhausted and completely sleep depraved.
I've been told he'll have this weekend off. Not holding my breath. Not telling the kids. Don't wanna get their hopes up. If it happens, it happens. Whatever.
He told me to book a short out of town trip in October. I did. But I'm not holding my breath that he'll make it. I'm going with the kids, whether he does or not.
I could accept it so much easier if it was just affecting me. I could deal with it. Because I have been. As much as I miss him, my life is going on. Can't say much more in that regard because we're in the OT forum.
It's the issue with the kids that is breaking my heart.
Thanks for listening and giving me ideas. I'll see what I can do. All the other advice, I know. But I can't make him do anything. It's his choice.
When my kids were smaller we too had one evening a week where the TV stayed off, and we didn't go anywhere. We had dinner together, but after that we were all on our own. It gave me some quiet time, and the kids usually spent it playing with legos/dolls, or reading.
It stinks that H is making work his first choice, but you know you can't make him do anything he doesn't want to do.
You definitely should not be the bad guy in this, when the kids ask hand them the phone, and let them call him. Let him take some of the heat, who knows maybe he will realize his kids not only need him but want him.