Bad weekends at home with a 6.5 year old

Anonymous writes:

“Holy shit. I would be a horrible SAHM. One entire day with my kid makes me want to scream. And drink. And run away. I have completely disengaged. Horrible transition from part time mom during the week to full time mom on weekends.”

Her son is 6.5.

The age information on her son is important, because 6.5 is a notoriously difficult phase for some kids and that is probably a contributing factor.

But I think a lot of this is the switch from, as Anon says, “part time mom during the week to full time mom on weekends.” It’s really difficult to switch your own energy from one mode to the other from work week to weekends. Having been a SAH mom for awhile and a WOH mom for awhile, the energy you use to get through your day (and week) is totally different, and if you’re used to one kind it can be brutal to have to switch to the other.

So I DON’T think there’s anything abnormal or horrible about you, and I do think some of this is just a function of a really annoying age, but I’m wondering if it might help a little to restructure weekends so your energy was redirected to give you some ease. One actual outing each day might be enough to add in the structure to shift the energy flow. Or, maybe even better, having playdates so your son gets to hang out with another kid and you get to hang out with another adult. (I found that a big part of the problem of being a WOH mom for me was being lonely. I was always either at work or with my kids and rarely had friend time.)

Does anyone have any sympathy or commiseration for Anonymous? I think this is especially difficult because there can be guilt about being a WOH mom already, so to be so frustrated and fried when you are home with your child feels like a big cluster.

17 thoughts on “Bad weekends at home with a 6.5 year old”

  1. I have both sympathy and commiseration! I often find that after a week of 4yo being in preschool (4 days/week) and me being at work ("halftime" though that boundary isn’t always clear), weekends can be tough. Usually by Sunday evening, the kiddo is totally bored with us and meltdowns ensue. Playdates definitely help, as does getting out of the house. (Playdate at someone else’s house can be ideal — that way the kid gets an outing and a friend, and so do I.)

  2. i have a similar issue, but i’m really curious about what is making 6.5 so damn hard. my daughter seems like dr. jekell and mr. hyde!

  3. ME! Me! Pick ME!
    I used to have a 32 hour work week. It was really hard to go from mom on days to full time mom on weekends. When my husband is out of town, it is worse. For whatever reason, 6-7.5 was tough. It’s a combination of independence and neediness that drives a Mormon to drink.
    I started to institute "mom quiet periods". I would let my kids know and then I would set a timer. Unless there was blood, flood, fire, or broken bones, they were NOT to disturb me. It took a few weeks to get used to it. I would allow 30 minute periods and then I would spend time with the kids.

    We also did outings where I felt driving was my relaxing period. Hikes helped too. But really, explaining to my kids that I needed quiet time (and used those words) and that I would only deal with emergencies (my definition) they got it. I also really honored the time limit too. That way, we could come back together and touch base and they could bother me.

  4. Although my husband and I just want to hunker down and stay home on the weekends, getting out of the house does wonders for being able to deal with the kids.

    My 7yo just wants to play with friends (thank goodness we have neighbor kids) and video games. Everything else is awful. So we shuffle the gang of neighborkids through our house and their houses, keeps all the parents sane.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one! My kids are 1 and 5 and the weekends were killing me. My husband usually works weekends too so am alone with both kids all day. It does help when the 5 year old plays with the neighbor and we almost always have an outing too, getting out of the house is a big help. I was feeling like a terrible parent because I am so ready to get back to work on Mondays just for a break. Also, I don’t get to spend a ton of time with the kids during the week so I do want the weekends to be a fun time and quality time with the kids. It has been getting better though. Although now I’m worried about when my 5 year old turns 6.5!

  6. I’m so glad someone else has written to Moxie about this issue because I’ve been in the closet for years about this! For the record, I have a 6.75 yo, a 4 yo, and an almost 2 yo, so almost in the same boat! The 6.75 yo has a lot of excess energy lately that’s hard to corral when it’s inappropriate to be shouting and running around, but maybe it’s because I have a very clingy 1.75 yo who is in a really intense mummy phase, the eldest seems helpful, reasonable, and intelligent in comparison. But I digress.

    The big joke amongst my colleagues who are also parents is that the work day, no matter how hectic is our "rest" time, which is horrifying to my colleagues who are not parents. In some ways, I’ve learned to cope by cooking large batches of food to store in the freezer to have for dinner during the week, so my "me" time is in the kitchen (half the time I’m picking up the random things the littlest one has emptied out of cabinets onto the floor). Also, it’s helpful for all parties to get outside and have some exercise–I like to run with the baby in the jogging stroller (oh, did I mention that he’s in nap refusnik stage?) and the eldest on his bike while my husband spends time with the middle child. One (or two, depending on your child’s interest and your tolerance) activity lesson that the kid looks forward to (or at least enjoys when he/she arrives–sometimes there’s some whining about going that one just has to push past)–my 6.75 yo has skating lessons while the other two has gymnastics on Saturdays and on Sundays, he also has tennis lessons at the same time my husband has his, so this also occupies some time, gets some energy out, and gives him some interests to share with his father (which hopefully will continue throughout their lives) . Maybe doing a project with components that can be worked on separately and then put together with the both of you could be an option? Anyway, having a predictable routine with a lot activity in the morning; having a quiet activity time in the early afternoon, then having a short run before dinner seems to work for my family. But yes, I’m exhausted come Monday morning AND feel slightly guilty I didn’t spend time with the older two (because the baby is fused to my hip and I made a triple batch of meat sauce).

    However, I have not made many inroads with my own friend issue. I have sort of have friends who are parents of kids who are my kids’ friends. Some "friends" (and I put that in quotes not because they’re not perfectly nice people, but we are not friends in the sense that I call them up for coffee and we can be frank with each other) are my husband’s work colleagues. This is good enough for now, but I really need (and miss!) having a few great friends I can count on.

    Good luck!

  7. Yes! Holy crap are the weekends hard. I watch a lot of my SAHM friends and feel like I must just be bad at the whole full-time mom thing. It’s really nice to hear it’s not just me, and also that it might be about structure and energy type rather than inherent mom-skills. I work full time from home, and my job requires that my kids have full time care, so it’s an odd switch having to go from super quiet peaceful work time to crazy loud energetic boys all in the same space at home (they’re 3.5 and 15 mos). Sometimes even the weeknights are hard, even though there are only a few hours between when they come home and when they go to bed, because I haven’t fully morphed from work-mode into mom-mode and my patience and energy are lacking.

    My husband and I have really had to work together and compromise, since his having to commute and work outside of the house all week means that his perfect weekend involves just staying in and relaxing. On the other hand, having been in the house all week and needing the structure that comes with getting the kids OUT, I crave planned outings and activities. Sigh Looks like it’ll be a work in progress for a long time, considering the ages of my little ones…

  8. Outings, outings, outings. My husband stays home during the week with our 2-yr-old, and I sometimes feel like an inadequate parent because my tolerance for staying in the house all day with a toddler is nil. (Last year I stayed home with her 2 days a week, though, so I can technically do it.) But I don’t do well with just hanging out. We go to the store or the library or SOMEWHERE pretty much both Saturday and Sunday so that our day has some structure and so that I have some stimulation other than endless games of Mr. Gorilla eats a pear.

  9. Weekends are definitely more tiring than the week here (I work part-time so I have my "second weekend" midweek, and the 2 year old goes to daycare, it is the best and also needed for my sanity). We try to have an outing / visits from friends every single day, because otherwise the toddler gets extremely restless. She’s super extraverted, very different from us, but we make it work. We have realized that planning (not just winging it) an outing or something every morning makes weekends fun again.

  10. Hi Anon, I feel your pain (WOH mom and then boom! Full-time mom!) and it’s hard when I feel guilty about WOH and try to make up for it by being SuperMom on the weekends (because all my other friends have Pinterested or Facebooked what they’ve done this week… crafts! outings!). What helps me is to set some kind of schedule of: Outside time (together), Snack time (together), Book time (by himself), Game time (together), Video time (by himself). That way we have a balance of alone and together. Good luck!

  11. Slightly off point, but I think we often tend to look at other parents are doing and compare ourselves unfavourably. Anon thinks she would be a ‘horrible SAHM’ because of how difficult the weekends currently are, being with the kids all the time. Well, I’m a SAHM who looks at Anon and all my working mum friends with respect and admiration for how they juggle what they do. I have no idea how they do it and if I think about it too much, I start to feel inadequate for how I get stressed being a SAHM despite not having half as much on my plate, so to speak. I have no idea how I would juggle being at work and looking after little ones. From the brief snapshots that I see of my working mum friends, they seem to have more patience with their little ones than I feel I have, having been caring for them 24/7 – I’m not sure that this is the ‘truth’, but it’s an example of how we can fill in the blanks and assume that others are doing so much better than us. It’s good to just breathe sometimes, know that we are all just doing the best we can with our own gifts and in our own circumstances. I have no idea if this makes any sense, it’s late, I’m tired after dealing with a rather rambunctious puppy and an even more rambunctious toddler all day…

  12. I am a SAH/WAH mom, and I have this in reverse. I’m with the kids all day, every day during the week, and we do ok, especially during the middle days. Evenings and weekends I work, sometimes a lot, while my husband has the kids. So Monday, I find myself having to readjust to having the kids full time, PLUS my older daughter is extra clingy because she barely saw me all weekend, and I feel like Angry Mom. Then we all adjust, Tuesdays through Thursdays are mostly ok, but by Friday we’re about climbing the walls waiting for the weekend. Mix in that my husband has every other Friday off and some weekends I work less than others, and I feel like I’m constantly adjusting and readjusting to being with kids, not being with kids, having kids be clingy, having them be independent, and every, single time I have to remind myself that we’re all just bad at transitioning.

    I’ve also noticed that I have way more patience when I know I’m going to be alone with them for a while than when the end is in sight. For example, I can totally do bedtime by myself for both kids if I know my husband will be out of town, but if he’s late getting home one night and I wasn’t prepared for it, dealing with them both for an extra hour or two seems insurmountable. During the short weeks, Thursday can be a rough day because I’m so close to having help, but on long weeks, Thursdays are usually fine because I know I’ve got to hold it together for one more day. So much of handling being home with kids can be psychological and all about expectations. Keeping that in mind could help.

  13. I wonder if we could ever get an open thread on introverted parenting? I have done both WAH/WOH and SAH (although, because I’m an artist, I’m never… not thinking about work, you know?) and my big realization is that I do not do well when I have to interact with someone all the time. At least when you’re working, while you may be around other adults, it’s unlikely that they will drag you out of your own thoughts constantly with "But why are the big B and the little b different shapes?!?" and so on, forever. Ahem.

    That’s what I find hard about being with my kid all the time: the constant talking, the constant need for information and connection. I often worry that there’s a cyclical problem where the kid wants to connect, I pull away, the kid wants to connect ever more, and so on. I know the advice in these situations is often to fill the kid’s cup early on, do "special time", sit down for 15 uninterrupted minutes of whatever the kid wants. But I find that hard to initiate. I’m not sure why. I think I find motherhood generally very overwhelming (in a sensory sense) because it is so intense and so constant.

  14. Anon, don’t feel bad. I am a SAHM to an 18 month old and most days I want to scream and run away at some point too. 🙁 We all just muddle through, I guess.

  15. I have the same issue and I don’t feel bad about it at all. Everyone has things they struggle with, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t doing well overall.

    1) Kids are just bad with transitions. It’s a thing.

    2) It’s a normal part of being a working mom that my daughter needs a lot of mommy time on the weekends. So that’s what she gets! And I make sure she gets it in ways that are bearable for me. I do everything I can to ensure a solid nap, and we play outside a lot to give me a break from the constant physical contact. Sensory play is good to get her off me too. Playdates and stuff like library story time help too, that fills her need to be social. It can be hard to drop down from a busy daycare to just boring old Mommy and Daddy.

    3) I do think that if I were a SAHM I’d be better at spending the day with her. Everyone’s better at what they do regularly. If I were with her every day I would surely figure out ways to manage it better, and she wouldn’t be so grabby because she’d have mommy time all week. So I just accept clingy weekends as a not-very-surprising part of our lives and don’t feel bad about it.

  16. THANK YOU for saying that 6.5 is a really tough age. I am living it now, and it is by far the most frustrating age we’ve hit so far.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *