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If your kids are/ were homeschooled and you don't use childcare thus they are almost never not in your presence


pinkmint
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Because of circumstances and choices, my kids do not go to a brick and mortar school, are almost never babysat and are pretty much never in a childcare setting. On top of that we do not have extended family that can be relied on to lighten the load in any way. 

 

So if you now or in the past (with all young children) choose to homeschool and on top of that rarely or never use childcare, and find that you are only ever actually away from them for brief periods like errands while DH watches them or being in a different room from them... basically how do you/ did you keep yourself not crazy with the fact that your kids are in your presence almost always? 

 

 

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It was always this way for us.  We don't live near family.  We never hired sitters.  We have always homeschooled.  I can count on one hand the number of times in 14 years we went anywhere without them.

 

I dunno...ya just get used to it I guess.  It does not bother me.  Although a few things I've always done.  I didn't take them food shopping.  DH stayed home with them.  I preferred that.  I always had some outside thing going on for myself.  Again, I worked that around DH's schedule so he'd stay home. 

 

They are now almost 11 and 14.  I can run errands without them.  It's getting easier overall. 

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Trips to the gym/YMCA or the library when dh is home have always been my saving grace.  (Sometimes using the free childcare there if I felt OK with it.)  Other than that, our situation is similar with not having family interested in helping and no really close friends that I felt we could trade with.  

 

I will admit that I've occasionally used the childcare at a large grocery store while I sat in the CAFE to have a little drink and read for a bit before doing any actual shopping so that my break was longer.   :p

 

"Room time" or quiet reading time or "go out in the yard before I explode--and don't come in until this timer goes off" have also been, uh, tools in my sanity toolbox.  lol

 

My kids are all older now...you'll make it, trust me!

 

*Edited to add that I hope you will not feel bad or less than when you get responses from moms who "never needed a break!" or never went out to get away from their kids.  You're perfectly OK for wanting to do so.  All moms are different.  :)

Edited by 6packofun
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When DD was very young, I taught 2 classes at a local college, around DH's work schedule (usually a 2 1/2 hour class one night a week and a 2 1/2 hour class on Saturday morning). That, and the drive to and from, helped me keep my sanity and get q break from her.

 

When we started homeschooling (she did go to traditional schools for kindergarten). I put her in a weekly homeschool science class where I could go across the street and have coffee-which, again, kept my sanity.

 

However, I only had one. That helps a lot. One of my friends who had 3 said she got a gym membership at a place that did have a kids' room solely so she could get a break-and a plus was that she lost weight and got in better shape.

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I've always sent mine outside. We live in FL so it works all year. They've always spent 2-3 hours a day outdoors. When they were little, I would sit on the porch to watch them. As they got older, I would watch them out the window. Now, they just do their own thing. :) All four of them are still outdoors at least a couple of hours a day. I also did a weekly park day so I could get together with other parents while they played outside. Now, I do a co-op that is two educational classes plus park play. 

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It was always this way for us as well. Never hired a sitter, always homeschooled. 

I think there is a bias in our culture to tell you that must dislike this so examine whether it's really true for you. I mostly really loved being with my kids.  I'm an introvert though & luckily both my kids are as well.  We'd regularly retreat to 'our corners' and have quiet time alone. 

Also seek out activities such as moms meeting at a house or meeting at a playground or beach day etc where you can sit in a group & the whole community keeps an eye on the kids.  Going to a nice safe playground/spray park etc can mean just sitting on a park bench & watching the kids for 30 minutes. 

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That was my life until my oldest got old enough to stay home with the rest. We hired a babysitter about four times and almost never lived near extended family. Like Sparkly, I just got used to it. I found ways to take a break at home during the day (audiobooks and Legos were my favorites). Dh's schedule was somewhat flexible during a couple of those years which was helpful.

 

I think for me the most important thing was putting them in bed early. I was pretty much fanatic about bedtime until they got old enough to get in bed without parental involvement. Having a few hours in the evening every night made a huge difference.

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Single parent here, so dd is with me pretty much 24/7. I regularly send my dd out to play {or to her room with a book / movie / tablet} and shut my door for a little alone time. She is 9 though so I can do that. She knows if I say I need time alone and my door is shut, that she is not to bother me unless she truly needs something or it's an emergency.

 

I also LIVE for summer when she goes to VBS. An entire week {or more if I sign her up for multiple ones} of alone time every day for 2-3 hours a day!

 

I've also sometimes had the neighbor's granddaughter watch her for a bit - she is old enough to supervise with an adult she can go to with issues. 

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Long showers? :-) When DS was little, it was hard. At 8 it's much easier and has been for a few years now. 

 

We have done afternoon quiet time every day since he dropped his naps and he still loves his QT as he calls it. 

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Dh used to take the kids to visit his parents about once a month (about 3 hours away).  He would also watch the kids for me to go away for a weekend.  Usually I head up to Connecticut to an awesome used book store (about 4-5 hour drive).  I go out to the movies with my oldest, a friend or my mom, or I go sit in Panera or Starbucks with a book or my computer or my journal or whatever else I feel like doing.

 

I guess the short answer is - get your husband to give you a night out at least once a week/once every other week to do what you want so that you are not in your kids presence all the time and have time to recharge.

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I homeschool my two oldest. They are adolescents but because they have special needs, they require the supervision of toddlers. They often have several tantrums throughout the day. I have no support. When my youngest comes home at the end of the day he requires attention, help with homework and I have to juggle bringing him to activities and shopping for the large quantity of groceries we need as well as other stuff. I think I have gotten better at not going crazy through the years. I am emotionally stronger. The hardest thing for me is when they have really bad moods and just not being able to go to the bathroom whenever I want. For example, things happen when I go to the bathroom like DS12 spilling a jar of cinnamon all over the floor on purpose. It is important to have some down time at night to fill your brain with reading or something else intellectually stimulating. People have pressured me to get more help with the kids so I can get more time to myself. This has not been helpful and I have had to learn ways to ignore this advice. I tried but I had to put too much effort into looking for respite workers and supporting them when they were here and dealing with their complaints that it was too much work. In the end I just have to cope on my own, take 20 minutes at a time, not worry too much and try to be as happy as possible in the service of my children.

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Life was like that for me and it didn't bother me, but it would drive my sister batty.  Everyone is different and that's okay.  I tried to leave them with dh a couple of times a week even if I did nothing more than slowly browse through Target and buy nothing.  An hour or so at Barnes & Noble was great too.  I definitely enjoyed meeting others at the park with kids the same age so we could just sit and chat, or push the baby in the swing and chat. I never felt bad about giving them an hour of television so I could relax in another part of the house.  Mine were never great about going to bed early until we started doing audio books at night.  Our library has a great selection and they usually fell asleep before an hour was up.

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I do enjoy being with my kids and I agree, this way of life is very much not the norm and seems to come with the assumption that it's a problem that needs to be solved. But I've signed up for it and I think it's right for us.

 

Maybe it's my mindset and maybe I would feel crazy regardless of the kids presence. I'm pretty spacey and introverted though. I feel like I don't get enough mental down time. It feels like they need a mom who directs their time better and it stresses me out that I always live with the feeling they're not getting what they need and yet I have nothing left to give. If any of that makes sense.

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I used to grocery shop in the mornings (left the house before 6 so I could be home in time for dh to go to work).

 

Daily quiet time. It evolved into them taking their lunches to the playroom or outside, with orders not to disturb me unless they needed stitches or a cast.

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This is my life. I now have a friend who trades childcare with me and this has saved my sanity (which was absolutely hanging by a thread) this past year. When we move, I'll be on my own again. I have intense kids. They are awesome, but they are intense. I'm single parenting now while prepping for our move, abe my mom-friend is unavailable to swap, so this is particularly tricky now.

 

Quiet time. They must go to separate rooms and be quiet for at least an hour. I prefer two hours. It's imperfect...they STILL interrupt, but it helps. I often exercise inside in that time because it's really hard to schedule my preferred exercise (running outside) around my husband's schedule.

 

Movies (and lots of keyed locks on my exterior doors). Movies and locks allow me to shower on days when DH leaves at o dark thirty.

 

Fully fenced backyard with a locked gate. They get sent outside a lot.

 

Going to the park. I don't help my kids play at the park (ok, I push swings a bit, but I don't help them climb), so mostly this involves me sitting to read or walking laps. Someday, they'll be old enough for me to run while they play.

 

A lot of deep breathing. And, honestly, a lot of calling my support system (who all live very far away) to be encouraged.

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I do enjoy being with my kids and I agree, this way of life is very much not the norm and seems to come with the assumption that it's a problem that needs to be solved. But I've signed up for it and I think it's right for us.

 

Maybe it's my mindset and maybe I would feel crazy regardless of the kids presence. I'm pretty spacey and introverted though. I feel like I don't get enough mental down time. It feels like they need a mom who directs their time better and it stresses me out that I always live with the feeling they're not getting what they need and yet I have nothing left to give. If any of that makes sense.

 

I'm a major introvert myself.  I have let go of the fact that sometimes I'm not "on".  I see nothing wrong with that.  If I needed a break or nap or whatever...hey go watch TV for an hour.  Again, so what.  It is not a big deal.  You do what you gotta do.

 

I also sometimes just altered how I did stuff if it made my life easier.  A big one for me was I hated eating dinner with my kids.  I know..weird.  It's just I couldn't enjoy my meal because there was always some sort of interruption.  So I stopped eating dinner with them.  I fed them first.  A bit later I sat down and ate.  I'd have far fewer interruptions that way. 

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I'm a major introvert myself.  I have let go of the fact that sometimes I'm not "on".  I see nothing wrong with that.  If I needed a break or nap or whatever...hey go watch TV for an hour.  Again, so what.  It is not a big deal.  You do what you gotta do.

 

I also sometimes just altered how I did stuff if it made my life easier.  A big one for me was I hated eating dinner with my kids.  I know..weird.  It's just I couldn't enjoy my meal because there was always some sort of interruption.  So I stopped eating dinner with them.  I fed them first.  A bit later I sat down and ate.  I'd have far fewer interruptions that way. 

 

I hate eating dinner with my dd too {most of the time}. She gets her plate & heads for either her tablet or the TV {with educational programming}. I get mine and head for my laptop on the other end of the house. 

 

I figure we get enough time together that we don't need the "family conversation" at dinner. 

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Maybe it's my mindset and maybe I would feel crazy regardless of the kids presence. I'm pretty spacey and introverted though. I feel like I don't get enough mental down time. It feels like they need a mom who directs their time better and it stresses me out that I always live with the feeling they're not getting what they need and yet I have nothing left to give. If any of that makes sense.

 

This make perfect sense. I very much understand. 

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Uh, I did go crazy. My husband would know it had been one of those weeks, and he would gather our children, back away slowly, throw me the keys to the car, and give me a day off, lol. It's just hard, but they eventually grow older. My oldest daughter turned 12 this year and I'm finding I'm out of the house a lot now without them, making up for all those years I guess.

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Part of the problem is that my 2 year old can't stay awake until lunch time. Then by the time he wakes up from his nap I'm just starting to feel really burned out and desperate for a break. Making the older 2 do a quiet time with an awake 2 year old boy is pointless (not restful at all).

 

I don't know what to do. I wish I was strong or smart enough to enforce quiet time better. I often feel overpowered by the kids and all it takes to manage them especially in the early afternoon when my sanity is at a weak point.

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It does give you strong motivation to raise them to be people you like to be around! Play games together, do some fun stuff, go to the pool. We don't watch t.v.--I think that helps in that my kids didn't seek to be entertained by something or someone else. They have always been able to entertain themselves. They did not have access to electronics until they got their iPods a few years ago. We're all on the introverted side, so we don't mind going into different rooms to do our own thing.

 

It gets easier when they're old enough to leave at home alone for small chunks of time. Until then, arrange with dh to get your time off alone. And the best is when he takes the kids out of the house so you're home alone and can do what you want in your own home.

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Part of the problem is that my 2 year old can't stay awake until lunch time. Then by the time he wakes up from his nap I'm just starting to feel really burned out and desperate for a break. Making the older 2 do a quiet time with an awake 2 year old boy is pointless (not restful at all).

 

I don't know what to do. I wish I was strong or smart enough to enforce quiet time better. I often feel overpowered by the kids and all it takes to manage them especially in the early afternoon when my sanity is at a weak point.

 

Can you move up your 2 year old's nap time and then have down time for the other ones? 

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When I need to sleep or just veg put and my 2 and younger kids were wide awake I'd bring them all into my room with toys and the TV and let them play while I slept. There is nothing in my room that will hurt them, i don't sleep heavily enough not to wake up if someone was hurt or an older kids was trying to get the younger one to stop doing something they shouldn't be doing. Sometimes I woke up with marker on my walls but I didn't care because it entertained the youngest enough in a safe way to let me get the rest I needed.

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Part of the problem is that my 2 year old can't stay awake until lunch time. Then by the time he wakes up from his nap I'm just starting to feel really burned out and desperate for a break. Making the older 2 do a quiet time with an awake 2 year old boy is pointless (not restful at all).

 

I don't know what to do. I wish I was strong or smart enough to enforce quiet time better. I often feel overpowered by the kids and all it takes to manage them especially in the early afternoon when my sanity is at a weak point.

 

This is one of those things where by the time you figure out a solution, it'll be past the time that this is a problem. 

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Because of circumstances and choices, my kids do not go to a brick and mortar school, are almost never babysat and are pretty much never in a childcare setting. On top of that we do not have extended family that can be relied on to lighten the load in any way. 

 

So if you now or in the past (with all young children) choose to homeschool and on top of that rarely or never use childcare, and find that you are only ever actually away from them for brief periods like errands while DH watches them or being in a different room from them... basically how do you/ did you keep yourself not crazy with the fact that your kids are in your presence almost always? 

 

Do you have friends that you can swap babysitting with to give both of you a break?  Can your husband watch the kids more often to give you a break?

 

My sister was in this position (She has family willing to lighten the load -- but all live a minimum of 2-3 hours away. She has 3 kids, 2 years apart (so 6,4,2. etc)  Her husband worked long hours when the kids were young and they instituted the "Rachel night" -- seems like at least once a month and sometimes more often. He'd take the kids and tell her to scoot and do whatever she wanted. It was to help save her sanity from being with the kids all the time.

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You guys know about SWB's daily quiet time, right?

 

I was going to say that.

 

 

And that it gets better as they get older. They go off and read or listen to audio books for hours at a time while I'm working in a different part of the house. Though our school days together are much longer than when they were younger.

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I just lived with it. Many times my dh was out of the country for weeks at a time. If he was in country, he was working long hours.

 

I did nap when they napped. We did have quiet time when they were young but too old to nap. That helped. I also had an early bed time for them - 7:30. The time after that was quiet, and I appreciated that. I'm a morning person, so I didn't mind them being up at 6:30.  

Park days helped. Simply going to a park and talking with other adults while watching your kids was a break for me.

 

They are 15 and 18 now. The 18 year old drove away this morning to attend her freshman orientation at college. I now sorta miss those days.

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Hide in the bathroom. Let them have too much screen time ...

Not what you are looking for I know.

If you have some safe green space accessible it can be easy to get a bit of a mental health break just by being outside where they can run and play and can't destroy anything.

 

Take your quiet time while the younger one naps. Put a video on for the older ones or a story tape or something. Quiet time doesn't have to look exactly like everyone else's.

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All the things you know you're going to hear and don't do because you're probably tired as hell...

 

LEAVE THE HOUSE whenever I feel like it an DH is home. I say, there are your kids, byyyyyeeeeeee Even if I have no money, I can take a walk at the park or in the mall...or I can sit in my car in a parking lot and eat cheetos and cry.

 

Get enough sleep if at all possible

 

Quiet time during naps, Yes...even if I have to plug the kids into the teevee.

 

Noise cancelling ear phones

 

Coffee time in the morning where the kids are trained not to talk to me until my jar of coffee is empty. Swift and immediate punishments for disobeying here. It's not the coffee, it's the being left alone first thing in the AM I need

 

Accept that 2 year olds ARE SO HARD and just go a little crazy now and then

 

Keep some handy go-to's that require no thought. Like assembling breakfast at night...the saying "over wraught kids need water" so I remember to put them in the tub instead of standing there trying to use the brain power I don't have to figure out wth is wrong with them....

 

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All the things you know you're going to hear and don't do because you're probably tired as hell...

 

LEAVE THE HOUSE whenever I feel like it an DH is home. I say, there are your kids, byyyyyeeeeeee Even if I have no money, I can take a walk at the park or in the mall...or I can sit in my car in a parking lot and eat cheetos and cry.

 

Get enough sleep if at all possible

 

Quiet time during naps, Yes...even if I have to plug the kids into the teevee.

 

Noise cancelling ear phones

 

Coffee time in the morning where the kids are trained not to talk to me until my jar of coffee is empty. Swift and immediate punishments for disobeying here. It's not the coffee, it's the being left alone first thing in the AM I need

 

Accept that 2 year olds ARE SO HARD and just go a little crazy now and then

 

Keep some handy go-to's that require no thought. Like assembling breakfast at night...the saying "over wraught kids need water" so I remember to put them in the tub instead of standing there trying to use the brain power I don't have to figure out wth is wrong with them....

I had a good LOL all the way through this. Now this advice is real life applicable!... Especially the part about eating cheetos and crying in the car. 

Edited by pinkmint
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Quiet time, starting at 30 minutes a day with bribery rewards for staying in your room (except to use the bathroom) and quiet--books or quiet toys only--until the clock changed color. Then I slowly upped the time, and he needed the rewards less and less. Eventually I would get 90 minutes by myself, no incentive required.

 

We also had Mommy's Day Off, with DH watching DS most of a Saturday, once every month or two.

 

ETA: My 2yo also watched a fair amount of TV. Yo Gabba Gabba in particular.

Edited by whitehawk
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I was very much in the same position as you when my kids were young. What helped me was changing my mindset. I told myself a lot that I had chosen this and it is what I want. I also prayed for help accepting my choices.

 

Also, Quiet Time was never missed in our house. And I put the kids to bed between 7-7:30. Actually, they are still sent to their rooms at 7:30 now, they just read till they are tired.

 

In a couple of years you can start leaving them for sort errands and stuff. That will help a ton.

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I hate eating dinner with my dd too {most of the time}. She gets her plate & heads for either her tablet or the TV {with educational programming}. I get mine and head for my laptop on the other end of the house. 

 

I figure we get enough time together that we don't need the "family conversation" at dinner. 

 

Yeah we still generally don't eat dinner together even though the interruptions are no longer an issue.  I sometimes feel bad about it because that was a huge thing in my family growing up, but you figure dinner was pretty much the only time I saw my family.  Now I see my kids all day and all night.                                      

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Because of circumstances and choices, my kids do not go to a brick and mortar school, are almost never babysat and are pretty much never in a childcare setting. On top of that we do not have extended family that can be relied on to lighten the load in any way.

 

So if you now or in the past (with all young children) choose to homeschool and on top of that rarely or never use childcare, and find that you are only ever actually away from them for brief periods like errands while DH watches them or being in a different room from them... basically how do you/ did you keep yourself not crazy with the fact that your kids are in your presence almost always?

It was this way for us, mostly. I did have MIL for something like a dentist apt. And we did go out on a "date" a couple times a year. And DH did parent them solo for a few hours most every week, except when they were little nurslings. But, yes, I was the hands-on parent almost continuously for many years. I even worked in DH's office, with my kids there. (Except for a brief period when I paid a babysitter; that only lasted about six months.)

 

I don't know.. It wasn't that bad. Or I have blocked it out, lol! I was very keen on their dily naps and was ever so glad when putting them to bed at night became something less than a three-ring circus. Also, I have always been a big believer in getting up for the day before te kids. It was never a good thing if I had to hit the ground running. Coffee first, then circus.

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occasionally used the childcare at a large grocery store while I sat in the CAFE to have a little drink and read for a bit before doing any actual shopping so that my break was longer. :p

THAT is actually pure genius!

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This is my life.

We have an almost 6 yo, 4 yo, almost 3 yo, and one on the way.

During the school year I teach a class one night a week. So I'm out of the house for at least 2 hours for that. I often run an errand after just because it is so easy to do so with no kids.

During the summer, I just leave during that night. I go anywhere. Actually, I try to go to the library because it is quiet. But a fast food place or Walmart or whatever works too.

Since we found out that we are expecting again, I have "mommy quiet time" pretty much every day. After lunch I read stories. Then they are to play quietly (read: stay out of my bedroom) or rest. They can interrupt me if they are bleeding from the head or there's a fire.

Do they do this "mommy quiet time" perfectly? No. But, at least I am sitting or in bed not doing anything. And sometimes, one of them will still take a nap. (That's a blessing and not because then that kid is awake until the middle of the night.)

Anyway, as this thread shows, you are certainly not alone. 

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Part of the problem is that my 2 year old can't stay awake until lunch time. Then by the time he wakes up from his nap I'm just starting to feel really burned out and desperate for a break. Making the older 2 do a quiet time with an awake 2 year old boy is pointless (not restful at all).

 

Can you move lunch earlier so the 2-year-old can go down right after?

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I'm a major introvert myself. I have let go of the fact that sometimes I'm not "on". I see nothing wrong with that. If I needed a break or nap or whatever...hey go watch TV for an hour. Again, so what. It is not a big deal. You do what you gotta do.

 

I also sometimes just altered how I did stuff if it made my life easier. A big one for me was I hated eating dinner with my kids. I know..weird. It's just I couldn't enjoy my meal because there was always some sort of interruption. So I stopped eating dinner with them. I fed them first. A bit later I sat down and ate. I'd have far fewer interruptions that way.

For me, it was lunch. We almost always eat dinner as a family, but dammit, for lunch, I want to flip through Mother Earth News and sit by myself in the dark. Eat your Easy Mac or Ramen and don't bother me, lol!

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