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Just Like Us, Kids Need Time to Decompress After a Long Day

As a mom to two girls, who are pretty much opposite in terms of personality, I find it interesting that both have similarities when it comes to certain things.

My oldest daughter is spirited; always on the go, very independent, and it’s her way or the highway. My youngest is comical, lackadaisical, and goes with the flow (most of the time). Despite their personality differences, both give me a run for my money when I get home from work. I have mom guilt as it is for working outside of the home and often feel punished when I get home to find my girls in decompression mode. What I mean by this is, they almost always are crying, wailing about something they want/need, and the youngest (who is just about two) always lashes out at me physically.

It’s downright frustrating. I noticed when it was just my oldest she did this often at a very young age when returning home from daycare and again on Thursday – the day I was home with her after my workweek had ended. Now that I have another little girl, I am experiencing the same. I don’t know if all kids who go to daycare do this, or if it’s just mine? I haven’t researched it because it does fade a bit as they age.

I believe when kids are home, they are their truest selves, just like us. When they go to daycare or school, they have to follow a more rigid schedule. I believe they sometimes hold emotions in and when at home they just let it all hang out. I know when I get home, I throw on my pajamas and just want to chill. My chill time is usually at 9:00 p.m. after they are asleep though.

As a working mom, it’s harrowing. I feel I can never catch a break. I am always in a rush in the morning to get everyone presentable and when I get home, it’s a rush to get everyone’s bellies full. My toddler always sits on my lap for dinner and she usually hugs me repeatedly. So I know she has missed me. But if she is trying to tell me something and I can’t comprehend what it is, everything goes sideways. And also when she wants cookies for dinner. My oldest will just whine about something on her tablet or complain about the food in front of her, and often times tears are involved.

My little rugrats

I’m not sure how to correct it. I do know from experience it does get better the older they get because they can communicate better and you can reason with them more. But it doesn’t make it easy while you’re living it. And now that I have two, it is that much harder.

The one thing I have done is accept it, I know that when I walk in the door after work there will be meltdowns and tears. I have accepted that the best thing I can offer is a hug and an understanding that they missed me and maybe they had to do something at daycare/school they didn’t really want to do. Similar to how I feel when I have to do a grueling project at work I’d rather not do.

I try to remember that their little minds don’t quite comprehend everything mine does. They don’t necessarily know why they have to get up and go every morning like my brain does – to pay the bills, but they also don’t need to know all the details. I know they both enjoy going to “school” and playing with other kids, but just like me, they also need some time to decompress after a long day. And the days are long for them.

I try to let them do this as much as possible without losing my mind. I mean it kind of is lost already anyway. I take in stride as best as I can and remind myself by the weekend they will be OK, happier, more content. Only to start it all over again come Monday.

Sigh.

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