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How do you manage this all? I need help! - Page 3

post #41 of 80
My philosophy has always been with newborns and babies that if at the end of the day the kid is still alive I have done my job.

Seriously that's it. All that other stuff, errand running, meal prep, house cleaning that's extra and that's expendable. I also learned very early on how to manage making a pot of coffee and pouring myself and eating a bowl of cereal all with one hand.
post #42 of 80
I don't clean or cook when I'm alone. I do go grocery shopping and run errands though. I cook when dh gets home. We eat quick, simple meals. Stir fry, casserole etc. I clean, and do diapers in the morning when dh and baby are still asleep. I do flylady's "crisis cleaning". 10 mins in each room everyday. My house isn't spotless, but it's not embarassing. I do laundry on the weekends when I get home from work. I think it's really easy to expect too much from yourself when you're home all day. Your house doesn't need to be spotless, and you don't need to cook fancy meals! When there's a baby in the house, you just need to survive.
post #43 of 80
BTW I totally sympathize with the whole giant baby thing. I have every baby carrier on the market, and I just couldn't wear my baby comfortably. When they weigh over twenty lbs before they can hold themselves upright, it's really, really hard to carry them around. It broke my heart, but I was never a baby wearer. My baby did love this http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?...=38839&st=2002. It's the only reason anything got done when she was five months. Don't leave him in it for more than 20 mins though.
post #44 of 80
Originally Posted by artgoddess View Post
My philosophy has always been with newborns and babies that if at the end of the day the kid is still alive I have done my job.

Seriously that's it. All that other stuff, errand running, meal prep, house cleaning that's extra and that's expendable. I also learned very early on how to manage making a pot of coffee and pouring myself and eating a bowl of cereal all with one hand.
That last part makes me want to start a s/o thread about how many things a mom can do at once, one-handed, rofl! Mamas are awesome creatures.
post #45 of 80
With LOs around I find I can only get things done if they HAVE to get done. Make a list and prioritize, but realize that the #1 thing on your list is probably the only thing that will get done that day. Or week.

I always see advice to 'relax your standards' and 'let the house go' but this doesn't work for everyone. I find it easier to maintain a clean home than to navigate a mess all the time. I say move earth and sky to get your house clean - get a maid service if you have to and then just stay on top of it.

Declutter if you can and be ruthless. Less stuff means less to take care of.

Get a carrier that you can confidently do a back carry in. A mei tai, Ergo, or two shoulder wrap is probably easier than a sling.
post #46 of 80
Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post
That last part makes me want to start a s/o thread about how many things a mom can do at once, one-handed, rofl! Mamas are awesome creatures.
LOL I AGREE!!! I was at my in-laws & holding my 4mo nephew and my own 11mo started crying for me so I just picked him up and was walking around with both babies, without thinking... Everyone starts laughing & saying I'm practicing for #2 OH and how many bags of groceries can you carry in with a kid in your arms?!?! (the reusable shopping bags with long handles sure make this one easier!) lol

And also ditto to scottishmommy's "you just have to survive" comment.
post #47 of 80
Do you have a sling or carrier so that you can wear the baby while you're running errands and cleaning the house? Then the baby can be close to you and you can still get things done. When mine were babies, I don't really remember spending time "playing" with them, as much as involving them in what I was doing.
post #48 of 80
Oh Mamaluu, Mamaluu! I swear I could have written that exact same post a few months ago. Really, I feel for you. My life was EXACTLY the same.

My son is now 9 months and things are better. Much better. Month 5 was almost the breaking point for me. The change happened around 7 months. Hang in there!

My son also didn't nap or sleep at night, and even now I don't do anything during his nap time but either sleep next to him or just relax and try to gather my wits. LOL.

I think the Ergo carrier is better than the Bjorn. Around 5 months I started wearing him on my back in the Ergo. That might be too soon for your son, if so you can wear him in the front. The Ergo distributes the weight much better than the Bjorn and you'll hardly feel him.

Another thing that I try to do, but am really bad at, is consolidate my errands.

I have a GPS in my car and there is a function that records how long we've been driving and how long we've been still. When I see it's been 30 minutes, even if I'm not done with my errands, I head on home.

Hang in there. It does get better.
post #49 of 80
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your responses. I really appreciate them.

Many of you suggested doing errands/calls/paperwork, etc in batches, and only once a week. I agree with that, otherwise it'd be too much stuff all the time (which is exactly how I feel now). I'm going to try and bundle everything up like that and do them once every few days or so.

However, As Chicky2 suggested (when you commented on my list in detail), seems like everything I have there needs to be done only once every ____ (few days/week/month/once in a while/occasionally), and that is true. Even though none of the stuff on my list are needed on daily basis, amongst all the stuff that needs attention every ____ (whatever the frequency is), and when I spread them all out on my calendar, I end up with that much STUFF that needs to be taken care of at any given time. Do you know what I mean? Anyways, I don't know what more to say about this particular subject. I'll try to only pick one thing to take care of each day, and see how I feel.... (not I didn't say see how it goes but see how I "feel", because i realize that things will always be there, and I'll probably never catch on and be on top of them, so I thought I see how I "feel", as in if I can make myself feel any less overwhelmed knowing that there will always be so much to take care of...)

And I think a lot of the stress and overwhemling feeling comes from thinking about it, and also being stressed from all the other domestic turmoil (issues with living step kids having tons of problems..., husband's unstable ex...., stressed out husband...) which is very consuming of my emotional & mental energy.

I ordered an ergo carrier, looking forward to it, thanks for suggesting.
post #50 of 80
Maybe you should keep all that stuff on your monthly calendar, but only print out and look at one week at a time. Maybe it won't seem so overwhelming that way.

ITU about the "other stuff" stressing you out. It all piles up sometimes, doesn't it? I remember when I had a 14 yo, a 2 yo, and a 4 yo, and I was trying to buy a house while my dh was in school full time, and he was working full time, too. I had to do almost everything myself, and it was hard! Then, as soon as we moved out here, adult protective services called and said they were going to take custody of my MIL and her sister if someone didn't 'do something'. So, all of the sudden we're (read: I'm) trying to hire a contractor, come up w/plans for a small MIL house on our property, my dh was STILL in school, and then after the house was built and they moved in, MIL's sis fell and broke her hip causing her Parkinson's w/dementia to progress very quickly causing her death while in our home. And then there were those silly little children always wanting to be fed, clothed, nursed, loved, cuddled, bills to be paid, house to clean, etc,,,,,Oh my, it was just.so.much. We mamas take on so much.

I think you need to sit down w/your husband and have a talk. He needs to know how stressed you are feeling, and maybe he'll pick up some slack.

Good luck, Mama!
post #51 of 80
I felt overwhelmed on a daily basis, with my first dd, years ago. To be honest, I think for me it was at least partially depression.

My 2nd DD is 5 months next week. I was determined to do things differently this time. I keep the focus that if we are all safe and sound at the end of the day, then I have done the most important job. Everything else is gravy

I will NOT put off eating, drinking, going to the bathroom, or showering. Those are my needs, to be a happy mom.

In general, though, I try to go with DD's flow. If there is something I need to do, I try to make sure I am doing it at a good time (when she is rested and well fed). I also am ready with plan B - which is often to stick her in the bjorn and keep going.

What works for us a lot, is to move around. Pop her in the exersaucer in the kitchen while I make eggs for breakfast. Eat at the dining room table with her in the high chair, so we can "talk". Move from room to room, spending 10 mins cleaning in each one. A new place to sit, and something new to play with, keeps her well entertained (it does not need to be a toy - in the kitchen we are exploring the utensils one by one. at the moment she is in love with the potato masher).

I cook in bulk (make 4 meals of pasta sauce/meatloaf/chili/etc) at once, so many days there is very little prep stuff to do. And when I do cook like that, I do it in stages throughout the day.

With a baby, we can seldom get something specific done JUST when we want to. But if we look for the opportunities to get anything done, our days can be surprisingly productive.

I think a lot of it, is learning to go with the flow that you might be interrupted every 2 minutes. For chicken, for example, I would modify my approach so I didn't get hands that need sanitizing if baby fusses (use tongs, latex gloves, whatever).

Once DD is down for the night I go on a brief blitz and accomplish what's most important at that time. Tonight it was finishing a sewing project and clearing out our little freezer. If she wakes soon after going down, I try again once she's resettled. If she wakes again, I give up and leave it for another day.
post #52 of 80
Some other thoughts:

On the weekend when the flyers come, I will spend 1/2 hour planning all dinners for the week, and writing out the shopping list.

On an average week, there's 1.5 hours needed for grocery shopping & putting away. One other day of 2 short errands, and maybe one appointment of some sort. Then on the weekends we'll probably do a couple of errands together.

In general my goals for the day are:
1. take care of my & my kids immediate needs
2. get a healthy meal on the table (easy due to pre-planning and pre-cooking)
3. clean up after myself
4. tackle one or two other things (the aforementioned shopping/appointment, or some decluttering, or some other needed task)

DD naps in my arms, still. I use that time for me, to rest myself, or read, or play a videogame LOL

DH takes responsibility for the laundry. He switches a load first thing in the morning, and at bedtime, then puts the finished load away at bedtime. He also will tackle most phone calls, since that is easier for him to do than me. And he is pretty good at doing his part to pick up around the house.

And total disclaimer: we have a woman come once a week, for an hour and a half, to properly clean the floors, kitchen, bathroom.

When you pack dh's lunch, could you not prepare your lunch too? And maybe when he is getting his own breakfast, he could get something ready for you?
post #53 of 80

I'm at home with my 9-month-old, and it took a while for me to get into a groove. Especially in that cat-nap stage.

We co-sleep, and usually wake up at the same time (namely, she wakes me up, haha). I keep a little notepad on my bedside table. When we wake up, I usually nurse her while I make a list of the things that MUST be done today, and things that it would be nice to get done today.

On the list of things that MUST be done today, eating (me), and baby-time (quality time with her) are always on that list. You could have "take thirty minutes to read/shower/do something for myself". I could also have laundry on there, if it's out of control. Usually I have "make dinner" on there, because that's an important meal for us. I'll also have an errand that can't be put off, a phone call I really need to make, something like that. But the trick is that this list should be SMALL. And it should include things that make you and your baby happy, instead of all the things that make the household happy. If the laundry can wait another day, LET IT.

All of the things that make the household happy, you put on the list of things it would be nice to have done today. If you get all of your MUST-DO things done, it feels good to knock a few things off this second list.

But you can't do everything. It's not going to work, and you'll make yourself frantic and miserable. It sounds like you already are. Give yourself a break. Nobody is supermom and superwife. Not with a five-month-old.

In the next few months, your baby will probably become more content with sitting up by himself, playing with toys. Even if he doesn't want to be far away, I've made a lot of dinners with the baby sitting and/or crawling directly under my feet and pulling on my legs.

But right now, what is important to you and the baby comes first. If your house is totally spotless, and you and the baby (BOTH of you, including you yourself) aren't happy, it is not working.

So cut yourself some slack.
post #54 of 80
I remember those days! Sometimes I feel like my son's first year of life was a lost year. Believe me, it gets better. My son is 4.5, very demanding of my attention, and home with me full-time, and I still can get tons done during the day.

Just today I cleaned up the kitchen, made a shopping list (comparing prices online with our buying club to sales flyers), went grocery shopping & put everything away, dealt with a plumber fixing our tub, hung a load of laundry in the basement to dry, and am spending time dinking around on the internet while waiting for some friends to arrive.

It will happen!
post #55 of 80
Like many PPs, I recall a lot of sitting around and nursing when my kids were 5 mos old. Both were frequent nursers, and if I needed to eat or make a phone call, etc., I would just hook them up and do what I needed to do. I tried the whole 'gaze into the eyes' thing when they were newborns, but as they got older they went into their own world when they nursed, closed their eyes, DS would play with my hair and DD would pinch the heck out of me under my arm so I was free to eat, read, talk, etc.

Another thing I wanted to suggest (in addition to all the great suggestions here!) is that you take a step back and observe your son's fussiness. Is he looking for you? Does he really need to be picked up right at that moment? Or is he focused on the toys he is playing with? I ask because my DS is high strung and easily frustrated. As a baby he would often make a lot of fussy noises while trying to figure something out. For instance, when he first crawled, he was screaming crying while moving backwards down a hallway! He was so mad he couldn't figure out how to move forward. I was right there with him, but I had to sit back and let him figure it out himself. (He did, within 24 hours or so!) Try to figure out what is behind the fussing, and try responding in ways other than picking him up (talking, eye contact, asking him to wait a minute, etc.) Recognize that if you had another baby to take care of along with your son, each of them would have to learn to wait their turn.

post #56 of 80
I'm just gonna throw this out there, but to me, the Baby Bjorn and the ergo seem a lot similar. Seeing how I have never tried either I can't comment on the quality or how much baby will like it. Since baby didn't like the bjorn, I can't see how he/she will like ergo. She may though, don't get me wrong. I think it may be a hassle to nurse in it.

Don't be surprised how wonderful a home made device is like a long piece of fabric as a moby like wrap. Just because it's less than 20$ doesn't mean it bad. How do you think women in tribes and other not so advanced cultures do it? Yup, they wrap. And you nurse in it while you are doing other stuff, so you have more time. if you bottle feed (we had to) you can prop bottle in it and still be hands free to email, make calls, bills, clean, etc. And it goes on your back too, and there are a lot of different ways to wear it so it is most comfortable.

I do hope it does work.
post #57 of 80
I know you posted a while ago and maybe you're feeling better now, but I just have to say that after 2 1/2 years, I still feel the same way you do.

The one thing I have to keep reminding myself is something my husband said to me one day when I was feeling bad about not getting much done. He looked around the house and said "Who is going to judge you for it. Whose standard are you trying to clean it for? I'm fine with it and not complaing and Grace doesn't seem to mind it" It's true- we put all these standards on ourself, but really, at the end of the day, who is going to say "You didn't do good enough" other than ourselves. I put a lot of pressure on myself to spend the right amount of time with Grace, but is there a "right" amount of time? There will always be other moms who spend more time playing with their kids and moms who spend less time playing with their kids.

We are SO much harder on ourselves than we need to be. I've always been down on my husband and myself because I feel like our finances are a mess. We have no savings, we live in an apartment in my sister's house because we can't afford our own place. We have debt that we shouldn't. Recently I was hanging out with some mama friends who really have it togther, you know the ones you look at and think "Why can't I be like that?" Anyhow, we got to talking about money and it turns out both of them get overdraft fees regularly. They don't budget or keep up with a checkbook register and regularly spend more than they have. What an eye opener. I'm doing better than them financially! My point is, no one "has it together" we're alll floundering through motherhood/homemaking. Some of us are better at certain parts than others, but at the end of the day, we've all messed up or not done as well as we could have on something and it's okay.

I really hope this makes sense. DD didn't sleep much last night so my thoughts are a tad jumbled up
post #58 of 80
You're gonna love the Ergo. It's harder to get the baby into it than with the Bjorn, but it's way more comfortable for long-term use. The back carry is going to enable you to cook again. For errands, though, I use a Maya Wrap, because it's easier for on-and-off. It still hurts to carry him in the Maya after a while (my baby is 13 months but weighs about the same as yours), but it's quite comfortable for the ten minutes it takes me to run into Target and get cat litter or whatever.

Also, if you don't have one, get an exersaucer. 5-month-olds love those. Seriously, they'll give you a whole half hour of free time if you put them in there. An active child won't let you leave them in there all day (nor should you try!), but they'll certainly be happy for 20 or 30 minutes -- long enough to get dinner in the oven or make a few phone calls or whatever. I think they're expensive if you buy them new, but you can get one for $10 on Craigslist or at a thrift store.

And don't hesitate to take the baby for a walk. You both need your vitamin d time.

A lot of the errands you mention could easily be done on the weekend. I mostly do things when my husband can watch the kids or at least come along and help me handle them. I don't go to Target by myself with the kids anymore, for instance, and usually go to the grocery store alone after DH gets home. I get weekend appointments for things like haircuts and oil changes, because it's a huge hassle to try to do things with your baby/toddler in tow. I don't have an easy solution for medical appointments, because those are rarely available on the weekend. I either trade with friends or suck it up and hire a babysitter, or I just bring them along if I have to. Recently I had to have my teeth cleaned with all three kids (7, almost 4, and 13 months) sitting in the corner, watching and commenting. That was not ideal!

There are some things that are a lot more trouble when you have kids than when you don't. The library is a good example of this. When I was pre-kids, my library trip was relaxing and peaceful. Now, not so much. I usually go to the library's website and reserve the books I want instead of browsing in person. Then it's a quick in-and-out: I go pick up my holds and don't have time for the kids to create mayhem before we're done. Otherwise, I can wait until the weekend and take just one or two kids with me, or even just go by myself.

The images we have of staying home with our kids tend to be derived from our own experiences growing up: climbing on the playstructure, playing hide-and-seek, baking cookies, playing Monopoly, and so on. These are all things that we remember, because we were old enough to remember them. Staying home with babies is a little different. They're far more demanding, and there's less that they can do. Taking care of them is a full-time job, and they can't help you very much. Try to just do the childcare and the bare minimum of other stuff you can do. The rest can be handled on the weekends and in the evening, when you have more help available. Before you know it, your baby will be big enough to help you with stuff, and you can have more fun together. Of course, older kids are challenging in their own way, but at least they don't prevent you from getting a shower, and you can rely on them to not burst into tears if you look away from them for three minutes.

I know it sucks. Many of us are right there with you. It will get better. It has to, right?

mama to T, 12/02; L, 2/06; and O, 12/12/08
post #59 of 80
Nealy, you give great advice! And I think we are living parallel lives, with grocery shopping at night, holding books at the library, dental work with an audience, and lugging heavy babies for short periods of time!
post #60 of 80
OP, I could totally have written your post a few months ago. And I agree with the PP's that 5 months seems to be the breaking point, for some reason. Maybe because the LO is napping less but not yet mobile, so there's a lot of awake-and-needing-lots-of-attention time. At any rate, I promise... it will get better, and soon!!!

Here are the things that helped me most when I was in your situation:
  • I made a chart of household chores and divided them up by day. Each day had four or five tasks on it, and there was a column to check them off when they were completed. If I didn't complete the task that day, I would leave it blank so that the following week, I'd know to give that task priority. The important thing here is that the task doesn't get forwarded to the next day. Vacuuming is only to be done on Thursday. If I don't do it this week, I'll prioritize it next week. That way, I'm not spending the whole week worrying about trying to find time to vacuum. Plus, I'm not tempted to try to pack more housework into a particular day. "Nope," I'd say to myself, "I'm not allowed to do laundry today, that's tomorrow's task, so I'd better sit down and relax instead!"
  • We don't use our Ergo much in the house, but the back carry is a lifesaver for when I have to cook dinner and she won't nap. Your LO might be too little for this, but he'll be big enough soon.
  • We work lots of errands into our walks. If you live in an area that's more-or-less walkable, you can totally do this! This way I get exercise and get things done. We have a regular three mile "loop" that includes post office, grocery store, library, thrift store, dry cleaner, dollar store, and (if it's a really nice day) park. It's a long walk with a baby in the Ergo, but DD loves being outside, I love the exercise, and I can only buy as much at the store as I can carry home... which saves money too.
  • I divided my to-do list into three categories: 1) Things I can do while baby's napping (often short tasks that can be completed in a few minutes, as naps are painfully short around here), 2) Things I can do with baby in arms, (you'd be surprised how many things can go in this category! Especially phone calls, or things you have to read... hold baby on your lap while you read, he's likely to be quite content at least for a while) and 3) Things I must have someone else's help to accomplish. (this includes tasks that require extended periods of concentration, like writing a letter. I can't do these things in small, interrupted bursts, so I need to plan them for when DH is home and can entertain DD for an hour or so.) Then, whatever the situation, I glance at the list and I do something from the category that applies. I also stopped wasting precious time trying to prioritize stuff (which I always used to do). Now I follow the mantra "do something now, doesn't matter what." I just glance at the list, pick something, and do it immediately.
  • I begged my mother and my MIL for help! During this period of time, when I was feeling really fried, they would come over for a few hours once or twice a week and play with DD or take her for a walk while I took a long bath, or paid the bills, or caught up on email. It was such luxury to be able to start a task and finish it in one sitting! If you have any family you can call upon for this kind of favor, do it!
  • a dishwasher! If you don't have one, get one. Honestly. Sell your furniture if you have to. DH's family and mine went in together to buy us one for Christmas, and it made such a phenomenal difference in my whole life. The dishes were a constant source of stress for me, all day and all week long. I could never get ahead of them because I could never put DD down long enough to wash them all. It made me miserable. This is one appliance I thought I'd never want and now - only a few weeks after its arrival at our door - I will never, ever live without again, Inshallah.
  • FOOD. 5 months is about when DD hit a big growth spurt so I was also starving all the time. It's totally preventable though. Put stuff on your shopping list that packs a caloric wallop, and is easy to prepare and eat with one hand. Peanut butter sandwiches have been my standby. Other easy things I ate a LOT at that stage: energy bars, raw nuts, cubes of cheese, cereal, baby carrots, pickled eggs (I'd hard-boil a dozen at a time, peel them and soak them in brine - then when I was hungry I'd just dig one out of the jar and munch). Also, drinking more water always gives me extra energy - nursing dehydrates you super fast.
  • I start thinking about dinner the night before, so I have a clear idea of what my food prep should look like for the day. For example, if I want to make chili, I might put the beans in water to soak before going to bed. Then the next day, when I get a moment to spare, I can put the beans on to simmer, then chop the ingredients and set them aside in a bowl. Onions now, carrots later, whatever. Then in the afternoon, during a nap or a quiet moment, I can throw the prepped ingredients together on the stove to cook, and by dinnertime, it's ready. Instead of being frazzled because I can't cook the entire meal at once, I can feel like I'm accomplishing it one mini-task at a time.
  • In general, it's easier to complete a lot of small tasks than to try to accomplish one big task. Get the task broken down as small as you can get it. Then, if you only get one small mini-task done, it feels like it's done - and you can go do something else. You won't feel as exasperated about being interrupted. And, you'll feel like you have more time to spend enjoying your LO.

This will pass soon! Honest!
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