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Tired and overwhelmed

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I guess I just need to rant in a way...

How do working and student mamas stay afloat? I feel like sometimes I carry the weight of our house on my shoulders and that I have to take charge of everything, otherwise it doesn't get done. Our DD is just about 6 months, and both my DH and I work full time. I'm the one that has to get our DD ready and to the babysitter in the morning, plus I have to pick her up, I take care of her in the middle of the night (BFing, which I don't mind and actually kind of like that time I have with her) not to mention the seemingly endless chores (wash dishes, pump stuff, laundry, dinner, etc). My DH helps out a lot with some of this stuff, but he also seems to sometimes forget to do the stuff that we do on a daily basis, which means I have to remind him or that I have to take on more things... I just feel like I'm barely staying above water sometimes and that I'm the one having to do the bulk of the work around the house...

I'm new at this, but I have a ton of respect for all mamas, including WOHMs!

I guess a couple of my questions are, how do you do it and still stay sane and have time for your DH? What did you give up on just for the sake of sanity and peace?

post #2 of 25

I'd get a weekly housekeeper asap. That's what I did.
post #3 of 25
At that age, I gave up on spending totally solo time with dh except for nights we had a sitter. My kids coslept but never stayed asleep long unless I was there with them. So we'd get half an hour or so a night. Alot of nights I spent rocking a baby while watching something on tv or talking with dh.

It does get easier. The thing that worked best for me was routines. I'd make a list of what had to be done each day. If you can afford a housekeeper (and want one, it would make me crazy having someone else in my house cleaning) do it. If not, maybe let the housework slide a little. I found that having certain days to do laundry, for example, was easier for me. Then I'd have the other days off from that and could focus on something else.

Good luck. It really does get easier as you figure out what works for you.
post #4 of 25

Get a cleaning lady in! Once a week or once a month - it makes such a difference!
post #5 of 25
Don't feel guilty about reminding DH to do this or that; sometimes it is hard to remember when life gets busy. You can't do it all yourself.
post #6 of 25
I don't know babe-- I just told DH that either we hire a maid (to come once a week) or I quit working. End of story. I've been working and going to school off and on the whole time I've been a parent (mostly on) and I graduate this May. My kids are almost 3 and 7mos.

My house is a miserable mess...I can't even stand to be home at night, I almost never cook....the laundry is just in piles because I never put it away etc etc....I'm just too tired by the time I get home and I also feel guilty if I don't spend time with my babies.
post #7 of 25
Doing both drop off and pick up is just rough. My non-negotiable stance is that my husband must do one or the other. I drop off, he picks up.

Don't be afraid to cheat your workplace if possible to gather some sanity and do something just for you. I have ducked out of work for a couple of hours to go to the library and just read in peace before. Also I will sometimes take extra long lunch to go to the gym. Lunchtime is also a great way to reconnect with friends.

I found the whole thing got easier as my daughter got older, hang in there.
post #8 of 25
Tired mama lurking here.
post #9 of 25
It is very hard physically. It will get worse before getting better too because you will be more tired as the rest of the first year continues. I am working full time with 3 and tandem nursed between each and the youngest is finally at a year old. Around one year things get easier, or at least, potentially easier. The child may start taking food and lessen the breastmilk demand. I opted to night wean each of mine shortly after a year due to the impact of extreme exhaustion related to babies who always woke every 1 1/2 to 2 hours all night. Just keep in mind it is hard and will get better, if you get really tired or cranky, call in sick one day and sleep in, or I have rarely gone to bed early and asked DH to care for the youngest from 8pm-12pm for me so I could catch up on a little sleep to maintain my patience during the day. Also, let go of some ideals if you just can't do it all. If you have to buy prepackaged food here or there, or dinner consists of a well arranged series of snack food, then so be it.
post #10 of 25
I think I had a similar crisis around the same age. That may have been when DH took over all of the pump stuff - clean parts, get bottles ready for the next day, put away icepacks, clean used bottles, etc. AND he did drop-off and I only did pick-up. Is there anyway your partner can take on some more duties? If he forgets, it just won't get done or it will be on him to do it. In our house that means that pretty much the dishes pile up Mon-Fri (pots and pans especially - he will load and unload the dishwasher, but not do pots and pans).
post #11 of 25
*hugs* It's hard. DS is now almost 2 and while it is definitely a lot better/easier in many ways than when he was your LO's age, it is still tough getting everything done.

As far as housework, groceries, dinner, and that sort of stuff...I keep it as simple as possible. Quick, healthy (well, healthy enough for the most part) meals with little to no cooking during the week. If DH can take care of at least one meal during the week, that's great...even if it means we eat PB&J sandwiches or order pizza since he's not a big cook.

I put a list together of about 10-15 easy meals that I don't need recipes for and don't require huge ingredient lists, and we rotate those. When I'm able to, I try to cook double portions and put half in the freezer for a future meal. Same for leftovers... And I'm a huge fan of the crockpot. A hot meal waiting for you when you get home is the best.

It's also helped for us to time DH and DS's nightly bath for when I'm preparing dinner. I can unfortunately get very cranky when I'm hurrying to get food ready, I'm already exhausted, and then DS is wanting attention. It's better if I can get as much done as possible while alone and *then* focus on him.

Housework is something I probably need to pay more attention to, but I don't. We invested in a Roomba vaccuum to take care of the floors (I *love* it!)...I try (with DH's help off and on) to stay on top of laundry and dishes and huge messes...but that's about it. If I need to tackle a big organizing project or whatever, I schedule an afternoon or a day off of work and try to handle it then. And yes, there are times I've called in "sick" because I'm having a week where I'm overwhelmed and completely exhausted and just need a day to play with DS!

As for DH...we have a date night on a fairly regular basis, and try to remember to call each other during our lunch hours to chat when we can. I admit he gets the short end of the stick a lot of the time, but he's pretty understanding about it.
post #12 of 25

I guess I'm one part advice-giver, one part lurker - I've been working and mommying a year now and in some ways it has gotten easier, but in other ways... I'm just freakin' exhausted and right there with you. But I figure, it is always a bit comforting to know you are NOT crazy, your feelings are so normal and to be expected given how overextended you are.
some key things to take from above posters that I think is great advice:
- housecleaner. we still don't do this regularly, and we should just bite the bullet and do it. We've done it sporadically, but I think every two weeks or maybe monthly if you're more organized in general (we're not).
- do NOT feel guilty if you take an extra long lunch break here and there to get to the gym, go shopping, do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel good. the times that I do that, I am just a happier, healthier person. Better for DS, for DH, and probably for work productivity as well...
- Get DH on board for one or two specific things: daycare drop off, washing the dishes, cooking, whatever you think you could delegate to him. It is so important. We still don't do a very good job of it though I've been able to articulate my needs better as time goes by, and he gets it. He's been taking on the endless straightening up of toddler toys after DS goes to bed, which is hugely helpful so I can pack his lunch for the next day.
We have the added challenge of a little one that is a really challenging sleeper. So we're pooped.
It's hard.
Try to find some humor in it, I guess... and know you are not alone.
post #13 of 25
Originally Posted by simplemama32 View Post
I put a list together of about 10-15 easy meals that I don't need recipes for and don't require huge ingredient lists, and we rotate those. When I'm able to, I try to cook double portions and put half in the freezer for a future meal. Same for leftovers... And I'm a huge fan of the crockpot. A hot meal waiting for you when you get home is the best.
Would you mind posting your list, or some of it? I know there is a meal planning thread and forum, but I could really use some "weeknight" dinner ideas from another WOHM.
post #14 of 25
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
Would you mind posting your list, or some of it? I know there is a meal planning thread and forum, but I could really use some "weeknight" dinner ideas from another WOHM.
Sure! I don't cook anything very exciting during the week, I'm afraid...but then I guess that's what keeps these meals all simple and easy. Also, we do use more convenience food than I would prefer to, but for our budget and my sanity's sake, I deal with it for now -- the dream is to incorporate more organic, homemade stuff as DS gets older.

Weeknight Meal Ideas:

1. Spaghetti with simple sauce (heat tomato sauce + dried minced garlic or garlic powder + oregano). We love to add ready-to-eat meatballs (from the freezer section at the grocery store), though they can be a little pricey at times.
***Add a quick green salad, and/or garlic-cheese bread (this recipe, with garlic and no olives, though the olive version is great, too). The bread can also be frozen w/the topping uncooked.

2. Alfredo pasta with or without meatballs (alfredo sauce recipe here ...it's really VERY simple)

3. Chili or taco soup (for taco soup: cooked grd. beef or turkey + 2 can pinto beans + about 1 cup frozen corn + taco seasoning + dry ranch dressing mix + 1 can diced tomatoes + 1 can water...mix all and simmer about 20 min.) Chicken would be good too (white chili, yum!), or leave the meat out.

4. Make use of rotisserie chicken (or keep shredded, cooked chicken on hand in the freezer). Two great recipes that use shredded chicken: Chicken Tamale Casserole and Chicken Spaghetti

5. Red beans and rice (there's a great recipe here but many times, I just cook brown rice according to package directions, then in another pot, mix canned beans + diced tomatoes + Creole seasoning to taste...maybe a tsp. or so?...then serve the beans over the rice. Maybe add a couple sides like a salad and green beans or corn on the cob.

6. Breakfast for supper (omelets, pancakes...whatever we're in the mood for)

7. Sloppy joes and baked potato wedges

8. Baked turkey burgers and veggies

9. Quick macaroni and cheese (cook elbow macaroni according to package, drain. Throw in some shredded cheddar cheese, a little sour cream for creaminess, and maybe even a little butter...sorry, I never measure any of this!). Add a couple veggies on the side.

10. Crockpot!!! We love a roast with potatoes and carrots...very quick and easy to throw together in the morning before work, or the night before. Also, this recipe for Brown Sugar Pork Loin is delicious. Add a couple veggies and a salad, and you're done.

11. "Tapas" night (i.e., an array of leftovers from the past 2-3 nights )

12. Quick baked pork chops (season pork chops with Worcestershire sauce + a little steak seasoning and bake at 350 degrees until done...maybe about 20-25 min. if they're thin?) with your choice of veggies

13. Parmesan Chicken with your choice of veggies

14. Easy Beef Enchiladas (cook grd. beef, add taco seasoning...roll beef up in flour tortillas...top with enchilada sauce and cheese...bake until cheese is melted). Serve with mexican rice.

Hmmm...we seem to eat more pasta that I thought. Oh, well, it's filling! We eat a lot of meat because of DH, but you could leave the meat out for a lot of these meals. I try to keep a lot of pre-cooked "ground beef-plus" (plus taco seasoning or plus spaghetti sauce) on hand in the freezer since it can used as a base for so many meals.

Also, I can't *wait* to get our garden started this year...that means lots of fresh veggie suppers or pasta + whatever is in season. Yum! I tend to add to use fresh fruit as a side a lot, too, especially for DS...grapes, diced pears, clementines, and apples (or a mix) are all favorites.

Hope this helps a little!
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great suggestions and support!

Unfortunately, it is not an option for DH to pick up or drop off DD, since he works an hour away from home, plus now he actually can't drive for a little while due to a new medical thing that just came up (which is why I haven't responded yet... sorry!) So, now I'm even more stressed because I have to do all the driving for errands, etc.

We are going to have a housecleaner start in a couple of weeks. She will start on an every other week basis for now, maybe go to once a week if the need arises.

I am trying to cook a couple of big meals on the weekend so we don't have to cook during the week. Simplemama: thanks for the meal suggestions, I'll definitely try those! Plus, I love the freezer meals and meal planning forum, they have some great easy meals there!

Housecleaning and laundry... DH doesn't always see the need for even just the basics. I hate a messy house, but have lowered my standards. I do have to ask him to vacuum and sweep because he won't just do it on his own usually (we have 2 cats and a dog). So, I just have to realize that he may get upset, but at least it gets done! I just don't want DD crawling around on a dirty floor, and holy cow, she is all over the place now!!

I think I feel the need to be supermom and be able to do everything, which gets hard. So I'm trying to lower my standards and accept that I just can't do everything. But at the same time, I don't think that DH fully realizes how much we as mamas (and working mamas) have to take on! I wouldn't mind a little recognition occasionally for all that I have on my plate! I know, high expectations, that's a relationship/communication thing...

You mamas are amazing and thanks again for the support! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one that has more stuff than she can handle! Despite all the added stress and sleep deprivation, I love being a mom and absolutely love our DD, she is just the biggest blessing in our lives!
post #16 of 25
Looks like you got a lot of great advice and support. I don't have any advice and I am not in your same situation (I am a single Mama in school full time) but I can def. relate to being stressed and tired and just wanted to give you a hug!
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
thank you!
post #18 of 25
Keep us informed about how things go.
post #19 of 25
If you are both working full time, it seems to me that everything should be negotiated and nothing assumed. When I went back to work, I made a list of everything I did as a SAHM (with dd2) and we divided it up evenly. You can't do it all and you shouldn't.
post #20 of 25
Wow, reading your post was like looking back two years and seeing myself. When I had DD, I felt like I gave up a LOT. And I did. No more weekly girls night out, no travelling at the drop of a hat, no sitting down to read a book. My life was get DD ready for daycare, drop off, drive to work, work, drive to daycare, pick up DD, drive home, do chores, go to bed, repeat. I felt that DH helped a lot, although he didn't do as much as I did. Then I got pregnant and that changed, I was too tired to do as much. Now I have two kids and have managed to keep it together and get things done. This is how I do it. (For reference DD is 2 1/2yrs and DS is 6mths)

I get kids up and dressed for daycare on my own (DH is already at work) All I have to do is grab our stuff and go. If I don't feel like dressing them, daycare wil do it. (You can ask at yours and see if they will do this) Daycare will also give them a breakfast if I provide it, although I don't bother with that. I give DD breakfast in the car as we drive. (Waffles or pancakes in a cup) Everyday when I get home from work, I clean the pump parts, get new bottles and put everything in the pump bag by the door. I prepare DD's lunch, snacks and DS bottles. Often the lunch boxes sit in the fridge, filled, waiting for the ice pack in the morning. To cut down on snack preparation, I fill baggies with dry snacks for the week and leave them in a box in the cupboard. I just need to grab 2 to fill the lunch box with.

I try to make dinner and lunches for the week for DH and I on a Sunday. This way I just come home and heat them up. If I want to make pancakes for DD to eat, I make these on a Sunday and leave them in the fridge, then I just heat up one in the morning for her. We also grill A LOT. We have meat on the grill and steam so kind of veggie. This means less clean up of pots and pans. I think we are the only people I know who grill in the winter. Yes, it stinks to shovel the grill out, but it is totally worth it not to do a ton of dishes every night!

Saturday is the day we clean. Saturday used to be the day DH and I would lie around. No more. Now we get up and clean the house, vacuum, start laundry, everything that needs to be done. I only do laundry on the weekends now too. I have enough clothes to make it through the week for the kids, thanks to thrift shops or the 'if the pants look clean they will use them another day' policy. It used to feel like something always needed to be done and I never had time to sit and relax. Now I find if I just do it, then it is done and I can relax. On Saturday, once the house is clean, its done. I have the rest of the weekend to relax. There is nothing pressing anymore. It is the same with the lunches after work. If I just pack them when I get home, its done. I can then sit and watch TV and not feel bad. Back to the cleaning. I vaccum with the baby in the Ergo or BabyBjorn. Often time it puts him to sleep. This way the vacuuming gets done. While I do this, DH is expected to find a job to do, whether that is cleaning the toilet, moving furniture so it makes the vacuuming easier or washing dishes, whatever. When I am working, so is he, unless of course he is entertaining both kids. I am fine with that one! He used to sit around and not help sometimes, but I made it clear that this is a two person job and he has to help.

For the most part, dishes stack up in our house. They get done periodically when the need is great. But that is a sacrifice I have made. I can live with the dishes, I can't live with the dog hair balls floating around.

I will say, it has gotten easier. In the begining it was really hard for me. I was very independant and suddenly, I couldn't be. I also "felt bad". I didn't want to go out and leave the baby with DH because he said she cried. With this one I decided early on "F it" he will just have to deal. And so I go out. Maybe not once a week, but definately once a month. It makes life a little more 'normal'. It will get easier, you will find your groove, the problem is getting out of that groove once in a while to make it feel worth it
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