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Parenting Older Kiddos and Our Babies Support Thread

post #1 of 83
Thread Starter 

Today has just been...an epic failure.  I feel so overwhelmed and I just need to vent this out, maybe you guys can offer some perspective?

 

This is going to be raw, I'm not going to censor it, so go easy on me.  I'm feeling so vulnerable right now.

 

Everything that could go wrong today did.  I feel horrible.  I feel like I should be able to handle this by now, that I should have it all figured out.  I still flip out on DD when she misbehaves, and I don't WANT to.  I know ahead of time and after that I do NOT want to be THAT mom, the mom that yells or otherwise punishes her child with harsh words.  I want to treat her with respect, but my GOSH it's hard when she's pushed every single one of my buttons.  Add to that the screaming baby and I feel pulled in two very different directions and I just want everyone to STOP for a minute and let me catch my breath.  I try stepping back for a moment and gathering myself but today when I tried I burst into tears.  What can I do to get better at handling myself?  I'm feeling so frustrated with MYSELF, and it's really hard.

 

In 3 weeks, DH is supposed to leave for a week.  I'm seriously debating asking him to reconsider this trip.  But I don't want to be that wife, that mom, who can't handle things.  I don't want to tell him he can't do what he needs to do for work, to further his career just b/c I'm incapable as a mother.  Especially since he's the sole breadwinner for our family.  UGH but how can I do this alone??? For a WEEK?!?  

 

And then I think about all you military moms who do this all the time, with more than just 2 kids, and I feel like big wuss.  You guys do this all the time.  For months on end, and here I'm worried about a measly week.  I feel stupid and selfish.

 

Please, any advice or commiseration is welcome and will be helpful.  Thanks, guys.

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 83

Carrie, you're going through a major change right now and it is going to take some getting used to on everybody's part. 

 

We all know that you're doing the best that you can in adjusting and trying to figure it all out. We're all going to have our good days, our not-so-good days and the days that are best forgotten. 

 

You're not going to ruin things for Nora or Finn just by having a few days where you're frazzled. This time will pass before you know it. You're a great mom, and don't let anybody (even yourself) tell you otherwise.

post #3 of 83

ido not belong in this discussion since just had my first..but saw this and really wanted to send you some heartfelt hugs! hug.gif

 

 

post #4 of 83

hug.gif I have many many days like this! Everyone just starts crying at once, and I just want to go hide in my bedroom. greensad.gif I think it will get easier once you get in a routine and DD starts to get older. 

post #5 of 83
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies, I'm feeling the love.  This is honestly the first bad day.  I just hope I can get my reactions under control soon!!  I don't like feeling guilty.

post #6 of 83


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baby_Cakes View Post
And then I think about all you military moms who do this all the time, with more than just 2 kids, and I feel like big wuss.  You guys do this all the time.  For months on end, and here I'm worried about a measly week.  I feel stupid and selfish.

 

 

First of all, I do feel for military spouses who do the alone thing all the time, but at the same time, sometimes I think it's easier to find your 'virtual-single-parent' groove, when you are in that mode for a long time.

 

It's hard to have a DH who comes & goes, and is helpful & present MOST of the time, b/c you rely on them to get through your day/week, and when they are gone, it's a huge adjustment. But, they're only gone for a few days or a week, and just when you finally figure out how to make it work on your own, they come back! Then, they don't 'fit' into your new independant day quite right ...

 

If DH is going to be gone for more than a couple nights, I make sure I have plans with my mom, sister or a good friend. Someone who will understand if I'm late, my hair is a mess, my dishes aren't done ... Even if our plans consist only of sitting in my living room watching DS play with his friend or cousin. It gives me ONE afternoon or evening when I know I will have 'back up' for a couple hours, along with adult conversation!

 

A playdate of any sort does the same thing, but if they aren't really good friends, then you might have to make sure you're ready on time & you do your hair!

 

If you have TV, decide ahead of time what your 'reasonable threshold' is for how much you want your DD to watch, and try to stick with it. I have let DS watch entirely too much while DH travelled when I was pregnant, and it does affect his behaviour, so now I know what the limits are that keep us both sane ... and I also know I can go over those limits on ONE day in a 2 week period w/o it being an issue!

 

I don't do 'proper' meals when DH is travelling. I stock up on salad fixings for me, and DS eats a lot of english muffins w/ nut butter & jam. DH feels strongly that 'breakfast' food is not suitable for dinner ... so we do a lot of that when he's away, as well as fish -- DH doesn't eat it, but DS & I both do. If I'm thinking well the week before I double up a couple dinners to freeze in single portions for myself.

 

Finn loves to do the daily photo for DH when he's away, but doesn't always like to talk to him on the phone. The photo thing started when DS was as little as DD, and DH had to travel quite a bit. At that age, they change so fast, that I would email DH a photo every night, and since then, it's something we regularly try to do when DH travels for work. Sometimes it's a cheesy posed photo, sometimes it's something candid I took through the day. DS loves helping to pick which one to send.

 

You CAN do it, but if you truly feel it's going to be too much, tell your DH. I'm lucky this time around, that Cate is the 'easy' baby compared to Finn, so it hasn't been hard to add her into the mix, and DH has no work travel until early November, and Cate will be over 3mth by then. If he were going for a week right now, when she's 6wks, I'd totally be calling in our babysitters for a couple mornings or afternoons to spend some one on one with DS to help out!

 

post #7 of 83

Carrie--we have good and bad days/hours.  I find that the morning is usually pretty good and then things seem to fall apart in the afternoon, when everyone gets tired.  For us, Lily has been sometimes napping sometimes not.  I just decided that I was going to plan my day and behaviors to accommodate a non-nap day and that if she naps that's a bonus.  The past couple of days I was really wanting a nap and did not get one, Lily would act like she wanted a nap, but then would not fall asleep--made me frustrated and brought a few tears to my eyes, because I was counting on getting a nap.  Sometimes we watch movies or tv shows when I just need to rest--since the end of my pregnancy this has happened more than I would like.  But I decided the other day that if watching TV is what needs to happen from time to time to keep me sane then it is okay.  DD is doing pretty well, but the melt downs have increased and she sometimes hits or scratches me when she wants attention (thank goodness she is good with DS).  We don't get as much done as I would like and generally I feel pretty good if I was able to straiten up the toys and get the dishes done before DP gets home.  

 

For you DH being gone I would definitely make at least plans with at least 1 or 2 people, just so you have a little backup for a little while.  I also recommend making sure you have easy to make meals ready so you get plenty to eat and so does your daughter.  I get the most cranky when I have not eaten enough, even when I don't feel particularly hungry.  

 

Also, you are doing a great job.  It takes a while for everyone to adjust to the changes.  

 

post #8 of 83
Thread Starter 

Honestly today what really bit me in the ass was having expectations that our walk would be wonderful.  The day had already been rough, and I decided, ok, baby in the sling, lets go for a walk and get dunkin donuts.  We got halfway there and she took off so far ahead of me, almost to the street, and wouldn't stop when I called after her!!  She KNOWS she has to stop when I tell her to, but she was deliberately not listening and really could have ran right into traffic.  I nearly had a heart attack.  I ran as fast as I could with Finn in the sling, grabbed her and we marched back home, with her crying the whole way.  I kept trying to tell her she needs to listen when I tell her to stop.  I think I might need to put her back in the stroller until I can count on her to listen more reliably.  She's not going to like that.  She hasn't been in the stroller for 3 weeks!!

 

We did attempt a 2nd walk after things calmed down and that was mistake #2.  Finn wouldn't stop crying and halfway down the block I called it off.  DD was NOT happy and threw another tantrum b/c she was being good and listening this time, but still we couldn't go on our walk.  I shouldn't have attempted that.  That was a bad idea.

 

TV definitely makes DD impossible after awhile.  Days when we have music on or play outdoors she is so much more lovely and listens so much better.  And the TV just gets out of control -- she'll choose a show and 5 min in be all, "I don't want this one, I want a different one!!"  I'll change it once or twice but after that I've had enough.  If you don't want this one, then NO TV.  

 

I think I have back up for the Dallas trip.  My *ahem* friend is going to come up after all, and says she'll come by late Sunday and all day Monday to help out/hang out.  No plans, just to be here and run interference.  She'll have her DD (5 months) with her so it might be exciting for DD to see an older baby.  Might backfire, but she can always leave.  My MIL will be around.  If I can have her either take Nora or just come by for 2 of the other days, I think I might be able to do this!!  I don't know.  I'm feeling less nervous knowing I won't be entirely alone.

 

Grazing is a good idea.  I don't feel the need for a proper dinner most nights either, but DH is big on having a meal.  This would totally fall by the wayside while he's gone, or we'd get take out.  I have no issues with that at all.

 

This is very helpful, ladies.  Thank you so much.

 

So...how are the rest of you doing?  lol.gif

 

 

post #9 of 83

Oh, I don't know if you have a YMCA near you ... but if you do, ours has a 90min program every morning that is a drop off ... DS has been going to it every Saturday morning since he was 3, and loves it. It's crafts/stories/gym or playground time/bouncy castle if one is set up in the small gym ...

 

The monthly membership allows us to take him to that as many times as we want, and it's offered 11 times a week (6 mornings, 5 evenings). Last year DS had preschool during the week, and I had daycare kiddos here most days, but this year, I do plan to take him once mid-week as well. It's a good social outing for him, and at 90 min, it's just long enough for me to get something done, and not too long for him! I'm planning to use it this fall for my grocery shopping time, as it's proving hard to lift him into a cart while wearing Cate in a wrap!

post #10 of 83

Carrie, hug.gif. I am absolutely in the same place right now. DD is great, but I feel like I have no patience for her whatsoever and sometimes once she's in bed for the night I just get horribly depressed because I feel so bad about how the day went. I feel like I'm really short with her and not respectful of her. She ends up spending so much of the day playing by herself, drawing and watching TV. I don't know what to do with her so much of the time. I feel especially bad when she asks to hold Malcolm and he needs to eat, or sleep or have his diaper changed and so I feel like I'm always saying "No, you can't hold him right now. Thank you for asking, though.

post #11 of 83

no great words of advice... just empathy!  I've had some of those days myself recently.  Having 2 young kids is HARD!

post #12 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mareseatoats View Post

Carrie, hug.gif. I am absolutely in the same place right now. DD is great, but I feel like I have no patience for her whatsoever and sometimes once she's in bed for the night I just get horribly depressed because I feel so bad about how the day went. I feel like I'm really short with her and not respectful of her. She ends up spending so much of the day playing by herself, drawing and watching TV. I don't know what to do with her so much of the time. I feel especially bad when she asks to hold Malcolm and he needs to eat, or sleep or have his diaper changed and so I feel like I'm always saying "No, you can't hold him right now. Thank you for asking, though.


OMG yes!!  Playing alone!  I try not to spend all the time that DS naps cleaning, but rather sitting with her, playing something quietly.  Today while DS napped, we went out front within reach of the front door, and she played with chalk and dug in mulch while I was able to pop my head in from time to time to see if he woke.  It was something at least.  And then right after I fed him, she and I FINALLY walked to Walgreens by ourselves and I (sheepishly, I admit) bought her whatever she wanted.  

 

post #13 of 83

Carrie, I could have written your story myself.  DS is 3 1/2, and while he is adorable, and smart, and sweet as can be, lately life with him makes me want to rip my hair out or just break down and cry most of the time.  He loves his little sister, but he gets jealous too, so one minute he'll be kissing her forehead and the next he'll be trying to pull out her eyelashes or giving her a noogie (sp?).  I can't put her down for a second to change laundry, pee, shower, or anything for fear that DS will launch her out of her swing or stomp on her.  Really frustrating.

 

On top of that, he is defiant as can be... he's been doing this thing where if he doesn't want to do what I tell him, he'll say "huh?" like he didn't hear, or just ignore outright, and go about doing whatever it is that I asked him not to do (i.e. jump off the back of the couch, head butt me, etc.)  Oh, and there is nothing wrong with his hearing.

 

I've read all of your response posts, and I wonder if it is a bit tv related?  he has been watching so much more than he used to, mostly b/c i am so tired and need a break.  does that make him so out of control maybe?  I'm going to experiment tomorrow with limited tv to see what happens.  it is supposed to be nice i think.  i don't think i can take many more of these rainy days where we cant go outside and play!

 

honestly, though, DS does better when there is only one parent present.  You might find that is true with you as well when DH is out of town?  When both DH and I are home, DS tests the limits to no end.  When it is just me, he tends to be slightly better (most of the time).  

 

I am having a problem figuring out appropriate discipline though, ykwim?  I try to be understanding, justifying his behavior with the knowledge that this is a big transition for him.. but what do you do when he bites his sister?  that CAN NOT go unnoticed.  

 

At least we all have each other to vent on.

post #14 of 83


I tried really hard before DD was born to get DS's room really well set up for independent play, so that he has a space to go to that is 'HIS', and not baby-related. He loves Playmobil, and since DD arrived a little early, not everything was quite ready, but he has some IKEA benches with storage put together to make a table, so he can set things up & play somewhere not on the floor.  I wanted to get it done before she arrived, so he didn't see it as a baby-related 'gift' or bribe! He will play in there on his own for a long time, and prefers it to TV some days.

 

I also taught him to pause (for potty breaks) and skip forward & back, on our hardrive that holds his shows. That way, he needs to ask me to do less for the TV. I can set it up to one of the folders with his shows in them, and he can safely & freely navigate around that folder so I don't have to run to the TV room all the time when I hear "But this isn't the one I meant ..." He thinks these new skills are a special treat, and doesn't view them as me not wanting to do it for him (or not being able to when I'm in the middle of a diaper change or something!) but rather as some great new thing that he is old enough to do!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakemama579 View Post

On top of that, he is defiant as can be... he's been doing this thing where if he doesn't want to do what I tell him, he'll say "huh?" like he didn't hear, or just ignore outright, and go about doing whatever it is that I asked him not to do (i.e. jump off the back of the couch, head butt me, etc.)  Oh, and there is nothing wrong with his hearing.


Finn will tell us mid-meltdown "I've just had enough" ... and we're like "enough of what?!" He so far cannot or will not tell me what exactly he's had enough of, but it's his preferred phrase in the middle of a meltdown ... but now that Cate is 6 weeks old, I think we're down to only 2 or 3 meltdowns a week, and usually only one of those is a big huge one.

 

post #15 of 83
No great advice from me. I'm just figuring this all out myself!

Carrie, I will say, tho, that you need to cut yourself some slack. You're not a new mom to Nora, but you are still a new mom to Finn. You're still a new mom in a NEW family! Think back on being a new mom with Nora... You wouldn't expect any new mom of "just" one to have it all figured out and together at 3 weeks PP, right? You are no different. You're a new mom to two, plain and simple. Every mother needs to grow and change and learn, be she a mother to one, or a mother to 10.
post #16 of 83
Oh, and PS, I say that smug little snippet as a new mother of two whose 2 year old pulled his infant sister off the freaking bed yesterday. I was trying to find the moby so I could take them on a walk. Eyes left DS for a minute, I hear crying, and go in the bedroom to find DD ON THE FLOOR.

Thankfully she was okay, but damn, there are moments (days) with a pretty steep learning curve!!
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakemama579 View Post

 

honestly, though, DS does better when there is only one parent present.  You might find that is true with you as well when DH is out of town?  When both DH and I are home, DS tests the limits to no end.  When it is just me, he tends to be slightly better (most of the time). 



Clementine does better with just one parent, too! I always wondered if it was because it was just her and I for 3 years, though, but it sounds like that may be pretty normal?

 

Michelle - What did you do? Clementine jumped up on the couch the other day while I was nursing Malcolm and kneed him in the head (by accident) and I was furious! I actually told her to go away, and when she only scooted over a little I made her get off the couch. It was terrible, I'm sure she felt awful. I recovered pretty quickly and apologized to her, but poor girl guilty.gif

post #18 of 83

I could have written your first post, Carrie.  I feel like the lamest, most inadequate mother right now.  I haven't even been alone for a whole day with both kids yet b/c I can't handle it!  I'm terrified! 

 

I feel like all I do is blow DS1 off to get things done, but I try really hard to divide my time/attention.  It just doesn't work.  And, DS1 is not good a independent play, so all day long he's asking me to play trains or trucks or some other game that I HATE playing.  There, I said it, I HATE playing trains.  I'm so freaking tired that when he acts out I feel like I come down on him too hard.  I just have no patience.  Then I think about his sweet little face and I feel like the worst mom on earth.  DS1 and I used to have the best days; we had so much fun and went on adventures.  Now?  His mother has turned into this exhausted, frumpy, spit up covered, impatience mess of a woman who won't even play trains. 

 

DH is so awesome, and picking up all my slack.... which makes me feel like a crappy wife AND a crappy mom.

 

Balls.

post #19 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italiamom View Post

No great advice from me. I'm just figuring this all out myself!

Carrie, I will say, tho, that you need to cut yourself some slack. You're not a new mom to Nora, but you are still a new mom to Finn. You're still a new mom in a NEW family! Think back on being a new mom with Nora... You wouldn't expect any new mom of "just" one to have it all figured out and together at 3 weeks PP, right? You are no different. You're a new mom to two, plain and simple. Every mother needs to grow and change and learn, be she a mother to one, or a mother to 10.


Such good advice! I totally agree!

 

I think going from 0 to 1 was the hardest for me, then 1 to 2, so far 2 to 3 seems smoother (knock on wood!). I think a lot of it just has to do with age AND birth order. It is harder for the first born to become a sibling, they have been the focal point of eveyones attention for a while (my first born was the also the first grandchild on one side and the first granddaughter on the other!). Honestly, my oldest is still my biggest challenge, my 2 year old has been able to entertain herself from a young age and is so much more reasonable! She throws typical 2 year old fits, but they are much easier to diffuse than the older one's! Even though the oldest can be more of a challenge at times, she is getting more mature and loves to help. She will help the 2 year old with stuff while I nurse and she will do anything for the baby.

 

I know I had less than stellar moments when my second was born and the oldest does not seem permanently damaged, so I just try to go easy on myself. It does help for me thought that the oldest is in kindergarten in the morning and the baby is usually pretty chill during that time, so I just set the 2 year old up with something to entertain her and try to get any chores done during that time and the rest of the day I just try to divide between everyone. Scheduling is mega important for me and it has only been in the last year or so that I have really appreciated having one! But everyone does better and I feel like I get at least a little one on one time with everyone. DD1's one on  one is usually doing homework, but luckily at this age it is still fun and she is excited about it.

 

post #20 of 83
Mares, I immediately out DS in time out. I know a lot of moms on MDC really frown on it, but for DS it is really the only discipline method we've tried that actually works. I began to cry when I found her, and DS knew that what he'd tried to do was so bad. I dont feel badly about how I handled things, because the situation was serious. After he sat in the chair alone for a few minutes I let him get up, and life went on...
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