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How much alone time should a stay at home mom expect?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

After a year of practicing attachment parenting, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, post-partdum depressioning, I am waaaay burnt out. This looks like me freaking out and yelling at my amazing, but non-sleeping 1 year old when he refuses to nap and then breaking down in tears for an hour or so once a week or so. Neither is healthy for my baby...I know this and feel very ashamed.

Daddy has taken the baby for a total of 6 hours since birth when I have been out of the house (about 20 hours while I am at home doing something else). This last week he took him for three hours while I saw a movie and it was complete bliss. The following week: no freak outs, all good, lotsa no nap days, no problem.

I need some moms to tell me how much time to expect dad to take our son when we are happily married and I stay at home.

post #2 of 24

Alone time??? headscratch.gif What's that?


Seriously, though, I do think dads should give SAHMs time to themselves every day, even if they just take the baby for an hour after dinner while mom gets to sleep, watch tv, whatever she wants. And then regular (weekly) time for her to leave the house and DO something - a movie, massage, facial, shopping. Most husbands (including mine) don't do this or even understand why we need alone time. I have no idea how to make them get it and help out. shrug.gif

post #3 of 24

I think a sahm should "expect" as much alone time as she needs to stay emotionally and physically healthy. Is your partner not willing to take the baby or too busy?


To put it in perspective for you- my dh takes dd daily not just because I need him to, but because he wants to spend time with her and his schedule allows it. I may use the computer, read, bathe, go out, sleep, whatever I want. It may be twenty minutes, it may be three hours depending on the day. I also have a sitter 3 times a week in the afternoon so I can do errands that may take longer, go to the gym etc. (I realize this may not be possible for moms who don't have childcare possibilities.)



What do you think you need? With dd1 I was a single mom and had lots of energy for being with her for long stretches (luckily). With dd2 I need way more time to myself.


eta: do you have a friend you could do play dates with and swap time away?

post #4 of 24

I get almost NONE and am way burned out....  Sucks to admit this, but true.

post #5 of 24

My husband leaves in the morning 5am and comes home between 7 and 8pm. SSSSOOOOO I maybe get a shower.LOL


We are all in the same boat. BUT one day it will all be worth it.

post #6 of 24
From the time DD was about 5 months old on, I left for at least two hours every week. I did the grocery shopping, so its not exactly like I was hanging out at the coffee shop, but I was alone. Now that I have two, it almost never happens. I do expect DH to watch her a couple of hours a week by himself though- otherwise how will she ever get just DD and daddy time? I would go every sunday afternoon.
post #7 of 24
On DHs days off and late shift days I usually get 2-3hrs when he takes her out of the house and he looks after her as much as I do when we're all at home. When he's on a day shift I only get the time she is asleep but he will take over as soon as he gets home. He almost always gets up with her as well so I can sleep in beyond 5:30am. She's 22 months now but we've always done it this way ( except for the going out for hours when she was tiny of course). We are very fortunate that his job allows us to live like this and he loves the time they spend together.
post #8 of 24
Not much im afraid. DH wakes early (4 am) comes home 6-7. I was THRILLED after dinner I had 20 minutes to myself without keeping 3 eyes on a 2 year old and crawling twins.
post #9 of 24

Seriously, I get little to no time alone.. ever.. Im totally exhausted and burned out. I really need a break but no way I can get one. My husband leaves for work around 5am (before the kids get up) and gets home around 6pm. The kids go to bed around 730pm. He gets home in enough time to eat, help with baths and put the baby to bed so I can get the older two to bed. On the weekend we spend a bit of family time but we are in the middle of a move so the time is spent trying to get things swinging over here. I can't wait until we get things settled and into a routine.

post #10 of 24
It has varied wildly over the last 3 years.

DS nursed way too frequently for me to leave him when he was under 1, but I did manage to sneak 20mins reading in the car in the driveway occasionally...

While DH was unemployed last year, I got a lot of alone time (though still not as much as you would expect, considering he was home 24/7 headscratch.gif)

Now with DH working odd hours, it's harder for me to get time to myself. I WAH so all morning when DH is home, I'm working (and DS still runs to me for every little thing). Then DH is gone all afternoon & evening (late into the night)... if I can get DS to sleep at a decent time, which is totally unpredictable, I can get an hour to myself (though I'm still 'on guard' because of his frequent waking & freak-outs). On the weekends, DH has been making a real effort to take DS out for a couple of hours -- so maybe once a week for 2-3 hours I have the house to myself or can go out by myself.

I'll be honest, I like the breaks but I feel like I need more, DS is very very high-needs & unpredictable & doesn't play alone or anything & it's exhausting for me to be constantly 'on' even late into the night... But when you add in DH's breaks at work (which are true breaks, not working lunches!) then he gets about the same amount of alone time as I do, so it's 'fair' as it is, and I don't see a way for either of us to get any more time to ourselves than we are getting. Well, aside from hiring a babysitter or something, which DS wouldn't tolerate & we can't afford!

All that is a long-winded way of saying, if you can work it into your schedule for you to have alone time at least once or twice a week (or maybe even daily!) DEFINITELY do it. You won't regret it! If your DH's schedule makes it hard for you to do that, find some other way to make it happen if you can afford it. And if your DH is reluctant or drags his feet, well he just needs to suck it up lol. Your baby is reaching an age where -- for me, at least -- it started to become easier to occasionally get alone time, but unless you make it a priority (and it should be!) then it's not going to happen.
post #11 of 24

Oh yes, take as much as you can get.


Lucky me, husband knows I spent 12 happy adult years living will-of-the-wind, and understands how boring I find being at home and not able to leave.  In addition, I come from screaming, throwing, wildly gesturing people, and he doesn't, so when I do become a bit unbalanced it's so intensely unpleasant for him that he goes to great lengths to avoid that ever happening. 


He's also a really sweet, caring fellow.


Even so, all this adds up to 4 or maybe 6 hours a week alone...  and none the past few weeks as we have been so busy. 


Hang in there!

post #12 of 24

It's not about how much you should expect. You deserve alone time. Your husband deserves alone time. You need to talk to him and find space for each of you to have what you need. It's not about getting him to take care of your child, it's about figuring out how to co-parent.


I'm not as good at having these discussions as I'd like to be, and there are always exceptions (there are days my husband works late, I do all of the nighttime parenting because he needs to sleep to function), but you are two parents juggling a job (his) and taking care of kids and a house. I think the answer is to divide up everything so that everyone feels valued and functional. Because doing it by job on one side and kids on the other doesn't deal with the fact that everything in life and families ebbs and flows and everyone has different needs. (and "job" can be 20 hours a week from home or it could be 80 hours a week plus commute or it could be deployed overseas...and kids can be one well-behaved teenager or a happy toddler or a pair of high-needs screaming twins...)



post #13 of 24

For me, I find my alone time when the baby is asleep.  I know you have those sad days where he doesn't nap!!!  But I take nap time as my time.  I lay down with dd (2) and when she's asleep I do what I want:  watch TV, be on the computer, etc.  Now there are many times I choose to do chores at that time but I don't feel bad if I don't.  I need to have the break for myself so I can be refreshed when the other 3 and dh come home from school.


My kids rarely stayed with dh under the age of 1 unless they were sleeping.  It's not that I couldn't have left but it would have mean a lot of crying for dh.  Now that they're older, I leave them with him at least once a week.

post #14 of 24

This is so individual.  But I totally hear you about the burnt-out feeling. 


I've been taking 3 hours every Saturday morning since the very beginning.  But that was pretty much IT for my "alone" time, and that was spent grocery shopping.  Not the most relaxing of activities.  It wasn't until DS was about 2 that DH started taking more time in the evenings when I could walk away.  And just in the last couple months (DS is 2.5) DH has taken over bedtime and night-time duties. 


For a while I was going to the gym and leaving DS in their childcare so I could work out.  That was wonderful while it lasted.  But it didn't last.  Eventually I had to give up my gym membership because I couldn't leave him in childcare and by the time he was down for the night they were closed. 


If you can even find a mama friend to swap a few hours off with.  Whatever you can figure out to get some regular time to yourself.  Even if all you do is go sit in a coffee shop and drink a cuppa for half an hour. 

post #15 of 24

As much time as you can get! It is very little for me these days. At this point if I only have 1-2 kids, it feels like alone time. 

post #16 of 24

I'm with you - DS is 16 months, since he was born DH and I have been to two movies, and I've been to 2 acupuncture appointments.  That's all the time I've had away from the baby.  


Mother burn-out is awful.  I experienced it when DS was about 8 months old, was very very angry at everyone around me, taking everything out on DH, who works insane hours.  He's gone before DS and I are up in the morning, and if he's home before 7 it's a miracle.  We have an hour to cook and eat dinner and get DS in bed.  


My mom doesn't work and lives nearby - but I probably have the opposite mom problem as most parents.  She doesn't aim to make me feel guilty for wanting alone time, but she's always saying things like, "I could never leave you guys alone for a second without feeling anxious," or "Can you even imagine leaving him at this age?"  While she's perfectly willing to watch DS while I run an errand, I never ask.  


DS still nurses all night, so I'm on duty all night as well.  He might wake up the first time less than an hour after I put him down, so I never feel like I can get into a book or even take a bath because it's going to be interrupted.  Plus, since I'm up so often with him, I need to get in bed shortly after he does in order to feel rested.


Also, since DH works so much, I feel like any time that he's home we need to be together.  We get so little family time that I'd feel guilty for wanting to spend that precious time by myself.  DH actually offers fairly regularly to take DS to the park or for me to go get a pedicure, but it just never happens because we're having family time.  Honestly, just having a set of helping hands can feel like a huge, huge break even when I'm not alone.


Anyway, the end result is that I generally feel overworked and can commiserate with what you're feeling, OP.  When we lived in a 2 story apartment, DH was able to take DS on weekends and I would sleep in, but now we're in a small house and unless they physically are out of the house their noise keeps me from sleeping in.  I still sit in bed for an hour or two just reading or farting around on the laptop or whatever.  Still, I would love to go to Starbucks with a magazine or get a pedicure or hell, just go to the grocery store by myself.  


I feel like this same story is being played out in the home of every SAHM in the modern world...where did the villages go?

post #17 of 24
Originally Posted by luckiest View Post

Still, I would love to go to Starbucks with a magazine or get a pedicure or hell, just go to the grocery store by myself.  

Can I give you some advice? DO IT. I'm serious. I was where you are at when DS was that young. I'd gone out with DH once for 45mins, and once went to a meeting while DH & DS hung out in the car so I could run out & nurse. I just didn't get the importance of alone time, because although I was burnt out & overwhelmed, I thought this was just how life was supposed to be now, and any spare time should be family time, etc. I will say I think I would have been a much happier, probably even all-around better mom if I'd gotten real time to myself earlier on. I think once you have a kid, your life has changed so much that you can lose grasp of who you are & what it's like to be in the world without a kid attached to you. You can't even truly comprehend the benefits of having that time to yourself until you've had it consistently.

Does your DH have the whole weekend off? Could he take DS to the park for an hour or two while you sleep in & chill out? Or could you make an early-morning pedicure appointment? Then you'd still have the entire rest of the day for family time (and you'll enjoy it so much more!) There are 16 waking hours in the day (or 12 if you're on a toddler sleep schedule wink1.gif) so there's still plenty of time to spend as a family even if you take an hour or two to yourself. Trust me, hanging out on the laptop while they are in the next room is NOT the same as getting out on your own. Plus, I think it can be so good for dads to have alone time with their kid(s), my DH really looks forward to that time with DS.

So... no pressure, but I really recommend getting that time... and if you're spending an hour or two reading or online, you're already taking the time out of your day, and you'll get much more out of that time if you're physically not in the same building with DS & DH! So much more refreshing & calming & rewarding... and you don't have that guilt when you hear them laughing or crying that you should join in or help out or whatever.
post #18 of 24
Originally Posted by luckiest View Post
My mom doesn't work and lives nearby - but I probably have the opposite mom problem as most parents.  She doesn't aim to make me feel guilty for wanting alone time, but she's always saying things like, "I could never leave you guys alone for a second without feeling anxious," or "Can you even imagine leaving him at this age?"  While she's perfectly willing to watch DS while I run an errand, I never ask. 

Maybe you should revisit this. Your mom could have issues with anxiety or anxiety about this one issue.


Mom: "I could never leave you guys alone for a second without feeling anxious."

You: "I'm lucky that isn't a problem for me."


Mom: "Can you even imagine leaving him at this age?"

You: "Absolutely; with the insane hours dh works I'd get so rundown and burnt out never having a single moment to myself."


post #19 of 24

Emmeline and Crunchy Mommy - thank you for the support!  As it happens, my mom is watching DS while DH and I go see a movie today, and this Saturday I'm going by myself to a class on how to get started keeping backyard hens.  It isn't exactly as frivolous as a pedicure, but I'll be alone!


DH also came home from work on Friday, saw how drained I was, and brought up trying to figure out a plan to get me more time off-duty.  I think every Saturday morning I'm going to try to do something out of the house by myself, even if it's just sitting in the neighborhood coffee shop.

post #20 of 24
Awesome, Luckiest, that's great!! You have my support, I hope your Saturday mornings off make a positive difference for you!!
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