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I don't like being a parent - Page 3

post #41 of 64
Originally Posted by Zenmama1 View Post

Hi Lauren

Wow I think you summed us up perfectly. I do have the Raising Your Spirited Child book, I need to go back and read it. When I first read it the suggestions just seemed more for older kids. But maybe they will work on a 16 mo old. Do you have any recommendations for websites? I just did a quick google and found sites explaining the different types of temperament. But I didn't see much in the way of how to best parent the active/ feisty child.

Thanks so much for your insight.


My daughter is also extremely strong willed. She is 9 now and there have been good and bad times. I would ask if you have a very good routine? My daughter does so much better if we have a good routine set up. She needs to eat and sleep at set times, as well as knowing what is going to happen in the day. We set up a picture chart to show her what to expect that day (for example, if we were going to the store). 


I would also recommend trying to get her to sleep more! Are you napping with her? She should still have two good naps each day, and you could sleep right next to her!


What is she screaming about? I would begin teaching her that you don't listen when she screams. I would say "Oh, that's too loud" and cover your ears and turn your back on her. Then when she takes a breath, turn back and say "Oh, that's better!" The more you respond to her screaming, the more she will use screaming to get her way. Don't CIO, teach her that screaming isn't the best way to get your attention and the things that she wants. It will take some time, but lay the base now.

post #42 of 64
Originally Posted by Zenmama1 View Post

I think you are all so right. I definitely need to hang out with more moms. I think DD's unpredictable schedule has kept me from committing to plans. But I think I just need to do it and deal with whatever consequences there are..like screaming in the car, not napping, etc.


This weekend was really tough for my husband and I. My husband actually admitted that he is afraid of our DD. And then I realized I am too. We are so afraid of doing anything that will trigger her melt downs. But its such a horrible way to live. Like we are walking on eggshells because of a little 16lb girl. How crazy does that sound. We try ignoring the temper tantrums and they just escalate and never end. We can easily stop them by giving in to what she wants, but then we feel like we are spoiling her and she is going to turn into a rotten kid. We have no idea how to get her to settle down at night and go to bed. We try a bed time ritual every night but it doesnt work any more. And we end up putting a crying baby in the car to get her to sleep. Does any one have any suggestions on how to improve every day stuff like this?


It's so nice to hear that other moms feel the same way. And that this is just a stage that we will get through. But my DH and I are really struggling with how to make things better right now. I feel like my DH is becoming depressed and he is usually such a happy guy. It makes me sad. When things are good we love our DD. She is so cute and fun. But we haven't quite figured out how to be a family who has fun together. Does that make sense? I'm sure it just takes time to adapt. But if you have any ideas for right now let me know. What are things we can do as a family - but still feel like adults too? Or do we have to separate the two and leave DD with a sitter more often?


No offense, but YOU are the parent, and you need to the one who makes decisions, not a toddler! Yeah, she is going to get mad, but you need to teach her (eventually!) how to deal with disappointment in a socially acceptable way, and that means not screaming. It will get worse, A LOT worse, before it gets better. If you give in, you teach her that screaming works and that she gets what she wants if she screams. So, next time, she will scream longer and harder, until you give in again. You need to stop the cycle! Make a decision, and stick with it. Try to say yes as much as you can, but when you do say no, MEAN IT! 


Same with sleeping, she won't settle down because she knows that you will eventually give up and give her what she wants (not not lay down). If it was me, I would spend 2 weeks and fully focus on eliminating this behavior through extinction. 

post #43 of 64

Edited by Snapdragon - 8/25/12 at 8:26pm
post #44 of 64
You need to take a break, and that's ok! It sounds like you are with your daughter almost 24/7. Hire a babysitter to come in a few mornings a week. I think everyone feels a mourning for there old lives every now and then. Honestly, mine dissipates the older DD gets, because there are times now where she is just so fun. Last, remember that full-time parenting is just a stage of life, and as we get older we'll have all the time in the world to do the things we sacrificed for our little ones. They won't be little forever!

post #45 of 64

My daughter is a very spirited child. I spent her entire 3rd year, afraid to leave the house with her, because it was a battle I didnt want to have. I am very consistant, I let my yes be yes and my no be no, but it took lots of energy to stay strong. She is still very strong willed, but now that she is 4 we can at least talk about it, and she is a lot better in public. I have found that joining things that have nothing do do with parenting has helped me immensly. I started exercising and I joined a hiking club. Yes mommy groups are great, but I really missed doing things that have nothing to parenting. 


Now I am just crazy enough to do it all over again, but I have a lot more tools in my belt this time around.

post #46 of 64

My second child (Ds1) was like that.  Well, he was reasonably ok during the day as a baby but he was UP ALL FREAKING NIGHT from the time he hit 6 months to the time he was 18 months and I night weaned him.  It was AWFUL.  Also, because my older two are only 18 months apart, it was really, really hard to get out of the house.  He screamed anytime we put him in his car seat (though he was reasonably ok with baby carriers, at least).  Then he shifted into being extremely difficult all day and having HUGE tantrums as a toddler.  Turns out he has food sensitivities.  We discovered that dairy caused his behavior issues when he was 3 (Man, do I wish I knew sooner), however when he was 4 we went gluten free for other reasons and his dairy sensitivity went away, which was nice.  Ds2 has been just a really really easy going baby, thankfully :)  Now that he's 2 we're having some disagreements, but interestingly he's much easier to work with than my older two who feel the need to argue every.single.point.  *sigh*


Anyway, he's still not an EASY child, but he's 100 times better than he was before the discovery of his food issues.  I swear if he had been my first child, there would not have been more because I would have blamed myself or my parenting for his issues, but since his older sister was not at ALL like that, I knew that it wasn't all us, so we had a third.  I love my kids, I do.  I'd love to have more.  Unfortunately, I'm so burnt out from the previous years that I think it would be a really, really bad plan.  I just feel like I  need an actual vacation, not just a "vacation" where we go someplace and I do all the same things that I normally do (cook, clean up after the kids, break up fights, etc), except in another place.  I seriously need time away from the kids - a lot of it.  But it's not going to happen.  We're homeschooling this year because the schools are not a good fit for us, so it's just all me.  I've been nursing or pregnant for more than 7 years, now!  That's just so crazy, to me.

post #47 of 64

I do think you're at a disadvantage. I'm just about your age (33) and honestly, if I became a mom for the first time this year, it would have been a huge adjustment for me too! I'm just used to the chaos! Another thing is children really teach us to "die" to ourselves. Literally, we lay down our lives for them! No more sleep, sex, friends, hobbies, free time, reading on the hammock, vacations, spontaneous dates, etc etc. However, they offer us something so much more but you have to keep your eyes and heart open or you'll miss it! Right now, you're in the trenches! It will get easier and with each child you add, it gets easier and easier. Hard to believe that one, right! But it does...truly! Another beautiful thing is natural amnesia that comes with time. I had a super high needs baby in DD#2. I have another one right now in DS #2 (8 months old). I cannot remember what it was like with DD#2. I remember it was hard but I can't "feel" the memory of the stressful times with her. I can only "feel" the magic! It goes by SOOOO fast so just know this will pass! In the meantime, hire a mother's helper so you can enjoy a bit of free time .... or a nap! 

post #48 of 64

ps- my first high needs baby (dd#2) is now 7 years old and so very bright, outgoing, and very much a natural born leader! Still very emotionally intense but now it just makes me smile when she loses it! She's been herself since birth. It's been cool to watch her unfold into who she is today. It was worth the sleepless nights! 

post #49 of 64

100% agree with you. I couldn't say it any better. The bright side? Soon you will be able to get your life back. This stage is temporary. :-) Try to focus on maintaining a healthy marriage and staying sane lol

post #50 of 64

Have you read Simplicity Parenting? He's got some good stuff in there about rhythms and rituals. Could really help with a sensitive little one. There's this whole thing about you being the leader too. Limiting choices as a way to actually make them feel more empowered. But not being a dictator either. Just being confident that what needs to be done now (whatever that is) is THE THING that needs to be done now. I have a 16 month old too and since putting this into practice we've had way less tantrums. And when they do happen they're much shorter. I've also read that the crying and screaming of a tantrum is a way for the brain to release tension, that the tantrum happens after a moment of stress in the brain and the screaming has to happen to release it. Or something to that accord. Doesn't make it any less noisy but somehow it helps me stay saner and more present, knowing that she's just moving something through her. 


That being said DD is also WAY fighting sleep. For naps it seems like there's this magic window between noon and 1 and if I lay down with her during then and we do our nurse, book, song routine, she'll pass out. But if it's past this time window we'll go through the routine til the point where she's almost asleep then she pops up and starts playing. I was losing my mind a couple weeks ago so now when thats what happens, I say very clearly, calming and confidently: "You are having a hard time settling to sleep. I am going to put the pack (kinderpack) on and you can sit on Mama's back and fall asleep there. When you are asleep I will come and lay you down on your bed and stay close to you." Then I put her on my back and, the trick seems to be, ignore her, or rather engage in something I can do standing up that I need to do. She protests and moans and groans but as soon as I get into a project (dishes, cooking, laundry folding) she falls asleep. If she's really sad and clearly asking for milk I'll swing her back to my front and nurse her to sleep. But that's only once she's gotten her complaining out. The complaining seems to be what she needs to do to unwind and become receptive to sleep....


Getting her to sleep at bedtime can take forever too! Her bedtime is 10pm, if it makes you feel any better. We lay down around 9ish and, if I'm lucky, she's asleep by 10. A lot of time's it's more like 10:30pm. I've had (still have) a ton of self-conciousness over this with the trend in early bedtimes for kids but she sleeps in until 8 or 9am which means she's getting her 10-11 hours and it works for us as a family. Yeah, my and my partner don't get a lot of alone time which is a drag and wearing on us but we're managing  and it feels like this too shall pass. 


And being a parent is REALLY HARD!!!!!!!!!

post #51 of 64

I also 2nd what some of the others have said about food sensitivities. Gluten and dairy being the big ones. Going into her and you as you're still nursing. We've been eating primal since DD started solids so pretty much no grain products in her regular diet. When she does get some her nose runs and she gets kinda coo coo. And that's even something like homemade whole wheat bread or brown rice. Not always easy to snack a toddler without grains but totally possible. Slivered almonds, cashews, almond butter, olives, butter straight-up (!), tahini and raw honey, fruit, veggie slices, meatballs with tons of veg ground up on them, hard-boiled eggs, nori, etc. 


And keep letting it out! I think we've got to be honest with each other in this whole parenting deal - it's the only way through. And the deeper in I get the more I see that it's one of the biggest opportunities for surrender and self-growth available. Woo hoo! Some days I just want to have a kid not do all that other deep work that it seems to demand. Or the day to day stuff either. 


I do the going on adventures with DD too. It helps. When I start running really low and/or feeling blue I remind myself that THIS right now, right here is my daughter's childhood. What do I want her experience to be? What can I do so I can behave like the mama/woman I want her to know? Some days that means letting go of any sort of routine and going to the beach. Even if it's raining. Outside is generally a savior for both me and her. So are animals. Or making the time/trip to hang out with friends. 

post #52 of 64

My daughter was a very high needs infant who happily transformed into a very easygoing toddler - I really don't know how it happened - but just to say, there is hope! But the early days, ie, the 1st year, it was constant breastfeeding, earsplitting crying if she didn't get it (people actually commented on how loud her cry was), wanted to be with me/carried by me (no one else) most of the time, hard to get to sleep & then slept lightly/woke easily....gradually it eased off (though sleep's still not her strong point, so I guess some things go on). Sleep is still a huge issue. It's hard to leave her with a sitter in the evening because she always wakes up before we get home & won't go back to sleep til I'm back. Even if it's my husband she's not really happy though he usually manages to get her back to sleep. I'm not sure this is the level of high needs you're talking about but I do recall saying to a friend that maybe I should do CIO since crying is all she does all the time no matter what I do!


I wouldn't classify myself quite as an introvert but I do need my peace & quiet. I also had similar ideas to you about what parenting would be - I actually thought I would be working on my artwork while the baby napped peacefully in her cot in the other room...ah the innocence of a 1st pregnancy :) And like you, AP came naturally to me, yet the actual day to day of it made me feel trapped...yet I couldn't do anything else. In hindsight, I should have left her with others more often, to get a break/sanity. As Dar said, she wouldn't have liked it, but she would have been fine. I do that more now - she's nearly 3. But it's still hard that my life has become her & though she's mostly easygoing, she's still a toddler & has alot of demands. Perhaps you need to somehow re-claim some element of your non-mama self. I don't know your child & how she would react to a babysitter but you could think of it this way: even if she doesn't like it in the short term, it will give you the much needed break so that you can be better enjoy/cope with parenting at this stage.


Another idea is to look at the times when your daughter does seem "in a good mood" as you put it - is there anything consistent about that? something you can replicate/make happen more often? at one stage when mine was difficult I decided to go with her flow...while it didn't help in the 'where's my old life/independence/etc' part of the problem...it made being home with her a nicer experience.


On a more practical level, does she like a sling/baby carrier? Mine spent alot of time in one, around the house even. Like when I was cooking, which I really enjoy, but not with a screaming mimi hanging off my leg. Definitely on hikes & when we were travelling. Because we insanely did carry on with what we like to do, including backpacking/travelling.


Something sort of silly that helps me too: to look at her hands. This sounds ridiculous but it links to something my aunt who's an occupational therapist mentioned to me once about the difference in hand physiognomy of adults & small children in relation to motor skills. Baby hands. It seems to me that sometimes I become so used to my child & her will that I forget how young she really is; how she's just a tiny creature who is mostly controlled by biology (as opposed to intellect). Somehow her hands remind me of that.


Good luck & you're not alone

post #53 of 64

I could have written this post a few years ago with my first.

He was/is very intense and just so very needy and cried all the time.

It was draining and I often felt like I was going stark raving mad!


The good news is that things do change/improve.

Now with my 3rd at 8 months I can honestly say I enjoy motherhood more than I don't enjoy it.

My very high needs baby is now a happy go lucky young boy who smiles and laughs more than he cries.  We have also come to know and understand him a lot more and understand when he cries which helps.

I still have days where I wish I could sleep in, the noise makes me insane, or I wish could just be with my dh and have an uninterrupted conversation.but for the most part I'm ok with it.  I've realised how fast it goes and that this is just one season in my life.


I've seen some good books recommended in the thread but the one that made the most impact on me was Aletha Solter's The Aware Baby...it helped me so much when it came to coping with crying, it changed everything for me with my other two and I wish I would have read it when I had my first baby because I regret how I reacted to his crying so much.


Anyway, I just wanted to say it's ok not to like being a parent all the time, it's the hardest job ever and full of unpleasant and often also boring tasks.

But it can also be the most rewarding job when you get it right joy.gif

post #54 of 64
Originally Posted by kittentips View Post


I've seen some good books recommended in the thread but the one that made the most impact on me was Aletha Solter's The Aware Baby...it helped me so much when it came to coping with crying, it changed everything for me with my other two and I wish I would have read it when I had my first baby because I regret how I reacted to his crying so much.


I totally "second" Aletha Solter. The Aware Baby is an amazing book that helps us realize that crying isn't always bad and we don't always have to 'fix' our baby's distress. Just like they used to sing on Free to Be, You and Me,  "it's alright to cry....."

post #55 of 64

Something sort of silly that helps me too: to look at her hands. This sounds ridiculous but it links to something my aunt who's an occupational therapist mentioned to me once about the difference in hand physiognomy of adults & small children in relation to motor skills. Baby hands. It seems to me that sometimes I become so used to my child & her will that I forget how young she really is; how she's just a tiny creature who is mostly controlled by biology (as opposed to intellect). Somehow her hands remind me of that.


 I love this. Thank you,

post #56 of 64
Just want to say I got the most out of this thread than anything else on mothering! I'm a first time mama to a 6 month old high needs baby and I am constantly overwhelmed by how difficult taking care of her is and also how much it changed my life and marriage. Thank you OP for being so real. Because of your courage, I really benefited. Three of my friends (who live out-of-state) all had babies within a month of mine. They're touring Europe, going cross-country, attending weddings that we had to rsvp "no" to (all bc of our LO) and my husband and I can't imagine that being possible until *maybe* DD is 18 years old!
Plus, I've been a nanny and preschool aid for over 15 years! I always adored kids, loved kids and wanted kids, and lots of them at that! I was like the baby Whisperer of sorts and NO WAY could anything have prepared me for life with my high needs baby. I don't have much advice (I'm mostly on the receiving end of this thread) but I had to write and thank all of you that took the time to write in this thread... you don't know how much this mama appreciates it! I'm taking my favorite pieces of advice from here and hanging them up to remind myself everyday.
post #57 of 64
The first year of my first born's life was the worst year of my life, and the next year was the second worst year of my life. It was really really really hard and horrible. I also did everything right, but not because I was having fun. High needs kids are very difficult and there is a mourning of the carefree days that came before dealing with that level of neediness.

I ended up with PPD and joined a support group, which helped a ton. I also think in the long run breastfeeding helped, because I was forced to hold and interact with my dd so often. And probably co-sleeping helped too, as it also forced me into some level of closeness. At least those things probably helped keep me from not attaching to her at all.

It's OK to have a hard time with the adjustment and to need help, and to need people to vent to. And it does get better as they get older. You don't need to have any more kids. After my first, I absolutely planned to stop having any. I changed my mind when my oldest was 6 and was easier to deal with, but it would have been fine for me to stick with the one too.

Hugs to you and stick in there! We're here any time to need to vent. <3
post #58 of 64

I stopped reading at post 24 because my kids are starting to lose patience.


I am *bad* at the mom group thing. Really bad. Terrible. Horrid. Oh Holy Heck Bad.


What I have done is take my kids out of the house a lot to "adult" places at off times. Grocery stores. Target. Little local shops of all kinds. We wander through and practice looking and not touching. I describe everything at their eye level. Colors, shapes, functions ("this is a lawn mower; it is for cutting grass"), whatever. My husband isn't around very much and I have no one to help with babysitting. That's not true. Now that the kids are older I have help. I had no help while they were babies. The Godmamas didn't help when they were babies because babies are "scary".


Really high needs kids need A LOT OF INPUT. I combine having times when I really super intensely talk about a variety of different things in a short period of time (these wanders are usually about an hour) with an hour of RUNNING with the kids (it has gotten me in shape) and then the kids sleep well. If I don't do that... not so much.


My kids need a lot of intense information stream. They have to be *focused on* and talked to really specifically in addition to our normal chatter. It's like our daily date.


As a result my kids have really weird and broad vocabularies for two and four year olds. Ok, so socially they are rather weird but that was unavoidable.


This kind of getting out is how I cope. We walk. My two year old can *walk* two miles. She won't use a carrier any more or ride in a wagon or a stroller. She wants to get out and walk to where we are going. I wish we lived in a more walkable neighborhood. I'm pushing my city to change that. :)

post #59 of 64
Originally Posted by leilasmama View Post


Something sort of silly that helps me too: to look at her hands. This sounds ridiculous but it links to something my aunt who's an occupational therapist mentioned to me once about the difference in hand physiognomy of adults & small children in relation to motor skills. Baby hands. It seems to me that sometimes I become so used to my child & her will that I forget how young she really is; how she's just a tiny creature who is mostly controlled by biology (as opposed to intellect). Somehow her hands remind me of that.



This was such a good reminder it made me almost cry- I do, subconsciously, do this sometimes...when I'm really frustrated, or having a very hard day, I'll focus on the tiny baby features of her- her little hands, her tiny toes, her itty bitty lips, and remind myself just how very small she is.


This entire thread almost made me cry, really. My DD is 9 months old and has been described over and over on this thread...she's highly energetic, and highly spirited. She's incredibly smart and is constantly "into everything"...right now she's studying my shoe in intense detail. She will go all over the house, going through boxes, pulling things off shelves, studying everything she can. She's really tiny, partially I'm sure because she never wants to sit still long enough to eat, so she nurses a ton at night to make up for it. I plan on seeing how I'm feeling at 18 months and possibly night weaning then.


I knew that parenting would be tough but I guess I didn't realize all of the little details (even though I babysat and nannied for years). A friend of mine has asked before what the adjustment is like and it's hard to explain. The first 4 weeks of her life were kind of...awful. redface.gif She was a nurse all the time, day and night, even in her sleep kind of baby. The doctor told me to chart how much she was eating (this was an awful pedi that I dropped by the time she was 3 weeks old)...the chart showed her eating 45+ minutes of every hour. Sometimes for 5 minutes, sometimes for 75 minutes, with maybe 10 minutes in between (and that was really only if someone else was holding her). I did NOT expect it to be like that. People told me that newborns eat frequently but that was beyond frequently. It was constant. It was pretty much impossible for me to get 3 meals in myself each day, and showers were a rare luxury. I remember sobbing to SO because I felt like I was never going to have any "me" time again, never going to get to take a hot bath or read a book again. That phase passed, as they all do, but she still goes goes goes.


The things that I have found that helped: getting out of the house. To a mom's group, to a non mom's group, to Target. WHATEVER. Just getting me dressed, getting her dressed, and going. Having a fairly "set" bedtime (about a 45 minute time range) so that I know when I will be "off" for the evening and can relax, and a routine that we do each night leading up to bedtime. I try to keep her naps fairly structured, too, and try not to wait until she is in meltdown mode because she is exhausted. 


I've noted a few suggestions on books on this thread because I know that she is going to be a "challenge" (I don't mean that in a bad way, it's just true). She's very spirited and already has a much stronger personality than I have EVER had. I know she's going to keep us busy and I want to learn all I can about fostering that strong personality while also not giving into her all the time because it seems easier.


I also work, and she goes with me, so it pretty much feels like we are always going non-stop.


I wanted to come back and add this photo:


It's from last night and pretty much perfectly explains my DD. She's going to be way more of a risk-taker than I ever have been, I can already tell.

post #60 of 64

She's beautiful! And you can see her feistiness!!

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