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Toddlers and Being a SAHM

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey Moms & Dads, I've been lurking here for awhile but haven't posted yet, and it's been kind of a weird day today, so I thought it'd be a good time to. :) I'm looking for some guidance with this stay at home business! I have a 2.5 year old boy, "spirited" (I'm reading that book now and it's helping, heh), and I'm experiencing some challenges. One is, he gave up his nap a few months ago and it makes for a LONG day. My SO is gone 11 hours a day, so it's just him and I. We have our activity groups, playdates, etc., but the last two hours before SO get home are the most challenging- I'm just drained by then. I think he is still tired, because he will start acting out. I'll try to redirect him to have "quiet time" with an activity, but that leads me to my second issue.....


I hope this doesn't come out the wrong way, but he suddenly wants to interact with me ALL the time (unless he's watching tv or playing on the iPad). Up until recently, he could and would entertain himself, happily playing with his various toys, coming over to check on me while I clean/going about my day to day for a hug or kiss, then going back. Of course we would still be talking, interacting, and such, but now it's like he wants me to play with him or he won't play at all, just follow me around and occasionally tell me that he's "bored." I feel guilty for not playing with him enough, but I can only take so much. My brain is always going, I always have to be doing something, and it can be hard for me to sit and play for a long period of time. We do do outdoor activities together, which I LOVE, but unfortunately we can't be outside all day!


One other thing is, I feel like my energy resources are really low, which are contributing to these problems. I used to use his naptime as meditation/yoga time, but now that time is gone, and I just feel run ragged by the end of the day. I try to do those things while he's up, but it's just not the same. I just feel like I'm not being the Mom I want to be, and it makes me feel even worse. :(


I feel like such a complainer writing all this, I just wanted to see if anyone could offer any wisdom. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 22

I'm sure having him drop that nap was rally hard, have you considered having him learn yoga with you? i j=know of a lot of moms that figured out how to incorporate their kids in their person time that way. and he could learn a lot from it too!


and welcome out of lurkdom!

post #3 of 22

I was just going to suggest the same thing as ^PP. 


You want to know how I do yoga? In the middle of the living room, with the baby on the floor (3 months) a toddler running circles around me like crazy, and a preschooler moping around, and complaining. Generally a cartoon is also on in the background (because I need my coffee in the morning, and it only takes me ten minutes to drink that.  A cartoon is usually 30 minutes. Which gives me 20 minutes of non-perfect yoga.) Take what you can get, mama.  Even if it "isn't the same."  


And my advice for the constant wanting you to play, is to give in a day or two.  Just play with him.  Do what he wants.  It is sooo boring and mind numbing some times, but my guess is after some constant attention from you, he is going to need some space winky.gif Trust me, I have a three year old who gets like that occasionally. 

post #4 of 22

I am sure you have tired this so this is probably a dumb idea but can you try to get the nap back at all? I would lose it if I didn't get that nap in the middle of the day (mine is also 2 and a 1/2) so I really feel for you. What was the process of the nap going away and is there any possibility of reintroducing it?

post #5 of 22

Snapdragon, I went through the same thing with OP. If I made my son take a nap at that age, he'd be up until 10 or 10:30 but then awake again at 7 and then grumpy all day because he was tired. It simply didn't work for him. I had to give them up at the same age..around 2. I sort of let him just get through the day until bedtime until the baby was born, but once I had a newborn, I really needed that break in the middle of the day, so now we do quiet time. He's 3 1/2 now and does much better with it than when he first started, but if I give him attention in the morning, and then use tv or ipod or something interactive for quiet time, I can usually get 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted peace each day, during the baby's nap. I almost require this now. There are exceptions though, sometimes we'll want to go out all day and we'd be gone during nap/quiet time, and in that case, we just skipped it, but usually they stay entertained the whole time that we're out, so it's not as draining on myself. If he's being super demanding for your attention, you can simply give it to him, and he'll probably then be happy to go off and play by himself for a bit, or you could tell him "in five minutes. let mommy finish what I'm doing" and then gradually stretch it out to longer so he'll get used to waiting. It's also very much okay to let him get bored and whine a bit because he doesn't know what to do. He'll figure it out! He may be a little young at this age and need more guidance, but trust me, by the time he's 3 or 3 1/2, you'll expect him to keep himself entertained for a bit. He may whine, but it's okay. I also tell my son he can either go find something to do, and I'll usually throw out a few suggestions, or he can help me "clean the floor, take out trash, put clothes away, load the dishwasher, etc" and sometimes he'll help, and sometimes he'll go off and play. I've also found that the days I give him enough attention, he's much more willing to listen to me when I ask him to do something..He's really bad about this. Good luck mama, you'll look back and miss 2 1/2!!

post #6 of 22

I have a 6 and 2.5 year old and my dh also works long hours at a full time job and our side business, so he always works at least one weekend day, too, this time of year he works seven days a week.  My dd2.5 does not usually nap, maybe every third day if I'm lucky.  She would probably nap every day if I let her from 2-3:30, but then she's up past 9 pm and that doesn't work around here. During the school year, I leave to pick up my ds6 from school at 1, so if she hasn't napped by then she powers through the day, maybe cat naps in the car, and goes to bed at 7 at the latest.


My days are long and can be stressful, I am up to start the day at 6 am and my dh gets home from work at 7 pm. What saves me is "quiet time", early bedtimes, and I've structured my late afternoons in a way that is less stressful for me (the 4:30-7 pm hours are the worst).


This is how I structure "quiet time": We have a busy morning, taking ds to school and going to a class/activity or running errands, then home for lunch at 11 and dd in her room at 11:30/45. We read a couple books, close the curtains, turn on a music cd, and she gets settled down. I tell her she can go sleepies if she's tired but she doesn't have to, she can look at books, play quietly, I don't care what she does, as long as she stays in her room (I did the same thing with ds when he was 3 and stopped napping).  When she's really tired, she falls asleep for a bit, but most days she just hangs out. I do wedge her door to where it is not closed all the way, but she can't just swing it open, and she will come and talk at it when she needs me. I check her a few times, giving her more kisses or help her with a toy or game if she's stuck. I get her out at 1:00 and we go pick up ds and head to our afternoon activities. That hour or so I have to myself is golden and saves my sanity, it's not as long as nap time used to be but it's something. I usually eat, then workout, I like to watch a show while I ride my exercise bike. I used to do housework, but now focus on me time. On weekends and during summer, my ds does quiet time too, it's just a part of our day and he understands it's also my quiet time.


This is how I structure my afternoons and get everyone to bed early: Like I said, we pick up ds at 1:20 from school. Two days a week, we have ds's gymnastics or we go swimming, sometimes we play with friends or go to the zoo, but most days we come home and play in the backyard and I work on chores and dinner while interacting with the kids. Then about 4, we pick up and I sweep/vacuum and it's bath time. I find that's when I start to fade, so I throw them in the bath/shower, they are always dirty from playing outside anyway. After that, it's jammies, dinner, then videos. I admit my kids watch about 1.5 hours of tv at this point, mostly pbs shows, scholastic videos and things like Little Bear, I save all their screen time for this time of day. They play quietly while watching and I often sit with them to give them cuddle time. Dh gets home about 7, immediately does books/bed with dd, then books/bed with ds at 7:30. By picking up the house and bathing my kids before dinner, it is easier to get them to bed early, whenever we do bath after dinner they always end up going to bed later. If dh has to work late, he does not see them, that's just our reality right now. 


After 8 pm, they are usually both asleep and I have a quiet moment to relax, shower, etc. I need some down time to be able to sleep. On days my kids are up later, for whatever reason, I find that I stay up too late, too. 


I know it probably seems a little arbitrary, but it works for us, and by setting up my days like this I make sure I get breaks and some desperately needed down time so I don't get too touched out, but my kids also get plenty of mommy time.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!! (for some reason I didn't get any emails of replies, so I apologize for my late response!) Mrs. Bone, that is us to a T! Your reply really gives me hope! hehe. And I bet I will miss 2.5- the extremes of human emotion! The sweet side anyway. ;)


The sleep thing is just SO tricky, I honestly feel like he's acting out a bit *because* he's tired, but like I said, naps are sadly out of the question for us now. :( I feel like he's going through something, for maybe the last two weeks. I feel like I'm going crazy some days! Colemom, I do a quiet time thing every day, but I like your ideas better- the quiet music and laying down. I'm definitely going to try that. Thanks for telling me your schedule, it's helpful- structure is so necessary for the loooong days! 


He will do yoga with me, but after about 3 minutes it's all, "Mommy, Mommy" and trying to climb on me and block my moves, lol. It's soo ridiculous looking! And he'll even cooperate with meditating for about the same amount of time, then he's telling me "wake up!" heh. But yeah, I should just take what I can get. The no nap thing really threw me off my Mom routine and I feel so much better when I can do that stuff earlier in the day instead of waiting til after he goes to bed- then I just get sleepy, faster, when I want to stay up and see my SO, haha.


CherryBombMama, that's such a funny visual, I can sooo relate! We should have a MomYoga series on youtube or something, haha. 


Ideally, I would like to do nursery school/something along those line 2 days a week, but our finances are so weird right now so it'll have to wait until I find a part time job (then there's the issue of, what's the tuition to paycheck ratio, but that's a discussion for a different day...), in the meantime I'd like to start a co-op of sorts with some other moms, but I don't really feel close enough to some of our Mom/Kid friends to ask, but yeah, I'm getting off topic here! Thanks again for all of your awesome replies! :)

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Snapdragon, that's not a dumb idea at all, I would SO be doing that if him having one didn't entail him staying up until 10pm.... then getting up the next day grouchy and tired, like Mrs. Bone had happen to her! I'm hoping that just laying down and listening to relaxing music will help his energy reserves. :)

post #9 of 22

I have a 1.5 and a 3 year old, but we always do quiet time!  Quiet time does not have to be sleep!!!!!!!! My 1 year old naps, and the 3 year old will fall asleep on occasion, but mostly she is in her room, door shut, training her dolphins or teaching them gymnastics or some other thing.  This time is SO important.  We all need a moment to be alone during the day or we grind on eachother's nerves.  If DD misses her quiet time, she is MISERABLE to be around - and it is not for lack of sleep.  It is hard for littles to be "on " all day just like it is for us.


We don't do screen time (for the kids) and the adult screen time is very minimal around here (no TV, no gaming, about 20 min computer time for adults and none for kids), so that is not an aspect of quiet time in our home.  But we all "defrag" and get our heads on straight and it makes for a much smoother afternoon.  We shoot for about 2 hours of quiet time (be cause that is how long younger naps) and when younger drops naps we will most likely shorten to 1 hour.


I guess the main point of all this rambling is that you CAN have a quiet time without sleep/upsetting bedtime, and it is worthwhile.



post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 

It seems like the thing to do! Sounds SO worthwhile- the break is so needed!

post #11 of 22

My DS (2 1/2yo) has been acting similarly.  I finally figured out that his last two 2 year molars are troubling him.  He is especially needy and restive, and that means we get nothing "done" for the day and often miss naps (he is still into naps).  When we are having one of these sorts of days I have to remember to give up on getting things "done" and move at a different pace.  Sometimes we pull out a mat and stretch our bodies or do yoga poses.  Or go on a walk, then he goes off and explores a bit.  Lately when I am really exhausted (and it is too hot for being outside or moving around much period) we go into the bedroom for quiet time, but for both of us.  I have started asking him to tell me what he hears, or to sing with me, or tell me a story.  It is nice to not have to answer questions or wonder what he is getting into, just let go.

post #12 of 22

I just wanted to jump in with hugs and empathy. My daughter is three and she still naps but I feel like when we are home ALL she wants is my attention or tv. I never thought I would be the mom who 'used tv as a babysitter, but I do. When I need to do yoga or have a bath or call a friend I put on a show and leave the room! Honestly, that's the only break I get some nights! My husband and I are seperated now but he also works nights so that 4pm to 930 (bedtime) has always been a tough time for me.

   It doesn't give me a chance to 'do' anything, but I feel alot more sane when we get out of the house. Honestly, I think Jo gets bored at home. Even if we just go to the library where their are other kids to play with or the park and she can run and play in the dirt, I feel better because she is not hanging off me and demanding my attention all the time. That is so exhausting for me.

  Also, I'm right there with you with the yoga. My daughter is a control freak and she yells for me to 'do this yoga' (generally, down dog) whenever I'm trying to practice and if I won't do what she's doing she climbs under me or on top of me and it basically sucks.

   I want her to be the kind of child who can entertain herself so I worry that she's not developing that skill.... but hopefully it's just a phase.

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Phew, so glad it's not just us! Makes me feel better. Femalephish, I'm so with you, I imagined myself being a tv strictly limited/-free mom, but... nope. lol. I used to kind of beat myself up about but I don't anymore, because I realized that I do a lot everyday with my little one, and if I can't get small pockets of the day to recharge/do things around the house (which also helps my mental health, ugh, i wish it didn't lol), then I go crazy and become a person that i'm not proud of, and tv is the means of me getting that time, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it, dammit. lol. I'm thinking it's most likely a phase, my son always used to be able to entertain himself somewhat so hopefully (!) he goes back to that. My friend who has an almost-four year old said when he was three he started sleeping in their room again after not for two years, so maybe they're just funny little stages they all go through, and express in different ways? And yes, mine is definitely controlling, haha. Oooh toddlers! They're such a trip. Also I see that you're from maine, too, that's cool! :)


Mama505, that's a good idea, to have HIM tell ME stories! hehe. Good for their imaginations, too! :) 

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

Also, I just came across these two blogs via Pinterest, thought they had some good ideas for tots, and thought I would share in case anyone else was interested!



post #15 of 22

We struggle with naptime/quiet time, too. When she does take a nap its 3 hours and she is up until 11 but if she doesn't take a nap the last half of the day is stressful. And my DD doesn't like tv or cartoons, unfortunately. My friend has recommended to turn on tv for DD but it just doesn't work. DD also has been doing the not-wanting-to-play-by-herself thing, it really can suck. Now that it will be cold here (MN) in the not too distant future I am not sure what we will do being in the house so much. There have been times when I am doing something in the kitchen and I just have turned around after 30 min of whining and tell her 'GO! PLAY!' but that usually ends in tears. I have really had to learn to drop what I can when I can when that happens and help her or play with whatever she wants to do. Sometimes its as simple as sitting on the couch and reading 2 or 3 short books with her and giving her a snack and she's fine or having a floor picnic with her for a few minutes.

post #16 of 22

astromum-- I can relate in so many ways!!! I have a 2 and a half year old son who is very active and *spirited* as well. And I run an Etsy business and a landscaping business from home (I do the bookkeeping/secretarial work for my husband's business.) We're also having serious nap struggles right now---if DS does nap, he's up until 10 and grumpy the next day, and if he doesn't nap, he's a wreck for the last few hours of the day, even if he's in bed by 6. He also demands almost constant engagement, like you said. He wants to be talking and interacting with me all day---which I think is great for his growth and development, but exhausting for me! He probably spends 10-20 minutes a day playing by himself...and the rest of the time he's engaging with me in some way (or throwing a temper tantrum because I'm not paying enough attention to him.) Now that he's not napping, DS is watching more videos than before, which I struggle with. I'm trying to lighten up on myself and not feel so guilty about it---it gives me 15-20 minutes of space and/or time to make phone calls, answer e-mails, etc. And I think the down time is actually good for my super-active babe (although I would much rather he was reading a story---but that still requires me at this point!) I don't have any advice---just wanted to let you know you're definitely not alone. I think each stage has its challenges, along with its joys. I loooove the fact that my DS is so enthusiastic and full of energy---it's just hard for me to keep up!!

And P.S. your Etsy shop is beautiful! Those dreamy coastal pictures are refreshing after a long day of desert sun.


Mama505-- great advice. A much needed reminder for me to *go with the flow* and give in to toddler-pace more often. When I really tune into my little one and just spend time following him, things go a lot smoother and I find I'm not as exhausted at the end of the day. I can't always do this, due to business demands, but I think I need to try more often. Thanks for the reminder!

(Oh, and a big hello from a fellow 505er.) 

post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 

GitanaMama, I love your etsy shop- beautiful! I was just in Santa Fe a couple months ago visiting my aunt who lives there. I love Santa Fe! :) Small world! And your post makes me feel so much better, like we are literally going through almost exactly the same thing! Yes, I agree about the down time being necessary to them (and us of course!!)- another thing I'll sometimes do is just take him for a short drive (with some mundane destination in mind), I feel like that's my imposed "relaxation" time for him. And I totally feel ya on how difficult those evenings are, when they're tired and acting out- mine has started biting when he gets tired, which is usually mid-afternoon. :| I tell him no in a firm voice, give him time outs, ask him what's wrong, try to get him to lay down... doesn't get me anywhere. Needless to say, I REALLY hope this biting phase ends, like.. today. I've been sort of entertaining the thought of hiring a mother's helper an afternoon a week or something, but I don't really know anyone with a kid that age and am not sure how to go about finding one! I think it would be a good compromise too, like not spending a bunch of money, but both my kid and I getting a short break from each other and he getting to hang out with "a big kid"... i think it would be good! and i could actually get some more etsy-ing/blogging done during the day, lol. Nice hearing from you. :)

post #18 of 22

I wish I could go with the flow all of the time, but it really isn't that easy huh?!  Another thing I have been doing lately when he is full of energy and I am ready for a nap (or him to nap)... I will say "show me", show me your big jumps, show me how fast you can zoom, show me how many times you can spin, show me how long it takes to run across the entire house crawl from one side of our big bed to the other and then back again... whatever! 


astromum> I like the blog links!  It is really helpful to have something (project/activity) to refocus me when I can't take it anymore!  New ideas are alway appreciated.

post #19 of 22

astromum--I had two thirteen year old girls come and help out a couple times last month---it was the best thing ever!! They're friends of my family and wanted to "practice" babysitting-my son looooved having someone new give him all their attention, and I loved having two hours to get work done! I'm hoping to make it a more regular thing. So helpful for my sanity!


Mama505--we just invented a new game called "night night." I get to lay down on the playroom floor and DS covers me with various blankets. Then I'm supposed to wake up, eat breakfast, and then I get to go back to sleep. It's the best! I get to spend half an hour sprawled out on the floor and DS has the satisfaction of feeling like I'm really playing with him. We also like to do the "show me" game that you described, but sometimes I'm too exhausted to do the required commentary and enthusiastic oohing and aaahing. :)

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

mama505, oh that's a good idea- I actually did that today with my little guy while I was finishing my coffee, lol. "Show me how you jump!" and his face lit right up and he started jumping, lol.


gitanamama, that sounds SO nice, a win-win-win situation! I must start a search... there has to be someone who fits the bill around where I live. Luckily, I am able to spend days with my family (son & i will drive to my family's house 3 hours away for 4-5 days during the week, about once every 4-6 weeks), which is so awesome for everyone, and helpful for me (I'm the oldest and still have sibs at home who my son thinks are the coolest people ever, lol) but I think a mother's helper would be awesome for when I'm home. :) Even if it was just once a month. Also, totally going to try the night night game! clever mamas here. :)


and sorry for another link, (this will be the last one, i promise!), but they have some AWESOME ideas for the little ones! I gotta say, I really like the painting in the tub one, hahaha.




thanks for all your input. it's so nice to interact with other moms going through similar stages with their babes. :) xo

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