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Need some support...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I need some support. Some 'been there, done that's. Some 'you're not such a bad mama's. Some 'it's just a phase's.

I'm just having a rotten day, and I'm afraid that this is toddlerdom. I'm afraid that this is what my days are all going to be like now. All of a sudden lately Jackson is so needy and so willful. I can't leave the room, can't get anything done. Used to be leaving the house saved us when those moods hit, but now he's not happy in the car, not happy anywhere. I can't get through the grocery store without him crying, even when I'm handing over toys and opening up food packages to give him snacks. I can't shower. Can't bathe. If I eat in front of him he cries unless I give him some, and sometimes I eat things like cheese that I don't want him to have. Today was just a struggle from the moment we woke up. Until the moment he went to sleep, which was about ten minutes ago, bouncing violently on the birth ball because he wouldn't go to sleep any other way. He fought having his pjs on and actually struggled hard against me, slamming his head into my face. This has never, ever happened before. I feel horrible. Like a good, gentle mama would have some better insight and kinder reflexes. Did I really force pj's on my baby tonight?

Basically, the only time he seems really content right now is when he's nursing, and he nurses so much that I'm starting to resent it. Any time I pick him up he's pawing at my breasts. Anytime he's in my lap he's yanking up my shirt to get at them. This evening I finally just laid on the floor and took my shirt off and let him go at it while I cried. He's happy as a little pig, thinks he's in heaven, and I'm just lying there crying feeling like all I am to him is one big boob.

I think a lot of this boils down to a loss of control over my time and my needs and wants. Jackson has always been pretty needy and has never napped well without being held, so it's not like I've been rolling in free time to begin with, but suddenly I can't have a plan at all. I can't do errands, can't plan to do anything around the house, can't have an inch for myself. I'm not enjoying motherhood right now, and that freaks me out because it feels too much like the PPD I experienced a year ago, when for the life of me I couldn't remember why I wanted to have a baby, why I worked for years to have a baby. It feels like too much work. I wonder how the heck am I going to teach him anything when I'm in survival mode like this, just living day to day?

And, to top it all off, the kid is still waking up 8-15 times on an average night. Has since birth. I'm exhausted. Sometimes I wonder if I would be a better mama with more sleep, then I think that's just a cop-out. Either way, I need more sleep desperately. We're going to have to nightwean, probably within a month or so, and that breaks my heart. And feels like more work than I have energy for. I need a break badly. I'm sure when the weekend rolls around my partner can spell me...

If you made it this far, my thanks to you! I'm not usually this pathetic, it's just been a hard day after a couple of hard weeks after a night of particularly horrible sleep. I've been crying the whole time I've been writing this, and now I feel a bit better - you know, the sobbed-it-all-out feeling. I love this little guy so much, it's just a hell of a lot of work and responsibility being somebody's mama.
post #2 of 22
no advice but lots of ((((((((hugs))))))))) I have been where you are and still am there some days.......
post #3 of 22
I too have no advice, ds is only 4 months, so we're not there yet, but having read a lot of your posts I know you're an amazing mama! Sending you lots of
post #4 of 22
tara-you're such a great mom--I hope you do feel better from your emotional release. I think the toughest thing is having enough stamina to endure these phases of intensity--and some days are better than others for sure. BIG !
post #5 of 22
i do not think it is a cop out to say you feel that you could be a better mom if you got more sleep. i sometimes feel so grouchy and unloving that i'm like 'who am i?'. then i sleep and i'm me again. it's too bad that the worse i feel, the worse dd feels and behaves.

so i can sympathise. the thing that helps me through those tough places is reminding myself over and and over 'this will pass. i will not feel like this forever.' and then i'm at least more at peace w/ the treachery of it all. it will change, sooner or later. this tough stuff is one part of toddlerdome, but its not the whole thing, not by a long shot.
post #6 of 22
sunbaby~I feel you!I was just going to searching for a topic of this affect.My girls are 25 months so they are all very close in age.for the life of me I cannot figure thids one out.They have been sick in thier defence,but this behavior started a few months before they got sick.So they have been sick,and like this on top of it.Its been 3 months like this.I am really having a hard time with it.All day,alls I can think of is,ok,how can I get them to play for a few minutes without them climbing all over me?So I try nd it doesnt help,so iget frusterated!The most difficult thing for me now is I think,I will hold both bc they are both clingy,and they will be yellin at mt,THERE!THERE!THERE!pionting,and expecting me to go there,but both wan tot go in different directions!So if I donot og to where one wants to go,There is a tantrum!Much of the sme bashing thier heads against mine,and each others.I also had to force pj on my little girl the other night too.
I am sorry I dont have any thing to help you,just wanted you to know our babies are going through the same thing,whatever this is.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all. Today I feel just a little shy about yesterday's outburst of emotion, but... I really needed to do it, and I really needed to hear your calming words!

Today the babe and I are on a more even keel. So far. I think there are a couple of things going on... I think he's entering that separation anxiety phase that tends to preceed walking, so he doesn't want me to leave the room and he wants to nurse like crazy for comfort. Also, he's realizing his power, that he can ask for things he wants... And, since he's just a baby and doesn't have any words, his 'asking' is actually crying. And when he doesn't get that thing he's wanting it really makes him mad. Of course. And again, no words = crying. Crying, crying, crying all day long is hard on the mama, but he's just doing the best he can to communicate. And if I can just take one wee step back and look at the big picture, I know I want him to have a sense of his power. I want him to communicate.

I really thought I would be a more patient mama. More mindful. But, I think I'm learning that (at least for me) patience and mindfulness come with thought and practice. It's too much for me to expect to automatically respond like somebody's dream mama, especially with chronic sleep deprivation.

Anyhoo, thanks again. It means a lot to me to be able to come here when I'm feeling low.
post #8 of 22
I can totally relate to the communication frustrations - have you considered doing baby signs with him? I wish I would have with my ds, and am just now starting with my dd (as of yesaterday LOL!) Many people have had GREAT results with it!
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi, Graceoc. Yup, we do sign. He knows some signs, but seems to prefer his own 'signs', which include yanking my shirt up to nurse and pointing and screaming when he wants something. We'll get there...
post #10 of 22
God, I am SO where you are. Here's my theory: it's so easy being an AP mom to an infant. You think, I'm the greatest AP mom. I'm doing such a good job being attached. Um, yeah. Wow. Good for you. Then you have a toddler. All of a sudden they get to the clingy, whiny, separation anxiety phase, and you suddenly feel like the crappiest AP mom because you find yourself guiltily thinking, Can't you just get OFF me for a while?? Then you think, I'm not supposed to think that! But you can't help it.

Dd is SO clingy, so whiny, that she actually (this is cute) brings me the sling in the morning when we're all out of bed--holding it up to me. "Okay, mom, we're done our all-night nursing marathon, time to sling my 22 pounds around while you make breakfast!" Then, when that's over, it's not like it mattered; it's "why do you think you're putting me down?"

Intellectually I understand all of this and have boundless empathy. Emotionally, I'm usually there too, but I have my moments where I just want some space so badly --then, of course, if I'm away from her, I miss her so much! Explain to me the vagaries of motherhood.
post #11 of 22
I now find myself thinking that caring for an infant is a piece of cake. I'm a lot less sure of myself with my toddler.

The only thing that makes me feel better is an hour or two to myself. Can your partner step in?
post #12 of 22

oh baby

Yes, I have been there and am still there. I know they say colic can only last for 3 months, but this one has defied all reason and has been colicky for 15 months! Actually, his good days are increasing lately, but he is still quite needy, clingy, screamy and cries more than the average baby his age. I often find myself saying, "why me"? Especially when we're out in public and everybody is staring at my wild child. I don't think he screams and cries to get attention or manipulate, like my mainstream friends tell me...I think he's just a super-sensitive being.

I cannot explain why things are better lately, but I'm learning to view it as a phase, not as a permanent thing. I know it will get hard again. I have regular help, though...can you get someone to help out, even a highschool 'mother's helper'? We have an older couple watch him while I go to school every morning. This has changed my whole attitude, truly. It took several months for ds to be okay with it (several terribly heart-wrenching months filled with tears and screaming), but he runs to the door now when he hears them come in the morning. He's proved his flexibility and openness here and I'm so proud of him.

Take care of your own heart, too. It's easy to head into depression when you look to the future with dread. I know I do sometimes, as in, "toddlerdom is just going to be filled with unsurpassable challenges, I am so terrified!!!" Taking time for yourself and using it well is really, really important for your own well-being as a loving mother.

Check out my recent post for some more support: http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=30911
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Ah, more good support! I love you women! I especially appreciate your post, Serena, because it was funny and because you seemed to take the thoughts right outta my head!

I do desperately need a break and will get one tomorrow. I am the kind of person that pre-baby needed an hour or two alone every day to just regroup and refuel... Now, I'm lucky if I get an hour a week (in ten minute increments). My partner helps out a lot, but he's working long days. And, he has a back injury (caused by days of endless walking and bouncing with a newborn a year ago ) that makes it difficult for him to care for the baby for any length of time. As it improves, he takes more on, but I really don't want it to get so bad again that he can't do anything! Plus, he does all the cooking and more than half of the housework, so I don't complain!!
post #14 of 22
Originally posted by Serena
but I have my moments where I just want some space so badly --then, of course, if I'm away from her, I miss her so much! Explain to me the vagaries of motherhood. [/B]
Oh, I KNOW the feeling! I felt this burning desire to SHOP a while ago. I had to go to Kohl's BY MYSELF. I wanted to look for an outfit without feeling rushed. I did get my hour of alone time, but I missed him the whole time I was out.

Tara - lots of hugs to you! I'm one of those "need to be alone to recharge" kind of people, too. I've been feeling SO guilty about how I've stolen my newspaper time for the last few weeks. Jay Jay the Jetplane and Sesame Street have been my morning helpers. I had been adamently NO TV for my son, but I can sit across the room and drink my coffee and read a section of the paper while he plays and watches.
post #15 of 22
Tara~I just had to read your "sob story" that you mentioned on the other thread. You are going through a lot! Now I'm worried that this is what 12 m.o. ds and I are starting to go through. He wants me to hold him when I make breakfast. He has to taste what I am eating (I am holding him). He wants to help me wash dishes. He wants to be in the shower with me but not always since I am permissive enough to allow him to wander into his the toy room across the hall while I shower. But usually he stands there and stares at me wanting to touch the water and trying to climb into the tub. He was a high need infant. But right now he only wakes up once a night (we nurse in a chair~long story). I wonder if he would wake up more if he didn't cuddle w/ dh 75% of the night now. Sometimes dh will put him on his chest at night to get him back to sleep. Poor dh. He is complaining of being tired lately b/c ds moves around so much at night. I tell him we need another bed but he says he doesn't mind. Sometimes ds won't even nap or stay asleep and I put him on my chest to sleep just to get some relief.

Glad you will be getting some relief soon!
post #16 of 22
Hugs for everyone

This too shall pass. Or so they tell me. DD is 21 months old and still is my constant shadow. I call it "having baby-cling". Like having static cling only instead of unruly clothes you have a baby clinging to you ?

Some days its tough and some days I can step back and enjoy the moment, knowing all too soon she will grow and not need me quite so much. And I will miss this time.

Other days I beg 10 minutes from dh at the end of his long day and lock myself in this room and listen to dd ask for me through the locked door (she is with dh). I guess this kind of devotional love has its price.

Glad you posted here for support, it's good for all of us to know we are not alone
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, this morning my partner took the baby when he woke up and I got 2 more hours of sleep. Two whole hours! Yay! He put him in the car and tried to get him to sleep, but it didn't work so he is currently sleeping in the sling while I bounce on the ball. He gets an A for effort, though. He offerred to take him shopping today, too, but I think I'll want to go along. Also, my sister is going to take him to the Children's Museum tomorrow with her son, so we'll actually get some time alone together! Oh, no, what will we do? We might actually have sex, if I can remember how to do it:

I like 'baby cling' oceanmommy - I just may steal that phrase from you! And, Heather - be careful with the babe playing outside the bathtub while you shower - mine fell in the water on his head a couple of weeks ago!! If yours is starting to do the tippy toes thing, be alert (sorry to sound paranoid). And, thanks for coming here to voice your support; I appreciate it! And, ebethmom, feel no guilt for Sesame Street!

Many, many thanks to you wonderful women. This thread has been very cathartic and healing for me...
post #18 of 22

I can understand how you feel. Check out my response on Ramona's post "Having a bad day w/high needs toddler". Definitely been there, done that...the birthing ball, the carrying, etc.

I have a HN toddler who turned 2 this past Oct. The 1st year was "hell" and I was so jealous of all those moms w/the contented little babies. DH and I had difficulty getting pg, so when I conceived, it was the most wonderful time in my life. After the birth, I too wondered why I got this "crazy" baby after praying for one for so long. I felt guilty b/c I know so many people who would do anything for a baby. I could never complain to them so they think we have a storybook life w/our DD.

Things started to get better at about 15 mos. We also moved DD to her own bed at about that time and I would just go in and nurse her whenever she woke up. She started to wake up less and less as time went by. I think she was so programmed to wake up so frequently. (I thought about this concept deeply when I saw that DH would still wake up like clockwork if he slept in the guestroom and didn't hear a peep. After many months of waking up at the same time every night, you will keep waking up at those times until you start to get some regular sleep.) If DD slept more soundly, she'd probably still be in our bed, but she was clearly sleep-deprived and has difficulty winding down. Whenever I try to bring her back in our bed (b/c *I* sometimes miss her), she'll wake up about 4 times a night and I'll feel horrible the next day.

Now she wakes up about once a night. Occasionally she will sleep through from about 9pm until 6am! We still keep the monitor in her room so I can attend to her quickly. I nightweaned her a couple of mos ago. I had been thinking (actually anguishing and working w/a lactation consultant) about nightweaning and then I got really sick and DH had to go in to her at night. That's pretty much how it happened for us. I don't think I could have done it if she showed a great deal of resistance and I saw behavioral problems as a result of it, so I think the time was right for her to handle this. I nap with her as often as I can and make sure she gets the closeness that she needs. I don't see her weaning completely for some time and that is good b/c nursing is a perfect, healthy tool for my high-needs toddler!

I know how tough some days can be. Then, once in a while you'll have times that don't seem so bad and you start to see things a bit differently...then smack!...there you are again with a bad day. It's a rollercoaster.

Hang in there. You're not a bad mommy. You just have a difficult job.

post #19 of 22
Tara-thank you, thank you for your post. This is really helping me, too-like so much else on MDC.

My DS is only 10.5 mos, but he is quickly entering TODDLERHOOD, and it scares me. He's been an incredibly high-needs baby since day one (colicky, fights sleep, very, very smart & sensitive) but things have gotten better. Then I think about the stage he is entering and I KNOW it could be HARDER than all that!

I spoke to an older, more mom-experienced friend the other day who is also a therapist. When I was discussing my guilt about not being what I thought was the BEST mom all the time, she said, "You thought you would be a saint". And then she said the no one usually wants to hang around with saints. I know I don't. I want family and friends to be REAL-and yet I don't accept this from myself. Go figure. You don't have to be a saint, you just have to try. And your honesty is to be commended. HUGS to you
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
And a big old hug right back at you, Bearsmama!
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