I've not been on in a while. My children's dad moved out in October. Things have been going really surprisingly well. I think it has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, in fact, it is really a relief to be on my own (even though it wasn't my choice).
Most days things are going well. I think I'm doing pretty well balancing a 5 year old and an 8 month old baby. But there are those moments.....
Like dinner and bedtime. Baby clearly is ready to head to bed around 6 or 6:30. But that is dinner time. My older DD does not want to be on her own. So she won't just stay downstairs while I get baby to bed. Plus, dinner is an important meal for us as it is our main time to sit down and eat together.
I usually just make the baby stay up until after we eat then get her up to bed with my 5 year old right there with us. But then the 5 year old is bouncing on the bed and full of energy while I'm trying to wind down the baby.
Then she just doesn't want to be 5 feet away from me while I nurse and rock. By this point in the day I just want some quiet space to nurse and relax! There is no second parent to help her get ready for bed. So sometimes she gets to bed late because the baby doesn't go down quickly, or wakes up a lot.
It's just hard sometimes! It just seems that often they both have really different schedule needs at the same time.
We are a Waldorf family and don't have any media for children. I know that is something that a lot of mothers (single or not) rely on, but it isn't something I'm willing to do just yet.
I try to be really gentle on myself about it, but I can get really frustrated when I feel I can't give them what they need.
Any tricks or advice? Has anyone here managed adjusting to being single with more than one child when one of those kiddos was a baby?
I'll mention that I have 100% custody. Their dad joins us for dinner a few nights a week, but that is it.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I did bedtimes alone from the time my youngest was a few months old because we'd moved to far from XH's job for him to get home in time. Mine are close to the spread you have (4 yrs apart), so I totally get it.
Dinner was pretty early, like 5pm and then everyone went to bed. By that point, we'd put bedtimes pretty early (6ish in the fall, 7 after daylight savings) because my oldest was a very early riser (that's only changed in the last year or so since he's hit puberty) and would just get more and more wound up when he was tired. The baby was actually the one who often didn't need to go to sleep but he'd be happy to nurse quietly and then, if I wanted to get back up after oldest was asleep (I had to stay with him until he was totally out until he was well past 6 yrs old), we'd go into my office and he'd nurse more while I was on the computer.
I'm not one for messing with people's internal clocks, but I did do a teeny bit of tweaking of naps and such to get things lined up. A tired kid has a hard time resisting a dark, quiet room at the end of the day - heck I fell asleep with them most of the time. =)
Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
It sounds like earlier dinners might be the answer. I have aimed at 5 or 5:30 dinners but it seems to be a challenge to eat before 6 for some reason. But I have noticed that an earlier start into bedtime makes things flow more easily. Maybe I need to focus on easier meals or having things already prepared.
DD1 is going through another separation anxiety phase, so she just doesn't want to be in her own room while I get the baby down (even though her room is right across from mine and she can clearly see me in the rocking chair). She is also coming back into my bed to sleep at night, so I'm squeezed between the baby on one side and her on the other and afraid that they are going to wake each other up. I'm trying to take the perspective that this will all pass. Soon they will both be bigger and more independent. It is just right now I feel like I don't have it all figured out yet.
Sometimes this process of serving the needs of two little ones at the same time on my own is just crazy. But the really funny thing is that it is still WAY LESS stressful than my life was before when I had STBX here. The little bit of help that he was able to offer when he lived here just came at such a high stress price. So, I feel like I shouldn't complain at all. Still, I have those moments....