How do you do it?? With this second child I feel spread so thin. My 2.5 year old needs so much more attention than he is getting, but how do I find the time. The baby is crying as I write this! Babywearing can only help so much. I resort to TV way too much. And it being 10 degrees outside with 3 foot drifts doesn't help. Any ideas are appreciated.
How do I do it? Right now, we're living with my parents. DH stays up with the little one until late, I nurse the little guy (about 3 months old, now) a couple of times in the night while trying to get my 3-year old to go back to sleep without nursing at least occasionally. Sometimes I nurse the 3-year-old down for a nap while my parents or DH watches the baby, then go nurse the baby, and then I just feel like one big mammary gland.
My 3-year-old (she was 2 years, 9 months when the new guy was born) has been very demanding since she became a big sister. I think you just have to fumble through and do the best you can in the moment. Also, I have the older one in preschool 3 mornings a week, which I think is good for her. The older ones have a lot of physical/social energy, and it's nice for them to have a place to do that with new stimulus. Community play-groups and the library are also good.
But having other adults in the house is the biggest help.
I know that in part, I am fortunate that my son is pretty crazy about his little sister. He'll be 3 in January, she is 7 weeks. I SAH but we are very far from family, and our friends, of course, work. We can't afford sitters or any kind of "preschool" atm, so it's just me till about 6 each day.
For sure it's hard, I think what helps me is reasonable distractions for my son, and things in my own reaction that seem little.
His good distraction is a wooden train set that was a "gift" from DD when we got home from the hospital.
But I think the bigger thing is trying to keep the mentality of mostly tending to DD's basic needs-food, clean diaper, lots of time in the Moby-and doing less lavishing of attention that I was able to do with my son. Not that I don't interact with DD, but I can't exactly hold her up and make silly faces at her for 20 minutes, either.
I don't like to hear her cry of course, but when she does I know it's for food or a dry diaper-both of which can wait 30 seconds while I finish up with my son or explain what I need to do. Whenever possible, I give him advance notice-that I'll have to feed his sister soon, but after that we can finish building the train tracks. I also do what I can with him while she's eating, and if my hands are full changing her, I make sure to keep talking to him or involve him(like asking him to hand me something). We can easily play a game of I-spy or something when my hands are full.
I make a huge effort not to seem like I am dropping off the radar whenever she needs anything.
But really, unless she's eating or being changed, she MUST be in the Moby or she's hysterical-so it's definitely not easy! That's my only real advice I guess-we're just feeling our way along like everybody else!!
My DH does shift work, so I spend a lot of my time as a solo parent to DS1 and DS2. There are times when I'm definitely feeling like I'm losing it - DS2 is crying while I'm trying to deal with DS1 and vice versa, and in those moments I just do my best. What it comes down to, for me anyway, is that I'm only one mama, I love both my children, and they will know that I am there for them, even if I can't do what they want in that moment. Before I know it, that moment has passed, and we'll be sitting on the floor all playing together sharing smiles and cuddles (we have a lot of floor time ).
Also, we spend a lot of time at home. I find that when I'm trying to get out too much, I start to get stressed, and then can't cope as well when it's dinnertime and everyone is hungry and needs something. I also *try* to cook big meals so we can have leftovers either frozen or just reheated on the days DS1 needs more attention. He just turned two, so I get him to 'help' me with whatever task I'm trying to do - with his brother or the housework.
I hope that helps!
Baby on my hip, preschooler on my lap, kindergartener climbing my back, bird on my shoulder, dog at my feet, DH holding us all together.
arriving Jun 2014
Thank you all so much for the input.
It helps immensely just to hear that others have found it to be as difficult as I have.
And I would love to write more but my two year old is swinging a broom around his sister!
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