anyone else home with kids, on their own, doing it all? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 08-25-2010, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know there must be others out there...just not apparently where I live. It would be nice to know I'm not alone. Since having my third child, I have left my part time job, and have been completely home with the kids.

My older son is homeschooled, and the younger in preschool, but for a few hours a week, so that leaves me with 3 kids pretty much most of the time. My dh works long hours, so I'm alone from morning until bedtime, coming up with things for us to do. My older 2 don't get along well, so they don't ever just "go play", I need to entertain them, take them on trips, do focused activities constantly or they will actually harm one another or fight nonstop. So while the constant activity is hard, it's harder NOT doing all that stuff.

They don't ever nap, or rest, or stop moving, or stop talking. They don't go to bed til 10 often, and are up at 7. I see my husband a few minutes per day, and usually I'm too tired and emotionally exhausted from the day to have a conversation. I have zero time to do outside activities of my own, most of the time just getting a second to shove in a mouthful of food or schedule a moment to use the bathroom is a challenge.

We have no family around, and no possibility of living near family, or having any family live near us to help. My older son has emotional/social issues so he can't be left with a babysitter, so my husband and I can't ever go out alone. Our sole form of childcare if I need to do something is dh taking vacation time from work.

I am on my own to do all housework, cooking, errands, and appointments. Everyone else I know, their kids go to school, or they have a housekeeper, hire people to do their yardwork, or they have family around to watch the kids whenever they need it so they can go on appointments or dates, the kids go on sleepovers to other people's houses, the husband comes home at 5 and makes dinner, the kids take naps and give the parents a break every day, or they play happily together and the mom is off cooking, sewing, doing yoga, or otherwise living her own life. We are beyond our limit with paying for preschool, so can't afford additional babysitting for the younger kids, or to hire a landscaper or housekeeper.

So, does anyone else hang out with your kids, 24/7/365 AND do everything else to run a household alone, and if so, how do you come to peace with it. I tell myself that there is nothing in life more important than raising children and being present for them, but I can't help but feel unsatisfied a lot of the time, since it's ALL I do in life. I know, or hope, that one day things may change- perhaps my second child will end up going to school, perhaps my older son will stabilize and be able to be left with someone, perhaps something unexpected will happen in our families and we'll end up with more support. But for now, none of that is on the horizon.
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#2 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 01:26 AM
 
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#3 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 01:47 AM
 
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I'm afraid I don't have much useful to say, other than I understand at least some of what you are feeling. I only have one (with another due in November), but I do SAH, and he's quite active. I also am thousands of miles away from family, and no extra money whatsoever. It's super hard to be on duty all the time.
I wish I could say something helpful-but I at least wanted to tell you I hear you, and am sending you lots of
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#4 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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Yes, I do everything currently except fill the bank account with the money to run the home.

My husband is military and that has moved us away from family. This coupled with my social anxiety making it really hard for me to get out and make friends (wouldn't even know HOW anyway) has left me mostly alone.

My husband recently deployed so it will be all me all the time however I only have one kiddo to entertain. She isn't really old enough to help out around the house though... unless you count her 'help' as actual help hehe. Otherwise, I do everything all the time save for the rare visit from mom or grandma and I'll have about a monthish back home... of course, I'll have to do the 12ish hour drive alone with a toddler... i'd stay home longer but I can only stand my family for so long. I love them and they are generally good people, but living with them for extended periods reminds me of why I wanted to move out upon entering adulthood in the first place :P
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#5 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 02:46 AM
 
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well, my kids can get out of control often, they also have medical issues, but i give them calming supplements- vitamin d3 and magnesium and gaba and sometimes 5-htp. i also try to give them food sources of the calming nutrients, and homeopathics. and we got rid of the tv which forces them to interact more (rough transition but worth it). the earlier they go outside in sunlight the better, because that stimulates the circadian rhythms, and the more jumping, bouncing activities (joint compression iirc) the better. i am with mine 24/7, my dh works 6 days a week, but he does do much housework so it's no comparison.
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#6 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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I'm a single, SAHM so I am by myself all the time.

I just suck it up and do it because I have to (much like you I imagine). I get my kids to bed at 7.30pm and after that I have time to do things for me. I would say that your kids are severly sleep deprived and would suggest that you do anything in your power to get them to bed earlier. Not only will it be good for them, it will be good for you.

It's complicated.
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#7 of 27 Old 08-26-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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I don't completely know what you are going through, as my DH does come home around 6 every night, but I can pretty much relate to most of what you said. I also have no family/support network in the area. No sitters. It's just me, me, me and sometimes DH 24/7/365. And yes, it is really tough.

I have no advice other than what PP said, if the kids are up at 7 and in bed at 11, that is MUCH too late. If they aren't napping or resting at all during the day, and staying up that many hours on end, it is a recipe for over-tiredness and DISASTER. It could be why they aren;t getting along, maybe they are too tired and cranky.

Try to get them to bed earlier, or at least have quite time during the day in their rooms, maybe in bed reading quietly, or playing with a toy. They may surprise you and just might fall asleep.

Hang in there!

Tired mommy to a 2, 4, and 6 year old!
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#8 of 27 Old 08-27-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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My dh is military, he works very long hours when he is home and is gone for weeks or months at a time. We live far from family, and honestly I think it's easier that way. Our routine is majorly disturbed any time we visit family or have family visit us and that makes things very hard.

For us, as long as we stick pretty closely to our routine and eat well, we don't have a problem. I do notice a big change when my kids don't get enough sleep or eat a lot of junk, and it takes a while to get back to normal.

Our routine is fairly flexible, and there are only a few things that are important to us. I would imagine the most things are pretty universally important but of course times and that kind of thing will probably vary a lot.

Wake up is between 6 and 8. Sometimes a little earlier. I don't wake anyone but my oldest unless we need to go somewhere. My youngest is usually the first to wake up, and my 3yo always wakes up when I get up. I wake my 7yo around 7 if he's not already awake, because otherwise he has trouble falling asleep at night. My 5yo can sleep as late as he wants, though he very rarely sleeps past 8.

I make breakfast as soon as I get up, something with a good amount of protien, usually sprouted wheat bagels and eggs with spinach and citrus juice. Everyone eats very soon after waking, if not we get grumpy and lazy feeling fast.

We try to go out somewhere in the morning. Generally the playground, though if it's grocery day or whatever we do that first thing. The kids snack in the morning a lot, generally fruit or a granola bar since we're usually out. Anything we need to get done, we try to get done before noon.

The baby naps around noon. This is important. It doesn't really matter how long she sleeps, or where she sleeps, it just needs to be around noon. Later and she gets grumpy and it messes up her nighttime sleep. Lunch is around this time too.

We eat dinner early. My dh is never home for dinner, so there's no sense in waiting for a normal dinner time. I usually start dinner around 3 and we eat around 4. We very rarely go anywhere after dinner, we might go outside and play or take a walk around the neighborhood. Baths as needed, then a snack for whoever wants one.

The two little ones are in bed by 7. Sometimes they go as early as 6. This is really important, if I don't get them in bed until 7:20 they don't go to sleep for an hour, maybe more, and if I didn't know better I would think they just weren't tired yet, but the reality is that they're over tired and can't wind down. My older kids (5 and 7) generally stay out in the living room until 7:30, they pick up if it hasn't already been done or just watch some TV or something. At 7:30 they go to their bed (if I haven't come out for them yet) and read. Generally, the two little ones are asleep by 7:30 so I come out and get them and they either come lay down with me or we read together. They are usually asleep by 8. Sometimes they ask to come to bed with the babies. That is more than fine with me. The babies and I cosleep and the boys either sleep in their room together or on a twin sized mattress beside my bed.

After the kids go to sleep I usually stay up for about an hour in bed, watching lame TV or something. I don't like to come out of the bedroom because I end up staying up too late and then I'm tired in the morning, I also usually find something that "needs" to be done, but I wouldn't have noticed otherwise, like mopping the kitchen floor. I try to have a no housework after the kids are asleep policy. But I also make sure the house is picked up and swept/vacuumed before I put them to bed. Waking up to a messy house is depressing and then I try to get everything done before we go out which means we don't get out of the house until 10am or later and it messes up the routine.

This is really long. I had some coffee this morning, which makes me unusually long winded.
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#9 of 27 Old 08-27-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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I also agree that the children probably aren't getting enough sleep.

Another suggestion would be to drop pre school in favor of having a hired person come in to watch all three children once a week perhaps so that you could have some child free time.

Liz

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#10 of 27 Old 08-27-2010, 01:56 PM
 
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I know what you are going though. I'm in the same boat. My husband goes to work at 4:30am...Home about 7-8pm. Sometime even later. It is hard most days. My younger guy does take a nap. But other then that yeah I'm right there with you.
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#11 of 27 Old 08-27-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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I was in a similar position a few years back. I understand how hard it is, I feel badly knowing that other moms go through this & I know how hard it is to feel the way you do right now. It's so lonely and overwhelming... but it probably doesn't help to hear that your misery has company either, you just want help.

I hope it helps to know that I eventually found my rhythm as a SAHM with little outside help. Everyone finds their rhythm differently no matter what their circumstances. When you're in the middle of it all, it seems like the possibly of finding that harmony in your life isn't possible given the cards you're dealt. Just trust in yourself as a mom and have faith in your abilities. Rely on what you can do for yourself first instead of building resentment when the reinforcements don't show up. Resentment is a killer in this situation!! Focus on your tasks and stay organized. Don't waste energy on counting minutes waiting for your DH to show, assume your flying solo until he arrives (this really saved me!!). Learn to let the little things go (cut the grass tomorrow, leave that load of laundry for now) and focus on what's important in your day, like establishing a proper bedtime. If the kids are in bed at a decent hour it could really change your life. Something like a decent bedtime is an investment in not only your kids but you as well, trust me hun!

You can do this!
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#12 of 27 Old 08-28-2010, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your thoughts, suggestions, and encouragement you've given me a lot to think about. All the changes will take time...but having the beginnings of a plan helps me feel better.

mbhf- thanks for writing out your routine it was helpful to hear what you do and have some comparison!

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Originally Posted by provocativa View Post
i give them calming supplements- vitamin d3 and magnesium and gaba and sometimes 5-htp. i also try to give them food sources of the calming nutrients, and homeopathics.

the earlier they go outside in sunlight the better, because that stimulates the circadian rhythms, and the more jumping, bouncing activities (joint compression iirc) the better. i am with mine 24/7, my dh works 6 days a week, but he does do much housework so it's no comparison.
Oh- my dh does do a ton, too, it's just that he's only home at night and weekends.

Anyway- calming supplements are a good idea, esp. for my older son. I take some myself, and have to narrow down what would be best for the kids and what they would actually take. They do get D3 and fatty acids and occasionally homeopathics or rescue remedy.

Hmmm.. good idea about getting out in the sun earlier- the way things have worked, they are up so early and by the time I eat bkfst, they are starting to go wild and really needing an activity, so that's when I try to do homeschooling since I want to do that when they're fresh and well rested- it's too hard to corral them later in the day to do sit-down work. Then the baby is ready for a nap around 10-11 for 2 hrs or so, so we're home but can be outside running around, and then we're ready for lunch. We don't usually get to the park or other really active stuff until afternoon, but maybe there is some way I could get in more outdoor jumping around in the am and see if it helps.

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. I would say that your kids are severly sleep deprived and would suggest that you do anything in your power to get them to bed earlier. Not only will it be good for them, it will be good for you.
You really have me thinking here. I have monitored their hours of sleep the past few days. They are getting around 10 hrs which is on the low normal side for their ages (I just looked it up). My dh gets home at 7, and we begin the bedtime routine immediately, but it takes until 8:30 or so to get them changed, read to, washed up, etc plus one of us is away putting the baby asleep during that time so one of the kids is left to entertain themselves. Even if we start early, they won't actually SLEEP until 9-10pm. I can't force them to sleep, even if I do the bedtime routine early. And I can't put them to bed before 7 b/c otherwise they will never spend time with their dad and I can't do 3 kids' bedtimes by myself anyway!

BUT you do have me thinking that we should do what we can to shorten the routine, use relaxing supplements, et.

Example: yesterday I kept them out hiking literally all day- from 9-5 we were out. Did bedtime at 7:30, they were asleep by 9. Were up before 7 this morning raring to go. I can't have them out for 8 hrs a day every day, it's just not practical- if they slee 10 hrs with THAT much activity, how can I get them to sleep longer on a more "normal" amount?

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Originally Posted by shells_n_cheese View Post
, or at least have quite time during the day in their rooms, maybe in bed reading quietly, or playing with a toy. They may surprise you and just might fall asleep.

Hang in there!
Thanks But that is funny b/c if it were that easy, I would have been doing it all this time! If I put them in their rooms for quiet time, they simply come out, or continue talking to me, or continuously beg for me to do something with or for them. Other than locking them in there, I don't know how else I can physically "make" them rest or stay put. They will not be still or stop coming up with great activities to do, or play on their own, unless they're watching tv and I try not to depend on that. I do tv breaks for my own sanity, so I can get dinner ready or when we all need a mental break but I don't know if that can be considered rest time. Any tips of how to "enforce" rest time are appreciated-

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Originally Posted by dachshundqueen View Post
Another suggestion would be to drop pre school in favor of having a hired person come in to watch all three children once a week perhaps so that you could have some child free time.
I have been considering this b/c the school is kind of far away, cuts my day in half, interrupts the baby's naps, but it is so great for my son, and he loves it SO much. I feel like his older brother gets so much of our resources and so many special things b/c of his issues, the 5 yo really deserves something special of his own, too and it would be heartbreaking to take it away from him. But I'm still keeping in mind a nanny or daycare closer by if school ends up being too much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchkinmaker View Post
I was in a similar position a few years back. I understand how hard it is, I feel badly knowing that other moms go through this & I know how hard it is to feel the way you do right now. It's so lonely and overwhelming... but it probably doesn't help to hear that your misery has company either, you just want help.

I hope it helps to know that I eventually found my rhythm as a SAHM with little outside help. Everyone finds their rhythm differently no matter what their circumstances. When you're in the middle of it all, it seems like the possibly of finding that harmony in your life isn't possible given the cards you're dealt. Just trust in yourself as a mom and have faith in your abilities. Rely on what you can do for yourself first instead of building resentment when the reinforcements don't show up. Resentment is a killer in this situation!! Focus on your tasks and stay organized. Don't waste energy on counting minutes waiting for your DH to show, assume your flying solo until he arrives (this really saved me!!). Learn to let the little things go (cut the grass tomorrow, leave that load of laundry for now) and focus on what's important in your day, like establishing a proper bedtime. If the kids are in bed at a decent hour it could really change your life. Something like a decent bedtime is an investment in not only your kids but you as well, trust me hun!

You can do this!
THANK YOU! Yes, actually it DOES make me feel better to have company Part of my problem is feeling so alone with my issues, so knowing that I'm not the only one is very comforting, even though I do need the help!!

Everything you said is very applicable and helpful - thanks You are so right about not waiting on dh- just do what I have to do. It is so hard not to be resentful of others who have lots of help and seem to have it easier, and wonder why I have it harder. On one hand I could do things to make my life easier- just put them all in public school, or move away to an area with less opportunity but perhaps a family member to help- but I have to take pride in the fact that we do what is best for our individual kids, even if that means life is harder for us.
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#13 of 27 Old 08-30-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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I'm right there with you. I'm single (no partner to provide a paycheck). I do everything.
When ds's father does take ds out for a few hours, ds always calls me saying he wants to come home.

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#14 of 27 Old 08-31-2010, 04:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dachshundqueen View Post
I also agree that the children probably aren't getting enough sleep.

Another suggestion would be to drop pre school in favor of having a hired person come in to watch all three children once a week perhaps so that you could have some child free time.

Liz
Having read Sleepless in America, I tend to want to agree about the lack-of-sleep thing.

And as far as dropping preschool and getting help--well, it definitely seems like something to consider. If your kids see you taking care of yourself, it sets a good example for them. But beyond that--and more importantly--you have to take care of yourself, too! Especially to be able to take care of other people 24/7/365 like you are.

Have you seen the updated user agreement yet?
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#15 of 27 Old 09-01-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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I'm still technically married (separated now) but I've been pretty much doing 100% of the parenting for... well, as long as I can remember. When I still expected STBX and I to be doing the parenting thing together, it KILLED me when he didn't pick up the slack or do his fair share. (He didn't even work at the time, just played video games and went to some classes.) I was always FUMING and just angry and bitter. Then, when I realized that our relationship was over anyway, I took on full responsibility - and lo and behold, things seemed so much easier and better. I relaxed more, and it seemed I had *less* to do. Even though I still do everything (i.e. the same as before) the attitude was a 180 and I felt the better for it. I am *proud* I do everything now. "I can do it just fine by myself, thanks!" is better than "I have to do every last damn thing in this damn house and wahhhhhh this sucks!!!" I've so been there. Positive is better than negative, trust.

No family in the area and no money for a sitter. I have two kids, ages 2.5 and 3.5. I'm also a full-time grad student and try to do odd jobs here and there to make money. What I found out, ironically, is that since we've had no car for a few weeks, that the days seem just so loooong that it's crazy. When we were only doing one errand a day even it seemed like we were out and about for most of the day. Now that we're home all the time, things are so much more relaxed. Sometimes I even get bored.

Don't get me wrong, my kids are little whiney-monsters half the time. But we're working on that. What's worked is taking away TV - well, we've always been TV-free but they used to watch DVD's, but there's no more of that anymore, I didn't think it'd make a difference but it did! -and making the whole house as childproof as possible so they can do their own thing without me interfering much. And I am a firm believer in benevolent negligence. I will play with them in short bursts (maybe 2-3 times a day) but I try to stress really clearly that "grown-ups work, children play" and they seem to get that. They will watch and sometimes try to help out if I'm doing chores. And they already have chores of their own to do, plenty of them - laundry, cleaning up, sweeping, doing dishes - my 3 year old does most of these while the 2 year old flits about. But if they're not helping, that means they're out of the way, playing, and unless I really want to do something with them, I don't.

That doesn't mean we don't do things together. Every day we do some sort of arts and crafts, we either cook or bake together (everything is made from scratch so there's always something for them to do, even if it's just fetching ingredients from the fridge for me), we play some board games, we sing songs, etc. We *do* lots of things. But I have no guilt sending them to do their own thing while I read a book for class. They go to their rooms to play, either together or seperately. Or I'll send them out to our fenced yard (and keep an eye on them through our window). Or send them to do xyz because I'm busy. I have ZERO guilt about that. They're bright, they're reasonably happy, they pretend all day long, and they're just happy being kids. There is NO way I'm going to take responsibility for entertaining them through the day.

And I'm not completely GP when it comes to tolerating whining. Whining/tantrums/etc. get a time-out. I'm reasonable when it comes to requests but whining / etc. don't do it for me. I'm a better mommy when I'm happy and I'm *not* happy when they're moaning at me. (Unless they're sick or something, then I drop everything for all-day cuddles and such.)

Maybe if I had someone to switch off with I wouldn't be so "selfish" as to take a mommy time-out during the day to mess around on Facebook or MDC, or to just take a 15 minute bath, or whatever, while the kids are in their rooms. (Sometimes baby-gated off or whatever.) They get a snack and some toys to play with and that's that, mommy needs a break. And they go to bed at 5. I can't do it otherwise; they need the sleep because they don't nap and they get up super early, and I have classes at night. And homework. I am "off" after bedtime - I do classes but zero household chores. If I don't have classwork to do I will then happily zone out. (But actually, since I love my program and love intellectual stimulation I dig classes, they're almost like relaxation for me.) I'm not going to pay bills or organize the fridge or whatever. I am DONE at bedtime. Then I go to bed at 9 or 10 and the day starts at 5 am the next day.

The only thing I miss, really, is someone to help out on sick days. As in, when I'm sick. Or to let me just run an errand by myself without kids sometimes. Other than that, I feel I'm doing fine, and if anyone doesn't agree with the way the house is run - pfft, I dare them to try to do it better!!
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#16 of 27 Old 09-01-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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Also, I just wanted to say, re: the preschool. I'm 100%, no, 100000% sure that DS would adore preschool. (DD, not so much.) DS would THRIVE in pre-K. But you know what? He also THRIVES at home as well. He would love to play with other kids and be in that setting. But it would be more of a hardship than not for our family. Expense, practicality, etc. DS is part of our family and the costs to our family would outweigh the benefits to him. I can't provide him with EVERY thing that would be his if he went to pre-K. But pre-K also can't provide him with everything he can have at home. You can't have it all, but both options are OK just the way they are. If he didn't have any other children to be around at all, or if he didn't get any intellectual stimulation at home, or if he was in a really tense home where he needed a break from the atmosphere, then sure, I'd say have him go to pre-K. But that's just not the case for my family and I'm pretty sure not the case for yours either. I'm just saying that if you want to send him to pre-K, fine, it's your kid! But if you choose to decide that from now on he will be at home, trust me, his world won't collapse. There will be an adjustment period but he won't be deprived of opportunity, really, honest. I promise.
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#17 of 27 Old 09-02-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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My Dh has one season of the year where he works a ton of overtime, and frequently works late. If I think he MIGHT be home in time to see the kids, I at least get them started. Maybe you could look at the bedtime routine, and do pick up/pajamas/snack/brush teeth (or whatever) before Dad gets home, then he comes in and reads stories and tucks them in for the night. So then, they are ready for sleep at 7:30, and he gets a little quality time with them.

I've also got kids who don't fall asleep until they've been in bed for an hour or two, most nights, and nothing I do seems to change that. I still LOVE that they are in bed at 8:30, and I think the rest is good for them. Sometimes they do fall asleep earlier, and sometimes they lay awake and I'll hear them singing or talking to themselves. Fine, as long as they STAY IN BED!
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#18 of 27 Old 09-11-2010, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks SO much, everyone. I apologize for not being able to get back to respond to this thread before now. I'm feeling a little better about things, but it may be because we have not had a "normal" week in a couple weeks- we were away for awhile, dh has been home, and this week we had a few days of preschool where I had to be with DS in his classroom. Next week starts our real everyday fall schedule with the daily preschool commute and homeschooling and classes and appointments and trying to fit in baby care and naps and meals and housework into all of that again. So, we'll see how it goes managing everything on my own and being out and about so much.

For now I'm continuing preschool because truly, he loves it SO MUCH and I do feel it's a wonderful school and he needs something of his own- I spend so much of my time hs'ing DS1 and attending to the baby, DS2 gets lost in the middle and I really want him to have something constructive and age appropriate that's all for him. What I have explored though, is throwing myself on people's mercy and asking for help with carpooling. I have a couple families who may help drive DS to and from school and that would ease my life very, very much. I feel so bad that I can't offer much in return though...I'm trying to think of how I can help them out but not coming up with much.

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If your kids see you taking care of yourself, it sets a good example for them. But beyond that--and more importantly--you have to take care of yourself, too! Especially to be able to take care of other people 24/7/365 like you are.
thank you- yes, that is very true and I'm trying to balance spending time focusing on them, and then saying, I'm going to go rest/be on the phone/eat/ do my own stuff- my turn now. Mixed results, but it's a start.

same for bedtime- my older DS has always needed someone to lay down with him till he's asleep, now it's needing someone to just sit in the room. Thats why it's 10:30 some nights until DH is free. I am just DONE with that b/c he is almost 8 yrs old and I'm already with him all day. It has been harder to convince DH to try this, but now I just put him to bed and say I'll go check on him every few mins. but now it's our time to be grownups and have alone time. It's going well and he's gone to sleep on his own more often than not. Same for my younger one who will go to sleep on his own, but comes out of his room 50 times wanting something. It's been great having adult time from 8:30-9 on.

On vacation they slept GREAT because we had them out swimming or hiking all day long. and their bedrooms had no toys- just a bed. So they laid there and went right to sleep, it was awesome!! I wish I could replicate that much physical activity at home but it's not possible.

Candycat- I loved your post! Thanks so much for writing this out, it's given me a lot to think about over the past few days. Benevolent negligence, love it.

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I And I am a firm believer in benevolent negligence. I will play with them in short bursts (maybe 2-3 times a day) but I try to stress really clearly that "grown-ups work, children play" and they seem to get that. They will watch and sometimes try to help out if I'm doing chores. And they already have chores of their own to do, plenty of them - laundry, cleaning up, sweeping, doing dishes -

That doesn't mean we don't do things together. Every day we do some sort of arts and crafts, we either cook or bake together (everything is made from scratch so there's always something for them to do, even if it's just fetching ingredients from the fridge for me), we play some board games, we sing songs, etc. We *do* lots of things. But I have no guilt sending them to do their own thing while I read a book for class. They go to their rooms to play, either together or seperately. Or I'll send them out to our fenced yard (and keep an eye on them through our window). Or send them to do xyz because I'm busy. I have ZERO guilt about that. They're bright, they're reasonably happy, they pretend all day long, and they're just happy being kids. There is NO way I'm going to take responsibility for entertaining them through the day.
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#19 of 27 Old 09-11-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Yes! We moved here a year ago and still know VERY few people.

I'm a SAHM to two boys. About a month and a half ago a co-worker/friend of DH's lost her child care, so I now have a 10 month old with me all the time, well, as much as DH works.

DH works a 40 hour week, but that's the extent of his contribution. He has some health issues he's dealing with, but he chooses to put his extra energy into personal efforts, not family ones, and that is definitely frustrating.

The summer was really hard. I have to say I'm glad to have DS1 back in school, because it does make the weekdays easier when DS1 and DS2 aren't at each other's throats.
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#20 of 27 Old 09-11-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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Well I only have the one child, but I have been taking care of him mostly alone for the last 4 months, and will be alone for at least 3 more months. My husband has been in boot camp and now technical training, so he does not come home at night and just choose not to do things, he just isn't here. I am very unhappy with the situation, but come the new year we should be all together again
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#21 of 27 Old 09-14-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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I do it all on my own but I only have one LO at home. I've gotten a sitter twice since she was born, once at night after she had gone to sleep and once when I had to have surgery other than that it's she and I. The thing that helps me most is to take care of myself first. I make sure that I have healthy meals, rest, and a positive attitude. I do lots of yoga (at home in my bedroom) and meditation when I am feeling run down or stressed or starting to get overwhelmed. And I make sure to spend time with my friends, mostly inviting them over for meals or sewing. Hang in there, and don't be afraid to ask for some help if you need it.

Organic eating, cloth diapering, no vaxing, cosleeping, breastfeeding mean machine.
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#22 of 27 Old 09-15-2010, 09:58 PM
 
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I have my kids do quiet time every day. As far as enforcing it, if you do TV at all you can always take that away for the day if they come out of quiet time. This sucks for mom the first few times, but if you work it into your day every day they get into the rhythm much much faster than you might think. But you do have to be consistent with it. I also found it helpful if I was doing something REALLY boring during that time so they were not keen to join me (I suggest at first you just nap). Then, once we had it firmly established, I watched my shows on DVD while folding laundry during quiet time as my mid-day break. I started with just a half hour quiet time and worked it up to a full hour.

My kids used to go to bed late and get up early. I read a bunch of books on the subject and decided on the following plan that really worked for us:
if your ds doesn't fall asleep until 10:30, don't start bedtime until 10:00. Make it short and sweet. Bath, teeth brushed, quick story, into bed, lights out (stay in there on a chair if you want). I did that for a week. Then the next week I moved up the start of bedtime to 9:45 with light out at 10:15. I moved it by just 15 minutes a week over SEVERAL weeks. Believe it or not, I got from a 10:00 bedtime all the way to a 7:00 bedtime. I found out that if I moved it earlier than 7:00 they got up earlier than they used to. So 7:00 it was. But if they need to stay up til 8:00 to see dh, then 8:00 is still plenty better than 10:30.
I also bought a lamp that comes on gradually (but any cheap timer for a lamp will work) and set it to the time that they were allowed out of their rooms. If they woke up before the lamp came one, they had to stay in their room. Which eventually led to them sleeping in a bit more.

I think if you consistently address those two things your life will become much much easier! Imagine a one hour break all to yourself in the middle of the day, plus plenty of adult time in the evening AND still time for a full nights rest. Sounds like heaven! It was hard to get there, but oh so worth it
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#23 of 27 Old 09-17-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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Another SAHM with a (former) military husband.

I did 24/7/365 for a 15 month deployment. My DD1 was attached, and no one else watched her almost ever. And now my husband is a contractor, and travels for a week at a time about every other week. Starting when dd2 was 2 weeks old. Honestly, I almost couldn't do it. It took me 10+weeks to heal from the birth because I couldn't rest.

I almost sent DD1 to preschool... But then for less $$$ per month, I signed up for a family membership at the local YMCA. They have free childcare while you are working out. I would not drop my 6mo off at daycare, but having someone else hold her in the next room while I lift weights or swim for 30 min is GREAT. If she cries, they come get me. And they have a room full of toys and other kids for 3yo DD1 to play with. And I get to work out! Then I get them all out and we swim together.

We go every weekday, and for the first time in 3 years, I feel like I have my head above water.
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#24 of 27 Old 09-17-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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I'm a single, SAHM so I am by myself all the time.

I just suck it up and do it because I have to (much like you I imagine). I get my kids to bed at 7.30pm and after that I have time to do things for me. I would say that your kids are severly sleep deprived and would suggest that you do anything in your power to get them to bed earlier. Not only will it be good for them, it will be good for you.
I am a single stay at home mom of two. My son will be in oct and my dd 4 at the end of this month. I am currently living with my other so I can go to college for the first time. i only go to school from 5-9 tue and thurdays. Other than that I have that constantly. sure i live with my mother but that is more of a source of agrivation that help. Although, I do admit when she does help it is wonderful! Because of not getting home til 9 on tue and thur their bed time seems to have moved to 930-10 when it was 8 or 830 before I started school. I need to get to bed by 730. Oh i would love that. I would have so much more time for studying. would i be able to have 2 different bed times? one for normal days and one for the days when I am in school? they stay up on those days because my mother has to come and pick me up from school as i don't drive.
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#25 of 27 Old 09-17-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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Another SAHM with a (former) military husband.

I did 24/7/365 for a 15 month deployment. My DD1 was attached, and no one else watched her almost ever. And now my husband is a contractor, and travels for a week at a time about every other week. Starting when dd2 was 2 weeks old. Honestly, I almost couldn't do it. It took me 10+weeks to heal from the birth because I couldn't rest.

I almost sent DD1 to preschool... But then for less $$$ per month, I signed up for a family membership at the local YMCA. They have free childcare while you are working out. I would not drop my 6mo off at daycare, but having someone else hold her in the next room while I lift weights or swim for 30 min is GREAT. If she cries, they come get me. And they have a room full of toys and other kids for 3yo DD1 to play with. And I get to work out! Then I get them all out and we swim together.

We go every weekday, and for the first time in 3 years, I feel like I have my head above water.
i love the ymca idea!
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#26 of 27 Old 09-19-2010, 11:15 PM
 
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My DH is military so hes gone ALOT as well. He was gone for most of January and Februrary, half of June and July and now has been gone most of September. When he is home his work hours are irratic, sometimes he works from 7-430 which is great other times he works from 4am-midnight, other times he just doesn't come home for a couple of days because of work/duty/training/field whatever. So I never know when I get to have a bunch of help and a night "off" or when Im going to be on 24/7. He does do a lot when he is home for the most part but we never know when he is going to be home.
For you, I really think you need to try to get your children in bed sooner. Even if its a struggle for a couple of weeks. My girls would go to bed whenever if I let them just stay up but no matter what they are up between 530-630 in the morning. I had a time where my youngest wasn't going to sleep until 2 and getting up at 630, I found I couldn't survive and be a good parent on so little sleep. I need to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep a night (8 when Im not pregnant but Im 20 weeks pregnatn right now so I need at least 9 to be functional). DH and I need adult time together, even if its just 10-15 minutes to talk about the day and reconnect. If I don't have breakfest at least in the oven before the girls get up then its a bad start to the day, if my youngest is hungry at all her behavior goes from great to horrible (think throwing things horrible). So I managed after several months of working with them to get them to go to bed between 7-730, that means I can spent about 30 minutes with DH at night (sometimes more if he has a bad day and needs to talk), sleep for 8-9 hours, work out for an hour when I wake up and get breakfast on the table right about when the girls wake up. Now my kids don't nap, they both dropped their naps around 18-20 months so I get from about 6am-730 pm where there are times its me and only me with the girls. It still gets draining but at least if Im getting enough sleep and working out daily I feel like I can handle it.
You can teach your children to play quietly while you take a rest, read, cook whatever. I didn't think I would be able to but my girls have learned that if mommy asks for some mommy time they go and play in their room. Its never more than 15 minutes but a 15 minute break can save me on a bad day. It can mean the difference between a screaming mad mommy and a tired but ok mommy. I think it helps that my oldest loves to be a helper so she is willing to spend 15 minutes with her sister.
I do have to say it seems like the preschool is stressing you out to keep up with. How long are your kids in the car going to and from? I know with my girls unless we are going to do some fun outdoor activity anymore than 30-40 minutes a day in a car would mean a long and bad night. They don't like being cooped up. Could he do something maybe closer/less time consuming for you? I know you want something that is age appropriate and good for him but if its stressing you and taking a toll on your other children thats not good. Could he do dance/karate or something else closer to home so its less of a drain on everyone? I can tell how much you love your children and want the best for them but you need to also look into how the "best" for one might be effecting you and the others.
Are you a part of a play group? Homeschool group? Church? Its lonely being alone all the time. I know, I live in a different country than my family. I don't make friends easily and Im not comfortable in most social situations. However, adults do need some adult time. If your husband isn't home a lot then what are you doing to take care of what you need? Do you have anyone you met with regularly to talk to or have a shoudler to cry on so to say?A playgroup or homeschool group would be a great way for your children to get some time away from each other (playing with other children) and for you to get some time with other adults.
DH and I haven't been on a date in over 2 years. We do a couple of times a month on his day off have a special dinner just the two of us. Usually we put in a movie for the kids (bad mommy I know) and spend some time reconnecting. Its not as nice as being able to go out but going out just isn't going to happen and we both know that. He does take the girls once a month or every other month so I can met with the ladies from church for a girls night out or go do something without the children. In November hes taking the girls for 5 hours one Saturday so I can met with my church group and get some Christmas crafts done (early start on christmas presents love it!). I do the same for him when the men want to met up and play some ball/go golfing/deep sea fishing whatever.
Can you do bedtime with at least the older ones before your DH gets home? Maybe have them bathed and dressed for bed so they can have some Daddy time and still get to bed at a reasonable hour? While he is taking care of the older ones you can bathe and dress the baby? How old is the baby? Does he really need daily bathes? Before probably 1-1 1/2 my girls took baths maybe 1-2 times a week (no soap for the most part) now at 21 months and 3 1/2 they take them daily but I only soap them down when needed. Can the bedtime routine be shortened? I know how hard it is to do bedtime with multiple children. Can you put down one first while the other reads/quietly plays? Even if they sleep in the same room it might work. You could even switch off having one stay with Daddy and getting some special daddy time while you take the other and then switch the next day (assuming the baby wants to coorperate that is).

Honestly if it was me I would:
1) work on getting the kids to a better bed time
2) streamline your day
3) drop the preschool and find a closer/shorter activity for your 2nd child.
4) Find a playgroup/homschool group/church to get involved with for extra support.

~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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#27 of 27 Old 09-22-2010, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your thoughts! I feel a little better this week. some things that have helped are-

rides to school a couple days for my ds2

cooking ahead and having meals ready to go and snacks easy to grab without spending time on it during the weekdays. this meant grocery shopping at 10pm on a weeknight and a very hectic weekend trying to fit in a million things, but better then w/ dh home than when I'm alone during the week w/ all 3 kids.

spending planning time on the w/e for homeschooling, so with our little bit of itme we have in between preschool pickups we can get right to work. again this means more work for me in my "off" hours but i feel like we're maximizing our limited school time if i have lessons and projects ready to go.

shifting some of the responsibilities to them. i've started with them clearing their own dishes, me making only one meal and heating it only once- if they want something different or it gets cold b/c they don't eat, they have to reheat it or make it themselves. having them get their own snacks when I'm busy, and having a big water container out so they can get their own drinks. also, food only at the dining room table so I'm not going all around collecting dirty dishes and running up and down the stairs bringing them food.

trying hard to get to bed earlier, again the issue is not a late bedtime but they don't actually SLEEP until late and keep coming out wanting us. That's getting better. I've been trying to get started earlier before dh gets home but that's hard w/ a fussy baby at that time, we're all hungry, and things seem a bit out of control. it's hard to get them to brush teeth, get changed, etc And dh will stay with ds1 forever at night and do a long bedtime whereas I will do a quick routine, say goodnight, and come back to check on him every so often and for me it's working fine. the other night I was actually done by 8, and still had time to go see the stars outside, do some school planning, make a phone call, and watch a tv show and still be ready for bed before 11! woo hoo.

quiet time- still have to work on that. so far I"ve had to use the tv so I can be free to put the baby down for a nap, b/c they will immediately fight or be loud the second I go to lay down with her. she will only sleep attched to the nipple, or in the carrier, so often her naptime doesn't free me to do the things I'd like to b/c I'm stuck in a weird position (like now!) or I will get them to be still for a *moment* by reading to them but of course that still involves me and isn't a break, even though it's somewhat restful.

we do have homeschool groups but it's not a break, b/c I have to pack all our stuff for the day, drive there, and be there juggling all 3 kids or racing to preschool to get my other son so it's hectic to fit it all in. some of the parents do leave for a break during it, but my ds1 is very socially immature and throws a tantrum or gets his feelings hurt and cries inconsolably most times, so I have to be there, or it's our turn to lead the lesson so it involves even more prep time and shopping for materials.

So it's still a LOT to handle on my own and I'm constantly multitasking and thinking ahead and living by the clock to make it all work but I'm sure part of that is just life with multiple kids is busy and a lot of work- not necessarily that anything is wrong (well, except this society in which we all live away from our families and are on our own to care for our kids!).
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