My DD is 16 months. DS is 8-years-old. Before I got pregnant with DD in 2009, I had just returned to work (20 hours) and felt like I had gotten some balance and energy back after 4 years of nursing and 6 years of SAHM'ing.
Fast forward and it's been 2 years since I've had more than 3 hours sleep at any time (I don't sleep well when pregnant and DD nurses around the clock) -- most nights I get only 5 hours total in broken increments. I'm in bed for longer but just can't sleep easily after being awakened.
We started home schooling DS in March of this year so I have both children myself for 10 hours or more a day. I've got chronic head pain, am emotionally exhausted, and no matter how much I eat (gluten free and dairy free), I cannot feel full and satisfied (thank you nursing!).
I've tried some park dates but I am so not a moms-club/play-date kind of mommy. I worked PT from when DD was 3-12 months but when I lost my wonderful nanny, I could not find any one comparable to replace her. We have no family near by and I feel like I'm clinical. I did not miss a single thing with DS -- I caught every breath and experience and gave it 110% every day. I simply don't have the resources to care for DD the same way and keep up with DS. I'm an older mom (40's) and miss the intellectual stimulation and friendships at work --- my days feel so long (and the nights just continue on) and keeping up with kids with such different needs (toddler vs. 8) is challenging to me. Help!
All I can say is that it's OK to go back to work if that's what will make you happy. DS1 is 6yo and DS2 is 3yo. I'm looking forward to the day when DS2 starts school and I can go back to work. I will be sad but I really feel like I'm not cut out to be a SAHM but I think it's important for them. If that makes sense.
Anyway! All that is to say is that it's OK to go back to work if that is what's going to make you happy.
You sound like you need a break. Can you get some child care (or a mother's helper) so that you can get a little sleep and maybe get out to see friends without kids once in a while? Or a friend you can trade kid hours with?
You sound so tired and drained, in every way. Having kids of such different ages can definitely do that to you! From your message it seems like both the lack of sleep and the constant nursing are two specific things that are wearing you down. I wonder whether you feel like you can start making some changes in one or both of those departments. At 16 months, your DD is likely to be ready to nurse a little less and sleep a little more, though of course I'm not in your specific situation so am not sure what your thoughts and plans are for that.
Do you get any time for just you at all, ever? Do you have a partner or friend who could help you make sure you get some time to just be you, not providing childcare or schooling your DS? Does your DS do playdates and/or sleepovers? That could give you a bit of a break with just the baby at home. I find it much easier to be with just my youngest than any combination of two kids. As for social networks, I totally hear you about not being super into the park/playdate thing, but I wonder if it would feel easier if you connected with the other moms! Are there any groups, parenting classes/discussions, or online (meetups/yahoo groups) that might help you get connected with others? A gym with childcare?
Lastly, if you haven't already, it might be worth talking with your primary and potentially getting some blood-levels checked. I felt really awful and drained last winter and it turned out I was anemic and severely deficient in vit. D. I can't tell you how much it helped me to get those levels back to where they should be. Lack of B vitamins can also really a person down, and undoubtedly there are others as well.
All the best, these days are so tough with a little one at home, but soon she'll be getting a bit bigger and more independent. Not soon enough, I know, but I do hope you find some time to treasure your kids at exactly where they're at now.
Married to DH since 2006. Adoptive mom to DD1 (June 2002), DS (Jan 2006), and bio mom to DD2 (May 2009).
I would work on the sleep situation first. If I'm not getting enough sleep everything is miserable. 5 hours of broken sleep is just not enough.
Sending you warm wishes-I wish I had some concrete advice. Is school an option for your eight year old?
Thanks everyone for the replies. Right now, school is not an option for my DS. And I so wish that more sleep could happen for me. After reading the replies, I started taking more B vitamins and back to the D and that's helping with the daytime energy -- lots of B12 especially. I have had such a hard time finding someone I feel comfortable leaving my kids with so I can get some time alone or out with a girlfriend. I ended up at an 8pm yoga class the other night when DH was home but then I couldn't fall asleep for hours --hot yoga feels great to me but I guess it was too stimulating. I, too, feel like I'm at my best when I am alone with either of my two children rather than both of them at the same time. I try to get a little alone time with each every week. And honestly, if I could get a break everyday between 3-5, that would help. Otherwise, my days run into my nights and it feels like I am awake for days on end. DH does bathtime at night but that means I am really on the other 23 hours. He helps a lot with our older child though and I am grateful for that. As for playdates, DS has always been more interested in playing alone or with me or now, his little sister. He does do a gym class each week and likes the neighborhood children, but they are all in school during the day and we haven't yet connected with another family or two with children he really "vibes" with --- hoping that happens soon. And I am looking into ways to go back to work more but wonder if that will truly help the situation or if what I need more right now is some self-care and time to recharge.