Just looking for some insight, advice, or just words of encouragement..I sometimes feel like I am barely treading the water to make it through the day..and like I am failing at mothering and at life.
Bare with me, this could be a little lengthy.
A little background info, I have two daughters..oldest is almost 3 and youngest is 9 months. We just moved from out a state a couple of months ago, and are currently living with my fiance's sister until we find our own place. Our schedule and rhythm we had as a family has gone to the crapper since we moved. I am still in the process of crawling out of yucky PPD and am dealing with some SERIOUS anxiety. I feel as though the environment mixed with my anxiety issues is just creating a vicious cycle..if that makes sense.
First off, the environment in which we are living is not ideal in what I would want to raise my children in. The house is HUGE (almost 2500 sq ft.) along with a large backyard and pool. There are LOTS of things that are off limits, dangerous, not child friendly, and, well, not of our lifestyle choices. I'm not complaining or being ungrateful here, I am and will forever be thankful to his sister for allowing us to stay here until we got on our feet. It is all just so overwhelming to do alone. I honestly feel like from the time I wake up til bed I am constantly having to stay right on my 3 yo's tracks in fear of her getting into something, getting hurt, breaking something, etc. I do this with the baby always in tow because there is really no place to leave her safely. We do have a playpen set up, but she will only sit for so long. It is so very exhausting. The floors are all tile and hardwoods, and extremely dirty (as well the house in general) so putting her down to just roam around and explore is out of the question. All of our stuff is kept in our designated bedroom, except for some toys and things my oldest has out. I try so hard to keep things in order to makes things easier for us all, and out of respect to her home, but it is IMPOSSIBLE.
My fiance works long hours and his sister works from home. She is all the time on conference calls, writing emails, etc. and her daughter stays locked up in her bedroom, so I really have little to no help. No other family is nearby. If she's not working, she is either on her iPad or computer doing whatever and is really just in her own world. There have been a couple of incidences in which I've had to be in the other room changing the baby's diaper, getting her dressed, etc. and have come out to find my older daughter missing bc his sister couldn't keep an eye out for just a few minutes..one incident just recently my daughter had actually went out the front door, while she and her daughter were right in the kitchen (!!!!). Needless to say I was very very upset. I do not expect her to help, and it's not her responsibility, but she has offered to help me out and so I try to trust her. My trust issues with her all started in the first few weeks here when I walked in on her threatening to smack my daughter..but that's a whole nother story.
So here's what a typical day looks like for us..and why I feel like I am so scattered. We are normally up at 7 or so..as soon as my oldest gets up, she IMMEDIATELY wants something to eat, a cup of milk, and to watch a movie. When I say immediately, I mean it's usually the first words out of her mouth. She is very needy and wants everything RIGHT THIS SECOND..or it's a total meltdown and lots of whining ensues..which drives me NUTS and starts the day off in a pretty negative way. During this battle, I am also trying to get the baby changed and dressed, as well as get the toddler out of her overnight pullup and into clean underwear, use the restroom myself, and get coffee so I actually feel like my brain can function. It really is all too much to deal with when I'm still half asleep. So by the time I do all of that and get my oldest satisfied, I start to make breakfast for myself. It never fails that what I want or have planned for breakfast is completely different from what she wants, which starts another battle. At this point, the baby is starting to get antsy wanting to nurse, and his sister is waking up which adds a whole other level to the chaos (along with her three psycho dogs). My toddler wants to follow her around the house and I have to try to keep her out of her space so she doesn't interrupt her work. By 10, I am honestly ready to go back to bed...the baby's ready for a nap as well. I usually have to let my toddler watch yet another movie or tv to get her to stay within my sight long enough for me to get her sister to sleep. If I actually succeed in this, I use the baby's nap time to get myself and toddler dressed and ready for the day..which involves lots more of chasing, whining,crying, etc. from her. I know that 3 yos are difficult, but REALLY. If it goes smoothly, I may actually try to get her out to do something with just the two of us before the baby wakes, but she normally just wants to lay on the couch and watch movies or tv. THIS is why I feel like I'm failing..I have, unfortunately, had to rely on the tv as a distraction/babysitter for multiple reasons since her sister was born, and now she would honestly rather watch movies than go outside and play. I don't know if I should just trust her and allow her to do as she will, or if I should really put my foot down and restrict it. I don't want to make play seem like a chore, but I also do not want to allow her to sit in front of a screen while her brain rots away..ya know? It's also a guessing game towards whether or not the dogs are going to go biserk at any moment and wake the baby. My anxiety and stress levels are INSANE by the time noon rolls around. 3 yo is supposed to nap around 1:30..rarely happens..too many distractions. There have been days where I spend HOURS desperately trying to get her to rest..bc believe me, she NEEDS it or she can be a real nightmare.
The rest of my day goes somewhat the same..just lots of power struggles with my toddler and trying to keep her out of things she shouldn't be in..all while trying to take care of myself and the baby..and get us all fed. I may add that I am also the only one who plans and cooks meals. It just seems like all too much on days like today..I look around and, on top of this house being SO dirty, it is just an utter mess. I am so tired of living out of boxes. I am so tired of yelling and being so on edge. I want our life back to normal. We are trying to close on a house, and I know that being in our own home and space will (hopefully) make a huge difference..but I can't help but to feel like I just have no control as a mother at this point..and I feel too exhausted to try to get it all back together. We want to homeschool and we want to even have a third sometime in the future..but if I can't even handle two, I am just throwing that idea out the window.
I hope this makes some sense. I just need some encouragement. Remind me that this will pass and things will get better. I need some tools to improve our days. TIA.
Earth-loving, birth-loving, body-working, simple-livin' mama to two sweet girls and fiance to a hard-working man
Ugh, I feel for you. I have four kids (7, 5, 3 and 5 mo) and the needs of the two youngest ones are by far the most challenging to juggle.The fact that your sister in law works from home makes it even harder. My DH works from home one day a week and sometimes that day is the hardest because I am trying to keep the kids quiet, keep them from running to him while he's on a call, etc.
And yes, 3 year olds are rough. My 3 yo is pretty moody and needy. And there is just no reasoning with a 3 yo. They want things NOW and often get upset about seemingly inconsequential things. Ugh.
Since this is a short term arrangement (living with your SIL) I'd recommend getting REALLY organized each night and getting out of the house as early as possible the next morning. Make a lunch for your 3yo, get the diaper bag ready, even pour a cup of milk for your toddler. Then in the morning, spend as little time as possible getting breakfast, etc. and get out of there for a couple of hours. Go to the park, the mall, a local playgroup, wherever. Eat your packed lunch. Tire your 3yo out and then come home just before naptime, read a story, get her ready for naptime and commit to the effort of getting her to sleep (sometimes it takes 45 minutes to get my 3yo nap but once he's asleep he's out for 2 hours). Then you'll have a couple of hours and your fiance will be coming home and it's the homestretch.
The day goes by faster when we are busy and not having to deal with an un-childproofed home and keeping the kids from your SIL will be worth it.
Edited: I just want to add that something has got to give. The house cleaning, the well-planned meals, something. This is a stressful situation and you really can't do it all. Get your kids needs met, some basic needs of the house and meals and know that things WILL get better when you are under your own roof again.
I hear you mama. I too am hoping it will get better, and we live in our own place
Since DS2 has been born I have also used tv as a distraction (which I hate) We mostly put on educational stuff though, so DS1 is learning something aswell.
I second what the pp has suggested, get everything ready for the next day and take them out. Something you know your DD would love.Get her excited about the next day, really playit up. So getting ready for the next day is easier. Maybe a trip to the museum, park. I know how much effort it can take to actually get out of the house. I am terrible at this, but the boys have so much fun when they're out.
Does your DD like to draw, things like that, set her up with a stack of paper and crayons. My DS1 loves to draw.
It's hard mama, but it really won't be forever, you'll be in your own place before you know it.
I agree with the pp. You have to leave the house and get out of the negative situation in the mornings. Also, let your 3 yo have a tantrum while you meet your own needs first in the mornings (bathroom, start coffee, etc.), you will feel less resentment. Perhaps create a routine like this: wake, leave house, come home for nap, watch movie, dinner.
Good luck. I have been in those situations where I have to endlessly keep an eye on the kids, and it is exhausting. Take care of yourself each day!
Have you tried setting your alarm and waking up before your 3yo? I know you're exhausted, but if you got up at say, 6:30, you'd have time to take a quick shower and get dressed, make coffee, and get her breakfast together. If that seems like too much I'd at least try for enough time to get her breakfast and your coffee ready BEFORE she gets up.
Getting out of the of the house for part of each day as PPs have suggested sounds great to me too.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
Ooh mama, sounds rough! I spent awhile living with my father in law when my son was 9 months old. His house was pretty small but equally un-babyproofed. Other than a mattress on the floor, there was literally no place to put my little guy--I actually learned how to unbutton and pull down my pants to pee with one hand, while holding my DS in the other! I didn't have a baby carrier at that point, but it probably would have helped a ton. Have you tried wearing you littlest one? It may keep her calm and content---and safe!---while you chase after her sister.
And I totally agree with what pp have said about getting out of the house, if that's a possibility. Maybe pre-program your coffee machine, get lunch and breakfast packed the night before, and load everyone in the car as soon as you're up.
One last idea is hiring a mother's helper. It sounds like money is pretty tight and it may feel weird having someone coming in to a house that isn't "yours," but maybe a local high school or college student would be interested in helping out a few hours a week for a reasonable rate. It sounds like for your own mental health and well being you need a break from the constant stress of the kiddos and the house chaos. Any drop-in child care centers in your area that aren't too expensive?
I hope things get better for you--and I'm sure they will!
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