Using kids as an excuse to yourself - Mothering Forums
Stay at Home Parents > Using kids as an excuse to yourself
maptome's Avatar maptome 06:19 AM 07-14-2012

I have a 3 year old and a 6 month old.  Taking care of them, feeding our family, and keeping the house at a livable level of cleanliness make up my entire life.  The only thing I do just for myself is read when I'm nursing, or sometimes while I'm taking care of the kids.  For my life, I'd like to do yoga for an hour a day, have a vegetable garden, travel, swim, eat at restaurants, hike, go on dates with DH, workout, play sports with other adults, and do my hair and makeup every now and then.  It just seems so impossible to do any of that with young kids.  Every time DH and I try to get out of our not-doing-anything-fun rut, it is just so exhausting, and we decide it wasn't worth the effort.  I used to take them on stroller walks, but now it's too hot for them.


My friends seem to be all able to get a night out with the girls or date night or gym time, but I always ask myself how they leave the kids?  Like how will my kids go to sleep without me or DH?  And my little one doesn't take a bottle.  I've only been apart from DD1 for a long time (5 hours) twice in her life.  Once, in labor, and other time during a surgery.


I keep thinking, "In a year, I'll be able to drop them off at gym daycare." or "In a few months, it will be cool enough to get some walking for exercise." or "When they go to kindergarten, I can do yoga everyday." or "When my parents or DH's parents move here, we can ask them to babysit and go on a date." or "When DD2 weans,....."  or "When both kids sleep through the night,..." or "When I can leave them alone together,...."


I can't tell if I'm procrastinating my life and using my kids as an excuse to not change my life, or if my mind's voice is reasonable in thinking that they are just too young.  Does it just take some time?  I'm not unhappy with my life.  There's just a lot of stuff I want to do that I'm not doing (because of the kids?).

mamazee's Avatar mamazee 08:11 AM 07-14-2012
I couldn't get any time away with a 6-month-old. And you'll be getting into the separation anxiety age with your younger one soon. There's nothing wrong with putting off this stuff for a bit. It's really a short time when you think of it. The little one will get older quickly. Are you planning to have more? That of course would delay things.
The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 10:01 AM 07-14-2012

I didn't get a mom's night out until my second born was 18 months old (my firstborn would have been around 4 at that point).  I probably could have left the firstborn when he was a baby, but didn't really have any friends to go out with when he was little, never bothered to find someone I trusted to watch him, and he was a really easy baby/toddler so I wasn't burnt out at all and didn't really *want* to go out.  Then DD was born and she was very intense/high needs.  That first time I went out without her (I'd bring her along to "mom and me" GNOs we'd have) - that night was AMAZING.  Because at that point I WAS burnt and really needed it.  I kept trying and that was the first time it worked and worked well.  From then on going out was easier and easier every time.  I joined a choir, I'd have dinner with friends, etc.  Good times. 


But 6 months old is very little, still.  So long as you're doing *something* to nurture yourself, be it reding, be it yoga in your house when babies are asleep, be it a bubble bath and a well-timed glass of wine after bedtime, even be it getting online to commiserate with other long as you're nurturing that part of you, I think you'll be fine.  Having said that....*if* I had an easygoing baby, and *if* I had someone I trusted to watch them, I sure would go out.  Neither of those *ifs* panned out for me when my kiddos were that little. 


And having said THAT.....   If you are feeling burnt out, I would definitely try to find a way to get some time out of the house to yourself.  Or even pamper yourself at home. 

MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 08:56 AM 07-15-2012

The idea here is not necessarily having a *night* out. I have a 7-month-old; he won't take a bottle, either. I take him EVERYWHERE. So should you.


It sounds like you are not working at a job you have to go to during the day, right? You're at home with the kids. So... get out of the house! Think of somewhere cool to go, during the day, like a museum, or even the mall, or something. Then just take them with you. Yes, the whole thing will be slow, because they're with you, but you'll be out, and it'll be glorious.


Also: evenings in! If you can muster up any friends, have them over to your house. You guys can drink, play board games, make pizza, whatever it is you do for fun. When it's the kids' bedtimes, you put them to bed, and the party continues. You guys are still in the house, so you don't need a babysitter. For awhile, your husband parties alone while you're putting the kids to bed, or vice versa. Either you invite people who also have kids, and they put the kids to bed with your kids, all snuggled, or you invite single friends and they indulge you.


My baby is used to going to sleep with the sound of debauchery from the kitchen, lol. Later on tonight I will attend my monthly scotch tasting meeting at a friend's home. We will bring the baby; if he gets tired during the meeting, I'll put him to sleep in my friend's bed.


Also, if you have a mom friend or two who is also home during the day--or any friend who is home during the day (artist and student friends are good for this, too!) it can be easier to do some of the things on your list. Swims and hikes, for instance, are very possible with young children. If you have the extra adult, you can spell each other off looking after the kids while one of you does a swim lap or two.


You don't necessarily need to leave your kids with a babysitter to do some of this stuff. If you need a break, consider getting the babysitter to come over and hang out with the kids while you're still there! They have fun, because someone is playing with them, and you get the heat taken off you so you can do your yoga or your vegetable garden.


Travelling and eating at restaurants, if you can afford it, is also very possible with kids! I go to restaurants with my baby all the time. You get to know which ones are baby friendly: in fact, this is something you can do with another mom friend during the day, also. Restaurants are also usually less crowded during the afternoon, and you'll have more room to spread out. Bring colouring or some toys for the kids, order off the menu, and go to town! In fact, even a quite upscale restaurant is usually very accommodating of kids if you go for lunch.


We just completed a 2-day road trip with the baby! It was possible, but needed serious planning. We had to stop and get out of the car to nurse and get some fresh air and stretch every 2 hours or so. Things went slowly. But we did it.


You also mention you're not unhappy with your life. Well, perhaps it doesn't need changing then. But if you want to shake it up, shake it up WITH your kids and stop waiting!

onlyzombiecat's Avatar onlyzombiecat 09:56 AM 07-15-2012
Originally Posted by maptome View Post

I can't tell if I'm procrastinating my life and using my kids as an excuse to not change my life, or if my mind's voice is reasonable in thinking that they are just too young.  Does it just take some time?  I'm not unhappy with my life.  There's just a lot of stuff I want to do that I'm not doing (because of the kids?).


I know that it is definitely easier to pursue my interests as my dd gets older. 

I still have things like traveling that I put off until dd is grown- or dh is done with school- but I can exercise, soak in the tub or read a book pretty much whenever I want to. If I wanted to plant a garden, do crafts, take a class or play a sport I feel that I could at this point.


Maybe there are things you are putting off that you could do with your kids or in a different way for now and they just really aren't important enough to make the effort right now. I think that is okay to wait a few months or years until you have more free time/energy but if you are feeling frustrated know your kids would be fine if you found a sitter or left them with their father while you did something for yourself.

MrsGregory's Avatar MrsGregory 10:23 AM 07-15-2012

Hi there!


I have a 9 1/2 month old daughter.  I also have things I want to be doing that I'm not because I have her.  But what it comes down to, for me, is what would I rather be doing?  Sure, I want to go out and whoop it up with girlfriends, but I'd rather stay home and snuggle her to sleep.



LitMom's Avatar LitMom 11:00 AM 07-15-2012

It just takes some time, and I don't think you're procrastinating or using the kids as an excuse. It is really hard with kids under 5 or so. Even after that, it's okay to look forward to times of more independence or ability to do certain things with or without the kids; as long as you still enjoy doing the things for that age and aren't constantly looking forward. My oldest goes to camp now, and I look forward to both kids being away at camp in a few years. I look forward to taking mom-and-1-child trips too; and to taking them overseas. Not that what we do now isn't fun, but those things will be fun too and looking forward with excitement is nice. 

Adaline'sMama's Avatar Adaline'sMama 11:39 AM 07-15-2012
I totally agree with everything Michelle said. I know for me, a big part of it was getting ready for the day. I needed to take a shower to be able to do things like get out of the house. If I stayed in my yoga pants till noon, the day was going to be shot. I used to get up and shower and get dressed while DD was still asleep, and wake her up and get her dressed and nurse DS and go out of the house- breakfast out, errands, museum, ect. Then when I came home, it was amazing what I could get done. DD was tired and it was her naptime and I had already been out for part of the day so little things like dishes and laundry didnt seem like such a task. Also, they werent such a task, we'd been gone all day, so there were toys strewn all over the place smile.gif
Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 09:10 PM 07-16-2012

I am glad you posted about this. I am feeling this about losing weight and getting back into shape. I am a sahm of a 28 month old. I take him on stroller walks every day, and my dh helps out tons when he is home from work (he works about 50 hrs per wk and the rest of the time is with us and caring for ds)- but still, I can't seem to fit regular exercise into my schedule! When I have ds alone I can take him for short walks- and then when dh gets home I can exercise but I am usually spent at that time or have a big to do list. I sometimes exercise a little when dh has time off but even then we are trying to find dh some down time too in those days and  I also have to cook and clean etcetera. I wonder if I am just being lazy- I am feeling more and more like I want to prioritze exercising so hopefully I will . Anyway- having 2 kids and one only 6 months old I think you are not using the kids as an excuse but simply doing what needs to be done to care for two small kids which is a lot! I also have been trying to figure out my other priorities and feeling a sense of not having the same sources of replenishing as I did before I had a kid, when I used to live way in the woods and spent a ton of time walking alone in the woods or by  river- then we moved when we had ds and now I see people a lot which is good- I like where I live now too- and we have nature too but I don't have the same place and time as I used to- and I feel like I am still trying to find my own footing again- same things as you mentioned- to do yoga, exercise, garden- plus we moved from where I had felt really at home to a place where I am still trying to find my home- so I feel a sense of uprootedness. So I am jst saying I can relate to some of how you feel for sure!

MichelleZB's Avatar MichelleZB 09:26 PM 07-16-2012
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post

I am glad you posted about this. I am feeling this about losing weight and getting back into shape. I am a sahm of a 28 month old. I take him on stroller walks every day, and my dh helps out tons when he is home from work (he works about 50 hrs per wk and the rest of the time is with us and caring for ds)- but still, I can't seem to fit regular exercise into my schedule!

Stroller walking is regular exercise, so congrats, Mama, you are doing it! But if you want to ramp it up a bit... will your son sit in a jogging stroller? Running is excellent cardio!


Sorry for the thread hijack. Although I guess it's sort of on topic: running is yet another one of the things you can add to the list of stuff you can do WITH your baby.

Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 09:46 PM 07-16-2012

I am not a runner at all! one of my favorite forms of exercise is long walks- I used to walk for hours at a time. Now I can get in maybe a 20 minute walk but it is also pushing ds and sometimes coercing him- not just flat out walking  as fast as I want by myself for as long as my body needs.

I am really wanting to do more cardio and I even have a jillian michaels dvd I could do for 20 minutes of ds's nap but when he is napping I want to sit and do nothing or do something fun or catch up on housework and I find I have not done the dvd once. I really want to ramp it up somehow and get back in shape now though.

77sugaree's Avatar 77sugaree 05:28 PM 07-17-2012

I so know how you feel!  hug.gif My kids are 1, 3 and 5.I have been pregnant and/or nursing for 5 1/2 years nonstop.


 When I try to do yoga they crawl over me and under me. I tried to do a yoga kids video with them but they were not interested.(It was a youtube yoga video and all they did was beg to watch a lego Star Wars video eyesroll.gif) The garden that my super awesome MIL planted for us is dying from lack of water because everytime I take the kids out to water, the older ones end up soaking wet from running through the hose and most of the time I don't want to deal with having to come in and peel off the wet clothes, clean up the wet floor and help them into dry stuff.


So yeah, I'm burnt out.  I feel like it's too much work to do anything.


But..... as my oldest becomes more independent I can see hope for the future. He can dress himself, make a sandwich and brush his own teeth thumb.gif.


I keep telling myself "They're only little for a little while."


But yeah, it's really hard when you have small children who need so much attention, I second getting out othe house. We spend a lot of time at the library and splurged on a membership to our local children's museum (so worth it!) Even just getting a milkshake and driving around can be fun.


I was talking to an elderly lady at the grocery store last week and she said "You might not believe it, but this is the best time of your life." and really, I think she's right. When the kids are grown I can do as much yoga as I want but this time right now, is once in a lifetime.

MrsBone's Avatar MrsBone 10:14 PM 07-18-2012

I felt it was easier to leave my baby from infancy to 12 months, but then they hit that separation anxiety stage from about 12 months to 2 years or so, and it makes it harder, so I took advantage of the short spurts of time during the first year to get away for a couple hours. It helped. That said, I didn't have more than an hour or two away from my first child until he was weaned at age 2! I think I just got better with my second about prioritizing myself since in order to be a good mama, I needed some time to myself. I didn't feel bad about it the second time around. That said, if you truly feel like your kids can't handle you being gone, then don't do it. They're only young for short while! My DD is 3 1/2 and DD is 14 months, so I'm right there with you! I do take time for myself though. I need it!

MrsGregory's Avatar MrsGregory 09:50 AM 07-19-2012

Your babies don't get separation anxiety until 12 months?


Where is the sheer, unadulterated, shamelessly jealous smiley?



6 months.  Her pediatrician commented on her anxiety about not being physically attached to me at 6 months.  Even if I wanted to leave her, I'm not sure it would be worth knowing that she would be screaming, throwing herself after me, and not breathing with upset.



The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 10:41 AM 07-19-2012

My secondborn had intense separation anxiety from the moment we put her in the car seat to bring her home from the hospital until she was about 18 months.  Oh, everyone thought she was a happy baby because she was always strapped to me - and when she was strapped to me, and nobody else was bothering her, she was happy. Once she figured out crawling, so long as we were in the same room and she could get to me, she would be OK for a few minutes but then would need to be right next to me or on me....but if I was out of eyesight, or on the opposite side of a baby gate, or if she was in the car seat.....well, let's just use "unpleasant" as a big 'ole euphemism for that experience.  Doctors?  She was examined in my lap until she was at least 3 years old.  lol.


I am happy to report that despite what I'm sure others thought about me being crazy to not "make" her get used to being without me, she is a very independent 6-yo who has no shred of any of that left - oh she still loves her mommy time, but separates from me easily and confidently now. The only thing that saved my sanity those first 18 months was that once she was rocked asleep in my arms, I could put her down for a few hours, and she nursed back down easily at night most of the time - she didn't sleep a lot, but at least when she slept she wasn't restless and I was able to put her down.  If she was that needy during the day *and* night, I'm not really sure what I would have done.


Annnnyway.  Chin up ladies of high needs babies!  It does eventually start to get better!!

Mommel's Avatar Mommel 01:33 PM 07-19-2012
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

Stroller walking is regular exercise, so congrats, Mama, you are doing it! But if you want to ramp it up a bit... will your son sit in a jogging stroller? Running is excellent cardio!


OR, you could ramp it up while still keeping it low-impact and put your LO in a carrier. winky.gif My Ergo goes up to 40 lbs. or something like that... also, the rhythm of walking tends to put my 10 mo. old to sleep, so that's an added bonus! Let me tell you... two walks a day with 20 lbs strapped to my chest is pretty good cardio...

peaceful_mama's Avatar peaceful_mama 03:45 PM 07-26-2012

I feel the same way!  It doesn't help that DH isn't always supportive about being alone with the kids.  Now that my youngest is 19 months old, I do sometimes leave him with all 4 kids.  But it took me really being stern with MYSELF, shutting that voice up in my own head about the baby being OK to do it.  They are HIS KIDS TOO.  He chose to have them just as much as I did, and it is NOT babysitting for the dad to be home alone with the family for a couple hours.


That said, back when my baby was 6 months old, I did not do this.  But there is no reason why you should not be able to make sure your baby is fed, should be reasonably happy for say half an hour and go for a walk.  Or do a quick store run for something ALONE.  He chose to have them just as much as you.  But if he's like mine, he might not be comfortable being alone with the baby.  I respected that. I changed and fed and occasionally left, with my phone.  And for me even an outing with just the baby was good for me.  I did that a LOT.  :)  The library was a great quiet place to sit and nurse and take a break from errands and stuff.  Again, I just did it.  ;)

Imakcerka 04:01 PM 07-26-2012

I really wish I had more time to myself when they were little.  I look back now and realize that I was miserable and depressed.  Though I was able to get a work out in I wasn't able to do anything but what was necessary for them.  I did work but it was work then home then work then home then work then home.  And DH and I had our shifts split so one of us would always be home. 


If you want to get out and do things... DO THEM!  I promise you the world won't end and your child/baby won't hate you.  When I finally left my kids with a babysitter they had a great time and for them it was like a playdate. 

Peggy O'Mara's Avatar Peggy O'Mara 04:13 PM 07-26-2012

It's easy to be hard on yourself and to think you should be doing more when you are already doing so much. With a 6 month old and a 3-year-old, it's just not that easy. But, it will get easier and you will see in retrospect that you expected too much of yourself now. That's not to say you shouldn't keep trying, Michelle's tips are great. Bring it on home. Have a date night with your partner at home. Have a friend with a baby over and do yoga together or some semblance of it. Make a list of things you can do to relax in 15 minutes: having a cup of tea, reading part of the newspaper, gazing at the clouds. Put the list up somewhere so you can remember when you need to. But, above all, don't be hard on yourself. You shouldn't be doing any more than you are. Things will change and believe or not, you will look back on it with nostalgia.