Want to be a better mom? Take care of yourself they say. Bah humbug! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 06-05-2012, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Raising four kids (his two, my two) full time, alone a good part of it. 

Three dogs, a cat, and bird thrown in for good measure. 

At 38, after blood work to rule out anything else, it appears I may be perimenopausal (like THAT is sexy).

I am so worn out that I am even finding it hard to enjoy my kids. And I feel horrible about that.

 

I used to define myself as a runner. A marathon, multiple half's, a few triathlons and duathlons, just for fun.

 

Three years later, I am 25 pounds heavier and technically 10 pounds overweight. I do nothing for me. Not enough time in a day. 

 

I research how to cope with blended families, stress, early menopause. Take time for yourself, find things to take pleasure in, eat better, drink less. I KNOW ALL THAT! FFS! I know how to run for 3 and 4 hours at a time. I can fit that in my OLD life. I know how to schedule time for myself in my old life. How about make it so there may actually be 20 minutes left in the day that I have energy left to do anything and not collapse in bed at 9 to make sure I can get up at 6:30 and do the same overhaul cleaning everyday just so these short people can destroy it? How about enough time to watch one tv show in a week? How about not letting the dog in from outside to discover she dug up my entire planter garden that I lovingly grew from seeds? I started the garden as a new hobby for me (to reduce stress like 'they' suggest) and to teach the kids a little about living a more sustainable lifestyle. Now it is gone. She isn't even my dog! BF's ex couldn't keep her so she lives with us. 

 

This morning is one of those 'why bother?' mornings.

I say bah humbug! Is it too early for wine?

 

//end rant

 

Happy Tuesday all! May life have given me the bad stuff today so you can all have an easy one. It's someone else's turn tomorrow! ;-)

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#2 of 8 Old 06-05-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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hug2.gif It's never too early for wine. Or maybe it is, IDK what time zone you are in winky.gif.

 

What are your kids doing for the summer? Perhaps you can build some breaks in there. And kill the dog. I mean, find some more effective ways to deal with the dog. If you lived nearby, I would invite you all over for some kid time & quiet mama time, and you could help with the gigantic garden here, and take home some bounty later.

 

thanks for taking today's drama for all of us!
 


Jen - Partner to Joe, Craig, & Jordan grouphug.gif, mama to DS1 (7/13/99), DS2 (10/27/01), and DS3 (6/13/06), and DS4 born 12/13/12! Attachment Parent, co-sleeper, baby-wearer, Sudbury School founder & educator, PhD Candidate doing birth research, cloth diaper lover, GF (again), etc!novaxnocirc.gif

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#3 of 8 Old 06-05-2012, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you and I will be fast friends!

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#4 of 8 Old 06-05-2012, 10:27 AM
 
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I know it will be hard to carve out time with sumer break here, but perhaps you could at least give yourself a short break by getting the three oldeet into a week of summer camp? Possibly even the 4yo? That would at least give you 5 days to do something for yourself and recharge a bit.

 

Also... what do the kids do around the house to help (you can call them chores, if you like)? They are all old enough to help.

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#5 of 8 Old 06-06-2012, 09:08 AM
 
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MrsV - agreed :)

 

I was playing around on Pinterst yesterday, pinning a bunch of crafts & science experiments to keep everyone busy over the summer. I found a on for an 'I'm bored' jar. I've never used anything like this before, but this will be our first summer all in one house, next week my partner's kids are spending their 1st of 3 (non-consecutive) weeks with us). they have already all been warned they do NOT have free reign with the TV & computers.

 

Anyway, the jar idea is easy: get a bunch of sticks, put ideas for activities, a few chores, etc on the sticks. Kid tells you they are bored or don't know what to do, have them grab one. There were even about 100 ideas to print out & glue on tongue depressors, so you don't have to think of them all yourself. A lot are good for various ages, which is nice too (not all toddler or teen). I was thinking about some of the larger & blended families I know, and thought that passing the idea on would be a nice thing to do :) Retain sanity world-wide :)
 


Jen - Partner to Joe, Craig, & Jordan grouphug.gif, mama to DS1 (7/13/99), DS2 (10/27/01), and DS3 (6/13/06), and DS4 born 12/13/12! Attachment Parent, co-sleeper, baby-wearer, Sudbury School founder & educator, PhD Candidate doing birth research, cloth diaper lover, GF (again), etc!novaxnocirc.gif

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#6 of 8 Old 06-06-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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I lowered my bar for "making time for myself" and can generally manage it by restructuring my day slightly. Possibly none of what I did will help or work in your life, but I'll tell you in case it gives you ideas. I work and my husband is home with the kids, so I will admit to having some "kid free" time built in, but my work is in early childhood and family mental health, so except for the occasional "paperwork day," it's not like I am sitting in a quiet office filing or anything... but anyway, I will be the first to admit that I have daily kid-free opportunities, but when I am not working I am 110% "on" in order to give my stay-at-home husband some relief and to manage the logistics for parenting 4 kids. I also single-parent fairly frequently when my husband travels. 

 

Anyway...  I looked at my day and decided what the worst parts of it were. For me the absolute worst was the morning rush (getting breakfast for everyone but myself, getting lunches packed, kids dressed, diapers changed, dishes dealt with, laundry started). I didn't try to find time to sit quietly and sip coffee while reading the paper (which is what "they" seem to expect me to accomplish), but I decided I REALLY need to eat breakfast, preferably sitting at the table, and to make coffee to take in the car with me. In order to make that possible, I needed to eliminate some things from my morning "to do" list and/or create more time in the morning. So I started making lunches the night before (either while I am cleaning up dinner and/or after the kids are in bed) and packing my work bag. Then I set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier (when I am single-parenting I set it for 30 minutes earlier in an attempt to get up before any of the kids). I taught my older kids to get their own breakfast and enlisted them to get breakfast for the littler ones. I have considered re-arranging the cabinets so the kids can more easily reach the things they need, but I haven't managed that yet-- for now I make sure the stool is out or might leave bowls out on the counter... I'm still working on that one. I also have been working on requiring the older things to do things for themselves as is developmentally appropriate-- I really did NOT need to be getting their breakfast, picking out their clothes, finding their socks... but in the rush it seems easier to just do it than to wait for them to figure it out while whining and getting distracted and making us all late. I tend to force them to practice self-sufficiency when it isn't important (for example, I don't get up to get them a clean fork at dinner, I don't go track down their water bottle before bed or their library book that they want to read)... slowly it is getting easier in the mornings when I refuse to go find a favorite pair of jeans and they can actually deal with that crisis themselves. 

 

Anyway, I don't know if my rambling is helpful... but my point is that I will NEVER, unless I start getting up at 4am, be able to sit and have a leisurely breakfast and coffee while reading a novel in the morning sun. But for now it is enough to free up the extra 5 minutes I need to eat my own breakfast uninterrupted. I've done the same thing for bedtime and in the afterschool rush between school pick-up and afterschool activities. It doesn't always work, and I frequently have to realize when things aren't working again and make some other adjustments. And it has taken an initial investment of teaching the kids how to do things, and/or making visual aids (like the one in their bedroom with a picture of pajamas, toothbrush, water bottle, and books that reminds them the 4 things they are responsible for in the bedtime routine)... but in the end the investment pays off, and it has a ripple effect-- once I raised the bar for the kids doing things on their own, there are more things they automatically do on their own without first asking me to do it for them, and it is a smaller step to enlist their help with the littler ones (for example, the older two can put the appropriate amount of toothpaste on the littlest one's toothpaste for him, or can help him go pick out pajamas). 

I still haven't figured out how anyone gets a "girl's night out," takes a class, dedicates hours a week to crafting or gardening, goes on a date with their spouse or whatever... But for now I'll satisfy myself with meeting my basic needs on a more regular basis.

Sorry this was a bit rambly... I'm typing this while taking a break from catching up on paperwork for my day job while supervising the toddler and helping my 1st grader with homework in the lobby of the dance studio where my 5-year-old is in class.... HOpefully some of it was coherent!


Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#7 of 8 Old 06-07-2012, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You made perfect sense. Excellent multitasking!

 

I do the same things you do. I think I would be rocking in a corner talking to myself if I didn't!

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#8 of 8 Old 06-07-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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I just leave the house a pig sty. It's the only way I can get anything done for me.

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