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#1 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at my wit's end. I have a 3 yo dd and a 5 mo old dd. My dh works but I do not. I do not have any one come in and help me - such as a family member or friend. I do not have a babysitter for my kids. I like to do home cooked meals, knit, scrapbook, exercise, keep a clean house and spend time with my children. And I know that some of you may respond - there is no way to do it all. I want to hear from mom's who are capable of doing it. Did you do it when you had a real young child? Do you get up early and go to bed early? My whole life I have gone to bed late and then I get up when the kids get up. Maybe that is my problem. I am not asking to do my hobbies everyday but I haven't scrapbooked since before I was pregnant with #2. I just can't find the time. Any suggestions or will it just get better as the baby gets older???
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#2 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 12:12 AM
 
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I hate to say it, and I know you said you don't want to hearit, but the reality is that you don't get to do it all. From a mom of one Avery to another, the bottom line is that you don't get it all done. You can't do it all. You have to pick and choose what is most important. I scrapbook a few times a year with my best girlfriend, and only at the store on crop days, and only do the pics I love the most. I've done like 10 pages in the 2 1/2 years since DS's birth. Exercise is only things that include the kids, things they like to do. We have fun "racing" with the jogging stroller, little bursts of running that DS this is fun, and DD races to keep up. I work part-time, so I know that I'm not home full time, as you are, but the reality is that "getting it all done" takes on a whole different meaning. You ARE getting it all done, if your children are happy and fed, and you are at peace. Some things, just have to be let go. Best of luck Mama

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#3 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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well i think staying at home and taking care of 2 little ones is work
anyway, i'd love to hear the secret of being able to do it all so i'm going to keep an eye on this thread

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#4 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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I am in a similar boat. Housewife, hubby works inside the home. I have one child ... 2.8 month old. No family, friends or hired hands. I get nothing done. AT.ALL. DS needs every single second focused on him.

So if you are doing any of the things that you listed above, you are my hero

If you have the right kids, I think you could "do it all." And the few people I know that get a lot done, dont get any sleep. I need sleep
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#5 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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Another vote for just having to change your expectations. That's the Mama life.

BUT...

I had 2 demanding HN babies, but my third is SO easy. I actually CAN get stuff done, and I couldn't make her nurse every hour or more (like my first two did for their first 18 months) if I wanted to. She's just so calm and laid back and content. I am in awe. I used to think when people's babies sat happily in bouncy seats it was because they had to CIO to "train" them to sit nicely in there. I know now that some babies actually LIKE them. Go figure...

ANYWAY...I like to cook, sew, scrapbook, read, run, etc, too...here are my tips for workign things in...

1.) Put the kids in the bathtub (you may have to wait a bit for your 5mo to be ready for this...does he like a tub seat?) to play. Sit on the toliet and watch the kids and knit for 15 min or so.

2.) Find a safe place to leave out your scrapbooking stuff all the time, and organize your embellishments to be quick to access. I throw some pictures out and glance at it as I walk by caring for the kids. I get a vision in my head for what I want to do, and I might even sketch the idea on a scrap piece of paper. When I get a minute, I can easily crop a picture or two, or make a ribbon flower or whatever. I just content myself to do a little at a time. Since so much of doing any project is getting it all out and putting it all up, figuring out a way to leave it out is key.

3.) For a while, I was sewing for 15 minutes every morning. Slow going, but I was turning stuff out a little at a time. I'm going to start this again soon.

4.) For cooking...devote a Saturday a month to putting everything possible in the freezer or prep baggies. Make homemade mixes, cook chickens, freeze cookie dough, etc so that way you can have homecooked meals in processed food time. It works wonders. If you can't dedicate a Saturday, just get in the habit of having something going all the time...you can play with your kids while a chicken boils. But...cook 2 or 3 at once. It doesn't take that much more time to pick the meat off 3 as it does 1, and you'll save yourself the time and mess later.

5.) Make a list of all the things you'd like to do. Divide it out into 15 minute segments o work. It will seem over-whelming at how long it will take to get anything done at first. Next, make a list of all the things you HAVE to do, and how much time they take. Work on becoming more effecient at those, and find the 10 to 15 minute periods you have to come and go from your hobbies. Again, leaving your things out and ready for the next step will allow you to truly work for that time instead of having to figue out where you are in your project. For scrapbooking, you can try those plastic boxes that let you make a kit. Get 2...one for the paper and picture, the other for your basic supplies and whatever embellishments you select for your current page. Then everything is right there, but can still be shut and slid on a shelf to clean up. Seeing where you have time to do things helps, but also being able to check off a box beside all the things that you do (have to do and want to do) will help you to feel like you aren't wasting time. Someone once told me to make a list of all the things I'd already done in the morning when i was making my list for the day. It really does make me feel better to see what I did with my day.

6.) Organize, organize, organize. The more organized you are, the more efficent you can be and the more time you'll have.

7.) Relax...it's only a few short years your children are small. Hug babies, read stories...it doesn't last long.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#6 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 02:36 AM
 
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Oh, and another thing I do is wear the baby for naps. It doesn't take up time trying to put her down. I just put her in my wrap and dance her to sleep. I put my projects on the counter (I even sew standing up) so I can easily reach them and I can get a lot done that way.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#7 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 03:06 AM
 
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1.) Put the kids in the bathtub (you may have to wait a bit for your 5mo to be ready for this...does he like a tub seat?) to play. Sit on the toliet and watch the kids and knit for 15 min or so.
That is the secret! I used to put them in the tub, too and sit on the toilet seat and knit.

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#8 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 03:32 AM
 
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Once my little ones were old enough to nurse while I was doing something else, I'd sit and crochet or read while they were nursing. Sure, it was stuff like reading just a few pages at a time, or crocheting something small that didn't require a lot of color changes, but it was something.

I generally saved larger project for while they were sleeping.
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#9 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 03:34 AM
 
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#10 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 04:44 AM
 
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There's two kinds of breaks: there's a break with the kids where you focus on doing something fun and fulfilling for you, with the kids in tow, and there's the break without the kids where your DH steps up and looks after the kids so you get time to yourself- or, alternatively, you find different forms of childcare like a babysitter, nursery, creche. Create them. Use them. Revel in them. I don't get to knit every day, and I haven't been able to get any spinning done in months because my DS3 keeps dismantling my wheel for me : but life is good because my basic need for MEness is being met.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#11 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much. This really helped. I never thought about leaving the scrapbook stuff out. It does take a lot of time to get out stuff and then put it away. I think I just needed to hear it from other moms. Sometimes you just get so discouraged and you need to hear other moms who understand. I have some good friends that are moms but they either have family that helps them a lot or babysitters or a housekeeper. So of course they are able to get more done. Thanks so much ladies - I really appreciate it.
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#12 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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Lots of good suggestions here. I get scrapbooking done by letting DD sit on the floor by the computer (I'm a digi gal) with a notebook and pens. We also haven't been her "playmate" 24/7- we've taught or allowed her to play by herself. I don't believe that my role is to be her entertainment That being said, I find that I can sit and read her a book for a few minutes, then get some things done while she plays. Obviously different kids have diff. personalities.

That being said, it IS possible to have a life for yourself and be a mom. My dearest friend has 4 kids under 6, scrapbooks more I could imagine, runs a digi scrapbook business AND spends TONS of quality time with her kids. You don't stop being YOU because you are a mom. In fact, if you do that, you'll find yourself less happy with the mom role OR losing yourself and not sure of who you are once your kids leave the house.

Just keep trying things and remember that 15 minutes here or there might be what you get for now

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#13 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My three yo will play by herself for a long time but the problem is my 5 month old. She is a pretty good baby and I can sit her in the bouncy for awhile and she is content. But even though this is true, I still have a hard time finding time to get anything done. It is inevitable that as soon as I start dinner, she needs me. I have tried slinging her but don't want to do this when I am near a hot stove.
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#14 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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It's hard. I only have one dd, and I am just now finding the time to do anything.
I've started reading while I'm nursing her down at night (I could never get it to work before). I'm also going to get up earlier, like 6:30, when she starts sleeping better at night. That will give me a couple hours to get things out of the way.
I also put dd in the tub and do some knitting and reading. I guess that's a popular thing!

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#15 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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Soon your baby should be old enough to wear on your back. Do you have a carrier that works on your back? I started putting my dd on my back at about 6 months. I find that it is much easier to get stuff done this way because you don't have her in the way of your arms as much and its much safer at the stove. Just a thought.

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#16 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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Not sure if this is what you want to hear...but I finally hired a regular babysitter who comes twice a week. Dh and I were both stretched too thin, especially on the weekends, and we were stressed out and burned out. Having a babysitter who I like and trust is absolutely wonderful! I feel so much more relaxed, and I'm getting more done, because I can plan projects for the time she's here, instead of just finding a spare hour here or there. We don't have any family nearby, and I finally decided that "it takes a village" and maybe that means babysitters too, not just friends, neighbors, family.

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#17 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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There's two kinds of breaks: there's a break with the kids where you focus on doing something fun and fulfilling for you, with the kids in tow, and there's the break without the kids where your DH steps up and looks after the kids so you get time to yourself- or, alternatively, you find different forms of childcare like a babysitter, nursery, creche. Create them. Use them. Revel in them. I don't get to knit every day, and I haven't been able to get any spinning done in months because my DS3 keeps dismantling my wheel for me : but life is good because my basic need for MEness is being met.
This, plus check out Flylady.net or similar organization skills groups.

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#18 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 04:24 PM
 
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My three yo will play by herself for a long time but the problem is my 5 month old. She is a pretty good baby and I can sit her in the bouncy for awhile and she is content. But even though this is true, I still have a hard time finding time to get anything done. It is inevitable that as soon as I start dinner, she needs me. I have tried slinging her but don't want to do this when I am near a hot stove.
My DD was super needy - in your situation, especially with your 3yo & not being able to sleep when your baby sleeps - I think it's important that you take it as easy as you can on yourself. Don't go waking up early just so you can play supermom - you could easily burn yourself out & that's no good for anyone!

If you like to stay up late, stay up late & do your scrapbooking or whatever then (I do stuff like that while I watch the Boob Tube after DD goes to bed ) I keep ONE project in a box/bag and take that one project out of the closet to work on. I have a super small house so there's no place I can leave anything out - this keeps things together & I can take it out & put it away quickly.

I used our crockpot ALL the time when DD was a baby. She had this window of pleasantness at some point during the morning & I'd stick a bunch of meat & vegetables in the crock & dinner would be ready at dinner. Otherwise I'd wait till DH got home & then do something quick & easy. I didn't feel comfortable with the baby around the stove either, whether she was on my back (which she never liked anyway) or not.

I do freezer cooking too, but just by dividing up what I cook e.g. whole turkey breast = turkey for lunchmeat, potpie etc in freezer ; 1 lasagne divided into 2 pans, 1 for freezer etc.


Anyway Nobody does it all (...& if they do, they're heading straight for a nervous breakdown! Trust me - I've been there! Literally lost my hair! Don't recommend it!)


ETA: Get time for yourself out of the house when you can

Wife to my of 10 years, SAHM to my 2 beautiful homebirthed girls Sydney (4/29/2006) Kennedy (3/21/2010) & 1 super Newfoundland
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#19 of 28 Old 10-10-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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A sentiment that has served me well during these years with little ones is "we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year". Just 10 minutes of scrapbooking during a day is over an hour per week, about 60 hours per year.

Once a week I will make a huge batch of some dinner - chili, meatloaf, pasta sauce, etc. I aim for 4 meals worth. The extras go in the freezer for future weeks. So essentially that's 3 days of the week that require no cooking.

Another trick is to have kid-friendly activities that go alongside your activities, and only get pulled out at that time. Some wooden thread spools to be stacked or threaded while mama is sewing. My older dd will endlessly sort my threads and fabrics into different coloured piles. Buttons were a favourite with her for ages too.

When our dd was old enough to stop putting things in her mouth, we filled a large rubbermaid tote with lentils, spread a sheet on the floor for easy clean-up, and sat her in the tote with scoops, funnels, stacking cups, etc. That tote got us through two winters when the sandbox was under snow. She would play in there for ages, and I could get lots done.
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#20 of 28 Old 10-11-2009, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A sentiment that has served me well during these years with little ones is "we tend to overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year".
Love this so much. Thanks!

For those of you who freeze - I know this may make me sound so "not smart" but how do you do it. I am a ditz when it comes to cooking but I do make a lot of soups and I do a great lasagna. If I was to do extra, what kind of containers do you get and do you have to get all the air out first? Also, with things with meat, I am assuming you are putting cooked meat in them. How long will these things last in the freezer.
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#21 of 28 Old 10-11-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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I agree & disagree with the others.

Yes your currently expectations change, however it gets MUCH, MUCH easier when they get older. My kids are 7, 8 & almost 11. Everything got easier when they got out of the really needy stage around 2-3. My youngest was very needy but even by 3 she was better & I could get other things done.

Now that they're even older I have alot of my own time to do my own things & be me again, not just someone's mom/chauffer/cook/cleaner/etc

We're busier than we were when they were younger, especially when their activities are running but I still have my time. Mondays & Thursdays when my oldest is in Judo I'm either in Spin class or up on the track. Tuesdays have been a me time at night since my youngest was 3months old. They're in school full time, I work part time in the mornings. I'm in physio 2 afternoons a week, I go to the gym another 1 or so a week. I also do other me stuff then.

The days we don't have activities or they're later we have more full homemade meals, otherwise it's quick stuff but we rarely eat out as a family. They're all in bed by 8 & I don't go to bed until 10-12 so I have plenty of time to do other stuff just for me.
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#22 of 28 Old 10-11-2009, 06:53 PM
 
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Love this so much. Thanks!

For those of you who freeze - I know this may make me sound so "not smart" but how do you do it. I am a ditz when it comes to cooking but I do make a lot of soups and I do a great lasagna. If I was to do extra, what kind of containers do you get and do you have to get all the air out first? Also, with things with meat, I am assuming you are putting cooked meat in them. How long will these things last in the freezer.

I LOVE Pyrex! I've bought sets of different sizes when they're BOGO. My favourites are the rectangular small and large sizes - they stack so neatly in the freezer & allow me to freeze family size and individual sizes.

I like lasagne (& enciladas) best assembled but not baked for the freezer, but everyone's different. I'll do servings of leftovers in the small sized containers so they're like a frozen ready meal for when I don't feel like cooking (or for lunch).

I don't know about raw meat - can you give an example of a recipe? I freeze raw meat plain, but I can't think of any meals I freeze that have raw meat in them... regardless, I'm sure it would work as long as you do cook it eventually

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#23 of 28 Old 10-11-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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I agree & disagree with the others.

Yes your currently expectations change, however it gets MUCH, MUCH easier when they get older.
Mine are still a lot younger than this (5, 2 1/2, and 2 1/2), but I have to agree-- it does get so much easier once they're past being babies. One thing I've noticed, too, is that while with the first kid, them getting older might not have made too much difference (my DD1 was MORE work at 3 than she was as an infant), with the subsequent kids, they have each other to play with and interact with, and that makes a huge difference.

I have to agree with eloise24, too, that with patience and persistence, it is possible to gently teach them to be more self-sufficient and to play by themselves, once they get to an age where they can sit up and crawl and explore. Babyproof the heck out of the place, and get them used to you being busy with some adult task nearby, and you may find you can get a lot done even while being good company for the kids.

I myself have resorted often to strange contortions like propping a book on top of the stroller sunshade and reading while pushing babies around, or propping the twins on a nursing pillow to nurse and reaching way out to knit behind their heads. And once my kids learned to sleep through the night, I found that I was a lot less exhausted all the time, so that if once or twice a week I stayed up late or got up really early to do some fulfilling project, I still had enough energy to get through the day.

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#24 of 28 Old 10-11-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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One thing I've noticed, too, is that while with the first kid, them getting older might not have made too much difference (my DD1 was MORE work at 3 than she was as an infant), with the subsequent kids, they have each other to play with and interact with, and that makes a huge difference.
I am so glad to hear that's a possibility! My daughter has been "high needs" "spirited" "completely awesome and exhausting" "whatever you want to call it" from the beginning. I'm better at drawing boundaries now that she's older, but I also choose my battles.

I know it's not surefire, but I sure hope with more kiddos around, more focus will be on each other instead of me. Don't get me wrong - I'm not completely foolish about the craziness of many voices capable of screaming - but it will be nice when I'm not the only other warm body in the house

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#25 of 28 Old 10-12-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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Love this so much. Thanks!

For those of you who freeze - I know this may make me sound so "not smart" but how do you do it. I am a ditz when it comes to cooking but I do make a lot of soups and I do a great lasagna. If I was to do extra, what kind of containers do you get and do you have to get all the air out first? Also, with things with meat, I am assuming you are putting cooked meat in them. How long will these things last in the freezer.
I tend to freeze in ziplocs. We have something like a 2-3 week rotation of meals, so if I freeze 3 meals worth of a dinner, they will be used within 2 months. But I think they will safely freeze for longer, probably 6 months.

Most of what I freeze is cooked meat in dinners. But I will buy a few meals worth of pork tenderloin when it is on sale, mix up a batch of honey hoisin sauce, and freeze it raw in portions. Ditto for chicken in whatever marinade/sauce we are liking at the time.

For lasagne you could get foil pans at the grocery store. They can be used several times, but eventually they will lose their shape or end up with holes. Or pyrex dishes as a pp said.
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#26 of 28 Old 10-12-2009, 01:03 AM
 
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I'm a mom doing it all without a DH at the moment (deployment), and a lot of it has to do with adjusting expectations. I don't put a ton of pressure on myself to be all things otherwise I would go insane. Except for a very brief 2 weeks, I've spent the entirety of my DD's life by myself and learning to juggle two is definitely a challenge no matter who you have around. I do all of my housework while my kids are awake. The baby is either playing or in the carrier and DS is occupied with something, or he helps me if it's something he's able to do. I try to involve him in household chores as much as possible because that turns into one on one time. The expectation of me being able to sit and play with him for long periods of time has had to be adjusted because there's only so much of me to go around.

Once they're asleep that's "Me" time. I don't do chores, I either relax or focus on something that I like to do such as sewing or watching a show or using the computer. They go to bed at 8 and I usually get 4 hours or so to do something I want and then I go to bed. When cooking the baby goes on my back and she normally takes a nap. It has really helped to have a day-to-day routine. Exercise has also proven to be very relaxing and refreshing for me, every evening after baths I load them into the double jogger and we take a 45 minute walk. It's quiet time for me and I REALLY enjoy that.

ribbonyellow.gif Army wife ribbonyellow.gif - Mama to Liam waterbirth.jpg (9/07), Laine uc.jpg (5/09), and Eliza h20homebirth.gif (7/11)

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#27 of 28 Old 10-12-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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I've enjoyed the ideas in this thread. I'm in a similar spot. My dh has a 2 hour commute to work - one way AND he takes college classes three nights a week. He is also in the Air National Guard and has to serve drill one weekend a month. His time at home is very limited.

We have three children - 7.5 years old, 3 years old, and 16 months. I homeschool. The two oldest are in dance and gymnastics and they LOVE it.

I work from home doing pet grooming occasionally for friends.

We have a house and 2 acres to take care of.

I have no relatives close and all my friends have children too. I don't employ any help for anything and I am beginning to realize that I am going to have to. We just cannot take care of the physical things around the house like the gutter work that is needed, staining the deck, you know, the maintainence stuff. We are stretched very thin here and it's stressful.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#28 of 28 Old 10-12-2009, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread has been awesome for me. Sundays are good days for me so I am going to make some casserole dishes and freeze them that day. I bought a box big enough to hold my daily scrapbooking project and plan on starting that tomorrow. I know that my dd2 will sleep really well for about 30 mins and then I have to hold her for the rest of the nap so I plan on doing scrapbooking right after she goes to sleep - well except for using the Cricut because it is too loud. I pretty much have dd1 help me do the housework or certain projects if it is something she can do. Now I just have to figure out how to incorporate the sling more at home. We use an Ergo all the time when we are out and about but never at home.

And kudos to all you moms doing it by yourselves or with dh working a ton. You are awesome.
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