Having Baby Without Family/Friend Help During or After (Crossposted in I'm Pregnant) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A little background. I'm 22w pg, due at the end of July. I have 3 boys (well, 2 boys and 1 man), a 20yo, a 7yo and a 3yo (who will be 4 when this baby comes). My dh is deployed and most likely will not be able to come home for the birth or any time soon after. I am planning a home birth like I had with ds3. Also as with my birth with ds3, I have asked my mother to be here to help with my younger kids and PP stuff. The problem is that we don't get along very well. She is not what I would considered a support for me. It's usually the opposite. She's very unsupportive and constantly does and says things that make me feel bad. She's not unsupportive of me having a home birth. I'd say she's more neutral. She doesn't seem to care one way or the othere where I have my baby, although with ds3 she was initially opposed to the idea of a home birth.

She's visiting right now so I'm being smacked in the face with how bad she makes me feel. It's got me thinking that I really don't want that kind of energy around me right before, during and after having this baby. I don't have anyone else to come and stay with me, though, or anyone else that I can rely on to help with daily living stuff after having a baby. I'm wondering if I could just do this on my own.

Anyone else have any experience with a similar situation? Anyone decide it's better to be on your own and do all the PP stuff on your own with other kids? Is this a bad idea? Should I just suck it up and deal with my mother's nastiness and negativity so that I can get help with cooking and cleaning and child care while PP recovery? She's not nasty or negative to my kids, just me.

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#2 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 07:15 AM
 
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Hi, im a single mother and without my own mother's support, i dont know what i would have done. In general, i am very independent and dont rely on much help with the kids (2 of them) but would definitely want some help in a newly post partum phase.
 
Is there any chance you could hire a baby nurse?  I know, expensive, but perhaps for just a couple of weeks. I personally could not put up with what you are describing. That is the absolute last thing you need at a moment of vulnerability. You need support in  your last days of pregnancy birth and post partum, not someone to put you down.
 
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#3 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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Could you afford to hire a post-partum doula?
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#4 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 07:29 AM
 
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I had no-zero zip-help from my family after all five of the births of my children. It was heartbreaking because I lived not two minutes from her and my father when four of them were born. It was painful, hard, and took me years to get over the fact that she wouldn't help at all. Not even run down the road to pick me up tylenol for a migraine. :(

I look back now and I wouldn't have wanted her help, anyway.

I am so sorry. Really what helped me was to relax and not stress about housework, or stuff I 'had to do'. Prepare some easy heat up meals in advance to make mealtimes easier if you are alone. Consider a postpartum doula, as was mentioned. Many hugs. 


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#5 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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I say this because I cannot imagine having to do all of that on my own and with that many young children.  So, this would be my suggestion:


 

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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Could you afford to hire a post-partum doula?


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Or, a baby nurse to help you out for a little while?

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#6 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just thought of a PP doula, too. I looked into that when I was pg with ds3 and couldn't afford it. Plus, I've heard the one and only PP doula around (4 years ago, anyway) is not supportive of home birth at all. I'm going to look again and ask around some more.

I do have a next door neighbor that I'm sure I can rely on for little things, like picking up some Tylenol or milk at the store while she's out. She has her own family, though, so can't take care of me and mine all day for weeks. KWIM?

I also just remembered that my dh's friend's girlfriend had offered to cook dinner for us every night while my dh is deployed because we were talking about how I hate to cook. I guess she likes to cook but doesn't like doing it just for herself. (Her BF is deployed, too.) I don't know her well and so didn't really take her up on her offer because I felt weird about it. However, I might just do that now. She offered this without knowing I was pg and going to have a baby while my dh is deployed, too. I don't know what she thinks of home birth, though. Anyway, that's another option for me, I guess.

It is sad because my mother is more than willing to help. It's just that the helps she gives isn't nice. KWIM? It's like everything I do is wrong. I wish I could have my dad. He's much more an emotional support. I don't think he's physically up to taking care of my kids on his own, though. But...if I can get a PP doula and/or some friends to help with some things, maybe I could have him here instead.

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#7 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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Can your 20 year old help out? Also, how about a younger teenager who could play with your other kids while you and baby nap and maybe load the dish washer, that kind of thing. You've got time to build up a bit of a support network before you're due. Do you know any other young families? I found it so helpful when people took my older child off for a few hours while I was housebound. I would just be very vocal to everyone about your DH being away for the birth and see what offers come your way. good luck

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#8 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 20yo is not much help, even if he tries. I have learned not to rely on him.

My 7yo's best friend lives right next door so he, and his little bro sometimes, will be able to play over there some. I haven't had much luck finding teens to babysit, watch kids. I've been trying to find a reliable mother's helper for years and it just never panned out. Everyone that I know knows my dh is deployed. Lots of people offer help but don't come through when the time comes. Or, the help they offer isn't the kind that I need.

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#9 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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BTDT

 

But, my mom is great.  I'm sorry you don't have that kind of support.

 

You need a back up plan.  Don't go it alone.  Every time I've tried something like that, I get really sick, or something horrid happens and it just wasn't a good idea for me to be on my own totally.

 

Call the FRO, or the Family Team Building Office.  There are home visit nurses available, and other programs they can link you with.  I often felt this wasn't a good option for me because I home-birth, and the climate is not real great for that there.  But, you might get farther than you think.

 

Also, do you have a midwife?  They might know of some good options for you.


"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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#10 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, I have a midwife. I plan to talk to her about all of this at my next appointment.

I don't know about contacting the FRO. Since this deployment is an IA, we're not really attached to a unit. I don't know anyone involved since they all come from different places. So far, they've only had one meet and greet type of thing and I couldn't make it. I guess I could just get some general info about nurse home visits. I had one when I had ds2 in Hawaii but that was coordinated through the army hospital in lieu of having to take him in for a pediatric visit. She didn't offer any help with cooking and cleaning and such. Just weighed and measured baby and sort of checked to make sure my home was safe. I only saw her once and was not offered another visit.

As far as I know, all the parenting stuff is baby boot camp and free respite child care, neither of which I'm interested in.

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#11 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 03:40 PM
 
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Are you at all interested in joining a religious community?  If I were going to be having another baby while DH was away for some reason and no family around I would be walking right into my church's office and yelling "HELP!"  And help would come!

 

Without a doubt I am sure I would have a small army of women cooking us meals, people volunteering to take my older child for play dates, and ladies willing to come over and baby snuggle so I could take a shower or a nap (and probably do some laundry while they are there). 

 

So if you are at all open, I would look into a local religious community for help.


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#12 of 43 Old 03-29-2011, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks but a religious group is not something I'm interested in since I'm atheist. Not my thing, ya know? I appreciate the suggestion, though.

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#13 of 43 Old 03-30-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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I did it alone with baby #4. My DP was gone less than 2w after baby #5 and I spent most of her infancy caring for the kids solo. It's totally doable, IMO. 


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#14 of 43 Old 03-30-2011, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawa kamuri View Post

I did it alone with baby #4. My DP was gone less than 2w after baby #5 and I spent most of her infancy caring for the kids solo. It's totally doable, IMO. 


How did you do it?

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#15 of 43 Old 03-30-2011, 04:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
How did you do it?


I rested as much as I could. I took naps, if possible. When the older kids went to bed the baby and I got in bed also. I wore the baby a lot. I didn't stress overmuch about house cleaning. I allowed myself to be lazy when it came to cooking. I took it step by step and day by day. 

 

With my last baby I didn't have a car, had to take pub trans every where at 2w pp until she was 10mo. All sorts of weather. I had to carry two huge bags of heavy groceries, the babe in the Beco, keeping an eye on the other kids so that they didn't walk into traffic or somesuch many days a week. It was hard! I didn't have anyone who could or was willing to help me. I found out I was much more resilient, head strong and resourceful than I ever knew.     


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#16 of 43 Old 03-30-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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Yes, could you afford to hire someone? Or do you have a friend that you could trade help with? Like, she could help you post partum and you could help her out with her kids when you are all adjusted? Do you have a church family? Would you consider going to church to have a support system? I know at least at my church, people love to help other people :)


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#17 of 43 Old 03-30-2011, 05:04 PM
 
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sorry, I didn't read all the posts and see that you are not religious. :)


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#18 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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kawa kamuri ~ That sounds hard. Honestly, I have a hard enough time doing things with just the 2 LOs. There is a lot that I just skip because I don't want to hassle with it. I do have my own car, though. There'd be no way to get around in this town without one.

I'm not much of a house cleaner as it is so that's not an issue for me. I'm also not much of a cooker. My dh does the cooking. My 2 LOs are so demanding, though. It seems one of them is constantly asking me to get or do something. I'm working on getting my older one to do more for himself and his little bro. He's even been practicing changing diapers so he can change the baby. love.gif We all sleep whenever we can. We don't have any schedules we need to keep.

I think I'm most concerned about those first couple of days when I may not want to get up and do much of anything. I was up on my feet a lot sooner after my home birth than my 2 hospital births so maybe that wouldn't be much of an issue. I need to get an in loco parentis anyway since my dh is gone and anything could happen to me. For that, I would name my next door neighbor and then my mom when she could get here.

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#19 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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I think if you are not stressed by cleaning/cooking will be fine...stock up the freezer/fridge..let the younger boys know there will be a few weeks after the baby is born that you will need to be taking it easy...get some new toys that they can play with without your help and put them away until you need a break..dont know if you do tv.. but tv and dvds will entertain the younger ones while you nap on the sofa.The 20 year old should be able to watch his brothers for you..but even if he cant he cant at least to the shopping and fix a meal...

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#20 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, my 20yo does do the grocery shopping when I ask him. I don't know about fixing a meal. He usually makes such a mess that it's ridiculous. How he manages to splatter stuff on the ceiling I will never understand. eyesroll.gif

I've been thinking about making casserole type meals ahead of time for the freezer and stocking up on paper plates and plastic eating utensils. I can deal with that for a couple of weeks.

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#21 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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Just wanted to encourage you that it is do-able even if not ideal. With my 4th baby his father took off within hours of being home from the hospital and only came around like once a week  and my mother was already to sick to be much help. I had to go back to babysitting within a week for money (it was only one kid though) and had no real friends to help me out. I survived. I used the TV much more then I liked and the housecleaning and cooking standards were let go. It helped to be breastfeeding and cosleeping for sure. It was not easy by any means but it wasn't hell either. I do feel stronger and capable because of it. With the baby that is coming I won't have any help at all, my mom has passed, my sister moved 3 hours away and the babies father moved out of the country..and I babysit 3 kids now instead of 1. I am very nervous but I know that I can do it.

 

On another note you may want to tell your mother how you feel. Tell her I would rather not have any help from you if you can't keep your comments to yourself. I basically walked out on my mom at Easter after my first son had been born when she made her millionth "you should have thought about that before you had a baby" comment to me. That made her realize how much it upset me and she did alot of biting her tounge after that..I knew what she was thinking she didn't have to say it and we got along finewinky.gif


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#22 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hjdmom24 View Post

Just wanted to encourage you that it is do-able even if not ideal. With my 4th baby his father took off within hours of being home from the hospital and only came around like once a week  and my mother was already to sick to be much help. I had to go back to babysitting within a week for money (it was only one kid though) and had no real friends to help me out. I survived. I used the TV much more then I liked and the housecleaning and cooking standards were let go. It helped to be breastfeeding and cosleeping for sure. It was not easy by any means but it wasn't hell either. I do feel stronger and capable because of it. With the baby that is coming I won't have any help at all, my mom has passed, my sister moved 3 hours away and the babies father moved out of the country..and I babysit 3 kids now instead of 1. I am very nervous but I know that I can do it.

 

On another note you may want to tell your mother how you feel. Tell her I would rather not have any help from you if you can't keep your comments to yourself. I basically walked out on my mom at Easter after my first son had been born when she made her millionth "you should have thought about that before you had a baby" comment to me. That made her realize how much it upset me and she did alot of biting her tounge after that..I knew what she was thinking she didn't have to say it and we got along finewinky.gif


Good on you, mama! You can do it! 

 

I actually had to exclude my mom from the birth of baby #4 because of how much negativity she brought to my life. Since then she's at least been silent about our differences winky.gif

 

I was thinking about you this morning, OP. For me staying on top of being a mom to many - especially in high need times like my own illness or needing to recover PP - requires some forethought which you're obviously doing. I don't know you or your kids of course but when mine were the ages of your now youngest two they were able to self entertain for a bit, watch a TV show and certainly be more self sufficient than a newborn. It's sometimes a process to get little ones to be more independent especially when facing an impending birth. My toddler has had to do a lot of growing up over the course of my current pregnancy because I knew I couldn't cope with how things were going and a newborn. My #1 thing is getting kids interested and in a routine of picking up after themselves. I'd be a wreck otherwise. I still remind even my 12yo to pick up his things but it's something all my kids expect and don't give me grief about. 

 

These days I do have a present DP but due to his work five days a week he's around for only a couple of hours so that's going to leave me all summer long with a house full of restless kids, a newborn and doing it solo most of the time (for the record I KNOW KNOW KNOW it's not the same and it peeves me to no end when partnered mamas of any sort compare themselves to single mamas). I don't have any one else to help so during that first tender bit I plan to get through it by being as lazy as possible - sitting on the couch, putting a baby gate up in my girls doorway, laying in my 4yos bed and snoozing while they play, cooking easy meals, watching cartoons, giving myself permission to get in bed with baby early, putting him in a carrier when I need to get things done and go places, laying on a blanket while they play at the park. Like PP said, it's not easy but it's not hell. 


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#23 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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I'm not a single mama, but my last two were 15 months apart, I was homeschooling my oldest and my DH was working full time and taking evening classes.  The first week was brutal.  So here's my two cents:

 

1.  Freeze as many meals as you can.  (I spent two weeks cooking double batches of soups, chilis, sauces, etc. and then froze them in gallon zip lock bags.  I had almost 30 meals when I was done.)  It kept us from starving.

 

2.  Paper plates and plasticware.

 

3.  Loads of easy snack foods you and your LOs can grab in a pinch. (Power bars, granola, nuts, fruit leather, etc.)

 

4.  Way more TV for my LOs than I was comfortable with, but man it totally helped out.

 

5.  Disposable diapers.

 

6.  I super baby proofed our main living area since I knew the 15 mo would be into everything and I would't have the energy to run after him.

 

7.  The house went to pot, whatever.

 

8.  I had my groceries delivered.

 

9.  I had pizza delivered when I was too exhausted to even heat a meal I had already made.

 

I love the idea of a few new toys for your two boys.  And can you have the 20 year old do laundry and/or load the dishwasher?  Also, since the neighbor has a boy that is friends with yours can you see if she'll watch your two for a couple of hours the first few days after you give birth?  Good luck mama, you can totally do it.


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#24 of 43 Old 03-31-2011, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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On another note you may want to tell your mother how you feel. Tell her I would rather not have any help from you if you can't keep your comments to yourself. I basically walked out on my mom at Easter after my first son had been born when she made her millionth "you should have thought about that before you had a baby" comment to me. That made her realize how much it upset me and she did alot of biting her tounge after that..I knew what she was thinking she didn't have to say it and we got along finewinky.gif


Oh, believe me, I've done that many times over. I have kicked her out of my house before when she was visiting. I have not allowed her to see my kids. She behaves just long enough for me to think there might be a chance and as soon as I let her back in she goes back to her normal stuff. When we're not in contact for an extended period I tend to forget how bad she really is. That's why this current visit has got me feeling this way.


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#25 of 43 Old 04-18-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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After my daughter was born, my mother-in-law came to "help".  Her help wasn't very helpful at all. She acted like it was awful that I'd had my baby in my bedroom with dirty dishes in the sink and that I had just left the iodine mess all over the bathroom- that she commented on that still hurts my feelings. Also she was rude/unfriendly to my midwife and my neighbors. And she made me so unhappy and uncomfortable that I thanked her for her "help" and sent her home 3 days early.

I would rather have lived with the dirty dishes and dirty bathroom than deal with her while my baby was newborn and I was still recovering.

 

If you don't have people in your life who will help you -lovingly- for free then you will have to pay someone. If you have a rough recovery- say, a 2nd degree tear, distended bladder, or hemorrhoids- you may not be able to do much at all. You can get by with paper plates, ignoring mess, letting laundry pile up, and microwave food to some extent.  A baby nurse or post-partum doula would be way outside my budget. But home health care workers only expect minimum wage. You could hire a housekeeper or "care giver" for $10 an hour, they could run errands as well as housework. 

 

My midwives had a policy, that you must have someone with you for the first 24 hours after the birth. If there was no-one who could stay with you, they would find some one.

 

I have to say, I do not understand what is going on with your 20 year old son. This is the adult in your life who is the only person you have that you can count on. Does he live with you? How is it that he does not know how to prepare meals? And why is there any doubt that he would support and help you, in whatever ways you need, just as you have nurtured and cared for him all his life? I think that a son, who is a man, is obligated to help his mother and should be expected to in your situation. I suggest you try talking to him and telling him that you are going to be depending on him.

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#26 of 43 Old 04-19-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I don't know your financial situation, but we paid for the plane ticket to have my best frined come here for the birth of dd2. I wasn't totally alone like you, my dh was here. But we had just moved to a new country, Î had no support outside of dh, who was working. We had no one we trusted with dd1 if for some reason I need to go to hospital. So that or a post partum doula is my suggestion if your budget allows. FWIW, having my friend here made the whole experience so wonderful for me and she really enjoyed getting to be present at a birth (she has no kids nor wants any). We have been friends for 10 years and have stayed that way even though we have spent several of thsoe years on different continents. Worth every penny and would do the same for future births (she was also visiting during the birth od my dd1 coincidentally, although not at the hospital when she was born).


Mamma to dd1 3/8/07, one 9.5.08, and dd2 9/9/09
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#27 of 43 Old 04-19-2011, 03:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. I haven't been able to find any PP doulas in my area yet. My next door neighbor/friend will be here (she usually goes to Spain for the summer but not this year) so I will have her for support or emergencies. She's the local person I will name on my in loco parentis to take my kids if something were to happen to me.

knit.gifSAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 jammin.gif, 9REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, 5 FIREdevil.gifand now 1 year oldtoddler.gif!

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#28 of 43 Old 04-27-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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You've gotten lots of great advice. I would just add, ask for help. Ask the neighbor friend if she has a friend to introduce you to. See if there is a moms club in your area. Meet other moms, they could imagine how hard it will be and would probably love to help. With playdates, laundry service, dishes duty, whatever. As much as I think tv does too much babysitting, returning is fine in moderation, allow the kids to each pick 1 movie a day, stream Netflix or have the 20yr old take them to redbox.

Check to see if there are any student doulas, they might work for free or rested price because they need the experience.

Ditto paper plates, also stock up on some foil pans (freeze casseroles in them)

Wash all the clothes together in cold (jut don't give kids access to fancy clothes. Buy a few new packages of socks and underwear so at Lear they'll be clean. don't bother folding clothes, just toss tshirts in the tshirt drawer and underwear in the underwear drawer. Kids don't need bathes every day, or even every other day.

If there is a local college with an early childhood education program, ask instructors if they can recommend a student to hire part time. In the summer she can take your boys to the park or do projects with them. You can ask that she help them learn to clean up.

Hiring a "doula" is more expensive than hiring a "babysitter" for the pp time.

Good luck setting up a support system. And dot be afraid to ask. People know it means you want to be the best mom you can be. Not lazy.
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#29 of 43 Old 04-28-2011, 12:45 PM
 
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#30 of 43 Old 04-28-2011, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm very much the type of person who doesn't like others in my space much. I recently went on a trip with my dad, whom I have a very good relationship. After several days with him I couldn't wait to be back home by myself (just me and the kids) again. I think he must be the same way because we haven't spoken in the 2 weeks we've been back. lol.gif

The thing my mom would be good for is doing everything so that I can stay in bed for however many days that I need to. I just heard from my dh that he most likely will not be able to come home. He has asked and been told the powers that be will do what they can but not to count on it.

knit.gifSAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 jammin.gif, 9REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, 5 FIREdevil.gifand now 1 year oldtoddler.gif!

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