What do you do when you've reached your limit? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-10-2001, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. My 11m dd and I are having a tough week. She's had a chest cold forever (actually about 3 weeks) and it's finally getting better but now she's cutting two more teeth. Of course she's cranky because she's in pain and stuffy. Yesterday she bit me while nursing 5 different times. She nursed well only while sleeping. I'm sure it's because her teeth hurt. We've tried Hylands teething tabs, tylenol and motrin, chewy teethers, frozen washclothes. They don't seem to help. Today she's chewing on a pacifier. She never used one before but this seems to help!?

Anyway, I of course am tired and cranky myself. DH has been working a lot of hours and I'm alone with with the munchkin a lot.

I'm finding myself less sympathetic to her pain and more like I want to sit her in her crib (that we've never used for anything besides holding laundry) and just let her cry awhile so I can be alone. YIKES! This is so foreign to my way of thinking/being for the last 11 months. I'm even fantasizing about weaning her so I can at least have my body to myself. I feel like I've reached a limit as to how much I can give right now. I know I need some respite and I need DH to get involved more but that can't happen right now. Any other ideas?

What do you mamas do when you've reached your limit?
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Old 12-10-2001, 01:01 PM
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Sit down at the dining room table and say, out loud, "I've reached my limit". Then I feel silly. It's all small stuff! Actually, I'm not kidding, hearing myself say it can be kind of helpful.

How about putting her in her crib in the living room and just sitting on the couch? Just the break from physical contact could help. Give her a book, if she's already looking at books, or a toy or musical something and see if she'll stay there without screaming!

Perhaps you could place in the crib, turn on the stereo and get some stress out by dancing all over the place. This will probably amuse her!

I've found, when dh is out filming a documentary in the middle of Central Asia for 1 month, that if I get really stressed, it really helps to go outside. Once I put dd's jacket on over her pyjamas and took her outside at 10 pm. It really calmed her down, and I got some fresh air. If you have a car, perhaps you could go for a drive. Any change of scenery really helps my mood.

The worst time I ever had was when my dd was 12 mos, and we were on vacation in Corsica. My dh had to leave a day early to talk to TV execs who didn't care where he was, he needed to be in Paris in 8 hours!!, (I'm so bitter! ). Anyway it was raining, and freezing cold, and we didn't have a car, or a TV and dd wanted to bf ALL day. Being stuck in that house was HARD!

Hope some of this helps. It's hard for everyone!
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Old 12-10-2001, 02:28 PM
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When i've reached my limit I do exactly what you did: I talk about it. I really think that getting out of the house and going to a park, bookstore, toystore, etc. for a few days in a row as long as you can tolerate to be out would put you both in a different state of mind. Good luck. I've been there and it really is only a blip on the screen.
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Old 12-10-2001, 04:14 PM
 
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it usually doesn't happen, but on two occasions it did.

once. he was all crying and nothing i did helped. after about 2 hrs of doing everything I could. i went outside for five minutes. baby was laying in his playpen. it was a good 5 minutes. i went back picked him up and listen to him cry another hr. then he stopped and all was well.

another time he had a crying jag. nothing helped. finally i put him down in the playpen and went downstairs. checked my email. went back upstairs. it was about 10 minutes.

i NEVER let him cry it out, i really never even let him cry, but sometimes you have to leave the room. Or at least I did. just make sure they are in a safe place before you take a "break".

a five minute break won't hurt either of you and it may keep you from having a nervous breakdown. but, i'd try to keep that at a minimum.

Try to make the most of the times she is asleep. Use that time to spend on yoruself. soon baby will be old enough to reason with. hang in there.
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Old 12-10-2001, 04:26 PM
 
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I've heard that using the artificial nipple can lead to bad habits with mom's nipple. ie biting on pacifier, now biting you. Try a larger chewy toy or something that doesn't remotely resemble you.

My youngest bit me alot. Especially when congested. He got relief most from the frozen cloth.

If I am tired, and in pain, and dealing with a cranky babe I can have zero tolerance. It helps me to realize why I am at my wits end (it is ME, not babe) and thus keep offering comfort.

I need sleep. I often go to bed when my children do, moreso when they were younger. If I am tired my breaking point is MUCH shorter than when I'm rested.
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Old 12-10-2001, 04:50 PM
 
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I can relate Some days I just feel all gived out -- esp. when my DH is traveling a lot with his job or working really long hours. Does you baby fall asleep in the car? Mine did when they were little, and when I just couldn't take it anymore I would put them in the car and drive around while they slept. I wouldn't consider those my finest parenting moments, but the kids were safe, not crying, and I got some much needed peace and quiet.

Do you have any family or friends that you could leave your DD with for an hour or two so you can take a break? Trying to find some way to take care of ourselves is imperative, but I know how difficult it can be. We've never lived near family and we've moved so often that I've never had old friends around. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing all of this by my self and I just don't think that is how it is supposed to be. I think that we were meant to live in tribes with extended family all around, and lots of people to chip in and help take care of babies. Reminding myself that what I'm doing (raising my kids in relative isolation) is really hard, seems to help. I think we should honor what a great job we are doing with our kids, esp. when we don't feel like we can keep doing it for another day.
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Old 12-10-2001, 04:55 PM
 
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When my dd bites me a few times in a row while bfing I stop the feeding and tell her why. I really think she understands. (She's 1 yr.) I let her start feeding again in about 15 minutes if she wants to. The biting while nursing was a phase with her, I think. She hasn't bit me now for several weeks.

You said it's not possible for dh to help out more right now. My dh says the same thing, but if I've had the kind of day you're describing and dh is home, sometimes I've interrupted whatever urgent, important thing he's doing and said, "I haven't had a break all day. I need you to take Lilly." By the time I do that I look like this :mad: and so far, he's never argued. Then I leave the apartment for a little while, or at least go to a different room and shut the door. It's amazing how short a time it takes to recharge my batteries once I have a few minutes to do whatever I want.

The other thing I've noticed is that if I haven't had enough protein during the day, my fuse gets short and I have much less patience for taking care of a fussy baby. I also run out of energy and ideas sooner if I'm not eating well.

HTH and hang in there!
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Old 12-11-2001, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all! It's just so good to know that I'm not alone. Even though I knew it in my head before posting sometimes I need to hear it from others before it sinks into my heart. All good ideas all good things to remember. Thank you again!
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Old 12-11-2001, 02:24 PM
 
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I'm running late to work, but I think you need some time off to regroup. Really. Take no excuses. Otherwise, it's only going to get worse.

Me? I tell dh he's on duty and I leave for a long ski that physically kicks my butt and that seems to redirect my energies for awhile.

Of course, napping alone is always blissful

You're normal!!!
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Old 12-11-2001, 03:34 PM
 
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I can remember one time I completely lost it after my second was born. He was about a month old and I was not able to get him to sleep. It was 3 am and I took him to my dh who was asleep on the couch and just thrust him in dh's arms. I then went and locked myself in the bathroom and started a bath. When dh knocked on the door and asked, "everything ok?" I screamed something like, "I hate you! I hate him! and I wish we never had another baby!!" Of course dh took that as a cue to take over for the night and leave me alone.

Of course I didn't mean what I said (well, maybe just a little bit at that one moment). But the point really is that when you reach your breaking point - get some help. Your dh comes home tired, he still needs to help you out, even if that means taking over so that you can get 2-3 solid hours of sleep. If not him, then someone else.

There is also something liberating in voicing those frustrations, to someone else or just out loud into the air (as ParisMaman said above). What I said to my dh didn't really mean that I hated him. It meant that I couldn't cope anymore and I needed help and I needed him to see how serious it was. And it made me feel better to voice what was probably my worst fear - that I would hate my child - and realize that it wasn't true and I didn't need to worry about it. But I did need some rest!
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