Gentle discipline when you're exhausted - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-03-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm 34 weeks pregnant. My 2.5 year old has always been well behaved and eager to be helpful for the most part. I didn't expect it to last but I was hoping she would stay that way until the baby came. After all, after the baby comes there will be lots of people to help out for at least the first while.

But the last week has been hell on earth. Everything is a battle. Getting dressed. The potty. Nap time. Bed time. Cleaning up. Eating food (I want butter! No I don't want butter! Yes I WANT BUTTER!!!!). You name it, we've had a battle over it.

And it's so my fault. I have no patience left. I'm physically exhausted. I need to walk her to the playground/family place/grocery store etc. in the mornings so she can get out and play. We'd both go crazy if we stayed home. But getting there and back tires me out for the rest of the day.

I don't have the energy for gentle discipline. I literally cannot think of alternatives to "Lie down now and go to sleep" or "You're not coming out of the bathroom until you use the potty." Let me tell you, it's not very effective.

As soon as my husband's brother and family leave (a whole other issue -- sharing a two bedroom apartment with another family of three who have to sleep in my toddler's bedroom) I'm calling the babysitter and taking a day or two off here and there. But I simply cannot afford to do that very often. Our families live far, far away.

Any advice? Sympathy? I hate that this transition to being a big sister is so hard my daughter. We're both so stressed out it's impossible to enjoy our last few weeks together. I hate being that yelling mom who sets up battle after battle because of lack of creativity.
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#2 of 15 Old 08-04-2010, 12:47 AM
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aww, no advice, but i feel your pain

im 38 weeks pregnant w/ a 16 month old who just started hitting today!

you're doing a great job, and soon your BILs family will leave and you will get a day to yourself ... hang in there!!

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#3 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 12:41 PM
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Sometimes I find myself telling my toddler that mommy is running out of patience. Imagine my surprise when he looked at me one day when I asked him to wait a moment and he said, Mommy, I'm running out of patience. No advice, just thought that story might make you laugh.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 01:08 PM
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No advice but plenty of sympathy. I'm 29 weeks pregnant with a 21-month-old who loves to throw things, especially heavy hard things like books and wooden toys. Redirection only works for maybe two minutes before he's at it again. Taking away the heavier toys and replacing them with softer toys results in tantrums. Really all I can do is take him outside and chase him around the yard, but we live in the country and it's unfenced and I get tired so easily now. I feel like the worst mom ever but lately I've been plopping him down in front of his favorite episodes of "Signing Time" just so I can get a few minutes' rest.

, mama. This is really hard, and I don't even have houseguests. I can't imagine how exhausted you must be. Hang in there.

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#5 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 01:57 PM
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I remember those days so well, when DD was 2.5 and i was 34 weeks pregnant.

What helps me when I'm exhausted is to train myself into acceptance and going with the flow. I have a little mantra, "this moment is as it is"--meaning I'm not there to change anything. This relaxes me almost instantly. It is as though I float on a cloud of patience . The problem is of course when I forget the mantra

My kids are 8, 5 and 2!
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#6 of 15 Old 08-05-2010, 02:36 PM
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while i am not pregnant, i am a SAHM with health issues that make me tired, so i can relate to some of what you are feeling. maybe try some mindfulness/meditation? that is usually what i do when i feel like i am at the end of the rope with ds. also, this could be a good time to really pick and choose your battles. does she HAVE to get dressed? also, is she fighting naptime because she is on her way to giving up napping altogether? 2.5 is about when ds started fighting naps. finally i stopped fighting with him and let him not nap, and low and behold we suddenly had earlier and easier bedtimes.

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#7 of 15 Old 08-08-2010, 09:33 PM
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I feel you! I find myself taking a lot of deep breaths and trying to take a step back in my mind and refocus when I feel myself getting especially irritated with behavior DD is doing, namely biting and hitting me.

I try to remember it's a development thing for her age, and try to just redirect to something else.

As with a PP said, I also pick and choose battles. If DD is really fighting nap, I'll play with her another half hour and try again. This sometimes works, sometimes doesn't... which means when it doesn't I have an ultra cranky toddler around dinner time... but this too passes somehow.

So that brings me to my mantra... this won't be forever. They are only tiny and in this phase for so long, this too shall pass. That accompanied with some deep breaths I'm usually able to readjust my tone and retackle the particular challening obstacle.

Hang in there.

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#8 of 15 Old 08-11-2010, 06:52 PM
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Oh man, I've been there. Three kids in 5 years (and one pregnancy of hypermesis hell) = a lot of exhausted days. Try breaking the cycle of bad days by having a yes day. Just say yes to everything. Sometimes it can be a silly yes, sometimes a serious yes, sometimes a "yes, but just for one song of ABC's" yes, but just try to give her as many yes's in a day as you can. Say yes to a walk, but just make it to the end of the block to look for pinecones. Say yes to a donut for breakfast, but share it with her at a tea party (with milk and fruit). Say yes to staying up from a nap, but say you want to cuddle with her on the couch and watch a kid-show. Say yes to dollies on the floor, say yes to calling grandma, say yes to having a dance party (you're the DJ, she's the dancer ). It is freeing for you (saying No/fighting all day is a horrible position to be in), and can be a 'reset' button when the bad days have been stacking up.

Also, just trust that things will change, and quickly.

Ivory, partner to Tom, mama to Ella (12/9/05), Alice (12/8/07), and our newest addition, Rebecca (4/1/10).
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#9 of 15 Old 08-11-2010, 11:16 PM
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Yes, I remember that. DD was 20 months when my twins were born. That was when I let her watch tv and play with toys that light up and sing. Oy, thank goodness that's over

I do know that you should take some time off, or make some tea and hide in your room for 5 minutes. It's recharging beyond belief.


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#10 of 15 Old 08-12-2010, 12:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Ivymae that's some great advice! We'll have to try that! The trick is finding something I can physically do while saying yes

3belles --TV has definitely been used -- and we are usually TV free household. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do

I just keep reminding myself that this can only last a few more weeks...
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#11 of 15 Old 08-17-2010, 01:02 AM
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I'm right there - except I just had my baby 3 weeks ago and I have a 3.5 year old. He's tired of watching TV and baby wants to nurse for hours on end (and gets mad, snorts and screams when I put him down for a sec when I need to do something for DS1). I have been trying to help DS1 be more independent to avoid this chaos, but he gets into everything. He sneaks snacks from the cupboards, pours juice all ove rthe table, floor and counters, throws things, breaks things, cuts baby clothes. I don't know what to do and gentle discipline just doesn't sem to work. I know he's bored, but I feel like my hands are tied. I have become far too impatient (I'm exhausted) and snap and yell WAY too easily. Afterwards I find myself questioning if it was really necessary for me to be that angry... but it has all built up and I feel like I'm going to explode. I am stuck in a pit of guilt and frustration. Really, DS1 needs kid attention. At least he loves his new brother... I need to make a better routine, except that's hard with a newborn!
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#12 of 15 Old 08-27-2010, 01:17 AM
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I feel you ladies. We were robbed when home last month, husband broke good chasing guy out of house, we decided to move to another state, then my husband just lost his job two days before the move. STRESS! How can I be a good patient mommy? It's so hard with all this going on. We make time every morning for the park which makes him so happy but by the evening we are tired and run out of fun things to do and resort to videos on the computer when we aren't a tv watching family. I've lost my patience with my toddler biting. The best I can do is just end up crying with my tantruming toddler. He often just ends up quieting and pointing to me "happy" he says, wanting me to be happy. I just wish life could be more simple with endless time to love and care for my son!
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#13 of 15 Old 08-30-2010, 01:02 AM
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Been there.

Reading Kids Parents and Power Struggles helped me a lot.

Your DD probably understands on some level that the baby's arrival is getting close.

Here's one analysis. She is probably scared and worried about that, and she also doesn't really know what to expect. From her perspective, everything is chaotic and uncertain and about to get even more chaotic and uncertain. Kids respond to stress and uncertainty by demanding control over every.little.thing and getting very.needy.

If you think that your DD is stressed out, then finding things to lower her stress level and stress hormones may help. Different things help different people. Depending on the person, these are some things that might help. 1) Physical activity 2) repetitive motion such as riding a rocking horse, 3) playing in warm water such as a bath or shower or washing dishes, 4) either more space or more snuggles depending on the personality...there are a lot more suggestions in the book....
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#14 of 15 Old 08-30-2010, 01:44 AM
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I feel you...I am 38 weeks myself, just moved and often feel like I am such a crappy mama to my existing two children (4 and 20 mos) that I can't imagine how I am going to care for another.
I try to remind myself that this exhausted, grumpy, emotional, giant lady is not who I am all the time and that these months are not going to make up the entirety of my kids childhood memories. In fact, at such a young age, your dd may not remember it at all.
Just try to let the potty battles go, skip naps and let her go to bed early, resort to more goldfish snacks than usual for entertainment, whatever gets you through the day without meltdowns, for you or her.
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#15 of 15 Old 08-30-2010, 04:00 AM
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I'm right there with you, my DD is 2.5 and I'm 32w. I know playing outside more would help her so much, but I just can't handle the heat. Hopefully it cools off soon and we can be outside more. What worked wonders for us was having MIL take her for a day 11-7 and then relaxing. MIL watched her Sat. and we had such a good day yesterday, I never lost my patience and she didn't do anything to "test" it either. So the babysitter idea will probably do wonder for you.

Now my only problem is she wants to carried/held all the time right now. I think she senses baby will be here soon. I have no problem holding her but she wants me to be standing while doing it and I just can't do that for long.

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