Introvert mamas, do you have issues with sleep? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-08-2010, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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This is long and bloggy but I really hope someone else identifies with how this is playing out in my house.

I need people-free time to recharge, even if it's not a "break" and I'm doing chores or something. I just need to be alone and not "on" waiting for someone else to need something.

This happens when the DDs are asleep. Realistically, we have a very small house (900 sq ft, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, open connected living room and kitchen). So we've tried DH doing baths with me on the other end of the house ... doesn't work, I can still hear them. I wore headphones and read a book ... I was still on edge waiting for DD1 to burst through the door. It just didn't work with them awake in the house. DH could take them somewhere on his days off, but everything is at least an hour's drive (yes, we are very isolated) so not really worth it. They'd spend more time driving than being wherever they're going. Plus he's off one week per month. I'd still be "on" 24/7 for 3 weeks out of the month. There is nowhere else I can leave them (less than an hour away) and no one else I trust to watch them during the day (SIL lives nearby but does a lot of things I don't agree with, which I can intercept if I'm there, but I'd worry if I wasn't and still be "on"). Sleep is it. (I mean I know something has to give, but I've thought about those options for alone time already and they're not going to happen.)

But when I try to get out of bed in the morning, they wake up. And it hurts me to admit this, because they're so happy to see me and each other ... but I get mad. Really angry. Enraged. I've read over and over "don't touch your kids when you're angry" and even "leave the room if you feel like you're going to snap". I can't. They're jumping on the bed and hugging me, and I have to carry DD2 out with me or she'll crawl off the bed. Then they're both following me around out in the living room/kitchen, the day has started, and I'm "on" for the next 12 hours because DH works long days (leaves before we wake up) and they do NOT nap at the same time, ever. I start imagining having NO time alone that day and I get angry, fast. I snap at them and have a short fuse all day long. I NEED SOME TIME ALONE.

That's not how I want to start our day. The days when I can sneak out of bed at 6:30 and hear them talking to each other at 8:30 ... I can collect myself before I go get them and we can roll on the bed and giggle together before we get dressed and DD1 "helps" make breakfast while DD1 plays with bowls and spoons. Those days are so much better in every way. I started out restful instead of resentful.

Naps are horrendous. DD1 is trying to drop her nap, but she really still needs it most days, and gets super clingy and starts throwing fits around 2:00. I don't even bother trying to put her down because I can't put DD2 down! She constantly wakes her up! DD2 will nurse to sleep in my lap, and I ease out from under her thinking "Aha, now I can go put DD1 down and she can actually nap today! And maybe I can be ALONE for a little while!" then DD1 comes stomping over demanding something, and when I shush her or ask her to wait she throws a tantrum ... waking DD2 up. And I get so mad at both of them. DD1 for being loud and waking her sister up, and DD2 for waking up. That sounds horrible, getting angry at my child for *waking up*, but it's true. So in the end neither of them nap and I get angrier knowing that neither of them are going to nap! And then the afternoon is shot. DD1 and I are both throwing tantrums (I do recognize that's basically what I'm doing!).

Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way about sleep.

Me , DH , Emmy (5/08), and new baby Tilda (1/10)
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#2 of 5 Old 08-09-2010, 01:33 AM
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I hear you. I am the same way and I so value that time to myself (only 1 babe for now so I get a nap each day). Don't know what I will do when they stop!

I hope you can find a way to take care of yourself first. You've probably already thought of these ideas, but here goes:

Really put effort into finding someone you can trust to take care of them--a friend, a good babysitter, etc. Look for referrals or trades at local mom groups, etc. Maybe a mom's helper/responsible teenager to just play outside with them (or at least with the older one) while you have some down time.

Double stroller, long walk at 2 pm.

Um...TV? (We don't do this, but I would totally resort to it in your situation. Caillou, Elmo, etc.)

Special toy that DD1 only gets to have during her "quiet time?" Something really engrossing to give you some breathing room.

A timer during DD2's nap for DD1 to be totally quiet/playing by herself? She can get a sticker every time she's successful and you can start with a couple minutes and work up to 10, 15, 20 min?

Adjust DD1 bedtime so that she is more likely to nap?

DD1 might begin to understand if you say that Mommy is more fun if she can "play" [do chores] by herself sometimes.

Finally...hate to say it, but I remember getting upset sometimes when DD was dropping a nap and I was expecting to have the time to get stuff done: you may just have to find a way to adjust your expectations of them and yourself. Of course you need alone time, but maybe if you start out assuming that they will wake up when you do and give you no peace all day
it will be more of a pleasant surprise when they do.

Hang in there!
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#3 of 5 Old 08-09-2010, 01:40 AM
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(Don't know what happened with the smilies up there)
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#4 of 5 Old 08-09-2010, 01:14 PM
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oh i feel you too. i only have one DD ATM but still do i feel you. dont have any advice but im sure going to wait to see what others say haha. our house is smaller than yours lol and DP works long hours im a single mom without the single lol

(((hugs))) it must be so rough with two.

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#5 of 5 Old 08-09-2010, 01:27 PM
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Oh mama, I so feel for you! I have two boys 17 mos apart with a husband that works a ton, and that stage where you are was the hardest time for me. You have two babies!

You didn't mention what goes on in the evening hours from the time you get them to bed. Do you have to be in the bed and go to sleep when they do? That is my only totally free time. Somewhere from 8pm-11pm, I can catch some me time. I know when they're little the sleep isn't consistent and I would get so so angry when I would get them down and the baby would wake up 45 minutes later. I know that angry feeling.

It seems like you have thought this through and have few options, so try to make the most of the situation. I would try to: Figure out a way to have the quiet time either in the evening or morning. If your girls are good in a stroller, go for long walks, where they will hopefully be entertained by the scenery and you can at least have a quiet few minutes where people aren't climbing you. TV, seriously. 30 minutes once or twice per day, it saved my sanity. Can you leave the house each day when your dh gets home? Either go for a walk or a drive? Drive around a bit with your favorite music playing or just enjoy the silence.

When your dh is working the 3 weeks, is there some time left in the evening where you could go out for a while? I was just remembering how awesome it was when I started leaving the house for a few hours once per week. I would basically feed the baby, get them to sleep and RUN. DH was to handle any wake ups that occurred during the next 3 hours. I would head out to Target or a book store and just enjoy the peace. Maybe your babe's too young, but it's something to think about for the future!

Also, remember that this stage will.not.last.forever. In a few months, hopefully, they will get on a consistent nap schedule and sleep at the same time and sleep for everyone will improve. I would definitely try to do everything in your power to change the start of your morning. Do not have the expectation of sleep or quiet time in the morning. Reframe your thinking to see those little faces as the best possible way to wake up. That is one of the great parts of co-sleeping, right? I try to let every morning be a fresh start and seeing those smiling faces helps. No matter what happened yesterday, they always wake up bright and smiley, having forgiven me for yesterday's wrongs. And I try to do the same.

Heather-- I'm a <>< SAHM of two fabulous boys 8/05 and 2/07
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