I am 10 days in to being a mom to two kids...a 3 yr old boy and newborn girl. It has been challenging to say the least, and I have even had a lot of help from family, although my husband did have to work all week, so I thought it would be helpful to start a support thread on here for other moms who have a newborn as well as another child/other children.
My 3 yr old is enjoying being a big brother I think and is very sweet to his sister. However, he has never been a good sleeper (we bed share and are doing this with the newborn too...my 3 yr old on a twin then my husband, me, and the newborn on a queen) and he wakes frequently throughout the night. If he takes a nap (and it could take a decent time investment getting him to nap), it takes an hour or so to get him to sleep at night, but if he doesn't nap even though he goes to sleep in 5 minutes before 7pm he is an absolute mess for a few hours leading up to bedtime because he is so tired. He is so hard to deal with during his crazy tired times and I find myself treating him in ways that I find horrible (yelling, threatening taking toys or activities away if he is not cooperative and then not following through because they were on the ridiculous threat side to start, picking him up abruptly and without respect to carry him away from what he is doing, and just overall getting angrier at him much more often than I ever have before...). I know he is only 3 yrs old and has little to no impulse control yet at the same time I wish he could be more cooperative ( even though a lot of the problem is him being tired, eating like crap this week, his rythym changing, and the huge transition to no longer having mommy and daddy to himself).
My husband and I decided today that it is in all of our best interests to finally try really hard to put my 3 yr old on a sleep schedule... make him rest around 1pm every day hoping he falls asleep for a nap during that time and that his lights off time will be 8pm even if it takes him 90 minutes to fall asleep with one of us in the room with him. We also decided to make a concerted effort to feed him healthier.
Of course all of the above action plan takes time and effort which is really hard to come by with a newborn heavy nursing baby and a demanding job (my husband). We like our tv relaxation zone out time (even though I do not think we watch a lot), I like connecting with my newborn when she has her quiet alert periods and obviously I need to be available to nurse her when she is hungry, and my husband likes going to the gym a few times during the work week for 30 minutes or so. We also need to maintain our house not clean but do things that need to be done day to day- cook food, do dishes, clean up after dinner, laundry...
Any tips, suggestions on how to make this work are much appreciated. Also, any tips on how to deal with my out of control, non listening 3 yr old when I need him to listen and cooperate are appreciated too. Even reminding me that this is too much to ask of a 3 yr old would be helpful! I try to pick my battles with him very carefully but since the baby has been born there are many more battles than ever before. And I feel bad about this because I am sure it is confusing to my 3 yr old.
I am also dealing with a difficult, high-needs 3 year old and a newborn, and like you I found I was just becoming a very angry, unreasonable mom to her. DD1 is very sensitive, and things were spiraling out of control very quickly.
The first thing DH and I decided was that I could no longer be DD1's disciplinarian. She is DH's responsibioity now, as I can't be counted on to deal with her rationally. She also caught on quickly to the fact that I *can't* physically follow through with threats, so she was getting defiant, making me even madder. So now if she starts to be difficult, I literally just leave the room with the baby and let DH deal. It has actuLly helped a lot.
I have also carved room for a 45min bedtime for DD1 during which, again, DH deals with DD2 even if she's screaming. That bedtime has become a lot of hugging, apologies and sometimes tears, but it's very cathartic and by the time she falls asleep, DD1 is reassured enough to sleep better.
Today DH had to punish DD1 for something and afterwords she was SO upset. She needed to snuggle and apologise and still kept saying " I feel like crying and I don't know why". But we sat there (with the baby) for as long as it took, telling stories and singing songs. More "face" time, I guess. It really helped.
I think for me it's just going to be important to cast myself as healer only for a little while, just until I am back on my feet...
You would think with 5 kids I would have some sort of great advice. I don't. My parenting style when I have a newborn is less AP and more Supernanny with time outs and strict bedtimes. I try not to yell, but when I'm going on 2 hours of sleep for the 12th day in a row sometimes I slip, ya know? I try to practice the whole "get down on their level, make them look you in the eye when you talk to them" thing because that seems to help. If that means I have to put the baby down for a minute to take care of it, I do. If she cries, it's only going to be for a minute and she'll be okay.
Adding this baby to my clan hasn't been quite as difficult as I imagined it was going to be. Mostly I'm just exhausted. I miss that whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" thing I could do before. When I get really tired and want to scream or cry, I just remind myself that when I'm 75 years old I'm not going to look back on this time and think "Boy I wish I slept more!" That seems to get me through my rough times.
Mom to (12), (7), (5), (4), (born 7/8/11), , and
Yea, I've been working on all those things with my twins for the past four weeks. Sorry momma.... but you should have started earlier! It takes TIME to get those routines/transitions underway. We finally decided to hire a nanny to get us from morning through nap time because I KNOW that dealing with them while nursing a new baby will be crazy. She starts tomorrow! We can not afford it, but we decided to use some inheritance money that is set aside for their college and pay it back at tax time. Even if we only have her for six weeks, the help during this transition time will be the BEST use of the money right now! My advice is to start calling everyone you know and ask them to help in four hour shifts. People always offer to help... time to see if they really mean it! Mornings are always most difficult for me so that's why I have the nanny for that time of day.
I've had crazy mom guilt too because I've been behaving in all the ways that you described as well. Try not to be too hard on yourself, and enjoy this time with a new baby. It goes so fast, and this is what we've been looking forward to, right?! Best of luck to you!
Loving my twin boys! 11/03/2009 And my daughter 08/16/11 momma Homesteader Doula
I was logging on considering whether to write your EXACT post, Nightswimming! Although you, and the other mamas, have articulated it much better than i could have. Such conflitcting, weighty feelings - not helped by these up and down postpartum hormones. Thanks for posting on this issue everyone.
Mom to D-Dog (4/05), DD (9/08), and expecting a baby boy in July (edd 7/7/11).