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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Every time I am here I find such wonderful love and support. I am in such desperate need of it now.<br><br>
I am a SAHM of a precocious 20 month old. We are alone for ten hours a day while DH is at work. It seems like about two weeks ago, I just completely lost all patience with him. I love him so much but he is really driving me crazy. I am so tired of being kicked when I change his diaper, of telling him the same thing 763 times a day (“HOT! Please don’t touch the stove!”), of having him all over me every second of the day, of him testing me constantly on the same issue.<br><br>
I know that he needs me. That he loves me. That he is learning and exploring his world. Please don’t see this the wrong way and flame me.<br><br>
I am so weary lately. I give everything I have to this little boy and sometimes I feel little in return. I am tired. I have no time to myself. We are on an extremely tight budget due to the fact that I have quit my job to be home with DS. We agreed that we wanted one of us at home. That it was THE most important thing we could give him. But lately, I feel like some days all I want to do is lock myself in the bathroom because DS is driving me so crazy.<br><br>
I have lately contemplated doing things that I would NEVER do, like getting a job, just so I could send DS to Montessori preschool for a few hours a day. I also fantasize about letting DS watch tv for the first time. And if you knew me, you’d know how anti-tv I am!! I can’t believe myself!<br><br>
I don’t have the opportunity to be away from DS at all during the week and I feel like some days all I need is just a few hours by myself.<br><br>
So my question is, how do you cope? How do you nurture yourself? How do you find the patience to deal with a totally irrational human being?<br><br>
I feel like I am a totally inadequate mother right now. Like everyone else has it so beautifully together and I don’t.
 

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First of all, momma, hugs to you!!! It can be very hard!<br><br>
Now what are your days like? Are you actually AT HOME all day? Do you have a car?<br><br>
What has helped me tremedously is to get out and do things for my daughter, and in the meantime I meet other moms. We go to the park, take walks, go to storytime at the library, go to free 'tot times' at local churches, go to inside play areas, go to children's museums, gymanstics etc. I have been able to find many free activities and a few (like the museums and gymnastic) with minimal costs.<br><br>
I also joined a MOM's group. This gives the children things to do, and the moms time to chat. From that group, we're part of a small playgroup that meets every other week.<br><br>
Perhaps the variety would help both of you? It did me. On the other hand, getting a child out the door (on time) to some of these things at that age caused me even more grief....she'd fight me for diaper changes, getting dressed, etc. I found that if we were 'overscheduled' it would sometimes be worse! But a nice balance seems to keep us both happier!<br><br>
Maybe you both just need a change of pace? Are you doing the same thing every day? Can you introduce some painting or crafts at this age? Ten hours is a very long day to be all alone with a child. My DH leaves at about 5am and gets home at 6pm (if he's on time) so I speak from experience! And my daughter just gave up naps, so I don't even get that down time for myself anymore!<br><br>
If you are tense and frustrated, I am certain your child is picking up on it. Staying calm helps........but is much easier said than done. You said he's never watched TV.....I DO NOT want to start a debate or insult your choices...but my DD has learned a LOT from certain shows and videos. Would even one hour a day or every few days be an option for you? It would give you some much needed time and could still be educational for your child.<br><br>
As for the diaper changes and kicking...around this age I went to nothing but the pull up type diapers. It made the changes much easier, though still not fun.<br><br>
I hope some of this has helped! I don't really have time to nurture myself. Well at that age I didn't. Now that DD is 3 I have a biit more "me time" but that will go away any day now when the new baby comes.<br><br>
Hoping you find a solution.......
 

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I am alone with my ds (30 months) from 5 in the morning until 6:30, so the days can be very, very long. What has been saving me lately is the bath tub! I can put my son in the tub with some trains, etc. and he'll play while I can chill out on the floor with a magazine. He doesn't really play by himself otherwise, so this is the only way I can get him to do something on his own.<br><br>
I know how you feel, it can be really overwhelming. I had a sitter who would come once a week for 3 hours--I only used her 2 times so I never was comfortable enough to leave the house, but she was so interactive that I was able to go upstains and just be by myself for a while. I don't know how you feel about that, but for me it was great.<br><br>
I know that my son will test, etc. much more when he is bored. I bought a couple of books (Montessori Play and Learn and another toddler activity book) just to give me some ideas for new activities. It's been really helpful! It is helpful to get out of the house, but he fights me on this so that actually causes more stress lately.<br><br>
In terms of nurturing myself, I guess I have had to change my definition of that! I am not opposed to using the t.v., if it saves my sanity. My son only watches things like Sesame Street, and if I can get a half hour to go online, or kind of breakaway for a few, it can be really helpful. I always have to have something to look forward to. This can be as simple as a trip to Barnes and Noble after dinner by myself, or plans on the weekend. I belong to the local Mother's Club, and I also run with a group of moms so I do have outlets that don't involve my son. It's helpful for me to feel like I have a life outside of the house.<br><br>
I don't think anyone will tell you they always have patience--I don't think you would be human if you didn't say that your toddler can sometimes seem like more than you can handle. You are definitely not alone, and I think we are all overwhelmed and frustrated at one point or another!<br><br>
Good luck and I hope you can find something to help you recharge!<br>
~Carrie & Boden (8-19-03)
 

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I have a 21 month old. For this last week he's had some sort of illness, most likely the infamous rotavirus. Believe me, I know clingy toddler-land. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
And, I gotta tell ya, I'm as anti-TV-for-kids as the next anti-TV person, but....the one show we watch is Blue's Clues. I was raised with public TV, Sesame Street and Mr Rogers all the way, but I do NOT watch SS anymore (bugs me and seems really commercial and Elmo must leave before I can watch again), and Blue's Clues is just great. There's an adult who speaks so you can understand, there's humor, it teaches deductive reasoning, there are little mini-stories in between the clue-finding...it's just a REALLY cool show.<br><br>
Before going to work and sending DS to Montessori (good Montessori schools being tricky to find, and my own definition of a good school does NOT include care for kids as young as ours), I would sneak off and watch a few episodes of Blue's Clues, see how you feel about it. It's the only way I get peace, and DS's vocabulary has EXPLODED since I started letting him watch it. The host-guys, Steve or Joe, also use some sign language, which is a really cool bonus.<br><br>
I found that baths are fun, too. Give him a bunch of cups, sit against the wall reading my library book, and let him play for an hour. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
Anyway, I know it's hard. Sometimes getting out works for us, but it's something I definitely do for HIM, because I personally enjoy our hermit existence. I've just about cut ties with all female friends with children, b/c I can't take their criticisms, and anything I do differently than they did causes instant defensiveness on their parts. It's so annoying, their kids are in 3rd grade and above, you'd think they could let it go and stop bugging me! Anyway, going out amongst the poeple is hard on me but he has fun, so we do it when we can. Of course, going out amongst the madding crowds is very likely how this supposed rotavirus entered our lives, so....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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What has really helped save my sanity with 3 kids 4 and under (we are also tv-free) is daily rhythm (not to be confused with a schedule, just a relaxed set of things you do every day in roughly the same order). They do so much better when they know what to expect and when. We also got rid of MOST of the toys, keeping only blocks, dress up clothes, a play kitchen, and a train table. Too much to choose from left them choosing nothing at all.<br><br>
Lots of arts and crafts stuff is great too. At your ds' age some big crayons, paint (finger paint for when you don't mind the clean up and watercolor with some big, easy to use brushes for when you don't want to have a mess), glue, pom poms, etc. is appropriate. Also, let him help you with the daily living tasks. As soon as mine are old enough to stand unassisted they can help stir things. As they get older they can do more. My 2 yo and 4 yo boys are so proud when they "cook" breakfast. I also give them each a spray bottle of home made cleaners (safe and non toxic) or just water and a cloth so they can spray windows or whatever and clean with me. This has been popular from a young age. Vacuuming (if you have carpet) and sweeping (if you don't) are fun too.<br><br>
Outside time is so necessary too. I don't know the climate where you are, but we go out even when its -15C, I just add more layers (adult socks are great for keeping little legs warm and are WAY easier to walk in then long underwear). Even a small walk around the neighborhood will help.<br><br>
Baths are great for a break for you. As someone else mentioned just bring something for you to read. I like to change what toys are in the tub, but anything that can be used to pour water from one container to another is great. Something to use a "people" or boats are also popular. A watering can has provided hours of fun and makes hairwashing easier too!<br><br>
Songs and nursary rhymes are fun for young ones too. Many libraries and community centers have a free story time/rhyme time for parents and tots. you can do them at home too.<br><br>
Socialization for YOU is important too. Are there any clubs, playgroups, mom's meetings, or anything you can go to?<br><br>
Downtime. I NEED some quiet time at the end of the day to recoup and rejuvinate for the next day. I like some soothing music that makes me feel good, an aromatic bath with candles, a good book, some knitting (or whatever), etc. I would rather stay up too late and be tired the next day than miss out on a little time for ME. I need the sanity more than the sleep. This was ESPECIALLY true when my oldest never slept. The more 'on duty' time the more down time.<br><br>
Just throwing out a few things that are/were helpful for ME. I hope some of it is helpful for YOU <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> You are giving such a wonderful gift to your ds by your presence. Some days are hard, but that is true of any job, especially one as challenging and rewarding as motherhood! Above all else, remeber you are a great Mama and your child loves you!
 

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Great big hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!<br><br>
I'm in the same boat. I understand. I do video's. It helps on the really bad days. Sometimes I just have to realize that I need my sanity and giving in some days to just one more video is OK. It's not every day.<br><br>
Mom's groups!!!! Oh my yes! Church groups. Go outside!! It really helps. After dh taks ds to bed every night and I clean up I always set the tone for the next day putting some toys away and taking others out. This morning he had is trains all set up and he didn't ask for a video for hours. Usually I put on sesame street in the morning while I get ready but he was just totally engrossed. I take out certain books and plan adventures.<br><br>
I think the one thing that really saves me the most is that I just let him go. I try to keep as much as I can out of his way for now so I'm faced with less reasons to say no. I cook more when he's sleeping etc.. I use disposables because they need to be changes less often because they hold more. I let him stay dirty to some extent.<br><br>
I feel you though. Dh works a lot, sometimes only has one day off and no time for anything between coming home and going back to work but he ususally takes ds to bed so it helps. My mom has been here for 3 weeks and I've never been so happy to see her. I'm almost through the tough spot. is there anyone that can help you and give you a break so you can just get out yourself and read a book and drink a coffee?<br><br>
It seems the older he gets, the more I loosen up from my ideals but at least my ideals were a good starting point.<br><br>
MORE HUGGGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I had the hardest time when dd was around 12-18 months. She was so frustrated at being on the edge of developments and the constant teething that she wanted ME ME ME all of the time. At least once a day and sometimes more, I would pack her up and take her to the grocery store where we would just walk around. She liked the cart, she was off of me, I usually saw someone I knew, I got some exercise, and I never ever ran out of staples in the pantry. I would keep a grocery list and just get one thing to have an excuse for being there. It was always something I needed anyway. I am sure the checkers thought I was the most disorganized person ever coming in every day to get one thing. But it seriously saved my sanity. Between the driving and the walking, we could kill an hour at a time. We both felt refreshed afterwards. However, we are on a very tight budget so I never ever strayed from the list and always brought a snack for dd to keep the "gimmies" at bay. People always asked me why we did not go to the library. That was just too much work when I was at my wits end. I needed somewhere that dd was happy being OFF of me. The library was just a chasing and shhhing torture exercise for both of us when we were already having a bad day.<br><br>
We also did a great deal of walks with the stroller, baths, and park time.
 

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There are so many great ideas in this thread I've been <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:.<br><br>
We severely limit TV. We *do* allow the a few of the children's shows on the BBC. BBC is commercial free. If you can get your hands on DVDs or videos that work in the USA or watch your local listings on BBC America... they have lovely programming for little ones. My son's favourites are "Andy Pandy" and "Bill and Ben". I can understand why you are tv free though. If we didn't have access to the BBC we'd be TV free too. I hate commercials... more than the programs themselves.<br><br>
Anyway. I just wanted to let you know, I'm there with you. It's very difficult. Somedays, it is just about coping...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"><br><br>
Take care.<br><br>
Olivia
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>marincarrie</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What has been saving me lately is the bath tub! I can put my son in the tub with some trains, etc. and he'll play while I can chill out on the floor with a magazine. He doesn't really play by himself otherwise, so this is the only way I can get him to do something on his own.<br></div>
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I second the tub idea. Its one I used frequently as the mom of three.
 

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I have been there too!<br><br>
First of all, I have insisted that the time after work until bedtime (including bedtime routine) be "dad" time. Not that I never interact with ds during those hours, but it is really dad in charge. He gets his rest after ds's bedtime.<br><br>
Also, you don't have to pay for a babysitter! Find someone to trade with. I know watching two toddlers at once might seem impossible when you're already overwhelmed, but trust me, they will entertain each other. The first couple times will be tough, but you'll figure out a rhythm and then it's better. HINT: It will be easier if the other child is older than yours. And of course, you get some complete free time when it's the other mother's turn to babysit. Don't use your free time to do chores! Goof around or take a nap.<br><br>
I'd like to add another perspective on getting a job. Maybe it's the right thing for you. I'm expecting #2 in April and decided to take a temporary part-time job from November through Februrary. The transition was tough, but it really did help me recharge to be out in the adult world three days a week and I am so happy to be home again since I've quit!<br><br>
One last thing I thought of: Can your DH take a vacation day to give you a day off here and there?<br><br>
Good luck!<br><br>
Lara
 

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Socialize, socialize, socialize...I can't stress the importance of the enough (at least it's important to me!). It makes the world of difference to be able to go to someone's else house where there are new toys for dc to explore AND another mom to talk to!<br><br>
There's a short article in the current issue of Mothering about 'picking up' moms with small children in parks, grocery stores, library, etc. You have to be a little assertive to do that I suppose, but it sounds like it really worked for the author of that article! I know I'm always happy to have a full slate of friends to get together with <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> .
 

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I think, coming out of APing and infant, we are so used to running at the beck and call of our toddlers. While we should still be listening to their cues, connected to them in every way, it's time to start gently teaching boundaries. Your toddler is probably starting to teach you boundaries ("I do it myself!") and you can teach him some of your boundaries, too. "Mommy needs to go to the bathroom. You can sit here right on this stool next to me but not on my lap." Or, a pet peeve in my house, "No standing on mommy please! Be gentle, lie down next to me" as I'm doing stretching exercises. Kids are more secure and less needy if they have some gentle guidelines and expectations. That doesn't mean you need to be an authoritarian, KWIM? But you have every right to expect your toddler to respect certain rules.<br><br>
Do you have a yard or park? Outdoor time is great for diffusing the tension. And socializing, too. Playdates, or my recent lifesaver, dropping my kids off at the Y childcare to exercise and read a book by the pool. I get an hour of me time every day. (I had to wait until she was ready to be left though. It took a lot of work to get her used to the idea.)<br><br>
When I cook dinner I let my todder "wash" some dishes in the sink. It keeps her busy so I can have my hands and mind free to cook. Before my toddler was ready to go the Y and I needed a break, I would put her in the tub and read my book or listen to the radio in the bathroom.
 

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Yes, "chores" are a good one! My dd can now peel garlic, bring items to the trash or recycle bucket and kind of sort laundry. And play dates w/ a mother I adore has been great. The kids keep each other out of our hair while we sit and have adult conversation. So nice!<br><br>
Other things that help me are avoiding the word NO unless I actually am prepared to argue and win... "later" is a better word. Also get OUT every day - even for just ten minutes.<br><br>
And yeah, I got a job - 3 hours, one day a week. Its perfect. She goes to her best friend's house and I go make money and we both learn that we can live through separation and I think the brief time apart really refreshes both of us. Then I watch that kid at other times and that actually gives me a little break too.. kind of.. ya know?<br><br>
The feelings you have are normal. And don't feel bad if you feel the need to separate a little. Its natural and OK.
 

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I know some ladies who trade kids once a week- their children enjoy playing together so one mom will host the other child for a few hours once a week and then the next week it's your turn. This didn't work when my babe was younger and nursing constantly but the toddler age could be a good time to try trading kids with a trusted friend. THat way you could have a few hours to yourself and it's free. I bet if you join a mom's group maybe you'll meet someone or perhaps you already know a candidate- it does take time to build trust for someone.<br><br>
A part time job might not be a bad idea either. My dd does daycare twice a week- we found a wonderful program- they have music classes on the days she goes and last Friday they had a jungle theme so I brought in a drum and some stuffed monkeys- I even dressed her in leopard and when I picked her up a few of the kids were making monkey noises when I got there- ooo ooo ooo- it was very cute. She seems wired and tired out when she comes home. And she learned the word happy at daycare- she looked at me and said happy when I went to pick her up because they sing "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands." I absolutely love it. (btw she's 14 mos)<br><br>
Good luck getting some time for yourself and getting out of the funk we all get in sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First of all: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grouphug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="grouphug"> GROUP HUG! You mamas are all so amazing!!! Thank you so much. I really can't express how much all of your kind words mean to me. And you all have so many good ideas.<br><br>
We just spent the morning with one of my mama friends who has a daughter. Our parenting is very similar and our kids are the same age. The kids played and we got to have lunch and talk. It helped so much. I do love to get together with other moms, but sometimes it just doesn't happen for one reason or another.<br><br>
I did some reading last night and came to the conclusion that A) I might be expecting a little too much from him and B) that just as things have changed many times before, they are doing so again and that the things that used to work are no longer going to. I sometimes get so stuck in my own stodgy routine.<br><br>
I'm starting to realize that the more DS drives me crazy, the more I try to distance myself, and the more he wants to be all over me. He's absolutely no different than any other toddler in that aspect.<br><br>
Thanks so much again and please keep the good ideas coming. You are all so wonderful!!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">I have lately contemplated doing things that I would NEVER do, like getting a job, just so I could send DS to Montessori preschool for a few hours a day. I also fantasize about letting DS watch tv for the first time. And if you knew me, you’d know how anti-tv I am!! I can’t believe myself!</div>
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I was struck by how you phrased this: "doing things I would NEVER do..." I could make a big list of things I do that I said I would NEVER do...and that's ok! After all, how could we anticipate what it would actually be like to be a parent?<br><br>
My two cents is that I think it's fine for a toddler to be in a safe, high-quality care setting for part of their week. My daughter loves, loves, loves her daycare (three days per week) and it keeps both her mamas fresh for the rest of the time that we spend with her. (In our case, we both have to work, but it's actually turned out better than one of us being home full-time, I think.) It also means that the rest of our time together really can be family time - because she gets plenty of time with kids at daycare, I'm not always trying to set up play group dates and find other kids for her to play with. And because I'm not tired and burned out, I very rarely feel the need to turn to television or videos for a break, which I feel good about.<br><br>
Good luck finding a balance that works for you! It's different for everyone.
 

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We have a membership at the Children's Museum and we go there a few times a week. It is just a few minutes away, so it is very convenient. It is great to find a place where you can go to get out of the house.
 

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I am so happy to have found this thread, as I am in the same boat as many of you (though I do work outside the home part-time, and someone comes to watch my boys for 10 hours a week). My boys are 21 months and it is such an intense time. In some ways two toddlers at once is easier than one, b/c they do occasionally entertain each other. OTOH, they also help each other find ways to get in trouble....<br><br>
A couple of months ago, my dh pointed out something that made me feel a little better about how difficult the situation often is. He pointed out that: a) we don't spank our kids, as previous generations did, so their will is not "broken" the way kids of previous generations had theirs broken, so they are not as submissive, and b) we are not drugging them with TV (in our house we have a TV which dh and I use only for DVDs after the boys are in bed; we do not have cable or an antenna, so we aren't even tempted to turn on the TV to try to find something "age-appropriate"). Between no spanking and no TV, we are dealing with "raw child" in a way that parents before us didn't necessarily do (obviously, I'm talking about in this culture in recent history). And for many of us, we are doing it in total isolation from our larger extended family (all of my family lives 800 miles away). So whereas we are dealing with the natural child, which is good, we are doing it in a very unnatural setup (i.e., no network of support to help us out, give us a break, serve as role models, etc.). Whereas people in other generations and/or other cultures also dealt with the natural child, without hitting them or drugging them with TV, they did it in a far more supportive, interconnected environment.<br><br>
Since I'm not willing to bend on the TV or spanking, I've decided I really need to extend my network. Which takes some time and effort, of course. For me this means church, playgroups, and just going to places where other parents and kids will be hanging out (the park, the library, the children's museum). Just getting out of the house a little bit makes a huge difference in my sanity and also in helping them get their energy out. I also find that more and more I am able to let them be in their room alone, with the door shut (their room is totally child-proofed) with some books and toys and they will do fine. They don't have to be right with me all the time to be safe and happy.<br><br>
I also second the ideas of the tub (one of my boys likes to play in the tub without any water in it, which is great) and of getting the child to help you with simple chores. My boys are really into sweeping, so I got them their own little brooms. They will also sometimes help me put stuff away if I make it into a game.<br><br>
It really helps to know that I'm not alone in this effort. It is such a delightful age and such a demanding age and sometimes it is very overwhelming.
 

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good stuff <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:
 

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Good stuff?? AWESOME stuff! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I'm a shift-working single momma to a 15-month old boy. My shifts give me anywhere from two to five days off in a row over the course of a 7-week schedule. What I find hard is getting off a night shift and having to be up all day with my son. My mom does take him on the night shifts and brings him back around 9a.m. (I get off at 2a.m.) so I do get a bit of sleep (though I am always awake by 7:30 or 8). She also takes him overnight if I'm working at 6a.m. the next morning and then I pick him up from daycare on my way home. He's at daycare on average 5 or 6 times a month since my provider doesn't take him on weekends or nights.<br><br>
I find that on my days off, especially the first in a set, I don't want to do anything or go anywhere; I just want to stay in my pj's and sleep/nap/lounge. Brogan isn't too bad for playing by himself or sitting in a chair with his blanket and raisins and watching a Baby Einstein video or Blue's Clues.<br><br>
As I was reading the suggestions above, I wondered about the fingerpainting and if I'm up to the mess that would result at this point. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I may buy some paints, stick one of my old t-shirts on him, lay out some newspaper under his paper on the kitchen floor, and let him go nuts. And maybe when he wakes up from his nap I'll take him out to the Early Years Centre and pick up a schedule of events for this month. I know I do need to get out more with him but the weather is so crappy right now (cold/wet/slushy) and we have no sidewalks in my area. The grocery store is our outing!!<br><br>
Thanks for the awesome replies to the OP.
 
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