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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

how do you guys get breaks throughout the day? i feel (actually, this is my reality ..;) ) as if someone is talking to me CONSTANTLY, from 5.00 am (baby wakes up) until 9.00 pm (last one falls asleep) - i have to talk, discuss, stop fights ... you know the routine.

I need to manage to get "smallish" breaks for breathing time, maybe even to focus on centering myself - what kind of strategies do you use?

my kids don't "Do" quiet time. I try to get them to spend time in their rooms to get a break or to get the baby to sleep, but it does not really work.

does anyone have suggestions?
 

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You're in an incredibly difficult position for this. You have young kids, including a baby and toddler, and no kids who are really old enough to understand and help manage the others. You're also handling special needs and are in a very difficult position with your separation that's going to make your kids even more clingy. This is something that will get easier in time, but it's certainly overwhelming now!

Rather than getting them to play in their rooms- is there any chance that the two younger ones nap at the same-ish time, and you can get your two older kids to play together while you step away? Timers can help with this- set a timer where the kids can see it but not mess with it, say you need to be alone until the timer goes off and if anyone interrupts you, the timer gets reset. Start with 5 or even 3 minutes once a day, work your way up.
 

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I used to get my DD to sit alone in her room with cartoons while I put her younger brother to sleep. She was content watching my tablet. It wasn't ideal however it was the only way to get them separately to sleep. If I tried to put them to bed at the same time they wound each other up and it took too long. They were 2 and 4 at the time and I was newly single.
 

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My first two were only 13 months apart, so I perfected the art of getting them to nap at the same time. I also joined mother and baby groups so I could go out, be with a group of other moms and not worry about being in a child safe area. They saved my life as well as my kids lives lol. I found that using the tv as a real treat helped as well. It was on once a day for 20 minutes and it grabbed their attention.
 

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movies have been my saving grace. not "ideal" parenting but when you're the only adult in the house and you are somewhat isolated from a community, they can be the difference between a momma losing her mind and actually being a bad parent and one who can breathe and think straight.
 

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We only have one, but he's special needs and we're still working on evaluations- so, yeah, I echo the TV. It's not ideal, but neither is a stressed out, burnt out parent! There are decently educational shows as well.

Is there any way you can set up a messy zone and give your kids (either your two older, or all 3- depending on how the toddler is and your older two are with the toddler) clay or some other crafts to do where you don't worry about them making a mess? That can be enjoyable for kids and could give you a break as well.
 
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You live in the country and it's still summer, and you have two kids who are close in age. Can the older ones play outside? Do you have to be literally on top of them at every minute to ensure they don't hurt themselves, or are they OK to play in the yard while you do something with the two littler ones?
 

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If you don't like the idea of using TV (which we also do, and did way too much of when I was first single and adjusting, so no judgment here if you do!!!!) you could try audio books. My kids love these, especially my now 8-year-old. We usually listen to them in the car, but I set it up in the living room and gave them some coloring/art supplies and they lasted a good long time listening and drawing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thank you everybody.

i started a "screen routine" where the kids are allowed some screen time, and as long as they don't start fighting all is well.

they love audiobooks, thanks for the suggestions. the older ones do listen for hours. :)

We did some play-do play, but that ended up being a mess. it's fine once in a while though. Esp. the seven year old love sensory stuff.

I am feeling really bad, we only have one week summer holiday left, and hour car was/is at the garage for the last four weeks, so we did not go anywhere! this must have been the worst summer break ever.

captain, they can go outside, but it's often kind of a challenge to get them to go. I managed to "throw them out" a couple of times, and when they are outside they are fine. (one of the advantages of having "really" lout kids. I do hear them inside all.the.time :laugh:

thank you everybody!
 

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Great ideas!

Don't feel bad about not going anywhere with the kids. I grew up on a farm - we did nothing but work, and unstructured play with siblings all summer and had a great childhood (while my friends were doing swimming lessons, soccer, etc). It's good for kids to learn how to deal with having to make their own fun!

As an adult, I don't really experience boredom....I can find something to do in the most minimal of conditions. I think it has something to do with all the unstructured childhood time I had (as well as knowing that complaints of boredom always resulted in a job or chore to do!)
 

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I can't remember how old your kids are, but for my 5 year old the tub is second to TV for its ability to keep her happily entertained. A good snack and an audio book works really well, too. I agree that play-doh can get some time but you pay for it in clean up. Is a family walk a possibility? Older ones on bikes/scooters, younger in stroller/carrier?
 

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Is your home really, seriously childproofed? When it's not a school day, I have virtually no hope of getting "alone time". I also have SN littles, and spend what feels like every second of the day breaking up fights, explaining and answering things, and just generally devoting time to everyone but ME. I put heavy duty locks on absolutely EVERYTHING that could pose a threat of harm or mess, to begin with.

Having done that, I can lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes, to give myself a time out. I've explained that to them, and the younger kids might not understand, but generally it's seen as quite a novelty when it's ME getting a time out. They understand that it's because I'm in a very bad mood, or I want to say or do something inappropriate out of frustration, so I need a time out to cool down and think about it, just as they would. They find it amusing at times but generally are very respectful and play or talk quietly while I'm in there, which was a shock to me. They really like that there's another way they can relate to me, understanding that I have feelings and needs just like they do. Even before they could understand, just explaining it to them on their level kept me from blowing my top, and voicing my feelings made me feel better. Of course, this is in a manner that does not make them feel guilty, or like they have to take responsibility for anything! It's a good way to teach empathy and respect for personal space, among other things.

If I don't feel like hiding in the bathroom, or can't, there are other things I do. I used screen time more than I want to admit, in the last few weeks of this summer vacation. :hide When I'm not feeling well, I get it together enough to lay out snacks and drinks, and then lay on the couch or set my bed up as the central hub for the day; there are toys and games in there, screens if needed, and of course, cuddles. If I just need something to calm me down, I sometimes call for snuggle time, when we race to my bed to crawl in and cuddle for 10 minutes or so. It's not a vacation, but they love the spontaneous feeling, and the extra affection is always nice for everyone. This is also where all of those baby/child locks come in, because it saves me from having to jump up constantly to remove someone from the fridge or cabinets or a sibling's treasures.

I read your earlier thread, and was wondering, do you still share a home with your STBX? I was in that situation for a while, and for years, I was the one doing the vast majority of child care. It was honestly so much easier when I was living on my own with the kids. Having someone in the house who refuses to help out is such a drain, physically and emotionally. Even the few things he did on occasion weren't worth it. I may have to go to more trouble to get someone to watch the kids if I have an appointment or need to run to the store, but it's far more bearable than doing it all while someone just sits there and watches, or goes off to do anything besides parenting.

It does get better, and not as overwhelming. It probably feels so difficult and exhausting now, but you really can get used to just about anything. You'll find your "new normal" before long, and hopefully figure out how to carve out a bit of time for yourself.:Hug
 
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