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Discussion Starter #1
Especially single WOH Mamas!<br><br>
I have this worry right now that I'm not spending enough quality time with my DD, and fear how it will affect our relationship.<br><br>
DD has been in full time daycare this week for the first time. And it still feels "icky" to me that she is spending the majority of her hours with someone non-family. I know it's something I have to get over... but ideas on how?<br><br>
And so then by time we get home there is about an hour until dinner... but I'm EXHAUSTED. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I hope it's just the pregnancy and one day it will be better... actually I'm pretty sure it's pregnancy. By the end of the day I'm slightly queasy, my body is in some amount of pain, and the exhaustion is just crazy crazy, like a different pain in itself.<br><br>
So often I crash my butt on the couch for that hour while DD plays or brings books to me, now that she is a little older I have been trying to color with her. But it just doesn't ever feel like I'm doing enough with her, if that makes sense?<br><br>
Then it's dinner time, and DD likes me to sit with her while she eats, and I don't always have the time/energy to get something together to eat for myself at the same time. So by time she is done and I get her all cleaned up, I try to get her to go play by herself while I get something to eat.<br><br>
Then it's bedtime. I just feel like a half-assed parent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> That someone else gets to play and do activities with my baby all day.<br><br>
I'm going to try to be more motivated on the weekends with her... but these will now be cut in half. Though I'm trying to look at that positively in hopes that I can catch up on some things when she isn't here and that way have more time when she is here.<br><br>
I'm probably worrying needlessly... but would love to hear some stories of how you ladies balance it all?
 

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First off, Im not a single mother, but I am a full time working mother. My kids are in daycare 9-10 hours a day. Is it ideal? NO! Will it kill them and will they hate me for it. NO! Me and my sister both were in daycare fulltime our whole lives. My mother always worked, and had little family support. She is still my best friend. My sisters too. We have a bond that is breathtaking.<br><br>
When you begin to see how your daughter is thriving in FTDC, you might rest easy.<br><br>
Also, I believe your daughter is the same age as my son. He only has four teeth, and eats everything we eat, (minus allergens) right down to strip steak! So I suggest whipping up something easy for YOURSELF, and giving her a little plate of her own. It is what we do EVERY night, and i do alot of after-school parenting myself since my husband has to work late alot. (It has gotten so much easier since Matthew has gotten older)<br><br>
The older they get, the easier it will get to do all the after school parenting. Soon, she will be sitting on a chair at the counter with you while you wear your little one and make dinner. I know your condition probably wont allow that, but its a dreamy thought, isnt it? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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aaaaaaaaah the guilty stage.<br><br>
yeah i am sure everyone of us has felt this here.<br><br>
and i want to reiterate that its all about 'relating' and 'connecting' with our kids.<br><br>
not about the hours spent.<br><br>
i have been a SAHM mom and i will say i have spent more time 'connecting' with my dd as a single WOH mom than when i was a partnered SAHM.<br><br>
how to balance it all?<br><br>
its a personal journey. we can all tell you about short cuts, etc.<br><br>
but its something as you go thru it you will understand.<br><br>
the key is you cant have EVERYTHING.<br><br>
for instance with food - i changed my philosophy. no fresh from teh scratch meals. short snacky or frozy meals. i did not want to waste a single moment on cooking. but just 5 mins to get the food. however as dd got older and started joining me in teh kitchen we started cooking more.<br><br>
ultimately mama what matters is perspective.<br><br>
all you write is really 'just a headtrip'.<br><br>
its something we all go thru esp. when our kids are little. is there a way out of this gut wrenching pain? for me - NOPE!!!! i dealt with it. even though i knew the ones taking care of my dd really loved her and found her special.<br><br>
it so much wasnt about 'my dd'. it was all about me. the moment i recognised that it kinda made it a little easier. intellectually it does not get easier. my dd has a hard time for a while and then she was ok. i was never OK.<br><br>
dunno rambling here. because i am realising ultimately it all works out. our chilren are fine. and one day we wake up and realise everything really is ok. and life goes on.<br><br>
however one key thing that REALLY helped dd was cosleeping and nursing. honestly THAT was key. anything else - the lack of time, wasnt so much as cosleeping. it was like therapy for her. for the person she is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Actually wearing little babes saves my life. lol So yeah, you are right it will eventually get easier.<br><br>
And DD typically does eat whatever I eat, except her's is cut up super small. And sometimes she ends up not really liking it and just throws it all on the floor... so I have to come up with something else for her. Not ideal, but at his young age it's not like I can explain the whole Mama doesn't want to be a short order cook to her. lol And it's more important she gets some nutrition, so for now I'm obliging with another option if first one goes to the floor after she has tried it and has decided it's just not for her.<br><br>
And that is good to hear about you and your sisters with the full time daycare thing. My Mom stayed home with my sisters and I until we were all school aged so this daycare thing is really a new concept to me. I think that's why I'm so guilt ridden because I was raised with ideals of staying home, and it is important to me... just not anyway financially doable. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> and also I read a couple of your other threads, so <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"> for taking such a huge step! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><br><br>
I am not "officially" single, but I <i>have</i> been a full-time working mom and the primary caregiver/cook/laundry-doer/housecleaner for over two years. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
No lie, there are bad days. But it helped immensely for me to come to the realization that I can't be everything and do everything for DS (and H, at the time)...all alone, all the time. And, IMO, it actually benefits a child to have a variety of friends (kid and adult) and potential mentors/teachers.<br><br>
Both of my parents worked full-time, and we're extremely close. Were there times I wished I didn't have to go to daycare, or school, or the summer programs they enrolled me in when school was out? Definitely! But I don't remember ever feeling like they were putting work first, or like we didn't spend enough time together. I would say that DS and I have a great relationship, too.<br><br>
From my own experience, it's SO tough with a little one at this age, and especially at the end of the day when everyone is tired and fussy, so be gentle with yourself... Take the easy route right now with cooking and other chores. Shake up your routine, like...once in awhile, stop on the way to pick your DD at daycare and grab something cheap and semi-healthy from the dollar menu at a fast-food place. Then, take yourself and your daughter someplace like a local park and have a little picnic. Let her play and enjoy the fresh air and get some mommy-daughter time.<br><br>
I think, in the long run, it will matter to my DS that I put in the effort to spend focused time with him, and that we could relax and enjoy each other's company. Not that we did or didn't get to spend the entire day everyday together.<br><br><b><i>And sometimes she ends up not really liking it and just throws it all on the floor... so I have to come up with something else for her. Not ideal, but at his young age it's not like I can explain the whole Mama doesn't want to be a short order cook to her.</i></b><br><br>
I just have to suggest reading Ellyn Satter <i>Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense</i>. DS went through a stage of being picky and sometimes wanting to throw or spit out his food. (Sometimes still does, but I digress... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> ) I would constantly stop eating my own food, and offer him choice after choice until he finally ate. I found this book very freeing in that it says the parent's job is to offer healthy food, and it's the child's job to choose whether to eat it or not. So FYI...check it out if you're interested!
 

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Taquerias played a big part in my parenting when I was a WOHSM. It was cheap and good and we could as visit while we ate and then go home to a clean house, cuddle and read a book and then bed. I would really try to avoid the short order cook thing starting now. I did that when they were really little thinking that it was the age and then when I finally got tired of it they were used to it. I would preplan your weekly meals after her bedtime or on a weekend and then cut up veggies, fruit, cheese, etc. to go with it. That way it's super quick and easy to clean up and if she doesn't like something there is something else she can eat without sending you to go prepare something else. Frozen chicken tenders cook very quickly and are fast to cut up and can be preseasoned in freezer bags with juice, spices, etc. so that you can make it quickly and she can't accuse you of having the same thing everyday- when she gets older. Feeding two people is so easy and then less dishes you use and the less time to prepare means more time to be lovey together. Being a single mom is really a very special position and even though it's nice not being responsible for everything or having to worry about the rent being paid or daycare I miss it in a lot of ways. Good luck it's a great adventure and I think you'll come to enjoy it a lot.
 

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I'm a WOH single mama, but at the moment, I'm lucky enough to be living with my parents, who took me in after I ran away from STBX. My DD is a bit older than yours (22 months), but I also feel that time crunch from the moment I get home to the moment she goes to sleep.<br><br>
However, because I'm in Canada, I got a paid year long maternity leave and let me tell you that by the end of it, I was itching to go back to work. This is just me, but I found staying at home a bit stressful because I felt that I needed to be SUPER MOM and make every single moment with DD count...when in reality that's just not possible. I'm better at short bursts of super involvement throughout the day than sustained bursts of restful/tired/cranky involvement during an entire day. This is just me though.<br><br>
Also, I was raised in daycare. My mom had to WOH my entire childhood. And to be quite honest, I have no recollection of any of it. My earliest memories are from this daycare I briefly attended downtown, but after that, I remember an awesome preschool I attended where I first learned to speak English. I honestly think that being in daycare socialized me a great deal more than my mother could have; my own DD has been in FTDC since she was 10 months old, and I have seen her make great strides because of her awesome caregivers. I feel that she needs the exposure to other children and other loving parent figures, and though it saddens me that she spents the bulk of her time away from me, I find that she's better for it.<br><br>
Like you, my evenings are also super intense:<br>
I get home at 5:30 and DD has already been brough home from daycare by mom or dad. We put together a quick dinner (most of our food is precooked over the week-end or is easy to prepare...like a frozen pizza). Since DD is super picky, we make sure to always have on hand her favorites: chicken, apple sauce, cheese, cereal and soy milk, fruits. DD also throws stuff around, but now that she's older, I make her clean up after herself, which she seems to enjoy.<br>
Bathtime is around 6:30 or 7:00 but if the evening is apocalyptic, I forgo it and just wipe her down.<br>
I make sure to do lots with DD in the evenings...she's BIG on books so we read read read. She loves songs and dancing, so I put on this old Baby Einstein DVD she loves to dance to (Old MacDonald...). We play with balls, run back and forth, have an evening snack and then it's off to bed around 7:45.<br>
By 8:30, DD is asleep and I chill for a bit before cleaning up.<br><br>
As for week-ends, I make sure I stick to a routine, because my DD seems to thrive. She loves coming to the grocery store and riding in the cart. She also loves coming down to the basement and playing while I sort laundry. I try to make her part of my activities.<br><br>
And my week-ends are cut in half as well, since DD goes to her dad's house every Sunday afternoon. I find it tough, but I try to do one big fun thing every Saturday (like going to the park where there are lots of dogs to pet, or going to the park to play in the sand, or going to this indoor kids gymnasium, or even just hunkering down on the kitchen floor with DD to do some "pretend cooking"). Also, since I live with my folks, we share the responsibility of making week-ends fun but restful for DD.<br><br>
I honestly don't feel that doing this this way makes you a half-assed parent; it makes you a parent that models what is for many mothers a reality. Very early on, I understood that both my parents needed to work for us to have the basics we needed, and it's given me (I think) a very good work ethic.
 

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Quality vs quantity.<br><br>
I make sure to connect w/ my kids every day I have them (50% of the time). Agree w/ meemee I feel our time is more quality now than it used to be when I was partnered. Extra time in bed w/ them at bed time and waking up, sometimes just letting all chores go and spending time eating popcorn and movies, being silly, dancing, etc. I'm glad it's summer again, I'll make some pb&js and head to the park w/ them after school. Picnics, lots of snacky foods and meals (with 3 girls, they all prefer different things) so that everyone is happy w/ something. But no, no short order cook, and never have been. You need to put a stop to that as a single mom imo... if my kids don't want to eat what I make, they can have some fruit or other snack that takes no effort from me.<br><br>
Be gentle w/ yourself. The adjustment is huge and you are pregnant. It gets easier.
 

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Be gentle with yourself. You are going through major major changes. You can't expect to be 100% right now. And this time won't last forever. You and your dc will get into a groove and everything will be smoother sailing.<br><br>
And congratulations on making a big move in the right direction. I have read your post for awhile, and you are an amazing mama in a not amazing situation.
 

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An idea for dinner: perhaps during weekends while she's with her dad you can do big batches of cooking and freeze them for other days of the week. When you're done napping, I mean!<br><br>
I was a sahm when my kids were little, but I am more of a benign-neglect than a play-with type of parent. I did introduce my daughter to Winnie the Pooh videos when I was expecting her brother. Felt terribly guilty, but I was exhausted and miserably sick and she was too little for me to nap if she was awake so if the tv was on, I could get her to lie down with me for awhile.<br><br>
It help with both of my kids to only give them a couple of bites at a time. It was almost like so much food at once was overwhelming because that's when they would throw it!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you everyone! Some really great ideas here that I took some notes one. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Generally I do try to have some cut up turkey and cheese on hand as a second option for DD, and bananas and apple sauce.<br><br>
I think this week has just been ultra hard because of just leaving and not really being settled in yet so I didn't have my usual stuff on hand.<br><br>
I know it will get better and this too shall pass... Thank you everyone again for your support and kinds words. It's helping me to keep on going. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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First, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I've been following your journey.<br><br>
Secondly, I can't wait for your first post where you're excited and positive about the direction your life is heading.<br><br>
I have one DD - she and I were on our own from when she was 13 months-3 years, then a brief reconciliation, and then divorced when she was 6.<br><br>
I am the happiest I've ever been. I WOH - my dd's in fulltime school now, but we made it and are so, so close. I wouldn't have it any other way.<br><br>
Our life is made more busy now because she has a jillion activities, so typically, I get her off the bus at about 4, she plays w/ friends or does homework, then for dinner it's sandwiches, or something frozen, or salads, or cereal.<br><br>
I spend lots of my 'nonwork' time shuttling her to dance, softball, gymnastics, doctor/dentist, etc.k, so we get lots of time in the car to bond. We go out to dinner occasionally, or spend the day in our pj's watching our favorite tv shows - it's going to be really, really good for you. Just take it one day at a time.
 

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Thanks Chantelle691.<br><br>
Part of me is excited and positive... I'm just a little bogged down with details right now. I really can't wait till it's all ironed out.<br><br>
This weekend I'm going to try to work on getting our room at my parent's a little more livable and hang up clothes instead of living out of a bag. lol<br><br>
Just work on making our space a little more homey and cozy and I know that will help a lot.<br><br>
My Mom already has plans on putting some things away downstairs to make a play area for DD.<br><br>
So working on it...
 

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I am so glad your mom is showing you the support you need during this time. What a relief. I know you were worried about your parents not supporting your decision to leave, and I find great comfort in knowing that you and your daughter are in an enviroment where you are loved and welcome and allowed to just BE, rather then harped on all the time.
 
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