Monday, June 16, 2008

Not right now

I don't know what it is about our life for the past 8 months or so, but I am becoming increasingly frustrated. In short, I have zero time. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. I keep hoping it's Jack's age or some kind of phase that will pass, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

I spend every single moment of every single day trying to keep him entertained, or cleaning up messes, or doing laundry, or running errands, or doing battle with him over behavior, or cleaning up after my grandfather, or answering a million totally unnecessary phone calls from my mother, cooking 9 different meals for a kid who never eats, doing the grocery shopping, etc etc etc.
And I am so over it all.

The more there is to do, the less time there is to do anything I enjoy. And then I get even madder about not having any time to do anything for myself. And then I do less around here, so there is even more to do and then I have even less time than I started with.
Truly a vicious circle.

I used to have help cleaning the house, but it was really unreliable and frustrating and Dave sort of convinced me (I was already halfway there on my own) it wasn't necessary anymore now that Jack was over 3. Oh sure, Jack can help clean up around here and he goes to school 2 days a week and Dave can help and blah blah blah.
But truthfully Jack is still the same kid he was at 7 months old, and it is no easier to get anything done with him here. And there seem to be so few hours in the day that Dave is even here and he already has to keep up with the never ending lawn care and so on.

Everything just seems so damn busy all the time. And still there is mildew in the toilet, there 6 loads of laundry to be put away, the grass needs mowing, I need a haircut, Jack needs to have a recent photo taken, I still haven't ordered my Mother's day present much less bought Dave anything for Father's Day that was yesterday, the floors need to be vacuumed, I am running out of clean underwear, I have not managed to get my eyes checked in like 3 years and I need new glasses, I need to get the tablecloths in the mail, Jack has a giant pile of books he wants to read, he needs lunch, and on and on.

So tell me, please, how do you get it all done without crazy? How do you unbusy yourself so that you can actually have a minute to breathe?

I miss my sewing machine and my house is a disaster area.

*And please don't tell me to get a babysitter! We don't really have family to rely on, and I have yet to find a babysitter that I feel comfortable with.

47 comments:

  1. I certainly remember back to days like that. I think its the only child blues for sure.

    I'm sure you've thought of all these things but are there other moms to trade with from Jack's school? We used to do that? Or, is there some older kid in the neighborhood to come 'watch' Jack while you do stuff at home? I had a neighborhood girl who would do that. Not like I would have left them alone.. like to go to the store, but I could do what I wanted around the house with minimal interruption.

    But let me add, I found complaining and whining to be very cathartic.

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  2. I wish I could help sweetie! I am getting a small reminder of just how tough it is to have little, totally dependent ones around. Alyssa is working now so I have Bayleigh during the day and at night I'm too tired to get anything done. I'm sorry, I have no answers other than you are right, it is his age- but it won't last forever. {{{{Hugs}}}}

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  3. First...BIG hugs, and breathe!!!

    Second, I'm a mom of 4 boys, and let me tell you what, I don't care what anyone says, 3 is FAR worse than 2 age wise. By the time my oldest 3 reached 4 I was ready to put myself in an asylum or sell them to the gypsies, or both. My youngest just turned 1, and I'm expecting baby #5, so I know I'll feel that way at least 2 more times.

    That being said, once they turn 4, it's like this switch goes off within a couple of months of their birthday and they start becoming human..very strange, but cool actually. For the bulk of my oldest 2's 3rd years, I was a single mom..so cleaning, cooking, pulling my hair out, etc. I totally understand. I didn't have a babysitter or family to "unload" them onto either. It's VERY hard, and with your grandfather on top of things, that doesn't exactly help. I made sure the boys had quiet time every afternoon, so I could lock myself in the bathroom and bang my head against the wall if necessary, or just *chill* for a bit. They didn't have to sleep, but they did have to stay in their room quietly for X amount of time (usually 2 hours, sometimes they slept, but usually not). I know it's not much, but it does help.

    Also, quit cooking him 10 different meals..you're not a short order cook, your his mom. Make sure you offer him ONE meal that's at least kinda healthy, and healthy snacks at predetermined times otherwise. He'll eat when he's hungry. I am NOT the perfect mom by any means, just letting you know what helped keep me sane and my children at least moderately well adjusted. From what I've read, you do an awesome job of loving Jack, playing with him, etc. so you're doing a great job..you're just overwhelmed. Cleaning can wait..seriously. That's the LAST thing you should totally stress over hun. Good luck!

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  4. Hugs Sarah,
    I hastate to answer because I have girls. But Aubern'e was an only child till she was 6 and it was hard !!!! So know you are normal. You have gotten some good advice. Do you have any you time ?? I mean were you can leave the house all alone? At lest once a week. It will not fix what is happening in your house but it will help you feel calmer and a calmer mama, makes a calmer house. Can you let say take every Sunday afternoon and know it is yours. Maybe go have a latte, go to the library, ect and then pick up pizza for dinner on the way home. If you know you had that time set aside, that was yours, it might help. But it is hard. I know I did not want to leave, I wanted them to leave but that did not happen till they were older. Hang in there. xoxoxo Clarice

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  5. Sarah, sometimes I feel the same way you do. And I know we're not done having kids, but the idea of having a newborn to deal with along with Maren quite frankly terrifies me, and that is why she is still an only child!:o

    Would you feel comfortable with a mother's helper? Like Pam suggested, maybe a girl or boy in the neighborhood who will come over once or twice a week for a few hours while you are in the house and keep Jack entertained while you can get a few things done? Then you will still be there but hopefully he won't be quite so underfoot.

    Are all the schools in your area traditional schedule? Are there any preschools he could do just for the summer, until yours starts up again in the fall?

    I don't know if you're a list-maker, but if I have it all written out it helps me to really organize and prioritize and gets it all out of my brain, where things are liable to float around and be forgotten. Or maybe set a goal just to do one thing each day--like today, you call and make the eye dr. appt. Tomorrow, you package up the tablecloths. Wednesday, you take them to the Post Office. Maybe if you break it down into really small bites it will be more manageable. It feels so good to cross something off my list, even if it is just one thing per day.

    Hugs, and good luck. I really do sympathize!

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  6. You gotten so much great advice that I dont feel I could add to it. Just hang in there and breath! Leila is only 2 but she has been a strong willed child since she was 9 months old!

    And I second the "alone" time at least for a few hours once a week. It can make a huge difference I know it is hard to think there is time but all you have to do is say it is scheduled in and stick to it.

    Hugs we are all here for you!

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  7. I have been there on many occasions. I hope you find the happy middle ground soon.

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  8. Your bookends turned out gorgeous!!
    You have gotten some great advice, so I can only add a little. I looked at other moms who have several kids and they seemed so much calmer than me. And that was it. You just have to let some stuff go. Who needs a perfectly clean house? TV dinner meals are okay once in a while. Or at least cooking a meal that will go farther.
    I don't try to get any crafting done while the kids are awake. It all happens after their bedtime.
    It will get better.
    *hugs*

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  9. No advice at all(Mika had some good stuff though), just those famous words I'm sure you don't care to hear: This too, shall pass.

    And get baking soda show him how to clean the toilets!! Does he need some new videos? My son was fascinated by Star Wars when he was 3, just loved the old ones. How bout a slip 'n slide or other watery outside stuff?

    Molly

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  10. take a day off! being a mom 24/7 doesn't mean you can't have any time for yourself. it's taken me 6 years to figure that out! heck! i was still washing clothes and cleaning house this mother's day! but i try to set a day a week where nothing gets done. dishes wait unless something is needed, laundry sits, and toys get pushed aside only to make a pathway. you don't have to do everything in a day! use that day to do something for yourself even if it means making a dent in the couch. jack can play alone! if he gets you frustrated send him to his room and shut the door. a little time apart will not kill either of you! find something that will keep him busy. jerrett can spend a good hour running his cars through a tray of flour or playing in a bowl of water in the bathroom sink (if he makes a mess don't make a big deal about it just have him help clean up). i saw on a gals blog where she filled tubs of water and added a few drops of food coloring; it kept her kiddos facinated for hours.

    as for the making him "9 meals", stop that! i'm not the best person to give you advice about getting kids to eat (we're back to nuggets and fries) but jerrett gets 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. if he wants a snack he has to get it himself. i keep little baggies of pretzels, chips, fruit snacks, or whatever where he can reach them; he gets to choose which one he wants. if he wants a drink keep juice boxes or sippys in the fridge where he can reach them and make him get it.

    hang in there!

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  11. (((hugs))) - I know I feel like this a lot! It seems to cycle with me. And I hesitate to give advice because I don't know your exact situation, so if I'm off, just disregard what I say!

    Ryan isn't so great about helping out with the housework either, but he is great about entertaining the kids when he gets home from work and on the weekends. Maybe you can work out a better compromise with Dave?

    I also hardly ever sew during the day - I know lots of people can't do this, but I stay up late. I'm a person who's never needed more than 6-7 hours a night.

    One of the things I am loving about my boys lately is that they are finally entertaining each other! I think someone else suggested this - maybe you can find another Mom to trade playdates with. I find it is often easier to take care of my kids when they have fun playmates over - they aren't incessantly whining at me because they have someone else to entertain. And if you trade with another mama, you get the added benefit of alone time too!

    Good luck and hang in there!

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  12. Some days, this very post could be mine. Sarah, know that you're not alone when you feel so overwhelmed! We're all here for you, and I know from experience, it helps to talk about it.

    We've barely had a babysitter since having kids, so I get that. The thing I've done to keep my sanity when I feel like I have way too much anxiety, is to take time for myself after the kids are in bed every.single.night. Unfortunately, I still do this even when they stay up way past their (8:00) bedtime. I'm a night-owl, by nature, and I.need.that time to stay sane.

    The hardest thing is finding 'me' time, but I think it's THE most important thing. We need time for ourselves in order to be a mom to our kid(s). In order not to spread ourselves too thin, and to keep from going crazy.

    No matter what you have to do, find some time for yourself. Ideally, a few hours out of the house, doing something you enjoy just.for.you once a week. I know it's not always practical, but it's so important. {I really should take my own advice here. :P It was given to me by my midwife when I was pregnant for Carter(#3) and struggling with postpartum depression. I'm fully recovered, but I still struggle with the whole anxiety thing.} Just know that we understand, and we're listening! Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you. (((Hugs)))

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  13. I wanted to add to the multiple meal thing. The thing that's worked for us - my kids have to try what I made. If they absolutely don't like it after tasting it, then they get a sandwich. Period. No other options.

    {I'm no expert, but I used to do what you're doing, and you're going to go crazy offering countless things. The kid(s) catch on, too! He knows he's going to keep getting more things to eat. And it starts to be like a game.}

    On a totally different page, I just thought of this tip... When we go out to eat, I offer my kids only a couple of choices, too. Since doing that, eating out has been so much easier. They don't get bombarded with too many choices and decisions to make, and ordering is so much easier.

    You've got a lot of great advice from all of these moms, I hope it helps! :)

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  14. Great Big Hugs! I'm Jessica and I've just started reading your blog a few weeks ago. I have two boys 5 & 2 1/2. I know its hard now, but as another person stated, Jack is right on the edge of turning a corner and becoming a lot more independent and able to entertain himself. One thing I like to do regularly is invite friends over for playdates - WHAT? TWO KIDS? Yes, they will entertain each other (as long as they are old enough to play together, not just parallel play) and you can have some peace and quiet to sew, or read, etc...Big Hugs, and this too shall pass.

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  15. I am going with Breath. Breath. Breath. Then go out and spend some you time. I find that if I can do somethings that are "just for me" that I can make it through the days better. Now when I say "just for you" I mean without Jack! Nights without him. Go out with friends. Tell them that it is not something that sounds like fun, but something that you HAVE to do! It is important.

    Also maybe Jack needs to have some Jack time. Sometimes kids need more time alone. See if you can get him to stay in his room, by himself for some amount of time. (It helps if you get some really cool toys that he only gets to play with in there, Do you have any legos?)

    Remember that this to will pass. Good luck!

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  16. sounds familiar! mine's almost 3 and it doesn't look like 3 gets better from what you are saying. Uh oh.

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  17. tammyCA2:44 PM

    Sarah, you aren't the only one. It is a vicious cycle, especially when your child(ren) are small and neeeeed so much from you. I feel like a crazy person all the time...I'm just looking forward to the Fall when both kids are in school full-time! (of course, I'll be driving back & forth to two different schools across town) Hopefully, I can finally work on me (I used to look decent). I love them, but it is so much work & then when they are fighting all the time! lord.
    It is such a different time than when we were young...I have no family to depend on or babysitters (and, can I even trust them these days)...we can't even let our kids go out and play in the neighborhood so we, the moms have to be the playmate..it is hard to be everything, all the time.
    My house is not as clean as it used to be and I finally just said, heck with it - don't care what people think...all I do is pick up toys/clothes all day.
    My goal is to finally get organized next Fall and paint several rooms...I did paint/stain the back porch in between taking care of kids and that was too rough...at one point they and hubby were out there and then he falls asleep in the chair! Here I am on a stool painting the ceiling with 2 kids running around & one kid being autistic and grabbing everything!

    Just be selfish and tell your husband you need some time out or to do something for you. I don't get much time away but it does help to go do something fun...I was asked what I wanted for Mother's Day and I said, "to go to the flea market...ALONE". It was good.

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  18. are you sure that i didn't write this post, because it could be me!
    i spend way too much time arguning with the kid whether or not he needs "help" going to the bathroom (he doesn't, but he ALWAYS wants company), whether he can get dressed by himself (he can, he doesn't want to), etc. when we are home all day (at the moment mon-wed)we spend at least part of the day out and about - at the park, etc., just so i don't have to think about what i could be doing at home and we don't argue about whether i should be playing trains or whatnot with him.
    hmm, this isn't very much advice, but we also do exchanges once in a while and my son mostly eats the same thing everyday, since he is picky, too. i do make him a separate dinner, but since he is picky, i just make the things i know he will eat and try to have him try a bite of our food. one day he will perhaps?
    i am also hoping that 4 will be a bit easier than 3!

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  19. barbara3:10 PM

    Oh, where to start, other than I wouldn't trust any mother who DIDN'T feel like you're feeling. I think it's especially hard when you want to do something creative and interesting, and all that's in front of you are the same old chores. We also didn't feel comfortable with babysitters and didn't have family nearby, although a mother's helper seems like it might help. I'd echo the thoughts on the multiple meals - a couple of choices, and that's it, buster. Even though my kids are much older than Jack (a mixed blessing, trust me) the house still looks like a disaster to me most of the time. It's helped me to have one spot, however small, that always is clean and neat, and when things get really bad, at least I can look at it. Sometimes (rarely) it's a whole room, a lot of times it's just a corner that doesn't have junk and doesn't need to be repaired in some way. And as far as relatives calling, to which I could dedicate an entire blog, I have two words: Caller ID. And don't feel compelled to pick up the phone. If you weren't home, you couldn't. Sending wishes your way...Barbara

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  20. I wish I knew the answer, if I did, I'd be doing it myself. I know exactly how you feel. There are always a million things that need to be done. Who has time to create? I really don't know what else to do. I work all day so my time is super limited. ((HUGS))

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  21. Oh, and I agree with Mika. It should be "Terrible 3's" not "Terrible 2's".

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  22. Sarah,

    Your house doesn't have to be perfect. The laundry is going to be there tomorrow. Since it is summer, you may be able to find an 11-14 year old to come to your house a few hours a couple of times a week to occupy Jack. That would enable you to get caught up on chores. Jack is going to eat when he is hungry. He should be eating what you and your DH eats, no need to make multiple meals. You and David are the parents and make the rules. As a parent of an only child (a 19 y/o son), it does get better when they go to school. Take time out for you and understand that it is not your job to entertain Jack 24/7. You will be a much happier person if you make sure that you carve out some "me" time and in turn Jack will be happier. I wish I lived closer. I would come over and watch Jack while I helped you with that laundry.

    Big hugs,
    Laura

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  23. I have zero kids, and therefore no helpful advice, though I was a kid who did the "babysitting while the mom was home" thing back in the day, and it really seemed to help her (she did custom draperies, and I'd go from about 8-12 so she could sew). However, that pink metal tray looks gorgeous! :)

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  24. Aw, poor mama - I know how you feel...
    I have 2 tips - simplemom.net - she is great for helping even the MOST un-organized, and:
    One Meal - seriously. Don't worry, he will NOT let himself starve - one or 2 days of having a hungry belly will not hurt him, and will let him know you mean business. Be firm, but matter of fact - give him something small - if he doesn't want to eat, excuse him from the table. I have stuck to my guns with this since day 1, and I have 2 boys who will eat anything. Let me know if I can help more - hug!!

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  25. Ah hon, I'm so sorry. I have an idea of how you feel but I am able to get me time. I don't know how you do it, I don't know how I'd do it. I wish I could watch Jack for you or help you out! I'm glad my messy house post made you feel a little better. And to add to that, I do have some mildew in a few of my toilets too.

    Maybe you could find a highschooler or college kid home for the summer who could stay with you some days to help watch Jack and do light housework while you craft or take a bath or read or something. You need this time, it will make you a better mom and a happier woman.

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  26. (Hugs) My students were driving me crazy in the same way. I couldn't get any of the 100's of end of the year things I needed to do because they absolutely could not be independent. I am at the point of bribes. Seriously.

    Maybe it will get better when he is old enough to go on play dates?

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  27. Here is my daily plan. I still get frustrated every now and then but following this plan helps keep me sane.

    #1 - there is never and will never be enough time to get everything done. You've got to accept that and move on.

    #2 - Start with getting what HAS to be done finished. For me the only thing that HAS to be done every single day is I have to take care of my 3 kids. Any day where that is accomplished is a successful day. My other two main goals to accomplish every day are to make the beds and to take a shower. Taking a shower makes me feel a million times better no matter how bad the day is. And making the beds is the quickest clean up of a room ever. The rest of the house can be trashed but if the beds are made it is ok.

    #3 - Anything above and beyond #2 is pure bonus!

    It does get easier as they get older. There are challenges at every age of course. The time flies by so fast though. I figure my kids will be grown and out of the house before I know it and then I'll have more time on my hands then I know what to do with!

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  28. This is purely my opinion and after all you asked! I'm not going to read what other commenters said because I want to just give you my gut feeling. I am a mom of 8. I will tell you this and you may not believe me but 2 is easier than 1 and 4 is not 4x the work. Nor is 8. I don't remember how I did it all but I have always tried to take some time in the day for myself. If it was a nap, or a project or simply to read or watch a tv program, it made me feel better about the sacrifices I made as a mom. I will tell you I was better at doing what you do than being a mom of adult kids. Their problems can be huge and overwhelming to me now. It was easier for me to potty train and scrub toilets. Also My dear mom would come every thursday afternoon from 1-4 and watch the kids. And she would often have the girls help clean the bathroom. I don't know how she did that but I suppose its because she knew it was only 3 hours a week. We did have family help from time to time other than that but we never got sitters really. Its hard when you have a sitter because you never stop being a mom while the sitter is at your house. You still worry and fret. Anyway Sarah I know you are a lovely mom. You need to tell yourself you are doing a great job. Jack is #1 and should be. Everything else can wait til tomorrow. I love the painted and embellished items on the blog. Things like that do provide moments of relief I think, too. good luck to you and you tell yourself whatever you do it is ok

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  29. oh hugs! i thought i was going to lose my mind when parker was that age. i still do. if you find any answers, i'm up for it. i'm in the trenches with ya sista.

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  30. (((Hug)))

    You've already gotten so much good advice. Sift through it, find what might work for you and give those ideas a try.

    I don't think any of us ever have enough time, but it does get easier as the kids get older. Hang in there. :)

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  31. *big hugs* I am not a parent so I have no idea what to say but it sounds like getting a cleaner in, even for 2 hours a week would help a lot. And be firm with all those other people like your mother who call you over nothing. Don't try carry everything yourself just cos you're a mommy! Even mommies are allowed to shut the door on the world and recharge their batteries

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  32. Oh Sarah! I'm so sorry you're feeling like this! I go through this LOTS at my house.
    Let's be honest- who really gets it all done? Not me. Not too long ago a friend I had recently made stopped by and when I answered the door the first thing she said was, "you just made my day, I thought I was the only one with 5 loads of laundry on my couch that needs to be folded!"
    Don't get down on yourself (cause you are amazing!) or mad at anyone else about the situation, just keep going and know that you're doing the best you can. Even if some day, just getting up is the best you can do. We've all been there and it sounds like you've already gotten great advice.
    The only thing I'd add is sign up for www.flylady.com, I started doing it a while ago and it's pretty cool and free.
    It's a lot of email reminders, but you can just delete them if you aren't feeling it that day. They are basic reminders of what to do in your house and it only takes 15mins/day. Pretty much reminds you that you don't have to be perfect, first love yourself (FLY) and a little time goes a long way if you just try.
    Big hugs-
    Missy

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  33. Wow1 I didnt' have time to read all the comments, but this post sure elicited a reaction!
    "Cleaning and cooking can wait for tomorrow, for babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow...."
    And, it's so, so true. Try to enjoy Jack while he's little -- you'll never get these days back. And take time for yourself too. That means, the cleaning has to go. It's ok if the toilets go a little longer between cleanings. Jack will be in school soon and you'll have a little more time. Notice I said a little -- there are always things to fill the available space. It's something we all struggle with, but it's hardest when you have little ones!
    Good Luck Sarah -- you're not alone!

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  34. Vicki7:53 PM

    No brilliant advice here, but talking with friends always helps. Exercise will help too, even a daily mile walk, with or without Jack. I am going to commit to a walk at lunch every day once the twins are here and I return to work. I am no spring chicken so I know that nutrition and exercise are the only way I will be a calm mom. I think we believe that we have to be supermoms.I don't think my mom or her friends put that kind of pressure on themselves. We're all here any time you need to "talk". Vicki at Hollyhocks.typepad.com

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  35. Big hug! It's okay! I am sure you feel better already just venting about it. My Jakey was very high maintenance. What am I saying, my Jakey is STILL high maintenance. He's just very excited to be involved so involved him I did. I decided that it wasn't about entertaining so much as it was learning life skills. Sounds so much better when I write it then I actually think it is. He has his jobs and has had them for years but he still complains about them. I know he likes having the responsiblities. He eats like a bird (unless it's McD's horrible hamburgers) so when I make meals that he didn't like after a bite then he could make himself either a sandwich or cereal. And never under estimate the power of mommy time outs. Jake thought it was hilarious when I put myself in time out.

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  36. Hi Sarah,
    I was flicking through your comments hoping to find someone had come up with the solution to your problem, it just seems that everyone suffers from the same problem. Although my boys are much older 13, 11 and 9 I still find it hard to get everything done that I need to get done in a day. I'm always taking them to some sport or another, running errans for our business, or cleaning up the mess the boys have left behind. It doesn't seen to get any easier, maybe one day when they leave home I might just be able to sit and relax, and yet I'm not looking forward to that day because it means that my job is done.
    Cheers and keep your chin up your dong a great job.
    Linda

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  37. I know this will sound crazy, but I would get more done when my kids had friends over to play with. (even a 3 year old) They stayed occupied and I had time to do things and still keep an eye on the kids.

    Also, when our second child came along, all those expectations and standards I had set for what was important went out the door. Cuz I realized real quick that I couldn't do it all. So I HAD to be OK with a messy home, unfinished projects, etc.

    We are empty-nesters now and I am so thankful I stopped being so dang hard on myself and just lightened up and savored the moments that are gone before you know it.

    Appreciate your honesty Sarah... we all care and can relate big-time!

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  38. Sounds exactly like my house. Just this past weekend I looked around with disgust at the state of things. I finally decided I needed to focus on cleanliness vs. organization. Decided around here that keeping the mildew and dirt gone was more important than putting away the laundry, picking up a zillion toys, etc. So, I guess, I decided to prioritize. (And I disagree with your husband--we need the cleaning lady _more_ when the kids are toddlers than when they're babies!) Also, when we find that we're picking up a lot of toys, we decide it's time to downsize the toy supply--lots of stuff heads to storage for awhile. It's easier if you have less stuff to make a mess!
    I also agree with one of the other commenters that you should stop answering the phone. Think of staying home with Jack as your job. Would you accept personal calls while you're at work? Nope. So don't do it during "business" hours. Let them leave a message. We almost never answer the phone during the day, but we do return "urgent" calls.
    I also found that talking to other moms is extremely helpful--like you've done here. It's good to know that you're not the only one with an imperfect house...and with frustration...My MOPS group was helpful for that sort of thing. I also found the book "And Then I Had Kids" very helpful. (I know, I know, you don't have time to read! I'll email you a summary of key points to remember)

    You're not alone!

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  39. Diane8:03 AM

    Well, you are absolutely right. Whoever made up the "terrible Twos" phrase hadn't had a 3-year old yet. My boys are nearly grown now, but I remember going through exactly what you are describing! You know what helped me? This may not be popular, but I got a little part time job--just a couple of days a week. I didn't have a lot of money left over after I paid for daycare (that wasn't the point), but I did have a few dollars I could spend on whatever I wanted (maybe a maid?). The best part was that I got to get out of the house, meet new people, talk to adults and the kids behaved better after spending a couple days a week in a different environment. They made new friends and really enjoyed it (and so did I!) Plus, if you're working, people can't call you 10 times a day and you might not be available to help everyone out so much. It might not work for you but it sure did for me. Maybe there's a part time position at a fabric shop or a Michael's in your area. Heck, you could try it for a few weeks and if it doesn't work for you, just don't do it any more. What ever you do, please take care of yourself. And stop making Jack ten meals!! Give him a choice of two or three things, let him pick one and let that be that!

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  40. First some hugs to you! And second... I have three teenagers and I still have to fight for some time to craft. Especially sewing (aka making too much noise in our small living room) is hard to plan and I sometimes struggle not to get frustrated about that. I don't know if I can give you any good advice. I had three in a very short time (twins and a third one after 19 months), so things were kind of hectic, but they also sometimes played with each other, giving me some time to read (I wasn't much into crafting then).
    Maybe you could plan some crafting time for the both of you during the day? I don't know if you have a studio or something, but you could give Jack a special place for his own crafting. And than tell him how special it is that you're both working together. Maybe you could even do some "matching" projects sometimes (for very special occasions), like letting him draw something to put on a bag, or letting him cut pieces of (not too precious) fabric to make a crazy quilt. Just thinking out loud...
    I guess you have already checked Soulemama's website and book for inspiration?
    Oh and about the house: I just got a brilliant idea about that myself: this summer (kids home for months, dh working from home, feeling exhausted myself) I will do only damage control, no actual trying-to-be-a-good-housewife, just keeping things clean enough to live in. Maybe that should be a rule for all mothers facing a should-be-fun-but-so-much-to-do summer: damagecontrol only, we'll do a good autumncleaning after a relaxing, good summer!
    Another thing that comes to mind: a collegue of dh who had done medical school (but worked in IT for some reason) told us things (me feeling tired, the house a mess, the kids asking so much attention) would get better as soon as our youngest was five years old. And he was right!(forgot to mention the period of them all being almost-but-not yet-adults we're going through now however)

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  41. Okay, this is going to be totally non-helpful to you, but I have to say: It's really, really nice to know that I am not alone in feeling this way, and in feeling guilty about not being able to keep up the house & do a lot of other stuff when I only have one toddler. My sister makes a lot of comments about how "some people" don't have to work and have plenty of time to do what they want... ha!

    The thing is, I do remember my mother keeping up the house, and sewing, and cooking, and doing things with her friends. But then, my sisters were teenagers by the time I was 3, and they remember doing a lot of babysitting. :-)

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  42. I don't even have kids, but I'm busy, so I don't know how you manage! :( I'll pray for you!

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  43. Mostly, I just drink heavily, that's how I manage it. I drink. A lot.

    Kidding, only kidding. Big hugs to you girl. Three is HARD! My youngest is three now, and he's driving me completely insane too.

    All I can say is that it does pass. You will be damn near comatose when it does, but it does. Pinky swear.

    Love to you!

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  44. leslie9:49 AM

    see, i knew i loved your for good reason. i feel the same in soooo many ways. i think i am the one and only person who says (or thinks) "you're having ANOTHER one!!!????" when people joyously tell me they are pregnant again and again and again. dont get me wrong, i love my kids, i cherish them and am sooo thankful to have learned through trial and error how to be a parent, which is the most humbling thing i ever did. thankful yes, tired and frustrated A LOT, yes too. thanks for sharing, i dont have much advice because i know you are doing a great job and feeling your way through it just like the rest of us. thanks for being honest!!
    xoxoxo

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  45. leslie9:52 AM

    i just read stef's comment and i have to be honest and say a glass of wine at days end is seriously big help to my husband and i, honestly! we laugh about it a lot and most of our close friends agree, it makes you forget about the mess and just have fun with your kids. not the greatest advice but it works for us!!!
    cheers!

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  46. Anonymous5:45 PM

    See www.rosemond.com
    Also check out www.Flylady.net This site used to be much less cluttered and easier to navigate (maybe it's just my perception due to ancient rural phone lines like we have), but perhaps you can find some ideas at least to get the bathrooms and kitchen clean early in the AM and then tackle other areas of the house with the wee one...as your little helper. In 15 minute increments for an hour or two total per day. Don't spend all day at it. Stop and do another area each day. It will eventually all come together, but don't hold your breath for perfection.

    My daughter-in-law has her 5 year old responsible for the living room tidy and his own room. He was 4.25 when he was given that responsibility. Not that she doesn't assist here and there.

    Now that your Jack is out of diapers he will become much more independent than before. Like he finally realizes what he can do himself.

    Also set that timer for 15 minutes when he has to entertain himself, so you can have some time to yourself.

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Hi there. What say you?