The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Just venting — feeling burned out today April 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:46 pm
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At the moment, my two boys are playing outside while Hubby is working on a project and also keeping an eye on them. I am very thankful to have this quiet period of the morning; I certainly need it.

Today I’m struggling with feeling beat down and worn out. Weekends sometimes do that to me. It seems like every single morning, I spend (what seems like) hours just trying to get the kitchen in shape, get everyone fed, get everyone dressed. I can feel wiped out by 8 a.m. when Mark, my 2yo, is going through a time of getting up very early in the morning, around 5 a.m.

On the weekends it really hits me — I get tired of doing the same stuff day after day after day. I am physically tired; I long to get a good night’s rest at least a few nights in a row. I need about 8 hours of sleep, and for people like my husband who seem to thrive on less, well, goodie goodie for them, but I can no more be like them than I can change my height or my eye color. I get tired of feeling like things get tense when I ask for time away, to go to the gym or just out where I can be by myself. I’m not sure if my husband realizes how much it throws me off when, after I ask for something like a chance to go to the gym over the weekend, he sucks air through his teeth and contemplates (I guess) whether that is do-able. It makes me feel like saying, Oh sorry, I forgot, I just need to stay around home and clean and do laundry and organize stuff every hour of every day.

We have these conversations over and over again where we agree upon the need for me to have Mom’s Time Away, but I feel like that all gets forgotten about because things always come up. Home projects, church commitments, and so on.

I also feel — and maybe I am just making this up and it’s not really happening — that I get judged for times when I *do* take a break (gasp) during the day, like I am doing right now. But you know, I’ve been awake since 5 a.m. and I am just tired. I feel like I push myself every day to fight against the tide of dirt and clutter and chaos that are part of raising kids and taking care of a home; when do I get to just take a break? And not just during that 45 minutes between when the kids go to bed and when I need to go to bed. When do I get to stop and enjoy life for a bit, without feeling like I’m being judged or burdening the family by doing so?

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2-year-old controlling my day? March 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:30 pm
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Here is something that I think a lot of parents, especially at-home parents, can relate to.

We are on Spring Break this week, which means no preschool for my 5-year-old and no Mommy & Me class on Wednesday morning. It’s not so bad being at home more than usual; there sure is plenty to do around the house, from everyday cleaning to organization tasks that pertain to our current flooring projects.

Here is the problem: We are at home in the morning. I have tons of things to do. Clean the kitchen, fix low-carb food for myself, make phone calls, do some work at the computer. And spending a morning at home seems like the perfect time to work on these things. But the limiting factor is, of course, the kids. Specifically, my 2-year-old. He gets quite… what is the word? Restless? Aggressive?

Much of the time, I can’t just do my thing while the kids do their thing, because Mark is getting into mischief (though we are about as childproofed as can be) or hitting his older brother or interfering with what his brother is trying to do (put together a puzzle) or fussing at me to be picked up, have his sippy cup filled up, to be read to.

It is enough to drive me bonkers. It’s not that I expect to completely ignore my kids all day. But really, unless Mark is sick or unless there is (what I consider to be) a special reason for him to be restless or unhappy, I think there is something wrong with the idea that Mark can dictate the tone of our entire household; what we do or don’t do; etc.

Certainly mothers of previous generations had a *lot* of work to do every day. They did not have a lot of time to devote to a 2-year-old who was determined to interfere with everyone and everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Mark (28 months) very, very much. But it is because I love him so much that I need to put more work into setting limits on behavior.

 

Losing my mind, toddler style March 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:20 pm
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Oh my. I think my 2-year-old is going to cause me to lose my mind, and soon. Each and every morning, he alternates between fussing for food, fussing for his sippy cup (sometimes I put water in it, sometimes milk), generally being listless, being aggressive toward his brother, fussing about whoever isn’t at home at the moment (Daddy or Adam, his older brother), fussing about something he wants and isn’t supposed to have, fussing about something that is broken or is not the way he wants it to be, and getting into mischief.

Sure, it would be nice if I could be with him and entertain him all morning long, but I don’t have time for that. I also object to that on principle.

Mark is 28 months old, which I think is old enough to start learning that he can’t have his way all the time and that he has to entertain himself sometimes.

I can’t recall for sure whether his older brother was this difficult at this age. I do remember some really fussy times for Adam when he was around 18 months old. Perhaps Mark is extra difficult lately due to being tired, but as I’ve written before, I have no idea what to do to improve his sleep or provide more sleep for him. Lately he has been stuck in the pattern of waking up for the day around 5:15 a.m., which is pretty early considering he falls asleep around 8:00 p.m. According to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, that is below the 10th percentile for hours of nighttime sleep for that age.

My sympathies are with anyone else going through this toddler fussiness right now.

 

SAHM Burnout: Not sure if my own mother “gets it” December 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:37 pm
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My 5yo, Adam, really likes to do arts and crafts. I can see that he has a knack for these things, and I love that about him, really I do.

Enter the 2yo brother, Mark. This is where things get interesting, and tricky. Mark will get into (read: grab, throw, ruin) practically anything he can get his hands on. This means that Adam has almost no choice but to do art projects in his room, with the gate up to keep Adam out.

At that point, if he needs help with something, I have to step over the gate into his room, leaving Mark to his own devices in the rest of the house. If I’m lucky, nothing disastrous¬†will happen in those 1-2 minutes. If I’m not lucky — well — let’s just say I’ve come into the living room to find $700 worth of camera being dragged around like a pull-toy — and NOT because I’ve neglected to safeguard my valuables. There is only so much you can do when your toddler likes to push chairs around the house so he can climb up and get things from high places.

Another dilemma occurs during those precious few hours when Mark is napping. That is the perfect time to do arts and crafts with Adam, right? Well….not always. Many days, by the time Mark goes down for a nap, I am either exhausted, cranky, or ridiculously behind on house work (or any combination of those things).

This is a dilemma that I very often face, but I am wary of trying to explain this to my own mother. At times, especially when a holiday is coming up, she likes to send “craft kits” to Adam. While I appreciate this very, very much, I also know – the moment she brings up the topic – that I will soon find myself in the naptime dilemma once again.

Even though she raised three kids of her own, often I don’t feel comfortable sharing my exhaustion or even my logistical dilemmas with her. ¬†I don’t want to sound like I’m just whining or complaining, or like I just “can’t handle” being a mom. I don’t want it to sound like I don’t want her to send craft kits to Adam. But in the past, when I have put myself out on a limb and have shared things with her, it has often not gone as I wished it to go. As a result, I keep a lot of my struggles and feelings of burn-out to myself.

How about you? Does your mom “get” your exhaustion, frustration, and burn-out? Or do you try to keep it under wraps?

 

Breakfast October 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:35 pm
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I think my stress level would be a lot lower in the mornings if I would just accept that the entire breakfast event will last around two hours. This is mainly because my 2yo, Mark, doesn’t want to eat much when he first gets up, but then about an hour into his day he wants to eat, but only CERTAIN things. So then I’m racing around, trying to get various things done (like phone calls, housework, and so on) while also preparing food for him and putting it in front of him, hoping against hope that he doesn’t decide to throw it across the room.

 

A new era has begun (I hope) August 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:30 pm
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Is this the beginning of a new era at our house?

  1. Yesterday, I took our regular kitchen trash can and moved it into the kitchen. And put it on the floor. For the last year or longer, we have used a tiny little trash can on the kitchen counter, due to Mark (age 22 months) constantly getting into the trash. Having the trash can on the counter was somewhat convenient, but also made me sad because we have such little counter space to begin with. So, the trash situation has returned to normal – for now, possibly for good – in our kitchen. What a relief.
  2. I am currently sitting in a comfy chair and am surrounded by my laptop, my coffee, my phone, a pen, my GTD Coordinator, my Bible, and a few other things. Mark is playing at the coffee table just a few feet away, but (here is the important part) he is not attacking me, my laptop, or any of my belongings. When he starts to get a little unruly, I remind him about time-out (in the Pack & Play). Since he is well rested and not hungry or ill, he seems capable of reigning in his desire to “get into everything.”

This is a giant step forward from the chaos we have been living in for the past year. Not being able to sit down and think, plan, read, pray, or type (without fending off a very determined toddler) has really done a number on me, and it feels terrific to be able to do these things again at a time other than naptime or bedtime.

From Rosemond I learned that around the time a toddler turns 18 months old, it is the parents’ job to gradually, lovingly, and firmly build boundaries around themselves so the child learns that s/he does not have complete access to the parents any time s/he feels like it. This makes a lot of sense to me, and it seems clear that a toddler who starts to learn these boundaries has the opportunity to grow into a child who is pleasant to live with, can handle a classroom environment, can be a joy to have as a guest, and so on.

It is a great relief to me that I can finally draw some boundaries around myself. As a mother, I live with so many interruptions and intrusions – on my body, time, and attention. (Yesterday morning, for example, Mark needed to go “number 2” at least six times, all before lunch! Since he’s young, it requires a lot of time and physical labor to get through the whole potty process.)

It’s no wonder that I often feel burnt out and that I’ve lost my sense of self. It’s not uncommon for me to struggle to finish anything without interruptions or downright intrustions, whether it’s making a simple grocery list or wolfing down a microwavable meal.

This morning, I am thankful to God for these bright spots of hope, and I am thankful that He has brought me through a challenging season of parenting.