Share some tips to help me be a more relaxed Mum!

(26 Posts)
Sutherlandgirl Sun 11-Nov-12 21:31:25

DS is 2.7, DD 7 months, "normal" and generally happy kids......but every little thing seems to stress me out about being a Mum at the moment - particularly DS's total randomness about eating (some days I swear he only consumes about 50 calories!) and the fact that they are constantly ill (the usual winter stuff).

I get stressed out every evening just thinking about what to feed them and cotemplating the mad dash mornings of DS screaming for breakfast (that he then doesn't eat), feeding DD, washing and dressing them, persuading DS that nursery will be fun, honest, dashing home to make mush for DD, and trying to think of what lunch to give DS that he will actually eat!

I'm on maternity leave until DD is one, and DH is Away for half the week with work, so the domestic stuff falls to me.

I have frequent melt downs with the three of them, even though they're not bad kids, and I don't want them growing up with a tense, uptight Mum/wife.

Whilst I really value routine, I also value spontaneity and fun and realise that i need to learn how to chill out more!

I went through something similar when DS was around 7 months, am pretty sure it wasn't as severe as PND but nonetheless felt anxious all the time for no reason, I guess it's maybe a post newborn/BF hormonal come down?

So, what tips do you have to help me chill out and actually enjoy these years of looking after young children?

BertieBotts Sun 11-Nov-12 21:39:14

Buy stain remover, and washable furnishings.

Read "My Child Won't Eat" by Carlos Gonzalez.

Buy chewable kids' multivitamins.

Get up before your kids do. Preferably, give yourself enough time to have a shower and/or a cup of tea or coffee before everyone gets up, so you feel ready to deal with anything! (useless at this, but it's a nice idea!)

When I'm in the middle of a totally pointless battle with DS, sometimes I stop and think about my friend who's in hospital at the moment with her two year old who is seriously ill sad and it makes me take a step back and see what's REALLY important. Also, thinking about what they'll remember when they grow up helps me to be spontaneous - one night when DS really couldn't sleep I just made up the sofabed in the living room and we watched films until he fell asleep cuddled up to me. He didn't ask to do it every night (well, he did, but he understood it was a one off when I said no!) and that turned a horrendous night into a nice memory for both of us.

baskingseals Sun 11-Nov-12 21:39:32

Sutherlandgirl, my youngest dc is 3. i look back at the stage you are at now and i can't quite believe we all survived it. i found it extremely difficult to be honest.

you sound like you are doing amazingly well. what is it exactly that you would like to change?

bitsofmeworkjustfine Sun 11-Nov-12 21:42:32

you know that feeling when you are about to boil over.... just switch it off. you can do it.

there is a switch inside you and when you feel yourself getting wound up, just switch it off.

I know this sound woo, but kids get wound up, so you do, then cos you are they do, then you go mad becuase they are etc etc etc.

from what you have written Nothing is THAT bad on a day to day basis. Your doing ok, just on the treadmill with the rest of us. It wont always be like this, be kind to yourself

7 months is a tricky time. They can see you, they want to be with you, but they can't crawl and follow you about (yet) I found this very hard! And obviously having a 2.7 year old is hard too, I have one of my own, she's lovely but very headstrong and stubborn. She eats more than yours but on her own terms only. She'll eat fruit, bread and butter, chips, ketchup, fishfingers when she's in the mood, yoghurt, cereal, biscuits and crisps, and that's about it. I'm tired of fighting her to eat anything else remotely normal so I'm trying to accept that her fussiness is a phase. I give her what she wants, masses of varied fruit, daily yoghurts, milk, bread and yes, crisps. <shrugs> It won't last forever.

What does your ds actually LIKE to eat?

Goonatic Sun 11-Nov-12 21:44:44

Ahh poor you, sounds stressy. What does your DS really like? My dd (4) could eat Cheerios and biscuits all day!
My dd was also constantly ill and it is unbelievably and hideously stress making.
I rely on smoothies, weetabix, Cheerios, ham sandwiches and bananas. And good old home made soup with loads of veges in to compensate for the rest of ths shit they eat.
Does DS eat at nursery? And can you only give him mini portions of what he likes so that he eats it all and build up from there?

Sutherlandgirl Sun 11-Nov-12 21:48:54

So true about me being wound up then winding them up - I flounced out of the kitchen last night because both refused to eat any dinner, leaving DH desperately trying to calm them down....of course, I know it's wrong but instead behaved like a child myself. Last week I broke the vacuum by throwing it down on the floor when DS kept purposely getting in the way....again, I know this was wrong.

Bertie, so sorry to hear about your friend's little one. And the story about the sofa bed is a lovely one, a good way of turning bad into good.

Maybe I should go back to work sooner? That way DH has to do more of the daily household grind stuff?

wanderingalbatross Sun 11-Nov-12 21:52:55

Can you batch cook a load of stuff for your DD and freeze it? Or else just give her the same as your DS if it's something that's ok finger food? At 7mo, she should be ok with finger food as well as puree. That way you cut down on the amount of food you have to prepare and only have to worry about your DS's food.

As for breakfast, how about giving your DS something quick (banana, juice, milk, fruit, slice of bread) to keep him going while you prepare something more substantial? We often do this with our DD (who is younger) but wants breakfast immediately and is very vocal about it!

Sutherlandgirl Sun 11-Nov-12 21:58:18

X post sorry!

DS will eat most fruit, porridge, pancakes, toast and marmite(sometimes), plain yoghurt with honey (sometimes), spag Bol, sausages, bacon, eggs, fish fingers, hummus (sonetimes),cheese (sometimes). Chicken very occasionally. Obviously, chocolate, chips, crisps, biscuit and cake! Broccoli, carrot, pepprs, cucumber, peas if bribed.

But sometimes he eats virtually nothing (today - 2 small pancakes, piece of toast, clementine, about four small pieces of beef casserole at dinner).

I'm afraid my approach to cooking is the days when DH is away DS gets stuff I know he prefers to make it easier, but the days DH is at home I make meals that we like an if DS doesn't eat them he gets offered fruit or yoghurt. Probably totally the wrong thing to do!

Goonatic Sun 11-Nov-12 22:51:00

That is quite good, don't worry so much, my friends DS only eats chips and mayonnaise..... Can you sleep when your baby sleeps in the day when DS s at nursery? That used to still does help me out when they were little!

QTPie Sun 11-Nov-12 22:59:36

No, I don't think it is the wrong approach: DS gets what I cook him, if he doesn't eat it, then he isn't hungry. If be doesn't make a good attempt, then he doesn't get fruit. I usually keep uneaten food to one side - for if he decides he is hungry ( but he doesn't). I think that their appetite and enthusiasm for food goes up and down, so don't worry.

Other than that, preparation (batch cooking).

Making sure that you do get some you time, somehow (gym/ swimming/yoga/something).

Trying to see life through their eyes: yes to us they are "getting in the way inpur

Yardarm Sun 11-Nov-12 22:59:44

That stage can be very hard. I have a lovely parenting book by Penelope Leach that was very reassuring to me at that stage in which she encourages you to let your housekeeping standards slip for a while while the children are very small, not worry too much about what they're eating and basically enjoy them rather than worrying and trying to keep up with everything. Just try to step back at the difficult moments and keep the bigger picture in perspective. Good luck. I often have to remind myself what really matters.

QTPie Sun 11-Nov-12 23:01:38

"Getting in the way on purpose", but in their mind they are "playing a funny game with the person they love the most". They aren't really be naughty and certainly aren't being malicious, so i try to take it in the manner that it is meant...

TeaDr1nker Sun 11-Nov-12 23:06:26

Sounds like u r doing a good job to me.

Re DS diet, my 2 yr old eats like this. DD is 5 and only started to eat meat in the last year, didn't like the taste/texture so well done you for getting him to eat it.

I agree that batch cooking is the way forward. One thing my kids do eat is Apricot chicken, I get the butcher to cut a large chicken into 10 pieces, these go in the oven with a jar of apricot jam and stock (about a jar and half), cook untill done on 180, let cool and freeze. As the gravy is sweet my kids will eat it, it is the only way she will eat chicken.

It is hard, I lost it today too, feel awful but tmrw is a new day. What about a reward chart for good behaviour, be specific in what u r asking of DS,

Also, I would try to take a step back over food. I think when they are young they are governed by when they are hungry, as oppose to us adults who eat because it is 12.30 aka lunch time. Why not keep a food diary over a week, you may find some days he eats lots, others little but over a week it balances out.

With regards to work, if it is the right thing for you, then do it. Could u go back to work part time for a while before stepping it up?

You are doing a hard job, go easy on yourself - oh and the odd glass of wine helps too

Bearandcub Sun 11-Nov-12 23:10:28

I know exactly how you feel Sutherlandgirl, no words of wisdom, still trying to battle it, but you're not alone.

Have you spoken to your HV re how you're coping/feeling?

steppemum Sun 11-Nov-12 23:19:25

it really doesn't matter if he doesn't eat much, a toddler only needs something like 2 tablespoons a day.

I suggest 3/4 things on a plate, if he eats he eats. If he doesn't then take the plate away, nothing else til snack time. Your list of food was great lots of variety on it.

I know my ds used to get very bad tempered if he ws hungry even though he didn't eat what I had offered. So on the plate might be sandwich, carrot stick, cherry tomato and yoghurt, and I knew he would definitely eat one or two of those.

I found the bit between crawling and talking (so about 6 months to 18 months) hardest with all of mine, and it felt as if I was always chasing my tail.

Sutherlandgirl Mon 12-Nov-12 07:00:38

Thanks for all the helpful and kind advice! Today is a new day isn't it.....so I'm going to try my hardest to enjoy it.

At least this has all given me much more appreciation of what my parents did for me!

QTPie Mon 12-Nov-12 08:05:51

Today is always a new day - go for it, one day at a time smile

WhitePeacock Mon 12-Nov-12 08:19:41

Just wanted to say, when I lose my temper and shout or flounce, it's helped me hugely to realise that I can say sorry to dd (nearly 2 and my only one but I still have temper-frayage!) Being able to say "Sorry, dd, Mummy saw the cup on the floor and she felt really cross, but she shouldn't have shouted" gives me the confidence to know I haven't broken our relationship on days when everyone's tired and most of lunch has hit the fridge angry

Polygon Tue 13-Nov-12 18:48:47

My three year old also eats about that much (quantity) - and to be honest, my 6 year old doesn´t eat much more. I have to battle to get my three year old to eat anything other than porridge and shop-bought fruit yogurt (my idea of natural yogurt with fruit cut up into it gets rejected).
Good luck with everything. I find it really hard to keep calm - or be calm at all. Sometimes I find reading parenting books (like Playful Parenting) therapeutic for me. I get into a mindset of being a good parent, rather than just getting annoyed by the kids "making things really hard for me".

fudge74 Wed 14-Nov-12 13:51:30

i know how you feel - i remember it well from when my DSs were small. one thing i used to do was take myself away to the naughty step telling them i needed to get out of the room to calm down coz they were making me mad and want to shout and i'd sit there and read a little of either toddler taming or how to talk so kids will listen, which would calm me down and help me rememer how i mean to behave!

Doraemon Wed 14-Nov-12 14:09:42

When mine were little some one recommended taking it not just one day at a time, but when you need to one hour at a time. Sounds silly but it really helped me - rather than getting to about 9 o'clock and thinking 'Oh no this is turning out to be an awful day' I tried to see it in terms of 'OK , that was an awful hour, wish DS hadn't thrown weetabix everywhere, wish I hadn't lost my temper etc, but let's make this hour better'. I know it sounds daft but breaking the day down into chunks helped me to see the bits that did go well.
I really sympathise with your frustration, I used to get incedibly angry sometimes (2 year age gap and DS1 very hard work, turned out to have ASD but at the time was super super clingy and didn't sleep). I still hate it when you go to the effort to make dinner and they go 'yuck' and won't eat it, but would second what others have said about toddlers actually not needing to eat huge amounts.
good luck.

Lavenderhoney Wed 14-Nov-12 15:36:48

Really good advice on ths thread smile

With mine- and the age gap is 2 years, I have a few things I do. The first is we always have a plan to get out of the house in the morning. Home for lunch, naps then a walk or crafts ( I know) then tv whilst i cook then bath bed. I am very flexible though, and arrange play dates, toddler groups, and I shop online for food. If we do go the supermarket one in in the trolley, other alongside and if they are both down they chase each other. Ds has to hold the list with drawing of what we need and find them- thanks super nannysmile
try setting the daily diary on the wall, so you break the day down, as already suggested.
At home, Food- I eat with my dc, they don't really notice my tiny salad but I thinks it's important they see me eat and we chat etc. even when dd was a really tiny baby me and ds talked about our day and included her. Meals - menu plan, and I only cook things which take 30 mins all in. So pan fried fish, mninute steaks, chipolatas in oven or pan, salmon with pasta etc, or a roast where I throw it all in the oven during nap time after lunch.

Breakfast- toast or whatever they want. ( breakfasts, bacon sandwich etc, not chipssmile lunch, and dinner as above. Snacks are fruit. Bread and cheese, at 10.30 ish and at 3 ish after naps. Dinner was 5 as they were so hungry but it's now 6 as they seem to prefer it. Ds eats everything, dd picks but she is healthy enough and it's too stressful to fuss. They don't get snacks after dinner, and lunch and dinner they get puddings, whether they finish the meal or not, chocolate sponge and custard etc etc. I batch cook and freeze. Dd won't eat meat unless it's pâté on toast so we do starters sometimessmile

Temper - try not drink too much as hangovers don't help which is difficult after a tough day. I imagine I am being filmed or super nanny is watchingsmile

It does make dc worse if I am stressed and snappy. It's a vicious circle. I put cbeebies on and make tea. I change plans and take them for a walk. I try and note the trigger points and recognise what causes it. It changes all the time as ds and dd grow up. I am very nice o myself and tell myself I am doing well. It's n like being at work and having an appraisal and being recognised and it's hard to measure your performance ( was in a very corporate companysmile

Sorry its a long post but I often feel like you and I hate myself when I explode. It keeps me awake at night. 2nd the penelope leach book, your child from 0-5, very helpful. But I apologise to dc, explain what I should have done, we all have a cuddle and then move on. The key for me is to keep them occupied. Oh and I don't stress about the house. It's clean but scruffy and mostly untidy.

Naturally281110 Wed 14-Nov-12 16:01:00

So glad I found this thread! DD is 14 weeks (exclusively BF constantly!!) and DS 23 months. Founding it tough juggling the needs to 2 little ones both if which have food allergy and DS now under care of GOS hospital and on very restrictive diet. I only get the ironing done when we've literally run out of clean clothes and it really gets me down. DH really supportive but works long hours and I feel awful he has to pick up my slack when he gets home.
Enjoyed reading the tips in time management etc (usually both children napping at the mo!!) and open to all and any suggestions how to chill out and enjoy this precious time!

Doraemon Wed 14-Nov-12 19:04:05

Lavenderhoney your mention of imagining you're being filmed has just reminded me of my mantra of 'what would Dr Tanya Byron do?' smile Am expecting DC3 so might have to try it out again.

Personally I would say sod the ironing, DH irons his own work shirts and I don't iron anything. At all. And that includes school uniform, no one notices.

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