Parent of 1 and 2 year old - on the treadmill and can't get off...will it improve?

(20 Posts)
purpleflowerlove Sat 13-Jul-13 20:51:07

We have 2 well behaved children - 1 and 2. Both still in nappies. One crawling like mad and into everything. One who doesn't like sharing toys etc with DC2 and has occassional major meltdown (2 x daily ish), but generally good. Both are in bed for 7 and mainly sleep til 6-7, other than the odd quick cuddle.

Husband works away on average 2 nights a week, then at home which sounds good but long hours and stresses keeping kids quiet etc.

Husband very hands on with children. I do all domestic stuff.

Very limited family support, only when asked and big deal made from one person. Usually ask for babysit night 1 x every 1-2 months. Occasional daytime help from same person if essential for appt etc. DC1 goes to nursery 1 day a week. I am currently a SAHM.

So, I know I'm lucky they sleep well, that DC2 can go to nursery 1 day and although limited we get a tiny bit of help.

But my husband and me are exhausted and find ourselves longing for just a little bit of time sometimes to be 'off' rather than 'on' at least 12 hours 7/7. By the time evening comes we are completely knackered and after jobs just sit zombied on the sofa. Also for a change in the repetitive routine.

We constantly talk about the days when we had more time together although agree we wouldn't change having DCs. We are just spent.

Should we just get a grip and thanks ourselves lucky? Have we just got to get used to it? Will and when it get any easier?

aturtlenamedmack Sat 13-Jul-13 20:57:21

Would it be worth looking into part time work, just for a break in the routine.
I feel exactly the same as you with just 1 and a bit more family support than you have, but I've recently started to work in the evenings and I'm enjoying having something else to concentrate on for a few hours a week to break things up.
I'm hoping things will get easier as my ds gets older, maybe I'm wrong though!

MadeOfStarDust Sat 13-Jul-13 20:59:11

It gets much, much easier over time - mine are now 11 and 12 and life is fine when they are not bickering.

meanwhile you tend to get used to the no time together thing - snatching moments when you can - find a friend with kids the same age and babysit for "returns" - my friend and I have done this for 10 years now - we both go out every other week.... sometimes on our go, we choose to just go to the pub for a couple of drinks and walk home slowly just to spend time alone.....

Flowerydems Sat 13-Jul-13 21:09:01

Oh my god I was just about to write almost an exact same post, we have a 5 month old and a 20 month old and they're about the same sleep wise. My DH is hands on aswell and I just feel a bit down my life is just a cycle of chaning nappies, loads of washing, cleaning and then being too shattered to focus on me and DH or myself.

I think we should count ourselves lucky, having kids is an amazing thing (although through teething, meltdowns etc it doesn't quite feel like it) but I hope it will get easier. MadeofStardust I was really glad reading your comment smile

Just really glad to read someone else feels the same xx

purpleflowerlove Sat 13-Jul-13 21:24:43

Madeofstardust, thank you. It gives me some hope, although I hope we don't have to wait that long for a bit of sanity!!
I am having a break from work and due back when DC1 is 4 1/2 so don't really want to do work etc, I am determind to enjoy the positives (which there are), as I know I'll look back and regret it otherwise once they're at schoold etc. Also, TBH don't feel work at this stage would be the answer as life already seems to be going 100 miles an hour constantly (or maybe it would be easier in some ways if childcare was more contracted out shock.
We sit there, one minute saying 'aren't they lovely', to the next minute saying, 'blimey. why again did we have 2 so close?' and talking about pre child times!!!
I just feel at the minute things get / generally are a bit bonkers and it's like some stamina test. Like today, we're going to each other, 'is it OK if I go for a shower for 10 minutes' (meaning the other one will be refereeing on their own!!). Seems mad that even basic personal hygeine becomes a favour you have to allow each other!!

MadeOfStarDust Sun 14-Jul-13 08:28:35

LOL purple... I remember those days..but they do pass so quickly. I also did not work when they were younger - just to enjoy being a mum really.

Although I am a complete atheist, we shamelessly took advantage of the mum/toddler groups at all the church halls locally - it really helps in the daytimes - lots of other mums (and some dads) there are in exactly the same boat and everyone looks after the kids so you can have a coffee and go to the loo in peace etc! I met 2 of my best friends there - including my babysitting buddy.. Also tires them out so you get a more peaceful afternoon/evening - and they get to play with lots of different toys cheaply so you get to know what they like for birthdays etc..

We also had a 15 year old neighbour who for a couple of quid would take the youngest off for an hour in the pram... (local teenagers are worth their weight in gold!!)

When the eldest gets to pre-school life changes and before you know it you've forgotten about all this stuff.... so enjoy it whilst you can - it is the only time they will depend on you totally for everything....

Onetwothreeoops Sun 14-Jul-13 08:35:25

When mine were that age my sanity was saved by having one morning a week to myself. I used a childminder. The point when things started to improve was when they were both at nursery two mornings a week.

I do remember how you feel but it feels so long ago (mine are now 7&8).

It may help to use the mantra "this is all temporary". It certainly helped me at the time!

sara11272 Sun 14-Jul-13 08:44:42

I totally empathise with you, Purple and it definitely gets better fairly quickly. We had DS and then DTDs when he was 20 months, so for a good year or so it was a never-ending cycle of nappies, washing, feeding, pureeing, despairing at the state of the house and me.

'Unrelenting' was how DH and I used to describe it. But the really intense bit does only last for a while - when it was really hard in the beginning, we suddenly realised that every month we'd look at each other and say 'it's not quite as hard as it used to be' - little 'baby steps' improvements, but improvements all the same as they start to sit up, feed themselves, be able to play alone for a few mins, etc.

No real advice for now, other than it does get better and doesn't take forever (although I still despair at the state of the house and me!). In the meantime, could you get out on your own one eve a week or a fortnight, just to swim or walk or something 'quiet'? Depends what kind of person you are as to whether this bothers you, but I found the lack of silence and 'thinking time' one of the hardest things - a swim every so often on my own helped a lot.

Good luck.

Oh man, I have a 22 month old and a 3 month old and unrelenting is exactly how I'd describe it. Can relate to all of your post except we're getting very little sleep either. Good to hear it will eventually get easier, it doesn't feel like it at the moment!!

HumphreyCobbler Sun 14-Jul-13 09:01:10

It DOES get better. This will be quite soon. You really are in the hard bit now.

Tinwe Sun 14-Jul-13 09:05:28

I'm in a similar position. We have 2 DDs, aged just 1 and 2. I work part time though (3 days a week) and can definitely say that although I enjoy the adult time it makes the rest of the week much harder. If I have some extra time off the week is full but paced IYSWIM, if I'm working the rest of the week requires absolute military precision timing and if I miss one bit I'm up extra late doing 2 days jobs the next day. Each evening I finally sit down about 9.30 for tea but I hate eating so late.

MIL kindly has the girls when I work so we don't have to pay nursery fees (£80 a day for the pair of them would make me working pointless) but she's our only sitter so we cant ask extra favours like a night out unless its a BIG do (eg DH is best man at a wedding later in the year which we're already planning for). My friends already have swapping arrangements or family or paid sitters. We see their happy posts on Facebook about the weekends away or nights out partying and get a bit jealous but we're lucky really in that we enjoy our nights in and are too tired to go out anyway. I would like the freedom of an occasional cinema night or similar but I agree with the other posters that with 2 so small it feels like an eternity at times but also like a second in others.

Tinwe Sun 14-Jul-13 09:08:19

Oh yes! I second the advice of a night out alone to meet friends or go to a class or similar. DH and I do this occasionally, though to be honest we feel guilty leaving the other one with the whole evening routine alone grin

MiaowTheCat Sun 14-Jul-13 13:11:03

Mine are younger - 4 months and 15 months and it IS a treadmill... my days just feel like a relentless list of tasks to be got through - but then I watch the littlest one watching what the older one is up to, and the older one returning the grin and I just grit teeth and hope for the future when we're looking at 4 and 5 years old or whatever when they can play together well.

purpleflowerlove Sun 14-Jul-13 19:23:06

It's so nice to hear that other people feel the same and that it does get a little easier!
I totally get everything said here and get that it's temporary and worth savoring too. Just sometimes seems so bonkers and relentless at the same time. Had a much better day today and feel re-energised - ready for the new week to have all that energy battered out of me again grin.
I like the idea of swapping babysitting with friends. Then I guess you wouldn't feel so guilty too about asking. Tinwe - we do have a bit of friend jealousy too with others family arrangements which is never healthy but you can't help yourself can you? I often think, well if I had that arrangement (relatives dropping by to help with ad hoc housework, childcare including overnights stays etc etc!!), I reckon life would be a hell of alot easier and the positives would shine even brighter!
Cheers to all those on the treadmill and hope the steep incline is reduced soon wine or maybe a brew as I'll have an early start smile

Tinwe Mon 15-Jul-13 07:46:50

Well, anyone in the north west who needs to meet up and moan, I'm up for it smile

MiaowTheCat Mon 15-Jul-13 08:46:51

I try to console myself that, when the current babies hit about 2/3 years old and the other parents go for number 2 with all the sleepless nights and nappies again... we'll be at the tail end/other side of all that and life will be getting easier.

INeedThatForkOff Mon 15-Jul-13 12:55:36

Holy shit, reading the OP I'm green with envy that you basically get 12 hours I'm 24 to yourselves. We never get a full night or anything like it with DD (3) or DS (8mths). Rarely even get an evening. I'm back at work having done a lot of WAH on maternity leave.

Perhaps I shouldn't post on this thread but it sounds to me that you have fairly standard amounts of rest when you consider that you do, after all, have two DCs.

I know it's hard whatever the circumstances, but I think I do fall into the get a grip camp, in all honesty. It could be much, much more difficult.

Dirtymistress Mon 15-Jul-13 13:06:05

We're on the treadmill too. 21 months and 4 months here. Plus ds2 does not sleep at all reallygrin I long for a little time alone with DP but that will come I guess. They are so much fun but boy are they a challenge.

fairylightsinthespring Mon 15-Jul-13 17:06:02

Our are 21 months apart and now nearly 4 and just 2. It is just starting to get a little easier to do things when they are around, like read a newspaper or do a few chores as they are playing together better now (mostly with the train set or trampoline). Also the older one is starting to be more independent, even just little things like getting his own spoon out of the drawer is a help! I work 3 days and they go to pre-school / nursery class a lot too. I absolutely know I could not be a SAHM. We go and stay with my in-laws about every three months who insist on whisking the kids away for daytrips and shooing us out for meals in the evening so we do get some time on our own fairly regularly. Can you get into a babysitting circle or find a paid one that you trust? Failing that, can your DH and you tale it in turns to go out with friends so at least you bith get some time away, even if not together?

purpleflowerlove Wed 17-Jul-13 11:18:34

Tinwe. I'm not in the North west unfortunately!!
Miaow I totally get what you said. We've got friends now who are pregnant and we say - just think when theirs are whatever age and we'll be x time ahead. Probably a bit silly but seems to help.
Ineedthatforkoff. I can sympathise with the sleep I really can as we have had our periods in the past. When I posted I had had a particularly bad day but don't underestimate either the intensity of it all if you're not working as it's a 7/7 same same treadmill where you re there purely for them - you haven't got to make an effort for yourself for work etc / the external interactions work brings etc - and sometimes it warps your mind a little.
I constantly feel this period is such an intense experience which I will look back on forever, as dramatic as it sounds. Each day has so many beautiful moments which I am glad I am not missing with work (although sometimes I have a minute where I do), but these are mixed in with intense challenges, monotony and bloody hard work which can be exhausting.
I know it could be worse and wasn't moaning, just expressing my thoughts!

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