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If you're a sahm with small children, what do you do to keep sane?

(39 Posts)
shipsha Fri 22-Mar-19 08:32:15

I have just had my 3rd child. I've had to leave work and won't be going back till she's 3 so that's 2 years away.

Im finding the whole staying at home and looking after the kids etc utterly awful. Baby is very difficult, clingy and just doesn't let me do anything. Shes a bad sleeper as well.

This all is affecting my mental health negatively. I know that if I went back to work I would feel a lot more happier as I would get a break from the kids and feel im doing something for myself.

However since I don't have a choice im stuck for the next 2 years.

What can I do to keep my sanity? What things help you feel that you're not going crazy if you have little ones?

Palominoo Fri 22-Mar-19 08:38:03

Mi e are now adults but I absolutely loved every second of being at home with them when they were small.

The time goes so fast and I miss those wonderful days.

We are all different so I'd you are not enjoying it are you able to get any help at home looking after the children so that you can seek enjoyment elsewhere by way of hobbies etc?

Springwalk Fri 22-Mar-19 08:51:05

I loved being with my children when they were small ( and older for that matter) and enjoyed investing my time and love. I am very close to my children now. Best days of my life without a shadow of doubt.

I am confused as to why you have had a third child and given up work if you don’t like being at home with your children?
Can you go back to work?
Can you switch with your dp?

Things that made me happy?
Making some fun and lovely friends, I made loads of friends, and baby music clubs etc and we soon enjoyed Friday lunches with a glass of wine and sharing our week. I enjoyed long walks with other friends, taking the younger children for nature walks throughout each season. They would collect things and bring home treasures, and make crafts.
I took my dc out every day for a few hours, to little baby groups or lunch with friends. Picnics or the park. I made time for myself at nap time in the afternoon.
I made sure I had time off at weekends to recharge. It was great.

You need to make it work for you. Have fun with your children op, they grow up so quickly. A cliche but so true.

Flamingosnbears Fri 22-Mar-19 08:51:58

Try and calve out a little time for you once a week
Mother and baby groups
Go for a walk with baby
Make a playlist of music that makes you feel good

Lungelady Fri 22-Mar-19 08:53:41

I went out every day. No car...just walked or got the train/bus.
Met friends at each others houses or a park. Swooped dcs so we got an afternoon free every week or so.
Had Saturday off from 1pm ...dh had them

Dinosforall Fri 22-Mar-19 08:54:10

OP I hear you (and I think pp might be looking back through slightly rose-tinted spectacles! )

I think having a plan for the day, especially getting out helps to break it up and make it feel less like a grind. Also 'playdates' if you can so they can entertain each other while you speak to another adult.

Do you have any nursery days for either of the older two?

Notmorewashing Fri 22-Mar-19 08:55:09

Not sure why you had a third? I would swap with husband for part of it

Springwalk Fri 22-Mar-19 09:02:47

dino definitely not rose tinted, I am still in the throes of parenthood!
The early days are special. Magical even. Totally knackering and draining as well of course. It is a case of working out what you need to be happy, how it is going to work.

rachelfrost Fri 22-Mar-19 09:06:37

It is really hard. My kids are well behaved and healthy but it is so trapping and relentless. I’m very happy to have them and grateful I’m able to stay home with them but it’s not a walk in the park.

Speaking of walks in the park- get out every day. Have some structure to your week.

I felt guilty dumping the kids on partner when he came home from work so I could have some time to myself. (Because if you’re not making money you don’t count hmm) It took a while of me being always grumpy for me to get over it and now twice a week I go for a run, twice a week I send half an hour drawing and every so often I do 20min yoga and about once a month I go for a swim. If your sociable- see your friends even if you don’t want to!

My comfort is that it changes- doesn’t get easier but doesn’t stay the same.

Tootyfrooty35 Fri 22-Mar-19 09:14:40

I've been 'at home' for over four years now, dd is 4, ds 2.5 and dc3 is imminent. Some days it's pure joy and some days I'm going absolutely crazy 😂 but tbf when I had a job it was the same. Some days were intense, long, physical and others were 'easier' and some really lovely. So for me I don't miss my job, at all. Maybe that's a factor for you? It can feel like your job defines you, and ime I feel like the odd one out around people who have jobs outside of the home. That can definitely impact MH of some.
My bestest mammy friends are my savoirs. We keep each other sane, understand the ups and downs and generally support each other. They are both also SAHMs. I do see other friends who work part time, I keep busy. We usually go out every morning to a playgroup, baby gym or similar then chill on afternoons.

How is old is your baby? My plan is to sling baby and jsut get on with the stuff we currently do, plus mostly they settle better in a sling BUT I do understand it's intense to carry all the time... I totally get that. My two other dcs are used to getting out so a bit of routine is important to us. Plus they bicker like crazy if we stay in too much. Fresh air is a big thing for us too... I find we're all much more amenable to a nicer life when we've had fresh air!

Is there an option of you doing skme courses, even online ones, once your baby is more settled in a routine? I know thwt helped a friend who was off on long term sick and was going a bit mushy in the brain department... Her own words 😂

Hollowvictory Fri 22-Mar-19 09:16:11

Could you have pnd? Can you disc that with your hv?
Can you go back to work earlier?
Can you do shared maternity leave with your dh?
Don't have more children I know it sounds obvious but seems the 3rd one has topped the balance for you
Can you hire in any help eg mothers help, au pair, nursery nurse from local college (I had a nursery nurse on placement it wS a godsend)
It will get better when you get some sleep!

Raaaaaah Fri 22-Mar-19 09:16:43

My experience wasn’t magical either grin. I am just coming out of the v small stage and it’s mostly great now though there are still days. Youngest is 3yrs. They are wonderful kids but the eldest has ADHD so is full on and the youngest cried and had to be held for the first two years of her life. I didn’t have many friends/family to enjoy it and get through it with and it felt really isolating.

The things that got me through the early days were good books and a couple of exercise sessions a week. I always made sure I went to playgroups even if I didn’t feel like it.

It’s great that PPs had an amazing experience but that doesn’t mean that you were wrong to have three children or won’t have a close bond with them. We had a third because our second was an utter dream, little knowing that our gorgeous strong willed third would push me to the brink! That is a genuine statement.

Good luck, head down and you will make it through flowers.

Raaaaaah Fri 22-Mar-19 09:21:14

Oh and a sleep consultant when youngest turned two was a game changer. I’m now not sure why I tolerated such sleep deprivation for so long. Some kind of misplaced pride.

Yes to the sling Tooty! Our third spend her life in our closer. It was amazing. She was born in winter so I often had a coat over it and lots of people assumed I was still pregnant!

Scotinoz Fri 22-Mar-19 09:23:10

I have 2, 16mths apart, although they're now 5 and 4.

Yes, at times being a SAHM is crap!

I found myself a routine, and that's what made it enjoyable. I had an activity/requirement to be out the house every morning, so I had a focus to get up, sorted and out. For example;

Monday - dance class followed by coffee. By the time dancing is finished, they were tired and quite happy to sit quietly(ish) with a babycino and a sandwich in Costa.

Tuesday - library, ours is very child friendly and there are always other kids so they can trot around looking at books/playing etc.

Wednesday - we always go somewhere...national trust, farm, soft play etc. Usually arrange to meet up with friends.

Thursday - supermarket

Friday - playgroup or some such activity.

So, I made the mornings mutually beneficial- they were entertained and I got to catch up with friends, have a coffee etc.

Then the afternoons left time for a bit of playing, nap if needed, tv, housework etc.

Worked for me.

shipsha Fri 22-Mar-19 09:26:11

I had a third because I wanted another child. My child is an hour extremely high needs baby. My sil who has 5 kids even was aghast as to how hard work she is. To those of you who loved being at home with your little ones, I'd love to be like that and I was for the first few months but then she just never improved. Right now she's crying. For no reason. We're going to a playgroup in 30mins but she is very very hard work. My second child was a dream and I loved being with him as a baby. I really saw the difference between having an "easier" child. The difference on my mental health was huuuuge.

anothernamereally Fri 22-Mar-19 09:33:07

If money allows you could consider a gym with a crèche and cafe - I relish my couple of hours a week for a swim or class, mine are 2 and 3 and it can be relentless some days

RicStar Fri 22-Mar-19 09:34:57

How old are the older children? Yes some babies are grumpy but they are babies they normally change all the time. Hopefully yours will be like my first and be happier as a toddler. Until then you just have to work out a routine that keeps you all as happy as can be. Grumpy babies are stressful you have my sympathy but you just need to get on a day at a time.

shipsha Fri 22-Mar-19 09:35:16

I loosely have a plan for each day to go out. Mainly to playgroups and with the weather being nicer now we have started going to the park too.

I think the problem is that im finding her really difficult. I was so looking forward to actually spending time at home with baby and cuddling and playing etc but it never worked out like that because she's very hard work. She's always crying, always whining, always wanting to be held. I think I dream of going back to work so I can get a break from her. The other 2 are school age and are totally fine.

sleepwhenidie Fri 22-Mar-19 09:39:11

YY - gym with creche - exercise was what really kept me (relatively smile) sane and still does. What I found hard was doing the same thing on weekends as every other day, whilst also feeling guilty about sacrificing family time all together on the weekend for the sake of time to myself. The solution for us was to find a local nanny who could give me a few hours off one afternoon a week, which felt like my 'weekend' - but you could try and arrange this with friends as pp did.

purplereindeer Fri 22-Mar-19 09:42:34

Oh come off it! Everyone has rough bits of parenting, regardless of how many children they have and whether they SAH or not.

shipsa Spend as much time out of the house as possible! That's how I got through. Also, take a couple of hours to yourself to do something you enjoy every weekend. Have you got a sling for the baby? I'd be dead without being able to shove DC4 in a sling and ignore him, he's a needy baby too.

I'm currently getting by with DP taking lots of days off work, getting out to fun things with the baby (off to Mum and baby yoga in a minute!) and having a plentiful supply of expensive coffee in the house. However, I also bloody love being at home, being there every day after school for the older ones...its both great and terrible at the same time!

Hollowvictory Fri 22-Mar-19 09:43:53

Small thing but put the radio on, drowns put the crying and gives you some company.

ZaphodBeeblerox Fri 22-Mar-19 09:47:10

I feel you OP. I found parts of my year long mat leave very hard too.
How old is your LO? Can you try sleep training if s/he doesn’t sleep well? It’s hard to remember when you’re in the middle of it but it does get dramatically easier soon. And sleep training isn’t just for the night but also to get some routine in the day. I can put up with all the fussy crying on bad days because I know I’ll get a two hour break during the afternoon nap.
When does your DH get home in the evenings? Can you get some veg out downtime or time for going out with friends or pursuing a hobby in the evenings?
Do you have family nearby who could help babysit for an occasional night out?
Can you put her in with a childminder for one or two mornings?
Not all of these are logistically or financially feasible for everyone but could be something to think about?
But I know it’s hard and I know what you mean!

Dinosauratemydaffodils Fri 22-Mar-19 10:47:58

I'm at home with a 4 year old and a 9 month old both of whom are bad sleepers and now fight for my attention. We spend a lot of time out of the house. Yesterday I dropped the 4 year old at preschool, then went for a coffee with a friend, then we went to a baby group, picked up the 4 year old, went out for lunch with someone from my ante-natal class, took 4 year old to language class, went to library with sleeping baby and picked some books, picked up 4 year old and went to another baby class with both of them and then took them to a lego play session. We left the house at 8.50 and got back at 4.45. It was a far better and easier day than being at home on my own with them.

I try to have at least one activity arranged for every day, plus play dates, park trips, soft play, walks in the wood (we have a lot of "fairy" walks around here etc.

I make snack boxes before I get anyone up the days we are staying at home with bits for everyone so I'm not having to fetch whilst trying to deal with them across the day. I also pre plan art activities for the older one (today he made a flower painting with the end of a pepsi bottle) whilst I fed his sister.

For myself, I'm doing an OU degree, I volunteer a lot with various charities including a morning in a charity shop with my baby in a carrier and I try and get lots of exercise.

My 2nd is very clingy even now at 9 months and wearing her has been the best thing ever. She hates the pushchair, the car seat and the pram but loves both the sling and my baby carrier. She will sleep in it nested into me and I think that definitely helped save my sanity.

shipsha Fri 22-Mar-19 11:09:47

Wow! Dinosauratemydaffodils you sound like super mum!

underneaththeash Fri 22-Mar-19 11:10:08

Can you afford a couple of nursery sessions a week? My first was difficult, so I just let him whinge for someone else for a couple of mornings a week - which kept me sane.
Apart from that I just had a plan for every day (although I found structures stuff with the same mums each week was better than playgroups).

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