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Struggling to find time for myself(11 Posts)
I have a 6 months old and a 2 year old.
Husband is a key worker and working hard all day. So the kids fall down to me. I had my second child carefully planned around the fact I will be able to access support from relatives and the mum groups and soft play I used to attend really helped me focus on one child at a time and not be mentally drained.
I am genuinely posting for advice and don’t mean to complain when others have it worse. But I just want to know if other mums have tips for me.
What’s tiring me is my 2 year old wants undivided attention all the time. And because the baby wakes up a lot at night I sometimes struggle to wake up early and so he sleeps in with me and then he doesn’t sleep early enough in the evening so I spend all day from when I wake up till I’m exhausted wanting to sleep. My brain needs to shut down I feel like I’m burning out.
DH is doing all he can to help. He took them and did bath time and played for an hour after work. I think my mental health is starting to dwindle because of the lack of personal space and mental space. Every waking hour I’m spending it either tending to toddlers needs or if I take a break from hm it’s to tend to the needs of the house or someone else.
I need practical tips to get some time to just breath mindfully without disruption and without intrusive thoughts about everything that needs to be done.
I guess going out to mums groups helped me in a sense to switch off from all housework and childcare mode and just let the kids run around while I be myself and get lost in my thoughts.
I want something equivalent. If possible.
My son who is 2 won’t just play on his own he needs other kids to play with. So even taking him outdoors isn’t working because he is wanting my attention all the time still.
No advice sorry but I feel the same even though mine are much older (youngest is 8!). I miss the company of others but also miss having time to myself. We're together 24/7 and I just need some space!
Will your 2-year-old be returning to any kind of childcare when they reopen in June?
It's very difficult to be in lockdown with the constant demands of young children. Mine are a bit older but I feel similar.
Do they ever nap at the same time? And I know this sounds like terrible advice, but will the toddler stay engaged with any kind of screen time for more than 5 min? I rely on telly/screen time as a tool at set times during the day, when I NEED a break. But 2 year olds aren't always into it.
Can you take a walk during bath time? I know...but you may just have to force yourself around the block
2 year old may be reacting to the new baby. Does he have a "baby" of his own to take care of? Could even be a new stuffy from Amazon...
That sounds really, really hard. Hopefully others will have some practical tips, but all I would say is to be kind to yourself and don’t feel bad if you’re not the ‘perfect’ parent right now. Keeping the DC fed and rested is good enough.
I agree it's tough, I will soon be in a similar situation as my second child should be born any day now.
I think you should keep house chores to a minimum. Sleep has priority.
Your two year old has to learn to entertain himself, if only for 10-15min at a time. He's not too young, my 19-mo son manages. He's also very eager for attention but will sit quietly on occasion with his toys.
Can you order online some new toys that encourage self-play ?
Can you try to have the two kids sleep at the same time ? Even just an hour in the day could make a difference.
Can your DH have them for 1-2h while you lie down or go for a walk ? Don't use this time for house chores even if they need doing, your mental health is more important.
Re : chores, can you associate your toddler to them so that you get stuff done while he is awake, and can rest more while he's sleeping ? Even something as silly as taking spoons from the dishwasher and give them to you while you do the bulk of the loading/unloading.
Also I'd be stricter with nap time/wake up time /bedtimes for your own sanity. My boy stirred around 6h30 but that's way too early and I'm not getting up before 7h15. He has toys in his bed for this very reason.
If nothing else works and you really need a break then yes, screens, but I'd avoid it as much as possible. No judgment, I did the same and gave in (for 1-2h a day) but when I saw what it did to my son I stopped (he became irritable, threw tantrums when it was time to stop, stopped engaging with other people and activities as much). I will not let him have screens again, it makes my life easier for one hour but then it makes the rest of the day harder and he starts to ask for it all the time. Not worth it.
Also if you have a garden can you sit there while your toddler runs around and explores ? A friend of mine has a technique that works surprisingly well with young kids, he asks them to find something - anything, it can be something silly like a leaf, a stone, etc. Preferably something hard to find (last time he asked for a leaf in a pine forrest... The kid looked for at least an hour). Or a blue stone. Then let the kid look while you do something else, with occasional encouragements. It can also work in the house ("ohh, I'm looking for X, can you find it for me ?") It may or may not work but worth a try !
Try to have two times in a day where you do 10/15 minutes of housework (and I mean quickly do minimum - just wash up, wipe surfaces, put a load of washing in, make beds and run vacuum quickly over high traffic areas). Don't stress over it or take more time than needed if you don't have it, but even whilst toddler is finishing breakfast or watching a bit of tv, that's of course if you don't think he will be happy if you give him a cloth and ask him to 'help'.
A good walk a day, baby in a sling so you can have a hand free to hold your little boy's, or to help him with scooter etc. Time it in with a nap for smallest and you'll feel better for the fresh air and exercise and you may get a little time when you get home to just sit with a cuppa and some crayons with your 2 year old to draw what you've seen on your walk for example. Again, another activity that is relaxing for you both but entertaining him.
In essence I think being more structured with your time will help you. If you are sitting there exasperated by 10am you'll know you are escaping the house at 10.30am or whatever. Looking at mess at 4pm but knowing you'll have a 10 min blitz at 5.50pm etc.
You mention tending the needs of other people? If you're feeling burned out you can't be doing that. Right now it's your little ones and looking after yourself that should take priority.
I hear you!! Ds is 2.5 and Dd 9m so similar ages to your two. Dh and I are both working and I never seem to get any time on my own.
I started running. If I go for a walk everyone wants to come with me 🙄. Running not so much.
Last week was horrendous - Dh came down with what we thought was CV (tested negative) so spent the majority of the week in bed. Leaving me with the kids. Because both of their needs are so different at this stage it’s really tough.
No practical advice really other than to use naptime (if they sleep at the same time) for you.
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