Dreading the summer holidays(50 Posts)
I have a confession. I'm a teacher and dreading the upcoming holidays,
DS is 16 months old and is a high maintenance nutcase. He's lovely but exceptionally hard work-think constant attention, moaning, strops etc. He's a delight for nursery (in 3 days a week) because there is so much to entertain him. At home, he's scrabbling at the door within 20m of wake up because he "needs" to go outside.
I have one day at home during the week with DS and, on a good day, I love it. We play, read, sing, go to the library, soft play, park etc. On a bad day, he will whine and gripe and moan from the moment he wakes up til the moment he goes to sleep. After days like that-and they're becoming a much more regular occurrence of late-I thank my lucky stars i get to go back to work the next day and that he's someone else's problem. I know- I don't deserve him.
The thought of 6 weeks of just "us" makes me feel physically sick. I had terrible PND with him and I can't help thinking back to those first months where we would sit in the house all day, both of us in tears.
We don't have a secure garden, the house is tiny and I will have the responsibility of entertaining this little ball of fury every day. Every sodding day. How am I going to manage-my creativity stretches as far as soft play and he's shown no interest in arty things; all he wants to do is run around outside and terrorise the neighbours cat.
I know I'm going to be judged horribly for the way I feel but there is no way I can admit this to
Anyone in RL.
Please don't be too harsh-I already feel like the worst mum ever.
For the record, I love the bones of DS, I just find parenting so unbelievably hard.
try and plan something for every day. I used to make a wall chart of what we were doing morning and afternoon and try to fill it up - play dates, trips out, meeting up with friends in the park etc. Anything in fact to get us out of the house.....
and then I used to drink a lot of wine when DH got in of an evening or go out - even to Sainsburys - just to get out of the house.
it does get better - honest
I know just how you feel, I have a 2 and 6 year old ds and trying to keep both entertained is a nightmare especially with such different development differences. The thought of 6 weeks of no playgroups and no school to keep them stimulated is filling me with dread. Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with them, its just very draining mentally (I have depression and anxiety which can make me awful to be around). I feel sorry for the boys as we only know two people in our new area who we are close enough for play dates.
I hear you.
Can he continue to go into nursery through the holidays? I always booked DD in for extra sessions (she was only there during term time but nursery let me book her in for extra days).
Plan your week out - take it a week at a time. At least one 'out of the house' activity a day. Have you a National Trust place nearby? People you can meet with? I always find it helpful to be with other people, if only so I have someone to roll my eyes at or to help with chasing and general child wrangling. Stretch everything out - I find I can make a 45 minute park outing into a half day activity, what with deciding on a 'picnic' to take, getting it all assembled, walking there, loitering with intent, eating picnic, wandering home etc.
Can you arrange to go and stay with family for a few days? It's a pain in the arse getting there but relatives are often pleased to see little ones
because they don't have to put up with them.
Are you near a park? Can you take him for walks? My DD was hard going at that age - we used to go out all the time for no reason at all. I'd walk her to the shops instead of going in the car. Or we'd do the supermarket shop in another town, just to fill time. I used to drive for ages waiting for her to drop off for a nap. (Keep a book in the car and get a cup of tea from McDonald's drive through.)
Will he watch TV? Shove CBeebies on for a bit - it won't hurt him.
Don't feel bad. It is hard. You are not the worst mum ever - little ones can be shockingly hard work. I prefer to be in school, too!
Every mother worries about the very long and potentially exhausting holidays. I can say for sure you are not alone.
What an incredibly honest post, and toddlers are such hard work as they are so active. I know you are afraid you are going back to the dark days of your PND, I can really understand that, but possibly this fear is unfounded, as he is so much older, you can go out every single day without too much trouble, not like the younger baby years when it is difficult to leave the house some days.
I have managed many a school holiday for a decade now, and the key is organisation and being prepared.
Definitely you need time off, just for yourself, so rope in every relative and friend to look after your ds for at least a few hours a week, so you can go and have some quiet down time. Without this, surely it is the route to a meltdown. Prioritise time for you during the week.
Are there activity camps that will take younger children near you? My dd will often enjoy going to tennis club or other such things, but not sure how the minimum age. Look into what is available around you, there will be some clubs that will still run.
Soft play areas are a godsend with an active toddler ~ take a magazine and let him run free, every day if you want to. Farms are similar for that reason as they can run free without being hit by a car and in a safe environment.
Mornings are good for getting up and out. Lunch together. Nap time = your time every day. Get into a really good routine of preparing your bags/clothes the night before, so it is easy to leave the house in the morning and go out and have some fun in the morning ~ run him ragged so he is ready for a good lunch and a lovely nap. He should wake up relaxed and hopefully ready for quieter activities, and then you can read him stories gardening and do quieter things at home.
It will be fine once you get into the swing of it! I am sure you will have more fun you expect.
I would share some of your worries with your dh or a very close friend, so they can support you, I am sure they will want to help you, and will also be there if you have the odd bad day (which we all have, and some years plenty of them) Keep us posted, and don't give yourself a hard time, you are not a bad mother at all! Perhaps one that has been through a bad time in the early days and is afraid of it happening again, possibly someone who also needs a bit of a break from the demands of children (esp if you are a teacher) nights out with friends, cinema visits, a good babysitter and plenty of breaks and you will be surprised! I hope ~ good luck!
Have you got a term time only contract? or are you actually paying for him to go to nursery in the holidays as well? If so, USE THEM!
The best way i found was to get up, breakfast, clothes, and get out. Have you got a park nearby? We were frequently at the park as the gates opened (7am [yawn]), but it means they can have a proper play, as the bigger kids aren't there yet, so they can explore in relative safety at their own pace.
Then he might tolerate some jobs on the way home, or sit and eat a second breakfast while you get some jobs done??? OK wishfull thinking here, maybe.
We have also had much peace by pulling all the cushions off the sofas, and making a den (get him to help), or using cushions, blankets, play tunnel and some beanbags& target to make a mini obstacle course. Mine also used to like "hindering" me with jobs. So pegging out the washing used to take twice as long, but I had someone passing me every peg, or pushing the hoover around. I've also had them cleaning the windows. Is he big enough to help with any of that?
No judgement from me! I was a SAHM but bunged DD in nursery part-time at that age. She was a dream of a child but I needed a break from parenting!
CBeebies is your friend
Bowl of pasta and jug of water (to play with not to eat!)
Park with blanket, snacks, ball and the shameless ability to push him to join in with older kids
whether they want him or not
And previous posters are right, it does get easier
Mines a similar age and personality, we are outide before 6am most mornings playing in the garden - come snow, rain or shine. I suppose the summer should at least be a bit warmer.
Is there anything you could do to make the garden secure, we are putting up some netting to enclose a safe area he can play in when I need to go inside. (I've also got a 4month old, who seems to hate being outside).
I also find it easier when I have something to do outside, so we have have a veg patch, are painting the house, and of course lawn cutting which he 'helps' with or he plays while I'm doing things. I have some old kitchen cupboards, and boxes outside with things in them to discover and play with (secondhand crockery, pans, clothes, paint brushes and buckets of water etc).
By the summer yours should be able to manage going for walks which while slow has the benifit of tiring them out and killing time, esp if you look for things (leaves, insects etc) on the way. Or go somewhere remote and let him lead the way and see where you end up, then stop for a little picnic snack.
Tbh when mine is whiney I offer food, water, cuddle, sleep and if none of those are helping I just tell him to stop whining which he normally does for a little and then I can distract him with something to do, like raking, diging, chopping wood etc. Obv he isn't really helping and most often the job doesn't need doing but it tires him out and kills some time.
Actually you sound like a good mum.
You are trying your best. We don't all love every stage of development even though we love them!
I really think you need to prioritise getting the garden safe. It will save your sanity! You can get some cheap garden toys on eBay, bags of sand are cheap. Chunky chalks to scribble the patio etc etc.
Why can't he continue to go to nursery? It would be better for him as well as you to maintain his routine and keep his relationships with the carers and other children going (assuming he'll be back there in September?). Plus you're more likely to enjoy the time you do have together. There's nothing more demoralising than feeling like you can't wait till bed time.
You need friends with kids the same age. Then you can go out on day trips, meet at the park etc. it's never as bad when you're with other people. And the kids can entertain each other better than any adult could ever do.
Then as they get older.you can swap, afternoon play dates etc.
Start looking now for toddler classes which keep running during the holidays (try library and council leisure centres, and local websites/publications).
Also, if the nursery is termtime only, see if any CMs near you would have a holiday-time vacancy, or find out how much it would cost locally to hire a nanny for a couple of mornings midweek, or try a daytime baby sitter from time to time.
If you know you have breaks, even if only occasionally, it will help keep you on an even keel.
Rope in family too, if you have any within reach, or if further afield go and stay for a few days. Or see if anyone from your street has a university student back for the holidays. Anyone sensible who can take him off to the park for a couple of hours will mean that you are not so closely nose-to-nose (for those are circumstances which can get for too intense).
i was you...hated every minute of early years...tedious and boring ...and often tears all round by 9 am...used to feel sick too on days off with DD...couldnt understand mummy friends who found it all 'so fulfilling and wonderful'....I had a very active dd and by 9 am had exhausted all activities planned for the day ! My only practical advice is ...swimming ! I did a lot of swimming with her to exhaust her for a few hours nap , benefit was she became a very good swimmer
Otherwise use nursery ! if you are feeling guilty as 'should' be enjoying this time at home with LO ...put it to one side and remember a happy mummy half the time is better than upset /snappy / over wrought mummy all the time.
oh and i often had to resort to a stiff drink at 6 pm ..sometimes 5 pm...and now dds are 15 and 10 they are just fantastic and i love their company...some of us are just not good at being parents to toddlers..i feel i have come into my own now parenting tweeny and teenager ! DDS would probably agree.
I have a 2 yo and cannot afford nursery, so I have my kid 24/7. I think you should relax, and not overthink your day.
If you walk to town or supermarket or something in the morning, at that age, it's a 3 hours trip, they walk so slowly and you stop for dandelions, funny stones, a cat, a dog...
Afternoons in the park, where can run around, home diner, bath and the day is done!
Unless it is absolutely pouring with rain, I am outside everyday (small flat, no garden at all). If we are stuck indoors, well, TV won't kill him once in a while, puzzles, book, playmobiles, lego, trains, cars. Plenty to do to keep occupied.
Soft plays are good too, and there are some toddlers group in the summer.
It is not that bad. When you don't have the luxury of childcare or family help, you just get on with things, and it's actually really lovely.
all good ideas Car0line ...if you actually enjoy doing those things it is indeed lovely..i hated it . thought i was going mad with despair and boredom and craved adult company like the worst addict...
Well I hate making iddle conversations at playgroups with mums I have nothing in common with. What I love is spending time with my child! So I concentrate on what we can do, and what works for both of us. I can't go running with him, so I take him for a walk instead. I like and need peace and quiet during the day, which is what legos are made for.
Just do (the closest of) what you would do without a child? How can that be boring?
If you are only after adult company, there are plenty of play cafes/ play groups/ all sorts of groups, with parents/ mums or dads/ grand parents. I only went to these things so my child was getting used to other children.
I would not go back to work full time, 12 hours a day + commute, and leave my child with a nanny, but it's a perfectly valid option too. Absolutely nothing wrong with being a working mum.
sorry, what I meant is compromise:
do half day for you, half day for him , or just a couple of days a week just for him (such as toddler group if you hate them)
By keeping an activity just for you, the week is much more pleasant.
I'm also a teacher and am nervous about hols (Ds 2yo, Dd 6mo). My DS. Is fab but SO energetic!
I have found that, like pp, having a plan each day helps (and wine). I'm actually buying extra nursery days so that DS goes in a couple of days a week. I have found a toddler group that runs in the holidays which will take up one morning. And so on! As long as I have a plan for each day I'm fine. It doesn't matter if that plan changes or is just a supermarket shop (go straight to toy section - pick up cheapo car - boy is happy!), or a trip to the park, I feel better knowing that I've broken the day up.
Also have a few things tucked away as distractions for emergencies eg whoopee cushion or bubbles etc just something to break out if CBeebies fails (God help us all!).
(Btw you don't sound like a bad mum, just a normal one!!)
I find having days out with friends and kids helps no end.
If you have tesco vouchers cash them in for days out.
basically anything that gets you both out of the house. Ignore the strops etc they come and go at least at that age you can bundle him into a buggy.
If you go out alone just make sure you have a cake money supply. Its amazing how fast they develop a taste for Costa!
Mine wouldn't sit and colour either. It gets a lot better as they get older
Thanks so much for the replies-very much appreciated.
We have a shared garden with our neighbours (small flat) but it's also got the wheelie bin area. Never mind the huge amount of grass and flowers...DS spends his time desperately trying to escape from me so he can " play" with them.
I do try and have a plan for each day but he gets so bored so easily, activities only last 15m max before boredom sets in. I'll look into finding toddler groups running over the summer.
We have a term time contract with nursery, mainly just because of how prohibitively expensive it is. I'll see if we can manage a day a week over the holidays.
He's at the stage where he won't go in the buggy but won't walk either. Basically he'll toddle for a few yards, then ask to be picked up. The walk knackers me but he's positively refreshed!
The PND meant we didn't do groups in the early days. He had awful reflux and was a bottle/milk refuser so I prioritised a nap in the morning as opposed to going out. I regret it now but I figure i wouldn't have made any friends sobbing in the corner anyway.
I'm doing my best to stay positive and my DH will be around at the weekends but I just can't stop panicking and thinking back to the dark days of his first summer.
I'm not built for toddler groups, art classes etc and none of my friends are that way inclined either. Guess I'll just have to suck it up and get on with it.
Swimming is definitely happening. He loves it but the pool is miles from the house. Ooft.
It's such a hard age...honestly I think you are at the toughest bit...They can't talk to you or play imaginative games lego etc...They have so much bloody energy
I think you need a plan for each day....personally I try to do some sort of activity each morning then save the park for the afternoon...
Go online joiñ local Facebook groups etc..and find out what is going on over summer....list every soft play every library rhyme time....then list all nearby parks or random places to go
Does he nap?? Can you aim to wear him out each morning and then get a good sleep ...
I also echo what others say. ..you must have time for yourself ...nursery one day midweek yo look forward to....and also meet with friends or get family booked in for as many slots as possible
Look on the positivr side. ...If pnd meant to didn't make baby friends maybe this summer you will meet some people
It's bloody hard cbeebies is your friend never ever feel.bad about that !!!
Also ...force the buggy if that is what is convenient to you...use biscuits or some sort of snack to get him in the buggy then walk to the park without having to carry him if that is easier for you
Toddler groups don't run in summer, usually, no luck there I fear!!
One day/week or even 2 half days/week in nursery over holidays would be a lifesaver for you. AND will make it easier for him to go back to full 3 days in the autumn. Win Win.
Could you try to plan 2 of your other days each week to meet up with other people (other parents climbing walls). Just plan to get OUT. I spent HOURS in playgrounds at that age, or watching my toddler push buggy on and off kerbs.
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