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2 under 2, almost 6 months in, still failing

(14 Posts)
golfmonkey Mon 03-Oct-16 15:51:46

I have 22mo and nearly 6 mo dd's. DH works odd shifts but usually looks after dd1 from 10pm (ie overnight) till breakfast. Dd2 is a terrible sleeper and the most I've got is a 2 hour stretch since she was born. Hence I'm knackered. Dd1 goes to nursery 3 full days a week. My mum lives quite close and often comes to help with bedtime if DH not around. I can also stay at her place if DH on nights.

Basically I feel like I'm a terrible mother. I constantly shout at dd1 for not behaving and get so frustrated when she doesn't listen....but she's 22 months old! I don't have a routine with feeding or naps for dd2 and despite DH helping to try and settle her, she seems only to want me. I'm so tired I can't manage to get through the nights without Co sleeping which I don't enjoy and don't want to do ideally. I also can't stand the idea of letting her cry. DH sleeps in a different room and I'd (sort of) like to share a bedroom again. I worry all the time about how difficult bedtimes etc will be on my own, though I only do it about once a week.

I also feel massively guilty that I am so lucky to have 2 healthy children and lots of friends and family to help but still feel like I can't cope.

Do you think the reason I feel so bad is that I get so much help and so haven't learnt to manage by myself? Or just sheer exhaustion? I hate that I am wishing their lives away as I loved being at work and having one dc, but now I am on maternity leave, feeling unhealthy, and feeling awful every day I just want time to pass 'so it gets easier' purely because they will be older. I have lots of friends in similar situations but feel like they all manage so much better and without complaining!

I think I need someone to tell me to snap out of it, buck up my ideas and just get on with things and stop asking for help, so that I get used to managing things by myself and therefore cope better. Please someone be honest and tell me if this is what I actually need to do, and if you have been in a similar situation any tips on how you get through the days. Thank you x

Chattycat78 Mon 03-Oct-16 16:44:53

Hi. Just to say You're not alone! I have an almost 21 month old and a 4 month old (17 month gap) and it's so stupidly hard I can barely believe it! I dread the days I have them both alone which is the best part of 3 days a week. Ds1 is also very very full on and wants to be conTantly on the go- not really possible when you're trying to breastfeed every 2-3 hours but if course he doesn't understand that. I doubt you are failing- I feel similar on many days and it's just because it's stupidly hard'! I'm Also wishing time away so it gets easier and I feel like I'm doing a hAlf arsed job on both of them if that makes sense as my time is so stretched.

Things tHat help me are:

Getting out to toddler groups to get out of the house!
Using a sling for the baby
Chocolate and wine!
C beebies for the toddler when feeding
Not sure if you're breastfeeding but dh gives the baby a bottle once a day around 11pm to give me a longer sleep stretch. Not sure if this is something you could do or not

I would stop beating yourself up if I were you. It's unbelievably hard and no one can tell you otherwise! I've also found the lack of "me time" much worse than having one child and have really struggled with this too.

Hopefully it gets easier.....!!

scrumptiouscrumpets Mon 03-Oct-16 21:04:24

I can imagine how knackered you must feel on so little sleep! I've been sleep deprived and it does all sorts of weird things - like make you think you'd cope better if you had less help! I don't think less help would help you cope better, quite the contrary. You need all the help you can get .
If you don't want to leave your baby to cry, have you thought about getting a sleep consultant? They could help you get into a routine, which would definitely make your days easier. And there's a a good chance your DD would sleep better. In the meantime, continue accepting all the help you can get and don't beat yourself up too much. You're only six months in and that's not very long !

c737 Mon 03-Oct-16 21:16:18

I can sympathise with the less help thing OP. I have a 12 month old and 2.5 yr old and I've struggled so much with it, even though my sister (bless her) has helped with night shifts since he was born and often takes my 2 yr old for the day. I also have a really supportive partner who gets home at a reasonable hour to help, and 2.5 yr old is in nursery 2 full days a wk.

My friends with similar age gaps cope so much better and I think they've had a kind of sink or swim time of it, and had to naturally' find their groove' with two such young ones as opposed to me who has only had a day or two a wk of coping with both, so a bit of a shock to the system.

I planned on asking my sister to stop coming so that I could find a bit of a routine with them and make it work by myself, then I though fuck that for a game of soldiers, I'm not giving up the help while I'm exhausted and wrung out.

Back at work part time now and cope a lot better when I have them on my own as I actually feel like I get a bit of a break!

tootsietoo Mon 03-Oct-16 21:20:19

My DDs are 16 months apart too. They are 8 and 10 now. I am just starting to feel normal again in the past couple of years (that is only half joking). My DD1 was a bad sleeper, and I didn't have an unbroken night for at least 3 years.

You say your children are healthy? Then you are not failing! Do not beat yourself up, if they are fed, warm and safe then you are doing fine. However, sleep deprivation is an absolute beast - I guess it's not the same as depression, but I often wondered if it was what depression felt like. Or maybe I was depressed? I don't know if I was, but I did get through it somehow. It may be worth going to the GP/health visitor to talk through how you are feeling just in case you may have PND?

As for tips on how to get through the days - I'm afraid I don't remember much. I was very very hooked on routine, so my days were all based around a Gina Ford routine. I can't believe I was so hung up on it now and it made my life much more stressful in many ways because I hated it when the routine went wrong. The days I remember as being the best were when the children were ill and we forgot the routine and sat on the sofa all day watching cbeebies and trashing the house, or once when I wanted to finish a book (I did read one or two during that time!) and I sat on the sofa all afternoon while the toddler created an almighty mess and I tended to the baby when necessary. Perhaps give yourself a break like that sometimes? I also liked going into town to do an errand, and then sitting in a cafe for half an hour - it would end up using up most of a morning or afternoon.

I was also dead set on the children sleeping in their own rooms. I co-slept with DD2 for a couple of months and in hindsight I wish I had done it with DD1, and for longer with DD2 - you get more sleep and I think it's a good thing for them.

Are you going back to work at the end of maternity leave? If so, you haven't got too much longer of the day times. Can't offer much help about the sleep I'm afraid.

golfmonkey Tue 04-Oct-16 09:42:33

Oh my goodness thank you so much for the replies, granted I've only had 4 broken hours of sleep, but they've made me actually cry (in a good way I think).

C737 I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from with the help thing. You and scrumptiouscrumpet are probably right that I should accept it, and I suppose deep down I know that, I just feel very guilty and bad about myself that I don't think I am coping. Tootsietoo I wonder if you might be right about PND but I don't ever know if it's sleep deprivation or that making me feel bad, and ifit was PND all I keep thinking is that it would involve going to appointments which I don't have time to go to and would add another thing to my jobs list.

I think I will have a look into sleep consultants, thank you. Hadn't realised.that's something you could do.

Yes, back to work end of.Jan so not much longer, think it'll be good for me even though it's a tough job with lots of extra work to do and travel. Sadly dd2 won't take formula at the moment even mixed with 90% ebm so that's a challenge for another day before then! Choosing not to worry yet though and wait.till dd2 is weaned properly.

Thanks for advice about running errands too. Have been too worried to take both to the supermarket but might try it to kill an hour or two, and.if it is a disaster I can always just not do it again.

Thanks again, really good advice x

tootsietoo Tue 04-Oct-16 11:10:18

Definitely sounds to me like you need to get out a bit. Ideally walking not driving, if you are that tired, but stick them both in the pushchair and go and see more than your four walls and 2 children. It will be a nightmare somedays, but other times I had a great time with both of them stuck in highchairs eating biscuits while I had a latte. It's the small things!

The sleep will get better, but there is no doubt, it is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with. You will look back one day at the 3 or 4 years of blur and marvel/feel proud of yourself that you did it. I didn't go back to work after my second maternity leave though, so you will need to make some arrangements with your DH to share the waking so that you can function during the day to do your job.

Leicfox1 Tue 04-Oct-16 11:17:10

No experience here (only have the one but he was a nightmare for the first 2 months), just some suggestions:

Sleepyhead or purflo neSt for cosleeping if you're worried about rolling into baby?

Expressing a bottle for partner to give once a day to give you a break if she won't take formula?

Could you mum take older dd for an hour or two every few days so that you can have some time with just baby? Even if its juSt for a walk

You're not failing at all, I am in awe of people who manage two! Like pp said, if they're healthy then you're doing a fantastic job xx

FeralBeryl Tue 04-Oct-16 11:20:52

Yep got that T shirt flowerswine
It's hideous! But honestly - that horrid fog does lift.
Do not, I repeat do not stay in the house with them much. It ebbs away at your confidence and you are surrounded by things you just can't get done.
Park, soft play, shops, walks, baby clubs-anything! I also found that the fresh air knackered them a bit more too so we got slightly more sleep.
Your kids are healthy and thriving - you are doing a wonderful job honestly.
Oh and I bloody loved going back to work too, things seemed to 'click' for us all once I had to use more routine in our day.

FeralBeryl Tue 04-Oct-16 11:20:56

Yep got that T shirt flowerswine
It's hideous! But honestly - that horrid fog does lift.
Do not, I repeat do not stay in the house with them much. It ebbs away at your confidence and you are surrounded by things you just can't get done.
Park, soft play, shops, walks, baby clubs-anything! I also found that the fresh air knackered them a bit more too so we got slightly more sleep.
Your kids are healthy and thriving - you are doing a wonderful job honestly.
Oh and I bloody loved going back to work too, things seemed to 'click' for us all once I had to use more routine in our day.

Brokenbiscuits86 Tue 04-Oct-16 11:23:13

Honestly it will get better, although I know that's not much comfort now! I had 2 under 2 with a 14 month age gap, at times they nearly drove me round the bend, I remember leaving a toddler group in tears because of the sheer craziness of it and I'm not someone who cries easily!

However mine are 5 and 6 now (two boys) and they are the very best of friends and get on so well. The small age gap means they are into all the same things and will continue play together for hours. It makes all the hard work worth and and my life would be very easy right now if I hadn't gone and had DC3!

Brokenbiscuits86 Tue 04-Oct-16 11:23:50

That should say play not continue play!

FourToTheFloor Tue 04-Oct-16 21:01:41

I do think the sink or swim thing is true. I have an almost 5 year age gap so nowhere near comparable (!) but l have zero help and have found the mentality of just having to do it means, well, l just do it.

Having said that, if people were offering me help I'd bloody take it!

Go easy on yourself, parenting is so bloody hard.

Brighteyes27 Tue 04-Oct-16 22:57:27

Poor you. I do think you would feel better if you were to establish more of a routine though. I had two children 14 months apart and had no help whatsoever. DH out of house 12 hrs a day & knackered when he was home my parents tied up with demanding spoilt niece 18 months older than my eldest as my sis continually claimed post natal depression when it suited until her DD was 6.
Top tip as others have said get up, get everyone dressed however hard it is and how tired and crap you feel and get some fresh air and meet other mums go to the park go to playgroups, the library, coffee shops etc as much as poss. If you have a shower so you feel clean with a good moisturiser you'll feel better leaving the house. Sod it if the house is a mess. You'll go mad staring at four walls. I don't blame you for having help as much as poss but try and do something nice whenever you get the chance. Even if it's reading a magazine, a candle lit bubble bath or a happy hour early meal and a couple of glasses of wine with friends. Go for it. Things will get easier. My two have just started at Secondary school so I am starting to feel slightly redundant although you do seem to swap one lot of problems/challenges and worry with another as they get older lol. But you will probably be focusing on the here and now and getting everyone through each day in one piece as I did. Don't worry you'll get there.

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