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Struggling with no family nearby - advice needed

(16 Posts)
APMama Thu 27-Apr-17 13:41:26

Hi everyone, just looking for some support or advice. Sorry it's so long!

I have a 6 month old daughter and no family nearby at all to help. Me and my husband are both self employed, he leaves at 8am and isn't back till 7 most days when DD goes to bed. I'm meant to be working when she naps but I can't as she doesn't really sleep longer than 20 mins in the day and in the evening when she goes to bed, by the time we've eaten and I've showered etc, I'm too exhausted to do any work. I'm a photographer and I normally do a family shoots on the weekend while my husband has her but I have to pump milk all week to leave for him to give her.

Friends are all single and still doing the party lifestyle and not really able to babysit ever as babies are so off their radar right now. Family live two hours away and even when they visit are more of a hindrance than a help.

I'm exhausted and becoming overwhelmed, stressing that my 'nap time' admin and marketing to get new bookings isn't happening in the week and so money is such a massive worry. I'm EBF her and really feeling the strain not having any time for myself or anything at all.

Anyone got an advice or suggestions? Feel like it wouldn't take much to push me in to PND right now sad

APMama Thu 27-Apr-17 13:42:07

Just want to add that I know it could be worse - single parents I salute you and don't know how you do it all the time xx

chloechloe Thu 27-Apr-17 14:01:30

It's no wonder you're feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with so much on your plate! You're trying to work without any childcare - I have a power napping 4 month old so understand how hard it is to get stuff done!

I'm guessing from your post that regular childcare is not an option for financial reasons, nor is not working. If so then something has to give. Would you consider giving formula at the weekends so you're not spending so much time expressing? I had to feed DD1 expressed milk for the first 6 weeks until she could latch on so know how time consuming it is. You've EBF for six months so don't feel guilty about it.

For many power napping babies, naps start to get longer at 8 months. Until then does she sleep for longer if in the sling, I find DD2 does.

JaniceBattersby Thu 27-Apr-17 14:10:11

I have four children. There is no way on earth I would be able to do any decent amount of 'work' without childcare, bar the odd email or whatever and I'm an accomplished multi-tasker!

Being at home with children is the equivalent of doing a job.

You're putting too much pressure on yourself. You can't be everything to everyone. Either enjoy this time at home with your child, or put the baby in nursery and do some work. Trying to do both will lead to exhaustion, bitterness and will not be any good for anyone.

APMama Thu 27-Apr-17 14:26:50

Thanks @chloechloe @JaniceBattersby for being understanding. I have been thinking about formula for her at weekends and then atleast the time I am expressing will be free, so it may be that the time is now! I know something has to give, just figuring out what has been the hard part.

Wish I didn't work from home because think that's half the problem! I can always see my laptop and desk etc and it reminds me of how much there is to do all the time. Never fully giving my time to DD or to work!

Can't afford childcare or i'd put her in one day a week to give me some time. Going to look at breaking my workload up so maybe I can face doing one quick task a night or something to keep on top of it and then completely dismiss it all in the day to just enjoy DD!

mummabearfoyrbabybears Thu 27-Apr-17 14:48:51

I'm sorry I don't have any advice. My family live 400 miles away and my husband works abroad. It's mainly just myself and our four children. When the first two were younger was when I struggled the most. We lived in Germany with no internet or cheap flights home and it was depressing. Having moved a lot and never really near family I would say work very hard to get a good group of friends around you. Plan your week so you have things going on and routine means that you are likely to bump into the same people and get to know them. I couldn't drive either when my first two were little but I'd get the bus or train and go to the park etc. Keep your chin up. You will get used to it and as your baby gets older they will become your little side kick. The children and I are very close and do everything together.

APMama Thu 27-Apr-17 17:39:28

Thanks @mummabearfoyrbabybears - it's nice to hear that i'll get used to it. If you managed it in a situation far worse than mine then I know I'll be ok. You're amazing! Honestly, you're super woman for sure. Thanks for listening smile

ElspethFlashman Thu 27-Apr-17 17:46:58

Firstly, you need to at least have the option of formula if you're back to work.

Secondly, you need to plan more but break it down much much smaller than I suspect you're doing. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I find it helps to have a list of ludicrously small tasks. So "Phone X" will be one, even if it's literally a 30 second phone call. "Spend 15 mins on website but no more"

Thirdly buy a second hand jumperoo. Lifesaver at that age.

waterrat Thu 27-Apr-17 19:18:39

No wonder you are stressed! Let go of the idea that you can work during nap time. Even when my toddlers were having 2 hour naps (they would have only done 20 mins at the same stage as yours) I barely got anything done during naptime

That is precious time to sit down and eat a sandwich not try to flick into work mode.

The real answer to no family is paid childcare. Mine were both doing short stints with a loving childminder from 5 months so i could have mental space to start thinking about work.

PotteringAlong Thu 27-Apr-17 19:23:29

I'm afraid I agree - if you want to work you need to pay for childcare. Could you afford one or two morning sessions a week and make those 3 hour slots your admin time? If you offset it against new bookings for the weekend then financially would it not be worth it?

Blumkin Thu 27-Apr-17 19:29:41

Do you have a spare bedroom? Could you get an au pair, that way she can watch the baby whilst you work

frenchknitting Fri 28-Apr-17 09:17:30

Any chance your DH could flex his hours at all, so he's home earlier one day (or more) per week to do bedtime and dinner? E.g. if he left at 6am, back by 5pm twice per week, that gives you a stress free 5pm - 8pm shift.

FatLittleWombat Fri 28-Apr-17 12:48:22

With a baby that has only short naps, I would be doing all housework, showering, cooking etc. while she is awake. That way, as soon as she is in bed, you are free to work. Would this help in your situation?

2014newme Fri 28-Apr-17 12:51:37

We had twins and no family nearby, difference was I wasn't trying to work at same time as look after baby.. I think if you want to work you need to hire a mothers help, nanny or similar for a few hours per week and make that your administration time whilst they look after baby.

2014newme Fri 28-Apr-17 12:52:31

Or a day a week at nursery or childminder

Pissedoffinsomniac Fri 28-Apr-17 20:36:21

Hello, I'm in a similar position, and just had to make various cutbacks for DD to have one short day (5 hours) per week with a childminder. No exaggeration, it has saved my sanity. I was also EBF before weaning, DD is a bottle and formula refuser but she is enjoying her food and will take water so that is one less thing to worry about whilst we're apart.
Good luck

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