I just feel completely drained and exhausted...(21 Posts)
I have a 2.5 year old and a 10 month old. My husband has a demanding job but is thankfully very present, and does help out as much as possible but ultimately I'm at home, alone, with them all day, every day. We have no family nearby (overseas or a 7 hour car journey away), and I'm finding it all so, so tough.
The older one has always been difficult. Dreadful sleeper as a baby and now still very much needs his nap or he's a complete nightmare. The baby is much easier but will only sleep in the cot (yes great most of the time but awful if you want to go somewhere). She is going through a (protracted) phase of screaming for what seems like hours on end daily.
I feel so drained. I'm tired (baby still doesn't sleep through and both up then at 6am), I have no help, I have no one to take the load off occasionally (you know parents to drop in on etc), and I'm more of less trapped in the house by naps.
I don't know what to do.
By way of example, today: Baby fed at 4.30am, up at 6am as was her brother, she napped while I went to mass, we then went out to a little fete thing locally (got there at 10.45am), older child immediately starts acting up, whinging etc, acting tired, won't eat lunch, we decide to leave at 12.45. Both fall asleep in car (only a bloody 10 min drive). Leave ones child in car sleeping (in a drive, we can see/hear), baby immediately wakes up, screaming, won't go back to sleep. Older child wakes after 30 mins, still tired, acts up all afternoon, won't eat dinner, has to go to bed at 6pm.
We can't go anywhere at all without something like this happening. This is constant, I can't cope.
What do I do? It's just overwhelming.
You say your husband has a demanding job but could he get up at 6am sone mornings and let you have another hour in bed?
We both tend to get up in the mornings, he does the bulk of it, but I can't get back to sleep once I'm awake and the birds start singing around the time of the baby's feed so I'm struggling to even get back to sleep from then.
It's more the daily grind and the feeling of being trapped in the house st the will of 2 tiny people which is really overwhelming me. And the fact that I have no family support whatsoever is just so upsetting.
Sympathy. If they are still napping are they still v young. I have two years between them and found everything before 4 years and 2 years respectively impossible. 3 and 5 was better still. 6 and 4 is actually fine !
Keep a book and take a thermos of tea whenever yoy go anywhere so if they fall asleep in the car again just keep driving or park up somewhere nice and have a brew and a read.
It's hard. Do any jobs or activities early in the day with plenty of snacks/drinks on stand by. Attempt to get home in time for an after lunch nap for both of them. Sit on sofa and do nothing at any point that both are asleep.
Sympathy and empathy! I've a 3.5yo and 2.2yo twins. They're full on from 6am until 7pm.
We try to get out of the house whenever we can - garden, beach, coffee shop, playground, shopping centre, you name it, we do it. Being out cuts down on the whining, crying, fighting!
It's so hard when they're so small but every week gets a bit easier so keep on going
What about nursery for your toddler a few mornings a week? Give you and the baby some time and give your toddler some structure?
Maybe you need to get yourselves in a bit of a routine?
Your 10m should be having regular naps, and your 2.5 maybe outgrowing them?
This is what I used to do-
Everyone up at 6- send kids down with dad and I'd read, mooch about for an hour. Get dressed, drop older one at nursery. Come home, tidy, have a nap, go for a walk. Pick older one up after lunch, usually 12.45/1. Put him down for a nap, and baby too. If older won't nap and baby will. Grab a blanket, stick on some cbeebies for 45 mins and "rest my eyes". Around 3, go out, walk to the park, pick something up for dinner.
Come home around 4, make supper for kids. Dad comes home around 6. Depending on how I'm feeling, have some family time or go up to bed for some peace!
I sympathise, you'll get good days, but a lot of grinding soul crushing Ines too at this age. My youngest is 18 months and has improved a lot now that walking is well established and can say basic words to help understand her.
My best advice is find a friendship circle or a neighbour you can talk with/trust. It helps having someone to talk to during the day that can also let you go to the bathroom for 3 secs!
If that's hard to come by then invite people to yours with a similar aged child(ren). Advertise for a mothers help, or student looking for extra money to help play with the kids whilst you grab s coffee and get something's done.
Also find a hobby, knittin, reading, playing an instrument. Anything you can do in the evening that 1) engages you 2) you can pick up and put down interrupted without too much frustration.
If it's going to shit, give them chocolate buttons and have a large glass of wine.
The daily grind is horrendous. It's about a decade that I had baby and toddler at the same time - I can still recall the ducking relentlessness of the hard graft though.
It does get easier when they get older, but that doesn't help you now. Oldest will get his nursery place the term after he turns 3, if you can get that syncing with baby's naps - that's when you might start feeling more human.
Until then, it's hard grind. I went to a lot of play groups through this stage - one every weekday morning. Youngest mostly slept through these, but it helped me make friends. Through those mum-friends I had people who would give me half an hour's break (at playgroup) when I didn't need to take responsibility for my children. That ability to just switch off, drink tea and chat was a life saver for my sanity.
What else can I suggest? Work damn hard to sync nap times and aim for the Holy Grail - all three of you having an afternoon nap at the same time.
Pass weekends over to DH. Dont stress about "doing stuff", there's years of time ahead of you to do that.
Agree with nursery. I had two under two and felt held hostage by it at times. You're still very much 'in the tunnel', it will improve but in the meantime you need some help.
I hear you
Bloody bloody hard. I have a 3.5 yr old and 2 yr old. I am enjoying being back at work 3 days a week but still find the days I'm on my own with them frickin difficult a lot of the time.
I second what a pp said about nursery/childminder for your eldest if you can. When DD was tiny, DS went to a childminder on a Friday Just so I could get some breathing space.
I think this is the toughest bit. People keep telling me it gets easier!!
The children have a solid routine and I synchronise their afternoon nap everyday. We know what we're doing everyday and at exactly what time! It's more the fact that the whole day is ruined if we can't manage to make it back for the afternoon nap and they fall asleep in the car (so any time spent in the car, at all, from 12pm is out) but the baby usually naps until around 10.30, so we literally can't go anywhere that will have us out beyond 12.
Recently with the sun rising so early I've been up st 4am for feeds then 5am for the day, I'm ragged.
We are also struggling to attend groups as the baby won't sleep while there so she has to nap at home.
But in any event I'm finding the isolation (I have friends, but they're all either in a similar boat with young children or have no children!) difficult, especially as my family just aren't interested. They only ever come and visit for the day (they have to fly, but never stay overnight), and the children are so unsettled when I go home it's just days of absolute sleep torture, it's not worth it.
I should've said, the toddler goes to nursery 2 mornings a week but with the baby's nap (of course I'm grateful she naps!!) I have an hour that I can get out of the house before I have to collect the toddler, and that's usually when she needs lunch, so there's nothing I can get done.
I am completely restricted by where I can go. Basically I can drive into town, that's 5 mins drive away. That's it.
Is this what everyone else does? I have no close friends or family here to 'pop' in to to relieve the monotony, and anyway, I couldn't with the naps etc!!!! It's too much!
Just by way of example, my parents last visited in December for a day (so from 10-4), I am so upset by their behaviour. That's 6 months. That's not normal.
I know what you mean. The kerfuffle of getting the older one ready and TO nursery, for a short time, meant I couldn't get anything done, and then it was time to go and get him. I changed to a longer nursery session. That helped a lot.
Needing to zoom around to fit everything in between (youngest) baby's naps is normal. Yes, it's what who has a baby who sleeps best at home does.
This is a short-lived phase remember. Once youngest is on 1-nap days you will have more freedom. My youngest used to nap until 11am and need to be back aslerp asleep by 1pm. It meant anything I wanted to do on school days (when older children weren't home) had to be done within the 2 hour 11am-1pm window.
Needing to be home within half an hour (or ideally an hour) of naptime is also normal, for fear of child falling asleep in the car and it messing with the days naps.
This is an absolutely normal thing most parents deal with - it is hard work having to be so remiented. But it gets easier.
In terms of getting out the house between 10am and 12pm, have you looked into the times of your local parent and toddler groups? Around me they are universally 9.30am-11.30am. They are drop-ins, so getting there at 10.15am would be fine, you don't have to be there when it starts.
It does mean being a bit organised with your time. While youngest is napping in the morning, get everything ready for going out. Just before baby wakes, put toddlers coat on, have baby's coat ready. Have your bag and change bag in the car. Have a feed ready for baby and some snacks in your bag if needed while out. Get baby up, feed immediately if needed and straight into car seat and out.
Toddler groups should be local, 5 or 10 minutes drive away. And even if you only go for an hour, that's fine - every bit helps.
Yes a longernurseru day might be better?
What about black out curtains, would they help to keep everyone sleep later?
From your subsequent posts it does sound like you're lonely from lack of support from
Family. Have you broached that with your family?
So, my two are more or less the same age, I feel exactly the same.
My suggestion is around naps. You say the baby naps til around 10.30 in the cot, which means you get no time out of the house.
My suggestion would be to curtail that morning nap and have it in the car. My two are both cot/bed nappers and won't sleep for longer than half an hour or so in the car, but I've found with both of them that if I keep their morning nap short the afternoon one is longer. So, our routine is out of the house at 9ish, nap in the car on the way somewhere (take the long way round if necessary) so baby sleeps for half an hour or so in the car. Back for lunch at 12 (with nursery rhymes blaring and windows open- my latest 'stay awake' trick is one of those coloured sensory scarves tied on to the car seat and the window open so it blows around).
Then nap for both of them in the afternoon. For baby you should find this is 2 hours plus.
Get a sling for toddler group so baby can sleep on you and yoy can play with toddler or sit down and drink tea. Rose and rebellion is a fab sling brand. I wore mine about 8 hours a day when my youngest was little- hands free for housework or playing, happy snuggly baby, freedom. Try a sling meet near you where you can borrow slings and find one you like. Adult company is vital for your sanity!
It's so hard right! I have same aged children as you OP. No help. Apart from DP in the evenings.
I could be wrong but it sounds like you plan your day around your baby's nap time? I was like that with DD1. But not with DD2. I'm sure a routine would really help but it would mean we don't get out! She is tired by the time we get to groups but I stick her in a baby carrier and she loves it! Then often falls asleep as soon as we've left the group. I do walk. Maybe you can start walking to places? Mine are 20+ mins walk away so I guess it depends where they are based.
We have days at home where it is easy to work around naps but on our days out they go as follows:
T: Baby ballet. Both awake. Then park after. Baby might sleep or instead will enjoy the park and nap on the way home. It is a short nap and then they will nap together in the afternoon.
T: toddler sense. Baby naps after. I nip into town. I grab a coffee. Pop into shops and on the walk home toddler joins the baby in napping. I then listen to some music and drink my coffee whilst walking. It recharges me!
I suppose the baby sort of fits in with what the toddler does but her longest nap is always in the afternoon. They are only power naps when she has others because I can't keep the toddler quiet for long enough!
The toddler is best behaved when we are doing fun things like groups, parks, exploring etc. rather than indoors busying myself so I try to get out often. I also like to sneak in a bit of what I like while we are out. I.e. grabbing a coffee. Having tea and cake in a cafe (I bring sticker books and she is good as gold!). And I like the big parks (not the playground type) as it's always nice and refreshing to enjoy nature.
Sorry for rambling. It is hard though OP, I agree. We have amazing days where I feel I have it completely together and I've nailed being a mum, and then others which are simply horrific.!
I like what a PP said about taking out a flask of tea and a book.
I'm scared of naps as the oldest was such a bad sleeper, I'm forever scarred!
Baby won't sleep in the carrier either. I volunteer at the sling library, last time she slept for 10 mins in the carrier on my back after screaming for 30 mins with tiredness. She will sleep for 1.5 hours in the cot.
We do parks etc, we're out every day and I'm really organised and have a very, very solid routine, but it's so inflexible!!
I think someone above nailed it that I'm very upset with having no help at all from my parents. They just don't care. I feel abandoned by them. It seems so unconscionable to me to visit for a few hours every 6 months, they often don't contact me at all for 2-3 weeks (I sometimes leave it to see just how long it will be...!)
I have by far the least help of anyone I know.
But I'm glad to hear that this is normal where a routine is involved. I have no one to guide me as my parents are so disengaged I have no role model!
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