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Craving alone time that I can't have...(21 Posts)
I was just wondering how everyone copes with the feeling they need some alone time to get on with things, away from kids, when it's not possible please?
I have 2 DCs, one at school, and a 2 y/o who I look after most of the time unless DH is home/available. My Husband works shifts and helps out with childcare/housework when he can, but he is the main breadwinner, and to be honest he's shattered when he comes home, and spends a lot of time whilst at home mending our car, or doing emergency plumbing/DIY.
I feel like I'm getting to the point where I'm resenting my 2y/o (even though I love her to bits and she's amazing), because I just have so many things on my to do list which I feel I can only get done on my own. Our home renovations have been ongoing for almost the same time she's been in the world (started by a water leak, and now damp issues), and I've tried to put renovating off for ages and make light of it, but looking at everything around me being so unfinished is wearing me down now.
It's stopping me from enjoying time with her now, and I'm even less productive than usual with housework as I'm just feeling that I'm barely treading water with it all, and I'll never be able to climb this mountain of things to do, or tick anything off - I just can't see how to do it.
I feel guilty for thinking about putting 2 y/o DD in nursery, (not that we could afford it anyway), and feel like I'm supposed to be enjoying my time with her when she's little. I adore my kids, but just want to be alone!
If anyone has any advice I'd be really grateful! Thanks everyone
Could you afford one day a week in a nursery or with a childminder?
Have you got friends you could do a day's childcare swap with during school hours? Even just as a one-off?
Either a morning or day a week in childcare or but cartoons on for an hour?
I feel like this. My ds is 2 and really hard work. Every 3 months or so I get so overwhelmed, I call my cousin to come and take him for the day.
Do you have someone you can trust to take care of your little one occasionally? My cousin lives 20 miles away but I know she is happy to help and I can clean my entire house in a couple of hours when I'm on my own.
I agree re swapping with friends. Even if it is just 2 hours or something.
How long is her nap? Do you just do Groundhog Day chores, can you consciously try and relax and read/be for her nap? (I found this really hard so it's just a suggestion).
Have you got a good list of what needs doing for the renovations so at least you can tick stuff off as you go and feel a sense of progress?
Would any family member at least take her to the playground and for a walk or something, again at least a 2 hour stint? Or could you find a teenager who needs a bit of cash to do this?
Thanks everyone for replying, I really appreciate it.
We have no family available to help with childcare, and I'm not sure I can justify the cost of putting her in nursery as that would be all of our rainy day spending gone for the month so there would be no treats/family outings etc. She's only just turned two so it's around a year until her funded place would be available, and although I was originally pinning my hopes on this, I'm not sure I can wait that long with things as they are. I've got some thinking to do it seems...
Friends wise that'd be great to do a childcare swap, but alas I don't have any really, only acquaintances from the school gate.
I did think about finding a college student or similar who could come and play with DD in our front room as a part time temp. job while I'm in the house with them but getting things done elsewhere, but again I have fallen short with my networking and don't know anyone locally that might know someone who would be right/interested in doing that.
I know it's not a big issue in the grand scheme of things, and I'm so lucky to be sharing my life with my beautiful kids. Maybe I just need to pipe down again and wait the year until funding starts? Probably given my above comments...
Thanks again everyone
For your well-being id chat to dh and have him look after her for a few hours while you get some of the more annoying jobs checked off.
Yes he's doing jobs too, but you need the time away from dd.
'I have fallen short with my networking'
It's never too late.
Try www.do-it.org to look for a volunteer. Or ask TAs in particular at your child's school if they know anyone who might be interested in some weekend or after school babysitting. I say TAs because the pay is so shite that they might be up for it, but if not they may well have networks of their own you can tap into.
It can be restful just to have company - worth trying to see if one of those acquaintances at the school gate would come back for a cuppa after school. You only need one person to become a friend and things look a whole lot better straight away.
Do any of your local preschools take 2 year olds? Ours does, and it's a lot cheaper than nursery and only a term time financial commitment? Otherwise, I've been using the TV as an electronic babysitter with DS since he was about 2 (essential with a newborn DC2). We found we had to find the right programs, stuff like the Gruffallo is good. I put it on and run round the house doing jobs in the morning and then do something DC focused for a couple of hours to make me feel better about the TV.
There is absolutely no reason why your dh can't take the kids for an evening or a weekend afternoon. Unless it's an emergency plumbing issue and the house is flooding at that very moment, nearly everything could wait a day. When mine was that age, I was working in London one day a week (back to work part-time) and my dh was running a busy family business so often worked several hours each evening in addition to 9-5 plus some weekends. But on that day I worked away (normally worked from home the other 2 days a week), I took myself for a few glasses of wine and a leisurely dinner and read a magazine before I caught the train home. It was bliss. Everyone can find one night a week or a month to be fully present for their kids and give the other parent a few hours to themselves. I think you just need to press it. Even if he's exhausted after a full day at work, he can get them to bed and then go straight to bed himself and get caught up on sleep while you have an evening out with a friends or alone.
I know how you feel. I have a 2 yr old and 8 month old . 2 yr old has started pre school two mornings a week. It's not been the solution I was hoping for as only 3 hrs at a time, which is barely 2 by the time especially I've dropped off and picked up, and I still have the baby. A couple of weekends ago I really was at breaking point and got husband to take them both to his parents for a bit . Maybe once a month your husband should take them both out for the day?
You just made me feel a whole lot better, it's not just me! We have DS2 years and DS6 months. No one ever EVER takes the six month old off my hands. DH is too busy with work and uni to help much. The two year old goes to his nana about four hours a week and DH takes him for about five.
I don't have much advice, just know that you're not alone!
Do consider whether you are being too hard on yourself trying to be too good a mum to your two year old? Are there things that you could get done to retain your sanity if you put the TV on and hand out a favourite snack? Are there some jobs that you actually can do but they just take all day or it seems ridiculous? For example, can you actually clean out the car with LO pretending to drive it whilst you tidy? Can you do some things outside I LO 'helps' with some gardening.
If you're talking about painting and decorating and building Ikea furniture then maybe we're on a loser here (although I think stripping wallpaper's a maybe? Maybe too much dust?). I tried the Ikea furniture.... wouldn't do it again!
Can you paint in an evening? I know it sounds ridiculous because you want to sleep or watch TV, but let's be honest, everything on TV is junk anyway! And think about how proud you'll feel in the morning when you look at that shiny new wall!
I was in the same position at your stage, I was just desperate for five minutes off, just any amount of time because at that age you need to be looking after her all of the time with your eyes glued but is passes so quickly. I miss those days, and wish I could have them back.
I didn't have any help but did the following:
Every nap time I would use to relax and not do tons of housework this helped me feel like I had more personal space
I used the evenings once a week to do admin
Some things really do keep them going for ages....I used to get my pans out and a small amount of water, somehow this would keep her occupied for ages whilst I did some housework
Every week I went out for one - two hours at the weekend to get some proper space and dh looked after them or took them to the park
Played doctors and nurses to rest my eyes whilst she 'fixed' me
Collected some special things in a basket, so when I was really really desperate I would get the basket out and she would be happy for at least a little longer
DH needs to make a start on the painting or see if you can find someone a little cheaper to do it for you.
I watched my fav programmes every now again, listened to radio 4 and not always playing baby music.
Take her to the beautician or better still book one to come out to you
There is nothing wrong with movie afternoon complete with healthy popcorn and you can read a magazine or sleep, peppa pig afternoon now and then, and doing things with her that you enjoy. If you want to see a new exhibition etc just go, but don't go for long. I would take them everywhere I wanted to go as well as their activities so it was more balanced.
Give yourself permission to do things you enjoy, and don't make your life to baby central, you are allowed to have a bath in peace, light candles (well away from her) read magazines and papers when she is resting and watch and do things you like.
BTW bin the list, it will never be finished. Mine is still going 12 years later. You will never reached the pot of gold that is everything is done and the house is perfect. So better to just enjoy being your dd and work on one room at a time
Mine are a little older now 9, 5 and 3 but when they were a little younger (DS1 was 5 and DS2 was 18m when DD was born) I felt like I couldn't even go to the toilet at times and the babies nap times never co-ordinated.
I now work 3 days in the week during school hours and Saturdays and my youngest has the 30hrs free nursery so I get Thursdays during school hours to do exactly what I want ALONE! It is the first time I have had a day to please myself and although a lot of the day is taken up with cleaning, I can go for a leisurely breakfast with my sister or catch up with some tv whilst I iron for example!
When they were small however I did go out the odd evening here and there with friends and DH did the same.
It's not just you. We don't have family close by to sit, etc. so when the kids were little, every few months I'd schedule in a full weekend day to myself and dh would have the children. I was a SAHM and then childminder, so my world was very narrow and child focused! I needed a release every now and then!
I'd head to a gallery, cafe, museum, etc. in a local city and be alone 9am-6pm. It was lovely and really recharged the batteries, having that to look forward to. Dh was totally understanding.
Could you schedule these days in now and then? It gets much easier as they grow. I'm back in a workplace so mix with adults more, the kids are far more independent, and it's just a world easier, in that way.(just different challenges!)
Thanks again everyone for taking the time to reply. It's really touching!
From reading everyone's replies I feel like I need to have a proper chat with DH about the situation and see if we can work something out childcare wise. At least as a temporary measure or one off. He's usually very supportive but things have gotten on top of us recently (our car broke down, and currently both toilets in our house have a receptacle underneath them awaiting new parts as they've both decided to start leaking. Before this the sink started falling off the wall, and the kids ripped the stair gate off the wall too (though it was years old and poorly designed!) to name a few hiccups), so I don't think he's had much chance to think of much else recently.
It strikes me from all your lovely replies that I'm not very out-going either! I find a lot of activities out of my home anxiety inducing, so to me my ideal would be to have the house/garden done up enough to be a calm environment and allow me to des-stress after facing the world. I love art/design/textiles and have recently regained my passion and creativity after about a decade of mental ill health where I just wasn't at all inspired. But I know getting back into art/craft will be such a long process and really isn't realistic or achievable while the kids are young. A lot of you are right though, I should probably let go of this ideal of a calm, fairly complete house again as it doesn't seem realistic. I do manage to let go from time to time, but I think it's always there bubbling away at some level.
I have stopped doing most housework in nap time, (if DD does decide to nap), as she is asleep so lightly nowadays I was finding the clinking of plates whilst packing the dishwasher, or even the door opening and closing to take the bin bag outside was waking her up, and to me that reduced moral more than the mess induced by not completing the tasks during nap time. I've compromised now by just doing quiet jobs like laundry folding and house admin when she's napping to help her sleep for a longer period so we are both refreshed a bit afterwards!
I do have time off in the evening as well after the kids have gone to sleep, where again it's quiet jobs only or not much at all as I dread waking up children after trying so hard to get them to bed. I probably should be more thick skinned about this rather than tiptoeing about? I feel like the nap and bed time free time isn't proper free time though as I'm concentrating hard on being quiet, so I don't get any sense of freedom from it. That's probably just parenthood though and something I need to get over so I can use that time more effectively.
I really should start doing some renovating in the evening - you are right, although we are nowhere near painting stage, (more sanding, removing wooden trim, removing plaster back to brick, chipping off old gloss paint from glass Etc.) so there aren't many quiet jobs I can do. I find this most frustrating!
I did ask around at school to see if anyone knew of someone who wouldn't mind looking after DD as a little job while I get on, and some people said they'd bear it in mind but they couldn't think of anyone there and then, so I suppose something might come of that. I briefly spoke to DH about nursery yesterday and he's understandably uncomfortable (as I am really) about her going at this age and would prefer to wait until she's older like DS was, (he started going at 2 yrs 9 months - although I did almost have a break down before putting DS in nursery, with HV/GP input etc. So I probably waited too long to do that, and definitely don't want to go there again!)
It's all trivial really reading back at my posts, compared to a lot of things in the world! I think I need to put my big girl pants on...
I had a very full on, attention-demanding toddler. A solution which worked for me was getting an older child to play with her for a few hours after school several times a week while I got on with things in the next room. Some big kids love to feel important, competent and useful and really enjoy being responsible for younger children. Plus they get a change of scene from their own home.
I paid my ten year old "trainee babysitters" a small amount of money. They said they would have done it for free, but I felt that seemed wrong, and besides, I wanted them to feel they were doing a proper job. They liked the idea that they were gaining childcare experience so that in a few years' time when they were old enough to babysit solo, they would know what they were doing and could ask me to give them a reference. I hoped that I could train them up into my way of doing things so they could babysit for me when they were older. (That idea didn't pan out though; by the time they were older they didn't need the money and babysitting had lost some of its appeal!)
My toddler loved it too. The big kids were more fun than mum: they played properly and were genuinely delighted to be doing it.
Your DH needs to step up with the childcare. By doing DIY etc at weekends, he gets to feel like he is a good manly husband doing essential jobs, but he doesn’t realise that the thing that would really make him a good husband would be to take charge of the DC and give you a break. I was a SAHM when my DC were little and it’s so intense when someone needs / wants you the whole time. You need some time off for your mental health!
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