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A long afternoon with toddler stretches in front of me and I'm all out of ideas. Any thoughts?

(16 Posts)
itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 14:20:55

My life feels a lot like Groundhog Day at the moment. I have been freelancing but work situation is pretty bad at the moment and although I thought I could be a SAHM at least temporarily, I'm really struggling with it. I just wake up every day to the same routine washing, cleaning kitchen, feeding, dressing, running errands etc and I really seem to have lost my lust for life. I feel really bad for poor DD because I'm sure I'm not doing enough with her. She's sleeping at the moment and I've got a hundred and one chores to do before she wakes. But then the thought of choosing between the same pair of playgrounds this afternoon and spending an hour and a half watching her go up and down the same slide etc before heading home for dinner, bath, bedtime etc is really getting me down. I feel so guilty writing this because she's an absolute joy and I'm so lucky to have a happy healthy adorable little girl but I feel so lethargic and find it so hard to motivate myself. I'm just coming up to 10 weeks pregnant which might be part of it but I'm scared that I'm just a miserable, moaning Mum who has no imagination and doesn't know how to appreciate what she's got.

Do any of you struggle with being SAHMs and if so what do you do to make yourself snap out of it. Do you have a daily/weekly routine? How do you introduce variety? What stuff do you do with your DCs? (mine is 19 months) How do you keep on top of the housework? How do you stay upbeat and positive? all thoughts gratefully received?

wasabipeanut Mon 27-Jul-09 14:28:06

Your deal sounds similar to mine - I freelance too but work is patchy which I guess is the deal with freelance. Effectively I am a SAHM. However, DS spends 2 mornings a week at nursery (covered by DH's allowance of childcare vouchers - very useful allowance of you are aware of it) and an afternoon at my parents.

I use that time to work, MN and do the bulk of the housework.

The time I have with DS we do activities like Monkey Music and Tumble Tots bit obv at the moment as it is the hols they are all off. So.....we go to the park, play in the garden, go feed the ducks (DS loves this - can kill an hour easily), go to the library as they have a sort of "kidzone", play at home with playdough, crayons, painting etc.

And sometimes he just comes with me to Tesco, into town if I am running errands, plays with his toys unaccompanied etc. He isn't much of a one for telly annoyingly so amusing him for half an hour with CBeebies never works but does for lots of others.

I find it helps to split the day into 2 - pre and post nap and plan accordingy. I am also pg - 13 weeks so just coming to the end of the rough bit. Fingers crossed!

HTH.

scarlotti Mon 27-Jul-09 14:29:17

Sounds to me like the 10 weeks pg is the main reason that you're so tired - I'm now 26 weeks but can remember exactly what it's like.

Can you do something that will allow you to rest a little whilst entertaining her and giving her some outside play? Maybe a mini treasure hunt in the garden - e.g. find a buttercup, find a daisy, find a leaf etc. (not sure what your set up is though) whilst you sit/lay on a bench/seat and collect her treasures. You could string this out for a good hour or so, then head back indoors with some paper and glue and she could make a collage of her treasure hunt. Might buy you another hour of rest?

wasabipeanut Mon 27-Jul-09 14:31:02

BTW my DS is just coming up on 23 months so a little older than yours but the main principles are the same I think.

Is your lethargy due to pregnancy or are you just not keen on the SAHM gig? If its the latter then maybe your should look at the other option. I used to work part time but struggled with commuting etc. and I am much happier with the deal I have. I am aware it doesn't work for everyone though. smile

itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 14:40:07

scarlotti - that's a really nice idea though she might be a bit little for it still but I'll give it a go. We don't really have a garden, more of a patio. But we could gather bits at the local park I guess. Thanks for the suggestion. I hope you are right and it's just the pregnancy and hormones making me a bit morbid about life in general.

Wasabi - yes, think I've seen you on the early pregnancy threads, haven't been on recently but v glad you've reached the 13 weeks stage. Congrats. How old is your DS? I'd been putting off sending DD to nursery for a bit although we did have an au pair for a few months when work was flowing rather more freely, which was brilliant. But I haven't got any work lined up now so don't feel justified in sorting out more childcare (a regular gig has just fallen through). I'd forgotten about the childcare vouchers though - DH is definitely entitled to those so might start looking into that.

Thanks for all those ideas - I just need to get off my backside and do some of them and acknowledge that I'm not going to be able to do all the other things on my 'to do' list until she has gone to bed.

itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 14:46:23

Wasabi - missed your second post. I'm just not sure re the SAHM gig in the long-term I think if I weren't pregnant I might consider looking for a part-time job but as it is everything's going to be on hold for a couple of years so I need to work out how to make the situation work. I just need to start being more positive and I do think it's partly the early pregnancy lethargy that's getting me down - at least I hope so. DH works v long hours indeed. On the plus side, we are in the v fortunate position that we can live on his income (which I know is a real luxury) but also means that I feel one of us needs to be v home-based in order to make the situation work. I could never rely on him to be able to pick DCs up from nursery/school etc, babysit, be off if DCs were sick etc so in many ways it's much more practical for me to be a SAHM I just really miss the variety of work at times. Feel bad for saying all this because I know how many people would dearly love to be able to be SAHMs so I'm being terribly ungrateful.

TheOldestCat Mon 27-Jul-09 14:46:27

I'm also 10 weeks pregnant and it's knackering, so I'm sure you'll feel better as the weeks go on.

I mainly work from home and although DD (2.8) is in nursery or with her childminder, I do have her a couple of mornings a week. This morning we had fun printing out pictures from the Cbeebies website, which she coloured in while I did a bit of work. That filled a good hour and she loved it.

Definitely don't worry too much about the 'to do' list... Or put on a couple of things you've already done and mark them off, psychologically very helpful grin

bigchris Mon 27-Jul-09 14:50:14

i find the monotony of the park more bearable if you go with a friend, then you can chat and push dd on the swing

MamaVoo Mon 27-Jul-09 14:50:40

It is hard coming up with new and interesting things to do and it can often feel like the same old same old. I have a ds who is 20mo.

Are there other things you could do in your local area besides the playground? Some of our regular haunts are the park to feed the ducks and wander round collecting stones/leaves, a local garden centre that has playhouses and animals, donkey sanctury, and we have season tickets to the local zoo. The more places you can add to your repertoire the better.

The answer to the housework question is just to lower your standards. Rest when your dd sleeps.

itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 14:57:00

Thanks ladies - all v helpful ideas, which I will start to put into action as soon as DD wakes up. There's an urban farm near us, which is a popular afternoon activity with DD. I perhaps need to find some other regulars to keep us entertained. I know a couple of other local mums but v rarely seem to manage to meet up with them and all other friends are at work etc

Oldestcat - delighted that I'm not the only person who adds things to the list just to be able to tick them off. Deluded yet somehow so satisfying.

wasabipeanut Mon 27-Jul-09 15:02:29

Our situations sound remarkably similar - my DH earns enough fir us to live on one income but it is at the expense of working long hours. You always get that trade off I guess. I understand what you mean about sometimes feeling a bit ungrateful, guilty etc. at the fact that every day isn't a wonderful happy clappy world filled with fingerpainting and fairy cakes wink

I think some of the other posters suggestions have been fab - I second the one about play dates with friends. I still meet with my NCT friends once a week and I have other mummy friends that I have met in the park or at other classes.

It might be worth picking up one of those freebie "Family" type magazine from docs surgery, playgroups etc. as they can have some quite useful info about local activites - regular and one off.

itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 15:07:50

Wasabi - yes, quite. One (as yet childless) friend said to me "oh it must be so lovely having all that time to read and things", which is a long way from the reality! But there are of course wonderful perks like being there for all the important moments with DD, not having to deal with work stress etc Will look out for one of those mags and try to get in touch with a few more local mums (couldn't get onto NCT classes last time round but may have more success this time). Thanks again for all your suggestions

Tillyscoutsmum Mon 27-Jul-09 15:14:21

Agree with lowering your housework standards - even if its just temporarily until you get some of your energy back

My dd is 26 months and I am now 19 weeks pg and the first trimester was hideous. I gave in and just went for a nap when she did - it really helped me get through the rest of the day and feel a bit more positive about things.

I am in a similar position - I do some work from home but things are quiet at the moment. Varying the "routine" as much as possible (whilst still being practical for dd) do help ease the monotony somewhat. Maybe eat dinner out for a change or have a picnic for lunch. We often just go to our local shopping centre and I can have a coffee/cake and dd is happy to sit in a highchair with a bit of cake/biscuit. Do you have a surestart chidren's centre anywhere nearby ? Ours is still open in the hols and there are few activities we usually go to.

Ideas of things dd can do whilst I lounge around do other things:-

Stick her in her highchair at the table (with a plastic tablecloth on) and let her play with paints/crayons and paper or a bowl of water and some toys. It does make a bit of a mess but its relatively contained and keeps her happy for an hour or so.

Get some bubbles and ideally a bubble machine type thing (they were on offer in Mothercare a couple of weeks ago not sure if they still are) and let dd chase bubbles round the garden

Have a tea party outside (with water in teapot and raisins etc for food). DD likes to "feed" her teddies etc

scarlotti Mon 27-Jul-09 16:02:13

Don't feel bad for feeling this way. Yes, it's great that you can be a SAHM but you don't have to flog yourself daily to repent for those of us who have to go to work grin
Personally, I think being at home all day with the dc's is much harder than being a working mum (of which I am one) so am not surprised that you're exhausted.

I spent the first 13 weeks of this pg in a dreadful frame of mind. I was terrified of another m/c and so shut myself down without realising it. I was nauseous and knackered, and really just wanted to get off the bus please. It lifted at 13 weeks and the world was finally a much nicer place to be in.

Guess I'm just saying hang in there, do what you can to entertain your DD whilst saving as much energy as possible, and slowly but surely things will improve.

mazzystartled Mon 27-Jul-09 16:18:17

been there

i would say

go out every day, even if its just to the greengrocers, but find some stuff to do that you will enjoy, just not entirely focussed on dd art galleries, coffee in a cafe, meet former colleagues for lunch

make yourself some good mum-type-mates. parenting in company is so much easier than going solo, especially tea time

feel no shame if she watches telly

stick her in the garden and watch from the window - set her little challenges

if you MUST do housework, let her help, ditto gardening. dd is actually quite good at some things and certainly more enthusiastic than me

have some time apart - a little bit of nursery is a good thing if you can afford it - don't want to be starting new nursery when baby arrives....

lastly i would say try to enjoy this lovely age. i got pg with no2 when he was 17 months so pretty much exactly same age gap as you and it was tough,I had to really work on my mindset and think - hooray I have a day at home with ds rather than how am I going to get myself through this for another 7 months?

itsalwaysthequietones Mon 27-Jul-09 19:04:41

thanks v much for all the v practical suggestions and sympathy. Has given me lots of food for thought.

mazzy - def need to work on the mum-type-mates most of my friends with kids live some way away. And you're right about appreciating this age, it is lovely in many, many ways.

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