Babies 13 month apart, and I'm feeling REALLY stressed, any ideas on how to unwind?

Ruth - posted on 04/04/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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My youngest daughter is 3 weeks old and my oldest a is 14 months old. If one isn't crying or asking for food, the other one is. sometimes they both start crying at the same time, and i feel so stressed that i just sit on the floor and cry. (trying to calm myself in order to take care of my babies) My husband helps around the house, but he gets home really late so it;s basically me and the girls until at least 7:30pm. Any ideas on how I can "unwind"?

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It will get better. My son is 17 months old and my daughter is 2 months old. Yes, usually one of them is crying, and sometimes they get each other going. My stress is compounded by the fact that my 17 month old has low muscle tone and hyper-flexibility due to a genetic condition and can't even crawl yet. So, he can't get things for himself which makes it hard when I'm nursing the baby and he needs something. He's also going through a fierce "Mommy only" phase. I have days where at the end I'm so tired but wonder what I did all day because nothing got done around the house. lol. Yes, I'm stressed, but I'm also blessed. I wouldn't trade my babies for anything. It's tough right now, but it'll get better. Hang in there!

Dena - posted on 04/15/2010

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Do you have any family or friends close by? I have 3 sisters all with kids so we give eachother breaks when we need them. it is hard especially with your youngest being so young you're probably hormonal and on no sleep. Don't be afraid to ask for help get a friend or family to come in the afternoon and take the kids to the park or for a walk so you can have a nap or just a time out.

Heather - posted on 04/14/2010

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Hang in there it will get easier. My two youngest were 15 months apart, and the hardest timeframe I thougth was the first three months. The toddler stage is so hard for little onese to understand that mommy has another very demanding little one to attend to as well. Invest in a sling, there are good ones out there that do not prose the problems of the recalled ones. This will free up your hands and give you open arms to help the older girl. Plus the three week old will love being so close to mommy. I had the help from a local baby store who specialized in slings and she custome made mine, along with two minuature slings for my 15 months old and 3 year old at the time. I also attended a informational sling class to make sure I was using it right.
A double stroller is also very nice to have. Load up the kiddos and go for a walk. the baby will most likely sleep and the 13 month would probabaly love the fresh air and scenery. I did a lot of walking when the weather was nice just to get out of the house and it was nice to have quiet time because this was the time that they were the most quiet.
Try to establish a routine, this will especially help when you are trying to coordinate naps. I had a pretty good routine from the time they got up until bed time. I know that is hard to do on your own, and sometimes it doesn't always work that is when a movie really wasn't so bad just to have some quiet time.
My husband works third shift, so I know what it is like to try and do it on your own. he needed the sleep during the day, and was gone at night.
Hang in there, try to make sure you get your sleep too, wish you all the best.
from a mommy of a 5, 3 and 2 year old.

Alicia - posted on 04/13/2010

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Well I can definitely relate! I had mine 11 months apart too. Let me begin by telling you that you CAN survive this and they WILL become more self sufficient when they are a little older. Mine are now 4 and 5 and are doing much better. I do warn you that there could be a lot of arguing when they are older too. But at that age, I remember how horrific some points were. It's ok to cry and I can't blame you for being frustrated because it's a very trying time. My advice to you is to give yourself a nice warm shower when your husband gets home. Doesn't sound like a lot, but I'm telling you it will work wonders! Get your favorite scent and take as long as you want. Even put on some of your favorite tunes if the bathroom is far enough away from the kid's room. It definitely helps ease the tension in your shoulders and ease the headache that throbbing in your head. Also, get a book. When the kids are napping or when the baby is napping and your older one is eating, read a chapter. It lets you escape the chaos for just a little bit. Gets your mind off all the craziness going on at home. Another thing that might help is playing music during the day. A lot of babies calm down when they hear music and it might make you feel better too. The last bit of advice I can give you is to try and include your older child. Kids are a lot smarter than we realize sometimes. She might be able to go get you diapers or wipes or a blanket or burp cloth. If she feels included she might feel like rebeling less. Just keep holding on....Once your little baby girl is crawling things will get a little more relaxed. Good luck to you!!

Joy - posted on 04/12/2010

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Hey Momma, I know how you feel, mine are 11 months apart... The first couple of months are going to be rough but it will get better, I promise.

When I get to the breaking point, I do what I probly shouldn't and turn on my oldest fav. cartoon, put the younger one in his crib with some toys and go to my bedroom and hide for a minute. Starting a routine with your kids can help ease stress too. If they eat their meals around the same time every day, have naps/go to bed around the same time every day, It will help you feel a little more in control of the situation and they'll know what to expect. I wouldn't try it right now with your newborn because she needs to eat and nap frequently but it will help a lot with the older one, especially around nap time because you can get atleast an hour or two with just one kid awake and sometimes both of them might fall asleep. In a couple of months you can start trying to put your newborn on a routine too.

Now that my youngest is one and my oldest is two, they eat all their meals together, they have the same nap times and go to bed at the same time. Plus, the good news is that they are good buddies and love to be around each other. I really, really, really recommend the book, Babywise. It is the only thing that got me through the ridiculously rough first couple of months and after that.

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Chelle - posted on 04/16/2010

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I just feel so encouraged by the beautiful support and wonderful advice of all the mums who have responded to this post. And i too want to thank you all for that.



I agree with a number of things that have already been mentioned. When your hubby comes home, have a nice long shower or even a bath. If you have any family or friends that could just give you a couple of hours relief a week, it would make all the difference to your sanity. Having music playing in the house is a great idea and there is definitely no harm in occassionally putting your child infront of their favourite show when you need to get something done or even just need 30 mins of time out. Getting outside and amongst nature will be great for you all. Both your kids will enjoy you dancing with them, the little one might fall asleep with you doing it and the 14 month will just enjoy bopping with mummy. I find taking my little man outside just before a nap really helps to centre him and he sleeps better.



The main thing is kids are like little sponges, so whenever you are feeling like your stress levels are rising to an all time high, take a breath and centre yourself, even if it requires stepping away from them for 5-10 mins. If you are calm around them, chances are they are more likely to be calm around you. If you stress, the 14mth will definitely pick up on your stress and is more likely to act up thus feeding the stress cycle. Meditation would be very helpful here. And with practice you dont have to do it very long to get a very effective result.



Also i find when you are feeling emotional and hormonal, its nice to actually schedule some crying time, so watch an episode that leans more towards emotional subject matter, this will allow you to have that release you need without feeling like you are losing control.



Good luck, i am very pleased to hear it has gotten so much better. Keep up the good work!

Mary Jo - posted on 04/16/2010

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REmember moms need time out too- there is nothing wrong with remembering that you need space too. Children will adjust to the environment that is set forth for them. If you make them a bunch of unneccsary work - they willbecome that, if you raise your behavoral levels high for your children, they will reach to the level you expect of them.

Umeima - posted on 04/16/2010

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I've read most comments to your question and yep sometimes you just need to go into a corner of the house for 5 mins and let the kids cry and you in turn ought to take a few deep breathes and collect yourself. I do like a mantra to the effect that I'm mummy and the parent/boss and will be in control- I cant loose it otherwise Im loosing control of the situation. ( a cry is good but really dont show the kids this side otherwise they will play on it and youll find yourself crying more and loosing the plot). I totally agree music will lift your mood . I suggest also have a dance around and this I have done and it distracts the kids, lifts your mood and you get exercise. It is good to have snacks at hand so your child can learn to help themselves and build independence-walks are a great idea.My daughter goes to bed at 11.30.p.m ( but has 1 to 2 napps in the day) so Ive got her for a very long period of time despite my efforts she refuses to sleep at 7 or 8.p.m BUT I always sing and try to be silly and laugh around her and she in turn has grown into a very happy go lucky independant child. Good luck Im going to try for number 2 and will put into practice all the good advice given by the other mums when dealing with 2 since Im sure that exhaustion doesnt help. Good luck Ruth your not alone try get sleep a good hot shower/bath last thing at night will really relax you

Judith - posted on 04/15/2010

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I did this twice! First two kids are 12 months apart, then I had a 18 year gap, then boom two more 16 months apart.

I found that with each child in a different learning stage things were hard, but the baby was the easiest to take places, so we did lots of toddler stuff at first. With out my hubby home much it was just the kids and I so we just did our own thing and had our own schedule. THe hubby had to fit to us in those early years. Take a deep breath!

It does get easier, as they get older they often have similier activites and schedules for sport events and class stuff. They share friends and have similiar interests later. This is so valuable later. But the greatest thing is they will let you know if one or the other is doing something wrong. They let you know when something is going wrong with the other one. My older ones now 28 & 27 were one year apart in school and it was great knowing that I had an "insider" to what each one was up to.

As for the little ones, they are 8 & 9 right now and we just do what has to be done. Find out what you like to do with them and do it! They are only little once, take advantage of it. Get out of the house at least once a day if you can, even on bad weather take a stroller ride in the mall, have a coffee and people watch. SOme malls have toddler programs.

Christy - posted on 04/15/2010

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Mine are 14 months apart. The older they get the SLIGHTLY easier it gets. Mine are now 20 months and 34 months old. I put them both down for a nap at the same time to get any sanity. While the sleep I catch up on the phone with family or friends, nap, work out, clean, whatever I can get done.

Ruth - posted on 04/15/2010

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thanks! I've tried most of your suggestions and thankfully it's gotten alot better, sometimes I feel close to feeling super stressed, but I take a shower or just watch a movie with the girls (the youngest usually sleeping in my arms, or breastfeeding), thankyou all again, it's still very helpful to read that it won't be like this forever. Blessings to you all.
KELLI - as you've read it's frusturating sometimes but as other moms have stated here, knowing how much you love your kids and seeing how much they love you helps. Congrats on your new addition!

Jenny - posted on 04/15/2010

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The first few months will be hard... my daughter was 15 mo old when my son was born. I use to have her sit next to me on the couch & hold a book as I read to her when I feed him. They did both need attention at the sametime sometimes & it seems like it will never end. I nursed with sometimes was even harder - there was no way I could walk away so to speak & he was had colic (with made even nights hard).

Your 14 mo old is at a good age to learn wait your turn & if need be sometimes put the baby down to help your 14 mo old (so he doesn't feel 2nd or not important). Once they both see that they are important to you it will help - they are "fighting" for your attention & love.

Also, if you feel your 14 mo old is old enough to "help" you with little things let her. My daughter use to grab a diaper for my son & pick an outfit (out of a few I showed her) for her brother. Little things to us - makes them feel so special.

So you know mine are now 4 1/2 & 6 - they are very close & look for eachother when they are apart. My son HATES Mondays because my daughter has school & the pre-school is closed... they are so looking forward to my son going to the "big" school next year. And a few times a week I find them sleeping in the same bed - eventhough they have seperate rooms. They will soon be good playmates & things will get easier... congratz on your special blessings!

Emily - posted on 04/14/2010

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My 2 oldest kids are 10 months apart and I really feel your pain and frustration. I remember my kids doing that quite a bit. Its ok to let your babies cry. Take care of the one that needs it most and realize that however hard you are trying, you can't do it all. You can only take care of one at a time. If you have done all that you can, let them cry in a room with the door closed so you can relax. One time my husband was watching them while I was away and got so stressed because the baby wouldn't stop crying. He called me and told me that he had put the baby in her crib, shut her door and shut himself outside the front door because he couldn't take it. I asked him if she was ok and he said yes. Then I told him to not worry. If she's ok, its alright to go somewhere quiet while she's crying as long as she was ok. You are a great mom, I'm sure. It's really tough and you can do it. You were born to be a mother and things can only get better from here. Good luck!

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Am so glad you posted this - so many great ideas from other mommies! I don't have any to add :( but I did want to remind you that your hormones are all over the place at the moment too, at 3 weeks post partum, so that could also be contributing to tearfulness and stress - once I realised that this was all normal, it helped me to just blub and cry and feel everything, rather than worry about it. Once your hormones are more stable, you'll feel more yourself again too! ((hugs))

Kelly - posted on 04/14/2010

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That is what i am worried about also. I have a 5 year old a 3 month old and Im due with my 3rd in Nov, so they will be about 11 months apart, Im so afraid that im going to go absolutly crazy!

Amy - posted on 04/07/2010

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get some outside time!!! It does wonders go to the zoo on free days!!! look for free outside activities.



I'm a mother of 3 all a year and a half apart



learn to have fun while teaching your kids!!!!

Elizabeth - posted on 04/06/2010

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Just breathe. I have 5 children under 4. (The 3 older are my step sons but they live with us) and are ages will be 4 y/o next month- Boy, 2 and a half y/o identical twins -Boys, will be 2 y/o next month- boy, and a almost 6 week old little girl. And the 2 that I nanny are 21 months boy and 6 months girl. Sometimes you just have to realize that one is going to cry sometimes. Just like you need to adjust the kids need to adjust as well. You can't please everyone all the time and you just have to take a moment recoop take a deep breathe and start over. The 14 month old will learn fast to entertain themselves (if they already don't now) and they will learn to be patient as long as you are patient with them. Kids feed off of you so the more you stress the more they are going to react off of that. It took me a while to adjust too. Having a schedule always helps too. The fact that I can say that everyday at 1230 my kids are just finishing up lunch and getting ready to go down for a nap helps me a lot because that way if I'm having a bad day or the kids are just having an off day I can take that time for myself and unwind however that may be by doing an activity I know helps relax me so I can recoop and start again with a different attitude once nap time is over.

LAtu - posted on 04/06/2010

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My son was 12 months old when my daughter was born, definitely not easy. What I use to do when they both cried, I tend to the one who REALLY needed me more, I know they both need you but I always went to the one that really needed me first, then I tend to the other one, it always worked with me... HARD! but it seem to have done good for me. I had to also learn to control my emotions so it wont stress me out when they both cry. When the other one crys while I tend the other child, i usually just let the other cry till I get to her/him.. And if you feel its still too much... just go and sit in the other room for a minute till u have calm down, then tend to them who at most needs you then the other... And have a friend or family member come now and then for lunch to help out abit, till you get use to it... I found it alot easier. I hope it will help some how.

Kelli - posted on 04/06/2010

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Mine are also 13 months apart exactly. 15 months and 10 weeks. It is hard. My husband also doesn't get home till 7:30pm. I also sit around and cry sometimes. Other times I am overly anxious. Talk to your doc about the possibility of postpartum depression. It's worth mentioning because it is very serious. Trust me, I am a two time sufferer. But ultimately, take some time for you each day. When you hubby gets home, step out for a bit. He can handle it. I know I have a hard time letting go of my control, but I am learning to try. I agree with Mary though, take a walk with some headphones!!



Good luck. And I'm always around if you need to talk! :) Hugs.

Kathy - posted on 04/06/2010

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hi i have 4 kids. my 1st 2 are 8 days less than 1yr apart and the last 2 are 2 days less than 11months apart. i know the crazy days and nights. yes this too shall pass...just take it one moment at a time. if all the needs are met and they are safe then don't feel like a bad mom to take 5 minutes to yourself. you'll be better able to handle your children. fyi my husband was either at work or sleeping...just another "kid" to take of. it does get easier with time. you just figuring out a system/schedule with 2 now instead of 1. hang in there...your not alone and it doesn't make you a bad mom.

Ruth - posted on 04/05/2010

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Wow! thank you all! it was really comforting reading your posts and knowing (being reassured) that what i'm going through is normal and doesn't make me a bad mom. loved all of your ideas, and will implement some in my life. thanks so much! =]

Jessica - posted on 04/05/2010

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take a nice long quiet bath after ur hubby gets home. it wont hurt him to spend 30 mins or so of quality time with them after work. thats what i do anyway.

Tracy - posted on 04/05/2010

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Get some help. If you don't have a family member than can come over and relieve you for an hour or two, then hire a teenage girl that you know and trust to come a few nights a week for an hour or two who can help with feeding the older child dinner, bathing her and getting her ready for bed. That way you can concentrate on the baby. The teenager could be paid a typical babysitting rate of $7-8/hr, or you could just pay her a weekly amount. I would have her come over right after school one day to let her get to know your oldest daughter (if she doesn't already) and to play with her before she starts taking care of her.



Also, when your kids are napping, use that time to nap yourself. If you can catch up on sleep you will have more coping ability. We restore our levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps us cope with stress, while we sleep. If we don't sleep enough, we don't have enough cortisol during the day. Let your husband take the last feeding of the night for the baby (like 9 pm) and you go to bed at that time. You can pump right before, or he can make a bottle if you aren't breast-feeding. You can get the middle of the night feeding and get your nap when the kids go down in the morning. Hope these ideas help!

Judy - posted on 04/05/2010

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My last 2 are 13 months apart (out of the seven we have).Work on getting them onto a schedule together. Mealtimes and naps at the same time will give you a break during the day. Mainly just take deep breaths and remember this is only a season of mom-hood. Soon the baby will be more independant and sleeping longer. This too shall pass!!! They will be the best of friends all their lives though being so close together.

User - posted on 04/05/2010

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I just put a pillow over my head and scream!!! LOL!!! it gets much easier! Remebr when your first child was born and how over whelming it was to get adjusted?? and how sleep deprived u were? but it all came and left! as this will too!!! hang in there mama it all will get better! just enjoy them as much as you can!! they grow so fast and your gonna want these crazy days back!!! your not a lone! we all feel this way now and then! (or every day!!) LOL!!!

Emma - posted on 04/05/2010

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Kate
To true if i could not plonk my to in front of the TV i would be one smelly mommy ......lol
the joy of having a shower uninterrupted is never really appreciated until you struggle to get one.

Kate - posted on 04/05/2010

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Mine oldest just turned 3 and my twins are 8 months old. l had a really hard time in the evening, too. My husband works 2-11, so he's not here 5 nights a week. What started saving me was putting a Baby Einstein DVD around 5:30 when the babies were 5 months old. Your baby is still small for it, but your 1 year old might really like it. Your public library should have DVDs and videos you can check out to see which type of program older child likes before you buy them. Also resale shops are a good place to find them. Going for a walk in the evening is a good idea, too. Stacey had a lot of helpful suggestions, too.
l am finally getting a routine for the whole day and it is getting easier for me. My twins usually stick together. Where one is, there's the other one also.
l know everyone says to not use tv as a sitter, but for me it's better to have my sanity with the kids enjoying tv than for them to be taken care of by a stressed out mom.

Stacey - posted on 04/05/2010

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It will get better really. I had 4 under 5 and the age gap was 22 months, 21 months and 16months. Have food in easy ascess to your 14 month old like fruit, saltanas yogurt in small tubs on a low table as well as a drink bottle. THis creates on independence. This was ahuge life saver for me cos you can garantee that when you sit down she will need something. Also where you feed have a basket of things like snacks little books a teddy and some reading material for you as well. GO for a walk at cactus hour (between 4pm and 7pm)get out side it is amazing how much better you feel and they will sleep better.
You may do this already but sling your baby onto you. She will sleep and you can attend to what you need to do.
I think the biggest thing you need to know is that you are not allow All mothers at some point feel exactly like you.
Goodluck with your little family.

Emma - posted on 04/05/2010

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Hi,
I had mine 14 months apart, and the first month or so i was all over the place and really thought OMG what have i done,
My hubby at the time was working 12 hour + days so i was alone too. As i have no family that live near me and all my friends had slipped away as they don't have kids.

I decided to hell with the house work and concentrated on finding my rhythm with the kids and once i got that sorted added the housework. My hubby was very understanding and did the cooking for myself and him when he got home and sorted his own work cloths ect out.

It took me about 3 months to be fully functional like i was before my son came along, but it becomes a blessing to have them so close once the younger one is a bit more active. they will keep themselves amused for hours which means you can get the cleaning done and take the much needed shower and then concentrate on them knowing everything else is done.
My two are now 2 and 3 and they are best friends, Im now glad i had them so close.

Mary - posted on 04/05/2010

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It will get better. Mine are 17 months apart and I almost think it's tougher than twins because you have a baby and a baby but developmentally at different stages. But now they play together and are so much closer in interest. I found the witching hour for me started at 4:30 until husband got home so I had to change my environment by making the time go by ... taking a walk with both strapped in double stroller is good and putting on my earplugs to listen to music or podcast. Music has the power to change your emotions. Listen to Trace Atkins "I'm gonna miss this" and you might cry that it's going to be over before you know it. Find another Mom to get together with during your witching hour, go to parks. That's what I tried....started letting the little one watch a video just to give me a break for sanity.



Keep hanging on ... that from a mom with 3 & 4 year old.

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