I really need some 'me' time- I need some advice please!

Amanda - posted on 03/12/2013 ( 18 moms have responded )

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I'm a stay at home mom of a 4 1/2 year old, 2 1/2 year old and a 1 year old. We are going to be homeschooling our children, the oldest we are going to start next year! But I'm really struggling with needing time to myself. I'm with the kids 24/7, my husband doesn't normally get home until after the kids are in bed. Its a fight every night to put my two older girls to bed and i'm just starting to feel very worn out, and less of a person because i can't do anything for me. Am I being selfish for feeling this way? All my friends that I had are partyers so I don't hang out with any of them anymore. My family doesn't seem to have time to watch my children, so I'm lost at what i should do. If i could get some advice on how you deal with everything, that would be great!

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Kristin - posted on 03/18/2013

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You are not selfish for feeling what you feel. EVERY mom will feel it at some point or another. A mom who says she doesn't is probably medicating somehow.

The first thing to address might be the bedtime routine. Figure out what you want done before bed (bath, teeth, pj's, a story and song?, tuck in, lights out) and write it out on a time line. They can see what you want done and when it must be done. I resorted to doing that a while ago and hold the story and songs hostage. The must be done's have to be finished by no later than 7:15p for us to have time for the rest. They always get a kiss and an "I love you," just not an extended bed ritual. I figure from 8p on it is MY time and unless someone is broken, bleeding, barfing, or using the toilet, I shouldn't see them. Also, on your husband's days off, do you get a little time alone. He is perfectly able to handle them alone for an hour or two a week. As much as I dislike shopping for food, I love that I get to do it alone with a lovely foamy breve cap. It's the little things!

Do you get out with the kids so you can meet other parents? They will understand you in ways that you party going friends won't for a while. Also, you could arrange a childcare exchange with other parent's and there is always the option of playdates.

I know this sounds harsh, but why home school if you are feeling this way? It might be worth reconsidering. I know that homeschooling is not a small undertaking.

Parenting 3 kids is brutal. I know, I've got 3 boys. Right now I am handling them alone as my DH is in New Zealand working. We will follow when the school year ends. Not looking for sympathy here, just wanted to let you know I empathize with your situation.

It is okay to feel what you feel. It is okay to talk to the children's father about it. The two of you need to come to a solution together. Good luck!

Mil - posted on 03/21/2013

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Amanda, sounds like you have some really helpful advice here and some helpful tips on routines. ( if you didnt have any) for me I guess it's not about routines because I have those and know what needs to be done. It's just doing them daily that gets mundane. Children have to get their energy out! And when mine don't they are very hard to manage. They become bored and restless no matter how many art projects or music we listen to): AAP suggest a minimum of 1 hr exercise daily. I'm sorry you have such harsh weather. We have bad winters here too sometimes and that's why the extra 40 a month goes to the YMCA. Where they can run and ride bikes and get that energy out. It can be expensive to some but I budget those things in for that reason because it is very important to my sanity! Lol! I felt your post was more about things you can do to get me time and sometimes me time includes your kids, because your children may be there but their are other children there for them to play and keep themselves entertained. Two year olds as you know are always attached at your hip. My daughter is anyway and so was my son. Activities we do inside that give me a minute. Because bedtime yes can be a break from them but not when you know in the back of your mind you have laundry up to your ears and dishes and cleaning and so on.. And for me not knowing I have to do the same thing over again the next day. And like you, I'm very tired and just want to go to bed myself!! That is not a break and doing things I enjoy. Someone on another post I started gave me some fine examples about friends... Stating she does a hobby with a friend because its a hobby and enjoyable knowing that being with her is never really about her. I thought that was sad. But I understand because sometimes we aren't in the time of our lives to make or start new friendships and this person went enjoying the hobby.. And had adult conversation is good regardless of what these people do in their pass times doesn't mean you have to liqueur it up with them. Unless that's the ONLY thing they will do. Please don't alienate yourself in this time of need. Inside activities we do: bath- we put coloring in there, practicing holding our breath under water, give them toys they can play summer clearance buckets and shovels and sit on toilet and read or make a quick phone call ha! 2. Lunchtime doesn't always have to be at the table. We pretend picnic and ill put on some music or yes a movie!And I'll go get some laundry done or eat by myself enjoying a magazine. I got some sand and fill in buckets and get their trucks cars and let them play in it on the table with plastic table cloth over it. Or I'll take brown Paper and let them go to town. On the coldest days ill bundle then up and make koolaide for them to decorate the snow! We make snow ice cream too! Sometimes ill get different pitchers and let them practice pouring water in different cups if they make a mess it's just water but they love it! Those are activities.. But they aren't going to solve the problem of needing a social support system that all moms need! Nor the socialization that are kids crave! Good luck!!! I hope you find something that works for you and your family!!!(:

Alicia - posted on 03/21/2013

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you NOT being selfish and dont worry about your old friends Amanda. if they couldnt change the friendship when you changed then thats not the lifelong friends. make some new ones. i'm a stay at home mom with three girls 4 1/2, 3 and an 8 month old. during the week my husband lives in another city 2 hours away to work. he leaves sunday night and doesnt come home until after the kids are in bed on friday. what i found was to establish a really good bedtime routine after i did that it was a bit easier. one of the things that i found was that i would let the kids watch a show right before bed to calm them down a bit. sometimes its a fight for me but i just deal with it the best way i can. my older girls have bunkbeds so my middle child is forever getting into the top bunk. what i do in that case is i tell them that if they are out of bed then they dont need the teddies that they both snuggle with and before i go to bed if i have had to take them then i give them back while they sleep. i also tell my kids that mommy goes to sleep too at night and i cant go to sleep until they are asleep and mommy is tired and i want to sleep too. so the sooner you go to sleep the sooner that mommy can go to sleep. but always tell them that you love them at bed time so that if it has been a bad day they always know that you love them.

as for time to myself .... it is hard but what i do is i tell my husband that i'm going to have a bath as soon as he comes in the door. the other thing i do is as soon as the kids are asleep my 'work day' is over thats the way that i look at it and can stay semi stress free. if you enjoy reading take a book and something to snack on and go have a bath for an hour.

but seriously as a stay at home mom i know that my 'job' is never done but i do have what i consider a 'work day' and in my house its from 6:45am till 7pm then my work day is almost over and from 7pm till the kids are asleep that my 'break' time. i fold the laundry or sweep or wash dishes but as soon as the kids are asleep my day is done and its mommy time.

try at you local movie theater and see if there is a stroller for the stars day where moms and kids come to watch a movie.

Bonnie - posted on 03/20/2013

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I know what you mean. We have one vehicle too, with one income. Speaking from when my kids were both still young, and husband was full time work and school. The only time I had to myself, is when I went grocery shopping. You need to make up your shopping list and post it on the fridge, with title as Mom's Shopping List. Let your husband also hear it from you that you are heading out to the store when you have access to the car, and he is at home. If he tells you that he can just go shopping, say, no thank you, I need to do this. Please watch the kids. As for bedtime, try getting the kids to help you out during the day with some of the chores, folding and putting up clothes, putting away toys, and they can use washcloths/sponges to wash the floor, with a little bucket of water. Turn clean up into a game. This way after dinner, and a bath, they will be tired out, ready to sleep. No tv in the 3 hours before bed, so you can make sure they are ready to nap. They may still try to get up out of bed. Redirect them. This is a time of training. Young ones don't realize how important sleep is. If they see you're just doing chores, or reading, they will get bored and want bed. Sorry to hear about the schools where you are. Maybe you can move someday, and have better choice of schools. Good luck on homeschooling, I know many do it just fine. I don't know if my comment helped at all, but that's my two cents worth.
By the way, as some one else has mentioned, the YMCA, and cheap books, etc. Sure, if you can afford that, those are great ideas, but, for our area, the YMCA fees are too expensive for my family. Some cheap ideas, are still too pricy for others. Have the kids learn how to make their own little books, and age appropriate crafts, like homemade playdough, paints, bubbles, etc. Little ones love helping out, making indoor forts, and dressup too. Use things from around the house. Put on the radio and dance while you work/play.

Melisa - posted on 03/16/2013

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It's not selfish at all to need time to and for yourself. In my opinion, it's good to take time to yourself not only so that you can recharge and be better able to take parenting in stride (because, let's face it, parenting is really tough sometimes--especially if you're doing it alone for whatever reason), but also so that your children can learn that it's ok & even important to take time for themselves too. We also plan to homeschool when ds is old enough--we do home preschool now--but I've already decided that we will always have quiet time in the afternoon, even when he's done napping, because that's my me time and if I don't have it, I'm not as happy or patient a mother.

The first year of my son's life, my husband was also gone most of the day. He left before our son woke in the morning and didn't get home until after he went to bed at night most of the time. And because he worked such long hours and I was a stay at home mom, I didn't feel like it would be fair of me to have him help with any of the times ds woke in the night--especially since I breastfed and that's obviously not an option for dh. So, often when he got home from work or on his days off, I would just tell him that I needed to get out or I would go crazy. And I would head off to the supermarket to shop by myself or a park to read or the river to just stare at the clouds and enjoy the silence. I spent many evenings just walking around Walmart looking at anything. We had also moved to a new state 3 months before ds was born, so I didn't have any friends and felt the need for socialization. I found myself wanting to chat with the doctor at each of his wellness checks just for some one to talk to. So, I started taking my baby to story time at the library to be around other moms. I've since formed a play group with other stay at home moms and we all own that, while it's good for our little ones to be playing and socializing, we all do it for our own socializing needs. We meet once a week so it's not too burdensome for anyone's schedule and each mom is in charge of a different week's activity so that it doesn't fall on just one person to plan everything. You might try something like that. You could also look in your area and see if there are already any homeschooling groups, because they usually get together once a week for activities--even in the country--or see if there's a local chapter of M.O.M.s (mothers of preschoolers) www.mops.org.

As far as your 2 year olds sleep problems, we've been going through something similar with my 3 year old recently. What we've done that seems to help him, is to let him choose a story we'll read to him after he's in his bed. Then we'll read to him by a low lamplight. I've also been known to let him watch a quiet movie (usually Winnie the Pooh) in his room if he stays in his room. I know, collective gasp from around the world for letting my child have a TV in his room and watch it after bed time, but he's often asleep before the end of the movie, at which point I go in and turn the TV off.

Just one other thought. I know that when I'm stressed out, my son is more needy. It could be that as you are able to take time to yourself and regroup, your 2 year old will just start sleeping better on her own. Sorry for the book, but I hope it helps, even if it's just so you know that you're not being selfish and that you're not alone in the way you feel.

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Brandy - posted on 03/21/2013

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Amanda I am in that exact same situation but I have a 4 and 2 yr old and a 3 month old. What I found that works well for us is this. We do baths after lunch and dinner at 5:30 the 2 older kids are in bed between 6:30-7. I know it sounds early but by the time there actually asleep is around there bedtime. We do a behavior chart, the kids get 5 smiley faces every day. If they loose 2 then they can't watch a long movie (like lion king), if they loose 4 then they can't watch a short move (an episode of blues clues) but they do get books. If they loose all 5 then they can't have any thing in bed. If my 2yr old is having a particularly hard time staying in bed then she goes in the pack n play. My 4 yr old is usually good at staying in bed. Once my 2yr old is either asleep or in the pack n play then I can go to bed. The 3 month old is fortunately a fantastic night sleeper, which has me surprised bc she is solely breastfeed. It does help a lot that my husband and I are in agreement with everything that has to do with the kids. On the weekends that my husband is home is when I do a shopping run that usually last at least 3 hrs. I also have a next door neighbor that is my age. She has a 6yr old and 8 yr old. When her kids are at school she does come over and I can have an adult conversation with her. I also usually talk to my mom at least 1x a day and I always end my day with a good conversation and prayer with my husband. I hope this helps, good luck!

Mil - posted on 03/21/2013

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PSS lol I'm pretty laxed on free time play and telling them ok you are to stay in your playroom for 30 min and set timer and find something to do even my two year old and put up a gate! Half the time when the timer goes off they'll play for another 15 and I get 45 min to my self! ( usually when I take a shower)

Mil - posted on 03/21/2013

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Ps: the more running and physical exertion or stimulus during the day the better they sleep mine anyway!

Bonnie - posted on 03/21/2013

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Glad my comment had something to help you out. Being stuck inside and unable to head outside. Don't I understand that one. We live in SC now, but have lived in UT, with all the snow they had too. Sounds like you all have fun, and yes, we mum's get super tired after all we do. I wish we could bottle some of the energy our kids have, and use it when we are worn down, and they are still going, just like the energizer bunny... LOL. Good luck.

Amanda - posted on 03/20/2013

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Wow....thank you Bonnie! I really appreciate some of the ideas you have given me. Through the day me and the girls do try to bake something every day, they do help fold laundry, clean up toys. My 2 year old especially loves to do chores. My 4 year old not so much....she would rather just sit in front of the tv....but they are only allowed tv in the morning for an hour, and at night for an hour while i clean up after supper. But getting them to help wash my floor....they would love doing that! We play alot of uno together. They love it, and it really helps with their colors and recognizing numbers. We sit down and read, we have made playdough. We don't spend the extra money on a lot of things....we do alot of our own baking breads and making play dough, we do crafts every day....so i would think they should be tired by the end of the day...i know i am! LOL......
Mil, when it's nice out yes, we try to take him to the farm, then stay there for a while. But the winter really is hard. we get a lot of snow here. And this winter has been the lonest with the most snow we have had in quit a few years!

Mil - posted on 03/19/2013

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Amanda: question is it in the nature of your husbands work that ( I know it could be a PIA) but get the kids up and drop him off at work so you have a vehicle? And pick him up or someone who could give him rides or trade of weekly? That way you could get out more.. Where do you live that drugs are this bad? Wow! You know everyone where I live wants to go to particular schools and such but reality is they all have drugs! As a nurse I see so many young kids in ICU overdosed.. It's very sad so I get that. You know I worry quite a bit about the future of my kids, but I will tell you my peace is that if they are raised with morals and values and good strong family they will do ok for themselves. I try to raise my kids with good esteem. Ultimately, I have seen very loving and even homeschooled parents of children who end up in the same boat with their kids because ultimately the kids will make their own choices and have consequences for those choices. Some severe. It sucks! No one told us about this when we pictured our little safe happy families did they? But the need to procreate is the disillusionment of what responsibility a child becomes.. And they will offer us love, joy, pride, and unfortunately pain.

Amanda - posted on 03/19/2013

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I really appreciate everyone's comments....They are helpful. My husband doesn't normally get a day off. If he gets any day, its a Sunday. And i try to get in "ME" time, but that never works....he doesn't discipline the kids....he threatens time outs or whatever but he never follows through so to the girls he's not serious.....i understand where he is coming from because he doesn't see them all day. but it's making my life harder because He refuses to do anything with them(discipline wise) because they don't listen to him......we don't have much money to do anything, We live paycheck to paycheck....which isn't much. we have one vehicle so i can't go and do these other things everyone is suggesting because i have no way of getting there.... He will tell me that i can go out and do some shopping or something but then he does it because he says he didn't figure i really wanted to go out....I've told him i just need out, but I don't think it's getting to his head! Or because there is no gas in the truck so i can't go anywhere. Don't get me wrong....he is an amazing father, and an amazing husband....i couldn't ask for more really....but things are just really tough right now.....I have talked to him about it but he thinks everytime i bring something up that i'm just being crazy i think....that's how i feel! I can't even go to the washroom without having privacy....honestly i'm starting to feel like it's all me....like i'm the crazy one. Me and the kids do have a routine....and we stick by it as much as we can! They go to bed around 7pm....and then i try to make it that it's my relaxing time after that......but the kids never go to sleep.....no matter how many times i go back and put them back in their beds....
We are very stuck on homeschooling because in our are the drugs in all schools are high. I'm not allowing my children to be around that....we have public and high schools together in the same building, and the older kids are giving the little kids drugs....it's crazy around here for that....and i'm not risking it. And it's a religious thing as well, plus i can do just a couple hours of school work with my kids a day, and they aren't making school their entire lives.....kids now a days are being pushed too much.....they aren't allowed to be kids. They work all day at school, then are sent home another 3hrs of school work to do at home....its just not fair. This is really the best thing for our children right now we think!
I honestly have tried all these things that everyone has mentioned! It just never lasts long because either i can't afford it. I decided to take the kids out to a play group a while back, and it's not much fun....my 2 year old is soo clingy i never get time alone, and she just throws fits.....so in my eyes it's almost not worth going out with them....

Mil - posted on 03/18/2013

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Amanda also things we do relatively cheap: goin a YMCA that has daycare for couple hours to exercise by yourself and if you want to do activity with one like swimming put the other two in the day are and rotate out..
Library: they can all go and pick out books and if the library has story time find out when it is..
Bookstores: the kid section also have story times and for well behave kids pick out a clearance book or cheap 3.99 books to bring home
Mops- good group
Online sopport as you do
Babysitter club with local moms
Churches ( vacation bible school) ask if they have babysitters to reccomend. Wednesday evening some churches serve dinner and kids go to their classes
Zoo- free usually and you can stroll younger ones
Kids museums

Mil - posted on 03/18/2013

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Hi! My kids are 2 and 4 and I used to stay at home with them full time. I'm also a nurse so my schedule is more flexible than some although long hours. I was fortunate enough to stay home with my first for 9 months and my 2nd 15 months. To be honest my kids love me I know, but they are sociable creatures. They craved to be around other kids and found that all of us were happier enrolling in preschool for my oldest and daycare couple days of week for my youngest who isn't old enough for preschool at this time. I also worked weekend option ( only wkends) for one year. It was nice to get up and get myself ready and me only for a change. With that said I started to miss out on so much over the weekends with my family. So now I'm PRN and make my own schedule. A lot of my friends were and still do party... And they have family that sopport them and watch their kids.. So they can go out and enjoy themselves every once in a while. I'm assuming that if your friends are party people then at one time you were. Your priorities shifted as should. But, something I had to learn was I can't forget who I was or am. And it's ok to be me. And as moms we need to feel we have a life outside of our kids and not feel guilty for it! I suggest getting a babysitter so you and your husband can go out or you can make a friend night to go rekindle those relationships. That maybe what you need in order to feel balanced. We live in a world that really doesn't sopport Stay at home moms or homeschooled children unfortunately. So, it has to be something you really want that is in the best interest of you and your family. I really don't know how you do it! Especially since your husband gets home late at night and isn't there for evening routine. I had to ask myself are my kids happy? Is my relationship with my husband good? Am I happy? Most importantly the last question because that determines how happy your family is or will become.. Please don't feel guilty for your choices or listen to every book or what so and so thinks is a good mom because ultimately all good moms know what they have to do and the neccisary changes that need to be made in order to keep balance. You can do it! Follow your heart!

Therese - posted on 03/15/2013

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Amanda, it's okay to feel that you need some "me" time. This is what I did. I hired a babysitter once a week for 3 hours. I bought an ipad and downloaded a bunch of free books from itunes that I enjoyed. Complete mindless reading. I went to the nearest starbucks and I read for 3 hours, then I went home to a catastrophe and it was just fine.

One of my friends goes for a pedi-mani during her off time.
One of my other friends goes to the movies by herself during her off time.
One of my other friends goes for a facial (she sleeps through it)
One of my other friends is on the internet on her off time
Another friend goes on a lunch date somewhere nice with her husband during her off time.
Another goes shopping for herself (this is the worst of us LOL)
Another friend just sleeps

Me time, is me time and you deserve it. So, if your husband isn't there and your family is also unavailable, get a babysitter to come to the house and take care of them for a few hours.

Good luck, hope this helps.

Amanda - posted on 03/14/2013

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Thank you! We only have one vehicle right now, and live out in the country, so it makes it very difficult to get out and about. I have not tried the meetup.com, that could be a possibility! I will have to try that. And as for trying to stay up later, i do try that but I am so exhausted by the end of the day all i want to do is crawl up on the couch and relax. And for the past 2 months my 2 year old doesn't seem to want to go to bed unless my husband or I are close by. If we keep putting her back to bed she ends up throwing fits and waking up the other two and then it's just a vicious circle. So we bring her down and lay down with her on the couch and watch tv until she falls asleep, and try to take her back to her bed, but then she wakes up again crying. So I have a child on my hip literally 24/7.

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No, it is not selfish to need time for yourself.

One of the things I did for myself before my son was in school was a local mom's book club. I organized it through our library because we didn't have one and I felt we needed one. The library already had a Tuesday morning story time for toddlers and preschoolers. So I just spoke with them and asked if I could use the adjacent room for a mom's book club that would meet at the same time, so mom's could have some grown-up time while their kids were occupied at story time. I picked a book, and we would all read it on our own time (usually in the evenings after kids were in bed) then discuss it (or discuss whatever we felt like discussing) during our meeting.

Jennifer - posted on 03/14/2013

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Have you tried meetup.com for your area? A mommy group could be great for you and the kids. Also, a homeschooling group would be a great idea. Possibly you could get in with a group that takes turns baby sitting each other's kids. That way you can get some alone time, and your kids can get social interaction. One other thing, is take time for yourself when the kids are asleep. Stay up a little later after they go to bed, or do something for yourself during nap time. I know those are great opportunities to clean and get house work done, but it's more important to take time for yourself.

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