A little over two weeks ago I gave birth to a baby girl and she has really completed our family, making us a family of four. DS is about to turn three and my goodness I did not think this would be as stressful as it is.
This was the first full week of me being home alone with the kids while DH is at work and the amount of breakdowns I've had is mind blowing. I am usually a sound minded person when DS has his breakdowns but I feel like I have NO time what so ever. I am also in school and because it's my senior year I did not want to take time off but now I feel like it's just an added stress.
When DS is calm and settled, DD starts up. My day escapes me and before I know DH is home, nothing in the house is done, no school work is done, and I am a wreck, who hasn't peed since the morning!
I don't really have friends let alone mommy friends so I just really needed to vent. DH tries to make me feel better about the school and house situation but I feel like he doesn't realize how stressed I am about both the kids taking turns of going nuts, sometimes they even join in a duet together. GIVEN I knew this would be a lot of work but between DS's breakdowns (he has sensory issues and a speech disorder) his therapy sessions, his slight jealousy of the baby, DD's crying fits for no reason, my every three hour pumping sessions, I just feel overwhelmed.
I just needed to vent. I know I'll get it together eventually but right now I just feel discouraged.
honeydew / 7622 posts
I'm so sorry this sounds like a lot to manage. Could you swing to hire a college or high school student to come over 2 mornings a week?
wonderful clementine / 24134 posts
Im so sorry. Yes its amazing how having 2 kids MORE than doubles the work!
grapefruit / 4988 posts
Oh my, it sounds like you have an incredible load on you. 2 weeks post-partum and you are home alone with two kids with no help and also trying to stay on top of schoolwork? I can't really imagine this. My DH didn't get any real time off but he was at least able to spend two weeks where he was mostly working from home so he could help out when I needed it (plus my oldest was still in daycare, although she was out for an entire week when LO2 was 2 weeks old, so I feel your pain). Agree with @youboots, maybe try to get a mother's helper for a few hours a day or week?
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
DD2 is almost 5 months now but I absolutely remember those early days. 2 weeks not no where near where you've all settled into a new routine/new normal. You need time to adjust, DS needs time to adjust... It's no wonder everyone's having meltdowns! And a 2 week old is just being a 2 week old!
Is there anyway someone can come and help (paid or not) you a few hours a week? And just make a MUST do list and adjust expectations for everything else?
honeydew / 7463 posts
I don't have two (currently trying for 2nd) but I wanted to say that it does sound like you're taking on way too much for any new mom let alone a new mom of two. I would seriously consider taking time off of school. Is there a way to maybe take summer classes instead when DD is a little older? That way you're not too far off track? I know my limits and personally I would wait till fall but that's just me.
Also, pumping is the dumps. I hated it and I had trouble keeping up with one kid and no other commitments (like school). I would seriously consider dropping this. I'm pro BF/pumping as long as you can stay sane doing it. If school can't be put off I'd look at other ways to save sanity and pumping would be it for me.
Also agree with a mothers helper or postpartum doula but I know thats not possible for everyone.
And lastly - you are in the thick of hormone crash! I had so. Many. Breakdowns. in the first 2-3 weeks. I was a disaster and that was just with one newborn. So in some ways I think it's very normal and you may feel better in another week or two. But if you don't please seek help. I ended up having PPD and didn't know till I was 5-6 months postpartum. I would have saved myself a lot of breakdowns if I had gotten help sooner.
If I get pregnant again I plan on starting treatment while pregnant and immediately postpartum.
Hang in there! Will be thinking of you.
GOLD / nectarine / 2884 posts
I'm so sorry to hear this! I had almost the exact same spacing and situation! I had a baby during finals in the middle of a master's and it was crazy for a while. I took an incomplete in my class and finished up during the summer.
To be honest, the first six months with two was ok for me, because my 2nd was a pretty good sleeper, it was summer, and I was able to give myself some grace with cooking, etc., because I had low expectations. I just focused on being alive and getting outside, did a lot of self-help reading.
HOWEVER, when DS2 turned 6 months things got a lot harder. By that time he had a solid nap schedule and wasn't just napping anywhere. And my 3 year old, who was at home with me full time because we couldn't afford childcare at the time, was also taking a nap, so I was in nap jail from like 9 to 4 every day. It was the bleakest point in my life and I definitely lost my cool all the time. I was also taking three online graduate classes! And my supply dried up.
Suggestions for you:
--Therapist OR childcare, if you can afford. Both are lifelines! If no money for those, then this:
--Make it really easy to get outside. Get old baby stuff and put it out there (baby swing, whatever). We would try to get outside during DS2's nap every day so that he would not be disturbed. I focused on letting DS1 play by himself while I read or did yard work or just sat there.
--We ate a lot of roast chicken and crock pot pork! Chili that can be used for taco salads the next day. And we ate out on the days that I just couldn't take it anymore. I would get a big sheet pan and put veggies on it, then put frozen chicken breasts on top and put it in the oven. It wasn't gourmet, but I kept reminding myself "it is food to feed our bellies" and that's really all that matters.
--Ordering used books on Amazon is about as cheap as getting to the library, and no fear of late fees, and no dragging kids out of the house.
--I tried to get out for "me time" once a week. Usually Wednesday nights or on the weekends. DH watched kids. I did most of my school work on those nights. I just didn't feel like it was useful to try and do that with the kids running around. I usually read during naps and then did my actual school work during my "me time."
--I stopped doing any kid enrichment activities that made messes, made my life hard. No more pinterest, crafts, etc. That was always a trigger for my frustration if I spent all morning setting up an activity and then my DS didn't care about it, or DS2 woke up and I had to clean it up.
--I decluttered my house so that I didn't feel as trapped by my surroundings. I did KonMari!
-- If you have a double stroller, it makes life easier. At the time we lived within walking distance of a park and I could burn at least three hours just by getting them ready, walking there, playing, walking back. It had a water feature, which made it even more of a time burner.
-- Maybe get into running/jogging. That's at least one form of exercise you can do with two kids without much interruption. I signed up for a 5k and trained for that during that time. When my older DS complained about being in the stroller I just explained to him that this was mommy's time to get healthy, which didn't make him stop complaining, but at least helped him to understand.
-- Consider signing older DS for some enrichment that allows you to leave him there, or at least just sit there. Mine did gymnastics and it was great, one hour of just me sitting there while he did something fun.
-- Put a rocking chair or something outside and allow yourself to go out there when you start to feel like you're going to lose it. There were MANY times where I put my youngest LO in the crib while he was screaming, put the TV on for older DS or put him in his childproof room, and just sat outside for 5 minutes to cool down. It also allowed them to cool down when they were freaking out in unison.
Ultimately, it got better. My older one is now 4 and in pre-k 5 days a week, I graduated and started working again. But I would not go back to those days for anything in the world. It was so hard.
GOLD / nectarine / 2884 posts
Also, consider the YMCA! Very affordable childcare and no-one knows if you are in there exercising or off in a corner reading and taking a shower. We didn't have a YMCA close to me at the time, but now we do and I am considering joining even though I only have one at home these days.
cherry / 226 posts
I know exactly how you feel and it will get better with time and patience. It will.
Babywearing? Use that to keep your baby comforted and close while you spend time with your son. Or when baby is sleeping, take time to give your son a quiet activity while he sits next to you and you do you homework.
Ask DH to help with house chores when he gets home or take over watching the kids while you take a hot shower or a walk to recharge.
GOLD / nectarine / 2884 posts
One more thing! Try to do your housework while the kids are awake. If you are lucky enough to get a dual nap, save that time for you! Because it is good for them to see their mom doing work, and it makes them more reliant on themselves for entertainment. Typically one day of the week was just a chore day and they learned how to play together or help me because I was tied up with chores.
pomelo / 5563 posts
I'm sorry. This sounds so hard and you sound so stressed and overwhelmed. I think you've gotten a lot of good advice, and the main thing I would add is to try to cut yourself a lot of slack. If you need to take some time off school, do it. If the house is a mess, it'll get clean at some point. Take care of yourself and your kids. It will get easier, and at that point you can pick up some of the balls that you put down. And I very much agree with @Mrs. Sketchbook - you HAVE to do something, do it while the kids are awake. Put the baby in a sling, set the toddler up with some tv or an activity, and vacuum, then when they nap you can just read or watch tv or take a shower or do something that helps you feel like you.
cherry / 217 posts
Adjusting to two is HARD. I very clearly remember my first day on my own with my two and I could not believe how hard it was mentally and how I literally got nothing done. I'm used to being productive and following a schedule and adjusting to the new normal was incredibly difficult.
If I could go back to that point in time I would remind myself that it is a temporary state and WILL NOT last forever, even though in those early days there seems to be no end in sight. Life does smooth out and get so much better. Before you know it, those two little ones of yours will be playing together and you will be back in the swing of things and barely remember this time. Give yourself grace and try to let go of anything you don't HAVE to do!
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
@bubblegum: the adjustment to two was so much harder than I expected- and I wasn't also in school!! It just feels never ending. I had so so so many breakdowns. I don't have any advice besides doing anything you can to take the burden off you, and seeking help (childcare, therapist) if you need it.
honeydew / 7235 posts
just chiming in to let you know we also had a very tough transition to two and were in a similar space as you. DS turned 3 years old 3 weeks after the baby was born. 3 was TOUGH for him, he also was dealing with some sensory issues at that time, and he had a really hard time handling the new baby and me not giving him 100% of the attention. His daycare was also transitioning to new rooms/teachers at the time, and DH was traveling a TON. The first month of the baby's life DH was gone 2.5 of those weeks a plane ride away It was SO HARD.... We got through it though.. IT WILL GET BETTER....
any chance you can get a mothers helper for your older DS a few hours each day? That break would really help, even just for a few hours...
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
1. Get a mother's helper. Like even a high school student can be fine. We had a 16 year old walk a block to the park and run our oldest for 2 hours in the morning and then play in the house with him for a bit, feed him lunch, and then she left. Then I could put him down for nap. The first few months we had to have that morning help a few times a week or I was going to lose it. I would 100% cut just about anything out of my budget (and did) to afford that help for the first 3 months of the baby's life. Or I would put your eldest in some kind of preschool program even if it's a few days a week.
pear / 1946 posts
Ugh I remember those days. I had DS when DD was almost 3. It was HARD. Thankfully my parents live close by so they actually took DD for a few days when DS was just a week or so old.
I'd definitely try to lighten your load. Try to get outside. Don't worry about the house being a mess (this is hard for me bc a messy house stresses me out). And easy crock pot or rotisserie chicken dinners, or take out make life easier.
honeydew / 7463 posts
@bubblegum: Thinking of you
blogger / pomelo / 5361 posts
The things that saved my life in that stage were (1) going to a gym that had a daycare; sometimes I wouldn't even work out. I would just go and sit in the locker room and watch a show on netflix and try to catch my breath and gear back up and (2) putting the twins in Mother's Day Out 2 days a week. We also had a friend's daughter come over now and then with the sole purpose of entertaining the older two so I could just deal with the baby and getting done whatever was on my "has to be done" list. I would also just say to give yourself and your older little one a lot of grace. Adding another kiddo is hard on everyone for a while, but it really does get better. I promise!
apricot / 488 posts
Hello fellow April mama!
Most of my advice has already been mentioned. We are members of the Y and Ez loves the childcare. I go and just bring a book to read to have a few hours of one kid time. During his nap time the baby is usually asleep at some point during that time and I take those moments for myself. Tea and Netflix or a nap or zone out with my phone.
I wear the baby a lot too. If I need to do the dishes or cook or something and Ez and the baby are both acting up, I give myself grace and set Ez up with a Daniel tiger episode and wear the baby to do whatever chore. He is getting more screen time than I would like but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Keep going! Every day that all survive is a step closer to it getting easier. At least that is what I tell myself.
pear / 1717 posts
I am so late. I'm sorry I've been trying to find a new normal. I want to thank all you ladies who reached out with suggestions and your warm wishes and hugs. The high school suggestion isn't a bad one considering my sister is still in high school! How did I not think of this!! I might have to have her come over and help her big sister after school.
@Mrs. Sketchbook: The amount of suggestions you made really warmed my heart! Thank you so much
@Teachermama: I LOVE babywearing! she's a little too small for our carrier right now but I'm hoping soon she'll fit perfectly! It honestly is the best thing invented for busy mamas!
@hellobeeboston: Are we the same person!! My son has sensory issues as well and a speech disorder AND is starting pre-school! Talk about overwhelming '
@Mrs. Blue: hahahaha I love that you went to the gym just for me time sometimes not even to work out!
Honestly you ladies have given me such encouraging words and I'm sorry for those who I didn't respond to directly but I promise I read everyone's comment and appreciate it more than you know. Now I don't feel so alone.
An update as well; DH was of course home this weekend and I was able to go out for drinks with a girlfriend for THREE HOURS! Three blissful hours of peace. I love my babies but it was so nice to be able to go to the bathroom without rushing and eat in peace! DH told me I don't know how you do it. I smiled and was like I don't either lol
pear / 1717 posts
@justjules: Hi mama!!! YES! The increase in screentime has been my savior throughout this process.
pomelo / 5524 posts
@bubblegum: I unfortunately don't have many suggestions, but wanted to let you know you aren't alone. Going from 0 to 1 was hard, but going from 1 to 2 was just not what I expected at all. It felt impossible. I can't tell you how many times I felt like I was going out of my mind with the second. It was much more overwhelming and just so. much. harder. So you're in good company.
I have to say, now that they're 4.5 and 1.5, they're a lot of fun, but when DS2 was an infant, it was frickin hard. Lots of love and hugs to you!
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
pear / 1717 posts
@2PeasinaPod: honestly all the love and support really helps. Feeling not one makes me feel like I will without overcome the stress just like all you awesome mamas.
pear / 1717 posts