SAHM in need of sanity savers!


#1

Hi everyone!

I had my first child last summer, and have decided to be a full-time SAHM. He is now 16 months old, and a handful! Sometimes I can barely get my teeth brushed in the morning, or even a bathroom break during the day! Praise God, my dear husband works from home, so I can “steal” a few minutes by handing him our son so I can run away and “do my business.” Most of the day, though, I feel like I am in survival mode!

I would appreciate any suggestions for getting through the day with a toddler without feeling so frazzled and stressed out by the day’s end!

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!


#2

You might benefit from teaching him to play by himself. My child does this wonderfully, and I worked on it with her from a very early age. Some suggestions I read in a parenting magazine:

Start your child on an activity, tell him you’re leaving but will be right back (my daughter still perks up at those words), and come right back. Then work the “right back” into longer and longer intervals. This both reassures him that you really are coming back and that he can play on his own.

Also, vary the activities and the intervals so that he gets more and more comfortable with being alone in a room and entertaining himself.

One thing I did that does require space in your home: I made a true kid play area. We have a semi-finished basement that is great for this. My sister ran out of space for all of her toys in her house, which is about 1/2 the size of mine but much nicer and newer, so I told her I’d hold on to them if she didn’t mind them being used. So we put a bunch of toys that I’d gotten at a garage sale and that her kids didn’t play with as much down in our rec room. I have gotten more kid-use out of that room than out of any other in my house. I just walk my daughter down (the handrail on the stairs is not the best), tell her I’m going upstairs (she immediately smiles, waves, and says “bye bye bye bye…”, she plays for a good while, and I get to clean or whatever I need to do. It’s been great when others come over too. My sisters and I all have girls, and a friend has a boy about my daughter’s age. Because I’m pretty gender-neutral in the toys I buy for my daughter (I was a tomboy, never really into dolls) he was happy there for hours!

Other things to think about: I know that attachment parenting advocates are often against schedules, but I’ve found that my daughter is much less needy and much more focused when we have a routine. We usually get up around the same time, and have the same basic routine week by week. As she gets older it seems to be less important that the daily routine be the same. Also, I make sure to get my workout and shower in while she’s at the Y’s nursery, which both lets her play with other kids and different toys (they even have Totsercise!) and gets me the long, hot shower that I love.

Anyway, just some thoughts. I hope they help and that I haven’t gone on too long.


#3

[quote=JK’s Mommy]Hi everyone!

I had my first child last summer, and have decided to be a full-time SAHM. He is now 16 months old, and a handful! Sometimes I can barely get my teeth brushed in the morning, or even a bathroom break during the day! Praise God, my dear husband works from home, so I can “steal” a few minutes by handing him our son so I can run away and “do my business.” Most of the day, though, I feel like I am in survival mode!

I would appreciate any suggestions for getting through the day with a toddler without feeling so frazzled and stressed out by the day’s end!

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
[/quote]

Congratulations JK’s mommy! This is a precious age. I do
remember having to bring the little munchkin in the bathroom
with me. It’s a small price to pay for the joy of discovering the
world with a little one. I think you would feel better if instead
of “stealing” a few minutes, that you could schedule regular
times when your husband took care of your son. It calms you
down to know when your time will come. Most important, take
joy in this time. Don’t forget to play and laugh, in 3 1/2 years
he could go to kindergarten. The time does pass, and faster
than you think it could. I don’t wish for one more hot shower,
or one more quiet peaceful “important” errand. I’d rather have
one more game of peek-a-boo or trot little horsie. Quickly,
enjoy him on purpose with all your might.


#4

[quote=CatCat]Other things to think about: I know that attachment parenting advocates are often against schedules, but I’ve found that my daughter is much less needy and much more focused when we have a routine.
[/quote]

I totally agree. It’s not so much a set schedule, but it is something that is consistent every day, basically set to their own needs. It seems to bring comfort to them, knowing what to expect day in and day out. Our routine is so easy, we can do it when on vacation too. It’s really helped us out, and I have a 2 1/2 and 13 mo old boys.

I recommend the “Baby Whisperer” series for babies and toddlers. It helped me!
babywhisperer.com/


#5

I recommend finding a play-group that meets once or twice a week. Maybe your parish has one. You can chat with other moms while your toddler plays next to/with other toddlers. You might meet some new friends who could help you out when you need to run errands as long as you reciprocate.


#6

First, congrats on the decision to be a stay at home mom!

Second, have you visited www.drlaura.com? She’s got a section on the left titled “Stay at Home” with about 6 subsections of topic there. You’ll probably find info of interest & encouragement. I know there’s definitely something about “making the transition from work to sahm.”

My little guy’s only 11 months old, but pretty active. I know by the time he’s 16 months old like yours, I’ll probably be looking back with fondness at these boring days :wink: , but for now he’s keeping me hopping, as well!

What I’ve done is try to child-proof my house as best I can. (You probably have, too, but just in case it gives you more ideas to rethink…) I’m not saying I feel confident enough to leave him alone & go out for coffee, but if I have to run upstairs to use the bathroom, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to pull something over on himself, electrocute himself, or fall down any stairs.

I’ve tried to encourage him to be able to entertain himself for chunks of time, as well. When I’m busy in the kitchen & he comes crawling in to be with me, sometimes I can let him play in “his” drawers of meauring cups & spoons & tupperware; other times I gently carry him back into the living room and help him get interested in something there.

There’s also sort of a predictable rhythm to our days where he seems to know where I am & what I’m doing (cleaning up kitchen) and I can usually guess what he’s up to. Of course all of this will probably change by…oh, next week!

FYI–I keep an extra toothbrush & tube of paste in the kitchen for the days when I can’t seem to make it back upstairs after breakfast!


#7

I still use a play pen for my 15 month old. Her favorite toys are in there, busy box, shapes, rings, cuddly blanket, etc. so she doesn’t mind being in there. It’s a given that she is in there while I make dinner or else she’s turning off knobs on the stove or climbing on the table.

During the day she does have a lot of free play throughout the house. Every room is kid friendly, she loves to drag out pots and pans in the kitchen. She loves to sit inside boxes (even small ones) and play in there. She usually cries at the bathroom door but it’s never very long. I always shower and get ready before I get her out of the crib in the morning. I don’t mind running errands with her because I’m getting something done and she’s not getting into any trouble in the process. She sits in cart (or stroller) w/ a cracker or treat and looks around at everything. Anyway, that’s what my day is like, hope some of those things would work for you. Good luck.


#8

Thanks to all who have posted replies. I appreciate all of your suggestions!

Blessings! :smiley:


#9

Other things to think about: I know that attachment parenting advocates are often against schedules

not so…agianst rigid feeding schedules yes, but every attachment parenting book and board i read talks about the importance of routines especially for toddlers.

some routines for morining time i like are wake up with a good morning song, we go for a walk when DH leaves for work, we make a smoothie togehter, I take a shower while he plays with his bath toys on the bathroom floor, and we start our day…i’m not much help otherwise thought because my child has always been able to play by himself a lot. i actually have to catch myself from being on the computer too much and go play with him

also on days when he his high strung getting outside is really important for us


#10

As I’ve suggested to so many others…invest in a good, hiking-quality backpack child carrier. They are such life/sanity savers with a toddler. You know where the child is at all times, they can fall asleep in them, watch you cook dinner at a safe distance from sharp knives or the cooktop; you can pick up around the house, empty the dishwasher, open mail, walk the dog, shop, etc… because your hands are free. I found my kids were perfectly content in them for long periods of time because they were right next to me, but I was much more able to function without my arms and hands full of a squirming toddler.

Other than this–finding a support system of “parenting peers” (people who regardless of their age have kids your kids’ ages) to socialize with (or without) your kids is essential. The other thing I always had when my kids were that small was a regular sitter–usually on Wednesday. It’s a great sanity break in the middle of the week and sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is to know it’s almost Wednesday…


#11

[quote=JK’s Mommy]Hi everyone!

I had my first child last summer, and have decided to be a full-time SAHM. He is now 16 months old, and a handful! Sometimes I can barely get my teeth brushed in the morning, or even a bathroom break during the day! Praise God, my dear husband works from home, so I can “steal” a few minutes by handing him our son so I can run away and “do my business.” Most of the day, though, I feel like I am in survival mode!

I would appreciate any suggestions for getting through the day with a toddler without feeling so frazzled and stressed out by the day’s end!

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
[/quote]

I don’t know if I have any constructive advice, just want to give you some support! I have one son who’s now 26 months, and a girl who’s 9 months, and I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!!! :yup: I just want to tell you that, though it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, these days where he needs you SO much are short, and the time will come when you have a bit more time to do necessary things. I second the poster who suggested scheduling a regular time with daddy (or someone) where you can take a few minutes off. A toddler is not only physically draining, but mentally draining as well, that’s why putting him in someone else’s care for a few minutes lets you recharge. And it gives you something to look forward to when you’re feeling very discouraged.

Do you have time to yourself when your son naps? That time can be invaluble as well. :slight_smile:

Hang in there! There’s really nothing like being at home with your children… it’s just hard to see the big picture some days, I know!


#12

I have a 19 month old son, and I definitely know where you are coming from. Eventually I got to the point where I just tried to incorporate my son into everything I do. When I use the bathroom, he sits on his potty (usually with his pants up) and pretends to use the bathroom. When I am doing housework, he helps sort laundry, takes a turn sweeping, picks up his toys so I can vaccum, dusts with a dry cloth, etc.

I have also figured out things he can do on his own, like play for short periods of time (he can usually go for at least half an hour), color in his booster seat (I tape the paper to the table), or watch a Baby Einstein or Veggietales video. These are things I set him up doing when I need to get something done that is going to require my full attention (like make dinner). We have a pretty set routine that involves mommy/baby playtime, chore times, snack times, outdoor times, video/mommy takes a computer break times, Joseph colors/mommy makes dinner time, “school” time, Joseph naps/mommy takes a break time, etc. It took me awhile to get it to where we are now, but it works wonderfully in helping him know what to expect next. If he knows we are going to have a mommy/Joseph playtime soon (and I remind him that we will), he is more likely to leave me alone a few extra minutes to get things done.

I have also taught him “wait” and “be right back”. Most of the time he does okay with those, but you know toddlers- sometimes he throws a fit… and we deal with that.

I am really trying to get him ready for when the next baby comes, and get myself ready, too. If I know things I can set him up to do alone, I will have time to take care of myself and the baby.

Good luck!


#13

I’ve found that if I take a 1/2 hour or so to pray (for me it HAS to be before he wakes in the am or during his nap) then by the end of the day I am much less frazzled by my toddler (and the 4 year old I sometimes watch). It is seriously cause and effect for me.


#14

When I use the bathroom, he sits on his potty (usually with his pants up) and pretends to use the bathroom. When I am doing housework, he helps sort laundry, takes a turn sweeping, picks up his toys so I can vaccum, dusts with a dry cloth, etc.

yes i do this too. he helps me put things in the dryer. he helps me put food in pots, pans, blender, etc. he loves to help empty the dishwasher.


#15

Quote:
When I use the bathroom, he sits on his potty (usually with his pants up) and pretends to use the bathroom. When I am doing housework, he helps sort laundry, takes a turn sweeping, picks up his toys so I can vaccum, dusts with a dry cloth, etc.

yes i do this too. he helps me put things in the dryer. he helps me put food in pots, pans, blender, etc. he loves to help empty the dishwasher

What I love about doing this is that, not only is he safe and within my sight, but I can use each of those as a teaching opportunity. While using the bathroom we talk about using the potty (to help with potty training), while doing housework he is learning how to help with the care of our home and that he will be expected to do chores, too. It really is a great way to start teaching them what you expect of them early on.


#16

What I love about doing this is that, not only is he safe and within my sight, but I can use each of those as a teaching opportunity. While using the bathroom we talk about using the potty (to help with potty training), while doing housework he is learning how to help with the care of our home and that he will be expected to do chores, too. It really is a great way to start teaching them what you expect of them early on.

yes and i think because i do include him in so much he will then go and play by himself. also i KNOW including him makes him feel special. he usually blows kisses and says i love you when i let him help cook


#17

[quote=spacecadet]yes and i think because i do include him in so much he will then go and play by himself. also i KNOW including him makes him feel special. he usually blows kisses and says i love you when i let him help cook
[/quote]

That is so cute! I can’t wait to do that with my baby, and, God-willing, more! I remember running the vacuum cleaner with my 18-month-old brother hanging around my neck, scrubbing the floors with a baby on my hip, and even watching the other children do their homework with the baby in the backpack and playing with his toys. The backpack was especially helpful when I needed to practice violin for upcoming concerts, and, besides, who says the Mozart effect isn’t a valid one?

All jesting aside, I will pray for you, and read this thread hungrily because I know I will be experiencing these things for the first time with my own baby in a little over a year!


#18

I haven’t read everyone’s post…since I too have a toddler! Right now he’s eating lunch …that’s my computer time because he’s strapped in! :stuck_out_tongue:

I have a 5yo, 18 month old and 4 month old…only advice that I can give…

It’s okay to stay in your PJ’s until 1pm or so…

It’s okay to not wash your hair but twice a week…:eek:

It’s okay to wear clothes from the basket occasionally…

It’s okay if you don’t brush your teeth…but try to before DH gets home…:wink:

All I can say…It’s okay! This too shall pass!

Just try to keep your chin up…body clean…survive that’s it!!! Sounds like your doing great!!!


#19

I suppose he is too young for boarding school.

DD just went back to school and put 17 month old in preschool, they are both thriving. She was bummed because she got rejected for the neighborhood play group because other parents are into attachment parenting and did not want their little darlings corrupted by alien parenting styles (an exact quote).


#20

DH and I just got married, so no kids yet. BUT, just after we got married I broke my ankle. DH has housekeeping standards that are WAY below mine so in the perfect world I’d be doing it to my standards.

DH is working full time and trying to keep up with the house because I cannot do anything right now. I was getting REALLY stressed by the mess, and feeling really guilty b/c I couldn’t help. But, now I’ve just had an attitude adjustment about the whole thing. I just say to myself, “you do what you can and forget the rest”. And, really does it have to be perfect? NO.

Eventually I’ll be out of the cast and I can scrub everything until the varnish comes off and put everything in its place. And, eventually your child will be older and you will have more time for everything. So, until then DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.


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