the network for radical unschooling families
My husband and I are new to the idea of unschooling, and we are working hard to adopt the philosphy into our parenting. We have a 21 month dd and a 2 month ds. The biggest problem I am having is that I find it so hard to be patient when I am tired, which is all the time these days. DD doesn't sleep through the night, most nights she is up at least 3 times. Ds obviously doesn't sleep through the night yet, as he gets up to nurse. Dd still nurses quite often (sometimes too often!). I try to nap with them when I can, but ds is starting to decide that nap time is not when dd is sleeping.
So I was wondering how to get some "mommy recharge" time, without being up all night long. I have trouble finding time to shower, nevermind sit down for some me time. I know this is just a phase, but it is so hard to remember that when I have a screaming infant who wants to be fed, and a toddler who is screaming because she wants mom's undivided attention.
Oh, an important detail.... my husband goes away for work for months at a time, so it is just me and the kids, all day, every day for at least 6-8 months out of the year.
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.
To some extent, this is just something you have to get through. The kids won't be these ages forever - which isn't much consolation in the middle of things, I know, but its something to keep in mind. Everything will be different a year from now, and different again a year from that.
With that in mind, you don't so much need "a" solution as a set of tools - that's true for most aspects of parenting and unschooling. For dealing with fatigue, it can help to look for ways to "catch your breath" rather than expecting actual breaks and "down time". Five seconds of being conscious of your breathing can do a lot to refresh your perspective - if you aren't holding out for half an hour! A shift in perspective is often one of your most powerful parenting tools when things get rough.
Another helpful shift in perspective is to plan to be fatigued for awhile. I don't mean to wallow in misery, I mean make all your plans and set all your personal expectations with the understanding that you're not going to be at your liveliest and best. Plan long, slow, easy going days, simple foods, low-key clean-up strategies (like scoop it all up in a blanket and dump it in a bin). Don't expect to fly out of the house for any reason. Don't expect to "get things done".
You might even want to look for ways to nap safely. One strategy I used and I know others who've done similar is to babyproof one room, set up a gate, and lie down across the gate on the kid side. Then you'll be woken up when they try to climb out, but otherwise you can doze a little and regain some sanity. You're not trying to "recharge" all the way at this point, just get functional enough to make somewhat thoughtful choices.
Thank you very much. I guess the one thing that I have been failing to do is to work around my own strengths and weaknesses. I plan things around the kids naps, and change plans if they are hungry or tired or grumpy, or whatever. I guess it didn't occur to me to plan around my mood or energy level. I feel like I am failing them in a way if I have to change our plan because I am too tired to do it, as it is right now, especially if it was something that I think my dd would love (the park, children's museaum, etc.).
As far as the napping safely, I have tried when I was pregnant. Dd is against mommy laying down. I get jumped on, toys thrown, or she starts doing destructive things. This was even while talking to her, reading to her, trying to play while laying down, etc. She just wasn't having it, and I just got frustrated.
Theresa your dd is very young. There will be a lot of time to go to children;s museums and parks. Soon she will be older.
She is still a baby do not forget that. You have two babies. Do you use a sling? so you can nurse the ds while you go for a walk or time at the park? I used a ring sling with my dd a lot when she was a baby and while I chased my older around
I do wear him in a wrap, which I can nurse him in. But unfortunately, due to back problems, I can't wear him for more than an hour or two. He is already 17.5 lbs!
I went back and read more on this site and Sandra's. I do think I just need to learn to breathe more and take in every moment. I think that will help to not feel so overwhelmed and drained. So many changes in life right now, I might be trying to do it all, I am used to doing it all. I guess I need to learn to let go, step back, and see where each day leads us.
Thank you so much for your responses. This process is really shifting my perspective on things, I guess it is only fair to expect growing pains for awhile.