One of the biggest struggles I’ve had to adjust to in having 2 kids is my need for personal space. This struggle began when Damien was born, who turned into another high needs baby, and was intensified when Aiden stopped napping (when Damien was 2 months old). 10 months later, parenting a 3.5 year old and a 1 year old, I struggle with this issue on a daily basis.
I’d like to tell you I love every moment I spend with my kids. But that’s the thing. It’s every moment. From the time they wake up, I have no time to myself until they go to bed. On preschool days, I sometimes luck out and Damien takes a longer morning nap. I use this time to relax a tiny bit, but mostly to work. Other days, Damien’s nap times are spent with Aiden having “special Mommy Aiden time”, which he really needs. He’s a cuddly kid who needs a lot of attention.
Since Aiden still gets tired in the middle of the day, and so do I, Aiden is allowed to watch some tv during part of Damien’s afternoon nap. Thankfully, this nap is almost always over an hour (it wasn’t for many months). I used to sit with Aiden to watch his shows most days, but honestly I still felt overwhelmed. When I sit there, Aiden asks me a lot of questions (which is great to moderate the tv experience, I know) and often wants to sit in my lap. That’s not really giving me the space I need.
Instead, most days I spend the majority of the tv experience doing other things: cleaning, organizing, having my lunch, doing stuff around the house. This time is interrupted many times by Aiden, who wants food, a drink, has a question, needs the episode changed, etc. It’s not a time I can go be by myself to read a book or even to work (I tried in vain for many months, it wasn’t productive). Our house is slowly getting more organized than it has ever been. And yet I’m still wound too tightly.
I am lucky to have a husband who is very involved in parenting and often gives me a half hour to relax between dinner and bath time, who will drive Aiden to preschool to give me more time to myself when Damien is napping, who will play with both kids while I take a walk (schedule and weather permitting) or at the very least clean the kitchen and make coffee in the morning.
Although I may struggle for ‘down time’, taking care of the kids full time and working, it’s this lack of personal space that overwhelms me. I don’t have a solution. Anyone else struggle with this?
I love preschool days, but they are also crazy hectic days for me. While you would think having one kid would make for a relaxing day possibly filled with some extra time for me to work, you’d be wrong. There are some days when I can quickly answer a few emails or write a little post, but mostly I’m rushing around running the errands that are easier with one kid and taking care of Damien. Often we go for coffee, just the two of us, which is nice. Sometimes days are too busy for that – today was one of those.
First, a cute photo of Aiden in the Valentine’s pageant yesterday:
Here is how my day went down today for just the morning:
- 6am kids are awake, we get them at 6:30 when they are done waking up properly
- 6:30-8:30 play in our room, get everyone dressed / showered etc, go downstairs to eat breakfast, play
- 8:30 Damien begins nap
- 8:45 leave to drop off Aiden at preschool, pick up coffee on the way home
- 9:20 clean up breakfast dishes
- 9:30 Damien wakes up, feed him, read him books for 25 minutes
- 10-11 run errands at 2 stores
- 11-12 play with Damien, feed him lunch, put him to nap
- 12 eat lunch while checking email, pack Aiden’s after-preschool snack, prepare a craft for his return home
- 12:20 write one client blog post
- 12:45 Damien wakes up from a very short nap, grab him and rush to get Aiden at 1pm
Usually, I’m able to leave Damien napping while I get Aiden, but he sometimes fails to take longer than 40 minutes for his 2nd nap (his only long nap of the 3 naps in his day).
After we came home, I had to juggle breastfeeding and feeding Damien then dealing with Aiden, who was about 2 hours past when he usually has his ‘quiet time’ (tv), but trying not to let him watch tv with Damien awake. Sometimes he can handle a delayed quiet time, sometimes not. Today, tantrums ensued. After he wanted to lie in bed, worrying me he’d nap (which messes up bedtime), I caved on tv, but he remained tired. Promised a trip to ice cream to motivate him to get up (yeah yeah), so we took a long walk together (Damien in the Ergo for his nap). Sprained my ankle, but still got the damn ice cream and got Damien to take a nap (even if it was short). Came home, prepared dinner and put ice on my foot. Limped up for bedtime routine.
Am now settling down to begin my work for the day.
So, that was my day. How was yours? ;)
For about two months, Aiden has been calling me “Ma-y” or “Mah-y” most of the time. If you’re trying to imagine how that sounds, imagine “Mommy” but without the M’s and with a slightly more “a” sound, like Ma. When said quickly, it’s almost like he’s simply saying “My”. It’s odd.
I have always been Mommy to Aiden, though of course he knows and has experimented with all the variants. I’m not sure how I became “Ma-y”. He has been experimenting with language – breaking up words, making words up, etc – as is normal for a toddler, so perhaps that is it. Or perhaps he simply says “Mommy” so many times a day that he needed a shorter variant.
Do your kids have nicknames for you?
When little Damien was 12 days over, Sarah of SarahJane Photography, came over to our house for a newborn photo session (and Nicole of Mary Kay came to do my make-up!). I’d actually won a shoot with another photographer, but decided to pass on it since we were so happy with our family portraits while I was pregnant. By the time Aiden was a dozen days old, we had set up several home photoshoots; the reality of two kids is that there are fewer opportunities to take photos. With that in mind, we wanted to make Damien’s memories just as special as Aiden’s. In this case, Damien won out – with the help of a pro, we have some truly amazing photos!
It took Damien about 2 hours to fall asleep, even though he’d been awake for an hour by the time Sarah arrived. Bit of a fail there. Since Damien was diaper free, you can imagine just how many accidents there were during this time period (and they mostly landed on me – gross). Anyway, once Damien was finally asleep, we captured some beautiful moments. He was amazingly pliable once he fell asleep and had a massive nap after the shoot finished.
We bribed Aiden with a bag of candy to participate in a few of the photos (he really didn’t want to participate). Mexx should pay us for this photo of him:
See all the photos here.
I’m 35.5 weeks pregnant at this point, though I’m measuring close to 40 weeks. Yes, we’re having a big baby! We’ve had an ultrasound to confirm that baby is quite large already, though of course that data can be off by quite a bit. Still, I feel as big now as I did at 40 weeks with Aiden, so there’s that.
As I shared previously, it hasn’t been an easy pregnancy. I have pains in my pelvis, my back, and my legs to go along with my regular issues with my neck, shoulder and arm. As I approach my due date, my Braxton Hicks contractions have become quite strong – tricking me sometimes into wondering if labour is near. They are way stronger than they were with Aiden. Since I didn’t go into labour on my own with Aiden, I am always left wondering if “this is it”, even this early on. I spend at least an hour a day in the bath trying to calm down all the parts of me that get sore!
The midwives are currently in disagreement about when to induce me early, if at all. Nobody really wants me going past 40 weeks, but some advocate for an even earlier delivery. It’s likely I’ll be referred to an obstetrician, though I haven’t been called with an appointment yet. My blood pressure is also rising, so we’ll need to keep an eye on that.
I feel pretty useless most of the time, not being able to stand or walk very much at all anymore. It makes it difficult to be a mom to Aiden, which is the hardest part. I know he’s found it frustrating that I can’t play with him on the floor or run after him or actively engage in physical play with him. I miss it too.
I focus on just getting through each day right now. I’m so glad that Ianiv is currently working from home!