Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A Long Way From Home

I think I'm going through a difficult stage of parenting, and when I really think of it, I think it's come down to a few factors and not the smalls, not me, it's life. We're looking to move, I'm looking for more work, Matt's looking for a new job, we're looking to mix things up, and because of this, our usual routine and calm has been thrown to the winds. We're all a little tattered and windswept and we need to shelter together. The four of us.

I sat in Tiny's doorway tonight to keep her in bed. I'm tired of disciplining her bedtimes. She won't sleep during the day. Night times are drawn out. She's in a filthy mood. I'm in an even filthier mood. I'm weary of the tug o' war. Yes I know it will pass, but it's right in this minute it's all too much and I just need a big fat phat break.

I'm going to pare things back a little. I'm going to simplify in this crazy time. They have to be. It's what the littlies need and it's what I need. If I'm here a little more intermittently, you'll know why. I'm fine, I'm just not phine-a-licious.

Have you felt this way in your parenting history? What's the cure? Tell me. I need it.


bec said...

oh i feel ya lady! im in exactly the same place! i know its a phase, but me not likey. looking forward to some words of wisdom ;)

Anonymous said...

Bravo PMM! You're juggling heaps. You need a Super Mum Mug for Mother's Day!

I am all for pared back living. I've found that keeping everything very low key works super well for us. To the point that I'm trying very very hard to give up multi-tasking because it just stresses us both out. I must say that even though things happen at a much slower pace, we're both a lot better for it.

Jessi said...

u huh! totally feeling the same right at this minute miss lexi! it is not just you. BUT it does suck the big one! it is d-r-a-i-n-i-n-g!

it gets me so wound up and i end up taking it out on the kids and not being the mummy that i know i am and want to be!

simplicity is the key!


Michele said...

yep many times partic around sleep/sleep dep (and mealtime battles)

Youve got the answer I think - simplify life, conserve energy, stand firm on the big things, choose your battles, focus on the end point

All cliches in some ways but v true/helpful.

Call friends, vent, sense of humour, count your blessings, eat well, make time to exercise, watch them sleep (when they FINALLY give in to it) and match your breathing to theres, get back into routine as soon as possible and in the meantime create routine and stability and predictability in some way amidst the chaos (easier said then done I know but its stopping to play a game/give them some floor time, singing a favourite song, cuddles on the couch, TV off, snuggle up to read a book, go for a family walk at night (yes even if its past bedtime and the dishes need doing) make pancakes for lunch or have icecream for breakfast - whatever it is that you know makes them feel safe and secure and happy and gives you that connection/family time)

This is what I try/have tried. Definately dont have all the answers and think work changes an moving home are up there with the top family/kid stressors - but I know these things are only temporary and family is forever.
Hope something helps.
Totally understand if we have less of the PMM online until life levels out a little (and hey put that CD way down the bottom of your To Do List) please x

Michele said...

oh and BTW love the family photo when Tiny really was tiny

jo mcbride said...

...I am living with some pretty dramatic behaviour with a two year old and 3 year old...and night time shaningans are the least favorite part of the day...those tiny people are so very clever. One tip I picked up on recently is "the naughty shelf" Much loved possessions are placed out of reach until good behaviour returns. Seems to be doing the trick - I dont know if its the best "parenting style" but hell at the moment we are willing to give anything a go. Good luck PMM - I think Michele has some great words of advice too.xxx

rianz said...

Hey there, I know exactly what you mean. And knowing it's a phase doesn't help when you're right smack bang in the middle of it. I'm the one who suggested (tongue in cheek of course! well, partly…!) moving to the Blue Mountains last week. But I have to say that it wasn't until after we'd moved up here and settled in a bit that I realised how stressed and grumpy I had been. That move changed lots of things for us. Two years on it's not utopia of course, (and I definitely still have “grumpy mama” & “it sucks being a housewife” days - who doesn’t???) but I just love the slower pace up here. Think it really suits the kids too. Nowadays I feel my blood pressure rise just as I hit Parramatta Road coming off the M4, whenever I drive into Sydney! There's just something about being stuck in traffic with kids in the backseat... aaargh...
Anyhow I think you're doing the right thing. Just try and slow down and simplify things. At least til the sleep deprivation passes. There's a reason why it’s a form of torture you know!

Genovetta said...

dear mama-i only have one tott, and its hard. sometimes those moments, the ones where you sit in the doorway, on the brink of giving up-dont. Its truely a season. I know sometimes it takes a family jaunt, sometimes it takes an alone afternoon.
I often just pray that my mind and heart would get focused, that all the whirlwind around me would stop-
Its only for a season, and joy comes in the morning!

Toni Brockliss said...

I am typing this at 4.50am because I can't sleep. I am also typing on the phone and this one finger typing has got knobs on it.
Oh Lex. You need a great big mum to mum hug followed by a pat on the back and a cup of tea.
I will tell you a story.
When we moved from Perth to Melbourne nearly 2 years ago I was in the middle of packing the house up ready for the move.
I had my two little bubs, 7 billion packing boxes, no parents because they all live in the country, no house to move too (we purchased our house on the net, looking at the area on google earth) and if things couldn't get any more confusing, I had my several miscarriage at 13 weeks.
I can remember sitting in the middle of my fort packing boxes on the couch with a blanket trying to get some strength back after going through 2 operations in 2 days and thinking it was a miserable time.
The thing that got me through it - seeing those tiny flashes of hope. Keeping your humor. Not looking at the big picture just small fragments of it. Ben illegally downloading Sex and The City also helped me in my box fort.
As for my children. Seeing all those boxes didn't help. I find it so amusing that we spend the first half of thier life trying to keep them in bed and the second half trying to get them out.
I think they poked thier heads out of bed frightened that we would do a runner in the night and they would be left alone.
Try to pack Doctor and Tiny's room until the very last moment and taking much loved toys away might keep beautiful Tiny Dancer in her bed.
Stacy is on holidays in my wardrobe until Audrey works out that pinching is not how we say hello.
Like a chicken waiting to cross the road, you will get to the other side. I adore visiting here and love your hillarious tweets, but we will always be here when you pop in.

Rachel said...

oh gee I'm so sorry to here that things are a bit tough at the moment. I'm not sure what to suggest re; your tiny bedtime banshee but please know I'm thinking of you. Sounds like you really need a break!

Georgie Love said...

Oh lordy. I feel for you and I agree with some of the other comments - pick your battles and don't sweat the small stuff. (as someone who works part time, runs their own business, does the bigger share of parenting and house stuff, is selling and moving too, I am so WITH you. Bedtimes are good but it's overall naughtiness and her refusal to eat anything that makes me want to put her put for hard rubbish).

Commit to working on bedtime routines once life settles down and if Tiny needs to stay up at the moment (AND IN GENERAL, I KNOW), let her. It can be a quiet time when you and her connect and read stories, play non-rowdy games etc, she'll love that one on one time with you. Then when she sleeps in the morning, you can do the same one on one time with the Doc in the mornings when she is having a sleep in.

ALL EASIER SAID THAN DONE. For you - take vitamins, don't skip sleep when you can get it, make time for your relationship and for yourself. Matt can do early evenings so you can go off and do your thing for an hour or two and swap over later.

It's not forever, it's just for now and you will definitely get to the other side.

Mama Mogantosh said...

What they said.

I love Toni's story too. Except maybe you could replace SITC with Glee and have a little festival with yourself.

The computer can be a seductive time-sucker so I think its a good call right now to conserve what energy you have and turn it towards yourself and the family. You give away such beautiful, warm and supportive love to your blogging community - think you need more of it yourself right now.

It can be a mentally unsettling activity too; even when exciting and interesting. It seems your instincts are telling you to find the calm and peace wherever you can.

Come back for funnies and excitement later.

Tough times! Big love. xx

Green Mama said...

I say get a sleep consultant! My three year old cherub had been an awesome sleeper, right up until 2 and a half, and then bedtime became battles night after night. There's only so much you can take. I paid a sleep consultant $160 for her to come over for 2 hours, look at our day, give me some practical guidance (verbally, not from a book) and it was awesome. Almost the act of having a stranger in my house telling the cherub enough is enough made the change.

katiecrackernuts said...

I want to know how you give a 21-year-old a big fat kick up the arse. Unlike Tiny, she sleeps all day and then sits up and keeps those who work to keep her in late night DVDs and Tim-Tams awake. She has wheedled her work to near nothing, her uni work to near nothing, and sits about in her PJs all day. She's a foul cow and we're at loggerheads. I can't hide my disgust anymore. She's only just started paying her "rent" and, I believe, only as an excuse to not do anything else. When she didn't pay "rent" she was asked to assist with the household chores, like clean your room (never happens), do your own washing AND bring it in from the line (we're still working on that one). We even tried for cook one meal for the family a week. Nope. So she now pays $20 a week and says she doesn't have to do anymore. So, you think you've got problems. We're seriously considering selling and moving on.

Sarah said...

Two things...

We ALL have moments like this - oh man we do! and they pass... that is the light.

second - make sure you get time out - I mean REAL time out - get away from it all and just time out - even a coffee by yourself, movie what ever tickles you...

Bek said...

Oh it sounds rough in your shoes... Not sure I have any helpful advice... but couldn't read that post and say nothing at all. Simplifying your life where you can sounds absolutely essential with so much going on that is not really in your control. The sleep dep sounds like the absolute pits. I know snapshots of what you are going through... and those times are tough (especially in the middle of the night). Thanks for your honesty, and I really hope you find find yourself on the other side soon.

Leonie Guld said...

The only wise words I have are the ones that were given to me "this too shall pass" xx good luck xx

Cass said...

Hey Lexi I hope things improve over in your neck of the woods and you find a new house soon. I don't really have any advise re: sleeping because we do everything wrong with Lucy (3). We read a book and then lie with her until she goes to sleep. A definite no-no but you know what I would rather lay there for 10 minutes and then have a peaceful rest of the evening for us to unwind and relax. We did the same thing with Charlotte (7) and we certainly are still not doing it so I guess we haven't scarred her for life or made a rod for our own backs. I say do whatever works for you.

Michelle said...

Hope you find your way home soon.


Rach said...

Its hard, being out there and and a little lost. Babies and sleep - its got to be the most horrid combo. I have no answers. I am sitting here, waiting for labour to start with another one. Get all the help you can, take a break, get your parents or aunts to help and never feel bad for saying how crap it is. We have no family here and by god, I wished that when Minnie was driving me insane, I wish we did - use them if they are there.


Megan.K. said...

Oh Lexi, wish I had a cure... you'd think after 3 babes I'd have found one.

I do think paring back is the go. Letting go is the go. You have so much on your plate right now. Tiny has a lot on her little plate too...

You are a fantastic mother, you know that? We love you.


mama bear said...

Hey Lady,

Sorry I'm so late to comment (I went all the way over to The Slurry today – check me out!)

I agree with everyone up there. Pare things back and simplify. I'm a firm believer of not putting too much on your plate. Do what you need with the smalls, look after your lovely self and we will all be waiting for you when you return.

And when it's all over and you're feeling good I'm gunna take you out for the biggest baddest slab of cake you've ever seen.

Take care beautiful mama. xx

PS. PB thinks you're a babe.
PPS. You ARE a babe!

Nikki said...

I hear ya, too... Been thrugh the whole non-sleeping-baby-while-life-is-turned-on-its-head thing.

My tips for survival - let go of feeling obliged to do anything that really isn't absolutely necessary for your own survival. Take care of yourself and cuddle the kids. I think you don't need my advice - you have that bit sorted.

Nothing stays the same, and kids grow too fast. Soak up the good bits and save your energy for the tough bits.

jodi said...

you and i - we're pretty much the same right now. i hate being in the midst of unsettling change. i hear you, i sympathise - hopefully it will all be ok soon x

word verification: bedsheets

kim at allconsuming said...

So here's my 50 bucks worth:
- I always look to shake up my world right when my world needs no shaking whatsoever (eg. at the moment I'm daydreaming about relocating the whole family to a different continent - just when Oscar's about to have major surgery next week. Yup, always so very practical in my pursuits) BUT having the thoughts, exploring the options, imagining everything being different actually helps me weather the Groundhog Day reality of my life.

There is a particular patch of parenting I refer to as the dark years - it stretches from around 2 to around 6. It's when I grown so very tired of what seems to be fighting my kids every waking moment. Fighting to get them dressed, to eat breakfast, to put shoes on, to hurry up, to slow down, to be nice to their siblings, to not hit, to use nice hands, nice voice, to eat dinner, to get in the bath, to get out of the bath, to get dry to put pyjamas on and then, just when my spirit can take no more, to go to bed. And then, to have to maybe get up a few times during the night. And then, to get up in the morning and do it all over again.

Holy Hell, even just typing it made me want to top myself.

So, I just had to turn stuff on its head. Instead of, it's time to get dressed I'd say, hey, shall we go for a walk? (OR THE DEATH STAR aka the park) and then the getting dressed would happen in an instant. Instead of eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner I'd do this whole, can you make me some brekkie? and on and on it goes.

Man, it's exhausting but nowhere near as soul-destroying as the alternative.

Then I learnt to pick my battles - what is non-negotiable, what am I letting through to the keeper?

But at the end of the day, those dark years of discipline have - from what I can see in my now almost 10 and 12 year olds - paid off. I keep telling myself this as I bark at the 4 and 2 year old all day about no!, danger!, stop!, no No NO!!!

It's just hard. You need time out - just a couple of hours - that is your light on the horizon.

Other than that, it's the whole 'just keep swimming' mantra. THat and 'this too shall pass'.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} said...

I totally get what you mean, and where you're at.

I don't have any tips, because I need some advice myself.

But I do have a shoulder to cry on {or pass out on} which ever comes first.

I will tell you a funny story to perhaps brighten your day though: Today when I had finished the grocery shopping I noticed a lady sitting in a shiny black Mercedes a couple of cars down. She pulled out a bottle of wine, screwed the cap off {I bet she was thinking the lord for that technology} and took a few big swigs. She then drove off.

It was 10:30am.

She's probably going through the same thing. If you get the urge to do that, call me... I'll come and save you {or join you - just kidding}.

Big hugs lovely. xx

Kym said...

I would keep sitting in the doorway each night. I have three children and I was at my wits end with my oldest when he was about 2. But I sat in the doorway every night with a book and just kept taking him back to bed every time he got up. Then I'd sit down again. I never spoke to him or made eye contact, just kept taking him back. I can't remember how long the phase lasted, a few weeks maybe, but I know it worked in the end.

Liz said...

Getting the bedtime routine down is a big key to sanity.

I think the Baby/Toddler Whisperer books had some good advice on getting baby to sleep better.

My one bit of advice is don't sleep with the kids out of desperation. No one gets any sleep that way and it goes on and on for years (done that).

Anonymous said...

I remember just how awful I found it when my second was learning to settle with the newly found freedom to get up 27 times before giving in to sleep! It is so taxing at at time when there is no energy reserve left - I rarely felt I did the best job...and often was reduced to blubbering mess...
I can't give you advice on how to get through this except that something my Mother In Law kept saying – "IT WON'T LAST FOREVER" - I clung on to this and it did help me get through!
Have a great Mothers Day Lexi - you are a great ‘Mother’!