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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
- If you’re a working parent of an infant with low sleep needs, how do you function at work when you’re in the throes of baby’s sleep regression?
- Should I cut my childcare down to 12 hours a month if I work from home?
- Will my baby have speech delays if we raise her bilingual?
- Has anyone given birth in a teaching hospital?
- My child eats everything, and my friends’ kids do not – how should I handle? In general, what is the best way to handle when your child has some skill/ability and your friend’s child doesn’t have that skill/ability?
- ADHD moms, give me your tips to help with things like behavior in the classroom, attention to detail, etc?
- I think I suffer from mom rage…
- My husband and kids are gone this weekend – how should I enjoy my free time?
- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
- If you exclusively formula fed, what tips do you have for in the hospital and coming home?
- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
Needs a Vacation says
Hi Ladies! I’m trying to plan a family vacation for this spring and need help. My family is my husband, our 26 month old daughter, and me. Thanks so much!
1) What is a realistic amount to spend on a Caribbean or Mexican vacation in the months of Feb-April? Will I save money if we wait until early April?
2) We really want accommodations where the sleeping space is totally separate from the living space. My daughter goes to bed early and naps, and we need to be able to use the room/place while she is sleeping. Any ideas for destinations or resorts?
3) Other wish list items: kid friendly pool and kid friendly beach, restaurants within walking distance (if not on resort property). At this age, we’re not really looking to send her to a daycare/camp, but kid friendly activities would be appreciated.
Any help would be very much appreciated! Thank you!!
Anon in NYC says
I don’t think early April (i.e., first week in April) will save you that much, but perhaps mid/late April will. I’ve been to Turks and Caicos (sans kid) and thought it would be really kid-friendly. The water seemed very calm. My BIL has taken his kids to the Caymans (I think Grand Cayman) a few times, and they found it to be really kid-friendly.
Easter is April 1 this year, and the first week of April is spring break for many schools. I would definitely avoid that week.
So, that time period is Spring Break time, so you may not save a ton of money.
I’ve recommended it before, but we LOVE the Westin Lagunamar in Cancun. If you book a king room, it comes with a full kitchen and separate master “suite,” so you can be somewhat apart from a sleeping child. It’s across the street from the biggest mall in Cancun and less than 1/4 mile from the other mall. They have a small grocery store onsite, so you can buy necessities and snacks and cook yourself breakfast or lunch to save some money. It’s also incredibly kid-friendly, we’ve been going since my youngest was 15 months, and he’s almost 6.
Also, you can take a cab to the local WalMart from Westin Lagunamar. Agreed this is an excellent resort.
I like the zipper on this, it doesn’t feel suggestive or stupid and adds a nice detail.
Sleep question. My daughter recently turned 2 and we decided that it was time to give up the nighttime pacifier. She had no issues giving up daytime pacifier, but ever since we got rid of the nighttime one, she has been taking between 1-2 hours to actually fall asleep. So far it’s been just 5 days so I’m trying to be patient. But also wondering if there is anything else we should be doing? She seems to have accepted that the pacifier “went bye bye” and hasn’t been crying for it or asking for it after the first 2-3 days. But she just can’t seem to settle down without it and it’s a constant barrage of “turn on night light,” “water, please” and “cover me.” One of the reasons we decided to do this now is because she was already on the path of prolonging bedtime by throwing the pacifier on the floor so we would have to come in to look for it and give it back, which was super annoying. But that used to take maybe 25-30 min of going in 4-5 times and last night she didn’t fall asleep for a full 2 hours. We’ve tried moving bedtime later thinking maybe she’s ready but that doesn’t seem to help. Moved it back last night and it only led to a longer ritual. Thoughts?
Anon in NYC says
I’ve been dealing with this with my 2.5 year old too. She cries out for us to come in and put her blanket back on her, or tells us that her diaper is wet and becomes hysterical about being changed. Occasionally she wakes up in the middle of the night and cries until someone puts the blanket back on her. I have no idea why she can’t just put her own blanket on herself.
For the stalling when it’s time to go to sleep, we started setting a timer. At first we were going in there almost on-demand. Now, we’ll go in somewhere between 1-3 times in an evening to just put the blanket back on her. We don’t speak to her unless she speaks to us. If she needs to be changed, we do it silently and in the dark and then put her back in the crib. After that, we started waiting 3 minutes before going in. And we just accept that sometimes she will be in her crib at 8pm and not fall asleep until 9-something. It’s not perfect, but it helped!
Pigpen's Mama says
Does your daughter cry? or is she “just” calling out for you?
We got rid of the pacifier around then and our bedtime routine went from a 5-10 minute in and out to long drawn out thing. A year later and they are still drawn out, but it got better in that her crying/calling out diminished, but she’ll still take a while to settle in and sleep.
When it happened (and it still does at times) I’ll usually give it a few minutes and the crying/calling out turns from generic caterwauling to a specific request (drink, certain stuffed animal etc) and once that’s dealt with, she will settle down. It doesn’t always work, and is contrary to everything Pavlov taught us, but it was the best balance I found.
A few things that help calm her down to sleep is giving her a book or something to flip through or setting up a dream for her “why don’t you pretend you’re on a train with Daniel Tiger and Marshall and you’re all going to the park!”
Mostly it’s calling out and crying if it’s not dealt with immediately. Like “Nightlight!” quickly turns into screaming. I would not mind if she just amused herself or babbled. I just feel like it’s hard to be consistent when half of her requests are somewhat legitimate and half aren’t.
Come up with a consistent bedtime routine that takes care of most of her requests. Like: book, teeth, pajamas, potty, nightlight, lovie, blanket, song, water, kiss. Make a picture chart if you have to, but stick to it. Say the same things, and end with the same sentence, something like “I’ll be in the house all night. See you in the morning!”
I let my kids pick out a board book to keep in bed with them, so if they have trouble falling asleep, they can “read” it quietly, or play quietly with their lovies. We’ve talked through that and role-played it with them in the evenings so they know what to do.
Then if she yells for something, you know it’s probably been covered and it’s okay to ignore the request. She gets the comfort of knowing the routine and knowing what to expect and knowing when the night is done. It’ll take a while for her to settle into the routine, and to trust that you aren’t changing it, but within a few weeks, this should start to work.
Thanks! This is helpful.
I also use the same sentence. Mine is “it’s time to close your eyes and go to sleep.” My LO (2.5 years) will occasionally call out in her room (ex: “Mommy Mommy Mommy”) and after a few minutes of it I will often sidle up next to her partially open door and repeat my sentence. By the way, this sentence is also the last words out of my mouth during our bedtime routine.
Would you be open to trying the Zoli stick? It’s a teething stick, but we used it for transitioning away from the pacifier. My son could chew on it to fulfill his need for oral stimulation, but there was no sucking involved, so it was better for his teeth. Eventually he switched this out for sucking/chewing on his blanket, which he still does at age 4. I think some kids just need that oral stimulation to get them to relax and fall asleep.
My 3 year-old’s nighttime routine is out.of.control! We do dinner around 6, bath at 7, jammies, teeth brushing and books around 8. She then hits some sort of reserve energy tank and either runs around the house like crazy or plays quietly and ignores our attempts to move things along (this is the more infuriating tactic). When all is said and done, she doesn’t fall asleep till 10pm and wakes up around 7:30am. I think we need to do a “hard reset” – a term I learned on this s it e, but I am not sure how to do it. What does a hard reset involve? I also think we need to be more authoritative, but I am not sure what does that actually look like? I try to redirect and try not to say “no” very often, because that leads to tantrums and it is really hard to get back to a calm state once a tantrum hits. Another complication is that both DH and I do different parts of the routine bc I usually have to nurse the newborn during some parts, so it feels like different people are incharge at different times.
is she still napping? do you think she is tired or getting enough sleep?
Yes, she still naps for about an hour at school. She seems to still need the nap. She seems tired/fried by the end of the night.
What if you moved up the routine? I’m having my own sleep issues with our kid but one thing I’ve noticed is if my daughter manages to get a “second wind” the whole thing is doomed. So we’re very careful to not get her too tired before she’s actually in bed, if that makes sense.
I’d try moving books and jammies immediately after bath. She sounds overtired. Or maybe skip the bath, since it might be waking her up, and go straight to quiet time around 7. Good luck!
I think you should move up the routine – do bath right after dinner, then shorten the book routine. We have a very rigid routine with the 2.5 year old and it’s the same every single night. Dinner at 6:00, if it’s a bath night, bath at 6:30. In the bedroom by 7:00. We set a timer on Alexa for 7:00 and he knows when the timer goes off, it’s time to go to his room (he’ll still fight it, but not for too long). Change into pajamas and read 2 books (never more than two) that he picks out. Then I dim the lights and we talk for a while. After about 10 minutes of talking, we turn the lights off completely and have quiet time. He can talk to me, but I don’t talk anymore. I might rub his back or his hair, but no more talking. After a few minutes of quiet time I move to the chair and sit on the chair for 2 minutes and I tell him this – “alright, I’ll sit on the chair for two minutes and then it’s bedtime.” Then after two minutes I’ll say “good night!” If he asks for anything else specific, like water, a specific stuffed animal, etc., I will give it to him. If he asks for something else, like “rub my back,” then I say, “Okay, for 2 seconds.” And then I literally do it for two seconds and then say goodnight. We’re usually done by 7:45. He might fall asleep pretty quickly, or stay up for a while talking or singing to himself. But I think the routine sets clear expectations and it works really well for us.
We have a pretty different routine but I think PregLawyer is absolutely right that having a rigid, predictable routine is key. Establish a routine that works for your family and is Exactly The Same every single night and *talk* about it. Talk about it during the day, talk about it just before you start it, talk about it while you are doing it, etc. I do think that fundamentally kids crave routine, and so the more we can meet that need the happier they are.
I don’t think that the routine requires the same person do it every night (my partner travels so we switch off a lot), as long as everything happens in the same order, for the same amount of time, even the same words when possible.
I was scrolling down to post this. Look at my response to AIMS above. Kids crave routine, particularly at bedtime. It’s so important to do things in the same order, at the same time, with the same words. Talk them through that, talk them through what-ifs, and then be consistent.
The hard reset is just when you introduce the routine. After dinner, you can say “Guess what! You are now a Big Girl and get to follow the Big Girl routine! Here it is! Let’s talk through it. Aren’t you excited? You’ll have to help Mommy and Daddy remember, okay? You get to keep a book in your bed now!!! Yay!! That’s for if you aren’t tired yet, you get to look at the pictures! Which book do you think you’ll want tonight? Oooh that’s a good one, good pick! What a Big Girl! Okay we’ll start this after bathtime, okay? I can’t wait!”
Rainbow Hair says
Yeah, I have to talk through every detail of bedtime or it gets all effed up. “OK, now I’m going to sing rockabye two times.” “Now I’m singing rockabye the SECOND time.” etc.
CPA Lady says
I’ve been a huge hard ass about sleep and bedtime (and thus well rested) for a very long time. Here’s how it looks for us:
Bath– twice a week in the winter. This is not part of the bedtime routine, and instead cuts into post-dinner play time.
Once bedtime routine begins (at 7 pm), child’s door is shut and she does not exit her room. Only one parent does bedtime. When my husband is traveling, I do it, otherwise he does it.
Kiddo says goodnight and gets hugs and kisses from me and goes with her dad.
Door is shut to her room
At this point, the only light on in her room is a lamp.
She picks two books, DH reads two books.
Lamp goes off. Sound machine goes on.
Sing three songs while rocking her in the dark.
Kiddo gets in bed with two books, favorite stuffed animals, a Naglene bottle of water
Kiddo is tucked in under her blankets
Walk out, shut door.
Ideally this whole process takes about 30 minutes, though it’s been dragging out longer lately.
If she starts crying and requesting anything she can’t have, she’s told pleasantly, “no, it’s bedtime” (without redirection). If she gets out of bed, she is brought back to bed and told pleasantly, “its night night time. see you in the morning.”
Most of the time she talks or sings to herself or “reads” and is asleep by 8:00. If she is intentionally dawdling during the pre-story time frame, or pitches a fit over anything, she loses stories and songs one by one– e.g. “if you don’t hurry up and put on your PJs, we’re only going to have time for one story!”
If she has a tantrum, we ignore it. Like she gets in bed and wants something else and we say no, and she starts to pitch a fit, we just shut the door and walk away. If she’s crying for any other reason, I briefly check in on her with the lights still off and use my stock phrases “it’s night night time, see you in the morning”.
Ours starts at 7:30 (my kids, 2.5 and 5, share a room).
– Bathroom: floss, brush, potty (we alternate who pees first while the other brushes)
– Change into pajamas
– Read 2 books (they each pick out one)
– They pick out a book to keep in their bed
– Lights out, sound machine on, nightlight on
– Songs and prayer
– Kisses and hugs
– Final sentence “It’s nighttime. When we get tired, we lay down, be quiet, and go to sleep. Sweet dreams, I’ll see you in the morning!”
– Walk out, crack open door.
And that’s it. It takes about 30 minutes for both kids. They play quietly (ish) together for 10-30 minutes and are asleep by 8:30. If they yell out, it’s usually because my potty-training kid has decided to try to pee again, so we allow the interruption, but it’s in the dark and without talking. Once he’s fully night trained, we’ll stop allowing it.
We did a few things when our daughter started dragging out her routine (age 3). First, she was taking too long to use the potty, wash her hands and put on her pajamas. So we now leave her to do these things on her own (no attention from us seems to speed things up) and if she takes longer than 5 to 10 minutes, she starts to lose songs from the end of the nighttime routine. Second, we have dropped things that were unnecessary and taking too long. We no longer read a bedtime story and instead build reading into playtime. Choosing the book and reading it were just starting to take way too long. I miss this part of the routine, but we don’t give in to delay tactics. Finally, we take away songs for any delays, usually after one warning. If things are getting really bad, we take away all parts of the routine except a quick hug and a kiss goodnight, leaving our daughter to tuck herself in.
Based on OP’s situation, I would start removing pieces of the routine. If child is ignoring attempts to move things along, give one warning (you need to do X right now, or no stories after bath), and then follow through. There will be a dramatic tantrum the first time or two, but she will get it if you *always* follow through on the threat to remove the fun parts of the routine if she doesn’t move along and behave.
I also agree with Tfor22, jammies and teeth should come right after bath. If bath is at 7, lights out should be around 8pm, otherwise the routine is too long and exhausting for everyone. I aim for a 30 minute routine without bath, and 45 minutes if a bath is included.
My kid is only 2.5, but we have a quick, predictable bedtime routine. We give Kiddo a 5-minute warning at the end of playtime and set a timer for 5 minutes. Then we have a bath (only twice a week), put on pajamas, brush teeth, read 3 books, and tuck in. Once the routine starts, there are no breaks, so there’s no playing with toys or running around or doing anything besides what’s next in the routine. (He has toys in the bath, and we sometimes play a game like “I Spy” or “Simon Says” while changing diapers/putting on pajamas, but the main thing is that we maintain momentum toward bedtime.)
Thanks for the tips on workout vids! I tried a short 10-minute fitness blender workout yesterday and am sore today. Obviously, this was a long time coming. I don’t really do new years’ resolutions, but I very much support committing to positive changes. Next up: reduce my social media consumption and read more books!
The Overdrive app + local library with a large selection of e-books is the best thing to happen to my reading this year! When I pick up my phone and want to scroll mindlessly through social media, I open my current book instead.
Legally Brunette says
It’s amazing how even the 10 minute videos on Fitness Blender can be so brutal. Especially the abs ones. Congrats on getting it done!
Hi ladies, what are your best tips for limiting your “just got to my desk” procrastination and internet consumption?
I’m a mid law litigator with fairly high annual billable hours targets. When I have internal or external deadlines, I’m totally motivated to work the moment I get to my desk. The pressure from the court, client, partner kicks my people-pleasing self into gear. The fact that I might miss bedtime or weekend time (or know I will be missing it twice this week, let’s not make it three) to meet deadlines is a huge motivator too.
When I don’t have that pressure, like in the last month, I find I waste a lot of time not working. Even though there’s stuff i could be doing, if it’s not deadline driven, I can’t get myself to meaningfully work until like 2 hours of internet wasting have occurred. By the time I get to my desk, I’ve already been in mommy mode for the last 3 hours, so I suspect part of it is just needing a break for a few minutes. But that break just extends and extends and extends.
The problem (only in law) is that I’m really efficient, but of course when your comp is tied to how many hours you bill, getting a full day’s work done in 5 hours is not helpful.
Any tips you have on building better habits here would be so appreciated!
Not a ton of advice, because you literally just described my style exactly. I’m in-house now, so at least I don’t have to worry about billables anymore. But, there are a lot of us out there, just like you.
Happy to hear from more than 1 person that has the same style. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only person who gets distracted like this at my firm. Maybe we’re just all good pretenders :)
2 Cents says
Not in law, but also work in billable time. And that’s my problem too. I could do 8 hours’ work in 5…so the procrastination rears its ugly head!
I like to leave off in the middle of something the night before that will be easy to just continue. Rather than finishing up a document, I might leave off at a place where I can mindlessly pick back up. If possible, I leave it open on my computer so it’s just ready to go. A to-do list the night before helps, too. Back when I was more responsible, I’d do my time from the day before first thing in the morning. It was a good way to ease into work mode.
These are great tips – thank you!
A friend recently told me that her strategy is to end every day by creating a brief to-do list for the next morning. She begins every day by opening up her to do list and working on it for 15 minutes. No email, no news, just straight to work. After that 15 minutes is up, then she does 15 minutes of email, etc., then back to the to-do list. I am trying to implement something similar and find that when I start with work I am less likely to get distracted by all the other myriad things (internet wasting and otherwise). If I start with email (or even worse, the internet!) then I’m much more likely to waste hours rather than minutes.
This is where I need to end up – that my habit is starting with work, not starting with email and the news and that thing I needed to buy from Amazon and then oh yeah that celebrity news site and then this site and then clicking over to Nordstrom’s from a blog and blah blah blahhhhhhh. Will definitely be trying this “to-do list” first method!
I feel like you also described me! Sadly I don’t have a lot of advice, except that I’m trying to be proactive with a to-do list that has a few easy items on it so I can get straight to work. It has especially helped if I don’t open a browser all morning (and if I need to for work purposes, not opening anything other that what is needed).
I struggle with this too, and I think it can be even worse for transnational folks because our projects tend to be smaller chunks of time.
Two things help me. One is starting off on a project that I know will take at least an hour. I can get really into it and then deal with little matters that are .1s and .2s later. Another is having a painfully detailed to do list. Even something as small as an email response goes on the list. After I crank through the list some, I’ve gotten some momentum and can usually keep it going for a while.
Thanks! I tend to do the opposite approach so will try this method out and see if it helps.
Moms Solo says
I own the need for a break when I get in but set a hard limit. I’m also pumping, so I play on the internet when I’m doing my morning pump and then get to work right when it’s done. When I’m done pumping I’ll probably just set the same 20 minute time limit. Then I always start out with something I’m likely to get sucked in on –which is the opposite of the do-the-worst-take-first approach that I feel most people take.
I agree with the to-do list the night before–and it’s especially important for me on Friday afternoons/Monday nights. (I don’t have to work on weekends). I need my second cup of coffee when I get to work before my brain can really jump into something intense. My first to-dos are usually administrative tasks (for me, this also fits with the “eat the frog” advice because I hate doing anything administrative.) Then I try to pick up something I was working on the day before, especially proofreading something and sending it out. By then, I’m awake enough to do something more substantive.
I have a much harder time coming back from lunch…
What do you, as parents, get for a baby’s first Christmas?
I just realized that while I’ve given everyone else gift ideas (mainly useful stuff), I haven’t bought anything or even thought of ideas for our 4mo. It seems silly to get him useful things because I’ll just end up buying them anyway. So we should get him some sort of fun or sentimental toy, right? Ideas?
Jellycat toys are the softest! Or you could do one of those taggies blankets. I think we did that and a board book?
Jellycat – get one of the 9″ ones. My kid is obsessed with his bunny, so now we have about 5, I think? One for home (with 2 backups), one for grandma’s, and one for daycare.
Do you machine wash these? Our fox is a big ragged (aka has some dried boogies) and spot cleaning is so annoying.
Our first Christmas with our LO he was 3 months old. I got him nothing, and I don’t feel remotely bad about it.
You’re going to purchase the gift(s), wrap, then unwrap them by yourself – there’s nothing that a 3mo old can help with. By all means, if you *want* to purchase him something fun/interesting/sentimental, you can, but don’t feel obligated to do so.
Haha yes, that’s why I hadn’t even thought of it. But I didn’t want to be grinchy.
Ditto. And when my kid turned 1 we got him a new sippy cup. And really only so that the older one would have something to wrap and gift to the baby.
CPA Lady says
^ same. We got our 3 month old nothing. Which I was glad of because everyone else went berserk.
My child’s first christmas he was 4.5 months. We got one of those activty bouncer things even though he wasn’t quite big enough for it, a few practical gifts, and his stocking. Basically stuff that we knew we would need in the upcoming months. Santa doesn’t wrap in our house so that cut down on time spent prepping.
Oh stocking is a good idea! I could just stick a couple things in there and call it a day.
We have a 9 month old. Got her a puzzle, some winter boots to go with her snowsuit, 3 books, and a vtech ball. I spent less than $50. We’re also doing the “buy her an ornament every year so she has some as an adult”, so I bought her one of those.
I just picked up a few things my 4 month old needed anyway (clothes, feeding stuff, new pacifiers), and a special personalized Christmas ornament. I figure everyone else will wind up getting him plenty of toys. I am wrapping everything though. He gets fixated by spot patterns so I got polka dot wrapping paper. At least that will keep him kind of engaged while we open everything.
Kiddo was 8 months old for his first Christmas. I just checked my spreadsheet, and apparently I bought him “books, clothes, and blocks” and spent $55. I probably bought it all at a consignment sale in the fall. (I’ve been tracking what I buy everyone and how much I spend for years–doesn’t matter much for the kids, but it keeps me from buying my SIL a scarf or candle 3 years in a row.)
Rainbow Hair says
I’ve been making Christmas ornaments with a picture of my kid’s face on them for each Christmas. She obviously didn’t’ care about the first one, but now she loves them all.
Pile of kids says
We purchase each kid a new ornament every year that is personalized for just for them with name/activity/special event/etc. My plan was to hang them on my tree until they are adults, and will have their own set (my oldest now has 23 ornaments), but now I’m not sure I can part with them!
Our daycare does a school-wide donation collection for teacher gifts that are somehow split up evenly among staff (I assume teachers get more than assistants, etc). I would like to be generous with this donation, but am wondering if I should give my kiddo’s teachers individual monetary gifts as well. What would you do?
I wouldn’t. Enjoy that you can give one donation and be done.
Agreed. You can give individual gifts at the end of the year if you feel so moved.
I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have an update session, so I’ll start. We really enjoyed the opera last month and ended up getting switched to the best seats I’ll probably ever have. The lad enjoyed it as well, and we all felt really hip seeing the opera everyone was talking about. (“The Exterminating Angel”)
The lad had his first babysitting job last night, and it went well. He babysat for the daughter of my new boss, so I am doubly relieved that it went well. She may call on him again sometime.
I think I might have posted a question on the main board ages ago about traveling to see family for the holidays and how that feels like too much on top of my church work on Christmas Eve. I am happy to report that I am much less cranky about it since 1) we did not have to travel for Thanksgiving (oh, bliss) and 2) it turns out I don’t have to serve in the morning on Christmas Eve (=serve at the usual number of Christmas Eve services).
Any updates from anyone else?
I think I posted about 8 or 9 months ago about a rough patch I was in: MRI for beck pain, husband traveling every week, and my dad (that I and my kids are very close to) unexpectedly diagnosed with a likely-terminal disease.
I ended up getting a few medical procedures done on my neck and the pain is gone. Husband still travels a ton, but we have a good system set up. Most importantly, my father was able to do an experimental treatment on his disease and, as a result, he is in full remission and has at least 10 more years before the disease will be an issue for him again.
Thanks to this board for the support – it was a really low day and everyone chimed in with a ton of emotional support.
What a wonderful update! So glad to hear that your pain is gone and that your father is doing better!
This is great news all around!
Rainbow Hair says
Wow what a lovely update!
I took the first steps toward finding a new daycare today. Bright side is the place I’m looking at is one I have used previously (switched to save some $$$) and is less than five minutes from my office.
Girl on Fire says
Not posting under my usual handle– but wanted to give this fantastic group of women an update. Still so grateful for all your support.
DH is totally done with the hospital and is now seeing a therapist and psychiatrist for meds. He is so emotionally stable and we have honestly gotten closer than we have in years. It’s amazing to continue to be surprised at how my formerly kind, emotionally generous partner is back from the depressed, angry one I’d been living with. We are both doing a ton of practicing different and new ways to communicate with each other. It’s hard but we are both really committed to the work. We’ve got a marriage counselor who we really like who is on maternity leave, but we agreed that it’s a good idea for DH to have a little more individual counseling before we jump back in. It feels good to have a solid plan.
Kiddo seems to have totally dealt with the emotional fallout of having been molested. Obviously there’s no way to know– she’s a toddler– but she’s had a few therapy sessions and we are meeting with the therapist this weekend to hear her thoughts on everything. All of the disorganization and emotional distress we saw when visiting my in-laws has faded. She has asked “are we going to [state where Uncle Dirtbag lives]?” a few times and my DH has sad no, and she has said, “good. I don’t want to go to [said state].” My husband’s sister, married to Uncle D, has actually broken her initial “never talk to me again” silence and is in contact with DH. She seems to be blaming me, which I can totally take. My husband is worried about his sister– in many ways she is Uncle D’s longest-term victim.
I’m still relishing holiday preparations and traditions this year. They are giving me a lot of joy. We’ve really renewed our family’s church involvement and attendance, which is also really sustaining me. And I’m gradually really getting my juice back at work. Trying to be kind to myself about being easily distracted and otherwise not totally on my A game.
So grateful for all of you this holiday season! Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate it!!
Mrs. Jones says
It sounds like you’re doing as well as could be hoped for. Good for you, and happy holidays to all.
So thrilled to hear this update! I’ve been thinking about you and your family and am truly amazed by how you’ve handled this. You are super mom!
So glad you’re getting your husband back! So glad for you.
Thanks for this update, I am happy to hear how you are doing. I wish you all the blessings of the season!
Thanks for the update! So glad to hear things are looking up for you.
Rainbow Hair says
Been thinking about you. I’m glad things are looking brighter. <3
Thank you for this update, and I’m so happy to hear of your progress on all fronts.
Also, please feel free to disregard my question if it is too personal, prying, or just something you’d prefer not to address, but how did you find out about Uncle D? Did your daughter volunteer the information to you, or did you notice behavior from her or towards her and ask her? I sometimes worry about the amount of time my children spend in daycare, where they are with third parties where I literally have no control over what is happening. I want to be vigilant and aware, and applaud you for being both of those things — and for also protecting your daughter as you have.
Dealing with other people's grief says
TRIGGER WARNING – – child loss —
So, I am having a hard time processing an acquaintance’s loss and have been in tears off and on for her, for the world in which a G-d allows this to happen, and for the potential for this to be me. This is someone I know through an organization – I don’t have a personal relationship with her and don’t live nearby. Her son died unexpectedly. He is the same age as one of my kids…the picture on the obituary looks like my kid (it’s a school picture of a grinning kindergartner). My heart is just shattering for this family.
But, I think my reaction is maybe not normal? I’ve been literally brought to ugly, can’t-breathe tears when I think of it (right now for example). I don’t cope with death very well, having thankfully managed to avoid it in my close circle of family and friends. I think I might have some anxiety? I am also very sensitive to books and films where bad things happen to people with whom I identify – I literally cannot finish them, as I seem to internalize or feel what is happening even though it is not actually happening to me.
Not sure what I’m looking for here, maybe just sharing thinking that if I unload this sadness it will make me feel better? (Which makes me feel awful, because this poor family has lost their child forever; how can they feel better?)
So….I think it is normal to ugly cry over the loss of an acquaintance’s child, and to feel that very deeply. A coworker lost her toddler last year, and the grief I felt was almost intolerable. I discovered that a friend’s daughter didn’t respond to an experimental treatment for a degenerative condition; she will die within the next 3 years. I’m struggling to work through the hurt of processing that. One of the Humans of New York pieces left me sobbing on the couch (a mother of a child who died of a horrible brain cancer).
Which is just to say – honor the feelings. They are normal. Lean into them, and push around at the discomfort. For some reason, I find it easier to manage the feelings if I name them out loud. My usual script is: “Gosh, this is heartbreaking. I am so scared to lose my child.” It’s OK if that makes you feel guilty or selfish or whatever. That’s all normal.
If the sadness lingers for a long time and makes it hard to carry out daily life, find a therapist for sure.
I absolutely think this is part of being a parent. Before I was pregnant I did not feel this way about acquaintances or even people in the news. The first time I felt that awful gut punch when I read about a horrible tragedy that had happened to a child, I was pregnant. I was paralyzed by it and didn’t know how to move on, I kept thinking about this awful thing and about it happening to my baby and ugh, it was bad. I have now come to terms with the fact that this happens as a parent and you are affected more deeply by horrors that happen to children around the same age as your own – it just feels so real and too awful.
So I do think it’s normal, and I think talking about is helpful as NewMomAnon describes above.
I would suggest you look up ring theory of kvetching. But it’s basically that you dump your feelings out, so away from those who are experiencing a trauma more directly than you (and they in turn dump on you or otherwise in the outer circles from them)…which it seems like you are doing by posting here. It might help with the feelings that you’re unloading and as you think of how awful the family must feel. Because I think you are feeling normal feelings and handling them in normal ways. Hugs.
CPA Lady says
I think it’s normal too. I read somewhere that grief is a mirror of the depths of our love, that we grieve as deeply as we love. I’ve been very fortunate to not have much loss in my life, until a dear friend died suddenly at the beginning of 2016. I still randomly think of him and I tear up immediately. It’s hard. Love is hard.
I recently posted on here that I ugly cried in my office for almost an hour after reading a particularly horrible story about a Rohingya child (who was the same age as my son) being murdered. I thought about that mom and that toddler on-and-off for almost a week. It happened to be shortly before I went back on Lexapro for anxiety, but I’m still not sure if my reaction was partially fueled by anxiety, or if it was a natural reaction to being a mother and reading about horrific things happening to a child. I think I posted about it on here because I needed to let some of those feelings out, and it did help to be reassured that others felt the same way.
I’m pretty sure I know what story you’re talking about and I ugly cried about it, too. I think we’re all pretty normal. Life and death and suffering just hit me harder with kids. Sometimes I think about how my mom loves me as fiercely as I love my kids, and it’s so so humbling. Or my dad was once the snuggly little kid my son is and he was just so devastated when his mom died. It’s easier to personalize things like that when you have something to first hand relate them to.
Dealing with other people's grief says
I know it’s a couple of days late but I wanted to thank all of you for replying. It is so true that all of these feelings are so intense after you become a mother. Thank you for the words of empathy and solidarity.
I’ll do an update! My life is stable and I love the stability. For the first time in maybe my entire life, I’ve had several consecutive years in which there are no huge decisions or dislocations. It’s amazing to have the emotional space to work on my own insecurities and anxieties, and to have the confidence to help kiddo as she learns to deal with her emotional life.
I’m having the busiest, most successful period of work since before getting pregnant. It’s stressful sometimes but overall I’m enjoying it. This won’t be our most elaborate Christmas season (kinda flying by the seat of our pants, tbh), but I’m finding little times to decorate or honor the season as we have the time and energy. My budget is balanced for the first time since separating from kiddo’s dad.
Kiddo started a Montessori last spring and she is blossoming – she sleeps through the night consistently (!!), and is so verbal that I sometimes laugh at her precocious vocabulary. I am surprised at the richness and comfort of our relationship; I didn’t expect that one could feel so close to a not-quite-four year old kid. I am excited for 2018!
Thanks for this update! My son went to Montessori for toddler and primary, and I thought it was great for him. it is nice to hear you sounding so happy!
Legally Brunette says
It’s amazing how even the 10 minute videos on Fitness Blender can be so brutal. Especially the abs ones. Congrats on getting it done!