At my house we call Lucas Papaw Ointment “Ms. Jerry’s cream.” When I was visiting my grandmother overseas, my daughter got a small scratch. Ms. Jerry, who cares for my grandmother, rushed over with a little red tube of cream I had never seen before. She insisted we keep the tube so we could apply it until the scratch healed. Within a few days, the scratch had completely disappeared.
Since then, I’ve used this ointment for small scratches and scrapes, cracked and dry skin, and ragged cuticles. Online commenters have found countless other topical uses.
Perhaps it’s my imagination, but it seems to work better than other creams for minor scratches and scrapes. My daughter recently face-planted on the playground and immediately asked if we could apply Ms. Jerry’s cream to her scratched-up nose and lips.
The ointment is available in various sizes and at several retailers. A 25-gram tube is $8.25 at Walmart and $7.90 at Amazon. Papaw Ointment
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And — here are some of our latest threadjacks of interest – working mom questions asked by the commenters!
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- 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…
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- I’m struggling to be compassionate with a SAHM friend who complains she doesn’t have enough hours of childcare.
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- Could I take my 4-yo and 8-yo on a 7-8 day trip to Paris, Lyon, and Madrid?
I’m in dire need of motivation tips.
I’m adjusting to full time solo mornings with my two kids (ages 3 and 1). We have our morning routine down pat but it still takes almost two hours between waking up and getting home after dropping them off at daycare.
When I get home I am struggling to start work (full time remote for now) because I’m tired after that 2 hour sprint.
Any tips to get going?
I suspect that very few people are starting substantive work the moment they clock in for the day. Think back to the days when we all worked in the office. You’d come in, stow your belongings, start up your computer, wait for it to apply updates, get a cup of coffee or a fill your water bottle, visit the ladies’ room, chitchat with a couple of people, and check e-mail and headlines before really digging in. Isn’t a little time spent easing into work a reasonable part of a WFH day as well?
Not in my office. Now that we are WFH, people feel fine with scheduling 8:30 meetings when in-office 9am meetings were typical. If we want the warm-up routine you described above, we need to get to the office early.
My office isn’t like this, but my husband’s is. But even earlier. Like in the 7:00 hour. It’s like because everyone is home, why wait. It is obnoxious.
Take a leaf from daycare – we all need a little transition time! What about a ‘fake commute’ for ten minutes? Give yourself permission to do a few things you would normally do to commute and settle in: read news headlines, walk around the block, sit down and look at your calendar and think about what you want to accomplish that day. I have the late kid-shift (pickup and dinner) and need transition time at the other end of my workday, so I do ten minutes of yoga or Pilates and my mood and back are happier for it.
Honestly, you’re doing great.
I have 3 kids (10 months, 2.5, 5) and my dropoffs include 2 schools. I also solo parent. My morning routine is a similar length.
What I do is I wait and eat a nice breakfast while answering emails when I get home. It’s a slow ease in to the day. I make a scrambled egg on a slice of toast and drink my coffee and it helps me ease into the day. Sometimes I put on YouTube clips from last night’s Late Night shows as a little bit of brightness for my morning. Ultimately, I start working at 8 and most of my staff/colleagues start at 8:30 or 9 so I give myself permission to just chill as I gear up for the day.
I also do solo mornings on week days and it also takes me almost 2 hours from wakeup to getting home after drop-off. You’re doing great. I block my work calendar as “out of office” until 9am. That leaves me at least 15 minutes most days between getting home and my first meeting. I make myself a cup of coffee, then go for a quick walk + listen to a podcast while it cools down. If I don’t have a 9am meeting, I extend the walk. Fresh air and sunshine wake me up more than anything, and really helps me reset and make the mental transition from mom-me to adult/work-me.
Even then, I would still say I don’t hit my stride at work until 10-10:30. I just try to plan my day so that I don’t have mentally taxing stuff first-thing.
No tips, but I have a similar age gap and am incredibly impressed that it only takes two hours! It takes us more than that just to get out the door.
OP here. Thanks for all the input. It’s good to know that I’m not alone! Thanks for the reminder to just take a quick breather when I get home to warm up for the day. Sometimes I feel like there is some genius life hack around the corner when the answer is to just take a few minutes for myself.
That IS the genius life hack for most problems.
God I remember those days. It felt like I had lived a full day before I even sat down at my desk. Crazy question: could someone else take them to daycare? I always found that really draining for some reason when I WFH with kids that age. What if you woke up an 30 min early and got ahead of the work for the day? Then you could feel better about easing into the workday. Definitely block that half hour after you get back from the daycare run if possible so you’re not jumping straight into a meeting. I also find that taking those early morning meetings while walking helps wake me up.
I find the transition from mom brain to work brain to be incredibly difficult. One thing I do is listen to NPR’s Up First or “NPR news now” (the latter is only about 5 minutes long and released throughout the day) to catch up on current events while I make my coffee. It helps feel like I’ve transitioned into the grownup world, without reading articles online. It reduces the risk I’ll start visiting news websites and accidentally waste two hours.
Yes to Up First! I was listening to this before work at the start of the pandemic. Thanks for the reminder to get back in the habit. It’s the perfect “fake commute” because I used to spend my real commute listening to NPR.
I don’t know whether it would be feasible for you, but if there is anything you could do differently to save time/effort in the morning, it’s worth doing that.
For example: In the evening after dinner, I set the breakfast table with everything non-perishable (peanut butter jar, plates etc). My son’s milk mug goes in the fridge. Water kettle gets filled, coffee filter inserted with coffee in the coffee maker etc etc. These are small things but in the morning when I’m in a dazed state, they save me time.
In daycare times (kiddo is not attending right now due to Covid), I would sometimes send my kid to bed with their daytime clothes ( joggers/leggings and a shirt), so there was no getting dressed in the morning anymore. Then, kid was using a bib for breakfast until age 4 or so.
How do you “call in sick” when working remotely? I’ve been struggling with really bad insomnia lately. It has an underlying physical cause, which will hopefully be fixed soon, but in the meantime there are some days I just need to rest after being up all night. In normal times I would just tell my boss I was sick and stay home, but I feel like the culture now is that sick people still work since we’re all at home and not doing any harm to anyone by “showing up” sick. So I’m not sure how to explain why I can’t be on calls even though I can think of a variety of medical issues (e.g., vomiting bug, migraine, etc) that could necessitate skipping calls even from home. I’m also worried that if I share something vague about not feeling well people will assume I have Covid. What’s the best way to communicate that I’m not contagious or seriously ill without oversharing specifics?
“Boss, I’m not feeling well and need to use a sick day today. It’s not covid. I should be back to work tomorrow, but I’ll let you know if that changes.” If you’re not going in to work physically I don’t think anyone will be as concerned about whether it’s Covid because you haven’t exposed a coworker. Also, I don’t think most bosses want a lot of details.
I have had employees take sick leave for migraines, etc. since we shifted to WFH. It’s not a big deal unless you make it one. I would just say, “I will be taking sick leave today. Don’t worry, not COVID!”
Yup, this. Some variation on, “I am not feeling well and going to take a sick day. Not covid!” I tell all my employees that I don’t need justification for sick days, and I don’t care if they just need a rest because Life. Mental health is health, our sick days don’t roll over year to year. I just need to know when you’re not available and anything that needs coverage when you’re out.
That’s terrible that there’s now a culture of working while sick! I’d work through sniffles, but if I’m feeling bad enough that I wouldn’t come to an office, I’m not going to work from home either.
I don’t think you have to justify or explain – whatever you would have said before is fine.
Right. There are plenty of illnesses where you can’t work. They don’t need details and shouldn’t push back on this.
No Face says
People at my office have sent emails stating, “I’m not feeling well today so I will be away from my computer for the day. Please call me at ____ if you really need me. I’ll be back online tomorrow.” Adjust the language based on your office’s culture.
I have yet to do this but even when the office was open I would just send an email saying “I need to take a sick day, I’ll check email when I can and expect to be back tomorrow” (or whatever). 75% of the time I wasn’t sick but my son was, and I don’t think anyone needs the details.
Agreed. I adopted this practice when I became a parent– just saying that you need to take a sick day, rather than saying “I am sick” or “my kid is sick” or “my kid has a Dr/s appointment” (because there are so many Drs appointments…). I have had nosy managers who will ask follow-up questions, but the good ones will respond with “Take good are, let me know if you need anything.”
I hear you that it is somewhat different with WFH– I myself will work a whole or half day with the sniffles whereas the same symptoms in-office I would take the day off. But I see that as a way not to force people to use their limited sick leave if they are up for it, not forcing people to work when they need rest.
I’ve struggled with insomnia all my life, and I often take an hour nap at lunch or go for a walk with coffee in the sunshine. No one I work with knows I do this, but it allows me to keep working and be productive. I couldn’t take days off every time I have a bad night. With a nap, the days and nights are less burdensome because I know I will get a chance to recharge.
I have insomnia but can’t nap during the day unless I have literally been awake all night. When I’m having a terrible night, sometimes it helps to tell myself that I’ll just take the next day off. That takes away the dread of having to work while exhausted, which often allows me to get enough sleep that I can work after all.
I’ve been wfh for years now, and when I was pregnant I pretty much had a standing 1 hour nap every afternoon around lunch. It made me feel so much better after those nights I couldn’t sleep.
Luckily I have a sofa in my office so I could hear my phone ring if something urgent came up.
My office culture has always been you can stay home if you’re sick, but you’re expected to work unless you’re in the hospital or otherwise literally incapacitated. Not great, of course, but biglaw is what it is. When I was feeling awful during the first trimester, I just took time where I could, napped and ignored emails for a couple hours (only when I was fairly sure there would be no emergencies). I don’t say anything about being sick now that we’re WFH. Sometimes I want to, to explain why I might be away for part of the day or less responsive than usual. But it seems weird, since the only difference for a sick day before was staying home, which we are all the time. I’m not sure what the answer is.
I was super sick for a few days in October (not COVID!) and legitimately had to “call in sick” because I physically could not, like, sit up for more than a few minutes without feeling completely drained. There was no way I was answering emails or sitting on the phone, I physically could not have done it. Just to help your mental frame that when you are home you should be working even if sick. Sick doesn’t just mean contagious, it also means not physically able to do what you normally do and needing to rest so you can get back to doing what you normally do as quickly as possible. I just said I was sick, taking a sick day(s), and that it wasn’t COVID (although you don’t even have to list the last part, honestly). Spare them details.
“I’m not feeling well, going to take a sick day to nip this thing in the bud. Plan to be back tomorrow, but will let you know if anything changes.”
I have a 3 year old and 1 year old and feel like I am completely drowning these days. Especially the 1.5 year old is so exhausting, he can’t express himself but has opinions, hits his sister when she’s watching tv etc. , and I spent my day trying to seperate them. I feel guilty I’m not enjoying his babyhood in the least.
I know it’s just how it goes and we are all tired and overwhelmed but I hate that I can’t feel more grateful because I am in the 0.1% in every way and all I feel is like my mind is foggy and dark and I feel sorry for myself a lot. It doesn’t help that on the days I go into the office, my female colleagues with children (all of which only have 1 kid around age 1 or less) seem rested and do not seem overwhelmed at all. I felt overwhelmed with just my daughter because she slept horribly for so long. It’s just lonely and I feel like the noise and anxiety of having the children around all the time is so grating.
Then I have older parents telling me oh its all hard and the idea that my children will never get more manageable makes me so so so sad,like I’ll never be as happy as I was before my kids even though I love them so much and wanted both more than anything in the world.
I love this community, because it’s the only place where people are honest it feels like.
I find 16 months – 22 months to be the hardest age and frankly, don’t really enjoy it.
Right now I don’t love every day. COVID has taken away from me so much support, so many fun things. I let my kids watch way too much TV because frankly – it’s their only escape. Right now, you’re not getting any breaks. You can’t send the kids to Grandma’s for the weekend to relax, nor does it feel ‘okay’ to take a week off to fly to Florida and recharge in the sun.
I love my kids and am somebody who likes parenting… but I really didn’t like 18 months. It’s a season and it’s okay for this one to suck.
Also, remember that sleep deprivation is literally considered to be torture. Don’t discount how terrible lack of sleep is.
My kids are the same distance apart and you are in the hardest time. I remember crying a LOT during that period. Your kids absolutely will get more manageable, those older parents are nutso. Right now you can barely leave the 1.5yo unsupervised because he will eat a toy or fall off a couch or throw something at his sister. But in a year (even less!) you’ll be able to let them play together while you sit in the kitchen without worrying. It gets SO MUCH BETTER, I promise. My kids are now 3 and 5 and I am able to actually cook a full dinner while they play after school, and clean up the dinner before they go to bed. And sometimes they sleep til 7am. But when I was at your stage I was waking up at 5:30 every morning to a crying kid, and eating frozen pizza for dinner every night. The house was a mess constantly.
Yeah my kids are 2 and 4 (like barely…just had bdays in Q4). It is incredible how much different it is vs 6-12 months ago. I’m sure it’s all hard but I want to offer you hope! I for sure think it’s easier now. My two run off and play together, I can leave them alone for a half hour while I have a call. It will get better, and you’re probably looking at months not years before it does!
My son is 8. Yes there are still hard times but nothing like toddler and preschool years. It is hard in different ways that are less physically exhausting and easier to take a break from. A friend said her therapist told her to try to find good moments, and that has been good advice for me. You don’t have to enjoy every minute–there’s nothing fun about a lot of parenthood–but savor and be grateful for those rare minutes when you are snuggling with one and no is crying. Those are what older parents are remembering, not the hours of lonely nights or scraping poo off the wall. If you can find a good moment here and there, you are doing great.
No Face says
My kids are 4 and 1, and my little one is SO ACTIVE. My oldest wasn’t, so this is my first time dealing with this. It is exhausting. The one thing that has really helped me is to go to bed very, very early (7:30 or 8) at least twice a week. I used to stay awake because after bedtime is my free time, but I realized that large volumes of sleep improved my life more than watching tv with my husband. I can’t recommend it enough!
Also, I am an expert at looking well-rested and in control when I am a zombie after a period where I traveled frequently for work. It’s just coffee and concealer.
So Anon says
I don’t have specific advice because, honestly, when I look back on those ages with my kids, what I remember is a blur of exhaustion and it feeling like a herculean task to do anything. I remember going to an off-site at work, and the presenter asking a bunch of different questions all around the theme of what could improve our days, and my answer was always “more sleep” while others were talking about improved processes in the office. My first was also a horrid sleeper, so I didn’t enter parenthood with my youngest exactly well rested.
What I can say, is that it does get better from where you are right now. My kids are now 7 and 9. I remember my kids starting to hit various milestones that just made life easier in the few years following where you are, and these are the milestones that aren’t in baby books. It is things like being able to buckle or unbuckle into car seats, help carry their own stuff, or simply follow a bit of logic and direction. And then, they start turning into their own people, which is just so much fun and awesome to watch. Yes, there are days where they still drive me batty, but now I can generally tell them that I need space and go to my own room for a bit to escape the noise. My oldest’s sense of humor cracks me up on a regular basis, and my daughter loves to cook with me. They give me space to do yoga, and my daughter was absolutely rapt by the inauguration yesterday. It does get better. I promise.
Boston Legal Eagle says
So I personally hate it when parents of older kids say to enjoy these moments of small kids, they go so fast, or that they wish they were still in these times. I get that they probably miss those sweet moments and innocence of little kids needing and wanting only you, but they are no longer in the trenches so they’ve forgotten just how hard it is to be “on” all the time, with little people who just take take take and when parents feel like the rest of their lives are being sidelined. Those of us in the present have to do this every single day, every single night, and of course we love our children and want the best for them, but it’s hard! And in a pandemic where getting outside help is not allowed/frowned upon? Forget it. Parenting was never meant to be a two/one person sport. We need our village.
I guess my point is that you’re not alone, you don’t need to enjoy every minute now, and agree with others that it will get even marginally better very soon! My youngest is only 2 but him having language helps so so much. And once they start sleeping better? Wow, you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.
Hugs, hang in there, come back here to vent anytime. We get it.
As the parent of a teenager, I would never say those things to a parent of young kids. Sure, I’m sad about all the missed opportunities to have done it “better,” and sometimes I wish I could have a do-over, but parenting small children is incredibly demanding and we shouldn’t pretend it isn’t. Sleep is a huge part of it. If you’re not getting solid sleep, because your kid is a poor sleeper or for some other reason, your quality of life will be absolutely destroyed.
Hang in there, OP. You WILL get sleep and things WILL get easier, sooner than you think.
+1. I am in the fun years, and while I sometimes miss the little kid phase, I would never want to go back. It’s HARD. Parenting older kids comes with its own challenges, but I personally find them more manageable and for sure less physically draining.
I just want to give you a big internet hug. I’ve been there, and those are hard ages, even without all the background stress of “these uncertain times.” They really are. I want you to know there is nothing wrong with not enjoying every moment with your kids. You don’t need to feel guilty for that. Raising kids is hard, noisy, exhausting work sometimes, especially in the phase you’re in. In my experience, though, it will get easier! My youngest is 4, and the kids will play together without my involvement for hours. Yeah they’ll go in and out of the house and track mud all over the floor, or turn their room into a cluttered disaster area, which is frustrating in its own way, but it’s a lot mentally easier than refereeing every second.
Gently, I think you might want to talk with a therapist. You sound like you’re in a dark place, especially thinking that you’ll never be as happy as you were before kids again, and talking it through could help you reframe those negative thought patterns. I struggled with similar feelings when I had kids about those ages, and a few sessions of therapy helped me work through feeling blah, and feeling guilty for feeling blah when I objectively had it all. For me, there’s a difference between being carefree — which I was before kids and I can’t see myself being again at least until they’re adults — and being happy. I do find being a parent deeply fulfilling even when it’s a grind, and that makes me happy in a way that I wasn’t before I had kids. I hope you get there, too.
i’m sorry you are feeling this way, but i’m glad you posted this today bc i often feel this way too. sometimes i feel like i must be wired differently than others bc i’m exhausted/overwhelmed working only part-time and parenting my 2.5 year old twins. i don’t have a big super demanding job and we also have a nanny for when i’m at work so i don’t need to do daycare drop offs or pick ups. DH does have a big job so I do a lot of solo parenting, which i used to dread when they were babies, now i don’t dread it quite as much, but still don’t really like it, and sometimes wish i had a bigger job and earned more money so we could have our nanny work more. half the comments people make are just not helpful. i had severe PPD/PPA so at the beginning having people tell me to ‘soak up every minute bc it goes by so fast’ was not helpful. now of course i look back and do miss some things about when they were babies or say things like ‘little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.’ i think each kid is different, each parent is different and people have more/less trouble at different stages. last night as i took my twins to the bathroom 9 times in a two hour period and one still had 2 mini accidents, they each wanted individual attention from mommy, DH wasn’t home, i was trying to clean up from dinner, etc. – i thought i was going to lose my mind. we also hope to move from our apartment to a house this year and i was thinking of how am i going to go up and down and all around a house and how that is going to be so much more work, and then thought about how others seem to do this all the time and make it look like a piece of cake
You aren’t wired differently at all! There’s nothing relaxing about parenting 2.5yos or a 3yo and 1yo. Maybe enjoyable sometimes, but definitely not relaxing. Mine are 2.5 and 5.5, they actually play together enough for me to make a full dinner on weekdays, and when I was solo with them all day on Monday it was still not remotely restful for me. Not mentally, not physically. Sometimes I just go to bed immediately after kid bedtime and attempt to sleep all night.
Your Older Parent friends are stupid. My kids are 2.5, 4.5 and 7 (daycare, PK and 1st). I have 3 separate schools, a pandemic, and a myriad of activities (in masks!). I’m on the PTO and on a community board and I work 80%. Also, it’s a pandemic.
My life is STLL so much easier than when I had a newborn, a 2 year old, and a 4.5 year old (daycare and PK). Yes, older kids = older kid problems, but older kids are also fun, can use their words, generally sleep through the night, and can wipe their own butts. In normal times they can also be left with babysitters and can have sleepovers at grandparents’ and friends’ houses!
When my 3rd was born, DH and I knew we were in for Dark Times. We kept telling ourselves “in 2 years, things will be better!” Then, “in 18 months, things will be better!” “in 1 year!” “in 6 months!” And you know what? Here we are, 2.5 years later. It’s great! Yes, they fight and make messes and are LOUD all the time. But I went skiing with my older two last weekend while DH stayed home and played with our youngest. My (in our bubble) parents had all 3 for a sleepover over MLK weekend and DH and I folded laundry, then drank a bottle of wine outside in front of the fire.
Once you get over the hump of your kids needing you so much physically (getting them dressed, diapers, help showering etc) and once they all sleep through the night it’s a whole different world. I look different: I’m back to my prepreg weight, my hair is generally washed, I got highlights, I have clothes that fit again, I do not have to schlepp a diaper bag everywhere, and most nights, I get to sleep for 6 straight hours.
You’ll get there.
Thank you for this comment. My boys are 4 and 5, and they are so so so much easier than 2-3 years ago (OP – it absolutely DOES get better, don’t listen to those who say it’s this hard forever). I have moments of “what have I done” getting pregnant with #3 and disrupting what’s become a pretty good situation, considering. I just need to remember the hardest times are limited, and our life will be great in its new way even though it will be different.
Mine are 2, 3.5 and 5 and agree with this. Suddenly, my five year old goes to sleep – usually before the end of his book. It’s effing magic. My 3.5 year old seems to be turning a corner from her temper tantrums basically being a day-ender. Someday the 2 year old will stop crawling into my bed to sleep, right?
All of this to say, the baby/toddler/pre-k years are tough, but I’m optimistic that it gets better and I see glimmers of light every so often.
I have a 4.5 and 7 yo and in the past few months my kids have hit a stage where they will happily go play together for 3+ hours at at time. Do you know what I would have given for 3 hours of quiet when my kids were 1 and 3.5? Hahahah. It’s miraculous. I feel like I have weekends again. After a few months of catching up on backlogged cleaning and organizing, I’ve actually taken up hobbies again.
In short, the tunnel feels long now, but there is a light at the end. All kids grow up and eventually become less needy.
I posted a very long post about how much better it will get, but it’s in moderation for some reason. Basically, this.
my kids are over 8 years apart, so I feel like I have some perspective from going through it and coming out the other end before doing it a second time.
KIDS DO GET EASIER. Yes, older children come with some difficulties, but they are different difficulties. It isn’t such a slog. They can get dressed, put their shoes on, brush their teeth, brush their hair, get out the door, etc. pretty much on their own. They can heat themselves up some easy mac or make a bowl of cereal if things get crazy and they’re hungry. They can get a glass of water if they’re thirsty instead of having a meltdown. They have the attention span to watch a whole movie. Eventually, they can get lost in a book. They can go to a restaurant and you don’t have to worry they’ll throw a fit (is it as fun as without a kid? no. but if you’re on vacation and want to try the food somewhere, you can.) It gets less stressful to have a babysitter, because they can call you if something is up. They can sit on an airplane and not cry or wriggle around or try to run down the aisles or kick seats. You can take them in the grocery store without them catching noro or the flu because they just HAD to press their face on the cart and the conveyor belt and everything else. You can drop them off at birthday parties and not have to linger with other parents. And other people can drop their kids off with you!
A 1 year old and a 3year old sounds like A LOT. I can’t even imagine. BUT, some day, you’ll have TWO kids who can do all of the things I described above. It’s going to be great!!
I only have one three year old, but she is SO HARD. I have friends with multiple kids that seem so much more rested and relaxed than me, and I think the difference comes down to sleep, activity level and stubbornness. DD sleeps the same hours we do (11PM -8am, often with a middle of the night wakeup) without showing any appearance of being tired (very low sleep needs, just like her grandfather) and is very active (and DH has health issues that make him unable to be very active). If we could bottle the energy she had we would be trillionaires. She is also incredibly stubborn (comes by it honestly) so every single thing she doesn’t want to do is a major battle (and yes, we pick our battles, but it is still exhausting). I have a big job, just got a promotion, and very much “look” like I have it together, but I can assure you that I do not. I am bone deep tired on a fundamental level that makes the first trimester hit like a truck exhaustion (heretofore the worse I had experienced) seem like a breeze. I can keep my job together, but I can’t even manage to sort mail or fold clothes on a regular basis (DD doesn’t even bother looking in her drawers anymore, she just goes to laundry mountain). I cling to the notion that my kid will eventually sleep through the night, at some point go back to in person school and will eventually be of an age where we can throw her into high energy sports, and life will be so much easier even with big kid problems. Until then, I cling on to the tiniest thread that keeps my whole life from unraveling.
I posted above about my 3 kids. My middle is 4.5 and she is the most challenging of all my kids to parent. She is extremely similar to how you describe your daughter. Do you have any friends that you’d be comfortable bubbling up with to allow playdates (indoor, or outdoor, masked, etc)? Does she do any kind of activities that will give her an outlet? Mine LOVES to perform and has loved musical theater and dance. She HATES zoom so we waited until she could do things in person. Also, I’ve found a lot of relief/success in delegating work to her. You don’t have time to fold laundry? Task your kid with doing it. All 3 of mine LOVE that chore. They can also empty the DW. My middle used to fight about food– oh my god I’m tensing up just recalling the ENDLESS BATTLES. But once I started letting her help menu plan and put her in charge of making her own lunch (with supervision) the battles disappeared. If she argued about the dinner *she chose* or *she helped make* I just reminded her that it was her decision and that was that.
Re sports, there are things for the 3-4 group where I am! I’m in a cold state where it’s currently snowing, but so many programs have moved outside. Our 3 y/o neighbor friend plays outdoor soccer in mittens. My kids are learning to ski and ice skate now. We go on snow hikes. I park the cars in the driveway and close the garage doors and let my kids bike and scooter around the garage or kick balls around. My older one does (indoor) tennis but they do clinics for kids 3+.
When the pandemic is the vet, so go her up for swimming lessons.
Especially if it’s in a cold pool she’ll burn way more calories doing that then she’ll be able to in soccer for several years.
I have no advice other than to say I see you. My kids are similar ages and it’s getting so hard. I feel like these ages would be hard no matter but with covid cutting off any outside support it’s brutal. When I go into the office, I’m frustrated because my my mostly middle aged male partners with kids out of the house and wives who stay gone haven’t had their lives disrupted. They might be annoyed they get asked to wear a mask but otherwise have lived their lives as normal the past year. This community is the only place I feel seen these days.
I love you all. Literally printing this out and putting on my night stand to reference nightly to hang in there.
This thread is so helpful for me. I am the poster above looking for motivation tips after 2 hours of childcare before work. This is a good push to just keep going. My 3 year old is immensely easier than my 1 year old and I know within another 12-18 months my youngest will be easier to handle physically.
If I can get that 3 hours of quiet time on a weekend like the poster above says, that is really something to look forward to!
3 year old and 9 month old and I feel your comment deep in my soul. I adore being a mom but I also fantasize about running away from home at least once a day. The pandemic has made things infinitely harder because much of my parenting support has evaporated. I broke down in tears this week after a rough work day because everything just felt like SO MUCH and like I would never get a break again and as though things would always be this hard.
I made an appointment with a therapist next week. I’m not sure if I truly have PPD or if I just need an outlet to vent to (other than sniping at my husband or random crying jags when things feel truly overwhelming). I try to remind myself that it feels hard because it is hard, and that I can also do hard things.
I don’t know if my comment really has a point. I just wanted to share that your feelings are valid and let you know you’re not alone in counting down the days until your kids are older and easier.
Working late says
Y’all I’m in a terrible pattern of working late after bedtime, then being so exhausted the next day that I have trouble working so I have to work late after bedtime … repeat.
Pre-kids I got the most done in the late afternoons and evenings before leaving work, but now that that’s not an option anymore, I’m struggling. I don’t know why I get so much more done at night, I just do.
I know the answer is get your ish together already. Maybe I need more caffeine, like an IV of caffeine. Or someone to stand over me and yell “Focus!!!!” all day long.
Does anyone else do this?
Yes! The only way I know of to snap out of the cycle is to let things go un-done and go to bed early one night as a way to reset the system.
Yes. I start feeling most productive at like 3pm, and now that I’m wfh and my kids get home at 3:30, it’s just… impossible. In the office, I used to be able to crunch a lot of stuff in 3-5:30 before daycare pickup but now my “productive” time is constantly interrupted with kid drama. So if I have important stuff that needs focus, I do it after kid bedtime. I try to take it easy the next morning to compensate. Basically I just unofficially shift my work hours. I keep notifications on, but do stuff around the house, or read a book, or do some exercise. That way I’m not working 12 hours a day, I’m just working half a day in the evening instead of the morning.
How much control do you have over your workday? Are you able to shift your hours so that your most energetic and productive hours line up better with your work hours?
Husband and I both wfh, fairly flexibly, and have opposite energy patterns. I’m a lark, he’s more energetic and productive between 2 and 6. So he does the morning drop-off and the slow ease into work around 9. I start at 7.30 or 8 and my brain shuts off by 4 so I go pick up the kids.
Working late says
Unfortunately not a ton as I am in the office (law firm). I don’t have set hours or anything and sometimes I come in kinda late – but rolling in at 11am every day or something would definitely be frowned upon.
My 4 year old son fractured his tibia this past weekend skiing. He’s now in a full leg cast. Any advice for kiddos who are immobile, etc.? I feel like he’s watching too much TV and we play games and what not when we can. Thanks in advance!
When my then 2YO cousin had one, my mother got her a remote control toddler car which was a huge hit. At 4, he can probably even control an “adult” one. Not sure if there are baby drones or remote control planes that might provide entertainment too (if you are OK with things flying inside your house).
Ugh, oh no. Did he have a bad fall? How unlucky!
Trying to think of things that don’t require a parent… If youre not already into Legos, now is a great time to introduce simple Lego kits, which are done on a table top. One of my kids is super into arts and crafts and will paint or make bead necklaces or play with playdough for a good while. Puzzles, jenga, domino rally, connect 4…
I’m not sure that there is too much TV when your kid has a broken leg. He’ll only be in a cast for a short (I’m sure it will feel very long), well-defined period of time. What you do now to cope doesn’t mean that will be the house rule forever. Maybe a marble maze type toy would be fun? Put him in a large cardboard box and let him draw / paint the inside of the box (can be more messy than a piece of paper but still contained).
So Anon says
Agree. When I had a major foot injury when I was little (um, 6-8, maybe?), my mom was staunchly anti-gaming systems, but she went out and bought the first gameboy for me because what else was I going to do? After I recovered, she quickly went to a rule of the gameboy being for car trips, but it was awesome when I could literally do nothing else. If you are looking for other ways to entertain, I would search for ideas on ways to keep kids entertained on a plane because it will have similar restrictions. Melissa and Doug have great reusable sticker books and water coloring books. Magnatiles, Picasso tiles, and tinker toys are still a hit with my kids at 7 and 9.
And in a pandemic?! Embrace whatever works. I broke both my legs and my left arm twice (sturdy yet accident prone child) and I would just say that especially if this was fairly minor break, he will probably start getting around better and be terrifyingly mobile soon. I remember doing handstands on my arm while it was in cast…
FWIW, my niece just broke her leg and my sister pushed the hospital system for a kid sized walker. It has helped a lot. She’s able to hop down the street or participate a bit in outdoor family outings.
I agree that you can definitely do screen time if that works. But if you’re looking for other ideas: 1) audiobooks, 2) teach him to braid, 3) Melissa & Doug sticker books, 4) get him comfy at a low table with play dough, legos, and other sensory/manipulatives, 5) my favorite baby store recently started carrying art supplies by Ooly – lots of fun stamp markers, scratch-off books, etc.
Also he may not be immobile for much longer – due to a congenital anomaly my younger sibling spent most of their childhood in and out of casts of one kind or another, including body casts, and after the initial pain dissipated they always figured out how to hop/scramble along pretty well. If he’s not doing it out himself you can ask for OT/PT help in figuring out ways to help him be safely mobile – e.g. a scooter board (he’d lay on his belly). Use plastic bread bags to help keep the cast dry and clean-ish if he plays outside… although it’s going to start to stink soon no matter what you do.
My mom had a seamstress put in an extra velcro panel up the outside leg of sweatpants so they could be velcroed over the casted leg, if you can’t find pants that keep them warm and decent while out and about – not super stylish but very practical.
My 5 year old enjoys activities like scratch art, color by number, mazes, dot-to-dot, etc. He also likes doing cheap crafts from Michael’s. All of these are pretty self-contained and don’t require much setup or cleanup by a parent. I’d be totally OK with “too much” TV time or time with iPad games or whatever, though!
How do we feel about maternity shoots? I am pregnant with my first after 8 long years of TTC and a bumpy IVF journey – so really treasuring being pregnant and want to capture the moment. But I normally hate taking pictures and not the type to post endless photos of myself on social media. For the mamas out there that have gotten maternity shoots, were you glad you did or recommend against it? The alternative for me would be to take some informal pictures at home on our own. TIA!
Go for it! says
You should do it! Unless the money is an issue I can’t imagine you’ll ever regret doing it, whereas you might regret not doing it.
Are there people out there who think maternity shoots are silly? Probably. Some people have opinions about everything.
I don’t have maternity photos, but I’ve never regretted any professional photos of my family/kids. It’s annoying to have to go to all the trouble of getting ready, etc but it’s always been worth it.
Counterpoint: I have regretted it every time I’ve hired a professional photographer, including my wedding photographer. I have never in my life had a professional photograph taken that was flattering. It’s not just the hassle and expense, it’s the ego blow of seeing yourself look hideous and realizing that even a professional photographer couldn’t make you look good.
Do whatever makes you happy!
I didn’t do a maternity shoot (and first baby was born in October, also IVF), but took a sh*t ton of bump selfies and I love looking back at them.
Anon Lawyer says
Do it! I didn’t do maternity shots but did do newborn shots and absolutely adore the pics of me with my newborn, plus the other “cheesy “baby poses.
i did one and i am glad i did. we had twins, i knew i wasn’t going to be pregnant again, and a friend who had a baby 9 months before me told me she was so glad she did. i never posted them on socialmedia or anything. i have one framed in our home and the others are part of the photo book i made for the year i was pregnant. i actually in retrospect really wish i had taken weekly bump pics bc with twins you just get so so big
Do it if you want! Kids love to see pictures of when they were in your tummy. Also, congratulations!
I’ve seen some gorgeous ones lately of women out in a field somewhere looking like an earthy goddess. I never had them done because the bulk of my “cute” portion of pregnancy was when no one knew what was going on with covid. I remember I saw my family somewhere around 12 weeks and then not again till 32ish weeks and my brother just laughed when he saw me because the transformation was so dramatic. I wish I had documented things more along the way.
Congrats on your pregnancy and hope you do find a nice way to celebrate!
I’m not at all a maternity shoot type person, but I wish I had done one- my husband is terrible at taking pictures so I don’t have any nice baby bump pictures for any of my three pregnancies. It makes me sad because it’s such a fleeting time and I would have loved to have it documented. Plus if you have a shoot, your partner can be in the pictures too! I’m not at all a sunset and flowy dress photo shoot person so probably would have done something very low key.
I had maternity photos taken and I would 100% recommend. I look forward to showing them to my daughter when she gets older. I see them as a gift to myself, to document that time in my life, and as a gift to my daughter. I didn’t post many of the photos to social media but I value them as sort of an heirloom.
It was also a great chance to get to know a local family photographer and get familiar with their style. We later had the same photographer take our newborn photos and 1 year afterwards. It’s so much easier find a family photographer you click with and get on their calendar before being in the new mom fog.
I didn’t do maternity pics and think they can be really cheesy, but I’d probably do them in your shoes. We do professional family pics 1-2 times per year (even in COVID) and I have never regretted it even when the photos didn’t come out quite as well as I’d hoped. Even the ones where I thought I looked bad I was able to look back them and realize I looked fine. I take all the photos in my house, so it’s really nice to have some photos with me in them.
Nanny Q says
For those who have/have had a nanny, how much do you increase pay each year? Please indicate if you pay on or off books when you respond. We are hiring our first nanny (on books due to jobs) and want to know what to expect for subsequent years.
We pay on the books and after 5 years, we’ve only had one nanny last longer than a year. But we gave her a $2 raise after a year (but we also added a third child to her workload during that time).
We ended up increasing our nanny’s health insurance subsidy in a subsequent year, as she newly was in need of coverage for her husband. In short, her overall compensation went up, but her pay stayed the same.
Raised by a dollar each year – pay on the books. She’s been with us for five years so this has been expensive but worth it for us!
dollar a year, plus a two dollar raise when we had our second. We pay on the books as well.
Going on our third year of nanny employment. We do a dollar each year + a $2 increase when we had our second. We also do cash bonuses for holidays, her birthday, and her employment anniversary. Expensive, but worth it because she’s amazing.
Any tips for handling when you and your partner aren’t at the same place in terms of wanting another child? We have a delightful 3 year old and I know I want another. My husband isn’t sold on another, but a lot of his hesitation is because of how hard life is right now. I don’t want to start trying until after we’ve both received the Covid vaccine, and we’re not in any high risk groups, so it’ll be several months. I’m not worried about age/ fertility right now. Basically, I’m thinking “when we have another” and he’s thinking “if.”
Things are so crazy and weird right now that since you want to wait until post-vaccine to TTC anyway, I would probably just table the discussion until then. He might feel differently when the world is more normal or at least you have the vaccine and feel safer going out into the world, especially since you said “a lot of his hesitation is because of how hard life is right now.”
If you still can’t reach agreement, I feel like the person who wants fewer kids generally wins because ideally both parents should really want another child before they add one. That said, since it’s you that would be pregnant, nursing and generally bearing the brunt of early motherhood, I think you can have more room for cajoling than if the roles were reversed. I’ve never seen it end well when a reluctant woman gets pregnant because her husband desperately wants another, but when it’s the dad who’s less eager for another it usually turns out fine once the kid is actually here.
+1 to all of this. Of course your husband doesn’t want another kid right now! Don’t push it, since you are not ready to TTC.
I was the one who didn’t want another. My husband wanted one or two more and held out hope that I’d change my mind, but he never pressured me to discuss it and went along with getting rid of baby furniture etc. Keeping his mouth shut about another baby was one of the kindest things he’s ever done for me, and if he hadn’t I’m not sure our marriage would have survived. Eventually he came to agree with me that we couldn’t really manage another.
I was the one-and-done one before we had our first and my husband was sure he wanted two. After we had a baby he was absolutely against a second and I was more open to it (although still fine with stopping at one). He’s an incredible dad and absolutely adores our kid and being a dad, but I guess he just didn’t realize how much work parenting would be.
so for better or worse DH and I do not have to have the one more kid discussion bc we weren’t sure if we wanted one or two, but got twins, so the decision was made for us. that being said, when this has been talked about on here, people have often said that you should ultimately defer to the spouse who wants fewer children. it sounds like your DH’s mind still isn’t made up yet and if a lot of his hesitation is because of how hard life is right now and you wouldn’t start trying until you have the vaccine, if age/fertility aren’t a concern, can you just table it for a year? hopefully by this time next year things should be much better so your DH can see what parenting is like not during a pandemic?
Yeah, I’ve deferred to my one-and-done husband and will turn 40 soon.
And I honestly am perpetually broken hearted. I don’t like my career, can’t figure out how to change it. Can’t move because of my husband’s job and family and only have one kid.
I honestly wish I’d never dated him and had a do-over for all of my thirties. But it really feels like it’s settle or die. So
as someone who also doesn’t really like their career that much and can’t move because of their husband’s job I totally get that, but gently, you sound a bit depressed and like you have a lot of resentment towards your husband. i know it is often recommended on this board, but i’d encourage you to seek therapy, perhaps both individual and couples.
Can you have an honest conversation about what is holding him back and what is driving you to want another? If it’s logistics, those can be sorted; if it’s the drudgery of pandemic life, that will end; if it’s he’s ready to “get back to an adult life”, a baby now would set that back just a few extra years. It will at least give you some insight into where he’s struggling and how you both can adjust your life a little to have some breathing room. And at the same time, if he better understands this is a deep longing you have, and is very important to you, he may be able to join you in that mindset.
I am definitely the spouse who will want more kids. My husband and I have agreed to take it one at a time. I am of the mindset that little kids are tough, but once they hit five it gets much easier and we will be glad to have a big, boisterous, close family in the future. No guarantees, of course, but it’s important to take a long view…and because I’m the pregnant one who handles more of the kid duties, I also feel like I should have a bit more pull. It would be very hard for me to feel like my family isn’t complete and have my husband dismiss that.
I disagree that, as a rule, you should defer to the person who wants fewer kids if you, the child-bearing parent, want another. What specifically is your husband’s concern about “how hard life is right now”? finances? time? your first child has high needs? pandemic-specific challenges? What does he need in order to feel comfortable with the idea of another child? If you’re waiting for the vaccine anyway, you have some time to make changes if you need to. I would never advocate having a child that your partner adamantly didn’t want, but “not sold on” seems like there’s a way to get to yes here, you just need to find it (if that’s important to you).
My husband was very iffy about three and I firmly wanted a third. Ultimately, his concern was that we wouldn’t have enough time and energy to parent three kids, mostly due to a career change I was pursuing. Basically, he felt like he could support either me being in school or the third kid, and left the choice to me. I chose the baby and we’re both glad I did. DH drew the line at a 4th kid, and I gave in on that one.
I’m the one who said defer to whoever wants fewer kids and I don’t think we really disagree – I meant if they absolutely can’t reach agreement after lots of discussion, e.g., if he “adamantly didn’t want” a second, as you put it. I agree that her husband is not at that point, and since his concerns seem to have a lot to do with the pandemic, which is a temporary situation, it seems likely he will agree to a second kid when things improve. I was not suggesting she give up now on having a second.
This. If OP really wants another kid, she needs to back off until the family is vaccinated and life is back to some semblance of normalcy. The way she describes the situation, her husband is still somewhat open to considering the idea in the future. If she pushes too hard now while life is a mess, he’ll tip over into the “no way” column and it will be a lot harder to bring him back. I understand that OP wants to have certainty that they will TTC in the future, but the situation calls for patience.
If after life returns to normal he is strongly against another child, that’s when OP needs to make her peace with being one and done.
OP here– it’s probably too late in the day, but I wanted to say thanks for the perspectives. I think the obstacles for him are covid-specific and should resolve eventually. I just need to be patient
What are his concerns? I think our day to day lives and the actual work of parenting will feel much happier and easier when we can outsource more childcare and household help, see friends, return to our hobbies, have date nights, put our kids in activities etc. But I do think some people will have longer term shifts in perspective from the pandemic. Even though it’s hopefully a temporary situation, it was a harsh reminder that the lifestyles we pretty much all took for granted before can be taken away from us at any minute, so I can see why someone who is already not enthusiastic about going back to the baby phase of life would feel even moreso post-pandemic. I was always pretty sure I was one and done and although the beginning of the pandemic made me really question that (lockdown was unbelievably hard on my extroverted only child, and on me – we both cried pretty much every day), now that my child is back in daycare and thriving and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines, I’m very sure I don’t want more. I’m desperate to get back to something resembling pre-pandemic life with tons of travel, time for my own interests, and adventures and outings with an increasingly independent 3 year old, and that would all be set back so much by a pregnancy and new baby. So I can understand that kind of thinking as well. I think you can talk about this stuff now without pressuring him, although I agree with others there’s a chance his feelings could shift once things are actually normal-ish again. Talking about post-pandemic life is still fairly hypothetical for now.