Tis the Season


In only a months time I will have been at this Stay at Home Mom and Wife business for two and a half years. It’s not a ton of time, but it’s certainly enough to expect yourself to be solidly up to speed, no? I understand that it takes time to get your footing and that it’s unreasonable to expect that everything will be smooth if only you work at it really.really hard, but come on. Two and half years.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about all of this lately. Thinking about what seems to come easily for me and the areas in which I fall short.  How to get better at the things that I just can’t seem to get better at. Tis the season for intention setting after all.

The hardest thing about staying home with young children is that it is E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G. This of course is hardly news. Along with how vaguely magical it is, this is what people seem to say the most about parenting. What I hadn’t really considered when I was imagining all of this pre-Yogi was that there is really no way to imagine it. Not the magic and not the exhaustion. Two and a half years in, I have much more clarity about both. What I don’t have is a way to manage the latter.

I’m all in with this family and that is precisely where I want to be. My wife, Yogi and Monkey are at the top of my list, but I must find a way to get myself and my needs somewhere in the vicinity. Looking out for myself when someone I love needs something (anything) has never been my strong suit and that is really hurting me now. Little people always need something. Unfortunately, accepting the scraps (of which there are so very few) of my own attention is doing nothing but contributing to my exhaustion. I MUST find a way to carve some space for myself somewhere.

At the moment there is no clear way to do this for a few reasons:

1. Monkey, the self-appointed co-sleeper, begins to stir around 5am and if no one is in bed with him that boy is UP. Translation – mornings are not an option

2. Yogi and Monkey both nap in the afternoon, but not at the same time. Translation – I haven’t had a break at nap time for the last 7 months

3. The only time I can find to wrap up chores from the day is when my wife gets home from work and takes over with the boys. Translation – The small window between her arrival and the beginning of the bedtime routine is usually off the table

4. Two Mommies are really needed for bath and bedtime. Translation – I think you’re getting the hang of this

5. By the time the boys are both in bed, I am spent and it’s the first moment in the day that I can focus on my wife. Translation – I’m doomed

Likely owing to the optimism of the new year, I’m feeling less doomed than usual. There is no objective reason to be optimistic about the situation, but I’m doing it anyway. There must be a way to find some Mama time in all of this and I’m committed to finding it. Anyone have any creative ideas?



5 thoughts on “Tis the Season

  1. Hmmm. I’ve tried really hard to get my boys napping at the same time for at least a little while.

    What about the weekends when your wife is home? Every other weekend get out for a bit on your own?

    Bedtime/bath time may feel like it has to be done by two people and while its certainly easier, it’s not a must. You could get out at night once a month for sure!

  2. Babysitter? I don’t know if your finances can handle it, but even if you find someone to stay at home for 2-3 hours while one or both boys nap (a college student maybe?)…you could go out and do something. Otherwise, as jessie suggested, you might need to switch off with your wife for a block of time on the weekend. Like every other Sat or Sun morning or afternoon is “your” time.

  3. Yeah, I had the same thought as Strawberry. Would it be possible to get a babysitter? Two afternoons a week for 2-3 hours each time would be a minimal financial burden (4-6 hours total per week) but those chunks of you time could offer you disproportionate rewards. I don’t know if you have access to any local colleges or a site like citysitter or care dot com but people are often willing to commit to even small part-time jobs like this one and I think you would really feel so recharged to get those regular and predictable breaks.

  4. – Can you alternate morning sleep-in time with Kate? Henry likes to wake up really early in the morning, so Avery and I trade off being with him every other day. I don’t always fall back asleep when it isn’t my day, but it is so nice to know I don’t have to be the one jumping out of bed at 6am and pacifying a demanding boy who is likely screaming for oatmeal.
    -Buy already made meals. I know you are overwhelmed because you are doing everything perfectly awesome. Lower the bar already! Henry and I spend a fantastic amount of time at Dunkin Doughnuts because it’s near my house, always open, and seems less offensive than McDonalds.
    -You are so inspiring! Keep up your awesome posts, Mandy! I can’t imagine having 2 babies!

  5. I echo the suggestions of baby-sitter and weekend, and have one of my own to add. I only have one kid and my wife’s the one who’s home with her. She gets time to herself if I take her, or if she trades babysitting with another at-home-mamafriend. So I’ll propose a variation on the wife-takes-both weekend solution. Set up a play date with one kid’s friends and have your wife drop him off as she takes the other one out on some adventure during that time. (I do a swimming class with my little one on Saturday mornings, which has been really nice structure for both of us and lovely free time for my wife.)

    Re: #2, do you maintain the nap schedule on weekends? If so, would your wife welcome one-on-one time with the non-napping child, leaving you to your own devices? I know I would!

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