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When “SAHM” Stands For Stressed-Out Anxious Homebound Mom

By Amalah

Dear Amy-

Boy, this is going to be long. My apologies from the start. I feel like I’m totally losing it in the mom, and overall general human being, department. I have a just-turned-3 year old boy and a 21 month old girl. Neither of my children has ever given a rats arse about toys and while that probably sounds wonderful to some sect of the population, I tell you it is not. My children expect me to entertain them every minute of the day. I have shown them how to play with toys (cars, Thomas train track stuff, play kitchen, balls, dolls, etc). We have done make believe play, which they do enjoy but won’t do a moment of it without me. We read books. We live in the country and have a good bit of space to play (no farm animals or anything, though) and so we do that. My son is sick of drawing/painting/coloring and my daughter doesn’t care to do it. I’ve done goopy activities and chores and cooking. But if I’m being honest, I cannot do all of those things every day and I know that they are bored to tears. We’ve been through a rough few months of being sick with something damn near all of the time so play dates and park trips have been pretty sparse. I stay at home with them and my husband works longish hours so it’s typical for me to have them the entire day myself. I can’t figure out how to keep everyone eternally entertained and stimulated. Maybe once a week my son will actually find something that captures his attention for an hour or so and does something by himself. My daughter might wander off for 10 minutes but is pretty soon hot on my heels to be picked up. I don’t know how to get them to engage in activities longer. I don’t know what people do with babies/toddlers 13-14 hours a day. I tried asking my mommy friends and got vague answers.

Second, my kids are driving me to crazy town. The fighting, the whining, the crying, the arguments. My daughter has very advanced verbal skills for her age (she’s been speaking in full sentences since 16-17 months), and this has super upped her independent streak. Because we live in a remote area, we must go everywhere by car. So now instead of pleading with just one kid to get in the car seat, I have to plead with two for every instance that we get in the car. This is giving me actual anxiety anytime I need to go somewhere because I don’t know if it’s going to take 5 minutes to get in the car or 20 minutes, especially because my daughter won’t get in her car seat unless I “count” or make threats. Contrary to what my children might believe, I hate having to play angry/bad mommy to get through the day.

And talk about angry mommy, I am wiped out of patience. Both of my kids want me to carry them around or hold them all day long and if I don’t they follow me around wailing. Simultaneously, too, because heaven forbid one is getting something that the other isn’t. And neither of them listen to “no, don’t do that” unless I’m yelling at them at the top of my lungs. I always start with niceties: “Please don’t yell at/hit the dog.” “Please stop slamming the door shut” “Please stop pinching your brother/sister” “Please stop throwing things at the tv”. By the fifth or sixth time I have to ask them to stop doing something, I turn into a scary mommy monster because it’s the only thing that yields any results. I spend a lot of time hating the parent that I am. I had a mean-mommy who yelled at me constantly about anything she could (and sometimes things she made up because she was literally crazy) and so when I have to yell, it eats at me. I went to a therapist to help with stress/anger management things and it was a big flop. After the first three sessions, I ended up needing to cancel the next four because 1) I couldn’t find someone to watch my kids 2)stomach bug 3) sitter canceled morning of and the therapist didn’t want me to bring my kids 4) my son woke up from his nap vomiting so now I couldn’t leave my kids with my friend and her son. All legitimate reasons but basically, I couldn’t make sessions and she wanted to give the slot to a patient who could be there.

To top it all off, my husband’s work schedule has become insane and is totally unpredictable, my social landscape is going through a complete overhaul as almost everyone has moved away and I got dumped by a friend (who it turns out is a serial friend dumper but it still hurts), and I just had two people close to me die very unexpectedly under different horrible circumstances. I don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and watch Netflix and eat junk food. And I never have the opportunity for that. We have no family where we live. I feel like if I get a sitter I need to go out of the house. My husband who is typically a great partner and parent is so overloaded at work that I can only depend on him helping out on the weekends. Just when I feel like it can’t get anymore stressful than it is, the ante gets upped. I told my husband that I feel like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown and his giving me a break from the kids lasted maybe a half day because there is always something to do around the house and he can’t leave it go. I feel like I spend my days in a fog. I’m not mentally present with the kids because I am depleted.

I feel like if I can actually get things in order with the kids, a huge amount of anxiety would go away. I just don’t know what to do.

Thank you so much for listening to all of that.

I. Have. Been. There. Right there, where you are now, which I think is technically known as “MY WIT’S END.”

And I’m completely serious. Swap out a few details here and there, but oh, I know all of the feelings you describe. The endless barrage of NEEEEEEDS and demands and whining and fighting. The boredom and ennui. The wanting to just…not be on duty some days, always hoping and waiting for a break that isn’t ever going to come. That realization that the last frayed edges of your temper are rapidly disintegrating and you’re going to yell and you should probably not yell but there’s no going back, your voice is loud and angry and mean and then next thing you know your child is profusely apologizing for trying to put on SOCKS when he didn’t NEED socks, he just needed to put Crocs on and get out the door because we’re already late GAAAHHHHHH.

True story. Socks. I lost my shit at my child because…socks. And being late to…something. That probably (no, DEFINITELY) wasn’t worth turning full-tilt Disney Villain at him.

I could make all kinds of excuses, add in the stressful side plots going on in my life around that time, but it was still a shameful moment. I was NEVER going to be that type of mother. And yet….

I certainly can’t say every mom has moments/cycles like that, but because nobody ever wants to talk about stuff like that, I do think it’s more of us than we realize.

But. Commiseration is not a solution. So let’s try to brainstorm some practical ideas.

First: It’s summer. The long winter doldrums and general cooped-up craziness are coming to an end. Get them a kiddie pool or  a sprinkler or water table. A pop-up tent with a tunnel. Beach balls, bubbles, whatever cheap outside/summer-y toys you can find at the store. (I hit the outside toy aisle at Target every year.) Also get yourself a chair with some shade and books and sit yourself down in it. Tell your kids that they are going to play outside for X amount of time. Stay seated and let them entertain themselves. Ignore the whining — not in a Mean Mommy way, but just a Zen Mommy who is not asking them to do anything unreasonable. You are there to keep them company/safe but you are not there to be a constant source of entertainment/attention.

Second: Kids who whine about being bored in the midst of copious entertainment options get put to work around the house. Yes, even a toddler is capable of helping you. They can put their plates in the dishwasher, sort and unload the silverware, put laundry back in drawers. A 3 year old can make his bed.  I would start setting these as expectations, not necessarily JUST punishments for whining. HOWEVER, if playtime dissolves into whining/fighting/chaos, it’s a sobering redirect and eventually they realize that maaaaaybe finding something else to do is preferable. Also, having your children CONTRIBUTE TO THE HOUSEHOLD is 1) really good for them in general, and 2) takes the edge off of your endless give-give-give to their take-take-take.

Third: You don’t mention any preschool plans for your son. He could totally go to preschool in the fall. Heck, I bet you could find a preschool or two that run summer camp programs for three year olds. (I mean, by the time I got to my third kid I enrolled him in a toddler program at 22 months old and had him in summer camp at age 2. Both for work- AND sanity-related reasons.) He’s bored, he’s craving more structure/activity/peer interaction. Preschool would be a perfect solution. If you’re not opposed to religious-based programs, Vacation Bible School typically takes kids of ALL ages and is super inexpensive. Sign them both up. Yes, you’ll need to get them both in the car. Just remember that you’re bigger than they are. Give them one chance to get in themselves, then simply pick them up and put them in and give them ZERO ATTENTION if they start shrieking/whining. (FYI I manually shoved shoes on my 4 year old’s feet this morning because he wouldn’t do it and I was DONE with asking and am still bigger.)

Fourth: On that note, work on striking a balance between Nice Pushover Mommy and Angry Mean Mommy. There’s a middle ground in there, somewhere between nicely requesting over and over that X behavior stop or please do Y and losing your temper because you’ve made the request six times. Physical altercations are zero tolerance and result in a time-out or loss of privilege. Other things (like putting on shoes, getting in the car) are a three warning/strike situation. Your kids see you more as a playmate/entertainment source, but for all of your sakes, it’s probably better if you get a little more Boss Like. They get your attention for positive behaviors. Negative behaviors should get as little acknowledgement as possible (NOT six or seven pleadingly nice requests, in other words) and swift but appropriate consequences. (Thrown toys get put away for the day, time-outs for hitting, etc.)

Fifth: If you do get a sitter or send them to summer camp or preschool or whatever…YOU DON’T NEED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Go to your room, close the door, watch your Netflix until you feel better. Tell the sitter you have “work” to do or whatever, and that she is in charge and the kids are NOT to come looking for you. (That sounds like it would be good for them in general, to have you “there” but not in a way that they can follow you around and beg to picked up, etc.) Do not feel guilty about spending money to give yourself a break. Reread your letter. You NEED a break. It’s okay. It’s really, really okay. (Also will your kids watch TV? I know that’s probably a GASP PEARL CLUTCHING bit of advice but at this point I’m gonna say your mental health takes precedence over 30 damn minutes of preschool programming a day, or even a little more. Don’t be so hard on yourself to be perfect. TV exists and can be a great thing and I have freaking used it as a babysitter and would do it again, because this is just modern life.) On the other hand, when your husband offers you a break, THAT’S when you should leave the house so you don’t get put back on duty because he gets distracted. Whatever, man. It’s all you, I’m out.

Sixth: I very recently went through a tremendously tough patch, anxiety-wise. I’m not 100% out of the woods but am doing much, much better. Everybody is different, but since I also share your inability to schedule and keep appointments with a therapist, here’s what helped me. Daily use of the Pacifica app to track and acknowledge my moods/stress levels, and following the daily breathing exercises/meditation prompts. Exercising, every day, for as long (or as little) as I could spare. (I’m weightlifting now. I have muscles! I feel amazing!) Getting outside the house for a walk every day, weather permitting. Take your kids on a nature walk with buckets to collect things while you breathe deeply and get some sun on your skin. You are important too, and it’s okay to prioritize your needs above theirs sometimes. (Particularly when their “needs” are really just “wants”.)

I’m sorry you’re going through all this. I’m sorry it’s so hard right now. And make no mistake it really IS hard. Your kids are at tough ages right now. Your life is not some SAHM dream of eating bon-bons all day while being the picture-perfect mother doing all the picture-perfect enriching activities in the picture-perfect Pinterest-y house. Because that life really doesn’t exist. Please take care of yourself — it’s the only way you’ll be able to take care of them, too.

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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IrishCream
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IrishCream

Oh, that sounds rough. You have my sympathy, 100%. A couple of random things that came to mind: first, I got a great piece of parenting advice when I was pregnant with my first. A colleague with older kids told me “Try not to tell your kids what not to do. Instead, tell them what you want them to do.” I.e. instead of saying “Please stop hitting the dog,” you can say “Pet the dog gently, like this,” and demonstrate. Obviously there are times when you have to say “No! Stop!” but if you can reserve those for situations where… Read more »

r
Guest
r

Agreed. I was going crazy for my 3 months of maternity leave and I even had a lot of help. (My beautiful boy is 6 months now). I am very happy being a working mother and I agree that it makes me a better mother because I really, really, enjoy and cherish the time I have with my baby. I could not STAND to be at my house all day with little to no intellectual stimulation for myself and not really knowing what to do with the baby all the time. If you can find something to do by yourself… Read more »

Amy
Guest
Amy

I’m reading anxiety in the letter, too, and I’m glad Amalah picked up on it. You don’t have to go to a SHRINK and do THERAPY to have anxiety treated.  You can totally go to your family doctor/primary care/GP person and say, “I am having anxiety about leaving my house with my kids,” (which you are, and that’s not normal, even though there are reasons), and you can get yourself a prescription for something to take the edge off of that. I literally was just talking to my shrink yesterday, about how anxiety causes irritability – if you feel anxious… Read more »

Carolyn Allen Russell
Guest

I’m sending so much love and so many hugs to the OP! I was also going to say that I saw a lot of my own anxiety/depression in the post. I didn’t realize until after things had gotten much worse and I went back on medication how much the idea of taking my kids anywhere (a toddler and an infant) was freaking me out. I turned down invitations to do things because I just couldn’t fathom GETTING THEM THERE, and it wasn’t until I was medicated for a while that I realized, “Huh. I just decided randomly to take BOTH… Read more »

Jessica
Guest
Jessica

Lots of love and sympathy from a Mom with a 3 year old and 16 month old. Janet Lansbury’s writings have helped me immensely in know how to react to my kids when they whine for attention and seemingly cannot play by themselves – I hope this helps you too:

http://www.janetlansbury.com/2015/04/help-my-toddler-cant-play-without-me/ 

Brigitte
Guest
Brigitte

I was just about to leave the same link!  Janet Lansbury has a lot of great encouragement and ideas when it comes to independent play and limit-setting, which are two things that stood out to me in the original post.  So, I second this link!

Ally
Guest
Ally

What saved my sanity was the Y. I know getting out of the house is hard, but it has been awesome for our entire family. I get a break from the kids, and the childcare is wonderful. My kids play with other kids and get a lot of energy out. I made a lot of good friends there and get some adult interaction. Some days all I do is take a shower and read a book. 

Michele
Guest
Michele

Great advice. I also recommend the book “Siblings Without Rivalry.”

Holly W.
Guest

I just want to chime in and say: don’t forget that you’re awesome. Being in the trenches like that daily is heroic and takes great strength. Your children are safe, fed, and have a place to be themselves. I think Amalah gives great advice all around, but I wanted to make sure you don’t forget that you are winning, even when it feels like things are going to pieces around you. 

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

I agree with what someone said above, it sounds like you could possibly benefit from some medication for anxiety and/or depression. I recently started taking something myself, and I have to say it has helped me tremendously. Also, I found a therapist that does skype sessions, so I can meet with her during nap time without changing out of my pajamas. It’s totally a game changer for me, because like you said, actually going to therapy is the hardest part. Hang in there, it’s going to get better.

Alyssa
Guest
Alyssa

I don’t know if you have something similar where you live, but where we are (Ontario, Canada) we have an early years center. The EYC and children’s services both offer free parenting classes, most of the time with child care provided.  I really enjoy doing this, it gives me 2 hours a week where I know my kids are being taken care of, and I am able to be with other mom’s and commiserate / problem solve about the issues we are having with our children. (My 3 year old would LOSE HER MIND about having to get out of… Read more »

Paige
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Paige

My daughter was like that at 14 months. She HAAAATED the car with a passion. The only way to get her in it was to physically insert her and then listen to her wail the whole way to whereversville. She once screamed for 2.5 hours straight during a Thanksgiving day drive to see family. The next week, we began the “you actually love riding in the car” jedi mind warp. First, we found some kiddie music we adults actually liked: Boyton’s Philidelphia Chickens and Dog Train, and put them on perpetual repeat in the car. Then we went somewhere two,… Read more »

s
Guest
s

Find someone with a 8,9,10,11year old that needs supervision, but not straight up watching, during the summer. Maybe a kid that wants to babysit but isn’t old enough to do a full on babysitting job. Make a trade off. Their.older kid is your “mother’s helper” plays with the kids, can do mild after lunch clean ups, play room clean ups. And you get a break. Neither one has to pay for childcare (or the other parent pays very minimally to at least cover some.lunch costs) make it as many or as few days a week. Sanity helpers.

Kate
Guest
Kate

I’m sorry, are you seriously suggesting that someone pay her for their kid to be her mother’s helper? Being a mother’s helper is a job that the kid should get paid for not the other way around, especially if it includes things like cleaning. I agree that a mother’s helper is a good idea but what you’re suggesting is using some poor kid as free labor. 

June
Guest

I am right in the same place as you, kids are even the same age! Summer is always easier (outside time!) but we’ve also enrolled our 3 year old in preschool for the fall and that is keeping me sane. He’ll get peer interaction and structure, I’ll get a break, and once you’re out the door to drop them off it’s easier to go do something else with the little one instead of being stuck home. Also, our oldest is 7, and it does get better. They get much more independent (although, I still have to tell my 7 yr… Read more »

Sassy
Guest
Sassy

I might be a bad mom, but I enrolled my first son in the pre-k at my church last year. He was turning 2 when the year started. He only went half days two days a week. But it saved my sanity, especially once we had the new baby in December. He will be going again next year, and the baby will also be enrolled the year after (as soon as he’s old enough). My husband didn’t want to pay for it, but i told him that our son is just completely bored at home with me. I cannot say… Read more »

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

::HUGS:: 

That really sucks. I started being the ‘playmate’ while Husband had been the ‘boss’ and it took a while for my kid to adjust to me being more ‘boss.’ But it can be done!

Meanwhile… #5. Oh my lord, #5. Please do what Amy recommends. You NEED it. And you are important too. So you DESERVE it. Take care of yourself!

Tiffany
Guest
Tiffany

My kids are exactly the same age differences as yours and we went through the exact same thing at the exact same age, just over three years ago now. It sucked! Amalah and the others commentators all had really good advice, a lot of which we tried & worked! Can I also add a few more: – I found if I just said nothing,just stopped talking,  it was easier not to yell. And no response is better than an angry one, as far as I’m concerned.  – it’s good for kids to know to to play by themselves, don’t feel… Read more »

Brittney
Guest
Brittney

I can completely relate! My kids are 2.5 years old and 5 months old and it has been so hard trying to not only care for, but also entertain two little people all day. Before I had my daughter I worked full time and my son was in daycare, so that was much easier because I enjoyed the time we had together much more. For us though, childcare is too expensive for two kids and would cost more than what I would make working, so I am trying to figure out how to cope with the stress but it is… Read more »

Ali
Guest
Ali

Totally agree with the comments above!  A few more ideas on the playing independently front: (1) up until recently, my almost 3 year old seemed incapable of playing by himself and basically ignored all of his (millions of) toys.  I started a “toy rotation” system and it has been incredible how much more he has played with toys when he only has a “few” (still probably 8-10) available at a time.  I really think he was just overwhelmed before.  Bonus: my house is less cluttered!  (2) I am guessing there is something out there your kiddos would be Into…for example,… Read more »

Amelia
Guest
Amelia

So many great ideas here! I agree strongly with the toy rotation, the “mommy is unavailable” timer, and the calm-but-swift response to non-compliance. One device that has helped us a lot lately (I have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old) is a sticker chart for the older one. We have a list of desired behaviours, e.g., “taking care of your body” (toileting and dressing with some independence), “sharing and caring” (helping his little brother or playing nicely) and he loves getting recognized for his work. He gets two M&M candies per 6 stickers, which averages out to… Read more »

Allison
Guest
Allison

I am just coming out of my own version of this. Ugh it stinks! Do you perhaps have an outdoor area that is enclosed that the kids can safely play in? I think kicking them outside (without you!) For 10 min or so while you munch some chocolate, or use the bathroom without babies pestering you,is a good way for them to learn that mom is not a 24hr giving machine. I do that with my kids and just peek on them periodically. I let them know also that they can do a variety of things that are not allowed… Read more »

SarahB
Guest
SarahB

Just chiming in to recommend 1-2-3 Magic as a straightforward short and sweet book to help you be clearer to your kids in implementing discipline. It has helped us a great deal.

Our son at least pauses to think when he hears me say “one,” and calmly saying one is so much better than yelling. (Though I have certainly yelled–usually when DH has been traveling, which it sounds like is what your life is like most weeks. I hope you get some childcare too.)

Melinda
Guest
Melinda

Definitely hire a teenager to be your mommy’s helper so she/he can play with your kids while you do whatever.

Also, do you have any baby carriers? Popping one the little one on your back in an ergo helps.

Katharine
Guest
Katharine

This is amazing timing because so much of this is my life. My 2.5 year old is driving me batshit crazy with the whining and I am just pulling out of PPD after having my six month old. These suggestions and comments are great!

Autumn
Guest
Autumn

The whining!  GAH!  Should come with a cheese plate. . . Some other suggestions:  Check with your school district on preschool or ECFE opportunities.  The fees for ours are sliding scale based on income, and very reasonable.  I think your son would benefit from peer interaction and routine. I like to think that I am the sun, and they revolve around me, and not vice versa.  I’m in charge because I am Mom.  I will tell my almost 4 year old “You can choose the easy way or the hard way, but we are doing x”  I have strapped her… Read more »

Heather
Guest
Heather

Hugs hugs hugs!! I agree with everything Amy said. I will also add that I found tremendous help in finding “yes” activities and places. A water table or bin outside “yes, spill/dump/splash the water,” the park “yes, run and tell,” any nearby children’s museum or indoor play places. Sensory activities like shaving cream, water and bubbles, bins of dried beans, etc. are really good for keeping kids occupied at this age. Yes, it can get messy – we did them outside or in our bath tub and often followed by a bath. You have to supervise, but you can often… Read more »

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

So much sympathy. It must be horrid at the moment, but to echo what Amalah has said, it’s very hard to see the wood for the trees when you are in the midst of it. I totally agree that your older child needs as a matter of some urgency, play group 2-3 mornings each week. Once your daughter is 2, she could join in. It’s better for them to do fewer hours more frequently, rather than 1 whole day less frequently, but of course it depends on what your district offers. Them demanding to be entertained and defying you is… Read more »

S
Guest
S

1. Be around others every time they’re not sick. (I know. Two toddlers means you’re home sick 30% of the year.) Moms are less yelly with an audience. 2. Keep practicing leaving. Go places where the time to get in the car is no big deal. 3. Go to the hard places by yourself. One day a magical grandmother will appear with two kids in her grocery cart. One in the seat, one in the back. Your kids will want to be like them. They will. The world is right and all grocery shopping anxiety vanishes. 4. YMCA. They’ll watch… Read more »

IrishCream
Guest
IrishCream

Ugh, I hate forcing my kids into the car seat but I’ve certainly had to do it a few times. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting out bad behavior. If I have a kid who’s acting up and I don’t have the option of ignoring the tantrum until they’ve calmed down and are ready to get in on their own, I say “You can choose the easy way or the hard way.” My trick for the hard way is to plop them in the seat and quickly put my knee on the seat, in between their legs, so… Read more »

BB
Guest
BB

Oh OP. I wish I could hug you and tell you in person WELL DONE for trying to be the best parent you can be.

Also, just a little encouragement that the discipline (whatever method you choose – time outs, taking whine-inducing toy away, stopping a fun game) SUCKS short term (gaaaah I’ve taken away their toy an now the whining has AMPLIFIED!) but is so so worth it long term. Once they know that mommy means business, things will very quickly turn a corner.

Don’t give up. X

Susan:)
Guest
Susan:)

Oh boy, I remember those days! I have two girls 21 months apart. When they were infant and age two, it was so hard. Both very needy in different ways. It gradually gets easier! But yes, being consistent on nipping whining and tantrums is very helpful, and the earlier the better. Getting outside is sanity saving. When the girls were 1 and 3, we got them a kiddie pool and I’d plop myself in the shade nearby and let them play. Usually with a book and some iced tea. Or they’d play in the sandbox, which was another kiddie pool… Read more »

Jessy
Guest
Jessy

Lots of good advice! I just wanted to echo: preschool! It’s worth getting in the car. When my oldest was 3, we joined a co-op preschool, and it saved my sanity. It was part time and inexpensive, but my son loved it and it gave structure to our days. I also met a lot of other moms there that I am still friends with now (he’s 9). Good luck!

Kim too
Guest
Kim too

Seconding the co-op.  A lot of them are parent education, which was a huge plus for me – having experts talk me through the “aggh, my kid is doing this” stuff that always comes up, and listening to other people’s kids melt down and realizing that it isn’t just mine who do that was enormously helpful.  Beyond that, it’s a great way to build community.  I’m meeting up with a co-op friend tomorrow – our preschoolers are now entering 3rd grade.  It’s awesome.  Everything is better when there’s another mommy along.

S
Guest
S

As you can see lots of good suggestions. So been there, so still there.nAgain another vote for playgroup or preschool. As  I am writing this both kids are refusing to go to bed. I found my second one wanted one to one time with both my husband and I and was fighting for it. Our family resource center in our town has a yearly calendar of events plus summer field trips. Novelty works to change to a new to us park. We met a friend there a now we do weekly play dates at a different place parks, museums, hiking,… Read more »

S
Guest
S

I just remembered something. We and several other families do rest time. No play dates, no stimulation during this time. I know the time of day my 2 year old melts down. The children do not have to sleep but must be in separate rooms doing a quiet activity like looking at a book, coloring, playing with cars or trains but no noisy car wrecks. I put the two year old back in her bed twenty five times today and then she napped. I say once it is rest time, then I just put her back with no verbal prompt.… Read more »

Radiem
Guest
Radiem

I work long, unpredictable hours, and my spouse stays at home with our happy but needy and occasionally crazy toddlers. We have both kids in preschool every day, and I consider it essential for everyone’s sanity. The kids love it. They love their teachers and their school friends. They’re learning how to behave themselves in a school-like environment. Best of all, my spouse gets a break! No one person should be the sole care provider 24/7. That just sets you up for burnout and anxiety. 

Shanna
Guest
Shanna

My children have survived so far so I will share what helped me barely prevent a nervous breakdown. 1) You need a completely safe baby/boy-proof room. This is where you can RELAX because it is impossible for your children to kill themselves so you can pretty much ignore them. You can’t actually leave the room because they might kill each other, but yes you can ignore them. 2) Have somewhere in your safe room that is comfortable. You can read a book or take a nap, anything that you enjoy that also makes you unavailable. I would pass out on… Read more »

MomTwitch
Guest
MomTwitch

Hi, I know this is an older post, but I relate to it exactly, with my two year old And four year old. I want more than anything for them to go to preschool but they REFUSE. Our family has always been pretty anti-social, so it’s very hard for any of us to do things like that. How do I convince my kids to want to do something, that I’m not fond of? When I mention how fun school is, they start whining and crying. What do I do? Will teachers deal with their anxiety, or will the teachers just… Read more »