Mommy 911

Moms with 2 or more kids, I need your help. I’m drowning here. I never imagined having 2 kids could be so hard. Maybe because you all make it look so easy?

I feel constantly pulled in two directions. It’s like the kids conspire against me to need something from me at the exact same time. The baby has a full diaper, and Isabelle’s suddenly starving or needs a glass of juice. Or Corban is nursing and Isabelle chooses that moment to want to sit on the potty. Or they’re both ready for lunch at the same time, and I’ve yet to figure out how to nurse and make a sandwich.

I feel like one of them is always getting shortchanged, and maybe that’s OK. I also feel like I’m just surviving and I want to enjoy this. It’s like I’m walking around half-asleep, half-starved and always thirsty, subsisting on whatever I can put in my mouth the fastest and easiest. Cheese, chocolate, granola bars, occasionally something healthy like a banana.

On my worst days — you know, the ones that end in “y” — I’m convinced that Isabelle will still be potty training when she’s 5 and Corban will still be refusing baby food when he’s 2.

Yesterday I talked with a mom whose kids are about the same age as mine and she practically bragged that her baby took two scheduled naps a day and was eating regular baby food meals. I wanted to hate her. Motherhood to two children didn’t seem to faze her. I’m sure she never lets her 2-year-old watch 4 episodes of “Dora” in a row, and I bet they always eat regularly scheduled meals at the kitchen table.

My husband helps when he’s not doing husbandly things — working, meetings, school prep, sleeping, watching sports. OK, that’s a bit unfair. He does help a lot, but he basically told me to get used to this. With two years of seminary left, a “real” job isn’t far off and he won’t be as available to help during the day as he has been.

So, ladies, can you offer any advice? Is it possible to keep two kids happy at the same time? Am I ruining them by denying what seems to be a basic request so I can take care of the other one? How do I do this day in, day out with losing my mind? (I know why they call those housewives on Wisteria Lane “desperate” — they have children!)

And, if there aren’t any good answers to these questions, could you just let me know I’m not alone? That you’ve been there, done that or are there right now?

This mom just needs a little encouragement.

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5 thoughts on “Mommy 911

  1. My gracious, Lisa!! You are not alone!!! We have ALL been there. First & foremost, it is not your job to make your kids “happy.” Happy kids are great, but kids that have learned that life if not all about them & their instant gratification is better. For not having kids, your friends’ comments are great. Any little way that you can find to make Isabelle more self-sufficient is a great idea (like the pre-poured juice on the bottom shelf). Some things that have worked for us — you know about how long it takes to feed Corban. Set a timer. Whatever Isabelle needs/wants/desires will be taken care of when the timer goes off. When my girls were around Isabelle’s age, we started the Flower Reward System. Go to the Dollar Store & buy some fake flowers & some little rewards to have on hand. The girls started off each day with 10 flowers. Every time they were good, helpful, obedient, patient (you fill in the blank), they got to put a flower in their specially-decorated coffee can. Every time they were naughty, demanding, disobedient, impatient (you fill in the blank), they had to take a flower out of their can. If they ended the day with more than 15 flowers, they got a prize (you can even use things like reading a special bedtime story, or going to the park the next day, etc.).

    I have definitely found that the key is to anticipate times & situations where things are most likely to go awry & have a plan of attack on hand before it even happens.

    Hope this helps. Trust me, we all make it look so easy when someone else is watching!!!

  2. When there is just one child, it is easier to take care of their every need whenever they need something, but when there is 2 or more, you just have to compromise, and get them to learn how to compromise too…..the suggestions your friends gave were great suggestions… She is old enough to be able to get certain things for herself if you set it up that way ahead of time, and tell her when she can get it out of the refrigerator…… Our 1st 3 kids were all very close together, and I know what you are going thru. Michael was born first, and I catered to his every need, then Becky came along a year and a week later…he had just started walking right before Becky was born…. so then I had a one-year old and a baby, and then Chris came along 15 months after Becky, so then I had a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a baby.. It is definitely challenging… the hard part was trying to take care of 3 kids all at once, but the upside is that they grow up together and are best friends..and it’s fun along the way…. and if you teach them how to care about each other, and compromise they will be ok…It is a “learning” lesson. and also, you get to watch their cute moments and their fun and dramatic moments for the rest of their lives. and it gets easier as they get older, and you can participate in their fun activities at school or concerts or church or whatever. . You will always have happy memories.. It is hard when they are young and close together, but it is worth it, because you will reap the rewards of having a happy, close family, and they will learn how to be “there” for each other as well and to support each other… your daughter is old enough to understand that you have to do something for the baby, as well as old enough to get some things on her own, if you set it up that way, so that it is easier for her. She will be proud of her independence, and proud of being a big sister. I know what you are going thru. It is true that some days are harder than others.. you have to do the best you can. Try to relax, and not be upset about it, everyone goes thru this that has kids.. you are not the only one…
    PS>. We had a 5 year break after our 1st 3 were born, then we had Jeff and Greg, they were 2 years apart. .so then the chaos started all over again, but it is definitely worth it. I think every mom knows what you are going thru.. .it’s not easy to raise kids, but think of it as a job that is well worth doing, and be proud of it. No one else is able to love your kids like you do, because you know them so well and. when you have more time on your hands, you will feel better. try to do something fun when you can…Include the kids, or do something for yourself as a fun activity,…everyone needs some fun times too.. Greg used to watch “The Mother Goose” tapes, he loved those and watched them over and over. Our kids did “Art projects” too, our kids played with “Buddy Dolls” and would make up stories and adventures with them, I think that resulted in them being in plays and musicals in high school….I’m sure you have toys for Isabelle, she’s smart and can understand things, and everything will get easier as they get a little older…..you kids will always love each other and you will always love them. Take care..> Mary

  3. First of all, the one thing that got me through the rough days was telling myself that it’s gotta get better because moms keep having more kids and I figure a) if they have energy b) if they have time c) if they have the willingness to have more kids, there has got to eventually be a day that ends in Y that is a good day–or at least not horrible enough that at the end of the day I won’t scream, scry, or fall asleep if my husband so much as asks for a kiss 🙂

    Second of all, in my experience, those that usually look like they have it all together are just acting or in denial. But, from talking to all the moms, I’ve talked to, noone has all of the answers and even if there kids take 2 hour naps at the same time every day and then fall asleep at night without a fight and eat everything placed on their plate, there is something else that they struggle with that they don’t.

    My suggesstions:
    –have a box of snacks that Isabelle can get while you are nursing Corban. Then if she is hungry, she can get them without you worrying
    –fix ahead meals while both kids are cooperating (seriously, meal preparation is my biggest struggle. When they are cooperative, I don’t want to be fixing a meal, but when it comes that meals NEED to be fixed, they are less than cooperative)
    –Remember that this too shall pass and short of having your blogs to look back and read, you will forget how bad it was

    My biggest struggle when Aaron was born was trying to figure out whose needs were more important. I never really figured out the answer, but eventually realized that Christopher’s needs could be met first because they were quicker to fix, he would remember more, and his behavior rest of the day would be impacted by it. Aaron would cry while I was taking care of Christopher, but once Aaron’s needs were met, they were both happier. On the other hand, if I told Christopher to wait, his behavior went downhill quickly.

    I have 3 months before I’m there again and it’s my biggest worry. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I’m starting over 🙂 But, it’s worth it!

  4. everyone who has kids knows exactly how you feel. I’m glad i had the boys a few years apart, matthew was very helpful when jeremiah first got here. He wanted to be so helpful that the 1st day mike went back to work and i left the room for 30 seconds he decided jeremiah needed his big brother to hold him. so there I am walking downstairs with a load of dirty clothes and there’s matthew picking up the baby saying “he was crying”. so after a hysterical rant and scaring matthew half to death i had to explain why only grownups pick up babies. I also know how it feels to think your kids are conspiring against you, seems everytime I sit down with jeremiah, matthew says can you get me some ice water, or can you find this for me. And everytime i go to cook a meal jeremiah attaches himself to my leg, sometimes he’s so bad I have to put a gate up just so i can finish. and i can’t even think about working in the garden when jeremiah is awake, i can’t even walk towards it and he’ll start screaming! One way i get through a bad day is thinking how much worse it could be. I think of my brother, who has twins that just started crawling and have opposite sleep schedules and a 3 year old who has major aggression issues because of his mother. Or my little sister, who works 60+ hours a week and only has her son for 2 weeks at a time. Or my older sister who works 50 hours a week, has a 16 month old who loves to climb on chairs to get to the counter to get everything he’s not supposed to, a 2 1/2 yr old who has no fear and has already had stitches and a broken leg, and a 6 yr old who’s decided shes smarter than her parents therefore no rules apply to her. When day has gone horrible and matthews been in timeout more than not, and jeremiah has gone through 4 outfits because the dogs water is soooooo fun i just think how lucky I am, my kids are here. They are healthy, and happy. As are yours, and all of us parents are blessed to have them. I could sit here all day and talk about my kids, but right now jeremiah keeps turning of the monitor, and playing with the mouse, and getting really ticked off because i won’t let him bang on the keyboard

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review « The Home Front

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