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How Do You Balance Life with Kids?


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You and I are fortunate regarding help from husbands.  My husband helps me with everything so I've been very lucky.  Even though he helps me immensely, I was extremely busy especially when my son

I agree and disagree. I think that as people get older, our personalities, characters, habits, etc., become "calcified," and less influenced by outside forces. But I credit my years and year

Avoided? I don't think of it like that! I mean, I've "avoided" a lot in life. I've avoided living in Africa, I've avoided becoming an accountant, I've avoided bungee jumping from a hot air balloon. Bu

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You and I are fortunate regarding help from husbands. 

My husband helps me with everything so I've been very lucky.  Even though he helps me immensely, I was extremely busy especially when my sons were younger. 

As for hobbies, I often worked on hobbies late at night whether it was sewing quilts, scrap booking, cake decorating, embossing greeting cards, stamping, making greeting cards for all occasions, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitching, calligraphy and jewelry making.  Or, during my sons' naps.  Or, when my husband took the boys on outings and I had some time to work on hobbies then. 

What helps me is having routines, schedules, staying organized, remaining efficient, decluttering and being neat.  I can't think straight while living in a state of chaos. 

When my sons were younger, I was very strict about their nap times.  We awoke early, had breakfast, had our outdoor time, outings, park play dates and picnics.  After that, we went home, cleaned up and they took a glorious 3 hour nap!  I did quiet chores such as fold laundry and the like. 

As for cooking, I often cook double or triple the recipe so we subsist on warmed up leftovers during the majority of the week.  It's an economic time saver. 

Even though you're going crazy now, savor these moments.  "Long days, short years" as my mother used to say.  Someday you'll look back on the best years of your life which is today.  You will give anything to be with your little children again.  When children are small, the days are so fleeting.  You'll miss it one day so savor every moment no matter how exhausted you are. 

Your days and years with your small children will go by within a blink of an eye.

 

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On 12/12/2020 at 7:28 AM, Jibralta said:

Where are you guys going?

I drove around with walkie talkies this summer, while surveying. It was stupidly fun.

Also, I'm really psyched to discover this strikethrough option.

I can't really disclose where we went, but it was COVID safe (we had to eat take-out only and no in-door eating or indoor activities) and we did some outdoor hiking and playing in a beautiful area that is very strange.  Sorry it's so vague, my husband's COVID exemptions allowed him to take us (only if we were technically quarantined or outdoors away from people).

That night drive was so much fun, but so very very long!  I saw sights I've never even imagined before... and we were driving during the weekend of all those meteors showering down, so I literally saw about 10 shooting stars (meteors) right in front view of the car!!!!!  

We saw mountains with snow, the kids played in the snow, and then lots and lots of desert.  I always thought the desert would be plain, but it's beautiful in it's own strange way.

And the walkie talkies DID NOT disappoint LOL!!!!!  We had waaaay too much fun joking with each other and the kids, especially on the way back when we had to drive during the day.  I much prefer night driving to day driving when traveling hundreds and hundred of miles.  Somehow night driving feels safer with less cars and more peace.

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On 12/12/2020 at 12:10 PM, Batya33 said:

I felt nutty when our son was 7 and we took a night flight to Paris (I think it was 8 hours).  Went fine!

I think a flight would be both harder and easier in different ways.  Once we got rather close, I saw they had an airport and I wondered if maybe next time we should fly to that point and then rent a car.  Flying is just so much faster!  But I get it that I would feel worried at the same time they'd disrupt other people.

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On 12/13/2020 at 1:55 AM, Cherylyn said:

You and I are fortunate regarding help from husbands. 

My husband helps me with everything so I've been very lucky.  Even though he helps me immensely, I was extremely busy especially when my sons were younger. 

As for hobbies, I often worked on hobbies late at night whether it was sewing quilts, scrap booking, cake decorating, embossing greeting cards, stamping, making greeting cards for all occasions, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross-stitching, calligraphy and jewelry making.  Or, during my sons' naps.  Or, when my husband took the boys on outings and I had some time to work on hobbies then. 

What helps me is having routines, schedules, staying organized, remaining efficient, decluttering and being neat.  I can't think straight while living in a state of chaos. 

When my sons were younger, I was very strict about their nap times.  We awoke early, had breakfast, had our outdoor time, outings, park play dates and picnics.  After that, we went home, cleaned up and they took a glorious 3 hour nap!  I did quiet chores such as fold laundry and the like. 

As for cooking, I often cook double or triple the recipe so we subsist on warmed up leftovers during the majority of the week.  It's an economic time saver. 

Even though you're going crazy now, savor these moments.  "Long days, short years" as my mother used to say.  Someday you'll look back on the best years of your life which is today.  You will give anything to be with your little children again.  When children are small, the days are so fleeting.  You'll miss it one day so savor every moment no matter how exhausted you are. 

Your days and years with your small children will go by within a blink of an eye.

 

Thanks Cherylyn!  I think we're a lot alike in many ways.  ❤️ Thank you for your suggestions!

I'm also very strict on the naptime (2 hours of peace!!), and I require they just do silent activities, I don't force them to nap since the older two definitely don't want to anymore.  I think it's just difficult with a new baby, and he is quite a bit harder than our middle two were who napped easily, there are times where he will not nap at all 😳 so on top of being up 5 or 6 times a night with him, even naptime doesn't guarantee any break really.  Sometimes for the whole two hours I'm just being with him because he won't go down.

I can't wait to get back to that doing crafts, projects, etc. during that naptime period, though!  Thank you for reminding me that it's possible!    

But yes, I cannot live in a state of chaos 😸  I love cleaning and organizing, almost to a fault.  Like my husband will get stuff out in order to do something or make something for himself, I'll see it, and without even thinking I'll put everything back where it was!!!  Like a cleaning/tidying-up maniac LOL!  He laughs at it but of course it can be a little annoying to live with someone so OCD, so I try to pay attention.  I'm better at noticing if he's trying to do something and has just stepped away now 😹.

But I clean like I'm set on AutoPilot 😄.  And I regularly go through our stuff so that I can keep things minimal.  If I didn't, and I have been slack some years ago and just didn't get rid of stuff, it makes it miserable because it accumulates so fast and suddenly it feels like areas (like the garage) are buried beneath mountains of junk!  Now I stay on top of it a few times a year, and if we get loads of unwanted things from grandparents (my mom has a weird shopping addiction for the kids and my husband's parents have bought them literally a mountain of gifts they piled up 7 feet high before) if I can tell we won't use it/need it, I donate it immediately!  Otherwise it will accumulate and eventually take over like an invasion of clutter monsters!

We're like WannaBe Minimalists (I don't think we actually would count as true minimalists, because with 4 kids, I'm not sure that's really possible, but we're definitely wannabees!).  

 

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On 12/13/2020 at 1:55 AM, Cherylyn said:

Even though you're going crazy now, savor these moments.  "Long days, short years" as my mother used to say.  Someday you'll look back on the best years of your life which is today.  You will give anything to be with your little children again.  When children are small, the days are so fleeting.  You'll miss it one day so savor every moment no matter how exhausted you are. 

Your days and years with your small children will go by within a blink of an eye.

 

Yes, the years are going by way too fast... I can, 'see,' this now with our oldest only having 8 years left (very sad, and yet exciting... ugh! Bittersweet...). 

I already realize how much I'm going to miss this... it hits me hard sometimes.  That outdoor adventure thing we just did had so so many beautiful memories that we made together... and it's things like that that I know I'll miss.  

I took tons of pictures of them in the beautiful landscapes and will print them out soon and frame some of them.

The great thing about homeschooling is that we could just pack up and go almost right after my husband got his work instructions!  The kids are all very close to each other and friends with each other, so the family bonding is very strong and hopefully will last when they're older.

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So one thing I found with taking photos- my husband can't stop taking them.  It gets a little annoying sometimes.  I find that sometimes I miss the actual moment, the actual being present in the moment because the focus is on focusing a camera.

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2 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I think a flight would be both harder and easier in different ways.  Once we got rather close, I saw they had an airport and I wondered if maybe next time we should fly to that point and then rent a car.  Flying is just so much faster!  But I get it that I would feel worried at the same time they'd disrupt other people.

So ironically over the years and all the flights I've found that adults disrupt more than my child.  Much more.  Actually he never really disrupted unless you count a crying jag he had while we were seated waiting to board -he was a toddler -or the time I couldn't hear him through the bathroom door and thought he was locked in LOL and couldn't get out!

One funny story -he and I  flew across the country just the two of us when he was 4.  When we were getting ready to get off the plane a woman who'd also gotten up spoke to him.  She was wearing a low cut top, ample cleavage.  Remember I didn't breastfeed.  And I've got no cleavage.  Anyway he pokes her right in the cleavage, but gently, and says "what's that???"  I wanted to die.  She thought it was hilarious.

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

So ironically over the years and all the flights I've found that adults disrupt more than my child.  Much more.  Actually he never really disrupted unless you count a crying jag he had while we were seated waiting to board -he was a toddler -or the time I couldn't hear him through the bathroom door and thought he was locked in LOL and couldn't get out!

One funny story -he and I  flew across the country just the two of us when he was 4.  When we were getting ready to get off the plane a woman who'd also gotten up spoke to him.  She was wearing a low cut top, ample cleavage.  Remember I didn't breastfeed.  And I've got no cleavage.  Anyway he pokes her right in the cleavage, but gently, and says "what's that???"  I wanted to die.  She thought it was hilarious.

That's hilarious!!!  I've noticed babies and kids that young (4-5) seem to wonder about boobs LOL...  So glad she took it ok, she had a great sense of humor!! 😹

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

So one thing I found with taking photos- my husband can't stop taking them.  It gets a little annoying sometimes.  I find that sometimes I miss the actual moment, the actual being present in the moment because the focus is on focusing a camera.

Yes, that is very true!  I've tried to find a balance between taking too many (I used to do that... literally 100 pics per day of a trip 😳), but now it's much less, and I play a ton more.

But yes, very good point.

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So my husband is going to get a chance to test his boundaries.... His mom called and left a message wanting to visit to drop off gifts for the kids. 

He's worried about how they could be exposed by him and us (since he's always exposed due to work... this is why my own parents haven't been able to see our kids up close and visit this entire time!) and also worried about how they haven't been careful and have been constantly exposing themselves, by choice, by being around his sister & her husband (who are also coming into contact with tons of people as they run a popular restaurant in an area where it's a hotbed for COVID cases and have managed to stay open).  His parents are at risk due to their age and both being overweight, but his sister has had them watching her only child for months and months on end (living inside an RV down in a COVID hotbed town!).  So not only are his parents constantly exposed to the virus through my sister in law and her husband working their restaurant, they're also having to watch her toddler 7 days a week (very tiring) according to my mother in law. 

We don't understand why his sister doesn't see this as putting her parents at constant risk?  How she couldn't feel bad or guilty about it is beyond me?  And why is she making them watch her only child 7 days a week with no break?  It just seems like she's taking them for granted and basically using them, with no concern over their health or well-being.

Anyway, my husband's planning on telling them they should wait, or at least do a no-contact type of drop off if they really want to, but he knows they'll probably blow a gasket and be very angry and rant at him on the phone.

Hoping it goes well... lol 👀  I'm not sure how they don't see the risk both to them, and to us. 

Bio-overload is a real thing, and we're already exposed all the time, it doesn't seem fair to expect us (or them) to be exposed more than necessary. 

Ugh.... 

In January they're already planning to go back down to watch his sister's only child, 7 days a week, for probably months more again.  

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4 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

he knows they'll probably blow a gasket and be very angry and rant at him on the phone.

Well, let them! Definitely be very firm that, if they wish, they can leave the packages on the doorstep. They'll get over the rant. 

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Thanks LH, I think the sad thing is that, at least for his dad, the anger he feels about small things like this stews and then leaks out later on (he'll say something insulting maybe months from now in person).  He's also passive aggressive so the anger comes out in different ways, but they make sure we, "pay," for disappointing them.  It's just ridiculous and sometimes a little funny if it's passive aggressive rather than outright aggressive. 

I'm starting to see now that this is a life-long thing because they're his parents and he doesn't want to completely cut them out of our lives again.  Like what Seraphim has talked about in her marriage... her in-laws have affected them negatively at times for years and years 😳.  This is just our, "thing," I guess.  But it should get better with him being more comfortable with putting down firm boundaries.

Marriage is so interesting... you think you know everything about a person, and then you realize there's more layers even deeper than you've already gone!  I think the hard things have that potential to help you grow even closer and more in love (in a much deeper way than gooey feelings).  You see the person, all their flaws, even very hidden deep flaws no one else would know about, and love them and are more sympathetic to them overall as a person.

I found my kung-fu kitty picture again!  Very happy!

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I think your husband has to step up and put his foot down (hmm pun intended) -seriously.  I had to do that to a much lesser extent during the H1N1 flu epidemic - but in this case -yes they can drop off gifts then do a facetime kind of thing after they open them.

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20 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I think your husband has to step up and put his foot down (hmm pun intended) -seriously.  I had to do that to a much lesser extent during the H1N1 flu epidemic - but in this case -yes they can drop off gifts then do a facetime kind of thing after they open them.

Sure.  But it still won't help them not be passive aggressive later.  Which is what I'm trying (I guess) to figure out how we deal with (assuming cutting them out altogether is out of the picture).

Funny story... i think 2 Christmases ago, his dad was angry about something my husband had wanted to do differently (I don't even remember!), and to, "make us pay for it," he brought the kids' gifts, but got the smallest rental car possible, filled it literally to the roof with the kids' gifts and then met us at a restaurant where lots of people would view the car full of wrapped presents to the roof and be tempted to break in!  And he didn't seem to care at all, even about the rental car.  

I can't remember what the decision was that drove that, but it was obvious he was acting out in passive aggression again.  He makes lots of money, so it wasn't like he couldn't afford a better rental car that could accommodate them better.  He's also a very smart man, so at some level I'm sure he knew he was putting their gifts at risk.  He could have told us he needed to drop them off first and communicated properly, but with the anger issues, he doesn't seem capable of that somehow.  Hence doing weird stuff like that to inadvertently (and within plausible deniability) "get us back."  Very odd.... 

I've come to realize a lot of their passive aggressiveness is due to them not having boundaries or good basic communication themselves, and then getting angry sometimes at feeling, "put upon."  It's very interesting to see that side of what motivates their strange behavior.

Like with their daughter... they seemingly cannot tell her no with the childcare thing, even though it was obvious when I talked to my MIL that she didn't really like it and was exhausted doing 7 days childcare a week.  I think they probably love feeling like they're coming to the rescue, but also don't feel like they can have boundaries with her.

I'd see it different if they had a loving relationship, but years ago, when we were all on a camping trip together, I was close by and overheard my sister in law talking to my MIL (they didn't know I was there).  It was shocking the way SIL degraded her own mother... if I had talked in that way to my mom, I would have been slapped, and deserved it!  So I don't think this is motivated out of a mutual loving set-up where the daughter it super kind to them and gracious.  It's something else.

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13 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I mean I certainly do know of couples who cut out family -in laws included -it's done but I think it needs to be both of yours' decision.

I know, I've had to let go of some of mine, silently, zero drama. 

His family (and his relationships with them) seem a lot more complicated for some reason.  

OH but he did talk to them though, did great (!) somehow things were still vague, like he couldnt get them to commit to when they actually would just show up (LOL) but hopefully it will be ok.

If all else fails... we'll hide and pretend we're not here if it's at a bad time. 😸

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26 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

And I am being silly... we won't see them in person anyway... but it's annoying they won't even commit to when they'll drop them off (I mean who wants gifts sitting in front of their house if we happen to be out?).  

 

Very irritating for you. But that's their PA way of "punishing" you for not having them in the house for your very real and valid reasons. 

As you said in another post,

"He's also passive aggressive so the anger comes out in different ways, but they make sure we, "pay," for disappointing them. "

The level of dysfunction and toxicity is massive.

 

 

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11 hours ago, LaHermes said:

Very irritating for you. But that's their PA way of "punishing" you for not having them in the house for your very real and valid reasons. 

As you said in another post,

"He's also passive aggressive so the anger comes out in different ways, but they make sure we, "pay," for disappointing them. "

The level of dysfunction and toxicity is massive.

 

 

I know this sounds nutty, but I really do love them deep down and sometimes we can have a fun time together (like when they came in October or November I think?  Thinking back, we really should have said no back then because they were still coming from a COVID hotbed town and not really taking precautions and yes... that was a very stupid decision of both my husband and I).  

They are toxic, but we'll see....

I was just reading Pipi's journal (really good!) and she talks about dreams and their spiritual interpretations.  

I've always had very strange spiritual seeming dreams, ever since a child. And I've **always** been able to tell if a place (house, area outdoors, etc.) was haunted (even as a child!) just by the way it felt, and then usually I'd find out afterward that someone really did die there, or there was a battle, or there was an unmarked grave where bones had been found.  This still occurs even now, I'm very sensitive to things like that (and I know I know... it sounds so nutty).

Anyway... even our daughter had a very mysterious thing happen in infancy.  2 weeks after I had her, I went in for a checkup postpartum, and the nurse/midwife actually asked if she could pray over my daughter - really random!  I accepted and she prophesied over her... it was so beautiful it made me cry a little!

My point though....  So the other night I had a funny dream and my FIL was telling me really happily that their goal is almost here... to sell there house (hours away) and travel in their RV spending months at a time at each of his kids' houses/cities!  LOL  I think that really could be their plan eventually... so I need to prepare myself mentally to see them if that's the case, for months at a time.

What I remember from the dream was that he was so happy... and this man does have his flaws with his anger issues, but I was glad he was happy.  Hopefully we can manage this well so that he can have a reasonably ok time with us if that's some kind of realistic dream.

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On 12/18/2020 at 7:19 AM, maritalbliss86 said:

Yes, the years are going by way too fast... I can, 'see,' this now with our oldest only having 8 years left (very sad, and yet exciting... ugh! Bittersweet...). 

I already realize how much I'm going to miss this... it hits me hard sometimes.  That outdoor adventure thing we just did had so so many beautiful memories that we made together... and it's things like that that I know I'll miss.  

I took tons of pictures of them in the beautiful landscapes and will print them out soon and frame some of them.

The great thing about homeschooling is that we could just pack up and go almost right after my husband got his work instructions!  The kids are all very close to each other and friends with each other, so the family bonding is very strong and hopefully will last when they're older.

You sound like a great mother.  Keep up the great work, maritalbliss86. 

Time goes by so fast.  Savor every second. 

 

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So my husband tried to nail down when they'd come in.  They suggested a date, he tried to say it didn't work for him (implied though🤦‍♀️... he wasn't firm enough I think for them to understand him!🧏‍♂️).  So his mom ended up deciding for him to pick that date🗓️, and then he couldn't get them to commit to a time.

He also caved in to her wanting them to see the kids outside 😳.  I told him (afterward) this just wouldn't work... you can't really get a 3 and 5 yr old to social distance when they want to hug their grandparents so badly.  It's hard to hold all of them back (with the baby) at the same time if we met them in the front.

Plus they haven't been careful, have been around lots of people via the restaurant traffic 🌮🥓🥣in their COVID hotbed town (that I'm still not sure how it's still functioning...☠️).  

My husband also found out he's been exposed to 3 people at work who tested positive! 💩 We're always at risk, which is why I care about bio-overload🤧... some of the worst cases are when people were over-exposed over and over again (our family would fit in there due to him).  They'd unnecessarily expose us again and he'd also be putting his parents at risk now, and they are in the high risk category for their age/weight etc.  He told them this, but it didn't seem to phase them🤓.

He's going to try to reassert tomorrow that it needs to be just a drop off, and to ask for the time.  If they try to come in, we'll have an uncomfortable, awkward moment of having to refuse them at the door 🚪 👀✌️

Sometimes they've committed to a time 🕖, but then turned up hours late 🚙(3-4 hours later!) due to taking weird detours (last time it was to swing by FIL's dad's grave so they could sing to him... 🤷‍♀️).  So that still isn't' a guarantee, but at least he'll be more exacting.

** Going off of that thread talking so much about fairness with in-laws etc. My husband did try to tell his parents that mine only did a drop off this morning, he repeated it multiple times on the phone, but they didn't seem to get it that having them see the kids in person is doing more for them than what we did for mine.  I don't think, "fairness," crosses people's minds if it means they can't get what they want. 

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8 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

So my husband tried to nail down when they'd come in.  They suggested a date, he tried to say it didn't work for him (implied though🤦‍♀️... he wasn't firm enough I think for them to understand him!🧏‍♂️).  So his mom ended up deciding for him to pick that date🗓️, and then he couldn't get them to commit to a time.

He also caved in to her wanting them to see the kids outside 😳.  I told him (afterward) this just wouldn't work... you can't really get a 3 and 5 yr old to social distance when they want to hug their grandparents so badly.  It's hard to hold all of them back (with the baby) at the same time if we met them in the front.

Plus they haven't been careful, have been around lots of people via the restaurant traffic 🌮🥓🥣in their COVID hotbed town (that I'm still not sure how it's still functioning...☠️).  

My husband also found out he's been exposed to 3 people at work who tested positive! 💩 We're always at risk, which is why I care about bio-overload🤧... some of the worst cases are when people were over-exposed over and over again (our family would fit in there due to him).  They'd unnecessarily expose us again and he'd also be putting his parents at risk now, and they are in the high risk category for their age/weight etc.  He told them this, but it didn't seem to phase them🤓.

He's going to try to reassert tomorrow that it needs to be just a drop off, and to ask for the time.  If they try to come in, we'll have an uncomfortable, awkward moment of having to refuse them at the door 🚪 👀✌️

Sometimes they've committed to a time 🕖, but then turned up hours late 🚙(3-4 hours later!) due to taking weird detours (last time it was to swing by FIL's dad's grave so they could sing to him... 🤷‍♀️).  So that still isn't' a guarantee, but at least he'll be more exacting.

** Going off of that thread talking so much about fairness with in-laws etc. My husband did try to tell his parents that mine only did a drop off this morning, he repeated it multiple times on the phone, but they didn't seem to get it that having them see the kids in person is doing more for them than what we did for mine.  I don't think, "fairness," crosses people's minds if it means they can't get what they want. 

The idea of fairness is not about how we are treated it is about how WE engage them. We can’t control what others think or sometimes even do but you can control what you do. For instance no matter what my in-laws have said or done I have been polite... to their face anyway. Because it is about my relationship with my husband, not them. If it was about them just them and not my husband at all I would never see or talk to them again ever in my life and it wouldn’t bother me a day or a second even. It is about my relationship with the my husband I have been with my entire life and plan to stay with my entire life and my relationship with my son. For me they are the periphery very edge of my life , for my husband they are an essential part of his life. For my son they are an essential part of his life. That is what I am talking about. Fairness to your spouse and fairness to your children. It’s not about fairness to the in-laws as a concept. 

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

The idea of fairness is not about how we are treated it is about how WE engage them. We can’t control what others think or sometimes even do but you can control what you do. For instance no matter what my in-laws have said or done I have been polite... to their face anyway. Because it is about my relationship with my husband, not them. If it was about them just them and not my husband at all I would never see or talk to them again ever in my life and it wouldn’t bother me a day or a second even. It is about my relationship with the my husband I have been with my entire life and plan to stay with my entire life and my relationship with my son. For me they are the periphery very edge of my life , for my husband they are an essential part of his life. For my son they are an essential part of his life. That is what I am talking about. Fairness to your spouse and fairness to your children. It’s not about fairness to the in-laws as a concept. 

That makes total sense, Seraphim.  I do understand that, and believe me I try very hard to be polite (they don't think so though when I have to tell them when my husband won't, that they can't watch our kids alone anymore or things like that....).  But I do try to say it in a nice way, I'm definitely not abrasive with them.  I WAS abrasive though with some of his extended family (who were just insane people... I mean one man actually spit in my husband's face... I was VERY very abrasive with him and one other Aunt, but they really asked for it).

But yes, I send his siblings' kids' cards and write nice messages and love them because not only is it important to my husband, it's just the freaking right thing to do.  I'm very nice to his mom, very polite, and thankfully it has gotten easier because I really do feel a stronger love for her now.  I feel like I understand them better, even if I get very frustrated with the passive aggressive stunts and things.  

Thank you though, your example is helping me process the future a lot.  I'm very grateful for  your posts and input.

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