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How Do You Balance Life with Kids?


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I wouldn't burden older kids with watching the younger ones as a rule -in an emergency, yes. Years ago for example -one example -I had to call the police because a mom left her 12 year old in charge of a 3 year old sibling at a playground while she enjoyed a bike ride. She didn't supervise and he was found right near the lake. We only learned it was her job when the mom came back and was angry at me for being on the phone with police while three other moms watched the little boy. I think babysitting younger sibs is great if they really want to/are paid but depends so much on the age/amount of time/other safety issues. We've had an uptick in my city in young kids getting a hold of guns in the house because everyone is home so much.

 

I meant have the older siblings get involved with caring for the younger ones while mum is home and busy doing something else, say they could make a simple lunch for themselves and the 3 year old while mum look after the baby? Perhaps that would take some pressure off feeling like there’s no time to rest or even to take a shower?

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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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Well that's all good stuff!! No need to be sorry at all. I'm really glad you do get that help for little breaks for yourself when you ask. That's awesome. The two of you sound like a great team, both super considerate of the other.

Just mostly throwing my support in. That's really great that you have an education to springboard from - gives you a lot more options going forward.

By the way, I'm not a mom. Was mostly drawing from a time when I was caring for my mom, and at points I really did have trouble fitting in a shower or sleep.

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Anyway... We do have one sweet work friend of my husband's who is amazing with kids and she could watch them and I'd trust her. She just has a lot on her plate taking care of her dad and gets up extremely early for work... I don't want her to feel like we're taking advantage of her.

 

But she did actually offer to help me... so I should take her up on it and just ask!

 

Maybe you can pay her or give her a nice gift in return?

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I meant have the older siblings get involved with caring for the younger ones while mum is home and busy doing something else, say they could make a simple lunch for themselves and the 3 year old while mum look after the baby? Perhaps that would take some pressure off feeling like there’s no time to rest or even to take a shower?

 

I wouldn't do that as a practice or habit as it's not fair to the older siblings. If they are paid or get a reward for it maybe but I think having it be a regular practice becomes unfair -personal opinion.

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Well that's all good stuff!! No need to be sorry at all. I'm really glad you do get that help for little breaks for yourself when you ask. That's awesome. The two of you sound like a great team, both super considerate of the other.

Just mostly throwing my support in. That's really great that you have an education to springboard from - gives you a lot more options going forward.

By the way, I'm not a mom. Was mostly drawing from a time when I was caring for my mom, and at points I really did have trouble fitting in a shower or sleep.

 

I echo this. You sound like a great mom and I don't just mean that as a throwaway/cliche. I also think it really depends -as you yourself noted- what the spouse's full time job looks like -my husband works far more than 40 hours a week -always has. He's a great parent. But when I see posts that do complain about the full time spouse not pulling his weight I think it matters a lot what that spouse's working hours are - 9 to 5 and predictable hours of 40-50 hours a week with no night or weekend work is far different from what it sounds like our husbands do.

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I meant have the older siblings get involved with caring for the younger ones while mum is home and busy doing something else, say they could make a simple lunch for themselves and the 3 year old while mum look after the baby? Perhaps that would take some pressure off feeling like there’s no time to rest or even to take a shower?

 

There's a bit of an age-gap there with the first two kids. The oldest is smart and fairly able to know what to do, but the 2nd is only 5 yrs old and he can't really help as much. The oldest does love to take initiative and make his own hot chocolate or even sometimes his own breakfast :O !!! But I let him decide those things on his own mostly as he's more comfortable with his independence. I think if I made it a daily help or task I'm not sure if he'd feel the same, but maybe he would?

 

He does help hold the baby if I absolutely need him to, or watch him for a very small amount of time (minutes) and those things do help!

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Well that's all good stuff!! No need to be sorry at all. I'm really glad you do get that help for little breaks for yourself when you ask. That's awesome. The two of you sound like a great team, both super considerate of the other.

Just mostly throwing my support in. That's really great that you have an education to springboard from - gives you a lot more options going forward.

By the way, I'm not a mom. Was mostly drawing from a time when I was caring for my mom, and at points I really did have trouble fitting in a shower or sleep.

 

Thank you for the support! Being a caregiver seems in some ways even harder in my opinion. At least with kids you know it gets better, but with the caregiver situation of aging parents, it's totally different in knowing how it ends. I suppose you find comfort in knowing that you're helping them to live out the last of their days as best as possible or in as little pain as possible.

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I wouldn't do that as a practice or habit as it's not fair to the older siblings. If they are paid or get a reward for it maybe but I think having it be a regular practice becomes unfair -personal opinion.

 

We are around a lot of large families... like 6+ kids, so I've seen that a lot where the older sibling or siblings are expected to help with the bulk of the childcare. They make all the lunches for their siblings - and 6+ kids' lunches is no small deal! They bathe the baby (think about if something went wrong and they felt responsible for it drowning), watch the younger children a lot of the time, one example I can think of the oldest boy is **always** carrying the baby - he doesn't look happy either.

 

Honestly, it does not look fair or like a positive thing from my point of view of an observer. I think you risk making kids grow up hating the work of raising children, and feeling like they were robbed of a childhood.

 

I think I read a quote somewhere from a woman who was the oldest and had to basically raise her siblings... "Why would I have children? I already raised my siblings and I'm not doing that again."

 

Raising kids is so hard. The work is never-ending. Even at night I'm still doing stuff, cleaning something, or trying to get one of them to stay in bed or sleep. So if parents get used to making the oldest kids help out, they do risk crossing a boundary there where they're tempted to use them all the time because the work literally never ends.

 

But I do get the sentiment... just helping at times isn't bad. You just have to make sure you're not using them.

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I echo this. You sound like a great mom and I don't just mean that as a throwaway/cliche. I also think it really depends -as you yourself noted- what the spouse's full time job looks like -my husband works far more than 40 hours a week -always has. He's a great parent. But when I see posts that do complain about the full time spouse not pulling his weight I think it matters a lot what that spouse's working hours are - 9 to 5 and predictable hours of 40-50 hours a week with no night or weekend work is far different from what it sounds like our husbands do.

 

And thank you Batya, that is so kind :) And yes, I do think it depends on a husband's work intensity and schedule. Nagging him all the time to do more than he'd realistically be able to handle would just harm our marriage and not lead to anything good.

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And thank you Batya, that is so kind :) And yes, I do think it depends on a husband's work intensity and schedule. Nagging him all the time to do more than he'd realistically be able to handle would just harm our marriage and not lead to anything good.

 

Yes of course or the rigid (to me) "you made these kids so you're responsible for half" kind of thing. I'm also a big believer in each parent doing what he prefers to do not this whole "equal" thing -like my husband hates taking out the garbage but is fine replacing the garbage bag while I do it and I am not handy and he is, etc. (and I do all the online ordering of groceries etc but he takes care of our taxes).

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Just random thoughts.... I love reading ENA and hearing other people giving advice on different topics... it kind of helps me try to be more introspective and see if the advice in different threads applies, and often it does in different ways, to things I think about or wonder about.

 

I think maybe the one good thing (maybe?) about having anxiety is that it forces you to be more introspective than not, albeit probably not in the most helpful way at all, BUT at least it gets you seeing yourself from a different angle and wondering if there's a problem there in how you're relating or coming across. Other than that, anxiety is not fun.

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Just random thoughts.... I love reading ENA and hearing other people giving advice on different topics... it kind of helps me try to be more introspective and see if the advice in different threads applies, and often it does in different ways, to things I think about or wonder about.

 

I think maybe the one good thing (maybe?) about having anxiety is that it forces you to be more introspective than not, albeit probably not in the most helpful way at all, BUT at least it gets you seeing yourself from a different angle and wondering if there's a problem there in how you're relating or coming across. Other than that, anxiety is not fun.

 

So when I feel anxious I cannot be introspective in a productive way because my energy is channeled towards the anxiety/negativity. The self-focus when I feel anxious doesn't produce insight. I have to resolve the anxiety -which to me means taking action - very often tried and true actions or rituals - and then once I'm centered, I can think and feel in a more grounded and positive way. Like, if I'm concerned about whether I'm coming across in the right way I have to start from a position of calm and balanced. Not anxious.

Yes, I agree that ENA is wonderful for the variety of opinions and advice and for so many caring and compassionate contributors. Especially now!

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That makes sense, Batya, I think you explained it better in that the anxiety itself isn't really helpful, it's the calming down afterward and then being able to think introspectively.

 

I guess I was thinking something like this (sorry if it's nutty!)

 

Anxiety = a little bit of neurotic thinking or having a neurosis, albeit sometimes not too much a problem one

Character Disorder/Personality Disorder = not being able to see one's own flaws or think introspectively due to the disorder blocking that ability

 

So I guess I was thinking that well, at least with anxiety you're kind of forced to be more introspective LOL. That's probably not in the best way though - good grief!

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That makes sense, Batya, I think you explained it better in that the anxiety itself isn't really helpful, it's the calming down afterward and then being able to think introspectively.

 

I guess I was thinking something like this (sorry if it's nutty!)

 

Anxiety = a little bit of neurotic thinking or having a neurosis, albeit sometimes not too much a problem one

Character Disorder/Personality Disorder = not being able to see one's own flaws or think introspectively due to the disorder blocking that ability

 

So I guess I was thinking that well, at least with anxiety you're kind of forced to be more introspective LOL. That's probably not in the best way though - good grief!

 

I see feeling anxious as normal within a range and then some people of course have an anxiety disorder. The type of introspection with anxiety to me isn't productive. We've been watching some of Natasha Davidson's youtube videos because my son is anxious about covid, etc. She describes the "introspection" as a bully's voice trying to scare you (this is for kids).

I don't know how the other disorders affect thinking -not a professional in that area!

I hope you're doing better and getting a little time to yourself, to breathe.

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I see feeling anxious as normal within a range and then some people of course have an anxiety disorder. The type of introspection with anxiety to me isn't productive. We've been watching some of Natasha Davidson's youtube videos because my son is anxious about covid, etc. She describes the "introspection" as a bully's voice trying to scare you (this is for kids).

I don't know how the other disorders affect thinking -not a professional in that area!

I hope you're doing better and getting a little time to yourself, to breathe.

 

That makes sense with the internal anxiety, "narration," being like a bully's voice trying to scare you, wow, how interesting!

 

I'm doing ok, it kind of ebbs and flows, and seems to be worse with hormones. This week was hard with the sleep deprivation, but last night the baby slept AMAZING. So thankful for that!

 

It just feels like there's always something to do, but then I kind of like life that way. I like to make our food in bulk and I've figured out ways to do it easier. So I just made 3.5 pounds of green chicken enchiladas, 2 pounds rice and 2 pounds beans for a family that just had their 10th baby. They're a sweet sweet family and I love doing things like that when I can. Then I used the left overs to do a nice giant green enchilada casserole dish for us, too that will last the whole week!

 

i use a pressure cooker for things like that, and it's just so fast! Did a pot roast with red potatoes and carrots last week that tasted delicious... usually that would take 8-10 hours, but in the pressure cooker it was done in 45 minutes :eek: :D

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That makes sense with the internal anxiety, "narration," being like a bully's voice trying to scare you, wow, how interesting!

 

I'm doing ok, it kind of ebbs and flows, and seems to be worse with hormones. This week was hard with the sleep deprivation, but last night the baby slept AMAZING. So thankful for that!

 

It just feels like there's always something to do, but then I kind of like life that way. I like to make our food in bulk and I've figured out ways to do it easier. So I just made 3.5 pounds of green chicken enchiladas, 2 pounds rice and 2 pounds beans for a family that just had their 10th baby. They're a sweet sweet family and I love doing things like that when I can. Then I used the left overs to do a nice giant green enchilada casserole dish for us, too that will last the whole week!

 

i use a pressure cooker for things like that, and it's just so fast! Did a pot roast with red potatoes and carrots last week that tasted delicious... usually that would take 8-10 hours, but in the pressure cooker it was done in 45 minutes :eek: :D

 

Hooray on the baby sleeping!!! May there be many more like that. I'm glad you like keeping busy - me too (just not with cooking in bulk -I've become very good at covid-safe take out though!). It all sounds delicious and so nice of you to help the other family.

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Thank you Batya, you are so kind and encouraging!

 

I overcame a bit of anxiety today... my husband's family wanted to stop by as they were en route to another city and passing through ours. But I had been so sleep deprived this past week and then cooking all that food at the end of it that the house really wasn't in too great of shape (behind on folding laundry, floor needing to be cleaned and items needing to be put away), so I had a bit of anxiety worrying about if I'd be able to clean it enough in time. Anyway, I ended up just doing what I could and then giving up and taking a much needed nap when the baby napped. It wasn't perfectly neat, but we managed to make the best of it and have them over anyway and it was nice.

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Thank you Batya, you are so kind and encouraging!

 

I overcame a bit of anxiety today... my husband's family wanted to stop by as they were en route to another city and passing through ours. But I had been so sleep deprived this past week and then cooking all that food at the end of it that the house really wasn't in too great of shape (behind on folding laundry, floor needing to be cleaned and items needing to be put away), so I had a bit of anxiety worrying about if I'd be able to clean it enough in time. Anyway, I ended up just doing what I could and then giving up and taking a much needed nap when the baby napped. It wasn't perfectly neat, but we managed to make the best of it and have them over anyway and it was nice.

 

I really can't relate to your standards especially when it comes to having family over. I think you're getting in your own way. What is this "making the best of" - you mean parents with young children who have their inlaws over have to have their house neat?? Sanitary -meaning a bathroom that they can use that's clean enough - I get that of course -but you sound like you wanted to open the door and have them see some Normal Rockwell or Leave it to Beaver scene -where is this coming from? I once used a sanitary napkin (clean!!) to wipe my baby's spit up in the car and would have done so if my mother in law had been there of course! I won't have anyone over our small apartment because my husband is a pack rat and I'm not that neat (but I keep everything that needs to be clean/sanitary clean and sanitary and after covid will resume our cleaning service so we are forced to declutter!) so there's really no room to play/do anything but yes I would have my mother over or other relatives (my inlaws passed away). Please don't put yourself through this when you're already feeling overwhelmed.

 

You really need to re-evaluate your musts IMO and do it for your kids too - they need to see a mom who takes care of herself, has her priorities straight and is not spreading anxious vibes because the grandparents are stopping by and some unpaired socks are on the floor or there's a used tissue near the matchbox cars and legos.

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Batya, yes I definitely get in my own way. I think I'm a perfectionist, I've gone to therapy before and he did say I expect way too much of myself, but part of me really loves being that way - I feel like a nut sometimes! Our house usually looks almost perfect because I do clean really well and I'm super organized (and we aren't cramped, we have 3,000 sq ft which of course helps because everything has a place). Plus, I'm a minimalist to some degree, so we don't even have as much junk as most people do.

 

But there is history there, I mean his parents have criticized our messy cramped apartments and my cleaning in the past (a lonnng time ago, like 10 years ago). His mom even yelled at me one time about a child rearing decision with our first baby. They were really overbearing and controlling in our first years of marriage because I was just 20, they didn't respect me at all, and they didn't even view our marriage as a real marriage for several years. It's been a journey for both of us to put down boundaries with them (that they usually voice hatred about) and the whole situation causes me anxiety.

 

Like when we were moving and it was over Christmas, my husband asked them if they could just hold on to their gifts for the kids (they usually buy them a mountain of stuff) and wait until Jan after we'd moved in at least, and they were actually angry about it and ranted to him on the phone. So they don't respect boundaries. Every time we have them over I feel like it needs to be clean (yes, I was just shooting for sanitary here) but it causes some anxiety still - even though I'm way more confident now in just not caring what they think.

 

I actually never had anxiety until them LOL. It sucks.

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Batya, yes I definitely get in my own way. I think I'm a perfectionist, I've gone to therapy before and he did say I expect way too much of myself, but part of me really loves being that way - I feel like a nut sometimes! Our house usually looks almost perfect because I do clean really well and I'm super organized (and we aren't cramped, we have 3,000 sq ft which of course helps because everything has a place). Plus, I'm a minimalist to some degree, so we don't even have as much junk as most people do.

 

But there is history there, I mean his parents have criticized our messy cramped apartments and my cleaning in the past (a lonnng time ago, like 10 years ago). His mom even yelled at me one time about a child rearing decision with our first baby. They were really overbearing and controlling in our first years of marriage because I was just 20, they didn't respect me at all, and they didn't even view our marriage as a real marriage for several years. It's been a journey for both of us to put down boundaries with them (that they usually voice hatred about) and the whole situation causes me anxiety.

 

Like when we were moving and it was over Christmas, my husband asked them if they could just hold on to their gifts for the kids (they usually buy them a mountain of stuff) and wait until Jan after we'd moved in at least, and they were actually angry about it and ranted to him on the phone. So they don't respect boundaries. Every time we have them over I feel like it needs to be clean (yes, I was just shooting for sanitary here) but it causes some anxiety still - even though I'm way more confident now in just not caring what they think.

 

I actually never had anxiety until them LOL. It sucks.

 

I'm so sorry they treat you that - you can only control yourself and easier said than done but why let their reactions have any more effect on you than an annoying fly?? I'm so happy you feel more confident. If you feel better with everything being neat and clean (our apartment is under 1,200 square feet so much less space -I've never lived in a large space -never lived in a house, never want to) - then yes of course but if it means you're going to have a lot of negative energy in front of your kids maybe rethink it?

 

Again I'm so sorry you were treated that way. I had a lot of challenges with my inlaws when I became a mom - I was 42, so was my husband and we were newlyweds. Often age has nothing to do with it.

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Very true, usually if there are problems in a relationship it has more to do with personalities and character differences. I do think our age played a factor... even some of his cousins (who were younger) made our ages an issue with getting married so young, but I agree that in-law issues can happen more due to personality differences and family expectations etc.

 

Yes, I love having things neat. I grew up in a home where both parents worked and my mom was supposed to take care of the house, but really couldn't or didn't make it a priority. So it was always cluttered, messy and I hated it. I do try to be relaxed about it usually now, normally I've not had anxiety like this for awhile, I do think the lack of sleep is making it worse in moments like when we're expecting a surprise visit (that we probably should have just said no to if I didn't feel like I could do it without stress). With all the lack of sleep the past week, plus the cooking and delivering food for the family, I probably just should have said we could do it another weekend. But they wouldn't have liked that and would have ranted.

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I feel like I should just rename this journal, "My Life of Oxymoron's!"

 

I can't believe I actually wrote out:

"expecting a surprise visit"

 

And then the whole, "maritalbliss," name when obviously we have boundary issues and things LOL

 

LOL I love the oxymorons -it makes life interesting, right?

Yes, learn to say a polite and firm no. I remember when my son was an infant during the H1N1 epidemic. My FIL was supposed to come for a visit. My husband insisted he'd told me FIL had a cold but he didn't. I know this. So when he told me while my FIL was on his way there I said "No" to him seeing the baby other than from a distance. Just NO. When people wanted to hold him or touch him and I had a strict rule that given the epidemic and given his age that was a nope (only immediate family could hold him till he was 5-6 months old and not at all if they hadn't had a flu shot) - I was "rude" I'm sure to persistent relatives and family friends- so, let them rant away. Who the frick cares. I only cared about my baby's well being. Let people rant. Big deal. My son rants when I say no. I tune it out as best I can.

 

Practice saying no calmly, firmly, with confidence, politely.

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