Friday, January 10, 2014


Lately I've been feeling a lot less alone in my general exhaustion/exasperation with the whole "toddler thing". I guess I've reached out enough in real life and on this blog to feel like I'm not alone in my feelings. Sometimes when I read everyone's happy stories about their cute babies and all their new milestones I wonder what the heck is wrong with me - why aren't I enjoying this more? Why am I not only not grateful that I get to be my children's full time caretaker, but actually find myself longing for a job, even a shitty one, just so I can have an escape? I think the answer is most people feel this way, just few care to talk about it. And that's everyone's personal preference how open they want to be about the dark side of parenting small children. But you know me - bring it on!

I actually admitted to a friend last night that I find myself looking forward to the hours (or days) spent birthing this baby in the hospital because it means I get to have a frigging break! I felt insane saying this at the time, only to have her tell me when she was having her second child she felt the same way!

I have come to realize being at home alone with a toddler all day really sucks. I don't know how women have done this for centuries...maybe they had more easily accessible community than we do now; maybe they were so delighted to have survived childbirth that they didn't care what came after! I feel like all I do all day long is try to kill time. I spend an inordinate amount of time driving, sometimes to get B to nap, sometimes because being at home and pulling his hands off of things and trying to keep him from climbing on top of the piano is just too much for me to handle. It's all just to make it to bedtime so I can get out my paperwork and get to work, an area where I feel completely competent and in control, as opposed to parenting, where I feel largely incompetent and out of control. 

As I drive around I think of how many people like me are in those cars - sleep deprived new parents, parents of toddlers who have stopped napping and this is their one shot at it for the day. How many people are in that Starbucks drive thru line just killing time so their children will sleep. I don't even want the damned latte. I just want to kill an hour and Bumpus to sleep.

I have been thinking of using the baby kennel every weekend whether I need it or not. I have only ever used it when I had appointments on weekends or to see movies...but I think as the pregnancy progresses and once the baby is here, I might just book it every weekend so I have a few hours to myself to get things done around the house, or even, dare I say it, sleep? It's sort of a way of getting a pseudo-preschool; not really committing to anything, just getting him in the habit of being somewhere and socializing with other kids. We already go so often that he loves it now - runs away from me and doesn't even look back. When I ask him if he had fun when I pick him up he always enthusiastically says, "yeah!" I don't have much on the schedule for Feb or March for obvious reasons that I need sitters for - but I think I will give myself the gift of a little weekly break. It's going to feel weird but I think I really need it for my soul. 

In the meantime I am going to check out free indoor play areas at malls and other public places - and maybe try to set some kind of schedule for us so we have places to go and things to do. You know, like on this day we go to the nice little park in South Pas, this day we have a play date with so-and-so, this day we do the drum circle, this day we go to that coffee shop with the play area in the afternoon, etc. I know a routine would be beneficial for both of us. As mentioned, I'm sure we're both a lot more pleasant to be around when we've had a fun, full day!


  1. I absolutely couldn't stay home with a toddler all day! You're right, it's a constant cycle of killing time till the next nap/meal/bedtime and it's exhausting. I think past women survived it because they weren't alone. They had other women around, extra hands, for when things got tough. They also nursed each other's babies. :)

  2. 1. I get it. I love my kids. But early childhood education is NOT my area of specialization; it's not what I'm particularly good at, and there are many aspects of it I simply don't enjoy. I'm much happier WITH my kids because my days are largely spent WITHOUT them. And time-use research indicates I'm probably spending as much "quality time" with them as I would if I were home all day...

    2. Free places to take kids are great. And schedule. We have a membership to a local kids' science center. It's like $70/year, but given how often we are there comes out to less than $5/visit, for 3 people.

  3. I totally hear you. Sometimes I dread the weekends because I have Sidekick for 48 whole hours! (That sounds awful.) I think I would be in the poor house if I drank coffee. : ) I can't stand being cooped up... never have... unless I was cooped up with a great book, a glass of wine, and no kid. Ha! Right now, it's cold AND he's kind of at that awkward age where he's too young to go to certain "kid" places, so I feel limited what we can do outside the home. It was so much easier being able to walk out the door and play outside or go to a park. Entertaining a toddler can be a challenge, but I am thankful Sidekick plays well alone and can read books with me or by himself for hours. Maybe when baby comes along, you will want to get him a on really strict schedule as soon as possible so that your days are more predictable/pleasant juggling two. Sidekick's strict routine makes for a happy momma and a happy baby/toddler and a great sleeper. By the way, baby kennels are not bad places, and it sounds like a great alternative for you!

  4. Both of my degrees are in Child Development/Early Childhood Education and my kids still nap and I get it. My first day back and being responsible for meeting all their needs again (I gladly hand over the reigns to my mom when she is around) kicked my butt.

    I think the drop in place sounds miraculous. If it were closer I would want to use it too. We're available again here too (except Wednesdays).

  5. I wish baby kennels existed where I live, but I don't think they do. If they did, I would use it, no question.

    I absolutely, positively, 100% get it about being with a toddler all day. While I desperately (and I mean desperately) wanted to be a stay at home mom when Jordyn was a baby... I don't still feel that way. If I weren't working (and I'm only working part time now), I'd be slowly - or maybe not-so-slowly - losing my mind.
    I need the break, and I think I'm a better mom for it. So I think using the baby kennel is a fabulous idea, just for the break, both before and after the baby comes!

    I also think a routine will do you good. It'll allow you both to anticipate certain things, which should help with the feeling of just "making it through til bedtime". Around here, while we don't have baby kennels, we have indoor play spaces, which are fantastic for the cold, snowy winters. We went to one just the other day. While not free, they don't charge too much, at least most of them. Maybe $6 per visit or something, and I bought a groupon for 50% for 14 visits or something, and the card never expires. Maybe look for something like that? Or what about maybe finding other SAHM moms and setting up regular playgroups, maybe rotating who hosts at their house? Then it's free, but you still get out of the house (most of the time).

    It's not all fun and games. I know I do a LOT of venting on my blog. I started it for me, not really the readers, but it's a nice bonus to know people read it and to get the comments. But it's a place I use for an outlet, to talk about the not-so-fun stuff, sometimes. And it helps. So don't feel like you can't talk about it, if you want to, and if it helps you. We get it. Even if people don't say it, I guarantee they get it!

  6. I'm another that could never be home all day with my toddler! I'm thinking seriously about being with her full time this summer, when I'm off from work, and I'm already nervous about it!

    I also absolutely HAVE to get out of the house with her. Every. Single. Day.

    Frankly, even when she has a fever, I drag her out. To be fair, she gets a fever with the slightest runny nose. If she's truly SICK... well, scratch that, we still go out. At least to get a cup of tea at the coffeeshop.

    I agree with the idea of finding SAHM moms and doing little playgroups. Having another adult or two or three to talk to is so helpful. even if it's just Mommy Talk. And when you are all comfortable, then you talk about swapping childcare. I do this a lot with my two closest friends. It's FABULOUS. I love free childcare. And it's not like i get a lot done when C is around, so watching another isn't that much worse.

    I can't imagine having a toddler who doesn't nap!!! My heartfelt sympathies. That would be terrible.