It’s All Me

I’ve been spoiled this past five weeks. Wil has been on paternity leave and I’ve had a lot of help with Samara. During this time, he’s made it possible for me to have time alone with Ari and allowed me to have a full night’s sleep while he stayed up with the baby.
In case you’re wondering, I had to pump milk each time in order for these events to be at all possible. Yay nursing!
He’s scheduled to go back to work on Wednesday evening. As I’ve mentioned before, he works the overnight shift. Once he goes back, I’ll be alone with the two kids pretty much all the time. When he’s home during the day, he’ll be sleeping, and at night, he’ll be at work.

Needless to say I am terrified.

I have no idea how I’ll manage having an infant and a 2 and 3/4 year-old by myself. To be fair, I’m not entirely alone. I have my parents right downstairs, but the primary responsibility of caring for these kids is on me.

My friend Cordy (mother of two girls, two and three years old respectively) told me when you have two kids, you’re always inevitably neglecting one of them. When I’ve been alone with my brood, I’ve found this to be absolutely the case. For example, Ari is repeatedly asking for chocolate milk, meanwhile Samara is screaming, demanding to be nursed.

In a couple of days, it’s going to be all me. To all the moms out there with two (or more) kids: how did you survive when your husband/boyfriend/partner went back to work?
Sarah Fader records anecdotes from her daily life at at Old School New School Mom. She also currently runs blog workshops for elementary school children in New York City and provides freelance transcription services for major television networks, in between running after a two year old.
10 Responses to It’s All Me
  1. Jen
    March 3, 2011 | 12:42 pm

    I’ve got 3 littles (6, 4 and 1), with #4 on the way. You are right. It is hard. And that first day may be the hardest. But you can do it. Women for centuries have done it and you can too. Be as prepared as you can. Make meals ahead of time to just re-heat. Have the snack food in containers. Plan ahead for when it’s time to nurse, get Ari’s drink and snack and favorite book or tv show ready so you can relax and concentrate on your daughter. Remember, this too shall pass way too quickly and know you are doing your best, and that’s good enough!

  2. Old School/New School Mom
    March 3, 2011 | 12:44 pm

    Thank you so much Jen! That really helped!

  3. melissa aka equidae
    March 3, 2011 | 1:07 pm

    i had to resprt to tv when nursing. sometimes i nurse them together. yeah the baby needs lots and so does the 2 yr old so i take it day by day but it gets easier every day

  4. Sarah at themommylogues
    March 3, 2011 | 3:07 pm

    My first two were 22 months apart. I have to say the first year was hard. Constant child maintenance. But now they’re 7 & 5, and they are best friends. I couldn’t be more happy they’re that close together.Like other moms have said, be prepared before you sit down to nurse with something to keep the older one busy. I found it was helpful to tell them both when they had to wait, that it was the other child’s turn. The baby’s not going to remember that she had to wait 5 or 10 minutes for you to finish something with Ari. So tune out the screaming for a few minutes and tell her it’s her turn to wait so Ari hears it. That way he knows that both of them have to wait sometimes, and she’s taking her turns too.

  5. Anitra
    March 4, 2011 | 8:06 am

    We watch more TV than we should, because it keeps my toddler from running amok while I am nursing or otherwise tending to the baby.

    The only really hard time for me is evenings, especially ones where my husband will not be home until after bedtime. I’m just worn out and in need of a break by that time of day, and it seems like the baby is ALWAYS awake and hungry at that time.

  6. Laura W.
    March 6, 2011 | 2:03 am

    My girls are exactly 2 1/2 years apart, now ages 5 and 2 1/2. It is hard … and it’s okay that it’s hard. I’m glad that I can now laugh about spending so much of my time nursing the baby while sitting on the bathroom floor while big sister was figuring out the potty.

    Every phase, good or bad, passes. I remind myself of this often. 🙂 Hang in there, you can do it!!

  7. Adelia
    March 7, 2011 | 9:50 am

    I echo Jen. Planning ahead is so helpful. So much of my time was spent getting snacks and drinks (I have an 8, 5, 4, and 11 wk old and we homeschool–read that as always have a kid with me). I now have a snack bag ready every day and a thermos for each kid as well as ‘busy’ activities for those times I can’t get to a kiddo. My 5 yr old and 4 yr old are 17 mos apart…That was one of the hardest parenting moments of my life, but I survived as will you. Don’t know how pretty our survival was but we did. 🙂 And remember to forgive yourself on the days you have a less than stellar performance. You can do it, Momma!

  8. Heather
    March 8, 2011 | 5:29 pm

    I know exactly what you are going through. I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old. My husband was able to take a 6 week paternity leave also, then returned to the graveyard shift. Like you, I was completely left to fend for the children and myself alone. It was difficult at first, but after a week or two of feeling completely out of control, I began to plan better, as others have given tips to do. Honestly, things were crazy enough for awhile that I don’t even remember how we ‘survived’ it all. We just did. I think that’s how life works out most often – one day we’ll look back and life will have flashed by.

    Most importantly, I will tell you to give yourself grace. You can’t do it all perfectly every time, but you can do your best. And in those moments when you don’t give your best (because it does happen – you get overwhelmed, or angry, or lazy… or all the above!), remember that no one is perfect and you can choose to pick yourself back up to try again, and again…

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