Alone time? What is that?!
I mean I get alone time when I get my nails done (every 2-3 weeks) but I would say, that is about it. I don’t use the bathroom without an audience, I can’t shower without a crew and I can’t even sit and watch 30 minutes of tv, alone.
My kids have been nightmare sleepers since they were born. Most parents thrive off nap times or their hour alone when the house is quiet and everyone is asleep.
This has never happened for me (I can probably count on my fingers how many times that miracle has occurred in our home).
I blame myself. For not being more strict on routines, or for breastfeeding my kids back to sleep, or co-sleeping, creating this dependency… I tried, but I failed, over and over again.
Starting with Kylie – she was a colicky baby, who had her witching hours down to a T. Starting around 7pm every night she would start freaking out, hysterically screaming until about midnight. Nothing helped. She was just unconsolable. She would nurse often. I was tired. I was anxious. I was a new mom with a difficult baby who wouldn’t sleep. My mom practically lived with us in order to help us take shifts for the first two months.
As she got older her colic calmed down but I was back at work before she was 4 months old and she wanted to nurse all night to make up for the missed time. I let her because I just wanted to sleep. I was also too anxious to separate her from us. At that time, we lived in a 3 bedroom apartment but her room still felt too far. She rarely used her bassinet and we didn’t do a good job transitioning her to the crib.
By this time, she was fully co-sleeping with us. We tried crying it out several times with her, but the screams got louder and she would practically hyperventilate. I gave up every time. Some how along the way, nap time also became dependent on us and needing someone to sleep with her.
Then all the life transitions happened.
I stopped breastfeeding before she turned one. We moved after her first birthday (twice) and a few months after, I became pregnant.
I suffered from HG with both pregnancies, so I was in really bad shape and on bed rest. At this point, she heavily relied on us to sleep. No nap or night sleep was without my husband or I sleeping with her. I was just too weak and sick, even though again, we tried and failed to get her to sleep independently.
And then, Kenzo was born. Hallelujah! We had a pretty smooth newborn phase with him. He was a good sleeper and slept in his bassinet.
Four month regression hit and BAM! We had a SCREAMING, anti sleep, HUNGRY and angry baby. He became a newborn and from that point on, he was NOT a kind sleeper. Holy cow, I was tired! Nursing an infant, an attached toddler and I was just beat.
During this time, Kenzo was also in physical therapy for torticollis and got a helmet (doc band) at four months. He was also a stomach sleeper, I was constantly anxious about SIDS, he hated carseats, he hated pacifiers, and he refused bottles.
Cool. How did I even survive?
Fast forward to TODAY. My kids are 4 and 2. They still suck at sleeping, still require someone to sleep with them, Kenzo still wakes up at least once to leave his crib and co-sleep, and they both refuse naps unless they fall asleep in the car. I would be a millionaire if I were a cab driver from driving around the DMV so often, just to get some quiet.
On the bright side, when Kylie is at school, she naps!
When Kenzo is with my mother-in-law, he naps!
They just happen to GIFT me with the art of sleep refusal.
We are currently in the midst of more change. Moving out of our home, staying with my in laws and moving again to a new home in a few months. I’m hoping to start new routines in the new home. New home = fresh start. I think…
Currently, I do a lot of self talk to survive. This is all temporary.
In a few years, they won’t want to cuddle with me. I will miss the sweet baby smell and their neediness for me. I already have baby fever (although, due to the severity of my HG, that’s not going to happen)!
I struggle with balancing my “me time” on a daily basis, but I am also thankful for all of our family members who are always available to help us or watch the kids when we ask them to. No one ever hesitates. Being the only grandchildren on both sides, the ratio of adults to children is beneficial. I may not get the daily me time, but I also know that many families don’t have trusted adults always available to them.
We all have our parenting struggles and I struggle with their poor sleep habits and daily alone time. What are your parenting struggles?