Author Topic: kids are hard...  (Read 9225 times)

Lentils4Lunch

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kids are hard...
« on: June 05, 2017, 07:31:24 PM »
Our kids are 2 and 5 and today was the first day of summer... no preschool, no break, just all kids all the time. I was working from home and DH was home with them today. It was chaos. There are some days when I just feel straight up suffocated by them and today was one of those days. Not to a dangerous degree, Just kind of like... ruled by their schedules, demands, and needs all day long. The oldest is a little bit better, he can play by himself for long periods of time. However, when they're both home together, they want to play together, and the two year old inevitably acts like a two year old, knocking down towers, taking toys, etc. It's like this constant background noise of boisterous, sometimes maniacal laughter punctuated by random screams and bouts of temper tantrums. 

So, today was a slower day at work. I was productive all morning. In the afternoon, I thought I'd venture downstairs to take a little break with the family. This was a bad idea. They clung to me. They both wanted to sit on my lap. They fought over me. When I decided to go back upstairs to the peace and quiet of our bedroom and my work, all hell broke loose. The 2 year old threw the mother of all tantrums. I know this is normal behavior.  I guess I just feel really worn down and exhausted by it.

Does anyone else feel this way? A lot in love with their kids,but also a little bit suffocated? When does it get better? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

bogart

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 09:15:32 PM »
Totally.  I have an only and he's now 10, and reasonably delightful, though he can still be maddeningly demanding of my attention re:  things I am entirely uninterested in (video games, NBA bball, to name a couple). 

Honestly, I have avoided what you are describing (aside from by having only one kid, which in my case was not by choice and which has its own downsides, but also avoids some of what you are describing) mostly by relying on splitting childcare with other family members (DH and my mom) and relying on paid childcare.  I do not do well as a mom when I am exposed to the kind of day you describe, and embracing that reality and finding other strategies that work better for me has been a blessing.  I am fortunate to (a) live in an area that has a lot of good childcare services available and (b) be able to afford them -- of course, having just the one kid helps.  And I am happy to pay for them, because I want to be a good mom, and (a) he loves them -- likes being around other kids, likes doing little kid activities I do not enjoy -- and (b) having time apart really increases my ability to focus on and engage with my son.

(This still applies today, obviously with different activities, but really, dates back to his early childhood.  I've mostly written it from the when-he-was-younger perspective, even though he's a bunch older than your kids.  10 is fun (and 9 was good, and 8 wasn't bad) -- hang in there).

Laura33

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2017, 06:06:54 AM »
Yes.  This is why God invented daycare and summer camp.
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Bird In Hand

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2017, 06:53:59 AM »
OP: yes, it will (probably) get better.  When?  In our experience, ages  2-3 (especially 3) were the worst, and things started to calm down a bit starting somewhere during age 4.  That's very typical.  Depending on the kid, ages ~5-12 is probably the sweet spot, so in a couple years you'll hopefully have around 5 years of relative bliss until your older son hits his teens...and then it's a crapshoot.

One thing we've noticed is that when either of us (parents) are trying to accomplish anything -- especially "work" work, but including housework, sending an e-mail, etc. -- then the normal kid background noise that you describe becomes unbearable, just as you're experiencing.  We become very irritable, and that's not good for anyone.  So we've learned that if the work can wait, it's better to put it out of our minds and just focus on engaging with the kids.

But even when purposefully engaging with a good attitude, each of us can take only so much of entertaining young children, so we find that tag-team (taking turns), divide and conquer (1 kid per parent is so much easier than 2+), and outside help (sitters, daycare, camp) are the best strategies.  We employ the first two frequently on weekends when all 3 kids are home.

Obviously if you're working from home, you can't just stop working all day to play with your kids.  In this case the easiest solution would be to have your DH bring the kids outside, to the park, to the grocery store, on a field trip -- anywhere but in the house.  :)  Have a talk with him and let him know how hard the current arrangement is for you, and hopefully he'll be on board.  There will be times when the kids will have to be at home -- around naptime or meals, etc.  I suggest you invest in a good pair of sound isolating headphones to help you get through these times.

I'm not sure whether your DH is the full-time childcare giver while you work, or if you alternate days.  But regardless, if the childcare burden feels like too much to take at times, Laura33's observation is spot on.  There's nothing wrong with getting help when needed.  If daycare/camp is out of the budget, you could try to find a sitter who can help out occasionally as needed.  I bet even a few hours a day, a few days a week, would do a lot to relieve stress.  Or during the summer maybe you could find a "mother's helper" (or father's helper!) -- a neighborhood pre-teen or young teen who is willing to play with the kids and help keep them entertained for very little $$.
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Milizard

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2017, 07:07:31 AM »
My boys are the same age spread, except they are now 4 & 7.  What you describe is exactly right, and as I recall 2&5 were the worst ages.  It's still the case a couple years down the line, but it is getting better as they become more self-sufficient.  Do they still nap?  Naps are your friend, or at least insist on some quiet rest time early afternoon. 

StarBright

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2017, 08:14:40 AM »
All the time!

Mine are 3 and 5 and in childcare during the week and I still feel like that - especially on Sunday nights.

I think those are hard ages and mine are just like yours when it comes to wanting to play together but not always being able to handle it. It means you, as the parent, always have to be on and tuned into them. I realized the other night that I had to run up the stairs and moderate rough play/fighting 4 times while I made dinner. That meant dinner was 20 minutes late and the kids were even crazier because they were getting hangry. It is a self-reinforcing spiral at that age. That sort of divided focus and constant keeping an ear out is exhausting.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 08:36:26 AM by StarBright »

little_brown_dog

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2017, 08:24:23 AM »
I only have a toddler who is just under 2 right now, but I know the feeling. I love my daughter to the moon and back, but seriously when she is awake THE KID DOES NOT STOP MOVING. She is constantly at risk of climbing on something, falling off something, grabbing something dangerous, etc. Itís exhausting and yes, it can feel suffocating too at times. I just want to be able to sit and watch her without having to jump up every two seconds. As others mentioned, I have heard that 2-3 are particularly difficult due to the sheer amount of energy required to handle kids this age, so I just try to take it one day at a time. Iím pregnant with number 2 so Iím trying to pace myself before all hell breaks lose when the baby arrives :)

FireHiker

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2017, 10:50:37 AM »
It does get better, I promise!! Mine are 5, 7, and 16. We've been a couple years out of the depths of "survival mode". I remember it though; working from home with a nursing baby and a toddler, feeling like it would never be easier. There are still challenges at their current ages of course, but they change and become more manageable. At least we (mostly) sleep these days... Hang in there!

acroy

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2017, 10:52:03 AM »
OP
No not really....
For us, discipline (acceptable / non-acceptable behavior) starts early, like 9months. This has been key. The kids know what is bad behavior and generally don't even try it. When the 2yr old tries to start a tantrum (seldom) we're like 'Whoa, Max, what is this? control yourself, you know better. You need to stand in the corner for a bit?' He is embarrassed and cools off.
Behavior towards each other is similar. We let them duke it out to an extent but: shrieking is not allowed. Meanness is off the table.  Horseplay is outside only. Inside is for quiet activities. Messy activities (legos, whatever) are in their room only, not strewn about the house.
We hug and kiss and play and have a great time. But we are their parents, not their peers, not their slaves, not their friends. Well, we're friends, but friends who demand certain standards of behavior.
DW is SAHM and homeschools. She gets burnt.... a bit frazzled towards the end of some days. I give her a good break every evening after work, and take them at least 1/2 the day Sat. We generally spend 1/2 Sat and all Sunday together. It is a team effort. We talk about it, adjust things, conscientiously make and and try to stick to a plan, because it's important.

Good luck!
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Dee18

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2017, 01:12:49 PM »
Can you go work somewhere?  My city has great work areas at the public libraries.  It sounds like you are just beginning to figure out what will work this summer; that changes year to year as the kids age.  So far you have learned that while taking an hour out to spend with the kids might seem like a nice thing for all of you, the transition to letting go of Mom again isn't worth it.  With kids 2 and 5 I would try to have a playmate over for a bit for the 5 year old, during which the 2 year old could nap or get substantial parental attention.  I live where it's hot in the summer and the best activity I had for kids that age was a very small (4 ft diameter) "pool" with lots of plastic things to pour, etc.  You might hire a mother's helper.  Since there's an adult home, you could hire a 13 year old for very little money for a couple hours just to play with the kids. 

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 02:47:46 PM »
OP here...

thanks for all your thoughts and not making me feel bad about complaining about these (wonderful, spunky, inquisitive, adventurous, sometimes tantrumy) kids of mine.

For the poster who suggested working at the library, that is a great idea. Yes, I will look into that. I could also come in to the office, but the cubicle has its own set of distractions / constant interruptions and I tend to be a lot more productive at home. Especially when they are out of the house. So yes, I think, as another poster pointed out, the key is communicating that dad needs to get them out of the house. This is summer after all, right? There should be no shortage of outdoor activities for them.

I think mostly I needed some assurance that this would get better and you guys (mostly) assured me that it would and for that I thank you... I welcome more stories from the trenches...

mm1970

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2017, 05:06:36 PM »
Our kids are 2 and 5 and today was the first day of summer... no preschool, no break, just all kids all the time. I was working from home and DH was home with them today. It was chaos. There are some days when I just feel straight up suffocated by them and today was one of those days. Not to a dangerous degree, Just kind of like... ruled by their schedules, demands, and needs all day long. The oldest is a little bit better, he can play by himself for long periods of time. However, when they're both home together, they want to play together, and the two year old inevitably acts like a two year old, knocking down towers, taking toys, etc. It's like this constant background noise of boisterous, sometimes maniacal laughter punctuated by random screams and bouts of temper tantrums. 

So, today was a slower day at work. I was productive all morning. In the afternoon, I thought I'd venture downstairs to take a little break with the family. This was a bad idea. They clung to me. They both wanted to sit on my lap. They fought over me. When I decided to go back upstairs to the peace and quiet of our bedroom and my work, all hell broke loose. The 2 year old threw the mother of all tantrums. I know this is normal behavior.  I guess I just feel really worn down and exhausted by it.

Does anyone else feel this way? A lot in love with their kids,but also a little bit suffocated? When does it get better? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?
Around age 4-5 it gets better.

Mine are 11 and 4.  4 year old is almost 5.  I still sometimes feel suffocated, but it's so much better now.

madamwitty

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2017, 04:43:49 PM »
Yes! Thank you for this thread. I have kids ages 8, 5, and 2 and it is good to know I am not alone in feeling this way. I can see from the 8 & 5 year olds that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but sometimes when I'm in the thick of it feels like it will be this way forever!

Mr. Green

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 11:28:49 AM »
It was a watershed moment for some friends of our when their oldest was finally old enough to go downstairs in the morning and get both of the kids breakfast from the pantry (that first little bit of independence. That was when he was six. It got a lot better pretty quickly after that but I've noticed it depends on how much a parent is willing to participate with the kids every time they ask. The mother in this couple is not a big joiner when it comes to the kids horsing around, whereas the father will frequently join in playing games, sword fights, etc. so the kids still smother him at times because they're used to the answer from Dad being yes.
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CanuckExpat

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 08:29:58 PM »
We have a two year old and are expecting our second. We had as of six months ago transitioned from having him in daycare to having him with us more or less all the time as we travel. It has been difficult for me, I really really miss daycare, and often my feelings are much more hostile and existential crisis than you have put it (i.e. this is awful ,why would anyone procreate kind of thing). Glad to know I'm not alone, and like someone else mentioned, a lot of it is just planning not to do anything. I mainly get frustrated when I am trying to do something and it doesn't work out.

We are also looking at paid childcare. It wasn't part of the plan, but sanity has a price :)
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bogart

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2017, 09:05:28 PM »
We are also looking at paid childcare. It wasn't part of the plan, but sanity has a price :)

If I could do one thing differently about my son's 0-5 years (going back in time), it would be to make more use of paid childcare. 

(We'd talked about taking a year and traveling around the country when DS was 4.  We bought a camper when he was 3, and after one 2.5 week trip, I knew that if we did that, I would strangle him.  We've stayed in our home (and I've stayed in the workforce) and enjoyed lots of shorter trips in the camper since then :) !)

Hvillian

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2017, 12:22:49 PM »
Ours are right around 9, 7, 5, and 3.  The old saying fits: It is like being pecked to death by ducks.  Except the 3-year-old is closer to a goose in noise and aggressiveness. 

School and Preschool saved what is left of my wife's sanity.  I think vacations are the hardest part for me -  sleep and eating routines are disrupted, I am around the kids many more consecutive hours than usual, stress of missing work, and they default to my care when I'm there.   But everything has gotten much better in the last 2.5 years, so we'll see . . .

aroberson77

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2017, 02:34:17 PM »
Our daughter is two and my wife stays at home with her.  Sometimes they have bad days but most of the time its not bad.  I know my time with my daughter is precious, I never feel suffocated by it and I know I am gonna miss the days when she just wants to cling to me once she's older.  Paid childcare is stupid expensive and I think kids are better off staying home until pre-school.

bogart

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 09:33:55 PM »
I know my time with my daughter is precious.

Just as I do my time with my son.  As I surmise you do, I work outside the home, making it more limited (obviously) than it would be were I a SAHP.  Certainly for me, that makes it feel that much more precious.  Even then, I don't find that ...

... I never feel suffocated by it ...
, but then for me, having a kid was the one thing that made me realize how much I, personally, benefit from having 2-4 hours a day when I am neither working nor interacting with other human beings, something that can be pretty hard to achieve when you have kids.  I don't think everyone else feels this way (though some do), but it's sure true for me.  Not complaining, life's full of tradeoffs, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes want to run off into the woods with the dog.  Heck, I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes actually run off into the woods with the dog.  But only when there's someone else who can take good care of the kid, don't worry.

... and I know I am gonna miss the days when she just wants to cling to me once she's older. ...
Yeah, I remember how crazy it made me sometimes when I couldn't leave the house even to run to the grocery store without first administering (and receiving) 4 hugs and 3 kisses and 2 high-fives, or was it 4 kisses and 3 hugs and 2 high-fives.  But I do also now miss those days, just as I also enjoyed them when I was living in them.  It's OK, the "Mom [or dad], will you play [another] round of 21?" days are good too.

... Paid childcare is stupid expensive ..
Yes, good quality paid childcare can be pretty astronomical, indeed, unaffordable to many.  No question.

... and I think kids are better off staying home until pre-school
The evidence doesn't back this up, though ironically (and speaking in broad generalities here, obviously) the kids who benefit most from childcare are those whose parents are least able to afford it -- it does seem pretty clear that poor quality childcare, including paid childcare, is detrimental compared to alternatives, and that good quality paid childcare is ... expensive.  At the margins (not terrible, not great, home situation is OK), paid childcare doesn't seem reliably to make a huge difference in either direction, leaving me in the "whatever works for you" camp (for me personally that emphatically did include paid childcare), though that while acknowledging that many families don't have access to as wide a range of options as they might want.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 09:35:52 PM by bogart »

aroberson77

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2017, 07:47:26 AM »
I think that a well structured childcare program is great for kids and really puts them ahead.  We take advantage of situations where my daughter can interact with others for free (Storytime, Church, playdates).  If you need some time to yourself, try doing stuff after they go to bed.  I love to work on my project car and me and my wife have worked out where I spend an hour or 2 after the little one is asleep working on the car.  Its a great way for me to get some time by myself without cutting into time with the little one. 

I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

StarBright

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2017, 08:14:53 AM »
I think that a well structured childcare program is great for kids and really puts them ahead.  We take advantage of situations where my daughter can interact with others for free (Storytime, Church, playdates).  If you need some time to yourself, try doing stuff after they go to bed.  I love to work on my project car and me and my wife have worked out where I spend an hour or 2 after the little one is asleep working on the car.  Its a great way for me to get some time by myself without cutting into time with the little one. 

I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

FWIW - I'm sure you are just trying to be helpful (though your last sentence makes me question that a bit, :)) - but I suspect most parents in general, and especially here on this board, are doing the best that they can in their given situation.

Sometimes the best laid plans don't work out and all of the sudden the person who planned on being the stay at home spouse has to work for financial reasons.  Sometimes there are no plans for children (if I recall, about 40% of pregnancies aren't planned) but people have their babies and love them and do their best, and that often includes utilizing paid childcare.

The OP asked if anyone else ever felt stifled by their little ones. The response from many of us was "Yes!" - that doesn't mean we don't adore our children. It just means that children are a part of life, and a lot of work, and like life and work they can occasionally overwhelm us.

It can be very healthy  and helpful to acknowledge those feelings.  We're all just human here.

PharmaStache

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2017, 08:18:55 AM »
Our daughter is two and my wife stays at home with her.  Sometimes they have bad days but most of the time its not bad.  I know my time with my daughter is precious, I never feel suffocated by it and I know I am gonna miss the days when she just wants to cling to me once she's older.  Paid childcare is stupid expensive and I think kids are better off staying home until pre-school.

Maybe you don't feel suffocated by it because....you spend most of your day at work and get to actually enjoy the few hours of quality time you spend with your daughter? 

MrsWhipple

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2017, 08:26:13 AM »
Yeah, that's like "Oh man, I love water, I can't get enough of it, what do you mean, you're drowning?"

aroberson77

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2017, 08:41:07 AM »
I know we all have our days, and sometimes my wife does feel suffocated, but I thought the OP works away from the house mostly?

CanuckExpat

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 08:58:40 AM »
I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

This seems to fall into the "citation needed" or "opinions are like assholes" category, but ignoring that, it raises some questions and implications, but at the least, it seems un-actionable unless you are either advodating widescale redistribution of children from one family to another, or other means of disposing of children in families where their parents complain?

When surveyed on their time use and happiness, the majority of American mothers are apparently happier during the periods they are doing anything other than childcare (they are apparently happier during the time doing dishes than with their children), see Kahneman Study
Using that as a proxy for "complaining about spending time with your kids" does that mean the majority of American's shouldn't be parents (well maybe that's true for lots of reasons).

We would have to be transferring children from the majority of families to the small minority that enjoy them.
Unless you are allowed to be unhappy silently, but it's only the complaining out loud that makes you an unfit parent, then perhaps we don't need drastic solutions you propose and everyone should just shut up, but I don't see any particular valor in suffering in silence as oppose to suffering out-loud, though the former is perhaps less annoying to everyone else :)

In the end, it seems like an unfortunate biological reality: human chlidren suck for a lot of reasons, mainly slow development and all of that due to big brain tradeoffs, but biology also makes sex a lot of fun, because it wants us to procreate. Throw in that we no longer leave our children unattended in a tribe or to themselves for long periods of time, like we might have in the past, and ya it's going to suck. So barring drastic solutions ,what can one do when you already have em? :)

(If you ever want to make your self uncomfortable read up on how our ancestors dealt with a lot of these problems: i.e. infanticide in hunter gather societies, common place within the industrial revolution for childcare to consist of tying your children to a table, widescale shipping of children rural wet nurses, etc. The problems have always been there, we just can't employ the "solutions" that "worked" in the past...)
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 09:05:07 AM by CanuckExpat »
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aroberson77

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2017, 09:11:06 AM »
I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

This seems to fall into the "citation needed" or "opinions are like assholes" category, but ignoring that, it raises some questions and implications, but at the least, it seems un-actionable unless you are either advodating widescale redistribution of children from one family to another, or other means of disposing of children in families where their parents complain?

When surveyed on their time use and happiness, the majority of American mothers are apparently happier during the periods they are doing anything other than childcare (they are apparently happier during the time doing dishes than with their children), see Kahneman Study
Using that as a proxy for "complaining about spending time with your kids" does that mean the majority of American's shouldn't be parents (well maybe that's true for lots of reasons).

We would have to be transferring children from the majority of families to the small minority that enjoy them.
Unless you are allowed to be unhappy silently, but it's only the complaining out loud that makes you an unfit parent, then perhaps we don't need drastic solutions you propose and everyone should just shut up, but I don't see any particular valor in suffering in silence as oppose to suffering out-loud, though the former is perhaps less annoying to everyone else :)

In the end, it seems like an unfortunate biological reality: human chlidren suck for a lot of reasons, mainly slow development and all of that due to big brain tradeoffs, but biology also makes sex a lot of fun, because it wants us to procreate. Throw in that we no longer leave our children unattended in a tribe or to themselves for long periods of time, like we might have in the past, and ya it's going to suck. So barring drastic solutions ,what can one do when you already have em? :)

(If you ever want to make your self uncomfortable read up on how our ancestors dealt with a lot of these problems: i.e. infanticide in hunter gather societies, common place within the industrial revolution for childcare to consist of tying your children to a table, widescale shipping of children rural wet nurses, etc. The problems have always been there, we just can't employ the "solutions" that "worked" in the past...)

Sorry if I came across as an asshole.  Yes kids are hard but the rewards are worth it.  We never intended on having kids literally after we got married but we can't imagine not having our daughter now.  I was adopted at 4 months old so I actually was transferred from people that couldn't provide for me to a family that could.

Alf91

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2017, 07:51:34 PM »
To the OP, yes kids are hard. I agree. Mine is in middle school now, and in some ways it's easier and in other ways it's harder. I don't know that things get better as they get older, they just are different.

One thing that I find helpful with mine, is that if I give him 100% of my attention, and do what he wants to do, even if it's something I don't enjoy, and even if it's for a short period of time, he is satisfied, better behaved, our relationship is stronger. It's when I'm giving him 50% of my attention and trying to do something else at the same time, that things fall apart.

Similarly, if I can take time to do what *I* want to do, even if it's just to go have coffee with a friend for an hour, I am much happier and have more patience at home.

Also, the comment about 'if you complain, you shouldn't parent' - that's bullshit. People need to complain, they need an outlet. Parenting is not easy. Just because something works for you, doesn't mean it works for everyone.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2017, 06:40:14 AM »
One thing that I find helpful with mine, is that if I give him 100% of my attention, and do what he wants to do, even if it's something I don't enjoy, and even if it's for a short period of time, he is satisfied, better behaved, our relationship is stronger. It's when I'm giving him 50% of my attention and trying to do something else at the same time, that things fall apart.

OP here, this is good advice. We try to do "special time" with the kids, though, with two kids, we're not as consistent about it as we used to be.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2017, 07:18:05 AM »
YES Kids are really hard! I have 4 boys: 5.5, 4.5, 4.5, 2.5. Hell is from the ages of 3.5-4.5. In 6 months your oldest will have reached the other side, and things will slowly get better.

It's happened to me too where I have a bit of extra time, so I come hang out with my kids (when they were on someone else's watch), and instead of it being love, roses, and rainbows, they just flip their shit when it's time to go again. It's like, I was trying to hang out with you and now you're making me regret it! But do it enough times, and they sort of get better at "no mommy has to work now". And when they don't, you get better at just walking away. Sad. But life.

EARPLUGS! Get some! I especially love them in the car. Being in that cramped space with everyone talking loudly, especially at the end of the day, really wears on me. With earplugs I can still hear conversation, it's just less grating. They also come in handy in the kitchen.

I wish my kids were as disciplined as acroy's. Though I imagine his are older by now, and having old ones really helps change the behavior of the youngers. My three oldest are basically the same age and it creates a special kind of chaos. This is something I've scientifically observed.

So since they are sometimes loud, and it's not always time to go outside (maybe dinner is just about ready), I just pop my earplugs in.
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trollwithamustache

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2017, 08:13:50 AM »
If you have the yard space a play structure is an investment and not a cost. 10x return in sanity.

mm1970

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2017, 10:46:30 AM »
I think that a well structured childcare program is great for kids and really puts them ahead.  We take advantage of situations where my daughter can interact with others for free (Storytime, Church, playdates).  If you need some time to yourself, try doing stuff after they go to bed.  I love to work on my project car and me and my wife have worked out where I spend an hour or 2 after the little one is asleep working on the car.  Its a great way for me to get some time by myself without cutting into time with the little one. 

I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

Ah, I remember those days.  Alas, kid #2 goes to sleep 15 minutes after I do, and kid #1 wakes up 15 minutes after I do.

(I'm a morning person, as is kid #1.  Spouse and kid #2 are night owls.)  Staying up an hour or two would keep me up until 10 or 11 pm, and unfortunately I wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 am.  That's simply not enough sleep.

mm1970

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2017, 10:58:31 AM »
One thing that I find helpful with mine, is that if I give him 100% of my attention, and do what he wants to do, even if it's something I don't enjoy, and even if it's for a short period of time, he is satisfied, better behaved, our relationship is stronger. It's when I'm giving him 50% of my attention and trying to do something else at the same time, that things fall apart.

OP here, this is good advice. We try to do "special time" with the kids, though, with two kids, we're not as consistent about it as we used to be.
Yes, and to save our sanity, we are getting *much* better at kids and "chores". 

With 2 full time jobs and 2 kids, we are pressed for time.  It's just EASIER to do the chores ourselves, but then it's tiring, and the kids always want our attention.  I've actually started making my big kid do dishes with spouse regularly.  And spouse said "I don't want his help, it takes longer."  I don't care if it takes longer, it's a perfect opportunity for him to talk your ear off when you are stuck.

So anyway, with big kid that's dishes, and teaching him to cook and do food prep, and having him fold his own laundry.

With little kid, it's having him help do food prep or cook dinner or bake, which he LOVES to help with.  EVEN THOUGH it's easier to do it myself.

So the whole thing takes longer, but each kid gets our attention AND the chore gets done.

thrifty1

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2017, 09:04:55 AM »
Currently have a 14 Mo old and one due next month. Wife stays home for now but it has been a huge shift in life/personal time allotment. Meaning 100% child/0% personal. good to read the suffocation lessens.

hunniebun

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2017, 01:54:31 PM »
Yes. They sure are. Mine are now 4.5 and 8 and we are entering the golden zone.  The 8 year old is interesting and awesome and while he talks endlessly and wants my attention, it is usually at least things that interest me!  The 4.5 year old is equally awesome, still more prone to clingyness and acting out when she isn't get as much attention.  With two working parents outside the home, we aim for concentrated one on one time in the evenings with both kids for at least 30 minutes, but it is hard some nights when there are sports and activities happening....but we sure feel it when it gets missed.  I have no works of wisdom, just letting you know that you are not alone! 

sjc0816

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2017, 06:46:42 PM »
I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

Oh boy. Does this touch a nerve! I'm so glad my husband does not think this way. I have spent the last 11 years at home raising my kids while my dh escapes to his quiet cubicle at work where he is respected on a daily basis. I have been the one dealing with medical issues, physical therapy, colicky babies, nighttime feedings, difficult toddlers, tantrums, you name it. Now I deal with typical tween bullshit attitude and disrespect. All of which is a totally normal part of raising kids - a bit more challenging when you do it 24/7. But I will be damned if losing my shit to my husband or girlfriends (or random people on the web) on occasion to vent about how challenging parenting (and being a SAH parent) can be qualifies me for "shouldn't be a parent-land".  I freaking love my kids more than anything in the world and they know it. We are very close. But it doesn't mean it's easy.

How fucking rude!

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2017, 07:54:35 PM »
I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

Oh boy. Does this touch a nerve! I'm so glad my husband does not think this way. I have spent the last 11 years at home raising my kids while my dh escapes to his quiet cubicle at work where he is respected on a daily basis. I have been the one dealing with medical issues, physical therapy, colicky babies, nighttime feedings, difficult toddlers, tantrums, you name it. Now I deal with typical tween bullshit attitude and disrespect. All of which is a totally normal part of raising kids - a bit more challenging when you do it 24/7. But I will be damned if losing my shit to my husband or girlfriends (or random people on the web) on occasion to vent about how challenging parenting (and being a SAH parent) can be qualifies me for "shouldn't be a parent-land".  I freaking love my kids more than anything in the world and they know it. We are very close. But it doesn't mean it's easy.

How fucking rude!

:)
Yup!

okits

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2017, 11:59:09 PM »
I honestly believe if you are complaining about spending time with your kids maybe you shouldn't be a parent.

Oh boy. Does this touch a nerve! I'm so glad my husband does not think this way. I have spent the last 11 years at home raising my kids while my dh escapes to his quiet cubicle at work where he is respected on a daily basis. I have been the one dealing with medical issues, physical therapy, colicky babies, nighttime feedings, difficult toddlers, tantrums, you name it. Now I deal with typical tween bullshit attitude and disrespect. All of which is a totally normal part of raising kids - a bit more challenging when you do it 24/7. But I will be damned if losing my shit to my husband or girlfriends (or random people on the web) on occasion to vent about how challenging parenting (and being a SAH parent) can be qualifies me for "shouldn't be a parent-land".  I freaking love my kids more than anything in the world and they know it. We are very close. But it doesn't mean it's easy.

How fucking rude!

I was originally offended by that comment but now I think it's hilarious.  Anything, even time with one's children, in excessive quantities or to the exclusion of all other things, can be unenjoyable and worthy of complaint.
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LadyStache in Baja

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2017, 12:43:30 PM »
^^yeah, if I remember correctly the person who wrote that is not a stay at home parent. um, get a clue!

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StarBright

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2017, 12:53:39 PM »
^^yeah, if I remember correctly the person who wrote that is not a stay at home parent. um, get a clue!

The comment was definitely out of line, but I think that they they also followed up with the information that their parents had given them up for adoption when they were very young. So it was clearly coming from a deeply personal place. And they also (semi) apologized for being an "*sshole."

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2017, 07:11:23 PM »
oh yeah that's right. I take back the part where I said "get a clue".
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Meggslynn

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #40 on: July 15, 2017, 07:46:36 PM »
I haven't read previous replies but yes!! They are so hard. Someone with older kids please say its gets easier!!I have a 5 year old boy and a 9 month old girl. Our 5 year old also has health issues that at certain times (not all the time by any means) can be physically and emotionally tiring. My oldest is in daycare twice a week during the summer months because he needs something and its somewhat of a break for me as well. I am still on maternity leave (Canada) and I am just tapped out. I am taking a "day off" tomorrow. Going to a coffee shop to sip and read, then a walk in the river valley, lunch by myself, and then maybe an errand or two. Its been my motivation all week!
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 08:01:46 PM by Meggslynn »

Chesleygirl

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #41 on: July 15, 2017, 09:03:27 PM »
Yes. I do work from home, and it's almost impossible at times with 3 young children in the house. Very hard. Especially when I have something due to turn in, and there's a screaming kid and another one who needs a diaper change, and another one demanding that I fix them a snack.

JLR

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #42 on: July 15, 2017, 09:29:05 PM »
Kids are hard, especially in a situation like this - where you aren't used to having them around full time, and they aren't used to being home all of the time.

I find things settle down a bit once everyone gets into a bit of a routine and know what to expect.

If your kids know you are working, eg. from 9-12 and they need to do quiet things and you won't be available their behaviour can be more easily managed/improve. But you do need a plan of attack for the parent looking after them for that time, eg. do they go out of the house for an activity, do they have a few quiet activities planned? It also helps for the kids to learn what to expect from the day. Eg. Quiet activity in the morning, lunch as a family, outside for some physical activity early afternoon, quiet reading time late afternoon, dinner, bath, bed.

It is hard for you, being used to periods of a quiet house with no distractions. It is also hard for kids on summer holidays, to go from very structured time of, for example, get up and ready to leave for daycare by 8am, arrive at daycare and the day is mapped out for them, come home and have an evening routine, to then have the whole summer open to them. They don't know what to do with themselves! :) And often end up in fights with each other, or just exhibiting annoying behaviour. Give them a loose routine and let them know what to expect and what is expected of them and there will be great improvement.

Chesleygirl

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2017, 10:07:33 PM »

If your kids know you are working, eg. from 9-12 and they need to do quiet things and you won't be available their behaviour can be more easily managed/improve. .

I am trying to explain this to my kids, but one is 8 and the twins are 2.  So it's hard even for the 8 year old to understand at times about working and how this is tied to money that we spend on her. She loves money but doesn't fully understand where it comes from (and some adults don't either, let's face it). I wish I could rent an office to work in and leave them with a babysitter  but it would cost too much.

BAM

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2017, 10:58:19 AM »
Yes, kids are hard. They are hard like co-workers can be hard, or like other family members can be hard, etc. They take time and energy but are so so worth it.
I will say that it does get easier IF you put in the time now.
One of the other posters said that they have their young kids wash dishes and help with other tasks even though it takes longer. That's perfect - it gives the child time to talk now but also teaches them to take over the task later. That will make it much easier in a few years.
Just over two years ago, when I was pregnant with my 9th, my DH and I went to my ultrasound appt and then stopped at Costco to pick up the months food from there. Our other 8, ages 18-2 at the time, were at home. They cleaned the entire house, got dinner in the crockpot, made/ate/cleaned up after lunch, did some laundry before my DH and I got home. Most of a day spent but everything was done and we were able to enjoy the entire weekend. That's what it leads to if you spend the time now.
All 4 of my olders, ages 20/19/16/15, can run the entire house - all chores/laundry, all cooking, all errands, all child care, everything. The 12 and 10 year olds are almost there - just have to finish teaching them some cooking and errand running.
Think through what it is that is hard about your kids and figure out how to make it work. There are always ways to make it work if you are creative.
Enjoy it too though. My oldest two are each 1 year from finishing college (paying on their own, no debt!!!). I feel like I blinked and missed it even with all the memories we have. So glad I still have 7 more at home!
I hope all that doesn't sound preachy. I don't mean it to if it does. Just want to encourage and give hope of what it can be but sometimes I come across harsh in posts.

FinallyAwake

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2017, 11:49:39 AM »
Someone with older kids please say its gets easier!!

It does!

My 4 kids are now 6-13.  It is exponentially easier and much more fun at this stage!  I even homeschool all 4, so I am STILL with them all 24/7, and I can still say that without reservations.

Having 4 kids under the age of 8.....yeah, not so fun.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2017, 11:53:06 AM »
I love this thread :)

I, too, find parenting very hard. I do it alone (financially and otherwise), kid has a disability with weird outcomes and cannot participate in the school system, etc. I'm confident in my parenting skills (natural consequences, boundaries, frontloading, etc) and my kid is mostly happy, sweet, kind, affectionate, easy, etc.

And STILL, being responsible for someone 24/7 is HARD.
Hardhardhard.

I chose him, and I'm super grateful for him and to be a parent and to have him all the time, but it's still hard.

I recently made a big geographical move to put more support in place for both of us. Necessary. Part of that support is that I now have someone I can vent to, and that really does help!

Thanks, everyone, for your honesty. I loved CE's post on how stuff used to be handled, and I think we're all rock stars for pulling this new way off at all.

Oh, and earplugs. We all know we can't tune a kid out at certain times, nor a younger kid basically ever (ugh), but for my kid's tween years, my lifesaving tool is a set of Bose noise-cancelling wireless earbuds. These have transformed our shared experience :)       Expensive, but much cheaper than a yard, bigger house, babysitter, etc. For those whose kid ages leave you ineligible for this, I heartily applaud your decisions to spend on whatever else makes it doable!!!

JLR

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2017, 09:56:23 PM »

If your kids know you are working, eg. from 9-12 and they need to do quiet things and you won't be available their behaviour can be more easily managed/improve. .

I am trying to explain this to my kids, but one is 8 and the twins are 2.  So it's hard even for the 8 year old to understand at times about working and how this is tied to money that we spend on her.

Keep at it.

It isn't essential that they understand that work=money, but mostly that work=quiet time. I worked from home as a counsellor (via phone) when our kids were little. Baby, 2yo, 4yo. With some work they got it. The baby I would rock, feed, etc to keep quiet, but the others knew that when I was on the phone it was silent time unless there was an emergency. Anything else had to wait until I had finished the call (however long that took). It took some work, but they got there. They got extra practise I would also take them out to all of the committee meetings for my volunteer community work. They learned that those were quiet times, too. I would pack a little bag of things for them to do quietly and would set them up in the corner of whatever room the meetings were in. If they needed me they learned that they could come and stand beside me, but that they mustn't speak until I told them it was an appropriate time (excepting an emergency).

It takes some work to get to that point, but is definitely worth it.

kevj1085

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #48 on: July 29, 2017, 04:01:48 PM »
My wife and I are teachers and have a 1 year old and 4 year old. We get 2 kids ready for school, drop them off, teach 26 1st and 2nd graders for 8 hours, then go pick up our kids and engage with them til bedtime. All day, every day, for a career. We are on our last week of having 10 straight weeks off with them and us in Phoenix heat where all you can do outside is go to the pool.

On one hand you'd think 10 weeks off from work sounds like a blessing, but believe me when I say work even as a teacher is a vacation compared to being confined at home for 10 straight weeks. It feels like the shining.

This is also why I wish parents would lay off their kids teachers, we deal with 20-30 of them daily and don't hardly complain, when most parents can't handle their own 1-3 for a few hours. Not saying you op, I get it, but still.

meatface

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Re: kids are hard...
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2017, 08:59:34 AM »

...Just over two years ago, when I was pregnant with my 9th, ...


Holy $hitballs!

respect.