Author Topic: Daily grind wearing down my gears  (Read 5332 times)

Mrs. D.

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Daily grind wearing down my gears
« on: June 05, 2019, 12:14:08 AM »
We're a married couple with a 3.5 year old DS (what the parenting literature calls "spirited" these days) and a 1.5 year old DD (who is truly sugar, spice, and all things nice). We live in a MCOLA in a Houston suburb. I'm a SAHM with a part-time job and a tutoring side hustle. DH and I feel really good about our savings - maxing out 401K match, maxing HSA, maxing both Roth IRAs, plan to put $2500 into each kid's 529, plus keep $20K in emergency fund. No debt except mortgage. Our biggest financial stressor is our house which has needed about $40K in repairs in 4 years.

We've spent the last several years focusing on efficiency, working out systems and strategies to keep our head in the mustachian game while starting a family. I do most of my shopping at Aldi, cook all meals at home, take my kids to the park and play-dates instead of climate controlled play places that cost money. We are working endlessly to raise children who are respectful, resilient, independent, and kind. In short, we do all the things. But the endless grind of parenting, cooking, cleaning, and chores is starting to wear on us mentally and emotionally. It feels like we are in a hard stage of life and we are making things harder on ourselves by sticking to our mustachian regime (never ordering dinner in, spending next to nothing on babysitting, coming up with free fun, etc.). I have days where every waking minute is given over to the work we have cut out for ourselves.

I guess I'm writing this to a) vent a little, b) hear words of encouragement, c) hear from parents who made it through this stage and can tell me it was all worth it and d) hear your strategies or hacks for surviving the toddler years while still plugging away at the savings goal.

I've heard that age 4.5 - 5 gets a lot better, so hope springs eternal. But with our DS the trend seems to be that he trades one behavior challenge for another and his challenges get more sophisticated as he gets older.

gooki

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2019, 02:09:32 AM »
I found it got easier when our youngest was three years old and started properly playing with his sibling.

Keep up the awesomeness. See if you can get a few things to run on autopilot to save your mental energy. All our bill payments and investments are automatic. Also we slacked of on the level of cleanliness, and on average go out for a meal once or twice a month.

I:also found getting out into nature with my kids very soothing, wether its the beach or the forest. Fresh air and fun times really helps.

reeshau

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2019, 02:50:20 AM »
I have a 4-year-old, who is just finishing his "junior infants" year in school (pre-K, but really--K).  It does get better when you don't have to look over your shoulder all the time.  School does bring its own challenges; fortunately, right now school is a motivator, rather than a chore; something we hope will last for a while.

@Mrs. D. has good advice to dial back your expectations.  The kids will color on the walls at some point.  Or, track in mud on a clear, sunny day because they found the neighbor's sprinklers.  That can either set you off like an atom bomb, or bring out a sigh, as your expectations are realized.  It's up to you, in part.

I also think there is nothing wrong with an indulgence or two:  just do it intentionally.  Budget for it.  Understand how it impacts your other goals.  Then enjoy the heck out of it, because that's the point.  I do worry that your list is a long one.  Pick one--the most important one.  Once you try it, you might find mustachian ways to accomplish it, too.  Get a babysitter for a date night once a month.  Then, as you share the idea with your friends, think about how you could back each other up:  exchange a sleepover (eventually) or some group time with kids for each other's date night.  It might work that way, or not, but you know--really know if it's right for you--by exploring it.  By trying it out.

If you or your kids have some close neighbors or a like-minded organization of some kind, you can go a long way by sharing the load, as opposed to simply outsourcing it.

elliha

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2019, 03:35:06 AM »
Based on my own experience: Do you have something that is just "yours" outside of work and kids? To me this has been very important in how I view life. I have been part of a church group, I am a church host (I help at services roughly once a month) and I play tin whistle (at home). When I have these things in life I feel happier and more like a full person and not just surviving the grind. The same way I give my husband the opportunity to work on his computer and our car so that he has the chance to do things he likes. We also pay for some conveniences like easy to cook food and we occasionally eat out and I don't see a problem with this in moderation.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2019, 03:52:38 AM »
For the food, I think you should have a few packets of ready to warm up food in the freezer: pizza and stirfry meals. On the days that you don't have the energy to cook food, just throw one of these meals and don't feel guilty about it. An alternative could be a ready to eat pack of soup that you eat with bread.

Would a robot vaccuum help you to keep the house a bit clean? Otherwise, I think for this period in your life with young children, you shouldn't feel guilty to outsource something, like hiring a house cleaner for a few hours per week. You could also lower your standards for how clean the house needs to be. Like cleaning the windows should not be something you need to do regularly.

BeanCounter

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2019, 04:23:44 AM »
Hi! Hugs! Im a working mom of two now school age kids and I so relate to your post. I know I have thought several times so this is it?! Im just working constantly with no break. This is my life? You are truly in the middle of the hard part. The good news is it gets better. Er. Well it gets different. As they get older and get into school it is less physical work but the schedules can be challenging. Anyway some things that helped me during that time-
- meal planning and bulk cooking. Set a two week rotating menu up for your family. On the weekends cook ahead for the upcoming week and double the recipe. Put half in the freezer. Keep doing that and eventually you will only have to cook a double batch of one thing on the weekend and during the week you can just reheat. Also find some grocery convenience items that work for your family. Like frozen pizza or chicken strips, taco kits. Have a night built into your menu each week where you have those. Still cheaper than a restaurant meal/
-you need a date night once a month, and you each need a night out with your girl/guy friends every month. Life is too short not to make your relationships a priority. Payba babysitter or find another family to exchange babysitting with. It is really important that you make time for this.
Those are the two things that really helped us. I never hired a house cleaner. We just adjusted to the house being a bit messier. That will pass in time.

FireHiker

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2019, 11:00:39 AM »
It really DOES get better! You're still deep in what I refer to as the "survival period". My kids are now 7, 9, and 18 and I remember the fog lifting a few years ago. Things REALLY got good when the youngest started kindergarten. I'm impressed that you are so committed to your Mustachian priorities at this point in your life. I hadn't found MMM when mine were that young, although we were in pretty good shape financially. We did have someone else clean the house and probably ate out too much. We clean our own house now and try to minimize the eating out, although it's still a work in progress.

I think it's okay to cut yourself some slack sometimes, especially on the really hard days. Have some quick and easy meals you can throw together even if they cost a little more. Although we try to cook from scratch, there are some nights where the quick and easy ready-made meal from Trader Joe's helps us keep everything else together.

Hang in there. You'll look back in a few years and will be amazed you got through it, but it will seem like a distant blur. You're definitely not alone. You'll be light years ahead with your financial house being in such great shape; your future self is really going to thank you for the hard work now!

v8rx7guy

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2019, 11:34:29 AM »
Ugh... I feel for you.  We are in a similar place, though I am writing from the non-SAHP perspective.  Our boys are just turning 4 & 2.  The 4 year old is a handful and the 2 year old is monkey-see monkey-doo.  So much energy required!  I don't have much advice to give, I'm just here to hope people can share some light at the end of the tunnel stories haha.

Dee18

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2019, 11:46:42 AM »
Checkout the free or very low cost Mothers Day Out programs at churches.  They are often one or two days a week, staffed by volunteers (mostly women whose children are grown and who wish they had grandkids nearby). You do not have to be a member of most churches to use this service. They are there to give mothers a break....just what you need!  Dont feel you have to get something done during this time, just go home and relax in your own house for a few hours.  Also consider getting a house that is less work.  I did and am so glad!

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2019, 12:50:04 PM »
Based on my own experience: Do you have something that is just "yours" outside of work and kids?

I've been thinking about this lately. The honest answer is not really. I used to read for pleasure, make jewelry, cook for fun, etc. I should get back into the reading habit. That's pretty low energy but still feels gratifying. Recently though, any book I've read is about parenting. That's not exactly for me but it has paid dividends in fewer power struggles.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2019, 12:51:51 PM »

I:also found getting out into nature with my kids very soothing, wether its the beach or the forest. Fresh air and fun times really helps.

Yes to getting out in nature! We are huge fans of hikes, strolls, swimming, anything outdoors. Summers get tricky because of the unbearable heat in Houston, but as long as there's water involved it's doable.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2019, 12:56:56 PM »

- meal planning and bulk cooking. Set a two week rotating menu up for your family. On the weekends cook ahead for the upcoming week and double the recipe. Put half in the freezer. Keep doing that and eventually you will only have to cook a double batch of one thing on the weekend and during the week you can just reheat. Also find some grocery convenience items that work for your family. Like frozen pizza or chicken strips, taco kits. Have a night built into your menu each week where you have those. Still cheaper than a restaurant meal/


-you need a date night once a month, and you each need a night out with your girl/guy friends every month. Life is too short not to make your relationships a priority. Payba babysitter or find another family to exchange babysitting with. It is really important that you make time for this.

I like the idea of building in an easy night to the menu plan. Usually I reserve this for the weekends when we're running low on supplies but it makes more sense to do this on a weeknight when DH isn't home during dinner prep.

Yes about prioritizing relationships! DH and I are really good about showing up for the big things - weddings, babies, etc., even if it means travel. But we're pretty bad about making time on a regular basis. We need to figure out how to work this in/find the energy for it.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2019, 12:58:55 PM »
your future self is really going to thank you for the hard work now!

I think I'm going to write this on a sticky note and put it on my mirror! Thanks, FireHiker!

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2019, 01:01:08 PM »
Ugh... I feel for you.  We are in a similar place, though I am writing from the non-SAHP perspective.  Our boys are just turning 4 & 2.  The 4 year old is a handful and the 2 year old is monkey-see monkey-doo.  So much energy required!  I don't have much advice to give, I'm just here to hope people can share some light at the end of the tunnel stories haha.

At least it's nice to know we're not alone, right? Hang in there!

cloudsail

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2019, 01:11:39 PM »
Our kids are two years apart and I am also a SAHM with part time job so I know pretty well what you are going through. Our older one is autistic, so also there with the behavior issues, etc. I like to refer to the period you are currently living through as the "nightmare years," lol. You couldn't pay me any amount of money to relive them. Be comforted in the knowledge that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I was not nearly as good a mustachian as you. I'm not sure about your household income, but we were at a level where we could spend on conveniences without going into debt, it just meant we saved a little less. This, of course, was balanced by the fact that my husband worked constantly, so if I didn't spend money on outside help our marriage would probably not have survived. I do think that the well-being of everyone in the family trumps all else, so depending on your income, it might be okay to let up on the frugality just for a couple years.

rae

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2019, 01:27:23 PM »
I feel your pain! I work full time and have a toddler. The only things that I do is work, and then when I come home I'm with my child who is really attached to me and it's almost impossible to get anything done around the house. After she goes to sleep I'm usually doing work (work work, not house work) for the next day until I fall asleep.

I'm impressed with all you are able to do! My house is not as clean as I'd like it to be, and I'm not cooking most days. We have definitely not been as mustachian as we want to be. You're not alone in finding this stage in life to be difficult. We're all just trying to make it work.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2019, 01:35:16 PM »
What you're doing is really tough.  1.5 is the peak of the toddler years when they have total mobility but zero common sense.  3.5 is also tough - at least mine were as they were total 'threenagers".  Let me just say that life will be so much better in a couple of years.  I found the period of time when we had to watch our toddler all the time to make sure she wasn't doing anything dangerous really hard.  Now my kids are 10 and 7 I let them hang out in a completely different room from me and never worry that they are ingesting small objects or trying to climb a book shelf. Hand in there.  As others have said cut yourself some slack and get some heat and eat frozen meals for those nights when you just can't.  Frozen pizza or fish sticks or whatever.  Still cheaper than takeout.

BeanCounter

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2019, 03:04:40 PM »
What you're doing is really tough.  1.5 is the peak of the toddler years when they have total mobility but zero common sense.  3.5 is also tough - at least mine were as they were total 'threenagers".  Let me just say that life will be so much better in a couple of years.  I found the period of time when we had to watch our toddler all the time to make sure she wasn't doing anything dangerous really hard.  Now my kids are 10 and 7 I let them hang out in a completely different room from me and never worry that they are ingesting small objects or trying to climb a book shelf. Hand in there.  As others have said cut yourself some slack and get some heat and eat frozen meals for those nights when you just can't.  Frozen pizza or fish sticks or whatever.  Still cheaper than takeout.

Mine are 10 and 7 now and I can actually send them to the basement or to the yard to play while I cook dinner. I can also, when I'm feeling super tired, turn a show on for them and go lay down in the other room for thirty minutes. It really is like getting some of your life back.
The school schedule, homework, projects, sports etc- that's our new challenge.

StarBright

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2019, 03:20:15 PM »
Just chiming in to also say it gets better!

Mine are 7 and  just turned 5 and this year has been so much better than previous years. You are still in the thick of it.

Be gentle with yourself regarding mustachian stuff. I was really good about it when mine were little but have really found myself burning out on everything in the last year (even though the kids, themselves, are easier.) I sometimes wish I would have lightened up a bit when they were younger and allowed more easy food, TV, convenience spending, etc.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2019, 03:40:17 PM »
Mine is turning 5 and things are getting better. At about 4 they start becoming more mobile-as in you can take them places without packing a bunch of luggage. Just took ours on an actual white water canoe trip, and weve been camping a couple of times. We now let her play in the yard only semi-supervised, but were also rather free range!

Yet there is sort of a constraint on life that makes each day very much like the day before, each hour occupied by some household activity. Spontaneity is very hard to pull off, and one feels very unfree. You arent even allowed to have your own moods; as you contemplate a sunset here comes little one with something to whine about...

My mental survival toolkit was probably insufficient but here goes:

-Audio books for mental stimulation in an otherwise regimented and dull lifestyle. You consume ideas during the shitty commute.
-Mechanical and household projects for a sense of progress, accomplishment, self esteem, and variety.
-Occasional $100 date nights that involve hiring a babysitter for relationship maintenance.
-Easy vacations like going to the Gulf of Mexico or getting an Airbnb cabin for breaking up monotony.
-Meetup.com for having a social life.
-Set bedtimes for yourself. Even if lots of stuff is undone, youll accomplish it in the morning if you get enough sleep.
-Exercise for keeping melancholy at bay and maintaining health.
-A master plan for inspiration and focus. Ours involves downsizing and achieving FIRE while DD is still in elementary school. We revisit this discussion at least monthly.
-Expect a little more than is reasonable from your kids, in terms of housework, hygiene, academics, and getting moving when its time to go. Be nice, but express that they will soon be expected to wipe themselves, clean the table, get dressed without prompting, etc. This seems to help them want to learn the tasks and value self sufficiency. Helplessness / whining is frowned upon.

TheMathManiac

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2019, 07:42:50 AM »
Totally feel your pain!  This has been my family several times in the past few years. Here are some things we have done to help us:

-When the kids were small and none of them in school, we did memberships to inside kid places.  One year we did the local "kids museum" aka hands on indoor play place with many great toys.  It was about $110 for a yearly membership but it meant we could go whenever we wanted.  We went about once a week which meant it averaged out to $2 per visit.  Compare that to the $20 it cost for a single visit and we did very well.  We would combine it with errand running, etc to break up the day a bit.  It was such a fun and engaging time for my kids that would usually play with them for a bit and then read a book or magazine for a while near where they were playing.

-Think about the time vs money trade-off.  I used to do everything to save money and I am now doing more and more to save time. I still make better decisions than 95% of the people I know but saving for the future doesn't have to mean never saving time now.  I have fully embraced the idea of keeping frozen convenience food (in our case pizza and chicken nuggets) in the freezer at all times.  We probably go with this option 3X a month, which is only about 10% of the time but man it saves my sanity sometimes. We also recently added a Rhomba 690 and a irobot brava jet moping robot to our appliance repertoire.  For about $400, I have not had to sweep, vacuum or mop in over a month now and I can't even begin to describe how much time it has saved me.  I also used to hang dry all my laundry but with 5 people in our house, it was taking way to much time and now I only hand the bigger, easier things and toss small stuff likes socks, underwear ect into the dryer.

-As your kids get older, it becomes so much easier to trade babysitting with other families. My children are now 5, 7, and 9 and we often trade babysitting with family friends and my siblings.  The strangest thing is that when I have EXTRA kids at my house for a few hours, my kids are totally happy playing with them and I get so much done.  Then when my kids go to someone else's house, I can go out with my husband or my friends or just take a walk by myself.

-Set a budget for fun money and take a break.  Decide how much you will spend each week/month in "Family fun money" and spend it on whatever makes life easier/more fun for your family.  Spending money on experiences is sometimes just what you need!

Good luck!

CloserToFree

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2019, 10:51:11 AM »
@Mrs. D. - with you 110%. Our boys are 4.5 and 1 right now and we're in the thick of it too. The brunt of the daily grind has been falling on DH and we had a big talk about it the other night. Basically from sunup to sundown he's constantly in motion doing stuff for one of our kids or us as a family - making the coffee, loading the car, getting one of the kids dressed while I do the other one or nurse the baby, then either doing the daycare/preschool drop offs or heading into his (unsatisfying but flexible) job for the day (while I do dropoffs). Then in the evening, it's contending with our cranky 4yo (his mood really suffers when he's tired/ in the evenings and it's like walking on eggshells to avoid setting him off), getting dinner on the table, coaxing the 4yo to actually eat his dinner, then putting the baby down, then cajoling the 4yo to take a bath (some nights more of a fight than others - and we only do baths every few days), then going through the lengthy bedtime routine for the 4yo which DH handles (snack, stories, lying down next to him for awhile). Once all that's done, it's time to clean up from dinner, pack lunches for everyone for the following day, get daycare food ready, do any needed laundry, etc. Maybe a little time for shows before our bedtime of around midnight. Whew! It's exhausting just typing it all out.

One way we are coping is by loosening our MMM-like ways for the time being. That means:
-not shopping around for the best deal or insisting on getting used stuff always (instead of new via Amazon)
-takeout McDonald's on the way home from daycare pickup once a week
-hiring a housekeeper to come every other week (haven't made this official yet but am planning to start it this month)
-hiring landscaping help for our fairly unruly yard (even though we swore we wouldn't be like all our well-to-do neighbors who have paid landscaping crews every week...oh how the mighty have fallen!)
-not spending a lot of time analyzing our spending and crunching numbers in Excel
-trying to plan more regular 1:1 date nights (we do lots of social things with our friends in groups but are not as good about "dates" - I'm starting to see this as an investment in our marriage, which otherwise has hit some rough patches just juggling all of the above)

So yeah, we feel like MMM failures sometimes but also are keeping our eye on the prize - our own happiness and wellbeing, which for now means throwing some money at the problem even if it delays our FIRE date.

For me, it's been really helpful to incorporate the following:
-bike commuting to work 2-3 days a week (almost 10 miles each way so a great workout, even if it adds some time to the commute; keeps me from having to find other time to workout)
-audiobooks and podcasting (sometimes while bike commuting -- most of my route is on a protected bike trail so it's relatively safe and I leave one ear open)
-reading instead of watching TV or aimlessly surfing social media (feel so much more accomplished when I finish a novel or other book)

I will say I feel like we're turning a corner now that our youngest (and likely last) is over a year old. We can let our 4yo play in our yard by himself (until he insists that we come out and play with him anyway...), he recently got into real (small) legos which keep him occupied for long stretches of time, and the baby is super easy going and happy to explore and easy to entertain (with finger foods or toys for ex.). There's light at the end of the tunnel!

kanga1622

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2019, 11:46:45 AM »
This is a tough time and those aren't the easiest ages. Each age has its challenges but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My house isn't as clean as pre-kids and we do have frozen ravioli with jarred sauce or a frozen pizza a couple times a month. But I have time after the kids are in bed to read for pleasure or watch TV that I like (really getting tired of Blaze and the Monster Machines on the kids' limited TV schedule). And sometimes parking the kids in front of the TV for 15 minutes while you power clean the kitchen is a lifesaver.

My oldest is 9 and he's mostly easy. He is challenged with anxiety type symptoms but is otherwise able to help out (when he wants) and entertain himself as he enjoys alone time. My youngest is 5 and a big helper (even when you don't want it!). The 5 year old HATES to be alone, super snuggly, very stubborn, and is just far enough apart in age to not always be able to play nicely with the oldest. And we added a puppy at Thanksgiving so it is like having a toddler because you can't take your eyes off him!

I think you need to look at ways to ease up a bit on savings. It doesn't have to be drastic, but adding $50 a month to your grocery budget so you can have quick easy meals or ingredients on hand is HUGE! It isn't exactly the best but having pre-portioned snacks on hand for t-ball games, school/camp snacks, or shopping during the usual snack time is worth it to us. We buy these cheaper by getting them at Costco (shopping with a member as I don't need a membership). For me, having to go home at lunch to care for the pup means I have the perfect opportunity to start a load of laundry, run the dishwasher, or fold and put away the towels that lived in the dryer overnight. That little bit of 10-15 minute work without kids allows for less to pile up and get left for the weekend.

cats

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2019, 12:15:39 PM »
I find it interesting that you describe yourself as a "SAHM" but that you also have a part-time job AND a side hustle.  How many hours/week are the PT job and the side hustle coming up to?  Sounds to me like you might be more like a working mom who also handles all/most childcare.  Which is exhausting!

I would recommend doing something to carve out some time and an activity or interest that is just yours.  This may mean saving a little less (and shelling out for occasional babysitting or easier foods), or perhaps lowering your standards in some areas.  When my son was 18 months we realized I was really drowning under the load of planning and preparing dinners.  We decided we would be happy enough with a more boring meal rotation that allowed meal prep/planning to be much more on autopilot and less of a mental timesink.  Huge relief.  We also definitely now do certain less essential cleaning chores (e.g. cleaning the windows) less often. 


OurFirstFire

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2019, 04:06:28 PM »
One thing that my wife finds helpful is a membership to the YMCA - really any gym with child watch.  It helps her get "me" time and all the benefits of excercise for her wellbeing.  At $100/month for the family it's totally worth it.  Also, as a place for swimming it's a nice default indoors activity with the kids without and mental stress of it costing additional money.

mm1970

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2019, 04:17:40 PM »
We're a married couple with a 3.5 year old DS (what the parenting literature calls "spirited" these days) and a 1.5 year old DD (who is truly sugar, spice, and all things nice). We live in a MCOLA in a Houston suburb. I'm a SAHM with a part-time job and a tutoring side hustle. DH and I feel really good about our savings - maxing out 401K match, maxing HSA, maxing both Roth IRAs, plan to put $2500 into each kid's 529, plus keep $20K in emergency fund. No debt except mortgage. Our biggest financial stressor is our house which has needed about $40K in repairs in 4 years.

We've spent the last several years focusing on efficiency, working out systems and strategies to keep our head in the mustachian game while starting a family. I do most of my shopping at Aldi, cook all meals at home, take my kids to the park and play-dates instead of climate controlled play places that cost money. We are working endlessly to raise children who are respectful, resilient, independent, and kind. In short, we do all the things. But the endless grind of parenting, cooking, cleaning, and chores is starting to wear on us mentally and emotionally. It feels like we are in a hard stage of life and we are making things harder on ourselves by sticking to our mustachian regime (never ordering dinner in, spending next to nothing on babysitting, coming up with free fun, etc.). I have days where every waking minute is given over to the work we have cut out for ourselves.

I guess I'm writing this to a) vent a little, b) hear words of encouragement, c) hear from parents who made it through this stage and can tell me it was all worth it and d) hear your strategies or hacks for surviving the toddler years while still plugging away at the savings goal.

I've heard that age 4.5 - 5 gets a lot better, so hope springs eternal. But with our DS the trend seems to be that he trades one behavior challenge for another and his challenges get more sophisticated as he gets older.
You are in the thick of it.  For me, yes, around age 3.5-4.5 is when it eased up a bit.

Our kids are 13 and 6, so I had to go through it twice.  And I have a full time job, so does the husband.

Things that have helped a bit -
- Firstly, paid child care, because I have a job.  It's necessary.  So sometimes...I would just take off work early to do something for myself (grab a glass of wine, go for a walk) and not pick up the kids until the regular time.
- Meals.  We sort of started to phone it in.  There was a period of time with kid #2 where I was hyper focused on weight loss.  I was 44, he was 2.  Our grocery budget that year was DOUBLE what it was the year before ($10k vs $5k).  But it worked.  This meant I bought a lot of pre-prepared food, pre cut veggies, etc.  Then I started cutting back again.  But then loosened up again a couple of years later.
- We also started eating the same things over and over.
- We still eat the same things over and over.  I work late every day, so we eat leftovers or husband cooks things like pasta.
- Frozen pizza Fridays.  Chicken finger Tuesdays.

Also, well, for my own sanity I had to loosen up the reigns a bit, because everything was falling on me, on top of the job.  Nobody else cares about the grocery budget, etc.  I started getting religious about 1. Getting enough sleep.  2. Getting enough exercise (I now have THREE gym memberships, and I use them ALL, and sorrynotsorry). 3. carving out time for myself.   Also, we switched from a CSA (that closed down and where you had to pick up your box of veggies) to a produce delivery company.  They shop and deliver from the farmer's market.

We also started hiring a babysitter.  Maybe only 3-4 times a year, but it was helpful!

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2019, 06:28:48 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and encouragement! I'm picking up on the trends of a) it really does get better, b) I've taken on a lot and it's not surprising I feel exhausted, and c) this is the time to spend a little more to help preserve sanity.

adding $50 a month to your grocery budget so you can have quick easy meals or ingredients on hand is HUGE!

This is such a helpful perspective. I have a very all or nothing mentality, so in my mind I'm either cooking homemade meals from scratch on the cheap or we're splurging on a restaurant because I just can't pull dinner together (happens maybe twice a year). I've also shied away from convenience foods because I have to eat a gluten free diet and those specialty foods are usually 2-3 times as expensive while being half as good. But things like frozen veggies and potato wedges would work. I've also recently discovered Aldi's biscuits in a tin which are great for the kids and DH when I don't have time to make a starchy side.

One thing that my wife finds helpful is a membership to the YMCA - really any gym with child watch.  It helps her get "me" time and all the benefits of excercise for her wellbeing.  At $100/month for the family it's totally worth it.  Also, as a place for swimming it's a nice default indoors activity with the kids without and mental stress of it costing additional money.

I was just discussing this with a mom friend of mine. I need to explore this option because I currently exercise 3 times a week while my children are napping. A gym membership would lessen my childcare load, give me more time to exercise and free up my nap time for other things. Maybe even having a rest myself!


So yeah, we feel like MMM failures sometimes but also are keeping our eye on the prize - our own happiness and wellbeing, which for now means throwing some money at the problem even if it delays our FIRE date.


Your daily grind sounds pretty brutal. DH and I were talking about this the other night and realizing that any increased spending we do now will delay our FIRE date, but not dramatically, maybe a year or two. Keeping a sustainable pace for a couple additional years seems more feasible than trying to sprint the whole way there.

I find it interesting that you describe yourself as a "SAHM" but that you also have a part-time job AND a side hustle.  How many hours/week are the PT job and the side hustle coming up to?  Sounds to me like you might be more like a working mom who also handles all/most childcare.  Which is exhausting!


Whoa....that was a revelation, lol! My part-time job is about 10-12 hours a week; I'm the religious education director at our synagogue. This job is as much about community engagement, mental stimulation, and social interaction as it is about money. My side hustle is tutoring which is one-two hours per week, but at a great hourly rate. Another aha moment I had is that I do benefit from some free childcare (my parents live 30 minutes away and watch the kids while I tutor), but only so that I can focus on paid work. I feel like I'm cashing in all my free childcare chips without getting any break whatsoever. To help with this I've contacted a couple paid babysitters to see about setting up a recurring monthly job. Putting it on autopilot is the only way it's going to happen.


-When the kids were small and none of them in school, we did memberships to inside kid places. 

- We also recently added a Rhomba 690 and a irobot brava jet moping robot to our appliance repertoire.  For about $400, I have not had to sweep, vacuum or mop in over a month now and I can't even begin to describe how much time it has saved me. 


We have a membership to our local children's museum and I love it and use it plenty. While that time is good for my kids it is in no way stress free for me. Now that my DD is fully mobile I can't keep the kids together because she takes off in her own direction. I can't leave my DS unsupervised because he's likely to hit/grab toys/melt down and needs a lot of redirection. Heaven help us if one person needs a bathroom break/diaper change. That's the part I'm hoping will get better with age and maturity.

If I could eliminate sweeping from my daily to-do list, I might be the happiest person in the world. Looking into a Roomba ASAP.

cats

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2019, 09:08:01 AM »



One thing that my wife finds helpful is a membership to the YMCA - really any gym with child watch.  It helps her get "me" time and all the benefits of excercise for her wellbeing.  At $100/month for the family it's totally worth it.  Also, as a place for swimming it's a nice default indoors activity with the kids without and mental stress of it costing additional money.

I was just discussing this with a mom friend of mine. I need to explore this option because I currently exercise 3 times a week while my children are napping. A gym membership would lessen my childcare load, give me more time to exercise and free up my nap time for other things. Maybe even having a rest myself!



Not discouraging the Y idea (if I were a SAHM I would absolutely get a membership with the "unlimited" childwatch option!), but I find I get much more out of exercise if I get up early and get it done before my son is awake.  If I plan on doing it during naptime, there are always a million other household chores that need to be done that I either do ahead of exercising (and then drat, naptime is over and I'm out of time to exercise), or that I'm thinking about.  Plus I'm a bit tired after a very full morning with an energetic 3-year-old and I tend not to get into it as much, and sometimes I just really need a nap myself.  Also, if I get up early, my husband is still at home so I have the option of doing something like going for a run outside instead, which I can't really do during naptime.  Anyway, if your kids sleep well in the mornings this might be an option to consider as well, if you are finding multiple areas where "loosening the reins" could be helpful and don't want to shell out on all of them :)

cats

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2019, 09:22:43 AM »


-When the kids were small and none of them in school, we did memberships to inside kid places. 

- We also recently added a Rhomba 690 and a irobot brava jet moping robot to our appliance repertoire.  For about $400, I have not had to sweep, vacuum or mop in over a month now and I can't even begin to describe how much time it has saved me. 


We have a membership to our local children's museum and I love it and use it plenty. While that time is good for my kids it is in no way stress free for me. Now that my DD is fully mobile I can't keep the kids together because she takes off in her own direction. I can't leave my DS unsupervised because he's likely to hit/grab toys/melt down and needs a lot of redirection. Heaven help us if one person needs a bathroom break/diaper change. That's the part I'm hoping will get better with age and maturity.

If I could eliminate sweeping from my daily to-do list, I might be the happiest person in the world. Looking into a Roomba ASAP.

Not as good as a Roomba, but we have a cordless Dyson vacuum and if you take out the central long tube and just hook the motor piece to the vacuum piece, it's a pretty good size for a toddler to handle.   My son actually requests to vacuum now, he doesn't do corners or edges at all but if you tell him to focus on a specific area of carpet (say while I am doing something else in the same room) he will give it a decent going over and then I'll give it a quick swipe to finish off whatever he didn't hit.  It's not a huge timesaver exactly but I figure it is 1) getting him into the habit of keeping the house tidy and 2) gives me a few minutes to do other parts of tidying up that would be a lot more laborious if he were interfering with them.  Our son is also quite spirited/energetic and we find he REALLY responds well to "helping" (while if you ask him to play while you do cleaning, cooking, etc. he wants you to play with him or is just not interested).  So now he also regularly helps with putting dishes away (mostly silverware as the drawer is at a good level and it's not breakable), setting the table, sorting out laundry or carrying folded laundry to the correct room (then I put it into the drawers/closets) and I also picked up some "kid chef" plastic knives at the thrift store and will give him things to "chop" while I am cutting up vegetables, etc.  He likes to wipe windows also.  Maybe your son could be put to work a little also, if he is not already? 

cloudsail

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2019, 11:55:03 AM »
I remember reading somewhere that frozen or canned veggies have the same nutritional value as the fresh ones. They are also often cheaper. Ever since BPA free cans became popular I've started using canned veggies again, and I can't tell you how much easier it's made my life. Instead of chopping tomatoes, sometimes even boiling them beforehand to peel the skin off, I now open a can of diced tomatoes that cost less than $1 and dump them in! Ten seconds! Also some days I just heat up a can of sweet corn and that's our veggie. Instead of washing and cutting up a head of broccoli, I dump some frozen florets in the steamer. Etc., etc... It doesn't seem like much but the savings in time and effort are actually huge for a busy mom.

Typhoid Mary

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2019, 07:37:56 PM »
You are in such a hard place right now. It does get better! Mine just turned 9 and 10. They make their own hot breakfast and even make mine on occasion. They make me coffee every morning because they think the coffeemaker is fun. They have turned into articulate, empathetic, fun little humans who are just a joy to hang out with. It does get better! Hang in there, Mama!

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2019, 08:05:46 PM »
You are in such a hard place right now. It does get better! Mine just turned 9 and 10. They make their own hot breakfast and even make mine on occasion. They make me coffee every morning because they think the coffeemaker is fun. They have turned into articulate, empathetic, fun little humans who are just a joy to hang out with. It does get better! Hang in there, Mama!

Thank you for this encouraging post Typhoid Mary! Sounds like you're doing something right :)

getmoneyeatpizza

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2019, 09:02:35 PM »
I have two kids, roughly the same age, and it is VERY rough. You need to treat yourself and focus on your marriage.

Get that gym membership, ease up on spending worries until you feel better. As mentioned earlier, the well being of the family is the most important thing.

tthree

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #33 on: June 08, 2019, 05:46:35 PM »
Chiming to offer a different perspective.  As my kids get older I am finding the daily grind, well more of a grind.  Now my kids are 10 and 6....and it is hard.  Honestly it was easier (for me) when my youngest needed to touch me 24/7 (I swear for the first 18 months of her life I was either wearing her or breastfeeding her).  During this time I somehow managed to do all the mustachian things because it was on OUR schedule.  Now I have come to realize my current discontent is because I don't really like following other people's timelines/schedules.

I have to be at work at a certain time, the kids have school at a certain time, homework is due at a certain time, activities are at a certain time, and we are at the mercy of all of this.  Add to this, the personality traits that made my 10 year a dream as a toddler are not serving him well in grade 4.  And all of this weighs greatly on me.  As the saying goes, "Bigger kids, bigger problems".

But OP you definitely need to do something for yourself.  I also found it interesting that you self-identified as a SAHM, when you have a part-time job and side hustle.  Even if it is only an hour or two a week it will make a big difference.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #34 on: June 08, 2019, 08:57:47 PM »
Chiming to offer a different perspective.  As my kids get older I am finding the daily grind, well more of a grind.  Now my kids are 10 and 6....and it is hard. 

Yes, thinking about managing the logistics and schedules once kids are in school will be a whole new set of challenges. Maybe I'm paying my dues now with a toddler who is NOT a dream but who will have an easier time in school. Or at least that's the version of the story I keep telling myself. If I allow myself to start worrying about my son's future performance in school I don't know if I'll ever sleep again.

May I ask what you do for yourself, since your grind sounds pretty grueling as well? How do you fit it in when you are beholden to so many other schedules?

tthree

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2019, 01:57:18 PM »
May I ask what you do for yourself, since your grind sounds pretty grueling as well? How do you fit it in when you are beholden to so many other schedules?
Well there's a loaded question....lol.  So the two things I do for "myself" probably are not conventional. 

The first thing is: officiate my passion sport.  This one started as a good way to stay involved, keep in touch with friends, and a get a couple of free trips away from my family a year:)  However, this has evolved into a much bigger thing.  And now includes managing a group of 100+ other officials, and sitting on a couple of committees.  This needs to be cut back.

The second thing is: teach fitness classes.  I continue to do this as it keeps me accountable to getting my ass to the gym (and motivates other to get their asses to the gym as well).  I teach either before work (when everyone is still in bed) or the weekends.  Sometimes I teach in the evening and it's a huge PITA to fit into the evening schedule of dinner, homework, activities.

I should also mention DH works a long unpredictable schedule (including weekends) so I can't rely on him to help with anything.

If I allow myself to start worrying about my son's future performance in school I don't know if I'll ever sleep again.
That's definitely the cause of constant low level anxiety for me.  There is no money here for additional school support....so I am the additional school support.  We do daily work (on top of regular homework), but I'm no teacher, and I do get frustrated.  My oldest also has been the target of a lot of "undesirable attention" (I hesitate to use the word bullying) .  Thankfully, due to his lack of social awareness, he doesn't fully "get it", but as time goes on I anticipate this only getting worse.

nic1

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2019, 04:40:20 PM »
Chiming to offer a different perspective.  As my kids get older I am finding the daily grind, well more of a grind.  Now my kids are 10 and 6....and it is hard.  Honestly it was easier (for me) when my youngest needed to touch me 24/7 (I swear for the first 18 months of her life I was either wearing her or breastfeeding her).  During this time I somehow managed to do all the mustachian things because it was on OUR schedule.  Now I have come to realize my current discontent is because I don't really like following other people's timelines/schedules.

I have to be at work at a certain time, the kids have school at a certain time, homework is due at a certain time, activities are at a certain time, and we are at the mercy of all of this.  Add to this, the personality traits that made my 10 year a dream as a toddler are not serving him well in grade 4.  And all of this weighs greatly on me.  As the saying goes, "Bigger kids, bigger problems".

But OP you definitely need to do something for yourself.  I also found it interesting that you self-identified as a SAHM, when you have a part-time job and side hustle.  Even if it is only an hour or two a week it will make a big difference.

I can relate to this.  My kids are 14 and 11, the schedules with school, homework, dance team, it is so constraining, and then add a 30 hour a week job on top, it is totally a grind.  I also have two kids that are academically gifted, but my older child has anxiety that has required medication and my younger child has ADD, so they are now at two different schools because my younger one was so unhappy at the public school.  Anyway, just wanted to say I am in the thick of this too and have not found the middle school years to be easier at all.

As far as OP post I agree with everyone you need to throw some resources at making your life a little easier.  I also work from home most of the time and was expecting myself to do everything a SAHM would do as well as work 30 hours a week.  Cook, do all the transportation to school, activities, etc....with no help from a husband that travels extensively.  I had to make some big changes.  I am paying someone to do the after school running around and errands for me as needed.   I also decided to work mostly in the office now, I found that being isolated all week was just not good for my mental health.   It is helping a lot.  I still struggle with feeling overwhelmed and just plain old burnt out, but I can feel it getting better.  From someone quite a bit further down the road with older kids, get some help now, make time for your husband and friends, it is worth it down the road. 

mspym

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2019, 05:44:14 PM »
I am a working stepmother and the boys are now 13 and 15 [which feels super weird!]. It became so much easier when I stopped doing all the meal-prepping on the weekend and accepted that some meals will be frozen fish with some frozen peas & corn. Or baked beans on toast and an apple. Or scrambled eggs in a bread roll and some steamed broccoli. And the boys empty/load the dishwasher and do the pots and pans while we walk the dog in the evening, which gives us some time to connect and them some time to do weird teen smacktalk/wrestling without us telling them to stop every 5 seconds.

You'll get through this, you don't have to be perfect.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2019, 02:52:40 AM »
Just reading a few of the last comments, I notice that some of the husbands are totally delegating their responsibility of being a parent to the parent who doesn't travel that much. They (the husbands) choose to continue to work in a job that requires travelling extensively and working weekends, therefore the wife needs to take care of the children and the household.

Sounds pretty unreasonable to me. The husband could also choose to switch to a job with regular hours, or working reduced hours while having young children. And if he doesn't want to, because he earns a fatter income with this travelling job, then I think the wife should not be blamed to ease her burden by getting external help to do the tasks that the husband could/should have done.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2019, 01:29:36 PM »
UPDATE: DH and I have had some long talks about our current situation and prospects for our future situation (ie - potential bonuses being realized, hopefully reaching a stable place with the house repairs) and decided to take some positive steps for quality of life. I joined a gym! I took my kids to the childcare room and it went great. All my anxiety over my kids freaking out or misbehaving were totally unfounded. My son was crying because he didn't want to leave (they had a TV going and we don't do screen time at home).

I've experimented with a few frozen foods - frozen broccoli will go on the rotation; frozen asparagus will not be a repeat. There's a bag of fish sticks in the freezer and I even found a loaf of frozen gluten free bread on clearance for $1.50! Another revelation was that not only does frozen food save time on the prep and cooking, but there's hardly any cleanup. Perhaps that should have been obvious....

We've gotten in touch with a few babysitters in the neighborhood and are working on setting up a monthly date day (we're too tired for date night).

Thanks so much for the perspective you all have offered. Just joining the gym makes me feel as though a cloud has lifted. For the first time since becoming a mom, I have a way to get a break from my kids that doesn't involve arranging with a babysitter or begging favors from family. It's a huge relief.

BeanCounter

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2019, 01:58:02 PM »
UPDATE: DH and I have had some long talks about our current situation and prospects for our future situation (ie - potential bonuses being realized, hopefully reaching a stable place with the house repairs) and decided to take some positive steps for quality of life. I joined a gym! I took my kids to the childcare room and it went great. All my anxiety over my kids freaking out or misbehaving were totally unfounded. My son was crying because he didn't want to leave (they had a TV going and we don't do screen time at home).

I've experimented with a few frozen foods - frozen broccoli will go on the rotation; frozen asparagus will not be a repeat. There's a bag of fish sticks in the freezer and I even found a loaf of frozen gluten free bread on clearance for $1.50! Another revelation was that not only does frozen food save time on the prep and cooking, but there's hardly any cleanup. Perhaps that should have been obvious....

We've gotten in touch with a few babysitters in the neighborhood and are working on setting up a monthly date day (we're too tired for date night).

Thanks so much for the perspective you all have offered. Just joining the gym makes me feel as though a cloud has lifted. For the first time since becoming a mom, I have a way to get a break from my kids that doesn't involve arranging with a babysitter or begging favors from family. It's a huge relief.

Great job!!
Got another idea for you. Google sheet tray dinners! Talk about hardly any clean up. My kids love sheet tray fajitas.
Also- roasted broccoli is the bomb. Cut up fresh broccoli toss in olive oil and sea salt. Roast on a sheet tray at 400 until tender. Super easy and with some ranch my kids eat it like popcorn. If you hate cutting up broccoli, you can buy fresh already cut broccoli at Costco or GFS.

Marmotinha

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2019, 02:12:09 PM »
I almost never post, but am a long time lurker. My husband and I both work full time and travel for work quite a lot. We have a 6.5 yo and a 5 yo. Things got a lot easier once the youngest hit 3.5 or so. One thing we started at some point is give each other one "free" night a week. On my night he takes care of everything: pick up from school, dinner, putting to bed, whatever. This time is for me to do whatever I want. Often I would just go to a coffee place and read, other times I would go out with friends and some times I would just stay late at the office and work. The point was that it was my time to do whatever I felt like. This made a huge difference to our mental loads. Whatever else was going on, we both knew we had the one night each week where we could freely dispose of our time. After a while, we also added a semi regular date night with some babysitting help.

So, it gets better, but as others have said, cut yourself some slack. You are in the thick of it right now!

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CloserToFree

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2019, 09:03:17 PM »
So glad to see the update, Mrs. D.! Sounds like some really positive steps forward.

Luz

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #43 on: June 23, 2019, 04:18:33 PM »
The hacks I've found useful so far for the toddler years are:

-Preparing freezer meals (less time, less money)
I double dinners one week and then we have all dinners prepared the next. You could schedule it any way it suits your family

-Scaling back my side hustle hours (I went from 15 hrs/week to 7 and now 3!)
as a SAHP, I thought it would be no big deal to fit in a side hustle into my flexible schedule.  But when I do the math, I'm putting in 11 hour days caring for my kid and keeping the house running. (That does not include naps, which are prime time for my exercise, meditation and shower). That's plenty. The stay at home flexibility does not mean you're not absolutely busting your butt day in and day out. I think people forget that. And by evening, the last thing I want to do is something productive. That time is for yet more self (as well as marriage) care: a good book, spending time with my husband, or going out with friends.

-I stopped tidying up messes.
I wasted So Much Time tidying and it never really ends anyway. Instead, I put everything on the bed or in the kitchen sink in the morning and throughout the day as needed. When my husband is on baby duty after work, I set a kitchen timer and tackle it. It takes 30 minutes.  My house (except the bed) looks great and it's not so overwhelming.

-being ridiculously consistent with discipline.
The best advice I got from a very graceful mom with fantastic kids was to always, always, always (no exceptions) say it once and follow through (with whatever consequence you choose) so your kids know you mean business and they learn to respect that. And it can be done in a very kind way. This one rule I follow cuts down on sooo much day-to-day stress and frustration.  For some (spirited) kids, you will have to follow through A LOT more often, but they rise to the challenge when there's 100% consistency on your part. And wow is it worth it to have a spirited kid who also has the tools for self discipline. There's no stopping that combination in life!

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2019, 10:20:14 AM »
Being at home is very hard. I was a SAHD for 2.5 years, and it was the most thankless job I've eve had. Valuable? Absolutely. It certainly helped my marriage in the long run, and was great for the kids, because I was pretty good at it. But thankless.

At a job, there's a schedule and possible mentors. At home, you are self-employed and have no one to guide you on a daily basis, and if they did you'd be establishing clear boundaries and severing ties.

At a job, you get to complete tasks that are then done. At home, the job is never done; the sink keep filling up, the floors never stay clean and HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU THAT THE SHOES GO WHERE THE SHOES GO!?!?! [flings them across the house].

A job pays you. At home, you try to create savings while getting involved in cockamamie things like mom-blogs and MLMs.

Mrs. D.

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2019, 01:01:35 PM »
Being at home is very hard. I was a SAHD for 2.5 years, and it was the most thankless job I've eve had. Valuable? Absolutely. It certainly helped my marriage in the long run, and was great for the kids, because I was pretty good at it. But thankless.

At a job, there's a schedule and possible mentors. At home, you are self-employed and have no one to guide you on a daily basis, and if they did you'd be establishing clear boundaries and severing ties.

At a job, you get to complete tasks that are then done. At home, the job is never done; the sink keep filling up, the floors never stay clean and HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU THAT THE SHOES GO WHERE THE SHOES GO!?!?! [flings them across the house].

A job pays you. At home, you try to create savings while getting involved in cockamamie things like mom-blogs and MLMs.

LOL, all of this! I think of this when I hear mom friends say they went back to work "to get a break." My transition from elementary school teacher to SAHM was rough. Once I was at home, I realized how much I craved the social interaction, the schedules and structure, the criteria for determining if I was successful, and the feedback from co-workers and supervisors. This morning the feedback from my toddler was "I don't like you, Mama" because I told him if he got out of his chair again, breakfast would be taken away. It really filled my cup :P

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2019, 01:16:50 PM »
Being at home is very hard. I was a SAHD for 2.5 years, and it was the most thankless job I've eve had. Valuable? Absolutely. It certainly helped my marriage in the long run, and was great for the kids, because I was pretty good at it. But thankless.

At a job, there's a schedule and possible mentors. At home, you are self-employed and have no one to guide you on a daily basis, and if they did you'd be establishing clear boundaries and severing ties.

At a job, you get to complete tasks that are then done. At home, the job is never done; the sink keep filling up, the floors never stay clean and HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU THAT THE SHOES GO WHERE THE SHOES GO!?!?! [flings them across the house].

A job pays you. At home, you try to create savings while getting involved in cockamamie things like mom-blogs and MLMs.

LOL, all of this! I think of this when I hear mom friends say they went back to work "to get a break." My transition from elementary school teacher to SAHM was rough. Once I was at home, I realized how much I craved the social interaction, the schedules and structure, the criteria for determining if I was successful, and the feedback from co-workers and supervisors. This morning the feedback from my toddler was "I don't like you, Mama" because I told him if he got out of his chair again, breakfast would be taken away. It really filled my cup :P

Yes, I found being at home to be very lonely. I found myself at 3PM sometimes calling a friend at his job. I'm sure it got irritating, and I usually had so little to say.

I remember someone telling me that my emails were very long. They likely were too long, because I was trying to fill the void.

jpdx

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2019, 12:13:17 AM »
This has been such an encouraging to read, as we are going through a similar period. We have a 2.5yo and we run a freelance business from our home office. Juggling parenting with work/career has been very challenging for both of us. Right now my spouse and I split the day in half and each watch the kid for their half, while the other person can have some productive time. Still, at best, this is only 3-4 hours for each person -- it's never enough. And sitting down together to have a meeting or meaningful discussion is often futile. It's frustrating, but we keep telling ourselves that it will get better with preschool and elementary school.

And despite all this stress and grumbling, we also recognize how fortunate we are (and child is) to have this unusual live/work setup. Two involved parents home each day, chores split 50/50, no commute, etc.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2019, 07:10:59 AM »
............we keep telling ourselves that it will get better with preschool and elementary school.




If it's not full-day pre-k do not expect any time. However, if you can maximize the 1-2 hours for work, then that could be  very good exercise in efficiency.

fuzzy math

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Re: Daily grind wearing down my gears
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2019, 07:41:33 AM »
Tap into those grandparents and see if you can sneak the occasional coffee shop stop for yourself. Now whether you have to lie that you have an appointment (and can they please help out?) or can be upfront about it is up to you since you mentioned they only help for tutoring. But $2 spent once or twice a month for a cup of coffee or tea so you can read a book uninterrupted for an hour will really refresh you. Perhaps your gym even has a sitting area where you could read while the kids are in daycare. It's also great to go out in the evening by yourself and have DH home with the kids. Are you getting any help at all from him? since you work at your synagogue can you arrange a Mother's Day out like someone else mentioned? Maybe 2 moms take 8 kids for 2 hours and you rotate who has to care for them? Lots of options since you work there.