I Need a Village

There are certain days where I feel like I could crouch in the corner and weep from pure frustration and exhaustion.  Nobody said having kids was easy, but I never pictured raising 2 kids, 2 years apart, 12 hours away from where my family and friends lived.

We intentionally conceived our first child knowing we lived far from family.  I was sad that they couldn’t be a part of my pregnancy and birth (and relieved in other ways) but I didn’t really expect that I would need anyone.  Since I had wanted a family for as long as I remembered I had an idealized version of what having children would be like.  Even as I imagined the “hardships” of infants- the late night crying, the nasty diapers, the food messes- I never thought I would be bothered by them.  I accepted them as part of the package and assumed I would roll with the punches.

I was either naive, or in denial of my own nature.  I need way more sleep than I thought I did, I can’t stand when food or drink is thrown on the floor (it makes me stabby), but at least I didn’t mind the diapers.

There were some really low points with my first child.  I didn’t have Post-Partum Depression but I was exhausted.  I assumed babies cried a lot at night but I didn’t expect crawlers, walkers, and talkers to wake multiple times at night.

Many days I found myself nodding off while my son played, but when he finally napped there were so many things to be done around the house that I couldn’t nap with him.  My disgust with a dirty house compelled me to clean rather than rest.  Then when my husband got home I would want to spend time with him.

I wished for that relative down the street who could come over and watch my son for me so I could catch up on my sleep, or clean my house, or just get some non child time.

And now I have the two.  One is reaching their “terrible twos” and challenges me on a multiple time a day, daily basis.  He won’t eat, he is starting to hit others, he screams and thrashes when his demands aren’t met, and he is peeing on my floor.

Yesterday I was almost reduced to tears.  My toddler threw a block and hit his younger brother, then bit him.  He refused to eat lunch.  He peed on the floor twice even though he has had so much success with potty learning.  And on top of it all I was a walking zombie from lack of sleep since my youngest woke a record number of times the previous night.  My husband would be working until 6 but I needed a break right then.  I had no one to call for help, and I would feel bad just calling a family member to complain.  So instead I begged my husband to be home on time and told him what happened.

“Why do you always complain?” He replied.

And I do.   I rarely have a “great” day.  The winter doldrums and stir craziness have hit full force.  Leaving the house in frigid weather, in the snow, isn’t realistic with the 2 kids.  They were also sick for months and we were truly quarantined.  No play dates, no My Gym, nothing that involved other children.  I could have shot my face off.

Not having the support of family and friends has been far tougher than I ever imagined.  I get irrationally jealous when I see others who live near family and have regular opportunities for the kids to hang out with their grandparents while they go shopping or get a pedicure or meet friends for coffee without children.  I pay a sitter for 4 hours a week in order to get work done.

In case you are wondering, my husband is in the picture but he works all week, often late.  By the time he gets home it is time for dinner, baths, bed.  Then all I have energy for is a TV show and it is my bedtime.  Glamorous huh?

I have given up hope of moving back to our hometown, it just isn’t going to happen.  It is depressing but at least I have come to terms with it.  And don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to death.  When things are good they are amazing.  I can’t believe they are mine and I get to keep them.  But there are some days when I really wish I could give them away, just for a few hours…  any takers?

Side note: I am aware things could be far worse in my life.  I try to keep it in perspective, I really do.  I also have mad respect for single and military moms, especially when hubby goes away for work. Enjoy this video my hubby sent me.

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  • Christina D.

    Kim, I swear, I could have written this myself! I live in western upstate NY, our entire family lives in NJ (so a 6 hour drive give or take). I only have the one baby right now, but there are days where I feel EXACTLY like this! I actually reached my breaking point last night after being stir crazy and in “winter sadness” mode all winter long. I complain all the time to my husband too and I hate it!

    I have to say, it’s not like I revel in your pain your anything, but I am SO glad to hear someone else having these problems. It makes me feel like less of a failure and more of a normal person.

  • Meg mama

    Honestly from time to time I litterally “tap out”. If it’s been a crazy day in spite of wanting to be with the whole family together when my husband comes home I will honeslty tap him twice like a wrestler, hand the kids to him and walk into anothe room, turn on my ipod loudly read a book, play on the computer, or watch a show. It’s the kind of sily agreement we’ve come to. Everyone needs a tap out from time to time. Even if it means putting your kids in bed, putting in some head phones and just letting yourself relax for 20 minutes. you’ll feel guilty but so much better at the same time, it is worth it!

  • Roxie

    This. So much. I just searched your site to see if you had PPD because I thought you would have good insight and it might help me to read your experiences. This is what I’m feeling. I’m glad I’m not alone, but it still sucks.