How am I supposed to find the time?

All the books cautioned that when you have a second child, you trade in any possibility of free time. It made sense; my first child required so much of my time I couldn’t imagine how I’d have any left when a second child came around. All those little moment I stole to read an email or blog post, to put a load of laundry in the drier, to go to the bathroom by myself… they were about to be co-opted. Yes, I understood that I was about to lose the ability to do anything for me personally, but I didn’t really GET what that might mean, what it would feel like, how I would manage it in my own life.

I have to admit, it has me struggling mightily.

I miss having my own time. I miss being able to read a blog post in one sitting, or–godforbid-comment on it. I miss being able to leave the house without kids in tow to see a friend. Now, even if Osita allows me to leave, I usually have to take Monito so that Mi.Vida doesn’t get too overwhelmed. (Luckily Monito is still very amiable to doing whatever so I can still get shopping done or even have lunch with a friend and he sleeps in his car seat or sits happily in my lap. I can’t imagine how difficult it will all get when that stops). Right now Monito’s longest period of wakefulness is the three hours right after Osita goes to bed. That long period of playing, and eating, helps him to sleep until 6-7am (which is amazing) but it effectively destroys my only opportunity to read or write or watch a TV show with MV or do some cleaning around the house.

At this point there is no dependable time during which I can get things done. With Osita at school I do have some 45-90 minute stretches when Monito is sleeping but I never know how long they will last. I usually utilize that time to get laundry folded or to do the dishes and get the kitchen to a functional state.

But when I need to actually be productive, like get some copy-editing done or write an article for the magazine I volunteer at, I am at a complete loss. When I want to read a book about Playful Parenting or managing a child’s challenging behavior I get frustrated when I realize there is just no way to get it done. It’s hard to know how I’m going to maintain any semblance of my self when every minute of every day is already accounted for.

I go back to work in less than a month and when that happens, my days will be an endless stream of moving from one intensely packed part to another. At this point I am driving to pick up Monito during my lunch hour–I don’t even have a scheduled time to eat lunch! It’s going to be insane waking up at 5:45am so that I can spend some time with both my daughter and son after I get myself ready and before I step out the door at 7am. And then it’s off to teach four classes that I probably won’t have had any time to plan for. Then I rush to my in-laws to pick up Monito, who I get to spend two hours with alone before I have to pick up Osita. The 2-3 hours at home alone with both of them is the most stressful time of the day. By the time they are both asleep I’ll have to be heading to bed too, otherwise I just won’t get enough sleep to make it through the day. I honestly can’t fathom when I’ll have time for laundry or dishes or picking up around the house. I already know my weekends will be reserved for catching up on all of that, plus actual cleaning and a week’s worth of grocery shopping. Ugh. Just typing that out exhausts me. I can’t believe that in three weeks I have to start living it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that a lot of infertility bloggers stop writing after the birth of their first child. I am always saddened when someone I follow slowly stops posting until one day I check their blog and see that it’s been three months since they wrote. As someone who absolutely NEEDS her own space to unpack all the goings-on in my life, I never understood how people could walk away, even when I knew first hand how hard it was to carve out time with a baby at home. But now I see. With two kids, I will just not have the time. Something will have to give and when the other possibilities are laundry or dishes, I don’t see how I can justify writing here, at least not as much as I do now. I don’t know how I’m going to cut back, but I’ll probably have to.

And that makes my heart hurt.

This having two kids thing is no joke. I thought I could make it work. I thought I could find ways to protect the things dearest to me, but when it comes down to it, I doubt I can. I can see how small pieces of myself will keep falling away until I’m left at the end of the first year with nothing left of the person I know now. That thought scares me.

And I haven’t even mentioned Mi.Vida–and our relationship–in this post. That is a whole other issue to tackle and I haven’t been lately only because things between us are pretty good. I’m equally–if not more–worried about how our relationship will fare in the coming year. If we don’t have time or energy for ourselves, how will we have time and energy for each other?

Jeez. How are we going to do this?

9 responses

  1. Breathe. First, I hear you. The whole parenting two kids, working … all of it, it is overwhelming. In the first few months after E was born, I wondered, {for shame} if we made the right decision. Can I do this? And well, I’ll tell you – after I got into the groove of going back to work, schlepping kids around, housework and making time for myself…I made it work.

    Yes, this all didn’t fall into place until E reached her 7 month…and then I finally got some, “me” time which meant me waking up a whole 2 hours earlier to read that book or blog, peruse the internet, etc…but you’ll find your niche.

  2. This is me just picking one tiny sentence out of the post, but I’m doing so b/c it struck me as a thought I’m sure I will have too in the next month or two.

    “I miss being able to leave the house without kids in tow to see a friend. Now, even if Osita allows me to leave, I usually have to take Monito so that Mi.Vida doesn’t get too overwhelmed. ” <— Um, why do we do this? You have been forced to learn how to handle 2 children at once and Moms EVERYWHERE do this all the time, so why are we so afraid to let our husbands figure out how to do the same? I'm asking in all honesty, b/c if I hadn't read this post, I know I'd have done the same thing (and probably will still)!!

    I'm so afraid to lose my blogging time and my me time… it's what keeps me sane. If I figure out any cool tricks in the next few months, I promise to share. 🙂

    • This is a really good question Josey and I think I’ll answer it in a separate post, because I actually have a lot to day about it. 😉

  3. as i enter the last few weeks of my second pregnancy my husband worries out loud about my management of time. how will i be able to cope with a small toddler and a newborn. I honestly have not even thought about it. It will work itself out. I have faith in my relationship with my husband (13 years and going strong) I have faith in my ability to parent. Yes there will be storms. But I am just so happy to have the ability to carry another child that it overcomes everything else. Honestly – perhaps this is just me or related to my struggle to conceive both #1 and #2 (8 IVF cycles later) I do not want to leave my children. (while i still want to do “me” things that include them). I am sure that once you make it through the struggles of adding the second child (my sister had a hard time adding her second due to her 1st being a bit older and more needy) she says its a breeze. I am sure you and your partner will find your groove and enjoy parenting as your children start really interacting with each other and you. Love following your blog so I hope you are able to squeeze in a few minutes a few times a week to write!

  4. I have 2 boys (one 28 months and the other 3 months). I’m a SAHM and also watch 2 toddlers (both turned 2 just recently) and another newborn age 2.5 months. They are with me from 7am-4:45pm everyday. I struggled with this same thing too, and still do from time to time. I just recently stopped going to be when my baby did (7pm) and instead now I go to bed around 9pm. Here are some things that work for me and my family:

    1. Crockpot Meals/Freezer Meal Groups. I started one in my area with 3 other moms. Each week, we all cook one dinner (but x4 the recipe). On Sundays, we swap meals at our Middle School parking lot. This takes all the guess work out of dinners, and often there are enough leftovers for me and hubby the next day for lunch. Those are in microwavable containers to grab and go with.

    2. Also, I am on a smoothie/yogurt parfait kick for breakfast. Those are all prepped ahead of time (Sundays), so I just have to eat the parfait, or put the smoothie stuff plus milk in the blender and pour.
    I also plan out lunches for all the kids on Saturday, then go grocery shopping twice a month and buy most everything I need (minus fresh produce, hubby does that on way home from work).

    3. The laundry and cleaning house, hubby does when he gets home from work in the evenings and on weekends. He wakes up early to work out in the mornings 5:15am, so I’m lucky to get up an hour later and most of the time the kitchen and house is ready for my adventures the next day too.
    I do a lot of baby-wearing too in between nap times, that way I can still be connected to my kids and still stay on top of the house stuff.

    4. I can’t say that our life is easy, neat, or perfect, but so far this has been working for us. It’s stressful adjusting to 2 kids and 0 time for yourself, but as time goes on, you will find your groove and figure it all out too.

    5. That being said, I’ve never been a working mom when I had kids, so I can’t imagine how difficult it is to juggle work and kids too. I did teach for 5 years, so I know how difficult it is to teach without prep time. SO hard to scramble and feel like you are meeting the needs of your students.

    6. Is it financially possible for you to hire a housekeeper a couple times a month? That way you can come home to a clean house and then get out of the house with friends or have family time doing something fun all together.

    Hang in there. Don’t count yourself out just yet. You can do it, it will just take some creative planning! LOL

  5. I agree, this like anything new that you embark on feels overwhelming now, but with some trial and error and creativity you will make it work. I agree with Josey – let your husband stay home with both kids once in a while! And figure out what is your ‘good enough’. Get help if you can. You’ve done great so far and you will continue to do great.

  6. You will make it work. I was reading a post yesterday that I wrote a year ago, wondering how in the world I was going to do it with 2 kids, and I kind of laughed at myself, and my fear. I figured it out, and so will you. We are smart, resourceful, and will do it. You will continue to write because you have to- it’s so much a part of you and how you work through things.

    I’m anxious to read a post you write answering Josey’s question, because I struggle so much with the same. Ryan was off school for break and I went shopping with a girlfriend- but took Charlotte with me- for exactly the reason you said- so he wouldn’t get overwhelmed. It IS ridiculous- these men CAN do it, and we should expect them to do it. But taking her with me was just easier- then I didn’t have to feel guilty, or get the 500 text messages with the play by play of what she’s into or messing with. Gah.

  7. I am 6 months pregnant and have a 4 year old, and I gotta say, your posts have been freaking me out lately!!! I’ve just been so excited to finally be pregnant and for everything to be going well with the pg, and the reality of all the work hasn’t hit me yet. I remember with baby #1 hearing about how hard it is with the sleep deprivation, etc, and not really getting it until I was experiencing it, and now I remember it, but not really, because it was such a transient time. I am hoping for you that you find a groove soon. I remember after 3 months, things got easier with the 1st one. I am hoping for me that it will be a little easier because my son will be close to 5 by the time the baby comes. Fingers crossed for both of us!

  8. That is a LOT on your plate… I know the kinds of hours teachers put in, and with two little ones needing you – not just your time and attention but also for you to manage a household! It’s a lot. Does it help to know it is a short-term situation? And that things will get better in time?

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