Wins and Woes is our community newsletter — a place for your stories and questions, where you can connect directly with other ParentData readers. A new issue is sent out every Saturday through the ParentData newsletter. To join the conversation, please sign up for a free subscription to ParentData.
We’re back with three of your stories and a question about how you and your spouse manage to get the time alone you both need.
As parents, it can be hard to remember that you deserve time to yourself, away from your kids and your spouse. I’ve said it before: this does usually get somewhat easier as your children get older. Going on a run every morning helps me stay sane, but I wasn’t doing it when my kids were really little. So don’t give up on your hobbies. Find the support you need so you can get out there, in some way, now.
As always, this is your space, so please leave a comment for any of our readers and contribute your own story or question for a future newsletter here.
Calling on Community
I recently had an incredibly tough morning with my otherwise fantastic 3.5-year-old. She woke up super-early and then everything sent her into hysterics — breakfast, getting dressed, breathing, blowing her nose, etc. And because she is 3.5 years old, this was not the first such morning, nor will it be the last.
When I finally got her to school a half-hour later than usual, I called my mom for some moral support. My mom’s response was that I should seek out a child psychologist to tell me all the things I’m not doing to help my daughter. The comment made me sad and lonely for the rest of the day. And neither my mom nor my daughter know I’m expecting our second child in November and deep in first-trimester misery. I needed this community today, not a guilt trip from Grandma.
We’ve struggled for years with poop withholding and constipation, and I thought I had tried everything, until last week when my 4-year-old saw air freshener on the grocery store shelf and asked what it was for. We smelled them all and picked out our favorite, and he gets to do one squirt in the bathroom after each poop. He’s been going at least once a day for three weeks straight! Bonus — since he’s independent in the bathroom and a rule follower, I can now use my nose to figure out if he’s gone and stop constantly asking him!
My four-month-old won’t take a bottle. I’m very lucky in that I did not have to go back to work until she was three months, and when I did it was a very reduced schedule (I’m only out of the house for four or five hours one day a week). Even with the reduced schedule, I’m considering quitting my job. The hours that I’m gone are completely miserable for her and my husband. Not only can I not leave to have coffee with a friend, to go grocery shopping, or to have alone time with my older child, but now I might have to quit my job too? I’m feeling incredibly stuck and out of options.
This week’s reader question
What tips do you and your spouse have for you as individuals getting regular time away from your family that are working for your marriage?
We have three young kids (1, 3, and 6), and I think we just realized that we each need and deserve regular time off from the family. How did this take so long for us to realize? (1) We love our family together time too much, (2) we both feel bad leaving the other one with all three to take care of ourselves (gotta fix that!), and (3) we hunkered down for a long time with the pandemic. Now it’s all caught up with us, and as a stay-at-home mom, I am going a little crazy after years of kind of losing myself in the wonders and exhaustion of motherhood.
Now that we see our problem, we can reorganize our life to make time for each person to get a much-needed break, but I was wondering what you smart people have already found works for your life. Because laundry, home maintenance, kitchen cleanup, and cooking are very real things! What do you contract out in your lives? And how do you create the break for you and your spouse as individuals without creating resentment in your marriage? I appreciate any experiences, as I’m hoping to learn from what others have negotiated and found works. Thanks, ParentData community!