View Full Version : I just need a little encouragement

11-03-2011, 12:03 PM
I know that everything is going to be just fine. But, I'm still worried and absolutely FULL of mommy guilt. You see, my 18 month old is still not sleeping through the night. Last night in fact, I got about 4.5 hours of sleep (and not all continuous). She's nursing, and a very light sleeper, and extremely sensitive to temperature. Once she wakes, and I go to nurse her (I'm unable to nurse laying down or sleep while nursing, which stinks) and sit up in a chair next to my bed. It can take up to two hours to get her back in a deep enough sleep that I can lay her back down.

I have two older children that I'm homeschooling. A kinder and a preschooler. I know that its early, and even just reading to them daily would be a fine start for them and I don't really need to be doing anything serious right now. In the state of Colorado where we live, Kindergarten is optional and doesn't even start until they're 6 years old. However, My 5yo daughter is SO motivated to learn, and she loves every moment we spend together. I purchased Saxon Math Kindergarten and because it has a schedule (so many lessons for October, November, etc.) we've fallen behind and I feel just terrible! I'm exhausted most days. I have all of these things planned and even a dedicated homeschool room that we've just decorated and set up, but I'm not using it even two days a week because I'm just so very tired. My husband works from home, and is so generous to let me rest some times during the day.

I KNOW that I can just relax at this age, and not worry about what we do or do not get done. I KNOW that my girls are learning every day, even on days when I don't feel up to doing the curriculum. Its just that I still feel guilty and disappointed in myself. I keep saying that if only I were getting enough sleep I could get more done, and have the energy to do more. The chiropractor is sure that she'll sleep through the night once her eye teeth come in. Oh how I hope those suckers get here soon! Mommy guilt stinks, does it not?!

11-03-2011, 12:14 PM
Oi. I have a toddler and a 9 yo to homeschool. Some days are easy-peasy but some days if I've been up with him at night I suck at being patient and working with my older boy in the morning.

I read posts from a lot of people who seemed to have homeschooled through new babies and toddlers so I guess there's hope that we'll get through it without ruining our kids or ending up in a padded cell. I'm just not sure how.

Hang in there, sister.

11-03-2011, 12:21 PM
Mommy guilt certainly stinks.

I think the best thing is that you understand that you don't have to be Super Momma right now. This stage will pass and you will be sleeping better at night. You know all of that....

I know I don't have anything to offer except support. So...here's my support!

11-03-2011, 02:27 PM
It will all be better with sleep! I would seriously suggest putting non napping kids in front of the tv and resting when the baby naps.

11-03-2011, 05:03 PM
ZOMG, sleep makes such a difference! That's why I ended up co-sleeping, which I never planned on. LOL It will definitely be OK. Everything will smooth out with just a little time. :)

11-03-2011, 05:35 PM
Hang in there! It WILL get better.

My first came home from the hospital sleeping "thru the night" (5hrs or more) and was done with night-waking by 6-9mo. My second nursed every 2 hours, 24/7 until she was 12mo (I think she had looser sphincters, as she always spit up, so I think it was her natural way to avoid GERD). My third took the cake -- a full two YEARS before he stopped waking at night every few hours. Didn't kill me, and now he's a great sleeper. He was born right after my oldest started K, so I felt the guilt, too.

One thing that helped me was to put math worksheets in a folder for the week, so dd should just take a sheet for the day. Or skip the K curric, and just spend 10min a day doing counting, sorting, adding and 10min on phonics. Get a practice workbook she can work thru with little help. Honestly, a K'r doesn't need formal math or LA -- just doing read alouds and master addition facts 0 thru 5 and counting to 20 will put her in a great place for first grade. Think about goals for the year and don't forget YOU own the curric, it doesn't own you.

Good luck!

11-03-2011, 06:00 PM
I keep saying that if only I were getting enough sleep I could get more done, and have the energy to do more.

I think if you were getting more sleep you wouldn't be so worried about what you are accomplishing each day. I know, at least for me, that lack of sleep makes everything worse. My twins didn't sleep through the night until they were three. It was horrible because I was so tired, and I can't even imagine trying to homeschool in that state of mind. Maybe your goal for now should just be taking care of yourself and trying to nap when your 18 month does. Also think about getting Time4Learning for your daughter. She could do school independently while you are napping.

Stella M
11-03-2011, 06:00 PM
Be kind to yourself. If you wouldn't talk to a good friend that way - You should feel really guilty for not doing more! I'm so disappointed in you!! - and you wouldn't :) - then don't talk to yourself that way.

Homeschooling with babies/toddlers is really tough. I had three, six and under too, and it was hard! Oh man, so hard!

Do what you can. I tried to read aloud everyday and make sure everyone ate well everyday. Those were my priorities for quite a while, and my kids have turned out OK :)

Can you spend time working with the 6yr old when the baby naps ? Or split her nap into two - one part for you to lie down and rest in, one to do 'something' with dd.

It gets much better. Truly.

11-03-2011, 07:51 PM
Hang in there! Don't worry - easier said than done.

Though it was a long time ago by DD only started sleeping through the night once her bedroom was finished (house under construction). We found she was an even lighter sleeper than I was and she needed white noise to be able to sleep more than a few hours in a row.

Trust that what you do for school work is enough. We are always learning - it's not just done from ages 5-18 or from 9am until 2pm!

11-03-2011, 08:12 PM
i"m in a similar boat but with an 8 month old. He's awake every 2 hours but at least most nights goes down after 20 minutes awake. Yet, I still have to get up with the 3yo and occasionally the 6yo too! I feel your pain. First, consider a different approach to help her go back to sleep more quickly. With our now 3yo, about at 18 months, I started doing the "bit more on your own" each night. But, in fact, it was my husband not me. If it was me, she was too accustomed to what we had been doing. When my husband started helping out, she learned that a different person meant a different routine. I'd nurse her than he'd come and do the routine. Lay her down, pat her on the back, walk out for 1 minute. Then, back in to lay her back down (because she would have stood up at that point, rub her back very briefly again, walk out and stay out for 2 minutes. Then, do it all again but now for 3 minutes, then again but out for 4 minutes and so on. She never went more than the 6 minute interval. EVER. It was great. Then, after about 3 days of that, she started going to sleep more quickly - after about the 3 minute interval outside her room. Then within a week, she was out after he left the room the 1st time. We let that go on for about a week to make sure it "stuck" then I started doing it. It went a little bumpy and she was back up to the 5 minute interval but again in 3 days she was asleep after I left the room the 1st time. I believe in nursing at night so I'm not one to refuse nursing when they wake up but I am totally all about them going back to sleep quickly.

but - you asked about homeschooling not helping her sleep :rolleyes: So - GIVE YOURSELF A BIG PAT ON THE BACK - for even trying. When I don't get enough sleep I don't have the patience to do curriculum. I may go for a walk with them or play games that have some educational value - Like find the "a" s on the street signs while we drive to lunch or, sorting and stringing beads, making patterns and seeing if the kids could repeat the patterns but in a different color of beads, and just reading books. No curriculum. Remember - she's young! Have fun. She will be fine and you will enjoy being with her more if you give yourself permission to relax! (see last week's site survey question!)

11-03-2011, 09:37 PM
mommy guilt SUCKS. so does sleep deprivation. I don't know which is worse. But know that you're not alone, and we AND our kids will survive :) My youngest is 15months now, and still up every 2hrs or so. Actually I lie...most nights she goes down around 7pm and sleeps till sometime between 10-11pm. But then it all goes to pot. She and I now sleep on a mattress on the floor in her room, since the crib just failed miserably, and cosleeping in mine/DH's bed was just getting too difficult with her. She wakes generally 3-4 times after 11pm, and all my kids are up for the day by 6am. Sometimes she's awake for a good 2hrs of crawling around and crying. Sometimes we watch Coronation Street for hours in the middle of the night, LOL. It sucks. Hard. I'm only telling you all this so you really know you're not alone. So often people look at me like I have 3 heads when I say my toddler is still up alot. I know far too many people with those miraculous SLEEPING kids, LOL. All my kids had sucky sleep and it didn't get better until 2-3yrs. I'm counting down the months...It's so hard to be present and patient when you're barely stringing together 4hrs of sleep.

Hang in there and lower your expectations until you're sleeping better. I like some of the organization tips already mentioned. Just get some big, fun, workbooks that your dd can just pull out and flip open to any page to enjoy. Workboxes are great - you just fill them and they're ready to go. You don't have to then THINK during the day, everything's done. maybe your DH could even help with figuring out what to put in the workboxes at night, then during the day there's nothing to plan, and your dd can do as many or as few as she wants.

11-03-2011, 09:59 PM
Hang in there! My daughter never slept through the night until she turned two. It will get better!

11-03-2011, 10:20 PM
sending hug and good thoughts to you. My youngest didnt sleep through the night till she was almost 2. We just pushed through and we did nap alot when she did.. Just remember it does get better. :)

11-03-2011, 10:44 PM
( i used to joke on my mothers board that my kids usually sleep through the night around 6 . . . years . . . but at least they sneak in quietly without waking you after a while)

11-03-2011, 11:11 PM
(((hugs))) be kind to yourself and hang in there mama! You are not "behind". Yes, you are behind where you would *like* to be, there is no one looking over your shoulder ready to whack you on the knuckles with a ruler because you're not following some magical schedule. ;) Sorry...I just had this talk with my husband who is afraid we are getting "behind" due to some unforeseen circumstances that keep popping up. We get to set the schedule now, and we are right where we should be. :-)

I like what some of the others have had to say about different ways to organize -- workboxes, folders, etc. I love that she is eager to learn, and you are of course trying to facilitate that for her, but maybe some different approaches would work better for now, and then you'll still have the more structured curriculum for when the baby is sleeping better. You could create a "learning area" with a bookshelf or baskets with different activities that you could rotate out (more of Montessori type thing, right?). Educational games & videos. Spend a bit of time each weekend getting some things planned for the week so you can "grab & go". Field trips are awesome, see if you can find some places that you can take all the kids (see if there's a guide book or website for your area). Grab a few new library books each week and have some good old-fashioned snuggle & read time on the couch with a blanket. Let the baby play in the floor nearby with some of her toys while you read.

I have an 18 month old, 3-1/2 year old, and 9 year old. Some days? Everything gets thrown out the window and we go with what works, even if that means we all play with play dough for an hour, or we bake cookies and then run around in the backyard like nutcases ;)

Will your older ones do nap time, or at least "quiet time" while the baby naps, and let you get some rest too? I know the temptation is to do work during that time, but if you can get more rest, that will help your outlook too. Trust me, I know! Sleep deprivation sucks big green donkey balls. omg, did I just say that "in public"?!?! I did. But it's true. Mommy guilt sucks just as bad. And believe me, I am very very bad about carrying around tons of mommy guilt. I'm slowly learning to let it go...or at least I'm working on it!!

11-04-2011, 04:12 PM
Thank you all so much for the support! You knew exactly what I needed to hear. I'm definitely going to try the workboxes idea...I have workboxes set up, but I've not used them much. I'm thinking this would be perfect, and I can't believe I didn't think of it already. :D

11-06-2011, 01:39 AM
OK, third try. I keep losing my messages after I type them. The first one was long and carefully worded. I'm getting briefer.

First, sympathy. I was in a similar situation (1yo nursing all night, 3 yo, and homeschooling a 6yo). I night-weaned the toddler (actually I've done this with all three around the 20 - 22 month mark) using this article (http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html) for inspiration. I hadn't realised I could stop only the night nursing. We all got more sleep and it was good for our family. Mommy guilt is ten times worse when you're exhausted. I am not saying you should do this. And I agree with others about lowering expectations for homeschooling for now.

11-06-2011, 09:14 PM
Rose that's a really good article. Much along the lines of what I did with my other kids, and I think I need to do it again more consistently now. Thanks for posting it. I hope it comes in handy for Vashti and any other sleepless moms-of-toddlers :)