~1 month out, part 2: MIND

March 21, 2014

So by “mind”, I don’t really mean deep thoughts and feelings — I’m having plenty of those, but we’ll save those for part 3 (HEART).  This is more about logistics.  Details.  What it’s really like.  

I’m writing this not just for those of you who are curious, but for me to remember.  Because I’m sure I’ll look back at this time, in some ways wistfully.  That’s fair, because it is unique and special and a huge time of change.
It’s also really really hard.  At least for me.  I love our family.  I wouldn’t do a thing differently in terms of having children.  But right now is a challenge, no matter how much help I am lucky to have at times.
Logistically …
– I have one very verbal energetic girl who has perhaps entered the Terrible 2s a few weeks early . . .
– I have a 4 week old baby boy who eats every 1.5- 2 hours, does not really nap unless held, and has yet to sleep longer than 3.5 hrs at night (and those stretches are still pretty rare).  Usually, he’ll do 3, then 2, and then up every 1-1.5 until I finally give up and admit it’s morning.  I had no idea Annabel was actually spoiling me as a newborn until now.
– The above combination — particularly in the evenings, when A needs to go to bed and I am the only one home — is really rough.   At any given moment, 1, 2, or all 3 of us are going to be unhappy.
– I’ve never been one who finds sleep deprivation easy.  I’ve survived it many times and will continue to, but I’m never going to like it.
– I can’t NOT multitask right now, and I hate that.  Everything is done in a fragmented way that I find frustrating.  I realize that I need to adjust to this, so hopefully I will!
I feel ridiculous writing this, because I know that there are so many out there with more children, fewer resources, and a rosier tale to tell about what it is like.  But I’m just being honest, and in my brief experience thus far — it’s just not easy.
Things I have been doing to help:
1. Asking for help!  From Josh (whenever he can), from relatives, from babysitters.  Especially during those evening hours, it’s so much better if I am not alone.
2. Appreciating the calm moments.  I had 2 hours with just Cameron today while A napped.  I spent the time without distractions (by a happy accident, I left my phone downstairs), just lounging on the bed with him, and —
3. Napping (done whenever possible).  Today I think I slept an hour with C on my chest.  Aaaaaaahhhh.
4.  Planning a day ahead, and even writing it all out in advance.  The structure helps break up the day, which for me can feel overwhelming when home alone with 2 under 2.

Things I could do better:
1.  I would looooove to not battle A at every bedtime.  Tips welcome, please (please!).  Just delaying is not the answer because she is clearly tired (and acting it!).
2.  I am really negative lately and it pains me to admit it.  More on this in the next post, but as the above indicates I do feel somewhat overwhelmed.  It’s not fair to resent your not-yet-2 year old for being irrational or your 4-weeker for not sleeping in long stretches, but I find myself doing it just out of fatigue (or hormones).
3. I don’t feel like I have much time for me (or anything!) but I need to step back and reframe this.  I’m writing this now.  I have also taken stroller walks, read lots of blogs (while breastfeeding 🙂 ), and stayed in touch with family and friends. All of that counts!  Second, I have so much help most days (when our nanny is here), and could easily take some time to just relax.  
So, in a nutshell:  my MIND at 1 month is floundering a little but I’m holding it together.  In time, it will either get easier or I’ll get better at the logistics.  
Tips very (very) welcome.


  • Reply Krista March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    My babies have the same sleep schedule. It sucks. Plus there is so much more crying because there are two of them and only one of me. Nothing worse than having to listen to that cry and not really be able to do anything about it. But, if having five kids has taught me anything it is that every phase will pass (except the terrible twos seem to be lasting forever in my now three year old). Before you know it they are sleeping through the night and chest naps are no more. Oh how I love a sleeping baby on my chest. It might be the one newborn thing I’m not anxious to see the end of 🙂 Be thankful for your help (as I know you are) and rest assured that often the worst sleepers in those first few weeks are the ones soon sleeping at least 12 hours at night and taking nice long naps!

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Girl, it is so hard! Camille will not sleep unless held as well (for naps or bed), and it is wearing me down, big time. She is 9 weeks and I still struggle so much with balance, multitasking, frame of mind etc. I know "this too shall pass," and all of that, but the day in and day out is tough! I am turning into a very negative, mean person and I HATE THAT. I spent some time talking with Brandon last night about things I can do to incorporate some stress relief and help into my weeks. We can do this!!!

  • Reply Clare March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Maybe get the nanny to start later in the day and stay longer at night so she can help with the baby while you put A to bed. OF course this will only work while you are on leave.

    Other than that – can A go into full time daycare for a while so you can get the nanny to look after C ex lusively during the day? That way you would get some hours of uninterrupted sleep during the day and be ready for the night!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Hmmm, that’s a thought! Maybe even a 30 min shift could help. I don’t want to take away her evening time w her husband though. She is currently on vacation (next 1.5 weeks!) so am currently missing her more than anything!!

  • Reply Marci March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I always look forward to your posts because they are so honest. It also makes me put my own frustrations with a two year old in perspective. I would be a far bigger mess and crabby person in your situation so I think you’re handling it great. And with a good attitude. And you know it will get easier eventually

  • Reply Brittany March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I completely appreciate the honesty and don’t think it’s unreasonable to feel frustrated by two year old antics when you couple that with a newborn and sleep deprivation!

    I love the way you described the days as fragmented. I think I’m such a creature and fan of habit and routine that the fragment part is what will have me feeling all over the place in 7 weeks, too. Just think, by then, you will have it all together and can comfort me… right? 😉

    I know there isn’t anything much anyone can say right now to help. I’m so glad you are asking for help (I need to do better about that), and just know that you are not alone. At least you won’t be for long- I’ll be there with you! Thanks for keeping it real and I’m sure things will slowly fall into a routine for you <3

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Two year old bedtime: routine, blame the clock, alternate fun with less fun routine parts.

    • Reply nicoleandmaggie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      One more thing– our almost two year old is getting a molar in. When we remember to give her motrin, bedtime goes a LOT easier. (I swear her pointy vampire teeth just poked through and now she’s slowly working on the bottom back right molar. She teeths so much longer than DC1 did. But at least she’s better able to communicate to us what’s wrong than he was.)

  • Reply Jennifer March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Maybe I need to stop feeling so frustrated with my soon-to-be-two-year-old’s bedtime battles — I guess it’s something they all go through and my situation isn’t as challenging as some! For example, no newborn needing care at the same time. I’ll definitely be checking back to see what tips your readers might have.

    One question for you: do you ever have times where your husband’s schedule means he gets home during the bedtime process for A? Does it totally reset the whole bedtime process for her when that happens? Or are his late nights always so late that there’s no bedtime excitement? This is happening a lot for us now (tax season) and I think it contributes to my daughter resisting bedtime because she wants to wait for Daddy, plus when he does get home, she gets so excited that we’re practically back to square one as far as getting her into ready-to-sleep mode, and I can’t figure out how to manage the disruption. (Or disruptions from a dog who needs to go out, etc., for that matter.)

  • Reply Marie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    You’re doing so good! And you should NOT feel ridiculous for writing this. There’s always going to be somebody who has it a little easier or a little harder than you, but it doesn’t make the sleep deprivation/stress any less real. My friend (who has a 2yo and a 6mo) was on the phone trying to schedule a service call yesterday (as her 6mo was pooping up his entire back, it turned out) and she said something like, "I’ve got 2 kids, so I need to think about this for a second," and the lady responded, "well I’ve got FOUR kids and I do it all by myself!" It’s like, congratulations! I guess that puts me in my place! Blah.
    Anyway, I wish I could help with the bedtime battles. K goes through phases like that too. Have you tried starting the bedtime routine 15 minutes earlier? I know Annabel already wakes up early and it seems counter to logic but the more exhausted K is, the more she seems to resist. I’m just glad we’re not trying to transition to a toddler bed right now. The 2’s seems like the absolute worst time to do that!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Ugh I hate those kinds of comments. My internal response is just "well, guess I’m just not supermom like you then. I’m sure I have other positive qualities." Someday I’ll get the guts to say it out loud.

      And yes although a made one move that made me worry she’s going to attempt escape one of these days. Hoping it was not anything real …

  • Reply Mary C March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    I have to say I was SOO jealous reading your blog back then (while BF-ing in the wee hours) and hearing how smooth it all sounded with A! I did not have the same experience with C…. we had a really tough go of it for at least 4 months. What helped me was friends telling me it was ok to not enjoy it…and to not feel guilty about it. It will suck. The good news is that I have almost total amnesia about that period of time now :). C (21 mos) is now entering a period of screaming himself to sleep, which is uncomfortable, but it’s just because he loves to keeping playing. It will all pass. My tip is to ensure you turn OFF 1-click ordering on Amazon for the next few months….totally dangerous at those desperate 3am times….

  • Reply Jennypenny March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    It is hard. Essie ate every 90 minutes for her first 6 months or so. And of course Ingrid would sense that I was chained to the sofa and be jealous of her baby sister. And the sleep deprivation…
    Sometimes I feel like we are the only family where the kids just won’t sit still, won’t eat, will scream and fight. Then it is such a relief to talk to other parents and realize that we are all struggling with the same issues; too little time, full time jobs and careers and very …eh… intense evenings and weekends. It is exhausting. At the same time it is a time with tons of action and never a dull moment! Hang in there, Sarah!

  • Reply SusannahEarlyBd March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Hey Sarah, i’ve been wanting to write this for 2 days and finally i am here—wanted to suggest one other "activity" i don’t know if you have tried to occupy A with while you are nursing, soothing, otherwise busy—she is such a little bookworm already-have you tried audio books with her? if you get a little set of kids headphones there are tons of options out there. I remember she likes Madeleine–here is a book and CD combo :http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Puffin-Storytime-Book-CD/dp/0142408719/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1395497974&sr=8-6&keywords=madeline+audio+books“ target=”_blank”> http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Puffin-Storytime-Book-CD/dp/0142408719/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1395497974&sr=8-6&keywords=madeline+audio+books” target=”_blank”>:http://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Puffin-Storytime-Book-CD/dp/0142408719/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1395497974&sr=8-6&keywords=madeline+audio+books. Finn didn’t get into it until age three but A seems to "sit" for longish periods with books (at least from what I’ve seen here, i know I’m not there!) and she might really enjoy them!

    hang in there. enjoy your thoughts and honesty as always. and both kids are ridiculously adorable.

  • Reply Amy W March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Sarah, YOu are doing a great job. And these are hard, hard, hard days. A is a difficult age and having a hungry baby is also really HARD. It wont always be like this so defintely try to remember that. I know when you are in the middle of the storm, its hard to get perspective though…and you will look back at this time wistfully, someday…its just how it goes.

    I guess, I might advise you to do the SAME.EXACT.THING every single night in terms of A’s bedtime. And at the same time every night. But I might have people disagreeing with me-here. My 4 year old is still terrible about going to bed but thats when I usually MOVE UP the bedtime bc he is exhausted and he only gets harder when he is tired. Also, sometimes when I whisper and act extra calm (when dealing with major bedtime drama) I get much farther than yelling and getting totally frustrated-also take out all emotion and stick to your guns. You are in charge 🙂 Way easier said than done.
    Mostly, just know that this phase will sort itself out and you are indeed in the trenches of motherhood right now. It will get better!!! Hang in there…..
    Amy W-Chicago

  • Reply Sarah March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Ugh, my youngest went through the bedtime battle thing too. At the exact same age. 😛 It seems counter productive, but sometimes putting him to bed a bit earlier helped?

  • Reply Dana March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Sarah, those early weeks are always very overwhelming for me. I can’t even really remember much of Alex and Sadie’s early weeks…I know I was overwhelmed when Sadie came along and Alex was 2.5 that my husband called the doc for me and said he thought I needed something for postpartum depression. I was fortunate to have him home at nights to help with bedtime so we did the 1:1 thing until Aiden came along. Alex was always pretty good about staying in his bed but Sadie not so much. When she was about 2 abd still in the crib, I do remember a time when she all of a sudden went from being a great sleeper where I could just pat her back and say goodnight to not wanting me to leave and crying until I came back. I wasn’t sure if she was scared of the dark, if it was another stage of separation anxiety or what. But at least for a good month or two I would lay down next to her crib to keep her from getting upset….and under a big blanket that I used to slowly inch my way out of the room…and leave the blanket behind as an illusion that I was still there. I know, probably not the best solution but it worked to me. Alex’s room was right across the hall from hers and he’d talk to me…I had to tell him to be quiet or else she wouldn’t go to sleep. Then when she moved to a toddler bed all control over bedtime pretty much went to her. She was up and out of bed all of the time…but once she was asleep that was it. But now that she is almost five we have learned that she just tends to be a night owl. She can be up until 11at night but she stays in her room, just talking to her stuffed animals and singing. As for Aiden, I do remember not being able to put him down at night without crying….I don’t think any of my kids would be put down without a fight. He wanted to be close to us. So I had one of those bedside coalesced bassinet for the first few months. He would sleep in there for a few hours and when he woke up I would move him next to me in bed to nurse him. We would inadvertently resort to coalescing bc I would always fall asleep for as couple of hours with him nursing…then j would wake up two hours later realizing that he was still "attached"…and when I would try to move him back he would wake up and be ready to nurse again. That was exhausting. We had a nanny at that time and I definitely took advantage of that and took a nap during the day while I was on leave. Oh I do remember we used the swing for Sadie, I forgot…she was an awful sleeper in the beginning and the swing was the only way she would sleep. She slept in a swing until she was four months old. Sorry my paragraphs aren’t broken up or my thoughts sound scattered…I am typing this on my phone and it isn’t easy to go back and edit.

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