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Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

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  • Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

    (Scroll down to the bold, underlined section for the point of this thread and skip the story if you like)

    I started the day like this . And am happy to say from a few good emails, a phone call and a good chat with my partner (not to mention two hours all by myself) I am like this !

    I am a first time mom and we all celebrated Zimmi's half year birthday two days ago. Celebrated in different ways... meaning due to serious sleep deprivation from rashes and teething we talked about celebrating his half year day the day before, I had a meltdown on the day and we went out for a nice drive to buy various teething soothers, a good walk in the mountains and lunch the day after.

    I share all this because I am struggling in finding the balance at the moment. Zimmi is a mello baby and I am a nervous nelly momma, add sleep deprivation to the mix and it cranks up to full blown worry wart! By this morning I realized that I had not contacted friends for over three weeks, I was comparing myself to everyone and began to fear EVERYTHING! (Could I actually do this? kinda thing) This has definitely been the most challenging time so far...and yet I love it. But I have learned that I need to ask for help and share...a little... of what is going on.

    So first thinking that I had a teething issue, then a co-sleep issue, then a sleep pattern issue, then a partner issue with a little space and a few nudges of support, what I have is all normal infancy 'stuff' that if I can find more of a balance will all be manageable...well a lot more manageable!

    So making a long tale a little longer, I would love to hear ways of how you found and are maintaining balance with baby, partner and self. I am hoping for more of the "how you do it" as I have the idea, the intention but the energy, focus and action are not yet on the same page.

    Thanks for reading this saga and I look forward to hearing from you.

  • #2
    I think balance is in the eye of the beholder. My life is what a lot of people would consider grossly out of balance. I've never left my 9 month old daughter even with her daddy for longer than it takes to shower, I never get time alone with my husband, and I never get time alone with myself.... but I'm really happy right now. The sleep issue is one that needs to be dealt with since no one can function well without enough sleep. For me that isn't a problem since my daughter loves sleeping. If we have a rough night, I can sleep in with her until 11am. Every so often I check in with my husband and ask him if we are still okay and if his needs are being met. My focus has shifted completely to my daughter so that's my small marriage maintenance. We both know that our time with our daughter as a baby is really short, so we are trying to savor these moments. I talk to friends online a little most nights, and that helps me feel connected. I enjoy cooking, so that is my one creative outlet in my life. Planning meals and challenging myself in the kitchen helps me to keep the rest of my focus on my daughter. When I get stressed out, I give myself permission to let the house slip. If I don't mop the floors this week, the world won't come to an end. I hope you find balance and peace in your life soon.

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    • #3
      I think we struggle with this issue too. My daughter has never been left with anyone other than her dad (she will be 4 in June).

      And now we are adjusting to baby #2 who is 4 months old now.

      For me, I try to remember the same thing the previous post mentioned -- that balance is different for every family. And while having a once weekly date night as Dr. Sears and his wife did works for some families -- it simply does not work for me because I don't enjoy time away from my baby. So we have carved out small parts of the day to connect as partners. I think for me what is hard is that just as soon as we find a balance, the kids get sick, and it all goes out the window because their needs change.

      We were just talking last night about having a 'plan b' for when things are crazy - lower expectations as far as house cleaning, limiting TV, meals etc.

      Rachel

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      • #4
        I find that for me, some days are great and very much in balance and other days are far far away from balanced.

        The one thing that has really helped my husband and I is to communicate to each other (as clearly as possible) exactly what we need. For example, I really need to be able to take a real shower (not a 3 min one) a few times a week so that I am refreshed and renewed. When my first dd was born, she slept poorly so I wouldn't shower unless my husband was there to go to her if she woke up.

        Now, w/ my son (turns 3 months in a few days), he sleeps very well so I don't mind if my husband joins me in the shower. In fact, I'd say that I feel even more "balanced" when he does join me because not only do I get clean and refreshed, but we get to nurture our marriage at the same time. I never would have allowed this w/ my first daughter because I would have been so worried about her the entire time that I would not have relaxed a bit in the shower.

        Another example of our communicating our needs is with exercise. We both have become quite the couch potato as far as exercise is concerned so we try now to make sure that one of us will be "responsible" for both children so the other one can use the treadmill. This was important to me because I didn't want the only time I could use the treadmill to be when the children were asleep. There is enough to do once they are asleep, I didn't want it to cut into my sleep time. So, every day we trade off.

        I think you should just try to sit down and priortize (sp?) those items which make you feel "balanced" and are important to you and then talk w/ your husband about how the two of you can make it happen.

        A few months after my DD was born, my husband was thrilled when I finally voiced to him my needs. He told me that unless I told him I needed something, he was just assuming that I had everything under control and didn't need his help. That was one lesson I haven't forgotten! The hard part is just admitting that I'm not Supermom and that I do need help.

        Just remember that you are a great mom and your son will be just fine even if you have an "off" day because you have a strong attachment with him. (If I could find the "hug" smiley I'd put one here!)

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        • #5
          Balance? I think it's all relative... I see life as a dynamic changing entity... now that we're blessed with a son... my previous "balance" is now off... so I need to find a new "balance"... just as long as everyone is content and happy along the way.

          I am like puddle... i'm with my baby almost all the time, except when dad is around to take over. I usually do my outings short enough to be back to feed him... or I bring him with me.

          What I need to ask you guys are... what about sex life? I read somewhere that touching baby will actually affect your hormone levels... leading to low libido... is that true? for my case... libido is totally down... not interested in sex whatsoever... and breastfeeding also elevates my estrogen... making sex painful (dry). I asked my doctor... she says she can put me on pills again... but according to many of her patients.. pills make milk supply lower... so I said no. So, now I'm feeling guilty all the time coz my needs are being met by being with the baby... but my hubby's needs may not... am I alone in this?

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          • #6
            my very first thought when reading your original post was, "ahhhh...the 6 month mark!" i have 3 kids & for some reason, 6 months was a very hard time in each of their lives. (and my first 2 didn't get teeth until a year so it wasn't that). my personal thought is that the accumulative sleep deprivation really gets to us around this time. sleeping when baby sleeps isn't always possible but when times are really rough, it might need to move up the priority list. i find that i am absolutely of no good to anyone when i don't get enough sleep! as much as we love our babies, focusing on ourselves just might be what they need the most at certain times. (and taking a nap with baby isn't really even putting them a notch down on the totem pole. . also, is there some way your dp can soothe him at night? rocking or cuddling or anything to let you get a few more winks of sleep? maybe you can sleep in another room for a few hours?

            with my last baby i adamantly decided to pursue a hobby at all costs! i enjoy making jewelry & it's very restful & mindless to me. even if i did this for an hour a week...split up into 15 minute sessions....i felt more myself. there was a little spark of the woman in me & not just the mama. like other's have stated, we all have our personal ideas of balance & i have a very strong need to connect with that woman in me that was there before children.

            i'm babbling now but i know this is a difficult issue. even now, when i think i've developed a good sense of balance in my life, i struggle with guilt for leaving my family for a couple hours!?

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            • #7
              Firstly let me say THANKS! to you all. The posts have been inspiring, grounding and helpful.

              I am inspired and now feel that there is a light at the end of this tunnel and that I have tools to guide my journey.

              Firstly I will sleep. Then I will clarify my needs to myself and share them "clearly and without assumption" to my love.

              Secondly, Kaycee, you are not alone. Our sex life has temporarily dried up but the more I read and we learn that it is not a statement on our connection with one another but more perhaps a physiological/chemical response to having an infant, we are beginning to relax and be at least a little more playful. Right now, for this moment the energy and drive are just not there so we cuddle and enjoy the moment or two when Zim is asleep and it is just us...sort of.

              Thirdly, we got a baltic teething necklace and a homeopathic infant teething spray and the last two day and nights have been heaven.

              All of this, I owe to the sharing of beautiful women. I am grateful.

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              • #8
                support system beyond husband/partner

                Do you have anyone, a close friend or relative, that you trust with your baby besides your husband?

                For me, it was huge when I finally admitted to myself that I need help -- that I am not superwoman and cannot live on six or less hours of sleep a night and that I do need some time to recharge by myself. It took some doing on my part, but I now trust both my parents and my husband's parents to watch the kids (ages 21 months and 5 months) without me or my husband Mike there for a few hours. I just make sure the kids are comfortable with both sets of grandparents, and that I can trust the grandparents to "parent" like I do. It did take some time, but it was worth it. It helps to get out of the house to spend time alone with my husband a couple times a month.

                In addition, my mom comes over twice a week to watch the kids while I'm in the house. I can have some adult conversation and can get some house chores/paid work done while it's still light outside.

                As far as the sex thing, my libido is very low, too. I'm breastfeeding, too. Some of it for me, though, is that I feel like I get plenty of touching from my kids every day that I don't need any from my husband -- like I'm "touched out." Has anyone else felt this way?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rita View Post
                  As far as the sex thing, my libido is very low, too. I'm breastfeeding, too. Some of it for me, though, is that I feel like I get plenty of touching from my kids every day that I don't need any from my husband -- like I'm "touched out." Has anyone else felt this way?
                  I can completely relate to this. I get all the snuggling I need all day from the kids. At night I'm exhausted physically/mentally and sex is the furthest thing from my mind. I think the hormones involved in breastfeeding also play a role. I feel guilt because I have absolutely no sex drive right now.

                  For the most part if my husband initiates sex, I'll go along with it. I don't want him to feel neglected or like I spend all of my energy on the kids and the house. I want him to feel important too. I just figure that my sex drive will come back eventually as K starts nursing less. At least I hope so!!

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                  • #10
                    I thought I am living a balanced life, until I remembered the sex part...
                    That's the area that needs a lot of balancing...
                    I am with DS 24/7, and that is beautiful, but unbalanced?
                    DH is not able yet to put DS to sleep, so it's all up to me.
                    I don't trust anyone with DS,and no family close by, so no help during the day, and no dates with DH either.
                    I just went back to school, one day a week for 4 hours, and study groups here and there, that's the only time DH gets to replace me.
                    Adel

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rita View Post
                      As far as the sex thing, my libido is very low, too. I'm breastfeeding, too. Some of it for me, though, is that I feel like I get plenty of touching from my kids every day that I don't need any from my husband -- like I'm "touched out." Has anyone else felt this way?
                      I don't know... coz if I am "touched out"... then I would be non-selective of who touched me right? Well, I can't get enough of my baby... but only not so much with husband... so, i don't know if I would consider myself touched out.

                      I'm feeling a little normal now hearing all your stories... at least I'm not struggling with low libido alone... thanks for sharing.

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                      • #12
                        You are most definitely not alone.

                        I'm like that, too, in that I can spend all sorts of time with my children (one is 22 months old, the other is 5 months old) but when my husband comes around, I just don't feel very touchy-feely. I'm OK with most non-sexual touch, but when he's in the mood, I rarely am, too.

                        I think it must be a natural thing -- nature's own birth control. I talked with a LLL leader once who believes that breastfeeding for at least a year is nature's way of making sure women don't get pregnant too quickly, eliminating a risk for pregnancy complications as well as allowing a child to become a little less care intensive before a new baby comes along.

                        There's obviously something that happens hormonally with breastfeeding women, unfortunately for our husbands.

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                        • #13
                          I'm so glad to be reading similar situations to my own. I did read somewhere that it is part of nature's natural baby spacing - your hormone levels are affected by breastfeeding and you're also more tired, so your libido is lower. That way your baby has your near undivided attention when she/he needs it most and it's not diverted to another pregnancy/baby. Makes sense I guess. It's hard sometimes though - it won't stop me breastfeeding, but I do miss that can't-get-enough part of my relationship with my husband, and I feel bad for him too.

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