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New to API, trying my best, but lost

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  • New to API, trying my best, but lost

    Good Evening,
    I am a "new mom" to 3 girls. My family has been through too many changes over the last 3 years and I am honestly lost and exhausted.
    My husband and I married in 2007. We have no family (his is deceased and mine is all in Brazil, while we live in USA). In 2009 we got pregnant of our first daughter. At the same time we participated in a mission and met a 12yo orphan from Ukraine with whom we fell in love. So when my baby girl was about 20 days old, my husband left me in USA and spent 6 weeks in there, adopting our daughter (who at the time was already 13).
    They came home the Sunday my daughter turned 3mo, and the day before I went back to work (work refused to allow me to stay home longer, and I could not afford to stop working after spending $28.000 in an adoption).
    Therefore, we went from the 2 of us, to 2 kids. My 13yo spoke no English, was emotionally at an 8 or 9yo stage, and required LOTS of attention and teaching. My 3mo was... well 3mo... And to make it more complicated I had to work.
    We worked tons, fought in school, spent tons of time with both of them... and by "surprise" we did get pregnant again.
    So fast forward now, We have a very OVERWHELMING situation...
    - We have a 15yo who is thriving, but still has mild attachment issues, and needs a lot more attention than she is getting. She has caught up a lot but is still behind emotionally... I'd say at a 11 or 12yo level... She helps a lot with her sisters but is suffering because we have no much time for her.
    - We have a 2y2mo child who is having the HARDEST time adjusting. First that somewhere in the end of pregnancy my milk kind of dried. She was about 18mo and weaned of saying that it was all done. She is very needy, clingy, crying for everything, craving for attention (and searching for the negative attention), will only want to stay with me, will not allow sisters to be even close to me (will hit, push, etc if any of her sisters are on me). She will want me to hold her, etc
    - We have a 4mo who is being breastfed, sleeps in one of those bassinets that attach to my bed, and nurses on demand when I am home (which since I went back to work means almost every hour).
    - My husband works as a teacher, and I am a physical therapist working Monday through Thursday from 8 till 2pm.

    We are exhausted. I am really not sure how to juggle it all. My 2yo needs so much attention and reassurance that we don't get much with the other 2 kids. But because we are still trying to give some time to the other 2 (specially baby who is fed), we dont end up giving much to the 2yo at all. I can't get anything done, the house is a mess, and we barely get dinner, and laundry done.
    I have a baby carrier, but for some reason the 4mo fusses when on the carrier. I actually have started putting the 2yo on the carrier. She loves it, but she is kind of big and covers my view, so I can't really cook or do much stuff. And if the 2yo is on the carrier, the baby is alone on the swing (which makes me feel bad).

    I guess we are in a cycle where we have no energy to do anything. I have no energy to run, clean, organize, work, nothing. By the time my 2yo is in bed (about 8:30), we are ready to go home. My husband and I have not had any time alone since the baby is born. NONE.

    I really need help figuring out how to give each child the time, care they need, at the same time not being so exhausted and being able to spend any "awake" time with my husband

  • #2
    Hi SandyKassia!
    it sounds like you have loads on your hands and hat off for going through with adoption! Is there any way you could afford a Russian-speaking au-pair? She would be a friend to your oldest daughter ans will help with kids in general. They usually get a very small wage and a language course paid for (so no where near as expensive as a nanny).
    Babycarriers - some fabric wrapped around versions are made for older kids and you can put your kid on your back (a friend of mine was caring her 9year old in it when the girl felt like that)
    One lesson I learned when my second son arrived - there never will be enough time for each of them when they are very young. At least not enough time as I knew it from the time I had only one baby.

    It sounds like you are doing your very best, actually I think you are doing 10times of your very best. I kind of assume that you and your husband might feel stressed out and tense and kids feel it too - and tense up and then it turns into a vicious cycle as you already recognized yourself.

    My very personal opinion is that you need help and if you have a spare bedroom an au-pair who speaks Russian or Ukrainian might do the trick. Girls in Russia usually graduate from school when they are 16-17 and by the time they are 23 they already have finished college and have some work experience so they are not little kids you need to look out for. (I am Russian myself:-) Or maybe your family can start visiting you in turns: 3 months your mom, then your aunt (or someone else from your family) and so on ...

    What do you think?


    • #3

      Hi Sandy,

      I'm afraid I don't have a lot of advice, since I only have one toddler. I just want to congratulate you on spreading your love to another child who needed a mom and dad. Imagine where she would be without you! Seriously, your kids love you.

      I think you need to hear it: you are doing a great job. All we can do is our best, and there's no doubt you are.

      I'll be thinking of you and sending you good vibes.

      Perhaps, the only thing I can think of that *might* help... Whenever my boy gets whinny because I'm not paying enough attention to him, I get him involved with what I'm doing.

      So how about getting your toddler and teenager to "help" you around the house, sort of like a game? Maybe this will work especially for your 2-year-old. Give them a little job, so they can participate in the daily things at home: you're cooking a meal, give your child the vegetables to clean and don't worry about the mess. In other words, do things as a family, where everyone pitches in, and maybe they will feel close to you in that way. Don't forget to say, "Wow! You're such a great help. Thank you!" They love that.

      Take care of yourself Supermama!


      • #4
        Hugs to you, you are definitely in the depths of it. And congrats on all of the new additions to your family you've had a lot squeezed into a short period.

        When my son was born my daughter was 2years 4mo. and it was the hardest time of my life, I never felt like there was enough of me, I never got anything done, the house was always a disaster, and who am I kidding my baby is now 15mo. old and my house has been an absolute disaster almost every day. My daughter was so clingy and would get so angry when I would give attention to anyone else, her favorite saying became stop talking (if I was talking to my husband at all) It was really really hard. I was in tears a lot and thought I was going to lose it. And no one ever had any advice for me which didn't help. I remember calling my Mom at one point crying and saying they just won't stop screaming and she said take a deep breath because I can hear and no one is crying. It was the first time I had breathed and I hadn't even realized it was quiet.

        Well now i have a 3.5 year old and a 15mo. old and things are finally running smoothly again, the kids entertain each other, I get a rare date with the kids on their own, and even a few dates with my husband. I didn't know if any of that would ever happen again when my little guy was just a few months old. A new baby is extrememly stressful for everyone, but just keep breathing and remember that every day you make it through is a blessing to you and them. They aren't going to be perfect days, and some will be down right bad days, but as long as you make it through it's been a blessing.

        So for some practical tips that I caught onto along the way, I would wear the older one on my back which would allow my hands to be free to pick up my youngest. I even have a few pictures where I was wearing both at the same time, killed my back but it was a few moments of peace. I also talked to my daughter a lot about how the baby was getting my bodies attention but she had my heads attention, we could read books, tell stories I could play pretend from the rocking chair. For example we would play some make believe game and I would use different silly voices but I wouldn't move because I was nursing and rocking the baby.

        I also had my husband learn how to put the baby to sleep not every night but some, we never did that with our daughter, it gave me a few minutes to spend with our older daughter to read her a book just us which was huge to her. And eventually as I got comfortable on the weekends I would leave the baby at home with my husband and take my daughter on little dates, or even home dates where Dad was on duty but we had 15-30min. that were just about me and her, they were not allowed to interrupt us. This helped a lot.

        And time with my husband, that one took a little longer. We talked a lot about how this was short term that we wern't getting a lot of time together but that was okay and as long as we kept talking knowing this wasn't going to be forever it would be okay. Now we trade kids with a friend and go on a date once a month, that has helped tremendously, there are still nights that by the time everyone is asleep I'm just ready to crawl into bed.

        I gave up on a lot of the I should be... I also found some local dinner prep places that make good home cooked meals for reasonable prices that come frozen all you have to do is put them in the oven. That was huge and we still do that when we get overwhelmed.

        I also had a mothers helper and I would ask her to come so I could spend 2 hours just focusing on getting the house back in order.

        My best advice is relax it get's better as they get older and you are in a really hard stage of parenting right now. Good Luck and I hope that there is an API group near you that can give you some support or just some other Mom's that you can connect with locally.


        • #5
          I posted your question on Facebook and there was an overwhelming response! More than 30 comments!! You can view them here:


          • #6

            It may sound crazy, but looking after more children could actually make it easier for you. I look after the two year olds of 2 friends on different days and my 2 year old is so much happier and less demanding when she has a friend to play with. In fact, the reason I can be on the computer at all is because they are happily playing right now. Perhaps you could get together with another mother in a similar situation and swap looking after each others children, or swap going to each others house to help each other with the housework while the children play.
            Also, don't discount the love and support that the children receive from each other. My mother always said that the best thing for a teenager was a baby or toddler in the house (and she should know, she had 11 children). It makes a real difference to the way they communicate and gives them permission to enjoy childish things. My own 15 year old and 13 year old enjoy their 2 year old sister so much.
            I pray that things will get easier for you so you can enjoy this precious time with your beautiful children and husband. It's a struggle, I know, but you know that it's worth it.


            • #7
              Thank you so much for all replies

              For some reason I did not get any reply before.
              I have really liked a lot of the suggestions.
              At once, we did hire an au pair. She starts in end of July. I am hoping it will help.
              We also hired a high school student temporarily to help out. She does not really help much as far as cleaning/picking up, but she keeps one child busy while I concentrate some individual time on the other one. Such as holding the baby while I play alone with my 2yo.
              I must say that while It works and take some pressure off, I feel bad. My 4mo already spends from 8am till 2:00 at day care. Then when I come home, I feed her and give her over to someone else while I play with her sister. It feels unfair. I tried to make a schedule where I rotate my time with my kids, and they will still not get much more than 45min or 1h alone with mom every day. It is so little. I do have fridays off, and will continue to work on giving them some more "mom time" on those days.
              As for baby wearing, we have 2 right now: a moby wrap and an ergo baby. Baby hates the ergo 99% of the time. She also hates the moby wrap UNLESS she is facing outwards. She is in a very curious phase and likes to look at everything. Even when I hold her, she wants to face out most of the time.However, I read somewhere that babies this young should always be facing parent to help attachment... Any idea on that?
              The 2yo LOVES the ergo (which is funny because she never did in the past!!!). She will stay there happily, just to have mommy time. I will try to place it on my back instead of front and see if it will work. If so, it would help a LOT.
              Thank you again! I am reading all suggestions and trying to get things around


              • HiccupsSchmickups34
                Editing a comment
                SandyKassia, what a beautiful family you have! I can only imagine how much your heart aches to give more of your time to your kids. But it seems you are doing your very best, all things considered. It's wise of you to seek out help as others suggested.
                I can't say much but I did want to mention that the Ergo seems to work well with bigger, older kids. My 10-month-old likes it okay now, but he hated it from birth to about four months. Infant inset, no insert... He hated it! But there are so many kinds of carriers and slings. I hope you find one that enables you to hold your baby while you play with your toddler.
                Your eldest might enjoy a special time out with each of her parents individually once a month. My dad did that with me and my siblings (4 of us then, seven now!) when we were growing up. He'd take me out for a snow cone and let me talk about my life. I bet that'd really help her feel special. Maybe your husband could watch the younger two for an hour while you and your eldest go out for ice cream or something? Just an idea.
                Hugs to you! You're doing great!