Duh

I'd been wondering why I just could not keep up here with posting every day, and then it hit me: I have a three-hour round-trip commute every day. It takes me 100 minutes to get to work in the morning, and about 85 minutes to get home (including picking the kids up from their dad's). By the time I get home, it's all I can do to make dinner and get the kids to bed–I just want to collapse on the couch with Candletime.

Now that I've realized how much time I spend commuting, I'm kind of horrified.

But anyway, I'm trying to figure out some strategies to make sure I'm posting five times a week again, and hope to be back on that schedule by the end of the month.

In the meantime, I missed the first week start date of the More Moxie series on Clarifying and Transmitting Your Values During the Overhyped Holiday Season. I'm thinking the timing might actually be better this way (more time for post-mortem analysis), and I've got the first few weeks written, so I'll put up the sign-ups tomorrow and set it so that whenever anyone jumps in they'll still get the whole series.

Do you remember back when I gave up coffee? What was I thinking?

What is getting you through the day? Is it the promise of something? Working toward a goal? For me it's that I genuinely enjoy my job and my kids are turning into fun people instead of bottomless pits of need. Plus coffee.

Tomorrow you will see More Moxie sign-ups for those interested (people from the July/August session automatically get rolled into this one) and an actual post on baby sleep. I know–it's shocking that I'll actually be doing my job here…

71 thoughts on “Duh”

  1. I find that what gets me through the day is being present in each section of the day while I’m in it… I mean, I genuinely enjoy my job and my coworkers. Obviously I love my kids and husband. But when I think of my life as an endless string of necessary chores and activities, I get tired and frazzled (and cranky). So, when I’m at work, I’m at work. I’m not thinking about how I promised the kids we would make pie tonight, and how I invited friends over for dinner tomorrow. On the drive home, I try to relish being able to listen to music and have my own thoughts. I’m not thinking about how *this sucks nearly two hours out of my life every day %$#@!*. Then, picking up the kids and the nightitme routine–the house is messy, but they really are pretty great kids, aren’t they? And husband is pretty cute as well. It’s when I start thinking ahead, about everything I have to do, or what a–frankly–endless grind my life sort of is–that’s when I get bogged down.

  2. Moxie, I don’t know how you do it. I have a 20-minute bicycle commute each day, a stay-at-home husband who does all the chores and cooking, and no blog with hungering hordes (or loyal minions, however you choose to see us), and I can barely make it through the day.You don’t owe us anything. You’ve given so much to the community over the last few years, and your archives will be mined for gold by sleep-deprived parents of babies forever, but we would understand if you couldn’t do this on top of your job and your parenting and your torturous commute.

  3. Yeah, I’d been thinking that if you just scaled back to one ‘quality’ post a week you’d still have a loyal following and don’t be afraid to refer new questions back to the archives or re-print. Sometimes we all need a little reminder.

  4. Moxie, I agree with Dr. Confused. This blog is great, and it’s a wonderful supportive community. Let us give you a bit of a break. Maybe change your posting schedule to M,W,F or Tu,Th. It’s just a matter of the community’s expectations and the time that you have to be the same. I don’t think any of us would be upset, and we would love knowing that we could come to the site on a given expected day and see a new post.

  5. I’m with the others. Heck, even putting up a post for Primal Screams or What’s New With You once a week would be fine. I love what you have to say, Moxie, but I also love the community here. So if you can’t post every day (and who could with all that going on), I think most of us would totally understand.What’s getting me through these days… Zol0ft! (I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.) Here we are in mid-November, I’m still waking up 4 or more times a night with the baby, but I feel pretty normal. Antidepressants and still doing some light therapy are getting me through this winter so far!
    Also, helpful husband and adorable kids. They help me get through.

  6. My thrice weekly run! I have a pretty great MIL ( did I say that?) I can leave the baby monitor with when my almost 3 year old is having a nap and go for a much needed run at lunch time. My times are getting better and I’m shaping up and as hubby is a runner to we have another hobby in common.Oh, and the hope that my daughter gets into kinder when she turns 3 at the beginning of January. So far it’s looking pretty grim ( classes are full) but you never know. Wow, I can’t even imagine what it is like to have both kids in school and some time to myself, maybe even work.

  7. A one hundred minute commute just sounds awful. I hope at least for part of it you are sitting down listening to something entertaining.A sense of obligation. That’s what getting me through the days this week. I have finals, a sibling that needs me, kids that need me, work that needs me – I don’t have time to let the balls drop. I just keep telling myself it’s just one or two weeks more.
    I’d love to give up caffeine and meat and dairy forever but omg I just don’t think a life without coffee and creamer is possible right now. (meat was the easiest of the three to get rid of really).
    A future date with a dark, quiet room and a comfy bed – that’s my motivation.
    Oh and it’s almost the holidays and there are people who would love to have my “troubles”, so since I signed up for most of what is stressing me – I’m also trying to be thankful I have to much to complain about. 🙂

  8. @Rudyinparis – I have to keep away from all the thoughts about what I have to do coming up, also. I’m not sure I’m “present” in the moment rather than just getting through some of them. But like you, the kids and hubby are pretty great. That helps.@mom2boys – “I don’t have time to let the balls drop. I just keep telling myself it’s just one or two weeks more.” EXACTLY! I keep thinking in another week or month… things will be more settled then… Someday, it will be true.

  9. The ‘good’ times with the kids is what gets me through. That and sitting down to knit at the end of the day. And, like mom2boys, the obligation. Overall things are pretty good. A tool that has been helping me at work lately is writing good lists of things to do–goals for the week and for the day. It’s nothing earthshattering, but it is helping reduce my stress at work. For now at least!

  10. Honestly? The thought of some time off at Thanksgiving, and more at Christmas, and my upcoming maternity leave. I do like my job, but the semester is drawing to a close and I’m ready for it to be over. I’m tired of being away from my son all day, and he lets me know he misses me. My husband is burning the candle at both ends for work. We are all ready for a break.

  11. “bottomless pit of need” – yeah, that’s my 2yo to a T! I was actually searching the archives this morning for discipline for 2yo’s. I’ve had 5 ‘fights’ with her today already and it’s just past noon. Brushing teeth, using the potty, not deliberately spilling her cereal milk on her tray, getting ready to leave to go to dance, leaving from dance. I can hardly wait for the poopy diaper routine where we have a standoff. My choices are: 1) sit on her head (well, pin her shoulders with my knees) and clean her bum while upside-down, 2) have a standoff where I try to make something MORE unpleasant than a diaper change, with which I’ve had little success, 3) try to convince her that it’s not good to have a poopy behind while she runs away from me and hides, and 4) (hasn’t happened yet, but I’m dangerously and unhappily close) spanking her.She’s driving me crazy with the ‘need’ thing as well…the repetitive “I.Need.You.To.Read.This.Book!”, with her hand on her knee for emphasis. Repeatedly, even upon being told no, she just asks and asks and asks, and I’m so weary of it. (I’m also 8 weeks pg and barfy as all hell, so my usual reserves of patience are already worn down.)
    Sorry. I just needed a place to vent!

  12. @Cecily T- I’m right there with you on the 2 year old thing. I just keep telling myself that this is developmentally normal… but that doesn’t make me feel any better when I send a screaming child off to day care in the morning (Daddy does drop offs, and I’m home with the newborn right now).It helps when I make things into games, but to be honest, I’m tired of thinking up new games to get teeth brushed, sunscreen on, etc.
    (One thing I stumbled on: when I’m really stuck, I pretend to throw a tantrum of my own. “Waaaah! Pumpkin won’t wash hands with me! Waaah! I’m so sad!” Unbelievably, this almost always works. She gives me a hug and then washes her hands. I am using this sparingly so that the magic lasts…)
    Hang in there. You are not alone. I may scream at the next person who tells me 3 is worse. I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THAT!!!!
    What gets me through? The newborn needs me. Pumpkin can be really sweet and fun sometimes. Hubby is in the trenches with me. I’m going back to a job I really like in January. And like @mom2boys says- a realization that my problems are all good ones.

  13. 100 minutes?!?!?! F@#$%K! I give you my permission to take a vacation from Ask Moxie.Coffee is key. Not to sound hokey, but It lifts my spirits like the drug that it is. That and the day goes by so quickly it sometimes makes my head spin. This time last year, I has a newborn and PPD was just setting in. Zoloft was making even the craziest of times feel totally normal. It’s amazing stuff, when needed. I will warn, though a little off topic, that it was harder for me to wean from it than Prozac. There were some weird withdrawal symptoms that I would have liked to have known about prior to going on it. Still think I would have taken it, though…. Anyway, I got through it and now am (generally) happy with a one year old and a five year old and NO MEDS!
    I did just start seeing a new therapist and I have to say it’s really a great thing. So, that helps too.

  14. @Cecily T – when we were having that problem, I reinstated the changing table & pad. I heaved her up onto her old changing table (I had quit using it when I got pg with her baby bro when she was 13 mos. old — I just could not lift her then) and buckled her onto the foam changing pad. I guess she could sense that she would fall off if she thrashed so even though she screeeeeamed the whole time I was doing it, at least she didn’t run away. DeLIGHTful.I have also had to pin her down with my knees, so you’re not alone there.
    She has now pooped in the potty for 13 days straight, so I’m crossing my fingers that we’re past that particular torture. Good luck to you.

  15. Ah Moxie, commuting is so rough! Mr. C did the 50-mile each way SF to SV commute for years and it just sucked his soul. Is there light on the horizon? Will the boys be in the same school next year, and will that help?I have a nice commute these days but what gets me through the day is that I like my job and I’m happy to see my family at the end of it…and my bed has a really nice comforter (ok, and a cute Mr. C)to fall into at the very end.
    I too would totally understand if you wanted to post less, but on the other hand I do check the site every single day and love seeing whatever is up. Would you ever consider giving one day to a rotating guest poster or something to take the pressure off? If you posted a couple stories a week and had somebody else post once, plus a primal scream day on the same day every week, I think the site would still feel really active and hopefully it would be a lot easier to keep up with.
    There are lots of regular commenters here that would make fantastic guest posters if you and they were comfortable with that. Totally just a thought.

  16. @Cloud and Cecily T…hang in there, ladies. I was right there with you last year, and things have improved so much. Our high-needs DS (almost 4 now) has leveled off and is coasting in a lovely place. He’s mostly patient, uses his manners (most of the time), is *finally* fully potty-trained, and is sleeping well (for him, which means he still wakes up in the night, but sometimes doesn’t call for us, or is settled back down easily). He also plays by himself(!) some of the time.Now the 7mo…she’s another story. As crappy of a sleeper as her brother was. Thank goodness they’re both cute–it’s their saving grace.
    What’s getting me through is:
    – looking forward to the holidays and time with family
    – stealing moments for myself now and then
    – exercise
    – green smoothies (new to me)
    – obligation
    The other night, when DD wouldn’t, wouldn’t, wouldn’t sleep and stay asleep, I was rocking her in my arms, looking out the window at our car and thinking, “Could I just go out there, start the car, and drive away forever?” Clearly, not. But the fantasy was sort of fun.

  17. Oh, and Moxie…you and I have the same commute, time-wise, and I certainly don’t have any energy after the kids are fed and in bed to do anything resembling creative writing. I still check this site every day, but if it’s not updated, I’m OK with that.I don’t really expect any bloggers to update every day, to be honest. Most bloggers have other jobs, and it’s a lot!

  18. What’s getting me through: oh dear, I don’t know. I just put one foot in front of the other (and one boob) and hope for the best.One or two (or three) days a week of “ask in the comments and have someone answer in the comments” would be fine. Sometimes, we get off track and do that anyway.
    I am adopting a family for Christmas and I think that will make all the difference in reminding me that my “problems” are mere contrivances and inconveniences.

  19. Coffee helps a lot. Also I try to keep my eye on the horizon. My kids are one and two right now. That’s a really tough time. They will get older and life will get easier. My two year old will not always have tantrums. They are definitely “bottomless pits of need,” but they are also fun, wonderful people. And my husband is awesome even though he works long hours and then usually spends his time working on projects around the house when he is home.In the short run I try to focus on what we have to look forward to coming up. The holidays will be here soon. We take a weekly stroller exercise class/play group. We just do our best.
    As previous commenters have mentioned, the community here is great and if posting has to be less frequent, so be it. We’ll still keep coming back.

  20. “Clarifying and Transmitting Your Values During the Overhyped Holiday Season” is EXACTLY what I need. I’ve been to firing off a mean and condescending rant to my own DAD, of all people, because he insists upon the stupid gift lists and round-robin gift opening routine between my stepbrothers and their wives–whom I see ONCE A YEAR and wouldn’t even be friends with if my dad hadn’t married their mother–and me. Ugh. I get angry every single autumn when that damned “The ___ Family Christmas is Coming Soon–We Want Your List!” email pops into my inbox. Once, my list was simply a list of charities that they could donate to if they were so hell-bent on spending money. That went over like a lead balloon. Now, I put stuff on the list that I know will perplex their their ultra-conservative minds, and I usually give them something handmade and ignore the list.The holidays turn me into a terrible person.
    But what’s getting me through? My son’s jokes (“Mom, ducks QUACK me up!). He rocks.

  21. @cloud, @Cecily T – from what I remember with my almost 5 year old, 2 was waaay worse than 3. Well, 2.5 was anyway. And here’s hoping as my almost 3 year old ( girl too btw) is so uncooperative and pig headed it is not funny. Like you @cloud I try to tell myslef this is par for the course at this age. Re-reading Moxie’s post on 2.5/ 3 year old sleep regresion has made me realise just how similar they all are at this age. Suddenly my 34 month old is taking forever to get to sleep, something she had no problem with a month ago ( although she still woke up like a million times a night). I’m hoping that when she hits that magical 3 number at least that aspect of her sleep will be back to normal ( and then I’ll be able to cope more with her general uncooperativeness)

  22. @Moxie, that commute sounds atrocious. I have nothing but love for all you do. I’m so glad even though it’s a pain in the ass to get to, you love your job and things with the kiddos are getting easier- you’re giving us all hope!@cloud- I was so fearful because everyone told me 3 was worse than 2 and 2 almost killed me. So not true in my daughter’s case. Yes, she developed some new sticking points and an attitude a teenager would be proud of but holy crap her comprehension and ability to be reasoned with grew in leaps and bounds. I actually thought 3 was great- 3 year olds say the funniest dang things. Great entertainment.
    What has helped me is to get us on a normal routine which includes lots of activities out of the house (I’m a SAHM). It can be a little exhausting having somewhere to be nearly every day with a (almost) 2 and 4 year old but it helps me to stay present in the moment (like @rudyinparis put so well) which sounds simplistic but wow, it really works well.
    It also helps that I reserve one day a week (this semester it’s Tuesdays) for us to do a whole lot of nothing. We stay in our jammies if we want, read books, play cars or princesses, listen to music and just “be” together. Knowing that I’ve made that connection with the kiddos gets all of us through the busier moments of the week when chores trump all.
    Also, my husband and I are netflixing How I Met Your Mother so I get to look forward to what an ass Barney is going to be every night. It’s the little things 🙂

  23. Cecily T: On the forcible diaper changing- I find changing my 2 year old son on the floor and pinning him with my feet works best. My husband has shorter legs than me and goes with putting DS’s torso sort of under my husband’s knees, perpendicular to his legs.It is crazy what a struggle it is! My older kid fought the diaper changing when she was about 2 as well. I just keep telling myself that very shortly, DS will be bigger and I will no little dude with a baby nose and baby cheeks that wants to be rocked when he gets tired. Sigh.
    Anyway, what gets me through the day is mostly habit and routine. I’ve had a tough, exhausting stretch and, worse, I appear to be having some sort of weird fixation on books that are suited more for tweens than almost 40 suburban moms (Twilight? Seriously? Am I having a mid-life crisis?).
    I also usually try to set up one low-key social activity of some sort per week. Often, that is having delivery pizza with the family that lives down the block. Sometimes it is more involved. I’m talking about social interraction with people who don’t stress me out and are officially allowed to see the house in a total mess (so…this is a small group of people). But a small amount of actually-fun social time seems to do a lot for my energy level.

  24. Coffee is getting me through right now. Cloud, one huge improvement of the little one being 3 now is a better understanding of logical consequences (if you get an extra story I won’t sing you a song. Do you still want an extra story? Ok…and she let me go without singing the song. This never used to work). 3 is still just as stubborn. She will not do anything she is told to. Ever. Even if it is something she wanted to do 2 seconds ago.Also, she night-time toilet trained herself last week…and then has woken up soaked the past two mornings. I’m totally confused. Do I put her back in diapers? She is totally unbothered by a wet bed (“It will dry Mama”) but washing the sheets every day is a worse option than continuing to wash the diapers. Except I was so excited at the prospect of not having to deal with diapers anymore.

  25. @Cecily T and @Cloud – At 32 months, my girl has made some sort of developmental leap which is making just about everything easier! I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s been great. Things that were such a hassle (potty, brushing teeth, getting dressed, getting in the car, etc. etc. etc.) are now a breeze. (And I’m sure I totally jinxed myself.) When she starts to put up a stink, I ask if she’ll help me ___ (set her placemat on the table, brush my teeth while I brush hers, get on the potty ALL BY HERSELF!, etc.), and that has been working like a charm.@Cecily T. – One thing that really helped with her diaper tantrums earlier this year was switching to pull ups. Being able to change her standing up made it a lot easier. Also being able to give her the option of lying down or standing up (or using the potty) helped give her some control over it. Still had some holding her down while she screamed, but less…
    @MrsHaley – Yeah for pooping in the potty! Fingers crossed that it continues!
    @Jana – I’m SO happy that my family and hubby’s family has moved to Secret Santas for the adults. We each get one name, and it makes everything so much easier on all of us. But it took a few years to convince everyone. For extended family, I give bags of my holiday baking.

  26. Re: all the comments about 2-year olds: I had convinced myself that the terrible twos were a myth (or at least my sweet little boy was going to dodge them), but ha! Should have known.He started preschool in Sept. at 32 months and things have been rough ever since. The weeks of hitting and throwing things seem to be over (although they cost us our nanny, who decided she didn’t feel like dealing with it), but it’s taking him forever to fall asleep at night and all he wants is mama mama all the time. We have done CIO a couple times in the past with minimum apparent trauma and great long-term success but now he seems too old for that–it was easier for me to do it to a baby somehow. Haven’t hit on a great solution yet–I need to go back and read your post on the 2.5-3 sleep regression, Moxie.
    But I am too tired (29 weeks pregnant) to deal with him for two hours AFTER bedtime every night. Sigh. That’s why I’m living for vacation.
    And I love to come here and read your posts, and those of the commenters, but your RL commitments have to come first!

  27. I am reading these closely for some hints for what might help me get through the day. I am home all day with my 18-month old and I feel like I am failing at everything… It seems like he just yells at me all day and I am getting to the point where I just want to yell back, so I feel like I am not handling the Momma thing well. I am working a crappy job in the evenings + doing all the middle of the night wakings and mornings with the kid, which means I am failing at the housework thing (mostly because I am tired and unmotivated). I am not doing a very good job of meal planning so no one is eating as healthy as they should.I enjoy moments of every day, but I dread the battles- the crying and pushing while I am trying to make breakfast, the mad dash to get out of the house before the major meltdown begins (does every 18 month old HAVE TO leave the house before 10 am every day???), the diaper change struggles, the screaming when he doesn’t get his way, the stress of trying to plan and make dinner before I leave for 6+ hours of work… Eh, you all get the picture, I know I am not the only one and my situation is certainly not the worst. I shouldn’t complain really… He’s a good kid, I guess I am just surprised that I don’t enjoy the toddler stage as much as I thought I would.
    The things that do get me through the day are: coffee in the morning, a drink or two after bedtime (occassionally), desert… And kisses from my little guy… The moments where I think he’s getting into trouble, but I find him quietly reading a book… Sweet bedtime baby smells. 🙂

  28. Coffee, my friend two doors down and the promise of quiet time during naps is what gets me through the day.And Moxie, I would love it if you got back to the five-day schedule. I really enjoy reading and it’s one of my daily stops when the kids nap…..So, I guess I diverge from your other readers here, but hey, that’s how much I love Askmoxie!

  29. @Paola- THANK YOU for reminding me about the 2.5/3 sleep regression. I was wondering WTF was up with the sudden refusal to fall asleep. Its driving me crazy, because with a newborn in the house I really want to go to bed early, and Pumpkin just won’t let me. I will go back and reread that post after my nap (fingers crossed… Petunia seems to be down for her big nap of the day….)And thank you everyone for calming my fears about 3!
    @Ck- So, you’re mommying all day, working at night, then mommying some more at night, and you’re feeling bad about the housework? I say that you’re completely justified in doing just enough to keep the house from being condemned by the health department. And yeah, toddlers excel at making you feel like a failure as a mother. I’m sure you’re doing just fine.

  30. Wine used to inspire me to live to the end of the day 🙂 I honestly used to have a *hot* bath by candlelight with wine every. single. day after the pickle was in bed.Now I am pregnant again and the *hot* bath is gone (warm just isn’t the same) and even worse, so is the wine!
    Also, DH is about to be promoted to a great new job that will (unfortunately) have him working even more than he does and also giving up his work from home days which help me a ton (did I mention I was pregnant?…)
    BUT the amnio results for Plus Two came back normal. We are having a girl – which I am so excited about – LOVE the pickle (boy) but feel so blessed to be having a girl this time round.
    And I still look at my husband and think he is the sexiest thing on two legs… and think in about, ooh, five years time, the kids will be old enough for holidays at the grandparents and we can just do it in all the rooms of the house again
    🙂

  31. @Ck. – What @Cloud said. I’ve been there. It gets better in time and is not any reflection on you as a person. For now, focus only on those one or two things that absolutely need to be done each day (i.e. everyone fed and in clean diaper/underpants). Everything else really can wait until you’re ready. Lower the unrealistic expectations for yourself, and give yourself a break!@Moxie – Please see the above – my same assvice goes for you. That old “holy hell i feel like i totally just dropped the ball again/i suck as a person/i have way too many things on my plate” sensation is your FEELINGS trying to tell you something about your needs. It means this is all too much for you right now. Need to take a step back. Need to re-prioritize. Need to practice some self-care. This is not fun right now. Need to find the helpers.
    I wish you much strength as you navigate a path out of chaos and break yourself out of this pattern. There’s no shame in it. You’ll figure it out. And we’ll be here waiting for you.

  32. Like others have mentioned, I’m very lucky and I remind myself of that constantly. I have everything I ever wanted. And with having wonderful things comes the chores, but the flip side…well, let’s just say yea! we have dirty dishes (because we have food! and clean water! and lots of beautiful mouths to feed!)Also, I’m reminded of a conversation I once that had that went something like this:
    “Ugh. I have to water that plant.”
    “It seems like that’s a real pain for you.”
    “It is!”
    “Then why do you do it?”
    “Because if I didn’t, the plant would die.”
    “And that’s the worst that would happen?”
    “I guess…”
    “Well, then you wouldn’t have to water that plant anymore. So you either choose to keep it alive by watering it, or you choose to let it die (or give it away) but either way, you’re doing what you choose to do.”
    This conversation changed my life. Everything I do, I do because I *want* to. Sure, there’s obligation, but even those obligations are because I choose them. And since then, if there’s something that’s making me unhappy, I reexamine it from this perspective and it makes a huge difference. Sometimes it’s worth changing, regardless of the effort, and sometimes just knowing that I have the option is enough. From little things (like the plant) to big things (like where you live) you always have the choice. Sometimes the choice is to put a band-aid on it and make it better till you can revisit it in the future, and sometimes the choice if to hitch up your skirt and really make a change. For us, it was the 45 minute commute to and from work. So for a while, I did books on tape, which made it a bit better. And then it got bad again – winter driving, more cars on road, hell on the highway. So we packed up our house and moved. And while the selling/buying/packing/etc sucked, DH rides his bike 5 miles to work and I’m at home 5 miles from where DH works, and not 60 miles away. Needless to say, totally worth it.
    And like @RudyinParis I find that being present helps, but I’m even more intentional with my presence. I used to feel frantic and stretched thin and absent-minded…did I do this or did I eat that? I seriously would eat a handful of M&Ms and not even taste them. Mindfulness is something I learned in yoga, and basically, you focus on whatever you’re doing. If I’m eating M&M’s (which I am. Right now.) I make sure that I pay attention while doing it. I taste my M&M’s. And they’re delicious! And if I’m playing with E, I pay attention to him and play with him. And if I have a few minutes to myself – say if by some miracle the naps overlap and I actually have a few minutes where no one needs me! – I decide how I’m going to enjoy my time, the key being the mind shift. Not, “Oh my gosh. What other crappy chore do I have to do now in my long day of doing crappy chores?” and while I usually spend the first few minutes doing something important because I can’t relax when there are too many things on my to do list and because I get a great sense of satisfaction from crossing something off said list, I very intentionally decide how to squander the rest of my time. Do I want to watch a few minutes of tv? Read a magazine? Visit Ask Moxie? What do I *need* right now? And then while I’m doing whatever it is I choose, I enjoy myself because who knows how long it’ll last and because if I enjoy those few minutes, they recharge me. And right now I get to recharge a few minutes at a time. And while it was a difficult skill to cultivate, I did it a little bit at a time and am now a much happier person for it.
    Also, coffee, red wine and an occasional handful of M&M’s (did I mention those already?)

  33. Oh, and I LOVE the idea of Q & A in the comments. There have been many a time when I wished that this was more like a forum where you could post a question and get it answered right away. And the guest poster is a good idea, too. Because as much as I love my AskMoxie, I can’t enjoy it knowing it’s causing you any stress.

  34. @Ck – I found that every little tiny step of independence (potty is a good, but big, example) alleviated some of the negativity & aggression at that age. Any possible thing she could do on her own was allowed & seemed to help. We are just closing in on 3 and it has gotten better. We still have screaming fits at least once a day, but the small gains in logical thinking have really really helped. The light at the end of the tunnel is there. Hang in there till it shines on you.

  35. Moxie I’m glad you’re ok, I’ve been worried about you. NOT, mind you, upset that you haven’t been posting (which I see as a generous and lovely volunteer service on your part and not an obligation), but because I’ve been hoping you’re ok. Your schedule doesn’t sound very ok but I’m glad there hasn’t been an emergency.What gets me through the day? Unfortunately, Oregon Chai mix, pepsi, xanax, and the promise of Netflix Watch Instantly after my kid’s bedtime. I’m really struggling with going to bed. I know that I need to sleep more and that everything would get better if I did, but frankly, those hours between when my daughter goes to bed and when I do are the only time I don’t feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious and I can’t bring myself to give them up or shorten them. So, I guess what gets me through the day is the break at the end of the day.
    Like @nej, I would also LOVE a forum setup here with more back and forth with all you wonderful mamas. Also, (maybe) less pressure on Moxie to lead the conversation…
    @TodayWendy, my daughter went through (short) periods of being dry at night but not reliably and I made the same choice as you – wet diapers = better than wet bed. Some kids’ nervous systems just don’t develop as quickly as others, and they’re not capable of staying dry all night or waking up to pee. I decided not to let pullups be the norm for as long as it takes.

  36. Coffee…..loads of it in the morning. The thing that best gets me through the day is to think about where I was this time last year, compare it to where I am this year, and dream about where I’ll be this time next year. I’m definitely on an upward trajectory, and while I have a lot of sh*t to slog through still with the divorce, and the kids and how they are dealing with it and moving and our settlement and selling of property and whether it will sell or not and blah blah blah……at least I’m on the middle of the path instead of at the beginning, and the path keeps getting better as these details get resolved and put into my personal history archives. Despite the stress of working full time, single parenting 98% of the time and dealing with a difficult and moody ex…..my life is awesome.

  37. What’s getting me through:–the promise of a vacation next week
    –my really sweet and awesome students
    –dark chocolate Hershey kisses
    –sheer force of will

  38. Well, I’m pregnant and very ill (can hardly eat or drink anything)(and as a result, pretty down), so there’s not much getting me through these days except the necessity of getting through. That, and the promise of Thanksgiving, and those blessed days off.

  39. @TodayWendy, had a very similar situation, combined with a kid who did NOT want to go back to diapers or pull-ups or anything of the kind, hell no hell no hell no. We toughed it out and it was a rough 3 or 4 months – she alternated a week dry with a week of wet, and she’d wake up and get incredibly upset every time despite reassurances that it was ok…BUT, going through it did seem (in her case) to help her learn and the wettings got less frequent and later in the night over those months and then, before 3 1/2, she was there, permanently.I don’t know whether I recommend it or not, but it did work out in the end. But I think (pure conjecture) that it’s only likely to work if the kid is already waking up when they wet. If they don’t, and just wake up with a wet bed in the morning, then they may just not be ready.

  40. A couple years ago we moved cities and my commute went from 45 min each way to 25 min each way. I know it doesn’t seem like much but it really made a difference. Really. I don’t think I could do the 100 min / 85 min thing… I just couldn’t. And if you can’t do it… well then maybe don’t! I know things are rarely that simple but sometimes they are.Also, what gets me through being 31 weeks pregnant working full time with a 2 year old:
    – Christmas drinks are out at Starbucks (eggnog latte, peppermint mocha, gingerbread latte, etc.). I love these, even if they are decaf. LOVE THEM.
    – Massage therapy every 2 weeks for my aching hips and back.
    – My U-shaped full body pillow.
    – Incredibly understanding and helpful DH

  41. Ugh! Long commutes are the worst. I will stop feeling sorry for myself with my 2 hr roundtrip commute (counting dropping/picking up little ones).What gets me through? My awesome workplace agreed to let me go to 32 hours when I came back from maternity leave a little over a month ago. Sure I make less money but having an extra day for that I don’t have to rush around in the morning and can get errands done? Priceless.
    I’d love forums here as well. I am forever grateful to the kind moms here who e-mailed and gave me advice on going back to work and pumping.
    Or a weekly post where we ask/answer questions in the comments.
    Hang in there!

  42. Yes, nej. My 6mo is happy to play on his own or watch, so I only do chores when he’s awake. Nap time is blissful relaxing time, even if sometimes I have to enforce that (and be behind on the dishes, etc.). A lot of becoming a mom for me has been about accepting limitations, emotional and physical. There’s only so much I can do on x amount of sleep, etc. I’m still overly ambitious, but I feel like a lot of my daily struggle is about learning to accept those limitations and work with them.What is getting me through no childcare, rarely seeing hubby, an extra job at the end of the month, and still no full nights of sleep? my little monkey, of course, and a kind and complimentary hubby, and the promise of a bigger apartment in the next six months- yay! no more spending all free time in the kitchen!

  43. Friends. (actually, I typo’d that the first time and wrote ‘fiends’… hmm.)Coffee. My client site has subsidized Starbucks. Woot!
    More coffee.
    Looking at pics of my DH and kids on my desk.

  44. @ Moxie, that commute is *rough*. Woof. Like everyone else here, I’d love to read five days a week of awesome Ask Moxie, but good grief, then it becomes this epic obligation, another something on your lengthy list of things to do. Whenever you post, I’ll read. One post a week still feels like a great gift to me. You’ve created a great community here!@ nej, yes, that being present stuff is a skill to be cultivated, and worth every single iota of effort. I cannot live this life when all’s I’m doing is constantly fretting about all the stuff I’m not doing at any given moment. And, just as important, the idea that I have choices, that I have chosen what I’m doing at any given moment is also powerful. Any toddler will tell you, feeling out of control is tantrum-inducing!
    @ Cloud, Happiest Toddler on the Block recommends what you’re doing, that throwing a tantrum of your own. I’m sure they say it in different words, but, if I remember right, the idea is that you’re demonstrating empathy. I don’t think there’s any reason to use it sparingly . . .
    Also, anyone here read Parenting With Love and Logic? I was introduced to Love and Logic when I was working on my special ed teaching license. I taught high school behavioral and emotional disorders in an inner-city school, and I *never* had any problems. I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend it.
    And coffee!

  45. ::Raising hand:: Have also sat on my toddler for diaper changing time. He is two and two months and perfectly capable of telling me when he has to go, no fear of the potty, just has no desire to use the potty when it isn’t his idea (not for candy or treats – he is his own motivator) and if I force it, it’s just another tantrum like the rest and one I’m not willing to hold firm on, so I don’t force it. I ask, he says no and we go get a new diaper. Sometimes on the weekends he wears big boy underwear but then he gets tired of holding his pee and asks for a diaper.The stand up to change diaper trick works sometimes, so does incorporating something else like changing diaper and putting on clothes and the clothes part is so horrible we focus on that conversation and negotiation and the diaper gets put on unnoticed. Asking him to help either hold his shirt up or fasten the sides, etc. sometimes gets him on board.
    When I get enough sleep, I feel like the tantrums are just a form of communication and I can roll with it. (However, I do not have any other little ones and probably would not be able to manage that zen like quality with one more ounce of need thrown at me.)
    I’m not good at games. I’m good at routine and he is good with a routine (now) so after a few painful days of adjusting to a new routine or incorporating something new to an old routine, it’s the magic bullet for getting things done esp. bedtime.
    He is still hitting and pinching and biting and I would really, really, really like that phase to be over.

  46. @Erin (7:58) – I had an extremely rough pregnancy last year and was unable to eat much, so I totally sympathize. (I only gained weight at one point because I was drinking Ensure, which I highly recommend if it is appealing to you.) You will get through it! There is an end to even the most difficult pregnancies! What you are doing, growing a life, is an amazing thing, even if you feel like crap. Hugs to you.

  47. I totally did jinx myself earlier. I said that the mornings had been going better. I knew I was going to jinx it, and sure enough I did. This morning was pretty crappy, as the 2.5 yo was up too early (5:30), tired and very cranky. The good thing about being up too early was that I had the time to sit and cuddle with her or play tea party instead of having to rush her through things, which would have made everything worse.@mom2boys – “When I get enough sleep, I feel like the tantrums are just a form of communication and I can roll with it.” EXACTLY! I don’t even get what I’d call “enough sleep,” but if I’m not too tired, I find the patience for the tantrums and for being playful. Usually.

  48. @caramama – Yeah, I totally meant enough sleep so I can act like a decent human being with my kids. Not enough sleep so that I’m actually not tired. Not sure what that would even feel like anymore.Sorry you had such a tough morning! I jinx myself all the time. There are things that I simply won’t speak of for that very reason. Since I talked about tantrums, T is for sure going to have the mother of all tantrums tonight and it probably won’t work out all rosy with no yelling on my part. 🙂

  49. Enough sleep? I am sad to think that I now believe that the number is 3, uninterrupted. And anything above that is bonus. Sigh.So, I’m trying to wean (Bobo is 1 year, 2 days old), and I have no idea what I am doing. I quit pumping at work and then, I nurse when I am home, but I feel like my supply for those feedings is just not enough. I almost feel like I need to give bottles to my over-one-year-old in addition to nursing at home, but isn’t the point of weaning that they eat food, or something?
    And what am I supposed to do about the overnight nursings which are overnight not-really-each-very-muches now? He is not satisfied after that, so Dad has been offering a cup afterward, which seems like the opposite reinforcement of sleeping through the night.
    Help?

  50. @SarcastiCarrie – I’m not sure about the night weaning situation, but I do remember that when I stopped pumping at work for my daughter, we gave her cow’s milk in a bottle during the day, and I would nurse in the mornings and at night to go to bed. In fact, we kept with bottles for quite a while. When I weaned completely, she would still get a bottle for naps and bedtimes, and cow’s milk in a sippy cup for breakfast and dinner.And now that I’m thinking about it, I’m pretty sure we’d nurse in the mornings but then she’d get breakfast soon after… maybe even with milk in a sippy cup along with breakfast. At night, she’d already have had dinner, so the nursing was mostly comfort and to get her to sleep.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t have to be nurse and that’s it. Try a bottle or sippy cup or feeding right after. Find what works for you guys. And of course the transition might not be smooth.
    Did any of that help?

  51. @caramama – It helps. I guess I am trying to do too much at once. I want to stop getting up to feed overnight, so I thought that nursing overnight with low supply would teach Bobo that there is nothing here, don’t even bother waking up. But now we’re doing cups in the middle of the night after the nursing, and I don’t know. We’re two days in and I feel like a giant mothering/weaning failure.I want to keep the after work and first morning nursings (those would be with dinner and before breakfast). And then bottles of frozen breatmilk buring the day and whole milk in a cup with meals. I’m just not sure how to get there. I think there might be some crying on the horizon. (Mine and Bobo’s).

  52. @SarcastiCarrie – Weaning sucks. No two ways about it. And you’re not failing, although it sure seems like it. I hate feeling so defeated. But things don’t usually going according to our ideal. Whenever I find myself in your position, I gauge my reaction by E’s. Does he seems upset? Traumatized? Oblivious? And then I go from there. Yes, bottle at night is not what you wanted, but I bet that’s just a transitional thing. And once Bobo starts eating more at dinner/before bed, that bottle will probably disappear. E didn’t sleep through the night till he was weaned (at 14 months!), but there were definitely a few nights in there where he was getting up just to make sure it was really over.I remember weaning E with DH’s help. It seemed like if I wasn’t around, then there was a little bit of crying, but it was over quickly. If I was around, then I was denying E the boob and HOLY CRAP HOW COULD I DO SUCH A TERRIBLE THING? So I would disappear at night and be sad in another room. I cried more than E did. Would your husband be willing to do the nighttime bottles for a while to see if that helps? If anything, you’ll get a good bit of sleep.
    Oh, and then I remember when E got sick right after he’d weaned completely and my first instinct was to comfort him with nursing and I couldn’t. I was so heartbroken. I even called a friend and asked her what would happen if I tried to to do it (crazy, but he was sooo sick and so upset and it had only been a few days) and she laughed and said something along the lines of if there’s no milk and he has teeth, do you want to risk it?

  53. @cloud, @hush, @MrsHaley and others, thank you for the empathy and good advice. It was just what I needed to hear (but couldn’t find the way to say it out loud to real people without feeling like I was whiny and fishing for compliments). Although I don’t contribute to the conversation often, this is why I love this forum- it’s honest and realistic.On that note, I love the idea of a ‘coffee-talk’ kind of discussion a couple times a week. “The topic of conversation is…. nap schedules for toddlers. Discuss amongst yourselves”

  54. @SarcastiCarrie- I weaned Pumpkin at about 23 months, so my experience may or may not help you. I was hugely ambivalent every step of the way, so I had a lot of angst. Pumpkin, not so much- she took it all pretty well.Anyway, I stopped pumping gradually, replacing with cow’s milk as I did. (Day care had already had us move her to sippy cups instead of bottles- another angst-ridden transition.) I was completely done with pumping at work by about 18 months. We went slow/late because Pumpkin wasn’t so big on eating “real” food, so I felt better with her getting nutrition from breastmilk.
    I got her to drop the middle of the night nursing by just saying “no” one night. She cried a bit, but then snuggled in. She started sleeping through the night later, but I can’t remember how much later. Maybe a month? BTW, sending Hubby in instead was a complete disaster for us. I think she needed to know she could still get Mommy even if there was no milk on offer.
    I dropped the final nursing (which was before bed) the same way.
    More details and angst-ridden posts about it are on my blog. You can find them by searching on “weaning”.

  55. @sarcasticarrie, is it because you think he’s hungry or because he’s just in the habit of eating in the night? Many “experts” will tell you that babies 9 months+ do NOT need to eat in the middle of the night but I think it’s not entirely true. My 9 month old DOES need to eat in the middle of the night because he goes to bed at 6 PM. I suppose if he were going to bed at 11 PM he would not need to eat. So think about that first. Is he waking up at the same exact time every night? That would indicate “habit” and not “hunger”. Also, consider giving a bottle as a replacement, and not just going cold-turkey. Cows milk? Either you give it or your husband, I think Cloud is right that sometimes it’s Mommy in any form that is needed. Is Bobo a big sucker? Both my boys are big pacifier kids, and so my youngest will often wake up at 3 or 4 AM and I will just pick him up for a few seconds with the paci and he goes right back down again. So perhaps he’s not really hungry (though will eat because when food is offered that is the polite response, right?) but would be happy to suck on something instead to satisfy the oral need, or to get him beyond the habit of waking up at certain times.I’ve been told that substituting warm water in a bottle for milk is a way to transition them completely. That did not work with my first, but might possibly work for you as I’ve heard it has worked for others.
    IMO, “weaning” does not mean necessarily eliminating bottles…it simply means no more boob. From what I understand from you and reading your blog it’s really just about cutting down on his constant demand for your boob that is the problem, not necessarily the eating. And if he keeps waking up to eat from the boob and he’s not getting enough, then maybe a bottle will allow you to fill his tank up a bit with a reasonable amount of milk so he can sleep the rest of the night.
    Good luck!!!

  56. I’m enjoying the comments.IRL, no one understands why I am asking and complaining. They all weaned at 2 weeks to 4 months to a bottle and no big deal.
    I guess I am not sure what my goal is, so you guys have helped immensely letting me know that I need to figure out what I’m trying to do (not too much). Am I trying to stop nursing or not be needed overnight? And I’m not sure. I want to keep with two nursings a day for cold and flu season. I have a case of formula (free samples!) that I could use overnight. It’s super conventient to have it measured out in the bottle and some room temp water near by and mix in the dark. Almost as easy as nursing except Dad could do it….which makes it easier! But then I worry that I’m reinforcing the night waking. So, maybe I should offer hard-to-digest formula after dinner before bed to see if that helps the sleep situation. Or I can try one thing for a few days and if it doesn’t work, I can try something else. All decisions are not final.

  57. @sarcasticarrie…..about a month ago when I had pneumonia, we had to switch to formula for about a week. Can I just say…..that made such a difference in the night sleep! I was able to *know* without a doubt how much he was getting (he is a lazy nurser, so when the flow slows down, he’s “full enough”), plus it takes longer to digest. After the week was up, I decided to keep up with the bottle of formula right before bed. So now I pump at least 2 feedings per day (for cold and flu season same as you) but the rest of the feedings he’s getting formula. I am only waking up once a night to feed him. And that’s only because he goes to bed at 6. If he were to go to bed a few hours later, he wouldn’t wake up at all.Good luck!

  58. @sarcasticarrie – just wanted to throw in some empathy. I had to wean my 18 month old suddenly because of a new medication I’m taking. It was wrenching, but mostly for me (he’s only gotten really upset about not being able to nurse once). And of course he got a cold and an ear infection the second I weaned him, which increased the feelings of guilt. It’s so emotional, to lose that bound and relationship.

  59. PS @ caramama – thanks for the virtual hugs and support. I’ve been feeling really down about the whole thing (being so sick, having to wean my little one to take the anti-nausea medicine, etc etc). I’m trying to keep my eyes on the end result of all of this, but it hasn’t been easy.

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