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Ask Sherry Anything: What I would like to change about my life

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What makes you stressed and bored and what remedies would you see for that, realistically and maybe ideally?

Wow, so much to talk about here.

STRESS FACTORS

The main factor in making me feel stressed is when I do not sleep enough and/or my son doesn’t sleep enough or is going through a stage (this is what happened this week when he broke me, and I burst into tears on the way to work).

I also feel stressed when I feel like I cannot get everything done to my standards and things are not as we say in French “reglé” or “put in order”.

I am an admitted perfectionist, but I juggle many tiny little details.

Something like remembering to order enough soap so we don’t run out, or making sure to remember to write the cheque for the pre-school and drop it off, clear all the credit cards (I put him on mine), and then manage life stuff like laundry, etc.

Or just having the time to go out and run errands for the family. For instance, where you have to remember to buy a (NICE LOOKING) high quality photo album that isn’t flimsy crap, find and print 200+ photos to put into said album.. it all sounds like such a tiny little task on a To Do list but it takes so much effort and time to comb through thousands of photos, select the right ones, print them, check every print, then put them into the case in chronological order.

It’s all of the tiny little things and not enough time in the day. I like everything in order, nothing late, cash flowing in properly…


BORED FACTORS

When my routine becomes a rut and I feel stifled and things are not interesting for my brain.

Boulot, Métro, Dodo as they say (Work, Metro station, Sleep).

When I am bored, watch out. It is not good for my wallet. I browse and shop online a lot and then obsess over pieces.

HOW I DEAL WITH BOTH

Obviously the realistic side has been that I have just shopped.

A lot. Online.

Buying new things makes me less stressed and bored, both of which are definite shopaholic tendencies but I am less stressed even though I am shopping more because on the money front, I am now fairly stable with an income coming in for the interim.

How I deal with the stress of the minute details to take care of, is I try to shift it all online (again, terrible but also good).

I buy EVERYTHING I can online from glycerin soap to trying out things like raw almond nut butters.

I know (in my heart) there is that Amazon Shipping factor people talk about, ruining the environment, but it not only saves me time, stress and money, it also means I don’t need to strap my toddler in, get into my car, and drive to my nearest organic grocery store to do so which is not a hop, jump and a skip away by any means.

Carrying all that stuff while wrangling a child is hard too. I remember I once bought 30 soaps at once as a stock plus other things, and as I was carrying the heavy box to the car, Baby Bun decided to throw a fit and demand to be carried to the car.

OMG. OMG OMG OMG OMG.

A child, having a fit on the floor of a parking lot while you are carrying a heavy box of soaps and things and you can’t carry him, but you also can’t leave him… OR CAN YOU?

Well. I left him sobbing on the parking lot floor while I kept one eye on him and any oncoming cars and quickly tossed the box in the car before running back to grab him.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

I have no idea, but my stress level augmented trifold in that moment.

Anyway, that’s all to say — it is a real boon, this online shopping business. I do not know how people did these things before. <3

In my case, I think it’s tiredness, not enough time for myself, and perhaps a lack of gratifying human relationships.

https://www.instagram.com/wellettas/

Yes. All of that.

Tiredness is #1, though. When I sleep enough, I am an amazingly patient, calm person. If I don’t sleep enough.. OMG. I’m on the edge.

Getting enough sleep is … how do you do this?


What I mean is, I have no idea how to force my kid to sleep longer.

People Mommy Shame me for having my son sleep at 8-9 p.m. or later (with us) in the Family Bed, but TRUST ME EVERYONE, I have tried to get him to sleep at 7 a.m. with us or to get him to sleep by himself first, and it has not worked. He has woken up numerous times at 3 a.m. sobbing to stay in the kitchen and play.

We have tried all sitting there, lying down before 8 p.m., just talking quietly Mommy and Daddy and then easing into sleep as suggested but with zero results. He gets worked up, throws his pants around (which you have to force back on him)… or squeals and wants to be in the kitchen.

I’m exhausted. I have tried to cut his naps, but it made his bedtime worse.

I have no idea. A kid doesn’t come with an instruction manual so I have no idea what his sleep buttons are. When I find something that works (e.g. a routine where he goes for his night underwear and then I read a book before bed), I glom on it like a leech.

Time for yourself, that one you have to learn how to carve out pieces of it.

I try and shift routines off to my partner that can be done (e.g. night underwear), and even an extra 15 minutes to lie there alone frantically reading a book is enough for me.

I’ve also started taking longer lunch breaks instead of working so much and going for walks.

Some days, I am contemplating leaving him at preschool later and go for a walk before getting him. There are some days where he stays at home with his father and I completely relax without having to drop off and pickup for preschool.

As for human relationships, it has all been relegated to iMessaging and emailing. I try and touch base with people once in a while to ask how they are, and then we have mini iMessage conversations.

I am lucky to have at least 3 friends who don’t live close to me AT ALL, whom I can count on to email at wee hours in the morning to pour my heart out or to iMessage and stay in touch.

Solutions? I don’t see that for myself in the near future as I live far away from my extended family and I also don’t have many close family members. What about you?

Ditto.

I am not near any family members of any kind, and I only see my or his family once a year.

It gets easier though as we have been Skyping with my mother, so he knows them already and WILL go off with them willingly.

It’s what it is, and I can see now that having more kids would kill us if I didn’t have family or actual help hired nearby. It is impossible unless one of us stays home to take care of them so we can also do more of the household work.

The only solutions are to start carving out time for yourself, here is what I have done as of late:

  • At work, take longer lunches and just walk around outside of the building — no more eating my desk if I can help it but this has started costing $$$.
  • Leaving work earlier and taking walks around to spend time alone before picking up Baby Bun.
  • Leaving work earlier, and going for a small hot drink in a cafe or this week, I went for a facial.
  • Taking 5 hours out on a weekend to just go out ALONE without Baby Bun and to get my own things done with headphones on. Zero guilt.

As for sleeping more, I have yet to discover his sleep button … which is looking more and more like having to take him to the pool for an hour and forcing him to kick hard to get his energy out the entire time, which exhausts me as I have to hold him up .. even the park is not enough for him to get his energy out, a park visit needs to be 3 hours.

I have also started sitting with him and playing with him specifically for 20+ minutes, full-on Baby Bun concentration and interaction. I’ve also been initiating book readings randomly, asking him to pick a book out to read, and then telling him after this book, Mommy needs to _______.

It has been helping. I think. I haven’t burst into tears in the past 2 days at least.

At what age has your child become more challenging to handle?

2 1/2 to about 3. He started with a lot of “eh eh eh” noises and screaming and “NO!!!!” at about that age.

Me: Do you want to do A? Okay! Let’s go do A!

Baby Bun: NO! NO A! NO WANT A! WANT TO DO B!

Me: Okay, do you want to go do B right now? Let’s go do B!

Baby Bun: NO B! NO B NO B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WANT A!!!!

ZOMG.

Yes.

Some children are more difficult, some are easier. Mine apparently is very well-behaved, easy, obedient and sweet compared to the other kids they handle and see at preschool. SO SAYS EVERYONE ELSE EXCEPT HIS MOTHER.

Every angel and demon have their good and bad days. It depends on the environment, the people, etc.

With me, I am both his Kryptonite and his Addiction. He wants me all the time, and when he sees me, he also gets worse in behaviour as he is the most secure with me.

Also, at what age did he develop separation anxiety (cried when you left for somewhere)?

3 months. No joke.

I left him at 3 months in the arms of my mother while I went to go sleep, because I was exhausted.

He sobbed and sobbed and sobbed bloody murder until I came down and when I held him, he instantly calmed down.

Since then…. it has been like that. I have not known any different.

Even at 7 months when I went back to work, he would sob every morning when I left. Then my partner said at about 3 p.m. or so, he had an instinct that I would be back home soon and he would crawl to the door and check every 15 minutes and then crawl back to him.

NO JOKE.

It took me about 6 months before he would stop crying at a MORNING playgroup (3 hours) I left him at.

When you do the week in money posts – which I love, by the way – I notice that you are always the one to get up with your baby bun.

Yeah I won the lottery on that one. 😛

My husband and I try to switch off everyday so that one of us gets to sleep in a bit. How did you and your partner negotiate this?

We didn’t. Baby Bun did it for us. He never wants his father in the morning, he only wants me.

I have tried, my partner has tried, and each time, he screamed bloody murder and it is just not something worth fighting over.

If I go with him, sometimes I can just lie down and sleep beside him as he dozes.

(See answer above about him with separation anxiety at 3 months.)

I’d rather not fight with him over separation anxiety 100% of the time, and we only do it when he has to go to pre-school, stay with Daddy and/or family, etc. That’s when it actually natters to me.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form here and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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6 Comments

  1. M
    Maria Pisani

    I saw this and thought you would “love/hate” it http://www.refinery29.com/stay-at-home-mom-husband-salary-comparison

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I saw the same post and had the same reaction 🙂

      Reply
  2. SarahN

    I wonder if families with two kids get the benefit from the baby growing to entertain and wear out the toddler, and obviously that continues as baby grows. Who knows? I have no kids, just a thought.

    I’m pretty close with a colleague with one kid and they both work, I recall feeling ‘judgey’ that they would work out or have a beer with a mate and leave the child in care. Now, I understand SO much better, from your post, and my friend’s twin 6 yos, and just… LIFE. Adult parents are humans who need breaks too, and that’s NOT to be judged. How I’ve matured

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      YES! THIS IS TRUE! But I do not know if I want to go through another 3+ years of what I went through with Baby Bun. Newborn sleepless nights, stress.. no … I just.. no. I can see the benefit in 20 years, but right now, no.

      I used to judge all the time before I had a child. I wish someone had written actual accounts of what it’s like to have a child and I would have been less judgemental for sure. You don’t know until you have a child, this is very true. You can’t control everything.

      Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Oh my goodness. This is so true. I didn’t realize I was doing this. I am trying to keep on top of it by making notes every time I think of something:

      Need sunglasses for him, don’t want macular degeneration, OMG did I remember to pack his sunscreen for preschool? I don’t want him burning, I saw 2 sunspots the other day. Oh wait. What was that.. I have to pick up floss to send to his mother as they don’t get the brand there. How is he? Let me log in and check……..

      This is so me.

      Reply

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