Random Thoughts: The Why Bother Edition

I’m just going to stop going to bed. There is no sense in it. I am up until at least 10 p.m. getting my house in order, packing lunches, folding laundry, and so on. Then I wake up at midnight. Then I wake up again at 2 a.m. Then I wake up at 4 a.m. Sometimes I actually have to get out of bed to give my fussing baby a binky (oh, the humanity); sometimes I bring him to bed with me to help him settle down and to snuggle. Full-time work does not leave me enough cuddling time with my baby. But then I lay there (lie there?) listening to him snort and whistle, suck on his binky, and breathe.

Think of all the things I’ll get done: the thank-you cards for Michael’s baptism (more than a month ago); exercise; more blog posting! Of course, I’m losing coherency as it is — less sleep, if it’s possible to get even less sleep, is really going to mess me up.

What I really want is a night that I don’t wake up. At all. A night that I sleep from 10 at night until 5 in the morning. It’s still not 8 hours, but I’ll take shorter hours if I can get them in one big, lovely, uninterrupted chunk.


I’m not sure I’m going to bother making dinner anymore. When we get home in the evenings, my daughters descend on the refrigerator and the pantry with its store of snacks, and before I can even get warmed over leftovers on the table, they have had two packets of fruit snacks and three cheese sticks each. If I put these things out of reach, I will never have peace, nor will I be able to tend to Michael effectively, but I’m tired of my healthy meals going to waste. You would think that maybe weekends would be better, that we would have the opportunity to eat as a family.

You would be wrong. I cooked a nice dinner yesterday, but while I was out shopping, and fighting with Kate (see below), Dan fixed himself a pizza, so he wasn’t hungry. Once dinner was made, the girls were more interested in playing the Wii than eating. But I was starving, and I knew I had to tend to Michael. So I let Dan continue to play the Wii with the girls; I had dinner while Michael hung out; then I got him to bed. The girls declared they were hungry at 7 p.m., and I made Dan feed them so I could stay with Michael.

I’m tired of struggling for family meal time that no one seems to care about but me.


I am also going to stop taking Kate out in public with me. Especially shopping. Every step in a shopping trip with Kate is a fight. She wants to walk, but she won’t stay near me; she wants to touch everything, and sometimes everyone; I put her in the cart, and she climbs out. She threatens to throw things out of the cart; she threatens to throw things at me; she tells me she hates me; she threatens to kick/scratch/bite me.

I threaten to cry, and turn her over to her father when we return home.

I’m not kidding, and I’m not exaggerating. Of the, say, five trips I have taken outside of the house with the girls lately, on four of them Kate has been impossible to handle. I would throw in the towel and stop shopping altogether, but I have to get out of my house some how, some time.

What am I doing wrong? What can I do better?

9 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: The Why Bother Edition

  1. will she respond at all to reinforcement (AKA bribery?) either a favorite edible item that she can be given over time intervals (say every 10 minutes she listens she gets a couple m&ms or whatever is her favorite) purchase a timer. it works for us. or, she gets to watch a favorite show or do favorite thing when she gets home, as long as she behaves during the trip. Or does she have a portable game or books that will keep her occupied during any part of the trip? Let her know “If you want to ____, then you have to ______” etc, etc. when she starts to act out, she gets 2 warnings before she loses her reward. we do a combination of these for Aidan for stressful outings (haircuts, dinner at a restaurant) and it works pretty well most of the time. Or maybe she gets the choice whether or not to go (if you have that option) but her choice is conditional on good behavior.
    If possible, it may be better to leave her with someone else a couple times…give you both some breathing room. I had to stop taking Aidan to the grocery store altogether because it got to be too stressful for us both.
    And if she says or does hurtful things to you, (i.e., I hate you, biting, etc.), there should be immediate negative consequences. NO talking to Mommy (or anyone) that way! Can she tell you WHY she is so angry?

    Oh I wish there was something more I could do to help! First and foremost, you have GOT to find a way to get some sleep. Immediately. melatonin helps me, and doesn’t put me so “out” that I can’t wake up if the kids do.

    hang in there mama! hope you can find something that helps!

    • I haven’t pulled out a lot of tricks yet to deal with Kate. This is very new behavior for Kate, and I suspect (as Cari points out below) that it is directly tied to her feeling about Michael, and being displaced as the youngest. I also suspect that some one-on-one time for her and me *may* help alleviate some of her anger and/or fear. And we haven’t carved that kind of time out yet.

      Maybe I will give melatonin a whirl. It helped the kids immensely get into a sleeping routine; maybe it’s the boost I need to regulate my sleep, too.

  2. I’d have to add why-bother with laundry; why-bother with cleaning; why-bother with discipline to your list. So I’m not really any help. All I can offer is company; you aren’t alone. I know exactly how you feel. I’m right there with you.

    Big, big hugs.

  3. You’re not doing anything wrong. This is new baby adjustment – which, I know, SUCKS.

    I say this to almost everyone with a new baby and other kids but it took me 6 months to find normal again after my second was born. Michael is barely 3 months old. Give yourself a break and accept that it’s going to be crazy for a few more months and things will eventually smooth out.

    You’re not a rotten Mother for this either. It’s normal and it will end. I promise!

    • No, I don’t think I’m a rotten mother. I would like it to end as soon as possible though! I don’t remember going through this with Flora — to this extent. I do remember her being mad at me for two weeks after we came home with Kate, but she never acted out like Kate is doing. I will try to be patient, and not ground her for the next 3 months!

  4. We had to implement a sticker chart when my baby was born. My 3-year-old had no problems adjusting, but my four-year-old had a tough, tough time. She started acting out very uncharacteristically. So every time she did something good, we praised her and she got to put a sticker on the chart. When she got 5 stickers, she got to choose a prize from a prize basket (which we had stocked with cheap but fun things like headbands, glue sticks, sidewalk chalk, those pill things you drop in water and watch turn into dinosaurs or bugs, etc.). It worked amazingly well, and within two weeks we were able to slowly phase out the chart as her behavior returned to “normal.”

    PS: One big, lovely, uninterrupted chunk of sleep is my most desperate wish. Sigh.

  5. She sounds a lot like Emily at that age. I thought 2 was tough, then I experienced 3. And I thought that was the worst until I saw 4. And that HAD to be the worst, right? Well, 5 didn’t get worse, but it didn’t get better, either. At least until it was almost over. Kindergarten seemed to have a positive effect (though she could have just been outgrowing it). She was a sweetie in-between those demon episodes, but OH MAN THEY ALMOST KILLED ME DEAD. She is still strong willed and stubborn at times, what an improvement in the last couple of years. This might not make you feel better NOW, but there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. I say the SAME THINGS every day. I keep telling my husband the best gift he could ever give me is a night in a hotel room…in town. I won’t even eat…just slep uninterrupted. Good luck with the surly middle child, mine (a boy) is going through the same thing.

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