t2

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finding My New Normal- Taking Shortcuts and Not Feeling Guilty

Anyone who's been a long time reader of my blog, and has been keeping up with it recently has probably noticed a change. Less frequent posting, a lot of talk about not having the energy to deal with xyz, a lot of short cuts that I'm trying to do
I sometimes wonder what type of lifestyle takes more out of you, being a full time working mom with kids in daycare from a young age, or spending all day taking care of your four kids. Because to be quite frank, I'm wiped out. Exhausted. Mentally mostly, but physically as well. I honestly felt I had my hands somewhat full but manageable with 3 kids and then I was pregnant with my youngest, Rose, and I don't function very well when pregnant. I was hoping that after I gave birth and recovered postpartum, I'd be back to my previous lifestyle, pretty productive and creative, etc... And at first, the first few months of Rose's life, it seemed like that would happen, that I'd go back to normal.
But then I got to know Rose, and began to realize that my life will never be fully normal again.

I love her to pieces, but Rose is the definition of handful. We joke that Trouble is not her middle name... it's her first name. Super smart, very advanced developmentally, and using that genius to get up to all sorts of trouble. She seems to thrive on destruction and has limitless energy. I think I spend more energy looking after her and keeping up with her and fixing up after her and keeping her out of trouble than I did with my previous three kids combined. I kept on thinking "when she gets older, she'll be easier" but so far, as her skills have improved, she's used them to ramp up the level of destruction she gets up to. As I try to fix up one bit of trouble she caused, clean up one portion of the mess, and my back is turned, she is destroying another part of the house.

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Rose climbing up my kitchen draws, hanging upside down in public transportation, and doing pull ups on our pull up car. To give you an idea of what parenting her is like. I left out pictures of destruction she causes... because, you know, its the internet. And people on the internet can be nasty about things like that.
It gets exhausting. Mentally mostly, but physically as well, since my kids don't really sleep much at night so I end up getting very little sleep.
So I don't really have the mental or emotional energy to be doing more than absolutely necessary most of the time. Being creative in the kitchen, keeping up with housework, doing ultra frugal things? Honestly, it feels like much of that is simply beyond me at this point in time. At least if I want to keep my sanity.


On top of everything else, now that my family all did the Paleo reset challenge, I've discovered what foods my family does better avoiding (rice is ok in limited amounts, but not too much, and white sugar definitely affects them), and I also am still mostly Paleo, so that makes more work for me in the kitchen. To be honest, when I was doing the Paleo reset with my entire family, just the food prep was exhausting me, to the point that I wasn't up to going on trips, because the mental energy about what food to make beforehand, what to eat while out, and what to eat when we came home used up all my mental capacity that I couldn't even think of anything else at first. My entire life seemed to revolve around shopping for the food, preparing the food, cooking the food, eating the food, then cleaning up after cooking and eating the food. Rinse repeat. Its exhausting.
Now that I'm the only one eating Paleo in the house, it is less work, but still more work than previously. Especially since often I am making two different meals- one set of meals for my husband and kids, and another for myself.


I am therefore realizing that, much as I'd like to return to where I was at previously, I need to find my new normal, find the right balance between keeping my sanity and productivity and frugality.
Which means that if I need to spend more money on things to make my life easier, I will. I've said time and again that frugality isn't about never spending any money on things, its about saving where you don't mind saving to have extra money available for things that are more important to you.
And my sanity is important to me. My time is important to me, and if I can have some breaks and not feel like I'm always working hard, with the kids, especially Rose, with keeping up with the housework, with preparing food, then so be it. If it means extra money spent, then so be it. I'll still try to save money where I can, in ways that aren't as time consuming and mentally exhausting, but I won't be ashamed to use shortcuts. Even if they aren't ideal. Because I'm not living in an ideal world. I'm living in the real world, where I can only be pulled in so many different directions at once without feeling like I'm going to snap.


So, number one in my new normal-
I use disposables. Not all the time. I wouldn't even say most of the time. But I try to keep a stash of some basic things- bowls, plates, cups, and disposable baking pans. I'd love to have a dishwasher one day (and hopefully in our new house we will- we've left a space in the kitchen to put a dishwasher) but right now we have none, and I feel like I'm spending my entire life either washing dishes or watching the sink get filled up with dishes so much that I can't function in the kitchen... So when I'm already feeling overwhelmed, I grab the disposables, and don't feel guilty about it. I try to buy them as cheaply as I can, from super cheap grocery stores. And as for cloth diapers? Ha! Fully disposables here now. Rose doesn't even sit still long enough for me to close a cloth diaper on her. And I can't manage to keep up with the laundry I have, let alone cloth diapers.

Number two-
I buy processed foods and ready to eat foods. Most of it is things I don't eat- like gluten free bread, hot dogs, cheese, rice cakes, etc... quick things I can give to my family when I am just too exhausted to think of what to make for them. (I even bought bagged frozen french fries for like the second time in my life recently, since I didn't have the energy to slice and fry them all.) I also buy eggs by the millions (ok, slight exaggeration- the most I bought was 240 at once) since they are healthy and super quick to cook, though fortunately they're healthy. The kids standard breakfast is cereal and milk- though rarely I do make them something else like muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc... At the same time, since these do get pricey, I try to stock up on these when they are on sale, or at cheap stores so I am not spending too much on them. I also try to look for the healthier brands of these so I'm not giving them total junk.

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Waffled grilled cheese. With store bought gluten free bread, cheese, and tomato paste. What my kids have been having as meals quite often lately, to be honest.

The third thing-
I go shopping once or twice a week, but most of the time, only to the store that is closest to me. I don't run around town chasing the best bargains. I simply don't have the energy to do that. I try to buy what is on sale where I am going anyhow, and try to avoid the more expensive products, and I also try to do bigger shops so that I don't have to go back to the store so soon. This actually ends up saving me money, also on transportation to and from the stores, but also because each time you go to the store you end up spending more. Bulk buying is also my friend now, big time. So this is one way that my norm is actually saving me money.

Fourth-
Foodwise for myself I take shortcuts. I try to make foods that take minimal prep work and still taste decent, which means that I don't always only stick to the cheapest produce in the grocery store. I buy frozen veggies (unlike the US frozen veggies are much more expensive per pound here than fresh) because it means I can just dump them in a pan with some protein and have a meal in a few minutes, with almost no prep work. For myself I also buy proteins that may not be the absolute cheapest, if it means its simple to make. Like I keep chicken breast on hand, because cooking that up is super fast, as is fish fillets, and canned tuna and canned sardines. I do try to buy the cheapest ones I can find, but even if I can't find them super cheap, most of the time these quick meals are just for me, so food for one person, even if more expensive, doesn't end up being too pricey. Veggies that have become staples of my diet because they are super quick to prep and most are lower carb (since I am sticking to lower carb paleo at the moment)- zucchini, lettuce, swiss chard, cucumbers, frozen green beans, peas (even though they're not paleo, fortunately my body has no problems with them- I have yet to try other legumes though), mushrooms, bean sprouts. I'll buy them even if they're not very cheap, because they make my life easier. Other veggies that are staples of my diet- carrots, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash- though these feel like a bit more work.

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A simple meal I made for myself- avocado halves, tuna, cucumber slices, and mustard.

Fifth-
Minimal waste is a big thing now. Because I simply don't have the energy to shop too often, or to cook too often, I try to make all my food count, and not have any end up in the trash. So I keep an eye on which veggies need to be used up, and use them. And any cooked food in the fridge- honestly, it usually doesn't get repurposed, but just is eaten again the next day. Saves me work. And this saves me money as well. I felt like as much as I was trying to minimize food waste beforehand, I wasn't doing it nearly enough, and now that I am, despite eating more expensive foods and convenience stuff, our grocery bill really hasn't gone up too much.

Sixth-
I cook simple. Like rarely do I do intricate things that require a lot of time and energy to prepare. Like for example, if a recipe calls for almond milk, I generally won't make it, because I don't want to buy the expensive and less healthy version, nor do I want to spend the time and energy to make homemade almond milk and clean it up. So I replace milk with water in recipes when I can, and when I can't, I just generally skip that recipe.
Which kind of stinks, because I really do enjoy doing things in the kitchen. But when I have to choose sanity or fun... sanity comes first. Which means relatively boring meals for now. But they don't taste too bad as long as you spice em up. So my boring meal will be zucchini and chicken breast topped with madras curry powder- total 10 minutes from when I began prepping till when the food is on the plate (or thereabouts- I don't actually time things most of the time), but because it has a yummy spice mix on it, I enjoy it.

I think those are the biggies.
I'd like to one day gain my sanity, and be able to simply live my life as I want to.
But I'm a mom of 4 very wonderful kids, the fourth of whom really keeps me on my toes. And exhausts me. At the same time as they make me really happy and enrich my life. So this is my life right now.


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She is such a happy kid- so happy that she got the nuts that she knows she isn't allowed to have. And her mischeif makes her happy, and as frustrating as it is, her joy is so contagious that I can't help but smile looking at this kid, difficult as it is to raise her.

And I'm ok with that.
Slowly I'm discovering the balance, how to feed my family, feed myself, and be relatively frugal, without feeling like I'm falling apart.

And some days, all of a sudden I get a burst of energy, my creative juices get flowing, and I do something that makes me really proud of myself.

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Gluten free vegan bagels I made recently, with one of those spurts of energy that I had. Recipe to come soon.
And I'm like "Yay! Back to my real life!" and then after a few hours or a day or a few days that passes, and I'm back at my status quo now. And that's also ok. Because these times do give me hope that there will be a day when I will be able to have my old normal back. Just not at this point in time.
And those days, I really do enjoy.


Have you ever had a time in your life that you felt you needed to change your lifestyle, when you couldn't simply manage to do everything that you wanted to do? What was it that made you need to make this change?
What changes have you had to make for your life (or have you always done) to keep your sanity? How do you find the balance between sanity and frugality in your family?

P.S. If anyone is worried and thinks I have postpartum depression or something, not to worry. I'm just exhausted, but happy. Quite happy, thankfully. Happy for my wonderful family that exhausts me tremendously. Just tired.

50 comments:

  1. I could have written this myself. My 3 yo sounds like Rose. Except I work full time.

    So many of the same shortcuts...and cooking is exhausting!

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  2. Seems like the 4th kid really breaks the mold! In my family, the 4th child had a 10 year age gap. The three older siblings were easily potty trained. 4th kid (currently age 7) still poops in his pants! We tried everything and went to the doctor only to be given fiber powder which doesn't really work.

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  3. My 4th is a cruisey kid, #5 broke me. Add #6 and I feel like I'm herding cats all day. I totally feel it.

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  4. i absolutely know what you're talking about. You are doing brilliantly, even if it doesn't feel like it all the time. Life happens and one adapts. (and those bagels look terrific.)
    .
    After getting diagnosed with Parkinson's, I had very little energy, both physical and mental. So we have lots of vegetable and protein meals. The meds have helped some, but I don't bake the way I used to. A shame, but one does the best one can...(And my husband's waistline is slimming a bit, so that's a plus.)

    Beautiful pictures of Rose, by the way. She's adorable! Love the Hello Kitty outfit.

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  5. There's something that changes when you have four. My four are from 8 down to 16 months. I'm constantly worn out. People ask me "Well, of course you use cloth diapers, right?" Oh, as if. I have two in diapers and one who has night time accidents!

    Hold strong. They'll all get bigger and you (we!) will get through it.

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  6. My Rose is now 20. He came first and I had to work full time, so he is an only child. The good news is that they are so smart that they mature earlier and it gets so much easier when they begin to understand how to keep themselves safe while playing, doing chores, cooking, etc.

    I started my stockpile when he was little because regular shopping was so difficult with him in tow. I also really had to reduce my standards for housekeeping. No one died.

    You are doing a great job.

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  7. I'm with you on cutting corners, but I must have it a lot easier than you do since I only have two kids, my youngest has a totally different temperament than how Rose sounds, and my oldest started going to school 8-2 this September. When my youngest was born, I was totally overwhelmed trying to do everything I had done until then, with both kids around all the time. I started cutting things out here and there, but not right away. When she was 10 months, I stopped blogging and stopped writing my magazine column. Around the same time, I stopped cooking "normal" dinners every day. It's six months later, and normal dinners have yet to resume...I make simple, quick, healthy meals for the kids and my husband and I just grab whatever. Oh and daily baths are a thing of the past. :) You gotta do what you gotta do. I give you a lot of credit for having all of your kids home with you all of the time. That is really unusual and I can only imagine how much it demands of you on all levels.

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  8. Penny it sounds like your managing fine. Every person has to choose their priorities and taking care of yourself and your family IMO come before cooking fancy dinners and saving money.

    Have you considered sending Rose to school for a few hours a day? It might help you catch your breath a bit. I don't know how you manage in a tiny home with 4 littles home all day. (Rose sounds a bit like Ike was as a toddler).

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    1. I have considered sending kids to school to get a break, but never anyone as young as Rose- she's only 19 months. I wouldn't even consider it before the age of 3. So sending the older kids to school wouldnt help because Rose would still be home making trouble... When the older kids are around they entertain her and she gets up to less trouble.

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    2. Oh she's still really little. I thought she was 2 already and I know in your country school starts around then.

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    3. Its funny. You're one of two people that commented that Rose sounds like Ike as a toddler. I asked my husband what he thought about that, and we both agree that Ike was a super difficult toddler, but in a very different way than Rose. Ike was just hyper and constantly constantly miserable, so just cried a lot and tantrummed a lot and we felt like nothing we did could make him happy, so it was just very mentally tolling when he was a toddler and made us feel very helpless and hopeless and like terrible parents.
      Rose on the other hand, is a happy kid. She doesn't cry much, she just is constantly constantly constantly getting into trouble. Literally when I am cleaning up the mess she made one place, she goes and makes other trouble in another place. It is more physically exhausting than emotionally trying than it was with Ike. Rose also is super advanced, often we joke that her physical capabilities are more developed than her maturity, so she can physically jump from her high chair to the table but simply doesn't understand that its a bad idea and she can get very hurt. Ike wasnt like that at all...
      And then there also is the aspect that with Rose I am also raising 3 other kids, while with Ike I just had one other, so I'm just more exhausted now.
      Funnily enough though- yes, Rose and Ike were my more difficult toddlers, and they do both look very similar.

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    4. And in my country, "free" public schooling starts at 3, if you send a kid before 3 it is super super super expensive unless you're a full time working mom or a student, in which case you can apply for a discount. But since i'm not, it would be a fortune for us.

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  9. What do you mean, your kids don't sleep much at night? That's a big problem on its own, and probably contributing to your tiredness if you're up all night with them. I would get firm with them and make sure they stay in bed at night. You are the boss, not them. Kids need a full nights sleep, and so do their parents!

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    1. Fortunately, after many years of bed time struggles, my boys have a normal sleep schedule. And Anneleise for a while was on a decent sleep schedule but recently has been so tired that she would fall asleep for a nap, but then if she naps she stays up crazy late because she isnt tired after her nap, but then the next day she''s exhausted and naps again, and the horrible cycle continues. We're trying to break that, but its really hard. But mainly the issue is Rose who wakes up sometimes as often as every 30 minutes at night to nurse, and at most goes 3 hours at night without nursing, so its exhausting.

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    2. I know you're into everything natural, but a 19- month- old kid is really too old to still be nursing. And not just nursing, but nursing every half hour during the night? That is way more than a newborn baby! Come on, that is not right. You've got to put a stop to that. How can you function during the day on so little sleep? She's not a baby, why don't you start getting her to drink from a cup and cutting out the all night nursing?

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    3. Completely disagree that a 19 month old is too old to be still nursing. The World Health Organization recommends that you nurse your kids until 2 at the very least. So we're good there. As for nursing every half hour, she usually doesnt. But sometimes she does wake up half an hour after i last nursed her and if i dont nurse her back to sleep she'll be awake. She goes longer periods of time without nursing- i think the most was 4-5 hours, but that is rare. I co-sleep with her so i'm not really waking up in the middle of the night to nurse her, i nurse her while i'm sleeping. Its more annoying actually in the evening when i'm trying to get things done and she is waking up, etc... so its hard for me to actually have a mental break. And my newborns woke up that often as well. She drinks plenty from a cup (and dumps it out on the floor, the couch, plays games pouring it, lol but nursing is another kettle of fish entirely, not just for drinking). That said I DO want to work on her sleeping issues, cutting back on night time nursing, and head towards night weaning, but that actually takes more energy than I have right now. It takes a few weeks of dedication to it, doing it straight and having horrible nights that I simply dont have the energy for. (I dont do crying it out, but more Jay Gordon's method of night weaning but while the mom is there, comforting the kid, soothing them, but i'll admit it takes a lot of crying as well, and over a longer period of time, and i simply don't have the patience to do that now.)

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    4. Penny, if you go back and read your posts about Ike weaning, it sounds like Rose is a lot like him. Honestly, I think if you weren't cosleeping things would be easier. I understand that not co-sleeping probably isn't an option until you move.

      Functioning on very little sleep is difficult :(

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    5. I understand because i bedshare with my 18 month old who nurses all night. It is exhausting but she knows what she wants and the alternative would be a lot worse for all of us.
      This is what they call survival mode... though i only have 2 children. My 18mo sounds like your 2nd child, always upset!

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  10. And I would seriously consider stopping at 4 kids.

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    1. Thank you for your concern. My husband and I will be considering everything involved when we discuss whether or not to have more kids and when. But this is our own personal decision.

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    2. I'm afraid I found this exchange quite amusing... I have a friend who has seven kids and gets the "have you heard of birth control?" Question all the time. She says "It doesn't bother me that I have seven kids, why does it bother you?"
      So many people take the personal decisions of others so personally. What to do? :-P

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    3. Also I'm working on weaning a 2 year old and I know by experience that the nights are last to go. We don't nurse during the day anymore (I'm pregnant and something had to give) but it's a lot easier to just nurse at night and not risk having a major meltdown and waking the whole house :-)

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    4. Actually, with Anneliese I weaned her at night and kept nursing her during the day, and actually that helped my sanity a lot. Nursing at night bothers me a lot more than day nursing.

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    5. I would seriously consider not telling other people what to do, Randi.

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    6. My oldest weaned at night pretty quickly but kept nursing during the day... With my current nurser it became pretty obvious that I was going to have to *work* on this and days were easier to drop. Everyone's situation is different, though!

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  11. Well it seems like everyone else here is a mom... I'm not a mom yet, but I can speak as a grown kid. Don't kill yourself about buying disposables- really. As a kid, the worst thing was to see your mom cranky and yelling about everything. Then she just gave up and slept for the rest of the day. THAT is not being frugal. *Everything* went to pot then. Really, kids care more about having a happy mom than one that is able to save a couple dollars.

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  12. as you have written that you have to be well & I also feel that one hould be frugal but there is a point where you have to choose & I think you are doing wonderfully

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  13. I'm with you on the simple meals. I don't have kids, but I am in school. Breakfast? A green smoothie. Ain't nobody got time for fried eggs. Lunch? A microwaved potato with salt, pepper, olive oil, and maybe a steamed veggie. Dinner? Beans and steamed veggie, also often with microwaved potatoes or rice. Fruit for snacks. Occasionally I get fancy, like with my recent attempt to make a vegan grilled cheese that actually tasted cheesy, but usually I don't.

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    1. Funny, I feel smoothies are more work sometimes, since it means cleaning the blender and chopping the fruit first...

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    2. fruit like berries doesn't need much prep - and peel a banana and break it in half.
      Mine are w frozen fruit, half a box of silken tofu, a banana and green juice that is from Costco (I know, not an option) - i would never make my own green juice every morning so this was a boon to me, but any liquid would do. I have a blender cup that I blend everything in the morning and just take that with me and then blend some soap water and it's easy cleanup.
      bluberries, froz spinach and bananas are great together.

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  14. I'm too far past having small children to give any advice, but I'm glad you intend to keep on blogging. Perhaps you will need to take it in a different direction

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    1. No, I still need to be frugal, not taking it in another direction. :-P Just less time intensive frugality. :-D

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  15. My sanity is called "working mornings" mixed with "school and daycare"!. So, basically, I am up at 5h45 prepping the 2 kids, drop-offs at school and daycare, working 8h to 12h (4hours), back home to do cooking, cleaning, lunchs preparation for all, appointments, groceries, laundry, dishes, etc, then pick-up time for the kids around 3h30. Back home at 4h15, bath time every second day, supper, family time, kids to bed at 7h15, hubby to bed at 9h30, me time until 10h30.... Rinse and repeat! I love my schedule, the liberty it gives us at night and on weekends.

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    1. school here locally is 8-1:15 so the year when my boys were in school i actually had less sanity since by the time i got back from bringing them to school (20-30 minutes each way) I had just a very short time before I had to turn around and pick them up again, not enough time to actually get anything done, especially since going to town with buses adds a lot of time, and there was barely any time to go there after dropping them off before i had to pick them up.

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  16. You do a great job of prioritizing. It's like when your first baby comes and they tell you to not worry about the details, sleep when the baby sleeps and so on. It's all about surviving a challenging and yet precious time!

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  17. Penny, try keeping things in perspective! You're doing so great with 4, I only have 3 and I take so so so many more shortcuts than you. I'm embarrassed to say how many. I know I'm a lazy Mom but my kids have tons of love, healthy food (most of the time) my house is pretty neat (ish). My main focus is not getting stressed out so I can enjoy this short time in my life that I get to have my little guys at home with me. I hope you know what an amazing Mom you are for doing all that you do for your family. Take as many shortcuts as you need and feel good about it!

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  18. A Reader from BeitarOctober 17, 2015 at 7:58 PM

    Your post sounds like I could have written it. Our situations are a bit different, but have many similarities. I have two little boys and a baby. Boys are out till 1, baby home with me. And I work part time from home. I'm basically on a paleo diet (otherwise I feel terrible and my hormones get out of whack). Paleo = more expensive, more time spent cooking. The rest of the family isn't, but I do attempt to feed them "real," healthful food. Attempt. I'm a big believer in frugality, but my sanity (often synonymous with "time") is worth more to me than money. A therapist would cost more : ) There's only so much I can do, and I can't operate at maximum for very long without burning out. We use disposables as much as possible, and I rely on things like pretzels and store bought whole wheat bread for feeding the kids. No "fancy food." I'm on top of the laundry, but other than that the house is a mess. I clean things on an as-needed basis. I joke that I don't clean, I "cleaner" (i.e. I make things cleaner, but not all the way clean).

    Frankly, the sheer fact that you have 4 kids home full time and home school them amazes me. Although I wish it wasn't so, I desperately need the quiet and calm provided by having my kids out. On top of mothering your kids full time, you provide healthful food (even "compromise" healthful food is a lot better than standard fare), accommodate special diets (quickie paleo and gluten free food is still paleo and gluten free), and remain as frugal as is kedai. Maintaining a household with 4 kids (and a husband!) is in and of itself a herculean feat. If you get through the day with everybody alive and having eaten something, and without having inflicted injury on the kids despite their antics, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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  19. Hang in there Penny, my now 12 year old daughter sounds much like Rose. I also have pictures of my daughter at the age of 12 months climbing the kitchen cabinets. She later did a back flip OFF the counter top and landed on her stomach! Thankfully she was just winded and not seriously hurt. We also cosleep and did not get alot of sleep as well as were dealing with food allergies. So I can completely relate to everything you are going through. Anyway, I just want to encourage you that it does get easier, just not in the next year or two. Eventually Rose will put that energy to good use and will slow down. My daughter now loves to read and learn about animals and how the world around her works. Remember to do what works best for your family! You are doing a great job, don't let the guilt rob your joy during this season of life. It will pass all too quickly!
    Blessings, Carrie

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    1. Oh wow! Thank you for your stories! Fortunately Rose hasnt managed to get hurt by doing anything THAT scary but she's really lucky! Most of her falls have been on the playground onto gravel, which pads her fall.

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  20. we take pretty much all the same shortcuts, minus the food restrictions (though i try to minimize processed garbage like any frozen dough-and-margarine product. we eat soy hot dogs max once a week). my corner store happens to be a cheap supermarket. i work full-time, husband full-time kollel and works half-days during breaks, kids in daycare 8-5. best thing ever for all of us, as we all have exactly what we need. i will say that having a salary makes shortcuts a good bit easier to swing, and my husband can knock some chores off the list during his lunch break- we're never behind in laundry because he sets it on a timer to run when no one's home. but take it easy- canned sardines with plastic forks FTW.

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  21. I thought Randi's comment was mean-spirited, but I will echo her thought that working on sleep training as a top priority might solve all of your problems. You (all) won't be exhausted and overtired from chronic sleep deprivation, your kids will behave more manageably, you will all be in much better moods and you'll be able to focus more on the frugal and all-natural lifestyle that matters to you.

    While sleep training usually involves a week or so of steely resolve to withstand worse sleep deprivation than is even your family's norm, and you guys all have really short fuses right now about losing all of your sleep, you should commit to doing it. For everyone's sake.

    I don't think you need to abandon all of your commitments to on-demand nursing here. You just need to get Rose over her habit of nursing in the night. She does not need it. It's only a habit for her.

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    1. I know, I know. It just takes something to give me a PUSH to do it, because it means quite a few sleepless nights which I am not looking forward to...

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    2. Maybe think about not only how it will benefit you and your energy and attitude toward being active all day, but also consider how good it will be for your daughter's ADHD-ish-ness in-development. Extended stretches of sleep are help these things. (Although who knows, it might be a chicken-and-egg, that disrupted sleeping habits are an effect rather than a cause of overactive kids.)

      Another thing to keep in mind in the long-term is to consider maybe sending Rose to a year or two of preschool. You'd get a lot done at home (and in educating the older kids) with her out of the house, and she might learn some obedience that will help her as a home-schooler after that.

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  22. My daughter sounds just like Rosie, boundless energy, advanced developmentally and lots of trouble but always happy. However she is three and a bit now and it definitely has gotten easier now that she knows how to listen, she actually loves to help now and most times (except when she attempts to cook or wash dishes on her own) she actually does make things easier. She still does the occasional horribly clever mischief scheme but things are easier. Chin up penny there is a light at the end of the tunnel

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  23. Thank you for such a real and honest post. It is refreshing to read that a Mom/blogger is too tired and sometimes shops for convenience.

    I have 3 boys and sometimes feel the same way that you do. At the end of the day as long as we are all happy and healthy I know that I had a successful day. Stay strong Mama, your daughter looks like one fun little girl :)

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  24. such an interesting variety of comments :) a juicy post that touched alot of people, clearly. Unsolicted suggestion: do NOT consistently cook separate food for you and your kids. once in a while...ok, but every day?? Crazy-making! I just make one meal, but dont eat the grain/legume/non-paleo friendly food i make for my kids. Ex: dinner is chicken, salad and rice for them, chicken and salad for me.

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  25. I also had a similar non-stop nursing situation with my now-8 year old. ie=exhausted from all night nursing that he didnt need for nutrition (its exhausting even if you are doing it in your sleep, believe me!) but too tired to do anything about it. I will say that it totally blew out my thyroid and adrenals...still dealing w it 6 years later so try to end it now if you can :)

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  26. Oh Penny, my heart goes out to you. I had a little girl just like your Rose. Mine is now 20 and thankfully manages herself now! I remember taking my 9 month old to the supermarket. She was strapped in her stroller and I was scanning the shelf for something I needed. I looked to my side and saw her climbing the shelves. She was almost to the top. How she got out of her straps I don't know. I grabbed her put her back into the stroller, left my basket on the floor and left. I vowed never to shop with her again. Another time, I was with a group of mums talking in foyer. My baby was again strapped securely in her stroller. I look at the stroller .....no baby. I look for her and there she was crawling on this balustrade that was about 6 inches wide. I walk over and grab her and then look down. There were 6 floors beneath us. True. How we survived toddlerhood I don't know. I also breastfed past 2 years and she was a constant feeder. I was exhausted. One night I gave myself a break and went window shopping. It was heaven and so enjoyed being unencumbered that I completely myself in the moment. After awhile I realised that I was the only one in the department store. Yes, I nearly got locked in. My very active child is a very beautiful and smart young woman now. Looking at her now you would not guess the grief she caused me. I only had the one. One was more than enough!

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  27. Hi Penny,

    I know this comment is a bit late but I want to thank you for writing about the balancing act that we all face. I only have one but I came to the same conclusion, that health and frugality sometimes have to be compromised for peace of mind. We all have to find that balance and not feel guilty, because peace of mind and sanity are just, if not more, important.

    You do a lot more than most of us, so kudos to you for being a great mom, wife, homemaker, and educator!

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