This is a hard one for me. I’m still working on it…I want to be able to follow my toddler and babies cues as much as possible but also still make sure that I have “me time” and “husband and wife time.” I follow my toddler’s schedule mostly. She is pretty much a free-range child…when she wants to go outside, we do, if she isn’t hungry in the morning and isn’t ready for breakfast, she eats when she wants to, bed time is pretty much the same every night but sometimes it may be later or sooner and sometimes I may be sleeping with her and sometimes she may be sleeping with just Ollie.
Bed time is rough for me. I can’t seem to just relax because the whole time I’m so anxious for that alone time I crave with my husband. I honestly get very short tempered and irritated because I am just like, “OKAY! THE DAY IS OVER! PLEASE GO TO BED!” This is obviously a horrible way to end the day so, I am working on that, too. I’ve started just backing off and if she isn’t ready for bed, I try suggesting like “hey! wanna read a book with me?” or “do you want something to eat before bed?” and usually those things help transition her into bedtime smoothly and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes she eats and asks to watch TV and doesn’t want to sleep until 10pm or later. It drives me nuts but I’m trying not to lose my mind over it. You can’t force a child/person to sleep if they aren’t tired. A lot of moms will disagree with me and will put their babies in their crib before they are ready for bed and let them work it out but I can’t do that with my toddler nor would I want to.
When giving your child free range of their schedule, I think it helps them to understand themselves more. My daughter for example will tell me, “hey, Im tired and I want milk so I can go to bed.” This is a great thing and what is greater is when I say, “hey, I think you are tired…let’s have milk and go to sleep” and she says, “No. I’m not tired yet.” She understands that even though I think she should go to bed, she doesn’t have to feel tired. She gets her body and how it works. So, I usually say okay and we play until she tells me she is tired.
I think that this is just another way to teach self regulation. If there aren’t as many restrictions to what she has to do in a day then she is more willing to understand when she should do them without having to be told. I think my favorite part about following Aubrey’s schedule (even though sometimes it isn’t my favorite thing, in general) is that she has a voice and that voice is heard. She gets a choice in how to live her life. When I was growing up…my father insisted that I shower every night. I HATED it. Even if I had done nothing but sat in my bed all day, I had to take a shower and it wasn’t the shower that bothered me but the fact that I literally had no say in the matter, even as a teenager… It was miserable. I had no voice or control over my own time, my own body, and how completely sad is that?
What do you guys think of following your children’s schedules? Do any working moms practice this? I’ve always wondered how that would work because I’m sure you have to have some kind of schedule in order to get kids to school/daycare and you to work..? What do your children’s schedules generally look like? I plan to share ours another day because it is late but please share with me!
Being in a happy place in your marriage while being an attachment parent is hard! It is a lot of work with a tiny amount of “free” time. I say this as I’m nursing our son back to sleep since he woke up right as we were putting on a movie….it is rough to say the least. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed and watch that episode of TV and cuddle up on the couch…because I’m exhausted! Then when I don’t, I miss my husband like crazy.
At one point though I think he felt like he wasn’t a priority in my life and I won’t lie, I don’t think I was putting enough effort into our marriage for him to be a big priority at that point. I was just focused on our daughter, on sleeping, on exercising… It’s so easy to get caught up in motherhood and forget about yourself and the side of you who desperately needs your spouse. I think we were in a fairly crappy place at that point and I just hadn’t realized it and I’m not sure how I didn’t..
I did realize it though and now we are happier than ever, I feel. We spend more time together, we communicate better, we are more of a “team” than before and it has become easier because we are both willing to put the work in and make each other top priorities. When the kids go to bed, we are together. We are not on our phones, we are not on our computers, we are not focusing that small end of the day amount of energy on anything else but each other.
We play, we laugh, we watch TV, we eat together, we clean up and we go to bed together. Sometimes there may be some interruptions where I have to go back into the family bed and nurse our children back to sleep but it’s not for long usually and then we just continue on with our night. When we go to bed we sleep upstairs in our bed and usually I can sleep with him there for half of the night before having to move back into the family bed. I never used to sleep with my husband. I was just too tired and lazy and I think that us sleeping together is a huge thing that we absolutely need. I need to sleep next to him for some portion of the night. It just makes me feel like we’re still connected and renews it after a long day where maybe we hadn’t seen each other much. I always feel weird when I don’t get to see him much like something is missing and it really makes me sad but crawling into bed with him is just so comforting and kind of washes away the parts of my day that were not the best.
Being an attachment parent will never become less work. You are always going to be “on call” when it comes to your children and their needs and emotions but everyone needs to find balance. Your spouse…and yourself matter. I know that I get caught up in what the kids need, what the kids are saying, what the kids want to do but we need to stop and also remember that our spouses are here too and they matter. I’m constantly trying to make sure that everyone is feeling like they are a priority and I feel like after 2.5 years and two children later, my spouse is finally feeling like they are all equals in my world and that makes me pretty happy. 🙂
How do you guys make time for your spouses while practicing attachment parenting? Has it been hard for you?
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