Q: I need to know if I’m crazy. Or unreasonable. This will be long.
My baby is 20 months old. He has always been high needs and is still breastfeeding a lot and only in the past couple weeks even started eating amounts of food that count as sort of meals. He has never slept for more than 4 hours at once at night and usually is up every hour or two. We cosleep.
My partner sleeps on the couch so that he is at least well rested and has basically since the baby was born. I do 100% of night resettling unless baby is sick and won’t nurse to sleep. I go to bed with baby every night and my partner cleans up from the day (I keep it very clean these days so it’s usually not more than 20-30 min work tops) and has free time to himself until whenever. He plays on the Nintendo switch. He poops for a hour. He watches documentaries. I don’t know what he does.
He works 10-12 hour days 5 days a week (but he works from home so at least there isn’t commuting on top of that). Baby and I are in bed for about 11-12 hours every night so he is completely off duty for that time.
His mother has three young children (5, 8, 12 – all same father as him) and is currently having issues as the children’s father has disappeared to another continent and basically said he wants nothing to do with any of them again and she should sell the house and move on. The house is a mess and she is homeschooling the children and is overwhelmed.
So my partner has been going over on weekends to do repairs.
I have been saying for months that I am tapped out, I need a break, I want to not be alive, I want to run away, I can’t do it anymore. I am physically exhausted and watch the baby for 22+ hours a day.
Am I being unreasonable saying I need a break and.. something has to change? I .. Mothers.. we need a break, right? My back feels like it’s about to give out and I’m just so depressed and exhausted and soooooooo low on patience.
I don’t know what I want or what even can be done but I just .. I am ruined.
He is usually very good and caring but he seems to just brush me off when I say these things now. We had a full argument about it today on our way to the farmers market to get groceries but ended up having to take his sisters so we didn’t get to finish. We also never ever ever argue. Ever. Because things are always so good. So I’m worried.
I need time to exercise and have a minute to myself and to just be a person not-in-charge. Not “on”.
Right? Or no? I don’t even know anymore. I’m probably crazy.
A: There’s a lot to unpack here, but let me say at the start — you are not unreasonable at all!
My breastfed, co-sleeping 20-month-old daughter has the same nighttime routine as your son. I think it’s very normal biology + attachment for you both at this time. I know that I get more *quality* sleep knowing that baby is near me + that’s something you’ll want to consider as you’re getting suggestions for weaning, etc. What does your maternal instinct tell you to do? What will keep you most rested during sleep hours?
Highly recommend a couple’s therapy session (or a few) to help you get on the same page about what’s a MUST-DO vs. what’s a NICE-TO-DO. Just because he may feel like he has a lot of fringe hours to “donate” to his mother’s cause, doesn’t mean that’s actually the case. He might feel like he can’t do much — and he kind of can’t for you in those moments — but he could step in more during daytime hours that’d make him appreciate that evening downtime more.
Explain to him that you feel X, and you *need his help* to do Y. Spell it out:
“I feel chronically exhausted. It’s affecting my mood + sex drive + (whatever fill in the blank). I need to get out of the house for a yoga class at 6-8 PM every Tuesday, and I need you to take over grocery shopping with baby independently while I stay home and take a full, un-rushed shower on Saturday AM. We can offer to babysit your sisters for an hour on Sunday afternoons through February so your mom can have some help, but beyond that, we need to decide *together* when/whether helping others is the best use of our time toward our family’s health.”
Here are some other great resources on the blog for you to try:
- Ways to Sneak Mommy Breaks Into Your Everyday Routines
- How to Talk to Your Husband About Your Exhaustion + His Effort (or Lack Of)
- What to Do When You Feel Like You Have Postpartum Depression
You’re a great mom. You’re doing so much. And you are definitely not crazy! <3 Wishing you the best (including lots of breaks!).