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By Rebecca Teti


Wednesdays: Natural Family Planning


(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)


This weekly thread is a place where you can share your struggles, triumphs, links, resources, concerns, and questions about all things related to Natural Family Planning.


Please join the conversation! 

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • This is totally not applicable to today's topic... but I just want to air some anonymous concerns with other mothers. I have two kids- 2 and 5 months. I recently became a stay-at-home mom. I used to be the go-getter type (moved across the country by myself, used to do lots of fun sporting type events independently, had loads of hobbies and friends) but now I feel that I lost all of that. I don't know how to verbalize my concerns very well. I just feel like I am flailing. I miss my old activities but hate inconveniencing my husband to watch our kids. I know that sounds ridiculous. He says the 5-month-old cries the whole time I am gone and he freaks out if the 5-month-old spits up (which he does A LOT). I only get a break from my 5-month-old when I go to adoration weekly. My 2-year-old is very loveable and everyone she meets adores her. That said, she drives me CRAZY. Sometimes I want to spank her so hard for little things like whining or food pickiness or other annoying, yet, normal toddler activity. I cannot wait till she is no longer a toddler! Sometimes I stick her in front of a TV so that I can get a break from her. Its horrible. I absolutely love her, but she drives me NUTS. I know that none of this makes sense... but I just feel like I am having trouble. I have tried to talk to my husband about it and he gets angry at me for having any sort of negative feelings toward our "perfect" daughter. I have decided that I need to stop talking to him about it because it leads to more trouble. I feel selfish for having these thoughts. I pray for help. Today I began to wonder if I need to be on some sort of anti-anxiety med, but I don't want to be dependent on meds or have to go off/on it for pregnancies and breastfeeding. I have no concrete reason to feel this way, I just do. I just want to be a good mom.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 9:05 AM by Losing my mind

  • You are a good mom because you can see that things could be better at home. God asks only that we try our best each day and he makes up for our deficienes (thank goodness!). This was/is a very difficult thing for me to learn/remember. That being said do you know other moms with kids close in age to yours? Getting together once a week with another mom (not necessarily the same one each week) helps me to see that 1) all moms have simliar feelings, and 2) my kids behavior is similar to others. It also givse me an opportunity to have a conversation with another adult and discuss different ways to handle situations that are driving me crazy (like my 10 year old who can't seem to put clean the bathroom up after he is finished taking a shower). It's okay if you need a break from the kids, that's healthy. I'm a big fan of mother's morning out programs. My three year old goes twice a week for 3 hours. He has so much fun and I get so much done during that time. I feel refreshed and ready to play when he comes home. As far as having friends, it is hard when your time is limited, your friends have their own families, and perhaps are scattered across the country. I do have one friend I have dinner with once a month. Also, three friends and I get together once a year for a long weekend without our husbands and children. I literally count the days down until the two events happen. Would something like this be feasible for you? I hope this was helpful and I'm so glad you get to go to weekly adoration alone. In fact I'm a bit jealous. I usually have at least one child, usually two with me and I'm so distracted by them!

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 9:52 AM by Jenny

  • Thanks, Jenny. I have taken many of the steps that you have advised. My daughter goes to a MMO twice a week for 3 hours, which is definitely helpful. I usually pack lots of play dates in each week so that I can talk to my mom-friends and let her get her energy out with friend's kids. I should take the time to get out of the house with a girlfriend or even my husband. Good idea. I guess I should have clarified... 3 years ago I was cycling 40 miles a day and skiing 3 days a week. Now? None of that. I sold my bike to help finance our wedding and I have skied twice in the last 2 years. I feel so antsy/on edge all the time. I do take the kiddos to the gym a couple of times a week so that I can get my energy out on the treadmill. My biggest concern is my thoughts of harming my daughter (spanking). I have spanked her before. I have yelled at her before. I hate how it makes both of us feel/act. I have promised her/myself that I would stop spanking and/or yelling, but then I find myself doing it again.. and again... I recently read a book called "Parenting with Grace" by Gregory Popcak. It made me feel like a complete FAILURE. I feel like I am losing all the attachment that I ever gained with my toddler and makes me feel like I can do nothing but fail my son someday, too. I don't understand why her normal toddler behavior can bother me this much. (ie-asking for snacks, refusing foods, asking me to do things for her while I am feeding the baby, running away when I need to dress her, etc). It should not bother me this much, but it does. She deserves better. Again, thank you, Jenny.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 10:14 AM by Losing my mind

  • Oh, you sound like my twin, Losing my mind! I have been feeling the exact. same. way. lately. Truth is, who would sign up to work for a client who whined, cried, yelled, etc. like toddlers do?! Its normal to feel frustrated by facing it day in and day out! You have to "be the mom," though: you are in charge. Force some balance into your life... for everyone's sake! Here are the 10 things I am doing. It is helping, but has not been a "cure," so I hope others post here, too. 1) schedule a break for yourself. KNOW that you are going to park them in front of a wholesome movie for one hour at such-and-such a time. That way you KNOW you have a break coming! 2) schedule some quiet time. Quiet reading, quiet coloring, quiet resting/nap (if yours still nap), etc. 3) Schedule some one-on-one with each child. 20 - 30 minutes. When its over, you get up and go do something else for a little bit. But then you can continue on in your day, knowing you gave them some full-attentiveness. 4) Schedule a clean-up time. For us, its 15 mins before my husband gets home. I put on a movie (again) to park the kids, and I run around putting the junk away. It lasts all of five minutes after hubs gets home, but at least he walks in a a nice-looking place. 5) Daily bath time. Fill it with toys. Put down a high-quality no-slip on the bottom of your tub. Then, as long as you have independent-sitters, you can sit on the toilet seat and get some time not being touched by anyone! 6) Check out the stay-at-home-mom survival guide website. It has MANY ideas of things to do. 7) Get out for you, with them. I love thrift-store browsing. I pop them in the shopping cart and that is what we do once-a-month. My mom thinks its mean that I "make them tag along" while I try on stuff for myself, etc.... but I have my own sanity to keep, too! Don't listen to people who say you should only think about your kids, only! Watch them. They do NOT live this way. Even those Popcaks. Where do you think they find time to write those books?? (Not bashing them... just pointing out that EVERYONE gets away from their kids or does things "for themselves" with their kids SOMETIMES. They just may not acknowledge or admit it.) 8) Get dressed and put on make up everyday. I don't dress like I did for my pre-mama job, but I do dress "out to lunch with friends" style everyday. It keeps me feeling good about me. I used to lounge around in yoga pants all day, but then I realized my attitude was going down the tube, too. No good. 9) Start a journal and fill it with three POSITIVE things everyday. Three things you are grateful for. NEVER write anything negative. And don't duplicate what you have already written. Brainstorming for something positive to say (or actively trying to tuck aside a cute comment or fun moment for future writing-down) is a HUGE mood-booster! 10) Give options!!! But choose them wisely. For example, we love to offer our 3-year-old the option of eating all the food on her plate or just eating four bites (since WE make the "bite" sizes, "four bites" is usually a subtantial amount of food & sometimes happens to be the "whole thing," too, haha! Don't tell our daughter!) Other options, "Do you want to walk holding my hand or be carried to the car?" If she's been whiney all day and I need a break but she keeps INSISTING she will have ONLY ME (mom), we say things like, "Do you want Dad to read you a book *now* or Mom to read you a book *later*?" I'll post other ideas if I get them.... Sorry this is long and unformatted!

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:23 PM by Jen

  • Losing my mind: I know exactly where you're coming from. I was so similar and I believe there is a difference between mothers who were always the homebody types and mothers like us, who were always doing, achieving, going, trying, succeeding, (I made $100k+ for quite a few years before I had kids), or at least, the kind of people who could not only survive on our own, but thrive by being alone. There's no doubt in my mind that infant/baby/toddler years are harder on personality types like ours. If you can at all get a babysitter, get one. I didn't have family, so I had to pay, but it was an investment in my mental health. And you will love it when they get old enough to go to school; you'll get part of your day back (no homeschooling for me; the very thought made me shudder). I was also a near-pro athlete, like yourself, but also very involved in the arts and successfully so. My saving grace was taking advanced classes/training in the things that I loved, so that I wasn't out of it. Once the youngest goes to school, the whole picture changes for the better. This is temporary.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 12:29 PM by It's temporary

  • Aaaahhh, thank you guys for responding! Jen, I am going to save you're entire dialogue for future reference and definitely reflect on what I am grateful for. The bath idea is wonderful, too. I, also, wonder about the Popcaks. HOW? HOW are they so patient? We just got back from the Library. A 50-something woman peered into my stroller and saw my sleeping 5-month-old and rudely said, "I bet he's sweating to death." I glared at her and almost screamed, "I'm TRYING, OK?" but I refrained and almost cried instead. Days like these are NOT easy on me. "It's temporary", I absolutely love your idea about taking a class. I definitely need a creative outlet (one that doesn't involve a paint-covered and running toddler, either). Thank you all for making me realize that this is normal. Despite being with other mom-friends a few times a week, we often don't talk candidly about these type of things.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 1:21 PM by Losing my Mind

  • Losing My Mind: I just wanted to say that I am really sorry for your experience with that woman and her rude comment. I know that is only a small piece of the struggles that you're dealing with, but that one resonated with me. I know how hard it is to avoid taking that kind of thing seriously, especially when feeling insecure about motherhood in general. (I also relate to overreacting to the normal toddler behavior; I get much more frustrated than I should about certain behaviors, even though I love these early years and love being home for them.)

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 1:51 PM by Claire S

  • We all lose our minds sometimes. When my first two were small, I started training to be a catechist with The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. While I love the program, the secondary benefit was that I had to use my brain -- read real books, do assignments, etc.. I joined our parish book club. Nothing like reading C.S. Lewis after a day of Dr. Seuss. Now that I have just one at home, I battle loneliness. I've always been a mother who needs a little extra mental stimulation and maybe a deadline or two to keep me moving and thinking and doing and, most of all, happy. I started blogging. I use my brain, record memories of my kids, and make a little money. The truth is not every age is appealing to every mother. My neighbor felt like the worst mother ever because she just did not enjoy babies. She is an exceptional mother to teenagers! Keep praying for grace, work on patience (right along with the rest of us), but don't beat yourself up.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 1:58 PM by Kelly @ In the Sheepfold

  • @Losing My Mind. I would echo what everyone else has said that it sounds pretty normal to me--as I have said before 2 of my 7 have been well loved by their mother (me LOL) at age 3 but NOT well liked. Having said that I also think that the only person who can really tell if you need some extra help is you. By extra help I mean seeking out some professional parenting help so that you have other ways to deal with the little ankle biters! Most county extension offices offer these types of classes--if nothing else call the county social worker and ask about classes available for people who want to pass a home study for adoption/fostering. I know tons of people who have gained a lot from these classes--mostly people who just want to learn to be better parents! Just a thought.

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 2:50 PM by Lisa

  • Losing my Mind: I can SO relate! Especially about the negative thoughts about your children. Though I love my children so very much, at times, I feel a "mommy monster" has taken over me, and I simply cannot make myself be patient of kind for one more nano-second! This really bothered me for a long time (our oldest of 4 is 7.5) and has scared me in the past year. I have also read the Parenting with Grace book, which I love, but also makes me feel like a huge failure! I finally knew that something was just really off with my emotions/moods and have been a recent patient of the Pope Paul the Sixth institute in Omaha, NB. They have taken my blood work, and my monthly charts and we realized that I have very low progesterone levels (etc), which bring on depression/strange moods (negative thoughts!) through much of the month. When I read the accounts of other mothers struggling much the way you wrote about, and about how they found complete relief from the help of the Institute, I couldn't believe how similar my story is. I am praying that next month when I begin treatment, things will even out. I highly suggest you looking into the web site and reading up on Post pardem depression, or PMS syndrome, both of which are very REAL issues and could be a piece of your puzzle as well, especially with a 5 month old:) Also, maybe you read it, but at the end of the Parenting with Grace book is a beautiful section on how our lives have seasons, and we are able to do some things in certain seasons, which are not as possible in others. Maybe it isn't possible to do the 40 miles a day, but perhaps you could train for an upcoming Tough Mudder? Or join a baby boot camp? Whatever you do, please remember that you are certainly NOT the only one to feel the way you are towards your beautiful children, it is human, and sometimes, is hormone related. God Bless you in your parenting and hope to hear an update sometime soon:) MNS~

    Posted on Jan 30th, 2013 at 4:52 PM by MNS in Oregon

  • To Losing My Mind: I just want to second the comments of MNS and urge you to get some professional help if you suspect you need it. Every mother has bad days, and having little children at home is not the bliss that some women make it out to be. But as someone who has had postpartum depression, it is a totally different ball game than being bored at home with kids. I am in no way trying to diagnose you --- as someone else said, only you can know how deep your feelings are right now, and you need to listen to yourself. Maybe you were just having a particularly trying day when you wrote your comments. That being said, do not avoid seeing a counselor or doctor out of fear of what they will tell you. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression about two months after having my second child (my first was about 20 months old at the time). My midwife immediately recommended I try an antidepressant and I trusted her completely so I did. It was something I never thought I would end up doing, but it was the best decision I could have made. After a few days of feeling better, I really felt like I had missed two months of my daughter's life. I went off the medicine over the summer (daughter was born in November) and then the next winter I was depressed again. Turns out I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (basically, I am depressed every winter). I use a light box now and it works wonders. I am not trying to tell you that you are depressed. I am not urging you to go on a prescription. I am urging you to be open to getting whatever help you need right now, whether a doctor or counselor, a babysitter, whatever. Don't worry about future pregnancies right now!! Everything in God's time. Have you considered getting a part-time job? Don't box yourself in to "the one-and-only right way" of being a good mother. Good mothers sometimes need to stand up for themselves. Aside from seeing a professional, work really hard to get your kids on some sort of predictable schedule (if they already aren't). Work on getting them napping at the same time so you have a reliable break everyday. Babies and toddlers, even napping ones, need a lot of sleep, so get them to bed early. If the baby is sleeping, she won't cry for your husband when you grab a coffee break. Hire cleaning help if you can afford it, so you can just relax when they are napping. And, again, if you think about taking a coffee break and know that it isn't really going to help the way you are feeling, go talk to someone.

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 7:25 AM by Andrea

  • Thank you to "Losing my mind" and all of the helpful comments that were posted, too! I really feel better after reading through everything...and am going to try some of those ideas, for the good of my family. I will pray you have peace, and let mean people's comment/digs fly off of you like feathers...it's hard when you are really trying and it seems everyone finds fault with the way you are being Mom. I always felt panicky and slightly deranged from birth to about age 2, I was absolutely petrified something would happen to the baby. Then, at age 2 to 4 they have the tantrums and the "no" phase. I often just want to cry and curl up in a ball and I thought something was wrong with me! {I chalked it up to being an "Antique Mommy" who started having a family well into my thirties, who used to work out of the home and just needed to get my head around my new *job*}. Gee whiz, I truly loved my kids but didn't always like them much! One thing that helped us, was getting outside for them to use up their extra energy=stomping puddles, throwing leaves making a fort or other things that work for you. Hang in there, and thanks again for bringing your post to this forum!

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 9:22 AM by Yes to these things!

  • "losing my mind," no time to read the other responders, but you're not along and you're not a bad mom. Trust me, your 2-year-old is not going to remember the few times you lost it. She's going to remember all the time and love you gave her. At 2, even the "experts" say up to 2 hrs. of TV a day is okay. Don't feel guilty. I recently created a schedule that really helps, very simple, like "bring Daddy to work; breakfast; play time; snack and a tv show; naptime." My 2 year old LOVES it. Then when he asks for a show, I can say "let's look at the schedule, it's not show time yet. It's snack time." And that will keep him happy. Be realistic: say to yourself, okay, ideally they wouldn't be watching TV, but since they end up doing it every day anyway, let's make a specific time every day for them to watch a show, so it doesn't get out of hand. I am on anti-depressants too but I think the biggest difference was seeing a therapist. I got married right out of college, so I didn't have to really give up a career or independence, but I _still_ feel like I'm stifling at home! I just got a part-time job that has REALLY helped. It's just at a supermarket deli--not a lot of money or challenging intellectual stuff--but just getting out and doing something adult and feeling competent has helped tremendously. And it has helped my husband to understand why I am bored and frustrated being at home, because he watches the kids while I work. Hang in there, ladies! I'm praying for you today.

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 12:01 PM by Rosie

  • I wish you ladies could all come over for coffee. I think all of you are so caring and helpful. I was fearful that someone would comment that I was indeed selfish. I am saying prayers of thanks for all of you. I am not myself... and I do miss myself. Sometimes, I do believe that I need to get over my shame of speaking with my physician about it. I have a good Catholic doc who may be able to tell if my progesterone is low, but I have not started charting, as I am often up through the night with the baby and my fertility has not yet returned. If I can work up the nerve to speak with him I will come back and let you know. Andrea, I have considered a part-time job, as I used to be a nurse and could easily work only a few shifts per month. That said, I am petrified of leaving my 5-month-old for such a long time. He's such a little "mama's boy" and is still nursing like a newborn. I am so glad that many of you can relate. Your words are on my heart and I managed not to threaten a spank to my 2-year-old this morning, despite several tantrums. She's quite emotional and JUST like ME! :-) God bless her. Thank you!

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 12:10 PM by Losing My Mind

  • I wish I could have coffee with all you wonderful ladies, too! :) And this conversation has given me the courage to sit down and talk with my husband about how I have not felt like myself for awhile, too. I think I may have had PPD last year and never really gotten "better" (even though my son is now 15 months old). Never said a word to anyone about it, though. I know my husband has suffered quietly, though. Time to get some help...

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 3:33 PM by Jen

  • Losing My Mind- You are definitely not alone! I can't add much to the great advice above. (In fact, I may have to steal some of it). But 3 additional thoughts.....1. If a "babysitter" is too much, get a mother's helper. Maybe a neighborhood middle school-high school kid who can come over to the house after school for an hour or 2 and watch your 2 year old. Then you don't have to leave the house, but they can entertain her and keep her out of your hair. 2. Consider reading "Love and Logic". It's a discipline approach for kids - mostly geared to kids over 3 but we have implemented a lot of things already (my twins are 2 1/2). One thing I realized reading it was a lot of the techniques they recommend really are about the parents learning how to handle normal and aberrant toddler behavior. So when one or both of my kids are throwing tantrums I think what I should be doing and try to keep my cool 3. Join a mom's group of women who do talk candidly about real life issues. My mom's group at church is very small but the women are real. I am blessed to know alot of women who can share their experiences and it is really helpful. Good luck!

    Posted on Jan 31st, 2013 at 10:44 PM by JT

  • Again, thank you! And, Jen, best wishes with getting help. I think I need to get help, too. I don't understand PPD very well b/c I absolutely LOVE my kids and feel like they have given me such a great appreciation for life. I felt a greater amount of love when I had a second child, too, which makes me look forward to having a third child some day (maybe). That said, these low moments are too hard to handle. This really is a roller coaster. Very high and so very low.

    Posted on Feb 1st, 2013 at 10:06 AM by Losing my Mind

  • Wow. Such great comments from lovely people! I have a 4yr old, 2yr old, & 7mos twins....happy mom=happy baby/kids=happy home! So simple & true. After my 1st son I was hit hard w/PPD (overwhelmed, started many things but couldn't finish, felt like a cloud was hanging over my head)I felt embarrassed for going to the Dr. but was encouraged by my sister-in-law & husband. I got immediate relief from an antidepressant....& it changed my world. I dislike the stigma behind it---you are not weak for being on it. It's all brain chemistry & balancing you out again (pregnancy puts your body in a blender!)---so if you are curious ask the dr. Hang in there. I always thought "terrible twos" was just a myth....HA!!!!! You're not alone, my dear! God bless you!!

    Posted on Feb 1st, 2013 at 10:12 PM by Avk

  • I miss Faith and Family Live and do not know if I am posting in the right place. I have a daughter receiving her First Holy Communion this year and am interested in chatting with other parents who want to get involved in the preparation but her Catholic School has not been very communicative at all about the celebration of the sacrament and I want to outreach to other parents.

    Posted on Feb 2nd, 2013 at 9:55 PM by unknown

  • Unknown, I am going to post your comment on this morning's (Monday's) coffee talk. Check there.

    Posted on Feb 4th, 2013 at 5:55 AM by Rebecca Teti