Going out with my kids is stressful, or is it me?
These past two years, there have been some days that I do not feel happy. It took me a while to realize that. Today is one of those rare days that I feel unhappy, and I know it is all on me. I feel mom guilt for it because I have the family I have always wanted and I would not have it any other way. I truly love my family, my husband, daughters, step-kids. It is just that I feel that at this point in my life, going out is stressful. I am sure a great part of it has to do with my health which is also stressful because it is one of those things that only I can feel something is not right but to other people, I may look perfectly healthy. I would rather stay home.
Sometimes I just feel like I cannot have fun or enjoy things as I used to. It is as if I am having a short temper all the time and do not think my husband is funny as I thought he used to be. See why I said it is all on me? Because no one is responsible for my happiness but I.
I would rather stay at home and not go out with my girls because my toddler is so active that she cannot stay still unless she is in her high chair eating and/or watching her favorite cartoon. She also tends to get louder if she does not get her way. This happens at restaurants, family gatherings, parties, or just visiting family. I wonder if she is like that because of her age (she is 2yrs and 3 months) or if it is something else. My other two daughters were not even close to how active this one is.
I often wonder, had she not been so active, would I enjoy going out to dinner or family parties with her, or just going out with my kids is stressful? We have been to a few this year and it has been super stressful for me. I did not want to admit it but it is soooo stressful. Even though my husband is super helpful and loving, I still feel the stress building up when it is he or my oldest daughter who is running after her for a while. I then feel the need to take over because I cannot relax watching that scenario after a while. I know it is normal at some point but if you would see her in action you would understand. It is as if instead of getting tired, she just gets wired up and goes from one thing to the other as if she is doing it unconsciously.
I really do not know how this whole hyperactiveness situation would be if she would not be so loving and sweet (she says “I love you mommy” all day a ton of times, and hugs and kisses me a ton of times too.) Perhaps I would not like her as much. Do not get me wrong, I would love her like I do now, so much, but like her a lot? Maybe not… My husband says that she kind of “plays” us because when she is doing something she is not supposed to do, she immediately says, “I love you mommy” or “I love you daddy,” or says “hug” while running towards either one of us. She started doing that two months ago.
Therefore, I try to avoid situations that would make me stress out. One of those is going out to friends and family, places, or gatherings. I do think that I might be selfish because all I am thinking is how it is going to affect me, how it is going to stress me out. Sometimes I do not think about it and we all go out, let’s say to great-grandma’s house, and it is there where I think “why did we come? What was I thinking?” Because it is when I see my toddler trying to get into everything and us going after her or saying no to her or other people saying no to her, that I regret going out. It is not your typical situation where you just say no and then she stays put for a few minutes. No. She just goes on to the next thing to do or grab. Non-stop. If we try to keep her sitting down with us, she just starts screaming, or crying, or throws herself to the floor throwing a tantrum.
I keep telling myself that it is probably just a phase in her toddlerhood years. However, I sometimes doubt myself and start to wonder if something is going on. As a mom, I would like to know sooner than later so I can help her out in the best way I can. With that being said, I asked her doctor if she could have ADHD but she said it is too early to assess/know because toddlers at this age tend to be really active. I asked because I really do not know what to think. In the back of my mind, it is as if I know something is going on with her. I do not think something bad is going on because as the doctor said, she has not shown any delay. She has accomplished all her milestones at the appropriate age, some of them earlier, and she speaks/understands two languages. What I do know is that she seems stuck in this cycle of lacking sleep and therefore getting hyper, as if she is running on adrenaline or something. Therefore, I asked for a sleep study. The doctor did not really want to refer my daughter to have one but after my insistence, she did.
So, should I still go out with my daughters or avoid the situation completely? I know it is unfair to my other two daughters that just because my toddler cannot stay still for a while I do not take them out. I came to realize that I need to take care of myself too, and stress is not good for anyone. I have been thinking of a middle ground. Perhaps, outings where my toddler can run around and feel free such as in the parks, or fields, or the beach. Of course, I would still have to watch her and prevent her from getting hurt but the space she will have to run around will be bigger than if we go to other people’s houses or parties. That way she gets to feel some freedom without being chased after so much or hearing a lot of no’s or getting redirected; and I do not get so stressed out thinking that she can break something at other’s houses or get into stuff she is not supposed to!
Do you feel that going out is stressful too? What have you done? Do you have any other ideas of less stressful outings?