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What are some ways that you have found effective for managing stress with little ones? I have two daughters plus another on the way, and my wife and I are having difficulty keeping up. My wife especially has been having to deal with them at home all day while I’m at work, which usually entails them screaming a lot, sometimes at the same time, and generally making it difficult or impossible for her to get things done around the house. By the time I get home we’re both very tired and usually manage to get on each others nerves some way or another. This seems like a golden opportunity to practice virtue, but it just isn’t turning out that way. Any advice and prayer is appreciated.
(02-26-2022, 02:07 PM)friendly.neighborhood.papist Wrote: [ -> ]What are some ways that you have found effective for managing stress with little ones? I have two daughters plus another on the way, and my wife and I are having difficulty keeping up. My wife especially has been having to deal with them at home all day while I’m at work, which usually entails them screaming a lot, sometimes at the same time, and generally making it difficult or impossible for her to get things done around the house. By the time I get home we’re both very tired and usually manage to get on each others nerves some way or another. This seems like a golden opportunity to practice virtue, but it just isn’t turning out that way. Any advice and prayer is appreciated.
Sadly I don't have any advice that might prove permanently useful. I used to have horrible anxiety and crippling stress. Then one day, I just kind of became apathetic to most things. Now I don't generally suffer from stress. That said, I know breathing, sleep, exercise, and a good diet help.
I have two littles and am pregnant with a third, so I will take a break from constantly retching and peeing and will offer some advice.

Make time for your hobbies. If you don't have a hobby, pick one up. Bonus points if that hobby is something like spiritual reading, but it doesn't have to be. I love writing and reading fanfiction, so when the kiddos are asleep, I'll spend a little while doing one of those things and it helps tremendously. Even half an hour after a full of day of work + taking care of the kiddos helps reset my brain.

Don't put too much stress on yourselves for things to be perfect, or even "normal", especially when your wife is pregnant. Genesius has a point about being apathetic about things. That happened for me, too--one day, my brain could just not process everything that was going on, and I seemed to go into survival mode. The important things should come first--healthy food, clean clothes, and clean children. Everything else is a bonus. When things ease up--when the children get older--then you can bring some of the peripheral stuff back into play (dusting every day, clothes color coordinated in the closet, etc.).

Do you guys know each others' love language? Make sure you're both helping each other out, even if that help is to just stay out of each others' way. Maybe give your wife a break when you get home from work by helping bathe the kiddos, reading to them, saying prayers and putting them into bed. Also tell her that she's doing a great job, that the house looks great, she's being a trooper about her pregnancy, stuff like that.

I hope this helps a little! Congratulations and good luck!
I will second Tambourine's post!

I am a stay-at-home mother of two under 5. What helps my husband and I manage our stress is making sure we have adequate time for our hobbies and to decompress. We've sort of made a deal that one night a week he has "daddy night" and one night a week I have "mommy night." It starts after dinner and goes until the kids' bedtime...usually 2-3 hours. He'll just take a nap sometimes, maybe goes to the cigar shop, piddles in the garden or goes to adoration. I will go to a coffee shop and read, go to adoration, or work on a sewing project quietly in another room while he plays with the kids. Things like that.

He handles bedtime some nights, helps clean the kitchen a lot, and helps some with laundry too. That helps me find a little bit of time to sit down after standing, cleaning, entertaining, and keeping kids out of trouble all day. After the family rosary and the kids are in bed, we end our day by kneeling and praying Compline from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary together. I don't know why specifically, but that's been great for our relationship. Praying as a couple is pretty valuable.

The "love language" thing is important too. We've established that my husband needs physical affection and warmth and that I need to feel respected for the work I do all day because society at large doesn't honor it and that's a big bummer with real emotional and motivational effects.

You have to find a way to help each other. Communication is key, and so is understanding each other's needs. Have some conversations to make a plan to manage stress, even if it means staying up late a few nights to hash it out. That's really important!

I know it's a tough phase, but you're in my prayers.