I just wanted to add my own experience. I adopted as a single mom at the age of 42, and there have been many times when I have thought that it was a huge mistake and even considered going back to the adoption agency and asking them to find my daughter a new family. The sleep deprivation really got to me in the first year, and the 2nd and now 3rd year I get overwhelmed by the toddler defiance, the slowness at getting out the door, the never ending demands for my attention. However, I love my daughter very much, and I believe that all the challenges I face are God's way of opening up my heart to love others--the self that I was when I was just me before I was a mom is undergoing a transformation, a maturation from my self-based life to a life of service to others. That doesn't make it any easier, but for all the freedom and disposable income I had before my daughter, I really lived a fairly sterile life--my heart was not challenged. And sometimes I just have to pray (after cussing out God for awhile) with the admittance that I am overwhelmed and in over my head, and I am giving what I need to get through the day.

I really like the suggestions that Paulamom (did I get that name right?) posted last month--they are very helpful! The times I do best as a mom are when:

1) I let go of my ideas about how the day should go and what I 'need' to do;

2) I change the environment when I am really starting to lose it--for example, take a walk or go out in the backyard when things are getting tense with my daughter and I after work. One night, the bedtime thing was really bad--she used to get out of bed for a few weeks--and one night she kept getting up and creeping down the hall, finally about 10:30 pm (I hate having my mommy time interrupted) I was getting angry about it, and I just said F** it.... I put on an Iggy Pop CD and we wound up dancing around the living room together to loud rock music--but having a ball...I think it let us both release stress, do it together and then I was able to get her back to bed. I've found other times when I just give up, she comes around--there have been a few times when she wouldn't put on her pjs, so I just went in my room, put on my pjs and went to bed--of course, my daughter just would not go for that, and had to put on her jammies too.

Oh, and the last thing that I wanted to add is that my friends whose kids are older reassure me that even by the time she's 4 years old things will get easier--she'll be able to do more for herself, and so on. I seem to have an inability to put things in perspective--I think that what's going on now is the way it will always be. But of course, that's just my thinking, which I often confuse with reality!!!