Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.
To not be coping. rant alert and long alert(56 Posts)
I am not expecting much sympathy for my complaint but I just need to offload. I'm really struggling to bring up my two toddlers. They are 18 months apart and were/are my dream come true but it's so fucking hard.
When I have read others saying similar things about struggling with little ones the general consensus seems to be 'well my gran had 28 kids and she never complained' or 'they are only little for a short while, you'll miss this as they get older'. Well atm I just can't wait to get this stage over with.
I adore them and of course I love them with all my heart but why are they so unreasonable (i know why, it's because they are toddlers).
I had two close together because of health issues, basically the advice was: 'it's now or never". A family is everything I ever dreamed of but I just didnt expect it to be this hard. Sometimes I just want to scream or run away.
It doesnt help that I have severe PND; I was also blessed with extreme SPD from which I havent recovered so every day is a mental and physical struggle. My own mum is an NPD riddled fire breathing violent and abusive woman and my siblings and I have all been affected in different ways, the upshot being that I don't have any family support. My DH has little or no family to speak of; subsequently we have 'managed' everything on our own. My DH is the most supportive man I could ever hope to meet but honestly I am bringing him down with my inability to manage and he really cant understand why I find the kids so hard.
They are not the same around him though, they are obviously picking something up from my mood, when they see me they become desperate cling ons, both wanting cuddles, carrying and not wanting to share me with the other. The youngest is always shrieking and screaming if I put him down for a minute and always pushed the eldest off my lap or pulling her hair, They are always fighting and snatching off each other so I cant even leave the room for a fucking minute. To help me to feel better I paid a substantial sum to have a colour and style consultation but most days I look like someone who doesnt give a shit about themselves. Even when I do dress nicely and put on makeup (rare) they wreck my hair & wipe crap all over my clothes.
My husband often takes the kids off me when hes home to give me 'me time' which I love but the feeling doesnt last as I when i return they always revert to screaming shrieking chaos.
i am not coping with anything, the GP just keeps recommending different anti Ds. i have had counselling and am 'having' CBT. i've been reassured by professionals that everything is normal, the kids, my responses but if it's normal why is it so fucking shit? why don't any other mothers i know feel the same way? All the other women i meet seem serene with beatific smiles and when i broach the subject of struggling people look really shocked , those with two or more say things like 'oh it's no different having one more to look after' 'bring it on' and that sort of thing. Most people seem to find it good fun which makes me hate myself even more.
I feel guilty about feeling this way, i find it hard to give my kids constant stimulation when i try to read to them it always ends in massive rivalry, fighting, pulling hair etc as they both either want me or the book to themselves. I can't give them one to one attention at the same time as the little on always wants what the other one has and leaving them alone to 'learn through play' but it doesn't last long because they always end up in a snatching incident.
the worst thing of all is that they have both given up on daytime naps so not only are they up all day marauding and tormenting but they are also knackered and volatile. I take them out to groups and park etc but geting out of the house is a fucking nightmare. In toddler groups the eldest is always unhappy unless she's on my lap and the same at the park, she wants to be with me all the time which makes it hard for the little one to get any enjoyment from the day. I don't work as it didn't work out well with nursery fees and every day is a non stop slog.
I'm aware that i sound like an ungrateful useless bitch, i have tried to do all the positive stuff like counting my blessings, all the counselling, drugs, CBT etc. but nothing is making any difference. why aren't i doing it better?
You do not sound like a ungrateful, useless bitch. At all. As you said, it's fucking hard.
You know why people look shocked when you bring up that you're struggling? It's not because no one struggles. It's because no one ever talks about struggling and they're surprised that you are. There are always going to be those mothers that look serene and for some of them their lives are just perfect
But then there are those other mums where everything looks great on the surface but they're struggling underneath. In the grips of my PND I never left the house without looking immaculate. Because, to me, if I looked good no one would suspect that I wasn't coping.
You are certainly not alone, and youre not a horrible mother for thinking it. And it seems like you're getting the best help, so good luck
You are mistaken that others find it easy - the don't, believe me. Everyone struggles, everyone. Toddlers are bloody annoying. They're lovely, and cute and funny and blah blah blah but god almighty are they a pain in the behind. You have two to deal with, on top of being very ill. The fact that you manage to get from one end of the day to the next without selling one of them to a passing circus is an achievement.
I have just the one, easygoing toddler (though I have another baby on the way) and some days he gets my goat so much I actually have trouble breathing I'm so wound up. If I had him times two, plus they were both more clingy and whingey I don't know how I'd manage, and that's without any SPD or PND.
How older is the elder one? Is there any possibility of putting her into nursery/playgroup a couple of mornings a week, just to have some breathing space?
This time will pass. And you won't miss it, I'm betting. There will come a day when the elder one starts school and the younger one becomes more reasonable and you will have more peace and quiet.
But in the meantime are the ADs helping at all? Are you getting physio for the SPD?
Everyone struggles to a degree. I'd imagine anyone who says they never find things difficult, is either on a lot of drugs, or lying.
My two are older than toddler age (one school age, one pre-school) and every day is a fucking struggle. Countdown to bedtime pretty much starts the minute we get up in the morning (even before several nights a week!).
Remember that this too will pass and have a big hug from me. We had twins and I can relate to how you feel. No real parental support either, DM died just after we wed. When they start school it gets a whole load better.
I think the key is learning to accept it is hard work. Rather than thinking why do others manage while I'm struggling say to yourself it is difficult looking after two little ones who are 18 months apart. When you accept this I think you can enjoy it more because you stop comparing yourselves with others.
Try and relax because the more relaxed you are the more relaxed they will be.
Take a step back occasionally and look at how small they really are. Sometimes this can help get things into perspective. Perhaps you're expecting too much from them.
To add, it's totally normal for children to behave differently around each parent. DS can be quite cheeky and demanding with me whereas he is sweetness and light with DH, who tends to more accommodating with him, probably due to the fact that he has to deal with him less! Don't see their behaviour as a reflection on you, it's just how they are at the moment, and it will change as they get older.
I just read the fist paragraph up untill 'my gran had 28 kids and never complained' and I just wanted to come and say
I have an amazing article for you to read, let me just go and find it.
I also have 2 toddlers 15 months apart and its hard, really HARD. complain all you like, I know you love them and would fight tooth and nail to protect them, but sometimes you just want to scream and palm them off with some one else. you miss having a tidy house and a full nights sleep, you miss having the bed to just you and dp. your sick of watching cbeebies (or other kids tv) and just want to see whats going on in the news and have a conversation about world politics even tho, youve never wanted to talk politics before! its bloody hard and you complain all you like.
I'll be back with that article in a second
thanks fobblywoof how did your pnd go? how did it manifest itself? mine has been effing yEARS!?
im glad your'e out the other side. When i mention pnd to anybody they dont know how to answer, if it's in a group they just go quiet and if it's one to one they just go quiet...when I talk to friends they are always surprised that it hasn't gone away. my DH is sick of it although he wil listen to me go on about it at the same time i can tell he's wondering hen I'm going to get back to 'normal'.
cailin my dd goes to preschool acouple of mornings a week which does really help but she cries every time i leave her and i feel really judged by the staff, they don't always help with their comments, she does enjoy it when she's there but she begs not to go every time. I was having physio but the clinic nearest to me closed and there isn't anywhere else locally that i can easily get to and it's awkward as I don't have help looking after the children as my DH works long hours during the week. I have paid privately but they said there was nothing more they could do and they expected me to have recovered by now. lifting two hulking great children around daily or pushing tem in a pushchair doesn't help. Everyone just thinks I'm better now as I'm doing so much more but every day is painful and by the time they go to bed I'm too sore to manage anything at all. I take anti ds but they make me feel odd plus a lot of it seems linked to my menstrual cycle and is worse at certain times of the month, particularly with anxiety.
kinky: thanks for saying that it's a struggle although im sorry to hear it, it does make me feel better that you countdown to bedtime! i do too then I spend the evening feeling guilty and replaying in my head how i could have managed the day better! I really don't want to wish their childhood away but I am not enjoying that much of it. it's not how I thought it'd be!
its titled why you're never failing as a mother
its the most amazing eye opening thing I have ever read!
thanks for the hugs pessarypam, what a lovely name ;0) i couldn't imagine twin babies, I am sorry that you had no outside support either. i truly believe that if we had more supportive friends or family things would have been a whole lot easier. As it is, none of our friends ever offer to babysit or help out I think it's because people see how demanding they are.
journey: i do try and stay relaxed but sometimes with my eldest the gloves are off the second she wakes, it feels like she's pushing constantly for attention and battling all the time, this of course sets the little one off and so the cycle starts. I know it's because they are so tiny and sometimes i honestly do expect more from them than they are capable of. i just want to beg them to be reasonable and i know that IABU on that!
cailin: the counsellor did say that children are often completely different around their dads. i get it but i wish they just werent quite as full on around me, then of course i go back to blaming myself because i'm the fucked up one and DH is totally level headed and normal which is why he doesn't have the same struggles as me.
addicted: I'm looking forward to reading that article. during my pregnancies when riddled with SPD and HG people would say things like 'pregnancies not an illness' and all the suck it up comments, and 'you are so lucky to be pregnant at all'. i just feel like i did the whole thing wrong!
Well my dd is only 10 months and generally (with tablets) I've been getting better. But I have my days! I'm sorry that you've had it for so long. My sister went through something similar, though she refused medication for the longest time.
Before DD I always thought that PND started right from the off, the moment of birth etc but in my case that certainly didn't happen. I realised I had it because I would fly off the handle with my DP. About the stupidest things. And even when I'd calmed down I thought I was perfectly right but there was a small voice in the back of my head saying "this isn't you". And I've never been like that before.
I even felt guilty and useless that I had it because my DD is such a calm, laid back little thing and was the most serene newborn anyone could ever wish for. And everyone would tell me how easy she was and it just made me feel shit that I was finding it hard. Some days I just didn't want to get up but I just didn't have that option.
You had HG? I also have a good book for that! one second!
Pregnancy is not an ilness, Hypermesis Gravidarum IS It was actually written by a friend of mine who had 3 hg pregnancies in 3 years. Shes very honest about what she went through and how she was treated and how it took her untill the 3rd pregnancy to find proper help
Babies and toddlers are fucking and work and anyone who says otherwise either has miracle children or some superpower I lack. The main think that got me through was the thought that every day survived was one day less I would have to live that hell. Now the DDs are 4 and 7, and they're fantastic. Still far from perfect but at least able to feed/clothe/wipe themselves, and it makes such a difference.
And I can assure you, if your DH had the children full-time and you just for an hour here and there, you would be the level-headed relaxed one and he would be tearing his hair out.
All I can suggest is drag help in when you can, try to let the little stuff go (pick your battles) and grit your teeth until it's over.
Ditto to a lot in your post OP but I have one just started school & one nearly a year. I haven't even bothered with seeing GP or counselling etc as I find it hard enough to get through a "normal" day without having to go to an appointment as well so you have done more than me on that front! Mostly I don't think about it as too involved with kid-wrangling & supporting stuff. We are reasonably clean & eat ok but don't seem to achieve much more than that. Sorry no magic solution to offer, pretty much in the same boat.
love the blog.
kids are hard work full stop. doing a crap job bringing them up is easy peasy a crap mother doesn't worry about any of the things you posted about.
so for a start you a doing a great job you love them and are trying to do the best for them give yourself credit for that
on a practical note what about doing some parenting classes most of the behaviour you have said the children have seems to be attention seeking. I know you are spending time with them but there is a huge difference between positive attention and negative attention.
pop over to the behavioural section I guarantee a few small changes will make a huge difference to you and the children. you will start to enjoy spending time with them and in return they will value the time they spend with you
my eldest 2 have only a year between them and I honestly don't know what I would have done with the help and support of my local family centre.
Also someone on here had a saying they used to live life by, she also had 2 toddlers, she said she printed it out and stuck it up and if that saying was true at the end of the day it had been a successful day.
Everyones fed, no-ones dead
Its very true, its now my measure of a successful day
I have only ever had one child and holy crap, chunky, I struggled like you wouldn't believe when he was a toddler.
I adored him, truly - I would have stabbed anyone who laid so much as a finger on him. But I was also bored shitless by him a lot of the time. I found playing with him tedious & irritating (mostly) and my days were spent clock watching because I couldn't wait for it to be his bedtime.
That sounds terrible, and I felt terrible at the time. I was convinced motherhood should be me floating around with a beatific smile on my face, making pasta pictures & baking cakes. I fell so far short of that I hated myself.
At one point I called social services asking for help and telling them that I couldn't cope - but they wouldn't offer any because, the simple fact was, I WAS coping. He was happy, healthy, well fed and cared for. This was how I was expressing my love for him at that time, by pasting a smile on my face, going through the motions & keeping him safe.
It IS hard but it WILL get better. You have my personal guarantee on that. And you are not a bad mother - a bad mother wouldn't be posting on here, worrying about whether or not she's a bad mother.
You sound like a brilliant mum to me
2 nineteen months apart nearly broke me. Anyone who says it is easy is lying.
You will come out the other side, honestly. It does get better. At this stage, I would not expect anything more of yourself than making it through the day. Call in all the help you can, hang in there with the preschool, and make as many windows as you can for a 5 minute break. A year from now, it will be loads better, and two years from now you will actually be enjoying (some of) it. Honest.
addicted: I love that article I think I might print it out to keep close by, plus all the comments on here, I was honestly expecting to be told to pull my finger out and just get on with it. I could have done with the HG book earlier, it looks fab! I was sick (literally) of having to justify my various physical symptoms to other people. It got to the point where I preferred not to see anybody at all which certainly didn't help my mental state.
fobbly: thanks for sharing that. It took a long time for me to realise something as off I have suffered depression in the past but this was something different altogether, I honestly thought it was due to exhaustion and that if I could only sleep I would be better. I started to feel quite psychotic and have been having horrible horrible anxiety symptoms which are quite frightening, then I wouldn't take medication for a long time as have been on so many drugs for SPD through my pregnancies and while breastfeeding that I just didn't want to add to the mix.
haha annie I do count down the days and I know it'll pass fast in the scheme of things. My DH does show impatience sometimes particularly with the eldest dd as she is a real trial at the moment, but bless her she's so funny and clever and so desperate to be the one and only.
idlevice sorry to hear you're going through the same shit. Well done for getting through each day. I hope you do feel able to get some help if you think that you need it. I have not found a miracle cure but at least I feel better than I did. I sought help in the end because I was frightened of where my brain was taking me, I thought I was going to end up dead or in a psychiatric unit, sometimes I wish I had gone into hospital just for a break and to let somebody else take control of me and my life but I am so scared of what people might say and how differently they would treat me afterwards.
My eldest two (now 6 and 8) have 19 months between them and it is a freaking miracle that I didn't lose my mind when they were toddlers. I think I've blocked out the worst of it but I have so many memories of sitting on the hall floor, sobbing my heart out with stress while they trashed the lounge and threw food at each other.
It is not easy and I don't know anyone at all who genuinely found it so. I know lots of people - and I can include myself in that - who put on a brave face and beamed with pride when people asked me what it was like, told them all it was wonderful and "just such a blessing" because I couldn't bear for them to know that I was dying inside and came this close to walking out so many days.
However, it does get easier. Either that or I just learned to cope better... Now they're slightly older, I can have actual conversations with them (which admittedly still sometimes involve me shrieking and threatening to run away with the circus for a quieter life).
You'll get there, I promise. But in the meantime stop beating yourself up for not coping, because nobody does. Also abandon pride and ask for help from everyone going. Talk to your hv about things like Homestart too.
ikissedsanta i will give the behaviour section a look, I need to do something about it because all my well laid rules and boundaries are being broken right left and centre, i am giving in too easily, not carrying through with consequences and generally getting a bit sluggish about the whole thing which doesn't help in terms of them knowing where they stand and feeling secure. I used to go to the family centre but found some of the mums really bitchy and cliquey, openly criticising other parents in front of staff and it made me uncomfortable so I stopped going, maybe it's time to try again.
ellie: what lovely things to say thank you :0) that's funny about phoning SS although i'm sure you weren't laughing at the time! you have written exactly how i feel a lot of the time. i would love to play nicely with my children but i can only do it with one at a time because of the vying for attention, I find it easier not to when they're both together.
notout: thank you mine are 18 months apart i wonder how i'll ever get myself back together, does it happen? although i am nearly through the day now!
You either let yourself go at your own pace, think "This too shall pass" and embrace those few precious moments when everything is picture perfect, OR you struggle to achieve perfection, beat yourself up over the minutest flaw and waste energy battling rl as it happens.
Benign neglect (ie not worrying over providing an idyllic home life or stimulating the children every waking moment) is one way to cut yourself some slack.
Hear, hear to 5 minute breaks! Friends of ours had an ongoing 3 door policy. I looked puzzled, they said as long as they're fed, changed and at the right temperature, every so often for your own sanity, make sure they're out of harm's way and go elsewhere in the house, 3 doors apart. It helps keep calm. Especially if they scrap with each other over you.
Babysitting is not just for nights out btw. If you can enlist a willing competent sober babysitter for any time of day, do so. Utilise a creche or playgroup whenever possible. Failing that, fresh air whenever possible.
It's not a contest and you're not a loser.
It is BLOODY hard. My two are 7 and 2. Some days are great, others I'm clock watching from 2pm wishing it was bedtime. One thing I try to do is break the days into segments, it helps the time pass quicker if you are having a crap day.
Big hug OP, I'm sure you are really doing a fab job
Join the discussion
Please login first.