Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

I'm lazy and childish and don't know how to be a grown-up

(69 Posts)
sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:01:52

My procrastination is terrible, and getting worse. I can sit and stare at the screen on MN or FB until I go slack-jawed and I'm not really looking at anything any more. I come home from the school run with DD1 (6) and plonk DD2 (2) in front of a screen for AGES, while I stare at another one alongside her. I know this sounds weak and lazy but I feel utterly physically paralysed ? I simply CANNOT tear myself away from the screen! This is despite me putting on appearances to the outside world about being hugely against TV for little ones ? which I am. I believe it does them harm. And yet I do it to my DD almost every day. I am such a fucking hypocrite. I know it's affecting my brain in a really bad way. My memory is getting terrible. I also feeling I'm losing the kids' childhoods as well as I feel I can hardly remember anything from when they were younger. Other people, including DH, will sometimes remind me "You know when DD did such and such last year ...?" and I won't remember and feel like an absolute fool.

I don't know what to do. I'm sorry to put this in mental health when most people here have awful problems to contend with ? I know this is just fucking weak and wussy in comparison ? but I was scared I'd get so much contempt on Chat or somewhere from the domestic goddesses of this world ? who I aspire to be like soo much. I take on board advice for disorganised people like me about starting slowly and trying to instill one small habit at a time, but I can't even fucking do that. I can't do it. I start trying to do one thing religiously, and another thing drops off the radar so I end up every bit as disorganised.

I've read books ? the NOW habit etc ? but nothing works. NOTHING WORKS AND I"M GOING TO BE LIKE THIS FOREVER. I've been trying for so long.

My lovely stepmother is one of the most organised people I know ? and also the least stressed. I've only seen her even slightly agitated once in 10 years ? and that was when her DS was taken to hospital, FGS. But her house is tidy, she whisks up and clears away meals with seemingly zero effort and helps me do the same when she comes to my house, which again makes me feel like a child (but I'm only angry at ME for this, not her!). She's the most relaxed, laid back person ever. I'm 41, fgs, and just the crappiest hostess ever ? I just have no idea when people need a top up of their drinks, how big a portion of food to give them, when to stand up and start clearing the table etc ... just so useless. I know, I know, it's all a stupid First World Problem, I totally agree. My own mother was terribly depressed all my childhood, I didn't see her much, she never did anything domestic like make dinner and certainly never instilled any kind of domestic responsibility into me. I sit on the PC in the morning ? once DH goes out, of course ? then try and fit 45 minutes of getting me and the DDs ready into about 15 mins. Which inevitably ends up in me getting inexcusably irritable and shouty at them, and utterly stressed and anxious myself. (One bright spot, however, is that we're never late. NEVER. I just feel it's so rude and irresponsible. The DDs might look a mess but at least DD1 is at school on time.)

I know I should put out school uniform, lunches etc the night before, but I get SO UNBELIEVABLY TIRED in the evening, after cleaning the bloody kitchen after dinner till about 8.30 or so and end up glued to the couch, usually surfing the net as usual.

When DD1 gets home at 3 oclock, things seem to kick into motion and I know I have to get the place into a reasonable state before DH gets home. So then I spend practically no quality time with her either ? I'm suddenly flying around washing dishes, sweeping, chopping veg etc. And this is getting to happen every single day now.

You know that mammoth thread about organisation back earlier in the year? I took so much wonderful inspiration from it and was all set to implement some of the tips etc - but it all fell flat on its face very very quickly. And I TRY and just pick myself up and start again if that happens, not be too hard on myself and eventually habits will just click ? hah! Not yet, in 41 years, and I just know in my heart that it's all too late.

I think it also might partly be some kind of rebellion against DH ? he is hugely organised and also faintly contemptuous of weakness ? if he knew I go home after the school run and my days often pan out like this, his jaw would drop and I really think he'd be pretty disgusted with me. As am I, of course. He goes out all day and earns money for the family; I repay him by sitting our DD in front of a screen and pissing my days away on the internet. Of course I use Private Browsing so he can't see exactly what I've been looking at.

Part of the problem is that I can't just go cold turkey and never switch on computers etc ? I do work from home on things and need to be available on FB and Gmail etc. Or look at online banking etc.

I don't know why I'm writing this anyway as I know nothing is ever going to change. I'm desperate for suggestions but I've written threads like this before. I'm hoping for some kind of holy grail and it's not there. I know I"m going to be like this for the rest of my life.

Thank you for reading such a long, utterly pathetic moan.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:06:45

These are almost exactly the symptoms of my depression. The tiredness and procrastination, the staring at the screen etc I am now on antidepressants and it has improved everything so much. Please go to the GP and talk to them. When I went, they got me to fill in a quetionnaire and it really made me realise it was depression. It is not normal to feel like this. Please get help.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:07:24

Don't know why all my dashes have turned into stupid question marks – sorry, hope you can read it properly anyway.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:09:58

shrinkingnora, I feel militantly, emphatically unable to admit to myself that it might be a form of depression. I just CANNOT accept that I might have it. Why why why????? sad

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:13:25

I honestly could have written your exact thread. The flying round doing everything before DH got home so he wouldn't see how bad it was. I have wasted days and days of my life on the computer. Don't beat yourself up about it but do talk to someone. I have whole days now where I don't log on at all and am mostly much more organised. Once I got the right dose of ADs the kitchen was miraculously tidy and everything was much more organised without me actually feeling like I had done much - everything seems to be going much more smoothly. I can remember things again - appointments and sports days and social things. When it was really bad I was permanently on the back foot, surprised by stuff coming round so quickly, not ready for anything.

The reason you can't admit it is because there is a huge social pressure to be coping. If you had suffered for years from a sore throat you wouldn't hesitate to go to the doctor. I found that when I admitted to friends that I was on ADs, almost 50% said they were too. And they were the ones I thought were brilliantly organised and coping well.

Couldn't read this and not respond as I have had exactly the same problem. In fact a year or so ago I could have written your OP - with the exception that my DH has no expectations other than that I keep the children alive, despite the fact that his wonderful DM kept an immaculate house. I think the key is not expecting miracles from yourself overnight - you're unlikely to change from sitting there unmotivated in front of a screen all day to being a domestic goddess who always does stimulating activities with her children whilst fitting in her part-time job etc etc. If I have a super-productive day and try to do too much too soon, I burn myself out and then slump right back into old habits.

For me, the biggest thing which helps is scheduling things in. So if I have to be out and about places for a big chunk of the day, I tend to make more effective use of the small amount of time I have at home. I actually love days when I am simply too busy to log onto FB or MN - it usually means I am being productive. But if I have entire days with nothing in particular planned, I get nothing useful done at all. I often try to just do 15 minute slots of working as hard as I can - I set my phone timer and just do as much as I can in the kitchen in that time. Then stop, have a drink, admire what I've done, then go and do the same in the living room. It is amazing how much you can do in short bursts.

You could also start by planning some activities out of the house to do with your DD2. Add some structure to your day by setting timers - eg. do something which does not involve the computer for 45 mins, whether it's tidying/ preparing dinner/ playing with DD then reward yourself with 15 mins browsing or whatever. I also find that getting stuff done first thing, such as preparing food and getting it in the slow cooker as soon as I'm back from the morning school run or putting a load of laundry in and hanging it out before school etc... make me less inclined to waste the rest of the day - you think it's 9am and I've already done x, y, z - just think how much more I could achieve if I carry on being this productive.

I feel for you, and it sometimes feels like you'll never get out of the vicious circle. I know, I've been there. I still have days like you describe, but they are becoming less and less frequent.

recall Tue 02-Oct-12 11:16:08

sickofmyself I too read the organisation thread, and someone on it asked the OP if she may have Attention Deficit Disorder. I went and googled the symptoms, and sat there open mouthed, it was like a description of me. I have since gone to the GP, and had an assessment, and am waiting for a further appointment to be assessed by a specialist. Its worth getting it checked out, there is treatment available.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:17:50

Front loading your day can help too. If you are totally exhausted in the evening then do the majority of the stuff first thing. I never make lunches and pack bags the day before, it just doesn't work for me. I can do an amzing amount of stuff in a very short space of time first thing.

I also often work from home and in fact run my own business so even when I'm at work there's no-one to stop me arsing around on the laptop all day.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:19:28

I would have to take them secretly. I couldn't admit it to DH, He wouldn't understand. Which makes me feel even worse that I'm in this so-called lifelong relationship with someone I can't actually talk to about things like that. But maybe I should just surrender and be a Stepford Wife while I try and sort myself out.

I can enjoy myself hugely, though – out with friends, etc ... DD1 said a couple of things at breakfast this morning which had me doubled over with laughter ... people really have always thought I'm a cheerful, happy-go-lucky person ... ??

Once I got the right dose of ADs the kitchen was miraculously tidy

That does sound miraculous to me, shrinkingnora ... thank you, I'm taking your posts on board.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:24:45

Frontloading your day can help too

Yes, this is what I have always tried to do, as I'm much brighter and more energetic first thing. Doesn't seem to work though.

twolittlemonkeys thank you too, I know the scheduling works, meal planning is great too as it reduces my stress levels no end when I KNOW ALL DAY exactly what we're going to be having for tea .... BUT I JUST CAN'T BLOODY DO IT! I have tried so many times to schedule a time to schedule and plan(!), if you know what I mean, and it might work for one week and the next ... all falls flat again.

But thank you for your posts, I appreciate them.

GobblersKnob Tue 02-Oct-12 11:26:02

I do feel for you, I can be very similar and suffer from both depression and anxiety.

First of all read this (hopefully) it will make you laugh, there are so many people just like this out there, it is me to a tee, you are not alone.

For me it has been a long slog of ad's and therapy, but this year I have started a degree and am determined to do it 'like a mother fucking grown up' grin Tbh though I now just have no time to procrastinate, it just isn't possible.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 11:26:32

I have been sitting here since about 20 past 9, composing and writing this while DD2 watches bloody Pingu ... I am GOING to go and do something with her now as I'm actually starting to feel a bit unwell from the screen, but I promise I'll be back later, thank you, thank you.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:28:13

Re the kitchen - I hardly noticed that I was doing it, I just seemed to be able to do a fraction more each day! It's by no means always tidy but the average standard is much higher.

Twolittlemonkeys suggestions are excellent. I find setting timers really helps me. The last minute doing everything in the afternoon sounds like you work well under pressure so you may find that setting mini targets with strict time limits helps. Can you ring fence time for work etc? That also helps. I know if I am working from home that I will do eg 10-12 and then have half an hour for lunch then I might set aside 20 minutes for household stuff on the computer eg checking bank stuff. If you log off fully at the end of each of these times it makes it that much harder to log on. I think I have something of an addictive personality and blame my computer use on that.

Interestingly enough I am meant to be working right now. I seem to have good days and bad days now but the good are getting more and more frequent.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 11:28:59

Go for it, I am going to take your lead and log off MN and do some work. Right now. I will be back to check on you later!

Viviennemary Tue 02-Oct-12 12:05:21

I've got a bit of a problem too about getting round to things. I decided I wouldn't switch my computer on till late in the afternoon. Sometimes I last until lunch time but sometimes if I need to look up something and I switch it on in the morning that's me all day. I do a list of what I must do. Like clean bathroom, put on washing, and so on and if it's written down there's a lot more chance it gets done.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 12:51:28

I'm terrified I'm going to turn into my mother, who has been lurching unsuccessfully from one depression remedy to another for probably not far off 50 years now - ADs, exercise, meditation, diet - and everything seems to be great at the start, but it's always a false dawn and she slips back. I'm so scared to get onto that same treadmill. I'm terrified my brain will be changed for ever, or even if ADs do improve things, if I try and come off them things will be just the same as before.

Thanks, Vivienne, I actually love writing down lists and getting them done, crossing them all off, believe it or not, but the crippling inertia that prevents me from actually getting my finger out and DOING it ... I just don't know how to get over.

My temper is getting worse too – I was just washing dishes there and DD2 came up to the sink and kept pushing her doll's bottle in front of me to get water - I kept saying I'd just be a minute while the hot water was still on, and then I'd fill it for her - but she kept on pushing and pushing and I took her bottle, chucked it behind me on the floor and shouted at her. What a complete and utter evil fuck-up I am. sad Of course I should just have given her her water. I'm also totally against shouting at children. Like, ever. I shouted at both of them yesterday. sad sicksicksickofmyself.

Also, if this is partly, or largely, due to actual problems such as having such a fucking repressed relationship with DH that I know I can't share things such as this, wouldn't ADs simply mask the problem? We have had a little bit of counselling but are by no means out of the woods.

Gobblersknob that is funny! grin

Has anyone had any success with more natural remedies?

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 12:55:17

And there's all the playing around with doses, and getting side-effects while getting used to/coming off one or other kind of AD - I've seen it with my mum and the prospect freaks me out ...

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 13:16:54

You are not your mother. But I can see why it scares you. I have stopped screaming at the DCs too. I tried Citalopram, it didn't help, I tried Sertraline and it did. I have since upped the dose because I was starting to feel as before. So not plain sailing but certainly not much mucking around. I can now see things much more clearly and am not so fucking exhausted all the time. I do think that too much screen time makes me feel terrible but I needed to address why I was having so much screen time. And it was because I was depressed and that was because I was putting myself under pressure from all angles and also cause I was just, you know, depressed. I have also been booked in for a course of counselling/CBT over the phone via the GP.

In order to make your relationship better you might have to take time to make yourself a bit better first.

Natural remedies would include exercise and meditation and things your mother has tried btw.

And most importantly you are not an evil fuck up. Would you talk to one of your friends like that? You are so mean to yourself. Please stop telling yourself you're so horrible all the time.

shrinkingnora Tue 02-Oct-12 13:17:22

PS I did work solidly for the whole time I was gone thanks to you!

fuzzpig Tue 02-Oct-12 13:18:33

Oh sweetie are you me?!?

You are really, deeply depressed. You are not a bad person, none of this is your fault, it really isn't. You learned this from your mother (just like I learned from my dad), the paralysis, the helplessness. Of course it is so hard to bring yourself out of that, when you don't know any different.

I can't give any magic solution as I am roughly where you are right now. But accepting who I am has helped. I am very 'all or nothing' and hence feel like a failure all the time because I'm not perfect. So basically I lowered my standards and now I see every little thing as an achievement.

I hope you can tell your DH, and he understands you.

xx

winnybella Tue 02-Oct-12 13:35:54

I am exactly the same. Actually, much, much worse, as I should be looking for a job as well and the guilt of not being able to pull myself together to do that is crippling.

I've got to go and be productive for a bit now, but will come back to this thread later.

Badvoc Tue 02-Oct-12 13:41:45

I think it's very had as a child of a depressive to admit that you might be suffering from the same thing.
But it's important to remember that doesn't mean you are the same person!
Depression and risk of depression does run in families.
I think going to the gp and asking them for advice would be a food first step.
It's hard, but you will be so glad you did in a few weeks time x

Viviennemary Tue 02-Oct-12 13:43:32

Write three things on your list. Even if one of them is 'have lunch'. Then when you have done either two or three of these, then write down two more things. Try and break down tasks. Like looking for a job. Give yourself something specific to do. Depending on type of job. Go on website, buy local paper, buy national paper on the day it features the type of job you're looking for. Make one phone call re a job. It's hard.

WhyTheBigGoldPaws Tue 02-Oct-12 13:46:58

I'm sorry you feel like this and don't have much advice to offer but I sympathise with not wanting to repeat the pattern of behaviour you've learned from your mother. You want so much to be different and get it right but actually doing that is such an effort isn't it. I also find myself being intensely irritable and constantly tired (even after 8 or 9 hours sleep) but had never imagined that depression could be the cause - like you I am a 'coper' and 'the fun one' - am now wondering having read this thread confused. It sounds as though you are being very hard on yourself but I appreciate it's difficult not to be.

sickofmyself Tue 02-Oct-12 13:52:25

Thanks for your continued replies, everyone, and glad you got some work done, shrinkingnora! So sorry you feel similar, fuzzpig and winnybella, it sucks.

I feel like a phoney, though, as I'm perfectly capable of having hysterical laughs with people/at TV, etc etc, and the work-from-home I do often involves setting up stalls at events where I need to be totally customer-facing for hours - which I do cheerfully and competently. Surely I would feel sort of dead and numb inside all the time if I were truly depressed?

Really going to leave this thread now – have things on with DC after school. Which will involve chatting and being perfectly normal/cheerful with other parents ..?!? Thank you all again and I'll be back later on this evening xx

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now