Finding it so hard to be a good Mummy and feel everyone is criticising me :((15 Posts)
I am Mum to a 9 month old little girl who is beautiful and so sweet and I love her very much but I feel I am a useless mother to her and she deserves so much better.
Everytime I try to settle her into a routine something happens to derail it.....I am also caring for my elderley parents who are ill and my husband who has got a growth on his brain which requires urgent treatment. At a time when I want to and should be prioritising my little girl's needs I feel I am having to spread myself thin supporting others.
Also the lack of routine is stopping us from going to baby groups and soft play etc.....she falls asleep bang on midday for a nap, gets up at 9am at the earliest etc......I feel guilty....I want to take her to baby gorups, she enjoys them so much when she goes, as the HV said 'she will just be bored at home'. Are these groups really so beneficial? Why do I feel so awful when we can't make it to them?
Recently she has been teething and waking up for 2 hours in the night and I am attending to her alone as hubby can't as if he does he gets epileptic seizures . I don't mind but then I am massively sleep deprived and sometimes so tired I feel unable to play with her and talk to her with the necessary energy.....one day I felt so dizzy and had a migraine I was struggling to look after her because of it. I sometimes just let her play on the rug so I can watch her while she plays with toys and have CBeebies on in the background so she is being entertained if the playing gets boring for her........guiltily acknowledging that she shouldn't be watching any tv at all at her age, but I do not know what else to do sometiimes, esp when I have chores I need to do etc and hubby is working until late...I get too tired and just want her to play on her own for a bit.
Then this morning I felt so bad but she was trying to crawl out of my arms and as I was holding something that could break if I dropped it as well I ended up snapping and saying in a very stern and loud voice 'NO'...she loocked stunned and I wanted to cry...I was just trying to stop her from falling onto a wooden floor . I am such a bad mum for talking to her like that though.
I just want her to be happy and safe.......I want her to be in a routine and don't know how to do this. My confidence is at an all time low.......I constantly have mum in law and sisters in law telling me 'oh she is out too late' to things THEY have organised, 'oh she isn't hungry why are you feeding her' when I know she is hungry, 'oh why are you giving her baby food from a jar' when we are out....'my friend never talks about her baby in front of her'....'why is she always wearing pink'....'why are you still breastfeeding her for 2 feeds a day'...........'why aren't you giving her hot food' when her food is warm enough (she hates it hot) etc etc etc etc........my every move judged at every chance........constantly questioned....
So I am sat here whilst my little angel sleeps........feeling like crying, feeling a failure, feeling I do notdeserve her because when she is up in the night and I am so tired I could fall down I am thinking 'for the love of God just shut up and go to sleep' and sometimes have snapped and muttered shut up under my breathe.........I am an awful person I don't deserve my daughter at all....... please help.
I don't think you are a dreadful mother, but I do think you need some practical help. Could you have a chat with your doctor or health visitor about what help is available? There's something called 'Home Start' which might be able to come and give you a hand for a couple of hours each week, which would be a start....
If you are caring for your elderly parents as well as a sick husband and a small baby, then this is too much. Do you have brothers or sisters who could take some of the responsibility for your parents? Can your mother-in-law and sister-in-law help our with your husband rather than just criticising your parenting?
Best of luck - but please, demand some help - you deserve it, as does your little girl.
Aw thank you traipsingalong...I will look into homestart. Unfortunately HV not so helpful . GP being v supportive as she is aware of my family's mad situation. Am going to start making demands of MIL and SILs and his brothers to help with DH. I am only child unfortunately so it is all on my shoulders as far as my parents go.
First of all, you sound like a lovely mummy, not a dreadful one. Dreadful ones don't post on forums look for help and advice.
Secondly, don't feel that you have to do anything with your child to make other people happy or fit in with what they did/didn't do.
I didn't take my DD to gazillions of babygroups etc - to be honest at that age they are more for the parents than the children, who are barely interested in each other. DD is very confident, gregarious and great with other kids despite my MIL being convinced she would turn into some kind of shy introvert due to lack of company from other babies.
Don't worry too much about a routine if it is stressful for you. I am not a routine person - and fortunately neither is DD so I just gave up my initial attempts and we went out whenever and wherever I felt like. If she wanted to nap then she could nap in the sling or pram - sadly DD did not care for naps and so didn't bother.
DD has only just stopped breastfeeding this last week (she's 3.5). Since she didn't sleep at night and my DH couldn't get up at night, we moved her into our bed at 8 weeks in desperation and I finally got some decent sleep.
My coping methods don't work for everyone, but I know what it's like to have endless criticism for what you are or aren't doing. You should do what makes you and your daughter happy, not what a book, website or other person tells you.
My goodness, you sound like an amazing woman doing an amazing juggling act - you should be proud of yourself!
No mothers are perfect - even those who have it very easy in comparison to you. Give yourself a break.
Ignore those who think they know your baby better than you - they don't. Just smile and ignore what they say. Easy to day, I know, but...
Well, firstly you sound like a wonderful mother, not an awful one. You have a massive amount on your plate and you're doing much better than I could I'm sure.
Try to get some help through your GP. It might be easier to get some help caring for your elderly parents initially. That would take some of the pressure off. Do you know any friends who could take your DD for a few hours so you can rest? I recently did this for a friend of mine. I went to her house and looked after her children whilst they played with mine. She had a good few hours rest, which helped a bit. The children were so pleased to have some friends round they were quite happy to leave her be for a bit.
As for being criticised, I'm amazed that anyone who knows what you're going through has the nerve to do it. Why don't your MIL and SIL's give you some help instead of harping on. I'm afraid I would have torn strips off them by now.
Lastly, baby groups are great but not compulsory. Once you have had a chance to regain your strength (you absolutely must do this first) a few trips out just concentrating on you and your DD will probably do you good.
First things first though. Get some help, any way you can. Call on friends, your inlaws, your GP. Tell people you need some help and you might be surprised the responses you get. I hope things improve for your soon.
Oh - where to start!
1. You sound lovely to me, not terrible at all.
2. You also sound like you are stretched almost to the limit and your in laws are making things harder for you, not easier. If they arrange something late, just don't go.
3. Yes - at 9mo she will be beginning to enjoy baby groups and they'll be fun for her. Even more, you might enjoy the contact with other mums too and find being out of the house helps. But no - it is OT essential for her development at this stage, or yours.
4. No it is NOT terrible to use a stern voice on a 9mo old. That was the age I found I started to need to! To protect them from danger or stop them from doing something that will cause a major problem, a little harshness is sometimes necessary. But if you feel like you are a bit out of control (and boy, do I recognise that feeling) then it IS your job now to be super vigilant about how that develops and take action to get help ASAP, whatever it takes. (Not necessarily with a HV who I've found pretty useless, but your gp, your mental-health midwife who you may still be able to access, or those caring for your husband.)
I am so sorry because I know this will come across quite stroppy, but I feel really cross with your in-laws!
You sound like you are doing fine! You just have a rubbish HV and nasty inlaws
Baby groups are not necessary - in fact, in many countries they don't even have baby/toddler groups like we do here. Nice to go to if it works for you but really don't worry about skipping them.
Letting her play on the floor is also perfectly fine - it's great for children to learn to entertain themselves, you don't want her to grow up needing you to entertain her constantly. A bit of Cbeebies is also fine and almost everyone does it Ditto jars!
Stern voice when necessary - great. Breastfeeding - great. Lack of routine - doesn't matter.
You are a great Mum. Do try to get some help, if not Homestart, then is there a college nearby that trains Nannies/Nursery Nurses? See if they can offer you one for some help, and catch up on sleep.
Baby groups aren't for babies, but for Mums to meet other Mums and have a break.
I went to only one group a week, and baby swimming when I could be bothered; put my kids in Nursery from 2 (2 mornings a week); had a cleaner when I had two small ones; had a messy house; had little routine; had bedtimes that worked for me, but lots of flexibility; and was pleased when DC3 responded to a sharp NO. My older two were a nightmare to discipline. I also used TV and Thomas videos a lot, and even got sneaky naps when watching them. I also used jars.
Actually if the jars are a source of criticism, why not just decant them into little pots before you go out with ILs? (Oh and do try carrot sticks, bread etc. Its much easier to let them "feed" themselves."
Please please give yourself a break! You have so much responsibility - more than I could handle. You need to take care of yourself as much as possible and if that means sticking on the tv and letting her play so you can rest then so be it.
As long as your daughter is happy that's all that matters.
My DD was in no kind of routine at that age and I never went to any of the baby groups and she is 17 months and thriving and a happy little person :-)
I also had the tv on plenty!! And still do.
It's easy for other people to judge when try aren't in the same position but do your best to ignore them. The best example you can give your dd is to be nice to yourself and not be putting yourself down - it sounds like you are doing an amazing job coping in extremely difficult circumstances so you should be patting yourself on the back not berating yourself.
<strong urge to slap your ery unhelpful inlaws and sis inlaw
HOW VERY DARE THEY!!!
right,now ive got that out of my system....
you are an amazing woman juggling caring for your family and with a poorly dh as well as a yound baby
you sound very very tired and <i know from bitter experience>this makes thinking clearly very hard and any thing bothering you far more bothersome
your baby doesnt have to go to groups-like others have said its more for the mums at this age.i liked having time alone with my kids when they were that small
how you parent your child is really your choice,some people have very rigid routines,others go with the flow<fwiw im a go with the flow as ive seen routiners getting very strung out about not being in home at 5pm for supper etc>
you know what your baby needs and why is giving her a jar when you are out and aboutand she hungry an issue<i did that too>
i dont undersstand why you have inlaws critisizing rather than offering to support you!
is there anyone you could get to come and sit with your little one ,even for an hour so you can get a bit of sleep?
as for homestart it is a truly wonderful organization that helped me when i neede it but be aware it often has very long waiting lists so isnt ging to be a any time soon fix
you are doing a brilliant job,and as another poster said bad parents dont think twice about how they parent <coz they are too busy thinking a bout themselves>
Oh, Crazy, your post made me well up. You sound like you're a fabulous person going through a hell of a lot of stress and the people who should be giving you support and encouragement aren't. It honestly sounds like they're a bit jealous of your parenting to me. Some people cannot cope with the fact that other people do things differently; they take it as a criticism of how they parent/parented. So, I don't know, next time they try it maybe say "Thanks for the advice, we find this works fine for us/is easier/she doesn't get phased by being up a bit later every now and then." I used to find it particularly helpful when MIL started to just nod along and inwardly give her the V. If the criticism goes on, remove yourself from their company. It's hard enough being a first time mum without all that crap to deal with.
Even without others, sometimes the harshest critic is yourself. I remember begging DS to please just go the fuck to sleep more than once. I'm willing to bet everyone has felt like that at some point because it is damn hard work and exhausting and feels bloody unrewarding at 3am when you've only managed half an hour's sleep. I can promise you the sleep thing will get better. You'll probably do more shouting and then more guilt. The hard thing about caring for a baby is that they're not able to tell you what a great job you're doing. The love for your daughter shines through your post. Just believe in yourself, trust your instincts and what feels right to you, sod the routine because it works for you without one. I've had plenty of days when I've been so tired and strung out CBeebies has been the best option and while I've felt guilty about not playing with him he's been happily sat there drooling on a brick and watching Mr Tumble!
Oh bless you, OP - you sound like you're at a very low ebb and who could blame you? You also sound like an amazingly strong woman who is holding it together remarkably well considering what you're going through. Please believe me, you are certainly not a bad mother. If your DD has inherited some of your resilience, strength and consideration you have set her up very well in life! If i had a pound for every time i've raised my voice to my DS, or uttered something silly under my breath, then i'd be a very rich woman. DS is now 2 btw. Please be reassured that your beautiful DD won't remember a thing, other than the constant love you give her. She doesn't need baby groups when the one person she needs more than anyone in the world is right there with her, even if you are spreading yourself thin.
Essentially my concern is not for your DD so much, it's for you and you sound like you're really (and needlessly imo!) beating yourself up. Quite frankly your in laws should either be offering to help or shutting the hell up. But in laws have a habit of thinking that the way they raised their children was better, so you just have to find the self belief to know that you're doing just fine by your DD. You're certainly not alone in that respect, though it probably feels more personal because of all the other pressures you're under.
I agree with others who have asked if there is anyone - a friend, relative etc who can help you just for a few hours a week, which i think would really help even if to give you some time to yourself, or with your DD. I always feel so much happier having been able to spend some quality time with my DS, but equally you should not feel guilty for taking some time out for yourself.
Good luck, just hang on to what others have said here - you're a remarkable woman and your DD is very, very lucky to have you.
Hello everyone, thank you so much for being so understanding and supportive, I appreciate it so much. You're all wonderful and thanks again xx
Hi all..i'm from Malaysia..I have a 20 mnths old DS. I'm currently juggling between work (i'm a designer) and being a mum. Due to fact that i'm always traveling for work, DS prefer his daddy than me.
I can consider myself lucky because DH is such a dedicated parent, but this resulting him to constantly criticizes my parenting skills.
I feel so helpless at times as i feel that everything that i'm doing is not 'right'.
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