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Feeling very alone. Does it get easier?(55 Posts)
I've got a 3.5 year old and an 18 month old. I work 4 days a week split across 5 days. DH works very long hours and isn't at home much. He also is away with work most weeks.
I'm finding juggling work and doing most of the childcare very hard. I am very organised and I get on well with my children, but its quite tough doing a demanding job and most of the kids' stuff. When they are sick most of the time I have to juggle everything . I feel very isolated and lonely.
I am trying to focus on the positives of having two lovely children, being okay for money etc. I know those are important. But I've spent so much of the last few years feeling low or depressed sometimes those things are not enough. I went to see my GP last year to ask for antidepressants but she said I was just having a bad day.
DH does his best but we are just coming through a very rocky patch in our marriage. I envy him so much. He can just walk out the door everyday and go to work and he is hardly ever back for bedtime, although he is much more hands on at the weekend. Meanwhile I'm here holding the fort and I hate it. I feel powerless and unnoticed.
Please tell me it gets easier as children get older.
Yes it does. You return to civilisation, you really do. It is hard and I think there is a kind of omertà about how relentless and lonely it is when your children are small, it is like you are failing if you don't find it all peachy and perfect moments.
The only answer is to try and have some time away from them, is this at all possible for you? Don't lose heart, it's not you it's them. You will come through the other side. Xx
Thanks basking. I am going to try and get more time to myself. At the moment the only time I have is a workout on Sunday afternoons when I keep getting interrupted by the children or DH wanting things! Other than that I am either working or looking after the children.
Last weekend i actually went out with a friend for the day for the first time in years. It was so nice. But now I just keep thinking I've got another 20 years of looking after kids, the house, and navigating even more logistics as they get older. It makes me want to throw myself under a train. I am only half joking.
Yes, as they become more independent life slowly returns to more normality. The thing I most missed after having children wasn't all the things I knew I'd be giving up like nice holidays etc, but simply space to think and exist without a million demands on me physically and mentally. I also work full time and honestly my lunch hour is now so precious to me, and I often just drive somewhere quiet with a view to just sit in the car quietly. I also crave this space in my own home alone, which rarely happens.
I am about a year ahead of you in terms of the ages of my children and that year has made a huge difference. They often now will play together and the youngest is no longer needing monitoring all the time, so I can wander off and do something while they play. I still miss the peace and quiet, but it is improving all the time.
I think your GP was very dismissive to be honest. I had PND many months after my second was born and ended up on AD meds which did help. Maybe if you write down how you feel, and not just today, but the ongoing every day kind of feelings, and then revisit your GP (is there a different doctor at your surgery that you could try?) so you don't forget etc and can't be dismissed so easily. Mental health is not visible and easy to be overlooked, so if you really think you have an issue don't be fobbed off.
You don't have 20 years of this to face. Things get better and I have found it accelerates once they get to about 2yrs. Yes the logistics may start getting more complex when school starts etc, but they are less and less needy and will naturally become more independent. You are not alone though, many many women feel what you are feeling, its just not spoken about as much as people are afraid of being judged.
Please go and see your GP again, it really sounds like you need to based on your last post. Good luck and stay strong xx
Raising two children on a very limited budget with vjrtually no input from their father who used to work abroad really were the hardest years of my life. Very little sleep, two energetic kids, hardly any money, - looking back, I don't know how I did it. For me, it was only when they started school I felt human again. Look on these early years as investment for the future, do as much as possible with good grace and a sense of fun if you can, honestly it will pay dividends in the future. I can't believe my kids have left home now -I dont miss the baby years, but I do miss the mess and noise and chaos (honestly!) I miss the fun and hugs and stupid arguments. Yes, things do get much easier, believe me.
Yes it does get easier. But it also feels easier when there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Have you talked to DH about how you're feeling? Talk about big things - really big things. If you aren't happy with him working away so much is it possible for him to reduce it? Would that lead to sacrifices in other ways? How about you working more, or less, or in a different field, if you would like to? If these things aren't possible now, then in the future perhaps.
Small children are very different from primary aged children, there's a big leap to self sufficiency at about five. Perhaps that will be a big change. Or later when they can be a lot more independent, say in ten years' time. I know that's a long way off, but looking forward to a time when you know something will be more manageable, and then working out how you're going to cope in the meantime can help a lot.
You mentioned wanting time to yourself - can you get across to DH how important this is - and it is! - On that Sunday afternoon he needs to leave you alone and keep the children occupied too. Little day to day things like this are the difference between you cracking under the strain and feeling supported, like you're in a partnership. You say he's hands on at the weekend, but you're holding the fort during the week. Can he do fort holding at the weekend, with you obviously doing housework, childcare etc that needs to be done too, but not having the buck stop with you if that makes sense.
You've got a lot on your plate and I don't think I agree that it sounds like you need medical intervention, just support and understanding - it's really vital that you have this from your DH.
Just to be clear, medical intervention isn't just about drugs. They can refer you to counselling and listening groups which can make an enormous difference - it did for me probably more than the prozac, but that helped until I got things straight and I only needed it for 4 months. PND can kick in up to two years after birth and it is VERY different to just not coping and needing some support, which I agree the OP does need too. I was more concerned by the "only half joking" comment on her last post which isn't something people say lightly if they are just not coping. As someone who has suffered PND and knows how long a shadow it can cast, I know how utterly trapped you can feel and how thoughts of running away or making it all end can be overwhelming. I agree though that she needs to spell it all out to DH.
I think anyone would be stressed dealing with that. Can you or DH reduce your hours?
I know I just think talking is a good first resort. Of course if talking goes well but ultimately doesn't help, it may be a case of PND, but at the same time it IS a lot to deal with and medicating isn't going to make that go away.
Satsuma, I don't have anything helpful to add (sorry ) but i'm in a similar position to you.
The advice on my thread from today might help you too:
Are you on the Sussex coast by any chance? <hopeful>
You are all so kind. I had a little blub earlier as I'm very touched by your lovely messages.
DH can't change his hours or travel. I've also tried to talk to him many times about feeling depressed but he just doesn't get it. He's briefly supportive and helps a bit more but then slips back into the usual habits a few days later.
The thing that keeps me going is that I absolutely love my job. If it wasn't for that and the fact that someone needs to be around a lot for the kids I don't think I would be here anymore.
Lonelyhermit- alas I am not near you but will read your thread with interest. Good to know we are not alone.
Thanks again all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mine are 2.8 and 4.5 and it's getting easier ... Slowly. We both work FT and are skint... Most of our cash goes on childcare. My two never sit still and are boisterous. House is a tip. I am knackered. However now have no nappies, no buggies, they are finally cleaning teeth without a fight, both sleeping better, eat better etc I am seeing a light at the end of a tunnel
Hey. I can't tell you it will get easier from personal experience as my ds is only three months, but I really wanted to post having read your original post.
Is there any nearby mums and toddlers group or the like that you could join? Lots of local churches run them and they can be a super place to meet people in the same / similar situation as you and whilst it won't make things different necessarily it might give you some local friends who you could meet up with on the days when you're at home. The thing I find hardest about being a new mum is feeling stuck in the house especially when ds is grumpy / fussy etc. getting out almost always helps but you do need somewhere to go!
Thanks fionn. I've been to groups like that but find it a nightmare to keep an eye on both toddlers now that they are mobile, so we tend to go on either play dates or other more intimate activities as I find it a bit easier.
I am hoping that I'll be able to make more friends ( we moved here last year) once the kids start school.
Satsuma, it is okay to cry. I have been where you are. I am still here, and I have so much more respect for myself for having had small children who are still in one piece, you will come through this and in the meantime, be kind to yourself.
Maybe try toddler groups again which are ones your toddlers can't escape from and let them run around on their own a bit. I found going out so much better than staying in. I am a firm believer of safety in numbers
Do you have a cleaner and a decent occasional baby sitter to help relieved the pressure. ??
OP, i really sympathise. I am in a similar situation & have often thought of starting a thread but never got round to it. I have a 15 month old & a pre-schooler.
My DP works long hours (out the house 11/12 hours) and travels away up to 3 days a week, often overnight. During the week I do all the housework, childcare etc. I work 2.5 days & sometimes feel that it's easier on the working days when they're at nursery. We have no family nearby. Changing his job is not an option as he has struggled to find work following redundancy & is lucky to have the one he has.
It is hard going. I'm not sure what solutions there are. Is a nanny an option? Am thinking they would do some of the DC's laundry, meals etc as well as a few light household duties? I have a cleaner once a fortnight (any more often & I'd have to tidy up more!!!)
Thanks Basking. You are very sweet xx
Lotsofcheese- so nice to hear from someone who is in the same situation. My childcare is a mix of nursery and a nanny on different days, but when they or the nanny get sick the house of cards comes tumbling down. I'm terrified that sooner or later I will have to let a client down. I have worked very, very hard to build excellent relationships with all of them, so maybe that will help. Today my nanny had an emergency and couldn't make it so it was a nightmare work wise. Our families are far away.
I hate all of this. I hate it. I just feel like I am under so much pressure and I feel so low. I wish I wasn't here anymore. How can I be a good mum and run a business well when I have all this to deal with and no back up? Sitting here crying.
Oh you sound exhausted you poor thing. We used nursery with long hours as although it was more expensive it was reliable. Have you thought about whether any of the nursery staff can do extra hours for you privately? One of hours did this. Running your own business solo and doing all that would drive anyone into the ground.
We had a cleaner once a fortnight and she ironed. We lost her and I thought I would cope. Not in a million years - house is carnage and we have mountains of unironed work clothes
Thanks Toohot. It's so reassuring to hear your thoughts.
Really feel like I'm hitting rock bottom at the moment and not sure I can carry on. I need to work for my sanity though. It's the only place I feel happy, confident, in control and respected (until their is some kind of domestic emergency of course).
I have had depression in the past and have managed to keep it at bay since Christmas. But tonight I was thinking about walking out and going to the station and jumping in front of a train again. It was very frightening.
Satsuma: please go back to the Dr and tell them what you have posted above. It sounds like depression talking & you can't keep going feeling like that.
I know lotsofcheese, you are right. I don't want them to take the children away though. I can bear anything but that.
I have tried to tell DH about feeling depressed before and he always makes all the right noises but then things soon go back to the way they were. I think he feels quite stressed about work himself and cannot cope with anything else on top of that.
OP, Im not a great writer but please hear me out. I have a DD 4.7 & DS 22months. As little as 5 months ago I felt just like you do now. I had my fair share of low days but it was never as intense or real constant. . .until I had 2 children. It was a shock to my system and I didn't know how I could carry on, I wanted to give my children away as I truly believed they were better off without me. DH also worked long hours, travelled so childcare was left to me.
Now I feel alive, have a spring back in my step and have even managed to start exercising. The things that worked for me were AD's & the fact that it DOES get easier. The 1000's of 'I wants, Muummeee's, I don't wants', become a distant memory. My 2 now play together, sing songs, wrestle while I have a hot cup of Tea. There are times when its bliss and I can't believe I have come so far from feeling utterly hopeless, exhausted and depressed to being a person again.
I would urge you to go to another Dr and demand a medium dose of AD's. They help take the edge of if anything and then, in time things will get much better I promise.
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