Anyone else hate motherhood?(122 Posts)
DS is now 10 months and I've struggled from the start. Practically I manage fine, DS is the best behaved, good-natured baby in the world. He sleeps all night and always has. I have no baby-related reason to find it tough, I just don't enjoy it. If I never have to change another nappy in my life it will be too soon! After 10 minutes of sing-songing or reading a book with him I'm bored. I resent him because he takes up ALL my time and I can't do anything else except look after him. The thought that I'll never have a proper relaxed lie-in or holiday for the next 16 years or so fills me with horror. Oh, and I hate going to Mother and Baby groups because I find the baby conversation dull and irritating.
Yet, I can't talk about this to anyone except my husband because it's socially unacceptable to say you don't like being a mum. People even ask "so are you enjoying motherhood?" And I try to give some non-committal answer. I don't have the guts to just say "no" and see what they say! Don't get me wrong, I adore my little boy and he was very much longed-for, but now he's here I regret the decision to have children.
And if you don't like reading this, please don't bother responding. I'm looking for support and people who feel the same. I don't need to hear sanctimonious twaddle about how lucky I am to have had a child, many people aren't so lucky and he didn't ask to be born so it's not his fault etc etc. I know all that. I'm desperately miserable and I feel very alone and I hate myself for not being happy and being able to just enjoy and be grateful for my gorgeous little boy.
I think that you might benefit from speaking to your GP who can then refer you to a professional who can help to sort your feelings. I sincerely hope that you work out how to enjoy your baby.
Are you planning on returning to work?
Might make you feel better being out of the house at work and not just "being a mum" all day?
LancyLass, that is a very brave post. You are definitely not the only one who feels this way - I have worked with hundreds of parents and I can think of many who gave every impression of not enjoying parenthood.
I'm sorry you're feeling like this. You are right that there is a massive taboo about admitting you don't enjoy being a mother.
Not everyone can enjoy every stage of parenthood. Not everyone is a baby person. You may find that you absolutely love the toddler stage, or you love it when he starts school, or you may find that you have a natural talent with teenagers!
Do you get any time to yourself? My friend has a 7 month old and tries to have a night away with friends about once a month - she says without it she would go crackers. She desperately needs time to not be 'mummy' and to hang out with other adults.
I don't have any first hand experience of this (not a mum) but others will be along soon who do. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and that it is a very healthy thing that you are talking about your feelings.
Some people like the baby stage, others prefer the toddler stage etc etc. You might enjoy it more when your child is a bit more independent. I also agree with Molotov.
some days yeah.. i love my babies but sometimes id give it all up to travel the world/enjoy my career/lay on a beach in an instant! im quite open about it too, im quite looking forwards to returning to work. i want to be more than just a mum. but, im determind to enjoy it too. afterall the baby years go sooo quickly.. they'll be kids and then teenagers for a decades!!
Do you work? Do you plan to go back to work? It sounds like you've resigned yourself to being a full time mother and you probably need something else in your life to regain perspective.
Do you have family/ friends who are willing to have your DS overnight? Being a parent doesn't necessarily mean you will never enjoy a lie in again or a holiday, or just some time out alone.
Could it be possible you are suffering from PND? I'm not saying there must be something wrong with you to feel this way and i know that others will be along to say they felt/ feel the same. I just mean is it worth considering? You do sound very unhappy and i'm sorry.
lancylass, I know exactly where you are coming from. There are millions of women who feel exactly the same as you. I work FT and it saves my life every day.
I actually love being a mum now (DCs are 6 and 3) but if I had to stay at home I wouldn't. And I definitely didn't love the early years - boring. Have a look at this article to reassure yourself you are not alone. It's called "Why parents hate parenting! :
All I would say is don't regret having children. You hate being bored and lonely - that's absolutely normal and you are absolutely not alone. You can find the joy in parenting - just not when you are overwhelmed with being bored and lonely. Part of the problem is that there is a myth of motherhood - and if you try to knock that down, people don't want to hear it. You can say it on here though.
You are not alone; well done for being so honest.
Try and find some hobbies/interests that you can do which don't revolve around your child - I don't know what you enjoy but I did loads of voluntary work when my DS was young, I just carted him around with me, he learned to fit in. That way I was doing the sort of thing I liked to do, without it being 'baby centred'. I also found a gym with a creche that helped.
Have you got a partner? I used to insist on having time completely to myself at weekends - I would go out, on my own, even if I just sat in a coffee shop .
Oh and i'm totally with you on the mother and baby groups - i avoided them like the plague and also find them boring and irritating.
I hated the baby stage. I found things got much easier when my girls were 2+, and able to entertain themselves. Then when they start being invited to friends' houses for play etc (3+ when they start at pre-school), you start getting some time back - though it helps if you reciprocate.
It does get easier and easier every month, though you don't really notice until you look back.
However - once they hit 15/16, it suddenly gets much harder again - and they try your patience like nothing you have ever known!!
Many people feel the way you do during these early days.
Could you join a gym with a creche so that you could do some exercise for a couple of hours everyday.
Even if you don't like baby groups, could you make an effort to join one so that you could make a couple of friends you could trust to share babysitting once a week or so?
It is hard, but please believe me when I say this: IT WILL GET BETTER. As your child grows he will become so much more interesting and you will really enjoy your time with him. There are difficult moments, children do go through very testing phases, but, if you put in love and effort you will see the rewards.
You need to find time for yourself.
Here's the rule - do just as much mothering as you can do well and enjoy. That is different for everyone. Some are earth mothers who wanrt to spend every waking (and sleeping!) moment with their children. Others, like you, find it less congenial. So........find yourself a job and a good childminder and just do the amount of mothering that you can do well, and let the childminder do the rest.
We are all different. The important thing is to be honest with yourself and not to feel guilty - there is no reason to. If you judge how much you can do well and let someone else do the rest you will be doing the best for your child, so no need to reproach yourself.
And it does not mean you do not love your child - you are just recognising your own personality and needs. The last thing a child needs is a bored unhappy Mum.
So sorry you feel like this, and like others say, going back to work might help you. I've worked full time since DD was five months, and I'm convinced I enjoy the time I have with her so much because it is short so I have to make the most of it. After a hard day at work I find myself just longing for a cuddle with her, and to read some daft story or just watch her crawl around me. But I'm sure that if I didn't work I would often feel bored and frustrated at home. I'm not saying everyone feels like this, but I'm sure it would be true to me. Good luck - hope you find a way through this.
Thanks guys. Probably a bit of background required too - I've always suffered from depression and anxiety for various reasons (won't bore you with that too!) I don't have a job. I decided not to look for another job after the recession put an end to my last one as I've never enjoyed working either. I've seen so many counsellors and therapists over the year I've given up! However I find all that is fine to talk to people about - I don't mind admitting to people I struggle psychologically - but talking about not enjoying motherhood, that just seems to not be allowed! Plus my three best friends all can't have children for one reason or another so I can't really talk to them about it! Actually that probably doesn't help. I have no-one I'm close to who also has children.
I do get a day a week when my parents have him for the day - but it's not enough!!
Thanks though. Just saying it to you guys is helping already (plus he's having his two-hour afternoon nap - things always seem better then )
I woudn't go as far as to say I hate motherhood, but the relentlessness of it is certainly very draining at times. I often feel guilty because I don't feel I'm very good at playing with my children. Looking after them comes more naturally but my attention span for pretend play is limited. And sometimes I feel like I'm just killing time; until they nap, until I can have a cup of coffee in peace, until DH gets home, until the weekend, until the next event that breaks up the drudgery and monotony of it all.
And as others have said, we all have our parenting strengths and weaknesses, and stages we enjoy more than others. You might find the toddler stage more engaging. Plus once they're about 2yo they often start to play more independently
and you can park them in front of the TV while you have a nap/lie-in and it's a bit less full-on.
It's not something people tend to admit to IRL, hence the guilt and isolation. But you're not alone.
A bloody brave post to be sure. And no you are not alone in hating motherhood. I hate it sometimes and detest mother and baby groups with a vengeance. Baby talk is boring and only good if you need advice or something to vent about. You were not to know (like many of us) how exhausting, mundane and difficult it can be much of the time. However , it will not be like this forever, which I'm sure it feels like to you at the moment with a 10 month old.
They grow older, are grateful for things you do for them, and are insightful and amazing little people to be in the company of. You don't have to take them on holiday with you provided you have good childcare for a week/2 weeks. Me and dh swanned off on a lovely weeks holiday and left our ds with his adoring grandparents and aunties! And lie ins...as long as you make it clear as soon as they're old enough (my ds is 4 and lets me do this) that mummy and daddy are resting and aren't to be disturbed, they play in their rooms and amuse themselves.
I think a trip to the GP wouldn't hurt just in case this is a bit of PND or slight depression. It's very very common to hate motherhood and be sure that you aren't cut out for it. I've had many a day myself where I just want to chuck it in and run away, but it wouldn't solve anything. Bonding and laughing together is key, as well as a ton of support from your dh. I hope your post helps other mums because I don't think I would personally have had the balls to be so frank, and it's only a good thing.
You don't have to be a "mum" with "a baby". Be a human being who has a beautiful child to show amazing things to.
Don't conform to the stereotype if its not who you are.
I had my first child at 18 and despite all the opposition, i continued being myself and took him round the country, to festivals and touring and working and exploring, everywhere basically. I didn't feel that my life had stopped because I had this amazing person with me who was an extension of myself really.
For what it's worth, I really despise parent and toddler groups so I don't use them. It's not compulsory.
Mine are now grown up & left home, but I can totally empathise with you. I found the baby stage very, very boring. It got so much better when they started to talk. I remember going upstairs one evening to DS who was crying & when I walked in the room he said: "Drink". I felt a huge milestone had been achieved. I enjoyed it more & more the older they got.
And for being so brave as to post this - I am sure you will get lots & lots of sympathy.
I absolutley agree with you - however, I went on to have 2 more DCs, despite feeling as you do at times with the first, so I suppose you adjust and The thought that I'll never have a proper relaxed lie-in or holiday for the next 16 years or so fills me with horror becomes less of a nightmare.
But my mistake was to feel it was MY duty to care for DCs (and DH was away alot) and that was wrong. I should have had a regular break to go out (though it's difficult as you worry when you are not with them) using a childminder or babysitter. And a break for you, not for supermarket shopping.
If anything this would have done my baby a great deal of good, got her used to others and made me a happier and therefore better mum. So find something to treat yourself to regularly.
Start 'training' DH to take over in the morning so you do get the lie in. He wants a happy you too.
And by the time they are 16 you will be they no longer want to go on holiday with you, believe me!
lancylass that's a lot of background there, especially about the friends. That sounds tough.
The best thing you can do is be good to yourself on this. It's bloody hard work and bloody miserable at times. I can't imagine who on earth would enjoy singing round and round the bloody garden for the hundredth time but some people do! The fact is that there are many, many women (and men) out there who don't. That's ok - we don't have to love it. We just have to do the best we can and as Mishaps says, do as much as we can and do something else with the rest of our time.
And also honestly it does get better - they stop being such a grind and start being fun. Not quite yet I must admit but you haven't accidentally signed up to a lifetime of drudgery and round and round the garden...just a couple of years and you've nearly done Y1 already! Now that DD is six I find myself wishing she could stop getting older - I want to savour every minute. Whereas when she was a baby I was wishing the months away.
What would be good is if you can find something fulfilling to do on the day off. This isn't easy ( I don't work and have been struggling to find anything which I truly love to do). But art, singing, painting, learning a language,stuff like that give you a sense of achievement which could keep you going during the boring days.
Thanks, many of your posts there have made me smile I suppose I always
hoped thought I'd be a perfect Mum who loved it and that it would be the answer to my struggle to find a satisfying career /life I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it hasn't been!
Thank you for thinking I'm brave to post this. That makes me feel better too.
Got to go now. His highness has awoken and will require milk... drudge, drudge, drudge...
Can you plan a trip away? On your own or with friends, you need something exciting to look forward to.
I went halfway around the world when DC2 was 10 months old.
Was away for 3 weeks....loved every second.... DH did the honours of child care & nursery drop offs etc.
I now have 4 DC & combine travel with my work, it's the only way I function. DH is OK with it... Kids are great when I come home...All seems to work well.
Plan yourself something nice. I hated all the baby group stuff too.
Don't be too hard on yourself
This seems sort of appropriate to this thread. Stolen from FB.
Baby number 1 is really, really hard (actually, who am I kidding, so is baby number 2) - you have to make such huge sacrifices and adjustments. You don't feel like yourself anymore. You might go from having a really interesting job, going out a lot with friends, having a cleaner, etc etc to all of a sudden doing masses of laundry, cooking, staying in, being tired for very boring reasons and not having a second to yourself. The baby years can be dull. I can't claim to love every minute. But I guarantee that you will find your DS utterly fascinating and amazing company in years to come. And you don't have to be a conventional parent - do what works for you.
At some moments of the day I completely resent having a toddler! But since having my first, more than 6 years ago, the have been lots of times when I've done really cool things that I wouldn't have imagined in the that first year - you can have a life again! And I think you appreciate those moments you get to yourself, to do something you really want to do, all the more, than if you were childless.
DS1 is 6 and it's a complete privilege to watch him grow up. I'm even thinking about having a third, but the thought of those early days again... It really is enough to put me off, so who knows!
I am sure you will meet some like minded parents too - sometimes the mother and baby groups can be good to meet someone and then you can go off and meet up elsewhere, could you use them long enough to make a few more friends with similar age DC?
I read Kramer Vs Kramer around this time with my DS and cried because it was the first time I'd 'met' another mother (baaaaaad JoannaKramer) who couldn't get into being a full time mum and wanted to runaway to her old self.
My 3yr old and 5 yr old are gorgeous. But I wouldn't be saying that if I didn't have a full time nanny, and a job I love. Parenting preschoolers isn't for everyone. Men realised this two millennia ago <shrug>.
I think it helps to focus on bits of parenting you don't mind, and do them a lot. I hate playing on the floor and role play etc so I do lots of reading books, singing, and going out to the park. I leave the playing for DH and the CM. I don't feel bad; you can't like all of it. FInd the bits you don't mind and they can be your things.
I work and love it but if you can't, perhaps a course, or volunteering, or something like that, to give you another focus?
AuntLucy I love the film but never realised it was also a book <dumb>
Should I read it? Sounds like Joanna is brought to life by the book more than the film.
end of hijack
Oh but actually it's a good point for the OP - there is evidence out there of mothers who are struggling to love motherhood. I found Rachel Cusk's A Life's Work very powerful but some people hate it. I also always point people towards the Rolling Stones "Mother's Little Helper". There's a reason why mothers back then were on uppers and downers and whatever - they were miserable too but it was even less ok to say so then.
I've never seem the film. But in the book JK is a 'whole person' and loves her son, and the story goes into a lot of detail about how it's societies/her DH's expectations that motherhood should be 'enough' for her (whilst she continually tries to protest against this) when it just can't be, that lead her to abandoning her family. I get the impression that the film made it much more one sided... It's a great book. Very sad. Very complex.
i haven't read all the replies but I'd say I felt similar (if not quite as strongly as you) when my children were young. They are now 9 and 7 and while they can still be exhausting, i far prefer being a mother to children this age than to babies and toddlers. In fact, more often than not, I am utterly besotted with them and love being involved in their lives. I've worked less and less the older they've got so that I can spend more time with them - BECAUSE I WANT TO.
Do you know what I did when they were 3 and 5? I sailed across an ocean for 6 weeks just to get a break. I got a whole lot of stick for doing that both on mumsnet and in real life, but it saved my sanity and reminded me that I could still do things for me every now and then.
Don't beat yourself up about it. Make time for yourself and know that it does get better
I do sympathise. But.. you don't want a job AND you don't want to be a mother?
What do you want to do?
And sometimes I feel like I'm just killing time; until they nap, until I can have a cup of coffee in peace, until DH gets home, until the weekend, until the next event that breaks up the drudgery and monotony of it all.
Oh GOD I can relate to this. I went back to work at Christmas when DS was 20 months and now I just have every Friday at home with him (as well as wkend) - and I feel so horribly horribly guilty that this is how I feel.... every Friday.
@Inclusionist - if I knew that I wouldn't be sitting here in misery. I thought I wanted to be a mother. Now I know I'm not cut out for it. So I'm now kind of stuck with no hope of a get-out.
*And sometimes I feel like I'm just killing time; until they nap, until I can have a cup of coffee in peace, until DH gets home, until the weekend, until the next event that breaks up the drudgery and monotony of it all.
Oh GOD I can relate to this...*
Exactly, me too... you've got it spot on there...
But perhaps it's not motherhood itself rather it is you. You sound as if you're not keen on anything really. You don't have a career you're missing. Detach from the motherhood thing and focus on healing yourself as a person not a mother.
My midwife always said to me that as soon as i find myself not enjoying my babies is time to see the GP as it could be PND. Of course it may not be and I hope that isn't belittling your feelings, I don't mean to and can totally understand that even without PND everyone feels on a treadmill sometimes. Little babies are not the best company!
Maybe go to a lifecoach? I know it's a bit mumbo-jumbo but they might help you to think about what you do want to do? I read this book called 'Do It'. In the first chapter you had to imagine that you had just been made an all powerful immortal with unlimited resources and decide what you were going to do with your good fortune! The rest of the book was about planning (and acting) to get as close as you could to the dream.
I adore my little boy but I couldn't be a SAHM. I would go crazy. I need to work for the feeling of control it gives me- having my own agenda I can follow and not being enslaved to an irrational 2yo the entire time.
Maybe you could find a raison d'etre with some external support?
Actually @Inclusionist... the answer is I want to be gardening, decorating, reading books and magazines, watching films and dramas, and sleeping... lots and lots of long lie-ins and sleeping... None of which are possible with a baby... And yes, I was probably totally naive (as I said, I have no close friends with children so I never saw the reality of parenthood), but I had absolutely no idea that motherhood meant I wouldn't be able to do any of those things anymore. I had a vague notion that a baby would sleep most of the time, or happily play in a playpen, while I got on with the rest of my life... then I envisaged happy days with a small child playing in the sunny garden that I'd created, with them helping me plant and harvest the vegetables and prune the flowers. But my vegetable garden has lain bare since I became pregnant... Sorry, waffling now...
Is it not a little idealist to think that life can be like that? I think that very, very few people are able to live with so few responsibilities.
Have been to a career coach and a life coach in the past! Actually, my problem with work is the same problem I feel with motherhood and you've hit the nail on the head with the feeling of control it gives me. I hate feeling trapped. That's why I hated work. I was trapped in an office for 10 hours a day and in the control of an employer. Now I feel trapped by a small person with relentless demands.
You said imagine the dream - that's my dream! It still includes responsibilities - the responsibility to bring up my child. Anyway, don't want to get into an argument. If you've not spent every Sunday night crying your eyes out because tomorrow is Monday and you've got to go to work again, it's probably difficult to imagine what that's like...
This is totally how it was for me.
Desparate to get pregnant, crap loooong labour, relatively easy baby but once the adrenaline/novelty,wore off a few months in it was a grind. That counting down to bedtime/nap is bang on.
I spent a small fortune getting out of the house every day to escape the mind numbing ness of it all. I did that thing where I questioned my bond with him, thought how I felt meant that I didn't love him properly and was desparate to get back to work to start feeling 'normal' again, and guess what, I didn't. I wasn't myself for a long long time.
I am now. He's 22 months and a joy. I'm never going to enjoy all the playing stuff, I'm rubbish at it but I'm not rubbish at wanting to make him as happy as he can be, it's just reframing and all of a sudden,it's not a chore. Yes, its relentless, yes the routine is backbreaking, but as he gets bigger, it eases off, everything isn't so NOW, there is time and you don't feel quite so trapped. You're at the point where it's change change change, just as one thing seems established, but that will get easier.
What do you like to do? Do you have access to child care, even a session a week for you to have some lay flat out onmthe sofa and do nothing time will help.....
I think my sister felt a little like you. She dealt with it by taking control at home. She boot-camped her babies. Think Gina Ford and activity timetables. They haven't suffered for it at all, they are lovely, secure, easy going kids. She felt in control that way.
I solve the problem by making sure I have a job where I have a domain of responsibility (luckily I was at management level before I had DS). That gives me a place where I set the pace.
Wouldn't pottering for your whole life make you feel a bit guilty about whoever was supporting you financially?
Oh and the decorating, that's still 'work' and a responsibility... building (literally) a comfortable home for my family. I see that all as a big responsibility. Sorry, I'm getting defensive... time to go away...
Oh yes, I'm a Gina Ford mum all the way!! It's the only thing that's kept me sane. I was falling apart the first few weeks, but the day we starting implementing Gina Ford I felt some sanity come back! My DH is happy to support me, even if it means we have to go without a lot of the time. He saw how miserable work made me and he'd rather I was happy (I know, I'm very lucky with him.)
Re: not knowing what you want to do with your life - might sound a bit obvious but on the off-chance it's helpful: you don't have to have One Big All-Consuming thing. Sometimes people talk like life is about finding some big vocation, whether that be saving the whales, motherhood, or a Grand Career.
But that's only one way of being happy. It's perfectly possible to be happy without having a Big Thing for your life to be about: just lots of smaller things that give you pleasure. So if "OMG I picked the wrong thing, now I won't have time to find the right one!" is one of your anxieties, then it doesn't have to work like that.
Lancy I feel exactly the same. I love it once they are talking. I have 3 and it was only with my third that I felt ready to say I dont like the baby stage. First I was looking forward to getting to 6MO, then 1yr, then 18MO and now 2 years and Ive not even got to the 18MO bit yet.
Im looking for a job ATM as I just dont like being a mum. I do other things (running and a couple of courses), but I still feel I need more. I would like a full time job so I can do that instead of being a mum most of the time.
In regards to what do you want to do bit when you find the answer (or how you got to the answer) let me know so I can figure something out myself.
Then again Im having a tiring day today as DD2 got me up at half 4 this morning after a bad nights sleep as she's full of cold so not feeling well. When I finally got her to sleep earlier DD1 started crying as she felt sick and woke DD2 up again.
I think it would help to get out and meet other mums. Even if you don't consider them your proper friends yet, the drudgery is halved when you find someone else to laugh about it with. There will be others who also hate the baby chat, you just have to get to know them.
Lie-ins - dh and I have had one day each every weekend for the past 6 years. Nothing is more sacred in our relationship.
Gardening - you can do this but the weather hasn't been right yet. Spring is just around the corner! *
Decorating - harder
Reading - lie on floor with book, let baby crawl on top of you. Fun for all. Buy lots of children's books, the best ones you can get your hands on, they're great. I actually love adult books less now. Still, around age 1 I introduced 'you read your book and I will read mine' during restless bedtime.
* I stole this sentiment from a book my Dd has about Frog and Toad. Children's books are fab.
You have a partner so you don't have to be in sole charge of your baby 24/7. Send your child and its father out together for the day and have a nap, read a book, prepare the garden for spring.
It sounds like you're trying to do it all yourself and VERY few women enjoy that.
Thanks Earnest..love the link!! Me to a tee!!
I wasn't going to reply but i really can relate to your post. I had 2 dc when i was very young. I hated it. I couldn't talk to anyone about it as i knew they would tell me it was because i was young.
I went back to work when the youngest was 18 months old as i needed the money. I liked the time away from the dc but hated actual work, so i really relate to you in that respect.
It got easier as they got older. They are almost 24 & 21 now. I have a fantastic relationship with them both. Ds24 particularly. I was very strict with them but it did them no harm& have turned out to be happy & successful adults.
I went on to have 3 more dc in my late 20's & 30's. Parenting these 3dc is a totally different experience. In many respects i did a much better job with my older dc.
Stop beating yourself up. I think there are lots of mums out there who feel just like you do but are scared to admit it or presume they are depressed and on anti depressents.
Finally i really feel if people knew exactly how exhausting, isolating & draining parenting is alot less people would have dc. There is so much hype around parents, babies & so called'having it all'. All over MN are posts about sahm vs wohm, relationship struggles, exhausted Mums&the reality of being a parent.
Your not so different...You just voiced what many feel.
OP don't build a profile of yourself as someone who has something wrong with them and can't enjoy life. I have long-term depression and anxiety too, and it is a millstone for sure, but you CAN be happy. You just haven't found what makes you happy.
Not having enjoyed any of the jobs you have had in the past doesn't mean you can't love or get fulfilment from work, just that you haven't yet. Most jobs, let's face it, are excruciatingly mind-numbing.
Not enjoying being cooped up with a small baby when your friends don't have children and you don't get any breaks - doesn't make you an unnatural mother or mean that you can't love or get fulfilment from motherhood, just that so far your experience of it has been a grind, and motherhood isn't enough for you - it isn't for most people. I am an early years teacher and I adore small children. But when I was at home with my own babies full-time there were times when I would rather have had my nipples removed with a blunt spoon than read the same fucking Thomas the Tank Engine story AGAIN.
It gets better! As they get more independent you will feel less suffocated. And they are much better company once they are talking. In the meantime, think about what makes you feel fired up and excited, and how can you take practical steps towards getting more of it.
Oh & I've never been to a mother & toddler group! I paid for them all to go to playgroup! Im the opposite to alot of people who've posted. I love the baby stage!
My younger dc are all between 4 &11 at the moment. If i had the money i would pay someone to care for them from after school until bedtime, probably 5or6 days a week. I have a Dp but he works rotating shifts so it means 1 lie in a month. Evenings very often on my own with dc.
I have no social life as i don't have anyone to babysit the dc so i appreciate what you mean by the restrictions having dc put on you!
Nursery? Or a mother's help? Sharing the responsibility with other people helps so much. It also helps you see your child through others' eyes and it is reassuring to see that you've done a good job. Because you have. Our 16 month old has had people helping out since I went back to work when he was 5.5 months. And it has been great for everyone. I could never do this full time - feels like drowning - but time away makes me work harder at the time we do have together. No longer an endless slog.
When the walls really close in on us, we go out. But not into nappy valley. Back into the land of the living. Museums. Lunch dates in nice restaurants, not child-only places.
You don't have to be stuck. Maybe try to see motherhood as life expanding rather than limiting. Use your babe as an excuse to get out there.
It gets better.
I understand, OP. I often have felt like you. Babies are pretty dull, and toddlers are just a bloody great slog. For us, things started to become amazing at 3.
Now my eldest is 6 and a nicer person you could not know. Like others, I wished the time away when he was small and difficult but now, I love and admire him so much, beyond any measure of reasonableness (!) that I almost grieve for each passing day. I want time to stand still. Knowing how great it can be has given me real perspective in dealing with my 2 year old who can be a total pain in the arse. Just like his older brother was! Hang on. I promise you it will be worth it. And thanks for posting. It has helped me to know that others have felt and do feel the same.
OP - I feel for you. I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing normal women say normal things like babycare is dull and tiring and are told they need a doctor.
Just because PND can include these feelings doesn't mean you are mentally ill. Where in history are the great paeons of praise to the majestic human rite of passage that is nappy changing and wiping vomit? Funny, all those epic stories seem to have been usurped by stories of romance, epic achievement and stuff.
Cheer up - some bits of motherhood suit some people some of the time. Your time will come. No one regrets it long term.
Try and get shot of the babe for a bit so you can find something to keep you going through this difficult patch.
Ha ha Corygirl I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing normal women say normal things like babycare is dull and tiring and are told they need a doctor.
Well done my dear. Just try and get a break (correction : get a break) to do something sane once a day for an hour.
Will keep you going through the dirge - it does end, it really does.
There is nothing wrong or unusual in your feelings - the modern role of full time mother, often isolated a lot of the time, is a role which has only been recently invented, and has no relation to how humans evolved to thrive and survive.
Humans evolved (and lived for most of our time on this planet) in tribes, where women would have kept 'working' ie. collecting food etc from soon after the baby was born - and they would never have been alone or solely responsible for a small child.
I really recommend a great book - The world until yesterday by Jared Diamond - he writes about the way the last few tribal cultures live and what that tells us about how we actually evolved and what we are really designed for...
He talks about how on average a woman had up to 15 people nearby to take the child for a short time / hold while she sleeps or works or does whatever!
This idea of focusing on 'looking after a baby' is a complete invention of modern culture - of course it's lonely - it's also unique to western life where people work long hours -
I also think there is nothing wrong in not enjoying work! You just haven't found what moves you and makes you feel alive yet - but of course it's more enjoyable to watch films, decorate , lie in the sun -
I wonder if you can sit down and without feeling miserable and angry about your feelings, look very clearly at what you don't like about the day to day role you are carrying out and see if you can be a mother in a different way? Could you head off travelling with the baby? Can you afford childcare even if you don't work?
Could you get some shifts in a cafe that just covered childcare so you got to talk to others, daydream a little and be free from your child for a while? Could you see the baby as just an excuse to meet new people and be out and about?
Detach from the 'ideal' of what being a mother means and work out what it would take for you to enjoy your life...
Corygal, you make a really valid and really important point, but OP, I must say I picked straight up on what only Inclusionist and to an extent Greensleeves seem to have picked up on. In a way, you had a baby hoping it would be a fix for your depression and an escape from the drudgery of (working) life. That made the situation you are in now pretty much inevitable, I fear.
Could you say a little more about the therapies you have undertaken? How long did you see each counsellor/therapist for? Why did you stop going in each case? I don't mean provide a detailed list , but think about these things to see if there is a pattern. Committing to the long haul with the right therapist could be life-changing for you; I speak from experience. And I am wondering whether you have ever been checked out physically? You sound as if you find the demands of life at your stage of it rather exhausting in general. As harsh as this will sound, we are made to have a purpose and a drive to achieve it, and although the thought of pottering and gardening for pleasure might seem attractive at various times in busy people's lives, an irresistible pull to do no9thing but potter, not engage with the world in any form, is a sign of something underlying, something that needs attention.
You speak with love of the idea of focusing on your garden - might there be any mileage in making something more of that?
I think this goes a lot deeper than the very true and valid points people are making about the experience of early motherhood, and motherhood has brought it into focus, perhaps to crisis point. It's a tired old line that 'crisis' is just another word for 'opportunity', but it's true and I think it's an opportunity you are going to really need to take, OP, in order to turn things around for your whole life.
Oh Lancy you are so not alone in feeling this way! Babies and children are bloody hard work and as my DM would say, relentless. I think there are some excellent points and suggestions on this thread, especially waterrrat's one about the extended family and how mothers in other cultures / previous generations had loads of support. Another point that I think is particularly true is cakecrumb's one about how first babies are really hard. I certainly found that. You wrote that your closest friends don't have children and that you haven't made any mum friends. I think that having a social network is essential. When I had DS1 we had just moved to a new area where we knew no one. I felt very isolated and bored out of my brain. Babies don't make the greatest conversationalists (is this even a word? ). It was very hard. I too am not a big fan of the "cutesy" baby groups etc. I know I'm sounding a bit judgey but the sort of "well done Boo! It is a kumquat" thing sets my teeth on edge. I found that trial and error worked well; I went to loads of different groups and found a couple I liked full of people you could have a proper chat and gossip with that didn't revolve purely around the children. It was hard at first but it did pay off. In my experience, once I'd met some other mums in the area it got a lot better. Humans are social animals and we need support and contact from other people. Check out local parenting websites, local cafes etc. This is just my opinion of course! Best of luck, you are not alone!
OP - you are so not alone.
However, I'm reading this snuggled up on the sfa with my 5&3 year olds, and I love 'motherhood' now. Baby work is hard, relentless and thankless, but it DOES pass. Take heart, and remember the MN motto, 'this too shall pass'.
Oh, and I ditched gina ford for baby #2, it made for a much more pleasant experience! (but then you also know what you're doing
a little bit more for baby 2).
I have/still do feel like you at times. It's awful as I then also feel guilty for feeling like that. I long for time to myself, lie ins, holidays, reading etc. I also find myself counting down until nap time. My DS is 15 months old.
I went back to work when my DS was 4 months old but did 2 x 4 hours. I gradually built this up and now work 18 hours over 4 days. It's a great balance. I still dislike motherhood at times but not as much as I used to. I honestly had times where I just wanted to run away. In hindsight I think I suffered pnd and at times it tries to make a come back.
Is it not possible for you to work part-time? When you work part time it's not so important for it to be a role you love. You can also then get some time out from motherhood, find a new role where you can be you and maybe start appreciating your time with your lo more.
I almost wrote that I admire anyone that is a SAHM but have changed my mind about that statement. We are not all the same. We have different needs, interests and personalities. What works for one won't necessarily work for another. I could never be a SAHM - I would certainly have a breakdown. I think I have found a balance with part time work although I still find motherhood hard.
I found the baby/toddler years tedious on the whole with the odd bit of fun and enjoyment. Ds was born early, poorly and was poorly until he was about 4.5 yrs. I love him and always have but I found it pretty dull until he could have a decent conversation with me. He started speaking in sentences at 18 months and was very verbal by the time he was two. He is 8 now and I love this age. He is fab company and has a unique view on the world. I have experiences with him that enrich my life, something I could never have imagined when he was a baby.
I would add that I would never tell anyone in RL how dull I found life when he was a baby. It was pretty much continual worry. Everyone used to say what an amazing mum I was and how strong I was to cope. I hated it as I spent ds's baby years feeling scared about him being unwell etc (although he wasn't seriously ill he was continually ill with lung problems as well as just not developing and meeting milestones until months/years after he should).
Oh, so much to reply to! Sorry, this is going to be a massive reply
I'll start with what I was going to say - having reflected on some of the responses overnight - I really appreciate all your support, and I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I don't find any of the practical stuff helps. We do all that already: sharing lie-ins on a weekend; I go out a couple of nights a week to activities; my parents have him one day a week... but it just isn't the same. I really like a quote from the article drjohnsonscat recommended: Theyre a huge source of joy, but they turn every other source of joy to shit. Take the lie-in, there's a reason why I said in my OP "a proper relaxed lie-in! To me a proper lie in means sleeping until your natural body clock wakes you up your body tells you how much sleep it needs. Well that just cant happen anymore. I still get woken up by the baby on the monitor when he wakes up and then I can hear him chattering away to DH. My sleep has been interrupted, and even if I manage to get back to sleep its just a light, fitful snooze, not a proper lie in. Thats just an example, but its the same with the going out it ends up being such a rush, I dont get time to eat before going out so Im starving, Im too knackered to actually enjoy being out anyway etc
waterrat thats really interesting about tribal culture (I studied Anthropology so I find that sort of thing fascinating). I was thinking just the other day how on earth has the human species survived if looking after a baby is so hard? But then I thought evolution will have favoured those who can cope with it.
EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy some of what you say is valid, but it wasnt a case of having a baby hoping it would be a fix and escape, it was more like ten years of me and DH going Should we, shouldnt we? We both always wanted a family, but can I cope with it? Would it be a mistake? Oh sh** Im 37 now, if we dont try now it may end up being too late, oh well wed better to give it a go or well regret not doing it !!
As for the therapies I think Ive tried everything! And yes, I know all about committing to the right therapist. You have to have a good rapport with them. Most I didnt give more than a couple of months as they didnt fit for me, but I saw a counsellor/life coach who specialised in NLP for over a year - he was the only one who really got me. But in the end it drifted to an end with no solution as nothing was working for me. Most recently I saw an NHS Psychologist. We went for the maximum 20 sessions youre allowed on the NHS. Her conclusion was Ive just got to keep working hard at it but there is no magic solution, no fix, and the problems I have will always be with me and its more a case of I have to accept that but find a way to live with it.
Its not actually true that Motherhood has brought everything to a crisis. Ive been very depressed and suffered anxiety to the point of not going out of the house in the past. I know I am not depressed now. My anxiety hit crisis point when I was pregnant for me pregnancy was the worst experience of my life - but motherhood has actually helped it massively. From that point of view DS has been better than any therapy Ive had. He gives me a reason to have to carry on come what may. Its just that carrying on is just so flippin hard and irritating . and dull
Im afraid I dont agree with you about being made to have a purpose and a drive to achieve it - thats a very Western Protestant work ethic viewpoint and one I dont subscribe to but thats another debate for another time!!
Oh dear, that really is a long post. Sorry, I wanted to answer as many things as possible Ive probably opened myself up to all sorts of attack there that will just end up making me more stressed but I guess I wanted to try to make the point that yes, I do have underlying issues, but thats only part of what this is about. Ultimately, I just dont have the patience for baby care. Hmmm, maybe I should have just said that
Also, sorry I can't reply to everyone. I'd love to be able to. You've all said some great stuff and really helpful stuff and it's just lovely to know others feel/felt the same... the same worries, the same internal conflicts etc...
Also look at the small things you can do to help whilst you're waiting out the baby months...why have you still got a monitor in your bedroom? We used to wear earplugs if it was our turn for the lie in.
brainonastick because otherwise I wouldn't hear if something was wrong! He had an awful sickness bug a couple of weeks ago but the only way I knew he'd been sick the first time was because I heard it on the monitor. I will use a monitor until he's old enough to get out of bed himself and come and get us if he needs us. If I didn't, I wouldn't sleep anyway as I'd be too worried about him...!!
OK, that's probably contrary to what I just spent a long time saying in the last post! It's the same reason why I wouldn't ever leave him with anyone else overnight, or be able to go on holiday without him - I'd worry too much.
Lancy I'm in no way underestimating anything you've said, and I'm not dismissing your history or any problems you yourself feel, but reading your last post makes you sound like a lovely Mum. Just because you're finding it hard going (which I think is pretty normal) doesn't mean you're not doing a good job. I stand by what I said earlier; I think that getting some local mum friends would help a lot. Motherhood (like romance) is nothing like the slushy films and media make it out to be, it is
bloody hard work, but fabulous too. I think that if you could brave a few rhyme times / baby groups / children's centres etc and get some more social contact then you might feel a bit more positive. Really hope I don't sound like a patronising twat! I just remember how I felt when I had DS1.
When I say 'purpose', I don't necessarily mean 'work' as in 'career' etc. Your purpose might be to create, maintain and develop an absolutely wonderful garden, and pass on those skills to your dc. (I do think that the point about financially chipping in that someone else made is a valid one - but you know your circumstances and I don't).
Your psychologist's conclusion might sound a little negative - I wouldn't necessarily agree that these problems are doomed to be always with you - but she's right that any change is bloody hard labour. I've been in therapy for a couple of years and it is a terrible slog, but things I never saw changing are beginning to shift and transform. if you could find a good client-centred therapist (BACP accredited) and really stick with it, I think it would pay dividends. The fact that the practical stuff doesn't help, as you say, is a really good indication that something deeper is going on.
That said, the baby phase can certainly be an awful grind. I enjoyed it - and in fact motherhood has just got better as mine have got older - but that doesn't mean I assume everyone will. The restrictions early motherhood imposes would be tough on anyone, but women are expected to suck it up with a smile - I agree that that is a real, wider problem.
I think when I said motherhood brought stuff to crisis point, what I meant is that now your dc is in the mix the stakes are a lot higher, iyswim. Withdrawing isn't an option, as it perhaps was with the world of work. And that might give you a push to try and dig out the roots of this.
I massively don't want to patronise or offend you here, but have you read about pathalogical demand avoidance? It is characterised by being incredibly (and involuntarily) stressed out by the routine demands of everyday life.
I have worked with a number of children with this condition and actually the way you say you feel rings some bells.
Thanks xigris, it's lovely of you to say that. . If I'm honest, the going to groups and stuff is also linked to my anxiety. I have reasons I hate going (won't bore you with the details...) But I do find them intensely irritating and I haven't met ANYBODY who I feel I can relate to/have anything in common with even the tiniest little bit. So I've rather given up and don't feel it's worth putting myself through that stress for very little gain. Which leads nicely onto EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy's point about the withdrawing...
Yes, that's very true. I was actually about to withdraw from this thread as it was starting to make me stressed, but I'm glad I didn't as I'd have missed your's and xigris's last posts! The issues of motherhood are a reflection of the rest of my life... e.g. my comment about the baby groups in the last paragraph... "I haven't met ANYBODY who I feel I can relate to/have anything in common with even the tiniest little bit" in the rest of life either (except DH)! Ok, that's an exagerration, but you get the point...!
I do think my purpose (at the moment and has been for the last few years) is to build a beautiful house and garden - and I mean literally build. Every wall has been replaced, every inch of wood stripped - and I think that's a big part of my frustration. DS came along too early really - we started trying because we thought it would take a long time at my age, but it didn't - and now we're stuck with a half-finished project that I have no time to complete. The occasional hour when he's asleep or a few hours a week when he's at my parents aren't enough for building/DIY/decorating. They are full on tasks that require full time commitment.
The flip side of this is that if I DO spend time on them, I then regret the time I'm away from DS. A few weeks ago he spent nearly every day with my parents for a week or two while I got on with an urgent task in the house - and on one of those days he started to crawl. I was absolutely gutted. I will never have that day again and I missed it. So I feel kind of stuck in a no-win situation! We are now paying people to complete the work, which is frustrating as we can't really afford it.
(I'm not sure why I felt the need to explain all that - I think I don't want you to think I just want to spend my time 'pottering' - there is something concrete I want to be doing, and it's something that is bloody hard work!)
But it also shows why I DO want to be a SAHM - I don't want other people to be the ones sharing his 'firsts' and his milestones. I want to be there for every second because the time is so precious. Yet I find the daily grind of that unbearable... internal conflict, internal conflict, internal conflict....!
I massively don't want to patronise or offend you here, but have you read about pathalogical demand avoidance? It is characterised by being incredibly (and involuntarily) stressed out by the routine demands of everyday life. No I haven't.
Yes, it does sound like me - a lot! Will look it up.
Hmmm, no, on a quick read of major symptoms, I don't think it's me. I've been a very high achiever in the past (albeit with a lot of struggle and misery). I think me 'dropping out' of work/life is sort of rebelling against what I spent my first 30 years struggling to do... if that makes sense.
Motherhood is slavery by another name make no mistake. It's perverse - what other job would you be expected to be on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no training, no lunch hour and no pay? Yes there are women who find it fulfilling but the rest of us find it bloody hard and long for the old days of lazy mornings laying in bed looking at holiday brochures drinking a cup of tea that was actually hot. Mums groups are generally horrendous too - when else would you be expected to bond with other women when the only thing you obviously have in common is that you've had sex in the last five years? It's ok - you don't have to love it you just have to do the best you can - your son only has one mum and you will always be the most important woman in his life - all you need to do is be there for him, you don't have to be a happy clappy earth mother you just need to love him and do what you can to keep yourself sane. Let yourself grieve for your old life if you need to but try not to focus too much in all you've given up - think about what you've learnt and overcome too. none of us are naturals at this lark but we just have to keep our sense of humour and not let it become an endurance test.
I hope you find things getting easier as your DS gets older. I think you will find this spring/summer very different from last year, especially in terms of getting out into the garden.
Can you start making plans for what you want to do in your garden? Doesn't need to be big landscaping projects, just planning your seed planting etc. I found that I spent a lot more time in the garden with my toddler-aged children than I ever did before, they would be pottering around and I could do bits and pieces of work.
Perhaps having some plans for yourself would make you feel more in control?
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Jac1978 you're absolutely right, thank you .
piprabbit that's what I'm hoping - and hoping we get some good weather this year so that I can! - It's good to hear you managed lots of time in the garden with toddlers.
Weissdorn, I don't think that's a terribly good attitude to volunteering? Yes there are a few volunteer things you can do as much or as little as you want (being one of a team of online moderators for instance) but in most volunteer jobs ones who turn up only when they feel like it are about as much use as a chocolate teapot...
OP, I read your post with interest as your situation is rather similar to that of my DSis (although you are in a better position as you frankly acknowledge your issues and have tried to get help e.g by seeing counsellors).
From what you said in your OP and following posts, I wonder if you are a little like my Dsis, in that you are doing a good job of being a mum yet find it very frustrating at times, but don't feel you can delegate the task to anyone else. DSis seems to get very anxious about leaving her DC with anyone, whether family members, paid carers or even her DH -- and as far as I can see it's irrespective of the competence of the carer, whether the children enjoy being looked after by them, etc. Over the years it has made her very frustrated as she now has no real interests of her own nor time to pursue them, but it's hard to help someone who won't or can't let go and trust other people to help with DC.
As regards wanting the beautiful house and garden, I wonder is it the process or the product? If it's that you'd simply like to have them, but can't afford to employ builders, landscapers etc then it would be sensible to factor some days at nursery into the equation as if you're going to do the work yourself, that is the cost of your time ifyswim? A friend of mine did up his house while his DW paid the bills with her City job, but he had no DC costs, it saved lots of building costs and he got to pursue a creative ambition at the same time (writing a novel). On the other hand he was prepared to, and did, return to work when his DW was made redundant.
If it's the process then that's a possible way forward in that when your house and garden are done you will have a useful skill base that could lead into satisfying work in building or horticulture (I would say interior design or garden design but I think those areas are very very competitive at the moment). As an interim step, although you say you don't enjoy mother and baby groups would you consider setting up a group that would include children and parents but focus on gardening, craft, design etc? I know I often enjoy things more when I have organised them.
If it's about using those tasks as a form of therapy, again, it might be worth the investment in the childcare so you can do them properly and again it could lead to an interest such as therapeutic horticulture. There are organisations that specialise in that such as Thrive (http://www.thrive.org.uk).
I suppose what I'd try to do (and what I'd love my DSis to do) is to stop telling myself "I should" about everything all the time and work out what would actually lead to a more satisfying life -- which might include taking turns with DH to earn a living/him becoming the main carer for a while if feasible -- and work out steps I could take towards those.
We don't all have to be exactly the same or 'do' motherhood (or life come to that) in the same way to be a success at it.
However, I don't think many people get to have proper lie ins once they're past the teenage stage though!
Mammoth post, sorry to blah on, thought you were very brave to acknowledge how you felt & hope you can find some solutions...
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I think that lifes hard full stop. All this 'finding fulfilment' and 'being happy with everything' is unrealistic I think.
The fact is whatever you do, whatever you have some days are shit. There's no getting away from that. All you can hope to do is balance the shit with stuff that really makes you smile and you enjoy.
Weissdorn, I wasn't lecturing just responding to what you said... sorry if I misunderstood! I have volunteered in various roles for about 20 years; it can be very satisfying if you commit.
I wanted to add that perhaps you and DH could come up with some plans to help break up the rigmarole? I've been feeling stuck in a rut with the daily grind of motherhood and my DH decided I was plain bored! He came up with some ideas to break up the monotony. Just days out etc that help colour life and stop every day feeling the same. Gives you things to look forward to and events to enjoy as a family. You may very well doing this already but just a thought...
OP- I also really struggled with the first 12 months in particular, but even now (dd is 2.3) I am looking forward to her being older. I find her about 1000 times easier now than a year ago, but still struggle with the demands of a small child. She is more independent now and can do more for herself, but I love having time away from her. I adore her, but have decided that I'm probably not cut out for having more than one child! Like you, I imagined gardening etc with my child, but didn't realise just how long it is before you can actually do those things. I dreaded my DH leaving for work when she was little as I knew that meant I had 10-12 hours on my own with dd. I found it boring, lonely, repetitive and fairly thankless looking after a baby. You are not alone feeling like you do, but it does get better as they get older.
Is there anyway you can put your ds into nursery or with a childminder for a day or 2 a week? I appreciate this is an expensive option.
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So brave if you to be honest ! I'm sick of people who just cherry coat things. I'm not enjoying it much myself and my dd is only 2 months !
I do however have friends with kids but this doesn't make things easier , I've tried to tell them things are hard like really really hard but they look at me like I shouldn't feel like that like I'm doing something wrong.
So NO you're not on your own !
I think more people should open up and tell it like it is
No-one tells you what it's really like to have kids I for one thought it was going to a lot easier than it turns out to be
Just keep looking forward I've been told time goes fast and before we know it the tiring boring baby stage will be over and we will wish it back hahaha
Good luck !! X
Where do you live ? Maybe someone could help? We don't all talk about nappies all day . I am a Sahm but I can converse in other subjects too
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I know where you are coming from, OP. I skipped back to work when DD was 6 months partly because I wanted a bit of the old me back and wanted to be treated as something more than DD's mum. And achieve something other than me and DD still being alive at the end of the day. Parent and child groups were ok for me but I wouldn't want them to be the centre of my existence. Like you, I felt that I couldn't admit that I didn't enjoy it because my mummy friends seemed to enjoy it.
Then I decided to be honest, and admitted to anyone who asked that it was a bloody hard slog but that I loved DD to bits. In hindsight, it took a long time for me to properly bond with her and see her as herself and not a problem to be solved. The pressure to be a perfect parent really doesn't help and the first year is the worst for it IME.
DD is now 6, and DS is 3. There are still things that are hard - they are still demanding, but less incessantly, and any idea of spending a full day doing something is still out of the window unless they are not here. But it really does get better because they get more independent, and having DS was a different kettle of fish altogether (I was more relaxed about everything, juggling the demands of two was a bit like being knocked back to the start - this time I knew it got better) so things do change. Sometimes I still find the idea that my old life is gone until they're at least in their teens all a bit much, and I want to plan in one dimension not four just once in a while, but that's normal I reckon. No-one loves every single second.
You wrote up thread about firsts. When I was talking to a friend about this she very wisely said that whilst I might not see DD's first steps, there would be a first time I would see her walk. That really helped and I don't think there's much I felt I missed.
Good luck, OP.
Hello OP, I'm a regretful mum up here in Edinburgh. Fuck me, it's hard, isn't it? I mourn my old life every single day, and envy old people because they can laze about with no responsibilities.
I had horrendous PND and am still on the meds, though weaning off. I have got my life back in so many ways but ds is still a toddler and it is hard, physical labour. I'm pretty relaxed and happy these days though, because I have given in to the reality of the situation and am now at peace with the idea that my happy motherhood years are out there waiting for me.
I have mentally battened down the hatches, and I'm getting through the weeks and months by visualising my wonderful future. People tell you not to wish time away. Nod and smile. Why wouldn't you wish away the hardest time of your life?
Every day feels like an eternity when you're unhappy, but time ticks by all the same. Make little milestones for yourself, I do this all the time. Each one gets you further away from babycare hell and closer to happy family life, with tons of self indulgence built in.
Don't worry, you're pretty normal from what I can see. Wee hugs xx
LancyLass, I can relate to a lot of what you're feeling. I find myself having a mini meltdown and in tears at least once a week. DD is 2 months old and (I'm told) a very good baby. She's started babbling and we have lovely little conversations when she's in a good mood. She's also started to sleep 5-6 hours a night. Nonetheless, I realised soon after she was born that I'd had no idea how bloody hard and intense caring for a baby is. And that's with a brilliant DH, who does 3/7 nights (she's formula fed). I find the days when I'm on my own with her very, very boring and unfulfilling. DD won't sleep anywhere but on someone during the day, so getting anything done is difficult. I've been out a couple of times to see the other mums in my NCT group, but as a rule I find going out with DD very stressful, because I'm scared she'll cry endlessly until we come back, which is completely irrational, as she spends most of the time we're out asleep. I miss our old life all the time and I miss my job. Even though I love my daughter, I can't quite remember why we thought this was a good idea.
You're definitely not alone and it's been so helpful to read everyone's posts. No one else in RL seems to feel like this.
That's a really brave post too GraceSpeaker. Im so sorry that things are hard for you. If it's any consolation, my best friend had a baby 7 months ago and she has had more than her share of 'mini meltdowns'. She said she wasn't prepared for how tough it is to have to think about someone else's needs every second of every day and feels that she's had to really neglect herself, and that's been much harder than she thought it would be.
'No one else in RL seems to feel like this'
They do, I promise you, they really do. It's just still such a taboo to talk about it. Motherhood is supposed to be every woman's crowning glory, the pinnacle of her fairytale, and something every woman wants desperately. The truth needs to come out more often and it takes brave posters like you to share your stories to make that happen. And there's such pressure on women to keep up the fairytale facade and be the 'perfect mother' (no idea what that would even be!) that it's hard to be honest.
Something that saves my friend's sanity is spending a night out with a friend, or a night away with a friend about every 4-6 weeks. I know your little one is still tiny but it might be something to think about in the next few months?
I hope things get better for you
I went to a baby massage class with DS3 today - the lady that runs it is brilliant, every week we start with a bit of a chat, today it was what we find difficult about having babies. For all the first time Mums it was like opening the flood gates and much of what has been said on this thread was talked about. It also made me remember the early months with DS1. I found it soooooo hard and so
bloody boring! I too used to worry about him crying and people think I wasn't doing it "right" (whatever that is, I'm still probably not!) I really think the early months with your first baby are incredibly tough. It's such a massive change to every part of your life, your body, relationships, everything! In my experience and most of my friend's, it does get easier. I think that some of the problem is expectation and the fact that we're all told that having a baby is so fulfilling and marvellous. I certainly did not find that for a second when I had DS1! It did get easier though, so much so that I've just had my third. Best of luck!
Oooo! X-posted with Lotte. Yup, totally agree with the "fairy tale facade" analogy
Grace with both of mine 2-3 months was awful. You feel that the 'postnatal' period is over and baby should be settling but they arent.
If your lo screams when you take her out she isnt an easy baby I can assure you. Dd2 was an easy baby, I could cart her round anywhere in the car seat/ pram she barely wimpered. Dd1 I seem to remember screaming if bored and it was so stressful. Thankfully no one ever told me she was an easy baby though - that would have made me feel really useless. Chin up, aim for 4 months.
What I find hard tbh is not having time to myself. Dh takes them out loads but its somehow never enough.
Oh and easy babies by that age sleep other than on you.... I've just had another flashback to dd1 (who is now a lovely, easy 4yo fwiw!)
Could it be that you haven't accepted that your life has changed? That you're still attached to the life you had (even though at times you didn't enjoy it that much) and you haven't shifted over to this new life? I find the endless worry about the babies exhausting and I really really hate that, I feel anxious about them a lot and feel my peace of mind has gone in a way. But I adore them and have fun with them but I can't stand the relentless boring housework and the way I feel like my mum in a pair of marigolds.
just wanted to chip in re the sleep, I love to sleep, mean really heart it. I have 4 children,nyoungest is 4 months. I have a lie in every weekend religiously,can you do that?
"And sometimes I feel like I'm just killing time; until they nap, until I can have a cup of coffee in peace, until DH gets home, until the weekend, until the next event that breaks up the drudgery and monotony of it all."
yes yes yes to this. DD is 3.5 months, she is a delightful baby but oh my god it's dull looking after her and entertaining her every day. I look forward to feeds because at least I can watch some tv then and not have to amuse her.
I too struggle with the fact that I can never just do what I fancy (am BFing so can't take more than 3hrs away from her in the day, and am too tired to enjoy doing stuff in the evenings). I can't even go for a pee when I need one, I need to make sure I put her somewhere safe first... At least when I was working I could usually just get up and go to the loo!
I am not feeling too bad about finding it dull however, and I think that is because I expected it to be. my mum has always been honest about how boring she found the baby stage so this lowered my expectations. I made the decision to have a DC despite thinking i probably would not enjoy a lot of the baby stage - basically I had a baby in order to get an older child one day. that may sound very negative and of course there are plenty of moments in the day that are lovely... but mostly, it feels like killing time till she gets older.
And I've realised now with my second that I don't have to amuse baby all day long, they are quite happy rolling about on the floor while you read a book for a bit and you can get up and go for a pee as long as your house is already baby safe. With my first I waited until he was asleep before I had a bath, no wonder I was getting ratty! With second I have a bath while he plays just outside the door peering in and we have a bit of a chat and then I relax with my candles for a while. It doesn't do a baby any real good to have mum always hovering about and they really can survive and thrive with a little bit of time to themselves (thinking 30mins not 4 hours!). Just thought I'd throw that in.
It is so, so difficult. Much tougher than I ever imagined (and I really didn't think it would be a walk in the park either).
There used to be a woman, she had an interesting career and fabulous friends. She used to eat out all the time,
even breakfast. She attended yoga classes three times a week and had a fabulous figure You would have liked the clothes that hung in her wardrobe. Her husband thought she was sexy, funny and interesting. She had a few adventures under her belt. Travelled, sometimes alone. If you'd met her, you might have ended up mates.
There is a mother. She is dulled, bored and hasn't had a full night of sleep in 18 months. She is sliding into matyrdom and although aware of this, feels there is precious little she can do about it. Her confidence and sparkle has gone. When she looks at her sleeping child, there is a swell of love in her heart. But it isn't enough. It does not and cannot sustain her through the days spent sat on the floor, playing the same games, reading the same stories and asking the same rhetorical questions. The days when the only other voice is the radio's and the echo of her faux-brightness is mocked by the four walls. The days when, observed only by her child, she has curled up on the carpet and wept for the woman she used to be.
I don't know where I am going with this, just venting...
dodgy days.... you're still that woman, reclaim her!!!!
It gets easier as they get older and communicate a bit more. When DS was young I didn't want to leave him either but then when he was about 1 I started to go back to the gym and yoga. (needed to get back some of me)
Am sorry you missed the start of crawling but in my view it doesn't count until you see it. Otherwise I missed DS crawling because I had a shower! I think it is mean when family try and tell you missed something. You didn't miss anything, it only counts if you are there.
It is hard to loose that spontaneity, and the feeling of being free to enjoy culture for example, but it slowly slowly will start to come back. I took my nearly 2 year old to a thing which was short films set to live piano. Meant for kids but I still got something out of it. What I am trying to say is that there are ways to get some theatre and cinema experience if not quite the adult stuff. We have baby cinema one day a week near us. there must be some theatre for children that adults can enjoy too.
Lancylass My DD is 19mo, and it's only the last few weeks that I've not minded going to mums & tots groups. I won't say I enjoy it, but I can bear it. I am rubbish at making conversation with people I don't know, so have found it hard to make friends, but it is finally happening.
The reason I go is because, like you, there is so much I'd like to be doing at home - gardening, crafts, cooking (making pies, making curries from scratch, and baking cakes, rather than churning out yet another bolognese or whatever), and even doing the housework. I get frustrated being in the house and seeing all these things that I need / want to do, but can't because of DD. She is good at entertaining herself, but still, I can't vacuum the stairs whilst she's around, for example. I could make pastry, but I'd have to stop and wash my hands a million times to remove her from whatever she shouldn't be in / on / near. So at least if we're not at home, I'm not thinking of all the things I can't do. If you're doing a lot of work on the house, there will ALWAYS be something you want to get done, and it is frustrating when all you can do is look at it.
I admire your honesty. Without boring you with it all, I thought my life was cr*p and it was the biggest regret I had. I'd been made redundant whilst on ML and couldn't go for the jobs I would have loved to do, all because of my role as a mother. When he was 6 months old I went back to work because I was sick of it all. I left him with my mother who has the patience of a saint!
Please take the advice of others and see a GP. I didn't and perhaps could have saved months of misery. I remember ticking all the no boxes on the questionnaire that the HV brought round asking was I weepy, depressed etc. How could I admit it and be seen as a bad mother? Please also plan little treats for yourself. Go away for nice lunches, the theatre anything. I don't know if it will work for you, but I found it much easier to cope when I realised that I was still allowed to be me, not just trying to be this amazing mum and nothing else.
I'm not saying its the same for everyone, but now I love him so much and can't bear to be away from him. He's a toddler now and I really like this phase. He's just amazing and so funny. I've even changed jobs to work from home so I can be with him more and at one time I would have never done that!
Not all of us are cut out for baby stage, just as not all of us are cut out for Kevin the teenager years either.
It sounds as if the OP has already been screened for PND and had counselling. I totally agree with Corygirl further up the thread: we shouldn't be medicalising women who express unhappiness at being mothers. You see this on MN all the time - if a woman reports any distress, she is told to see her GP. Of course, sometimes depression is part of the problem but often unhappiness is a normal and rational reaction to huge life changes. Every aspect of your identity changes when you become a mother: job, sexual relationship, body shape, social role. It is not surprising that women find this difficult, no matter how much they love their baby, but we do not allow them to express their feelings. Either they are supposed to say how much they love motherhood or, if they manifest any negative feelings, we want to categorise them as depressed. It's like the Victorians medicalising women's discontent at society's restrictions on them as hysteria.
I havent read the whole thread but I just wanted to say that feeling like you do seems to be quite a natural reaction to being a mum - loss of agency, living your whole life at someone else's beck and call, spending your whole day with someone who, if adult, would be classed as having a personality disorder, poor sleep at night, your body is messed up, you can't find much time to do the things you love and which make life fun, not to mention the endless guilt, worry and responsibility!
I have two - I love them. Deep down I am deeply content that I have them in my life, its lovely for DH and I to share in them and they are gorgeous children. i wouldn't change things.
I do also have happy moments with them, when they are playing nicely, or they come out with lovely things or we have fun together as a family. I enjoy the thought of watching them grow up.
But I wouldn't say I feel "happy" generally - indeed, after a poor nights sleep with DS, when he wakes me at 6.45 and I have to try and shower with him round my feet and negotiate with DD so she will get dressed, I feel frankly quite miserable and dread the slog of the day.
I'm not depressed generally. If I had the time to do what I enjoy, I would be full of joie of vivre I do look forward to weekends when we are all together.
I think feeling miserable and like life is a slog is part and parcel of motherhood.
Have you read Torn in Two by Rozsika Parker? Excellent book on the conflicting feelings aroused by being a mother. Definitely worth the money.
LancyLass - thank you for starting this thread, I've found some of these posts heartening, I hope they make you feel you're not alone.
My dd is 10 months old and I've found motherhood at best mostly dull, repetitive drudgery and at its worst almost unbearable. Yes I love my dd, cuddle her endlessly and her smiles melt my heart. But if I'd known before I was pregnant what I know now, I wouldn't have had a child (and I certainly won't have a second!). I'd never wanted children but my dp did, so I gave in, against my instincts. Admittedly I've a non-sleeping baby which doesn't help (oh what I'd do for a two hour nap....or waking later than 5.30am...).
There's lots of good advice on the posts here, the only thing I would add is - ditch the guilt. As long as you're confident your ds is being looked after properly, whether its by your partner, grandparents or a babysitter, then try to have regular proper breaks doing something that absorbs your attention and helps you relax. Try, try, try to forget about your ds during these periods.
Try to have something, any little break, to look forward to. I literally count down the days on a calender....
MillionPramMiles - reading your 2nd paragraph was like reading my mind. Spooky!
Opening up to friends helped me deal with this. I was incredibly weighed down with the feelings of guilt about finding motherhood so hard and so boring. I have a couple of close friends with children (at the time babies) of a similar age and we opened up about how effing relentless we found it. It was like a lifeline, just knowing someone else understood.
I really identify with your feelings of being trapped and the whole thing of clockwatching till you get a break. I still hate it when they (now 11 and 8) are ill and we are trapped in the house.
I want to send this thread to the odious James Delingpole who I once heard on the radio proclaiming that they shouldn't extend paternity leave because women are more natural at parenting and they enjoy it more. I happened to hear him after a particularly terrible night with DS and I wanted to throw my baby at the radio I was so angry.
The assumption that women are somehow better at drudgery than men is hugely insulting. I do it because I have to but I don't bloody well enjoy it or feel that it is a natural part of my womanhood and therefore somehow sacred.
Completely agree with Anyoneforturps about medicalising this. If you have depression then you should see a GP. But I absolutely wasn't depressed - I was effing pissed off!
I'll end this rant by saying again though that my life has got much better as my DCs have grown. The key milestones for me were not "first step" and "first word" but "first time able to get into car seat by themselves so I don't have to lug them in" and "first time able to go out for lunch with two normal humans accompanying me rather than two screaming whiners".
SuperDooper - I've felt like that about so many of the posts here, I wish I'd read mumsnet before deciding to have a baby :0
These posts should be compiled into a book and handed out to GPs who assume women have pnd simply because they aren't dancing for joy at becoming mothers....
Hi this was exactly how I felt with ds1 and swore I was never having any more - fast forward 4 years and I love him so much but also love being with him, enjoy his company and activities like swimming and cinema trips are a joy (can't wait to try Disney world and Lego land in the coming years!)
So much so that I had ds2 3 months ago not for me but for ds1 because I wanted him to have a sibling !
But oh I had forgotten how hard the early months were and have also spent a lot of time crying - but now it's over lost time cuddling ds1 and lazy Sunday lie ins with cbeebies on in the bedroom.
i hate it too, your not alone! well done for posting! i have 2, DD is 2 1/2 and DS is 15 months, DP is useless, have no time to do anything wish i could rewind 3 years! hugs
Oh this must have taken a lot of ourage to write lancylass . I saulte you for that because it's not an easy thing to talk about.
I felt the same with my DS1, he was a very hard work baby but I think even if he had been 'easy' I still would have felt the boredom you describe. I was convinced I was a horrible mum and I would never have a life outside of feeding, changing, building tower blocks and pretending to actually enjoy his company. I felt like an alien, like I was the only one in the world who didn't like their own child. I loved him. I wanted him to be happy but I just didn't want to be the one who had to work at it all the time. It just seemed so hopeless and relentless. Ground hog day.
I think if you are anything like me then you may 'grow' into motherhood. I found the baby phase nothing but hard work and you don;t really get anything back. Being around a non verbal baby is very draining, day in day out. It drove me mad.
DS1 is now 5 and is mazing. I get so much back from him now. I enjoy his company. He is interesting. He makes me laugh. He is not just demanding and draining.
I now have DS2 who is 15 months and I feel largely as you describe again. He's not the easiest baby but he's not as difficult as DS1 yet I still feel bored and claustrophobic around him. I just don't think I am very good at being around babies. They stress me out and bore me to tears. That's not something I would admit in real life mind. We're all supposed to sail through it all aren't we? It's all supposed to come so naturally. Well it didn't for me at all. You aren't alone.
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