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to think I am a USELESS mum - don't know how others do it.

(77 Posts)
abouttohaveameltdown Sun 13-Jan-13 20:21:27

Have spent most of today in tears and am disgusted with myself.

Have DD 3.5 and DS 16months. Just cannot seem to cope and don't know how others do.

DS requires my atention full time. He is very high maintenance. He is into everything and you cannot turn your back on him for a second. He is quite a clingy and tearful baby and I just feel I cannot look after him and DD and DD suffers. All she ever hears from me is Later, Not just now, Sorry I have to look after DS.

She got lots of lovely toys for Xmas, jigsaws, games, etc and all she wants to do is play with me but it's literally impossible, DS comes and trashes whatever she is playing with or I need to stop playing with her after a few minutes to take his fingers out the socket/stop him pulling furniture on top of himself. I love him so much it hurts but I do not know how to manage them both. She still has a nap so the only time we get together is a brief half an hour before her bedtime, which is often interrupted by DS waking. DH works long hours and is rarely home before 9 - no option for this to change.

Today he wouldn't stay in his high chair at dinner and screamed his head off to get out, when I let him out he just kept climbing up on the dinner table, so I put him in his play pen thing and he just screamed. Eventually poor DD was left to eat dinner herself while I managed him. Earlier today it genuinely broke my heart, after trying and failing to do her jigsaw with her a few times and DS breaking it she packed it in his box and went up to her room and did it by herself. I sat and cried.

My house is a filthy mess, I am exhausted and overweight, I don't have the time or energy to make healthy meals so just stuff crap in my mouth all day. I haven't washed my hair for days and I have BO. When they go to bed I spend 2 hours cleaning then go to bed myself. We couldn't afford a cleaner. I have no time to read or watch TV or do anything. I always have the intention of taking them to playgroup but by 9am I'm so exhausted I can't face it, I told you, I'm useless. More often than not I stick the TV on in desperation for DD as any attempt at play is just thwarted. I found myself screaming at DS today WILL YOU JUST LET HER PLAY!!! Then burst into tears as I was so disgusted with myself at shouting at my baby.

EarlyInTheMorning Sun 13-Jan-13 20:23:44

Those are really tricky ages. We all shout and despair. Give yourself a break. It won't always be like that winewinewine

IneedAgoldenNickname Sun 13-Jan-13 20:25:40

You are not a useless Mum! It's hard at those ages, but it will pass. thanks

plumviolet Sun 13-Jan-13 20:26:05

You are not useless. You sound just like me! I could have written your post.... Drink wine, it helps. wine

GailTheGoldfish Sun 13-Jan-13 20:27:04

Please don't be so hard on yourself, you are doing your best. Have a brew

Whatevertheweather Sun 13-Jan-13 20:27:18

I totally understand. I'm finding that I struggle to juggle the needs of my baby dd and my 5yr old too and more often than not the baby wins as she cries loudest!

I feel rotten that everything I do with dd1 feels rushed/half arsed. You are not useless well if you are then I am too

brizzagirl Sun 13-Jan-13 20:29:55

Poor you. Is there any chance you could put DS with family / in nursery / at childminder for a couple of mornings a week or even just one? Or could DH take him at weekends or whenever he's not working to give you a few hours just with your DD?
It does pass but it's a really difficult time. You are NOT useless!

pootlebug Sun 13-Jan-13 20:30:50

You are not useless. You are however at a particularly hard stage and nothing feels good when you are exhausted.

Can you try to get out to playgroup/park/whatever - I know it feels hard to do but at least once you get there a) you get a change of scene, chat to other people etc and b) they stop trashing the house for a bit.

Can you occupy your little boy with something - maybe something quite physical like one of those mini-trampolines? - whilst you chat to your daughter at the same time?

Knackering as it is, could you get up 15 or 30 minutes before them to give you time to grab a quick shower, get a load of washing on....just feel a bit more on top of things before everything goes mad?

McNewPants2013 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:30:52

Get a playpen ( but ds at 16 months would escape) and set him up with a few toys. Then try and spend some time with your 3 year old.

You are not a bad mum, just trying your best with a toddler and a preschooler.

JellyMould Sun 13-Jan-13 20:31:26

I know exactly how you feel. I have a DS 3.5 yrs and a dd 5 months. It just feels like it never stops and like you're not being a good parent to either of them. Fwiw I have a feeling that the younger one being 16 months is about as bad as it gets. Mobile, into everything and not listening to reason. Is your h working every day? Could he give you time with dd at the weekend?

fuzzywuzzy Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:41

Do you have family near by, IL's or parents or friends who could maybe help out with the kids so you could have a rest?.

Could you put you children in nursery a couple of mornings each week, so you could have time to catch up on the house work & take some time out for yourself?

aimingtobeaperfectionist Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:42

You aren't useless, for be too hard on yourself. If you need to vent (we've all screamed) put DS in playpen, go into next room as scream into a pillow.
Are you getting any sleep? The housework can wait, take a bit of time for you, catch up on sleep, run a baby wipe round the counters if needs be! Get baby and toddler together for a picnic, go for a walk, break the day into chunks you can handle.
When DS naps have cuddle time with DD and explain things are hectic and how much you love her and thank her for helping with her brother.
Can you 'involve' her with helping you look after him? Obviously not properly but just so she feels she's a help and being included?
Just remember, this too shall pass!

GoingToBedfordshire Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:52

I really feel for you, I was in a similar position a few years ago with DD1 and DD2.

I aimed for 10 minutes a day with my eldest to do a puzzle or play a game, usually whilst the youngest was napping (at first in the sling then in the cot when she as older.) Some days I managed it some, some I didn't but that is just what I aimed for. You're spending half an hour with your DD before bed - I think you're doing well there!

I would say really force yourself to get with them both once a day, playgroup, library, swings. Do you have any friends with young kids who you can visit and have back to play?

You are being so hard on yourself, try to be a bit kinder to yourself. It is so tough when the youngest is like this, I really sympathise. But it will get better.

withgreatpower Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:56

I am a useless mum too.

Luckily my children are older than yours, so I can hide a little how useless I am, but when they were little, I found it really hard to split myself in two to make sure that both of them could play with me at the same time. It is not possible to give both of them attention at the same time, as they want different things because their ages/interests/developmental stages are different.

It's really hard if you don't have relatives around (I didn't, and it was difficult). You can never have a break from them, and you feel inadequate because sometimes you lose your patience.

I would do this:

1) do the very minimum in the house for a few days

2) after they go to bed, take care of yourself: take a shower, watch TV for 10 minutes/make a phone call/read a book

3) go to bed early (especially if they are still waking up during the night)

4) spend as much time as you can out of the house. Playgroups kept me sane. Maybe your DS will be interested in some toys, and you can play with your DD while he's busy with something else.

5) if anybody offers to help, accept immediately!

Good luck.

stainesmassif Sun 13-Jan-13 20:34:20

You have to get out of the house. Force yourself to go to playgroup and you won't have two hours of housework to do when they go to bed.
Oh, and it will get better. Now mine are 2 and 4 they play together more and more each day.

YorkshireDeb Sun 13-Jan-13 20:34:41

YA definitely not BU. You're doing a very hard job the best you can with very little support by the sounds of it. I understand dh works long hours but is this 7 days a week? On his days off could you get him to spend some time with ds so you can do something lovely with dd? Or take both for an hour or two so you can have a nice bath & a bit of 'me time' to give you a bit of a boost. If there's no chance of this what about asking someone else to help out one day? It's really no wonder you're feeling at the end of your tether. Please stop thinking you're useless because I'm pretty sure everyone who reads your post will be sympathising with how tough you have it at the moment. X

Needathickerskin Sun 13-Jan-13 20:35:33

I have been there too.

I would recommend getting out for a bit each day. Yes, it seems too much effort, but actually, i found it was easier than entertaining them at home all day. Some days it was just a walk with buggy to the bakery to buy a gingerbread man, but it breaks the day up. It's good for you, physically and mentally. Bunging them in the pram and walking keeps them occupied/interested watching the world go by, and gives you headspace.

This is a particularly difficult phase, but that's all it is, a phase. DS will get easier. A sibling relationship is a wonderful thing for your dd, or it will be! Worth the distracted mummy.

It DOES get easier. It DOES!

ToyCarsHurtMyFeet Sun 13-Jan-13 20:35:59

I felt the same when my youngest was that age. Have you heard of Home Start? They're a charity who help mums who have pre-schoolers who are finding it extra-hard for all sorts of reasons (twins, close age gap, depression, etc). They figure it's better to help out now than to have something horrible happen.....all sorts of people get help, eg middle-class mums with depression or struggling generally quite common. It might just give you 2 hours a week to yourself (to sleep, to have a bath etc). Might be worth googling them?

drivingmisspotty Sun 13-Jan-13 20:36:30

Sorry you're having a hard time. I know what you mean about it being a struggle to balance the needs of two. This will pass!

How is ds in his pushchair? Can you go for a long walk and chat about what you see with dd while he looks around?
Or what about when he naps? I try to go straight to older on when younger one is down although often get distracted by washing up etc! Or how about something you can play together? stick on some loud music and dance round kitchen? do some baking and just let baby mess with some flour in his highchair? let dd blow bubbles and ds chase them?

Really good luck. it will get better and if you were useless you wouldn't even be worrying about it!

McGill Sun 13-Jan-13 20:37:40

Oh love.... That sounds tough. I don't have any magical words of wisdom, other than that most of the mums on here and probably reading this, nodding their heads, having been there and thought they were crap too.

It's bloody tough having 2 young ones, and I particularly found the 9month-2 year old age hard cos basically a wee toddler is full-time-you do have to watch them almost 100% of the time, you can't rationalise with them, or even really discipline's tiring, and made all the more hard if you have an older one who also needs attention and you constantly feel torn.

My most used catch phrase is 'just two minutes...'. I seem to sat that ALL THE BlOODY TIME as I try to run between kids and house chores...

My 2 pieces of advice would be:

Child proof your house as much as poss so you can, as much as you can, let your younger, more danger-prone child explore without you needing to be on them all the time....stair gates, plug socket covers, cupboard latches-our house is like bloody Fort Knox but its been worth it....;-)

And the other bit is, that no matter how knackered and pissed off you are, try and get out cos you'll prob feel sooooo much better for many reasons-fresh air will clear your head, toddler groups are safe and will allow you (hopefully) some time on yer bum with a cup of tea and a biscuit and maybe some chat, or even just to play more easily with your 3 yr old while your wee one explores, or vice versa...and I always found that whilst I was racked with guilt as never seeming to spend quality time with them whilst in the house, when we are out I'm more focused on them and enjoy them more....if that makes sense. And if youcan, having other mums/kids over to your house gives you and your 3 yr old company and someone to rant with!!

I promise it gets much easier and much more enjoyable-don't beat yourself up. We all have bad days/weeks... Just have a big glass of wine, a good nights sleep and tomorrow will hopefully be a bit easier.


MissBetseyTrotwood Sun 13-Jan-13 20:40:46

Look, you're not useless. You're tired, doing a tough job with very few breaks. Young children at that age are particularly hard work. My DS1 was hard to love at times, he really was.

I'm not sure I can post anything that will truly make you feel better. I had times like this and I tried to sit down at the end of the day, just for five minutes and do nothing except think of everything I had achieved. Every time I thought of everything left to be done I just sort of pushed it out of my head. It somehow made me feel better afterwards! I counted as achievements basic things like 'both kids fed, clean, cuddled, read to, taken to park...'. I also had a shower right after they've gone to bed - sort of refreshed me for the evening ahead of clearing up etc and I was CLEAN!

It would not be a cop out btw for one or the other to attend childcare. I realise a place for your DS might be prohibited by cost, but your DD will qualify for a pre school place, surely?

You sound as though you're doing a brilliant job, coping like you do. See what you have done and build on that.

Pozzled Sun 13-Jan-13 20:41:04

Much sympathy here. Have you got a park or playground nearby? Put DS in the pushchair and focus all your attention on your DD while you're walking- tell stories or play I-spy.

Definitely try to give yourself (and DD) a break from your DS, by getting someone else to take him for an afternoon.

And deep breath... It WILL pass.

Greensleeves Sun 13-Jan-13 20:42:32

I could have written your OP loads of times

I know it feels hopeless, but quite small things will make big differences to how you feel

1) The kids are FINE. Having to do her jigsaw by herself because Mummy was stuck dealing with bolshy toddler brother will not damage her. There will be plenty of times when you do lovely things with her.

2) Prioritise taking care of yourself. Have a shower, wash your hair, wear something that makes you feel nice. If the kids have to be neglected/parked in front of the TV for an hour/given sweets to shut them up, do it. It is worth it. You WILL feel calmer and more normal when you have sorted yourself out a bit.

3) You are not failing! Everyone has grotty, shitty days where all they do is scrape up shit and bark at their children. All of our houses get like that. People lie and downplay this sometimes. But we all go through these times. And we all want to throw our toddlers out of the window sometimes as well. That's not because you're useless, it's just the way it is when they are this age. Nature makes them cute so we won't eviscerate them before the age of 5.

4) Can anyone take them off you for an hour or two? Even if it's just a walk to the post office, or sit in a pub with a newspaper, or go for a swim or something. It's so claustrophobic and intense being stuck with them without a break, especially with the mess and the noise and the general sense of "I can't stand another day of this". Even short breaks help. Do not hesitate to use the TV if necessary! Sit in your room with a cup of tea and a book for a bit.

I apologise in advance if I sound patronising, I really don't mean to, but I read your OP and thought "are you me?". Mine are a bit older now but I still feel like this sometimes. I am naturally shit at housework and admin which doesn't help.

thanks and brew and biscuit from me. And we need a chocolate emoticon.

TheEarlOfDoncaster1963 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:44:10

I agree - get out of the house, I know it's hard with crap weather and everything but you WILL feel better once you're out. There will be less mess in the house. Also have a shower once they're in bed - set a timer for 5-10 minutes if you worry that you won't get other things done. You must set aside some time in the evening for yourself - even if just 10 mins reading a book before bed, or a cup of tea in front of the telly - the world won't fall apart if you do that. You will feel so much better if you recharge your batteries. The mess doesn't matter.

TheWalkingDead Sun 13-Jan-13 20:45:54

This is how I felt just a few months ago. Poor DS1 (now 4.1) seemed so neglected (in my mind) as his brother became the devil incarnate when he started moving. Honestly, other children in our family were angels compared to him! Howev, he is nearly two now and those few months have made the world of difference. He doesn't grab or trash what DS1 is playing with and they even play together sometimes.

Now that they are both a bit more settled, I'm looking at sorting the house out - it is a bloody bomb site, but I just knew that if I tried to keep up with it all a few months ago I would have been fighting a stressful, and losing, battle.

Once the kids are in bed tonight, go and have a shower and chill out this evening. As MNetters are fond of saying "This too shall pass". It is a crappy age and please don't beat yourself up, you are doing a great job and it is a bloody drudge some days. Take care!

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