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to need a break from being a SAHM

(96 Posts)
BlackMaryJanes Tue 09-Apr-13 21:18:15

No idea if IABU or not.

We have 2 DC (1 and 2 years).

DH leaves for work very early in the morning and gets home at 6pm. By the time 6pm rolls around I am often irritable, tired and most of all, touched-out from having two toddlers whinging and climbing all over me all day long. In an ideal world I would hand the kids over to DH and lock myself in the bedroom for an hour to get a breather. But DH argues that this would be unfair as he 'never gets a break either'. I try to explain that at least he gets a change of scene, but he dismisses this.


If you don't think IABU, what is the solution?

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 09-Apr-13 22:31:15

BlackMary, it depends on the sort of day he's had and where he's had to go. If he's been in London all day and the train is an hour late, he doesn't handle it too well to be honest. Although, I completely get that as he's tired too. If he's been somewhere closer and is home by 6pm (very rare I have to say), he is very helpful. If it's Friday, we're both in a better mood as it's the weekend. As he's in London 3 days a week at the moment, we are arguing a lot! He's away next week for three nights. I am dreading it sad

Lastyearsmodel Tue 09-Apr-13 22:35:24

Technically, and I speak as a SAHM to 3 DC, neither of you is being U. Work in and out of the home exhausting but in different ways. the grass is always greener. And babies and toddlers produce a sense of humour failure in me of epic proportions.

Yes, you need a plan for evenings as other posters have said, but this really, really tough stage where the DC are so UTTERLY dependent on you is not forever, and you are NOT defective for finding it tough. I frequently need a lie down in a quiet room the minute DP gets home and sometimes i get it. Sometimes I 'go to the loo' and lock the door for 10 minutes. I am increasingly realising how much I need to be on my own and this is why I find parenting so draining.

Be kind to yourself, make it all as easy as possible, do stuff you like to do in a way the DC will tolerate (me: drink good coffee in nice cafe, DCs: demolish lunchbag and juice). Tiny little treats to get you through the hour/day/week.

And once in a while when your DH is at home, leave at the time he does every day and be out ALL DAY, even overnight sometimes but definitely until bedtime, just so he can really get the precise nature of exhaustion/stress/tedium/hair-tearing-out that is sole charge of tiny children for very long periods.

steppemum Tue 09-Apr-13 22:49:12

I think the simple answer is that at 6 pm everyone has had enough, and wants a break.

I think you need to both acknowledge that you are both knackered and both need a break. then talk about different solutions.

How about you each have half an hours break? then work out who goes first - take turns so it is fair etc.

Also, try changing something in routine. So for example, stick dcs in bath at 6pm, long play bath with bubbles, put a chair by the door and pour a glass of wine. A long play bath can take half an hour and it is very calming on dcs and you etc. Dh could even sit on the chair by the door with the glass of wine/cup of tea.

Save a favourite dvd for 5:30 and then put it on for half a hour etc etc

I think arranging to be out all day Saturday would be a good reminder to him of how hard it is to be the SAHP when they are little

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 09-Apr-13 22:55:47

I clicked as I love being a mum and love the children but my husband works away during the week and I struggle. If I had parents near by that would help or close knit friends I think I'd find it easier but the house is a tip and I get ratty and exhausted. I do love doing things with them when my husband is around it just feels so overwhelming doing it all on my own during the week.

AndFanjoWasHisNameO Tue 09-Apr-13 22:58:57

sad Don't feel crap-it doesn't sound like the kids are resented at all, you just sound knackered smile
Couple of things:
work hard to synchronise the naps, there is 15 months between mine and they were the same but I've trained encouraged the younger one to map at the same times each day, this fell in line with the big kid nap and latterly with afternoon nursery session time. I get to stare at the wall/go for a wee/drink tea/Hoover etc...

-are you seeing other people in the day? I 'm massively pregnant and cant walk or stay awake much at the moment so have swerved all my usual group things, meeting friends and it is fucking destroying me being holed up all day indoors with the toddlers angry by the time DH rolls in from work, I 'm faking a funny tummy to sit locked in the bathroom for 20 mins..
Remember it's summer soon-do you have a little garden or yard that you can childproof so they can play a bit independently ?
Whereabouts are you in the country? Any meetups you could go on.
Try and stop the competitive tiredness between you- it's hard I know (been still there meself) but it only breeds contempt. Take turns, moan to each other but without point scoring.
I have been both a WAHM/SAHM - both are incomparable and I really hope your thread doesn't turn out to be about the two, I never got to drink hot tea at work either, but I did get treated like my opinion counted, spoke to other adults and got to interact with people who didn't require me to wipe their arse wink. That for me was gold, I love my kids but don't think I 'm a particularly effective mum. Chin up dude.

Startail Tue 09-Apr-13 23:03:19

one evening a week I went swimming and DH put the DDs to bed.


as non negotiable from as soon as EBF DD2 would take yoghurt from a spoon and juice from a cup (about 7 months). (She never did bottles and won't drink milk).

That and lots of toddler activities to get out the house kept me sane, I can't do 24/7 playing with small people.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 09-Apr-13 23:15:46

oh yes. I used to escape by cooking tea in the kitchen.

do you have a travel cot? can the one year old go in that while your 2 year old naps? you will at least wee in peace/get a coffee.

perhaps one could go in the travel cot while you cook tea and h keeps half an eye on them. definitely a stair gate on the kitchen door.

wiltingfast Tue 09-Apr-13 23:21:54

You're taking totally the wrong approach to this. What you need to do is express concern the two ds don't appear to have the same bond and how he needs to build his relationship and confidence in dealing with them.

Then you get your self a gym membership and leave the house. Also develop an interest in say the library and leave the house, finally remind yourself you have friends and how very VERY important it is to stay in touch and make sure you meet them at LEAST one evening a month and you guessed it leave the house.

You really need to nip the dh attitude in the bud now because it is actually v nb that the children are happy and comfortable with him and that he gets to know them and how to manage them and I'm afraid there is no other way to develop this but to leave him, quite literally, to it.

You should disappear the odd saturday too. He clearly has no idea what's involved in minding 2 toddlers all day if he doesn't appreciate he needs to step up when he gets home.

It takes a while also for the skills to develop so you will come back to chaos but so what. You will feel much more able for it after a break. Keep at it, it's the only way the entire thing won't be left to you, to everyone's detriment.

Sitting down with his laptop, he should be playing with the kids and getting them ready for bed. Plonker.

And don't beat yourself up about how hard it is, a 1 and 2yo is very tough. You need a lot of energy to cope never mind do it well. A break is nb. It does get easier. I survived it! And working was easier for me. I coped a lot better when I was back at work and waltzed in at 630 to enjoy a few hours with them before they went to bed.

butterflyexperience Wed 10-Apr-13 04:20:54

Being a sahm if dc of that age is crazy crazy hard work

It drains you physically mentally and emotionally every single day

I used to want to run away...

Can you look at family help or child are for 2 hours a day so you can get your sanity back?

Oh and dh is bu

Longdistance Wed 10-Apr-13 05:34:31

What about putting dc into nursery one day a week, or the older one.
My dd2 is in nursery two days a week now, and has been since she was 15 mo. There's 22 months between my two.
Dd1 was hard work as a baby and a toddler. She's 3.6 now, and is a lot calmer. But that break from her when she was in nursery was amazing.mi got to have dd2 on my own, and then dd1 would have fun, and make little friends at nursery.
Or, maybe you could put one in on a Monday, and the other on a Friday, so you only have them 3 full days together.

yellowhousewithareddoor Wed 10-Apr-13 07:38:19

I think a cm a day or two a week would really help my sanity but is really expensive and hard to justify when I'm not bringing in any money.

Other sahm seen to manage fine around here but then they're supported ex family and husbands that don't work away.

oldtoys Wed 10-Apr-13 08:17:23

i sympathis OP

I would suggest a different routine, I did this when living overseas with 2 under 3:

1. DH off to work. Me up - straight to shower while kids still in cots with books/ toys - that shower was crucial to my self esteem feeling clean and ready for the day. ignore their cries, you will be out of shower in 4 mins!

downstairs : easy breakfast for them, and cartoons on, then good Coffee toast good breakfast for me.

3. Sit on floor or lie on sofa for an hour while DCs play. easy small boxes of toys to entertain them

4. outside - walk to park, walk around block. go to library get some books just for you - cookbooks, travel plans, anything, free magazines etc

5 another coffee stop or bring a flask and snacks

6 home around 1 or 2pm - lunch/snacks. lie on sofa again while dcs play or nap.

7. 3-4pm - outside again, garden run around or park? can you? to tire them out I mean

8. 4pm start wind down/ dinner time/bathtime

9 kids in bed 6pm, asleep by 6.30

YOU leave the building as soon as DH comes in you now have 4 hrs free time to cinema, visit friends, family, walk, gym, or just sleep and read MN inbed...

Just suggesting what helped me - this routine was crucuial for me so I had a predicatable day to fall into place when i was knackered without childcare or family support nearby

oldtoys Wed 10-Apr-13 08:21:13

and i disappeared each saturday too - out by 8am into town, or away on a train trip somewhere new....or just to wander around the city, without a buggy - i went to art galleries, drank coffee, walked.

came home at 7pm - DH THEN began to really understand it all, and i got much more support from him from then

Molehillmountain Wed 10-Apr-13 08:27:52

Early on in the child rearing thing, dh learnt that he had to be home when he said he would be or not say a time. I could cope, sometimes well, until he arrived home but then there would be the ceremonial passing of the baby and I would collapse for a bit. If he were five minutes over I would be pacing the floor. Ten and he would be entering in fear. Can't explain it. But it's tough being with small children and especially so at that time of day. Yanbu. They don't say "a change is as good as a rest" for nothing.

are you the active type? how about a 20 min run when he gets in, gives you space and the exercise will not only do good but also be therapeutic. He can hardly argue if its for your health smile and after all its only 20 mins then you are back to help with bedtime. I agree with poster up thread, start making bedtime a bit earlier with longer baths and stories or story CD's at bedtime in their own room quietly. He is BU not to give you half an hour when he gets in for a quick battery recharge. its good for kids too who have been with you all day my DH used to love getting in to see the boys and would have a 'mad' halfhour... granted all the excitement and throwing them around wound them up something rotten making bedtime a challenge but hey, it gave me time to sit back and breathe

yellowhousewithareddoor Wed 10-Apr-13 08:31:56

Old toys I'm liking your routine. I might adapt that and I think my kids would be better for being out twice.I like the rest stop for mum :-)

When did you do clearing up? Washing etc? Our house tends to be a tip by 7 and then I spend half my evening thinking I ought to organise it. Are you good at clearing up as you go? I've got piles of things building up.

I can't do the evenings as husband hardly ever home. I think that would be key to getting out of house and maintaining adult relationships.

I also couldn't take a day out each weekend. Did your husband take the other day? When did he get down time? I'm very conscious of weekend time as family time in our case as husband is away. Grr. I'm knackered!

yellowhousewithareddoor Wed 10-Apr-13 08:35:36

This thread is really reassuring me (yay for mumsnet) in that I don't feel I'm coping well at the moment but if people who can go out in the evenings or have a husband around to help find it tough that kind of help validates my own struggle. Not sure what to do about it though. Although I'll adapt a routine like above. Thanks mumsnet.

(Although that only works until I read threads of 2 working parents of single parents with 100 kids or additional needs and I feel incapable.)

NotMostPeople Wed 10-Apr-13 08:40:08

I had three under three. The best thing that ever happened was I got ill and couldn't get out of bed so DH had to take a few days off and be me. Then he understood and was far far more understanding.

You do look a bit fluey wink.

wiltingfast Wed 10-Apr-13 08:53:43

You should never feel guilty about taking time for yourself, in reality, you will function far better as a mum and loving partner if you are enthusiastic and happy. Everyone in the family benefits.

And there's no need to be competitive or strictly rational about howmuch time each partner gets. People should get what they need to help them refocus and engage happily with the family.

We both work ft. Most weeks I am out one evening - I go to the library, wander the shops a bit or meet friends for dinner. Dh takes another evening for study. Most weekends I will disappear again for a few hours, shops, coffee and a mag, library, "errands" etc. Dh goes out the odd weekend to meet a local pal for a drink. He doesn't appear to get wound up the way I do. He doesn't seem to need any more time than that whereas I need regular time outs or I get v wound up and snappy.

And when you have a 1 and 2 yo old, you can forget about the house looking good for quite a while (I'm still waiting)! But if it stresses you, just do the minimum to get it to copeable levels and then leave it fgs, it'll be a tip again in the morning when they get up!

Jayne266 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:58:22

Sorry I haven't read all the posts so this may have been covered. Has your DH had the children on his own for a day?

I work part time and have my DS the other days when DH gets home he understands I may need a moment to myself. However he never fully knew this until he had to have DS on his own for a full day a couple of times.

Sorry of this doesn't make sense but it helped me and DH.

redskyatnight Wed 10-Apr-13 09:11:29

We used to do that when DH got in from work he was in charge of the children - they were not allowed to come to me - and I busied myself with getting tea/cleaning the kitchen/general tidying up. Yes, it's still work, but I guess it's a break from the DC you want more than anything? Whereas DH is tired but not from dealing with small children so he is probably better able to cope with them.

BettyandDon Wed 10-Apr-13 09:20:18

Totally sympathise.

I have a 2.7 yr old and a 4 month old. Eldest doesn't nap and we can't afford childcare until she's 3 and we get free hours.

No family nearby. DH has 2 nights away a week.

The easiest days are when we are out for most of it. I find driving gives me a semi-break.

It's been a nightmare recently with the crap weather. Rules out a lot of activities and the garden.

It's fine for others to say don't stress about housework but that's only possible to a certain extent. It's horrible to have to use a filthy bathroom as no one has had time to clean it or to realise at the start of the day that you don't have any clean trousers! Both happened yesterday.

Very few mums do what we do without any childcare formal or from family. There's probably a good reason for that!

I would look into rejigging finances to afford a crèche or CM once a week. Tell your OH you will cut down on food or sky tv or something to illustrate how badly you need this.

I'm counting the days until the eldest is in nursery that's what is keeping me going.

Other option maybe is travelling to stay with family for a week or two?

Molehillmountain Wed 10-Apr-13 09:26:49

Tidying gets done in fifteen minute bursts here. I put the kitchen timer on and do as much as I can in that time. If its a bad day it's on for five mins!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Wed 10-Apr-13 09:29:50

OP I totally sympathise. Your children are not resented at all, they are obviously loved.

I often have these feelings of failure when I don't enjoy motherhood, but it passes. I think it's because there is so much pressure on us today to be perfect mothers, rather than just mothers.

Being a mother is a million times more wonderful and a million times harder than I ever thought it would be.

All I can tell you is that this worked for me:

After a week away as a family, my DH finally saw how hard it was for me all day, and saw me in a different light. The two of us were knackered after a joint day of looking after them.

Having said that, when he gets in from work, he has had a long commute and I always give him half an hour of down time or some food. For half an hour when he gets in he is neither use nor ornament. In return, I expect sympathy and practical help.

In conclusion: your DH must have the kids on his own in order to understand you.

Also- put then to bed earlier. At 1 and 2, mine went to bed at 7pm. Try that?

flaminhoopsaloolah Wed 10-Apr-13 09:34:53


I've only read your post - none of the replies. You're not alone, and neither is your DH in failing to understand what it's really like. YANBU.

Here's an article that my help you better understand what's going on here and may help your DH understand so you can both work towards something that works for your family

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