to worry that I'm unusually unsuited to parenting(86 Posts)
I've never enjoyed parenting. I have DD6 and DS4. When DD was born I got PND. Even though I no longer have PND I find parenting both dull and stressful. Stressful because of the unpredictable nature of it. Silk because it's tedious. I cannot summon up enthusiasm for logo or looking at pebbles at the beach. I find the day totally drags when I'm trying to entertain the kids. I feel irritable and exhausted as the day goes on. No doubt I have anxiety issues which make parenting even harder.
I love my kids and would die for them. Miss them when we're apart. But I find spending time with them is not enjoyable. I feel guilty and freakish for feeling this way. 6 years of parenting and I've always felt this way.
What the heck should I do?
Honestly I feel a lot like this some of the time and rushed into going back to work for the sake of some adult company. Do you work? If not perhaps a part time job would be good for some time apart? If you already do, I don't have much advice, only perhaps that having more kids around always helps so playdate etc can be good. Don't beat yourself up about it though, like me you love your kids very much, just finding childcare a little boring which I think is perfectly understandable. Good luck!
Do you find any part of your life enjoyable, or is it all a bit dull and no fun? I ask as I wonder if you are still depressed with everything, or it is just that small children are rather tedious (as the remedy for these two are different).
If you have no enthusiasm for anything, and don't really enjoy anything and feel flat, then you may still be depressed, so visit the GP.
If you like hanging out with your husband, find your work quite stimulating and so forth- then I'd work on how you think about your role with the children.
You have, to a large extent, done the super hard slog of tiny children, but they aren't quite yet independent enough for you to feel the benefits. I remember having a Sunday afternoon when the children were just slightly older, about 7 and 5 and they were both off playing independently, one on the tablet, one outside with friends- for a couple of hours. I sat and read the paper for those two hours and marveled at how I was getting my life back (or at least the life in which I had a small amount of time for me).
This will happen as they get older naturally- but also encourage your children not to depend on you as an entertainer. If you go to the beach, watch them a bit around water but you could also take them to a nice playpark and get your book out. You don't need to be constantly entertaining them- think of yourself as a facilitator for their lives, not their entertainer. The fact they are near in age hugely helps with this. Let them build stuff, entertain each other, take them to classes where others entertain them (e.g. Brownies, Scouts, judo or whatever). Be super friendly so others invite them around a lot (and do the odd bit in return). I don't entertain my children now they are a bit older (think 11 and 13 ish), I facilitate their social lives and take them places! Then I put my feet up and read MN or a good book or work or whatever.
If you don't have a job outside the home, definitely consider that as an option- just to socialise, get out of the house, it's associated with less depression.
Don't compare yourself to anyone else either, I don't love days out, I love pottering at home- so I let my husband take charge of days out and sometimes I stay in! I don't like playing with Lego, so I don't. I do lots of other things I do like with the children, though, like talking, watching series together (that we choose), snuggles in the morning, reading, doing homework together.There's more than one way of being a parent and I think you need to rebalance it so you do more activities you enjoy yourself, and incorporate that into your parenting. This will happen more naturally as they age, but you can speed it up!
Thanks for replying. I feel like I must be some kind of freak for feeling this way. Like an oddball.
I literally dread the days where I have sole charge of the DC. Is there anything I can do to improve my outlook?
You are not a freak, please stop thinking like that. Some are natural earth mothers who rejoice each stone and leaf while skipping along smelling the flowers and covering themselves in paint. Some find the drawn out pure tediousness of young kids soul destroying. I'm one of the latter so I got a part time job where people don't touch me or ask the same questions on repeat. They're odd hours to work around the husbands job but keep me sane.
Bounty I'm ashamed to say I do enjoy some aspects of my life (cinema, pokemon, gym) and try to incorporate them into family life. I find parenting largely unfulfilling and I feel utterly ashamed of that
Gamerchick you describe it perfectly. How does your partner think about your attitude?
It hasn't really come up tbh, he knows how much hard work kids are and is very hands on. Like right this minute I'm sitting mnetting for half an hour watching only fools n horses and he's in the play room with the bairn bashing Fifa. I've had him alone all weekend and need a time out.
I'm taking you've asked that question because your bloke has an opinion on your situation?
I think I'm a disappointment to my bloke. I think he wants the earth mother type.
He's very hands on and doesn't seem stressed by the dramas of early childhood.
Do you work out of the home?
What about doing Pokemon Go with the children?
Is your guilt that you don't like building Lego towers (I don't either) or that you haven't bonded with the children in some way?
I'm asking as I'm not quite sure I know what you don't like- if it's having the children on their own for the day, I often used to stay in on my turns as I prefer home days to days out juggling heaps of stuff with kids crying. Others are different.
I work f/t, sometimes 6 days a week (on and off), and I find my work very interesting, this helps enormously with feeling bored/uninterested in life. I have found the more interesting my own life is, the more I feel interested in the children's lives and love time with them. When I was a SAHM, it didn't suit me at all and I felt bored/frustrated a lot.
Is your dc's behaviour particularly challenging? For example mine will fight and argue over everything which makes outings wretched. I can count on one hand the number of board games we've managed to play, one of them either throws the board or storms off. TV evenings end up in a fight too <<sigh>>. The only thing we're good at as a family are climbing because they can't squabble and we're all focused on the task.
It's the tedious nature of it. The repetition. The pretending to be interested in stuff. The shallow conversation. The whinging. The boredom.
And no, they don't fight They are generally well behaved.
I also started dividing and conquering around this age, so taking one child with me to the supermarket for the shop, not both, leaving the other at home with dad and so on. That way you get to know them better as individuals, and save yourself the extreme stress of two children playing up in the supermarket.
Not for everything obviously, but I think bonding individually with each child, rather than always taking them out together (especially if they argue/feed off this) helps a lot. They get lots of time together too (playing by themselves). Conversation can be less shallow as well one on one.
If it helps, a lot of activities with kids your age ARE a bit dull. Give it a couple of years (mine are 12 and 10) and you'll be watching films and tv programmes with them that you actually want to see for yourself, not just for them, talking to them about politics, walking up mountains, canoeing, doing tree top trek things, just generally more FUN stuff. I used to lose the will to live sitting there waiting for them to finish in the playground. In some ways it was easier in the playground when they were toddlers - you HAD to be more hands on and be with them all the time. When they are the age your kids are, you don't need to be pushing them on the swing, you just need to keep an eye on them (for a Loooong time) and it's just repetitive and tedious.
The better more interesting times definitely come when the activities that you actually want to join in with too, for your own enjoyment rather than just theirs.
I could have written your post. I actually work full time and I dread weekends and long to spend time with my ds in equal measure. I feel shit about it all the time. I feel like he deserves more than me - I make a huge effort on weekends but it drains me. It doesn't help that I'm physically quite unfit and he wants to be carried and entertained constantly. I wonder if it's because I was 35 when I had ds that is just got too stuck in my adult ways. Also, my dad was an alcoholic and I can see similarities between drunk people and young children in terms of the fact that you can't reason with them and they can feel out of control. I get stressed and anxious around very drunk people and I feel a similar anxiety around my ds sometimes. It sounds totally weird, I realise.
Here is what I'm trying to do, if it's any help:
1. Couch25k - I think improving my fitness will help with my physical and mental issues.
2. I try to spend time with other adults or families with dc so that I feel like the onus is not totally on me to provide constant entertainment.
3. I plan a timetable of short activities so that the day is broken up doesn't seem to drag on so much
It's so hard - sometimes we have an amazing day that I really enjoy and I feel like I've turned a corner, but I feel awful again soon after. I wish it wasn't like this
Not sure if you've said if you work and therefore get away from it sometimes?
Regarding the tedium. I'm with you and let mine play together as much as possible so that I dont' have to.
I totally get how you feel op - mine are 2 and nearly 5 and I'm solo this week and already tearing my hair out! Bloody bank holiday, I would have been in work otherwise. I've spent half the day shouting and the other half hiding...
I also find it tedious and repetitive and just feel I don't know how to interact with children, especially other people's. Luckily, my two generally play really well independently and together but I feel guilty that I'm not setting up craft activities and reading endless books. I do physical play well but there's only so much of that one can do.
Dh is much more hands on and definitely seems to have the maternal majority...
School starts back up soon so you will get some respite shortly. In the meantime .
You are not a freak at all. You are honest though and I would put good money on the fact that many, many other mums reading this can completely relate. Social media, in particular, conditions us to think everyone elses's experience of parenthood is a breeze and if we aren't feeling #blessed whilst we are #makingmemories then there is something clearly wrong with us. Nobody dares admit that, in actual fact, child rearing can be very tedious indeed.
Can I ask, do you provide the bulk of the childcare whilst OH works FT outside the home?
The answer is finding activities that YOU enjoy and involving them in it rather than the other way round. If you hate crafting (I did), don't even try to feign enthusiasm. I did like messing around with play doh though so would do that. Other crafts were left to nursery. To be fair they didn't enjoy it themselves really. Reading. I love books and read loads to them when they were young. Read all the Harry Potters to them both at bedtime (only finished the last one last year when DS was 11)
Curly you describe playground tedium perfectly. I am literally in tears at the frustration of feeling this way. I'm ashamed.
MyDarling I feel exactly the same occasionally I have a Mary popping day and feel renewed. But they are few and far between
I don't think you are alone or a freak at all!
Do you have any friends with DC that you can meet up so the DC can play whilst you get to have some adult conversation? Even at the playground a coffee outside can make the day more bearable.
They are still young and hopefully in a few years time they will be more interesting and the days less tedious. You can watch films and play games that more interesting for you.
As suggested above working part time may help you too, or just having more "me" time where you get to do things to indulge your brain etc.
When my DC were younger my DH would walk in the door and take over so I could have solace cooking in the kitchen!!! They are now 11-19 and it is much more enjoyable, certainly less tedious.
Misty apparently we are supposed to be enjoying this. #FeelingBlessed #MakingMemories
I used to be a SAHM but not now. Thank goodness.
This makes me feel bad because I don't even enjoy the little time I spend with them. I echo what Misty said about not knowing how to interact with children.
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