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Got everything but still unhappy

(10 Posts)
confuseddad101 Sun 13-Dec-15 15:13:51


Got a wonderful 22 mo old. She's perfectly normal and has all the usual ups and downs of a toddler.

My wife and I have been together for over 16 years and got together from uni. She has a stressful job and works 10-14 hr days so I generally do most of the housework, cooking and a lot of the child care duties. I also have a job but work from home so accpet I can do bits and bobs. I don't ask anything of her for fear of her saying now or later that shes tired and stressed. BUt she does see her in the morning and drops her off to nursery, she also sees her for about 45mins at bath time and puts her to sleep. So it's by no means the worse situation. I'm sure many others don't see their kids at all on week days.

She is a great mum and love her dearly and shes loves me but really gets stressed out about certain things. If we stay at home shes says our girl isn't getting any good experiences, if we go out he more than likely doesn't eat properly so that is an issue and or we are "always out and can never relax".

She wants to quit her job to stay home which has obvious financial implications but we'd survive so I told her to quit. However she wants to be a strong female role model. No winning!

It just annoys me that the life we've built through hard work seems to be insufficent now when actually most people would dream of what we have.

I'm generally a cup half full type of guy but its hard when you do everything and it's still not enough.

She did have some PND relating to her family in the early months but we've got through that. Although we do make the conscious effort to do every on our own with no outside help which can be grinding at times.

I feel a bit down about work because i hate it but its convenient and don't want to burden her further. When I try to talk to her about general things she just turns it into a joke so I back off.

I snapped today when she said shes not eaten and feeling exhausted and said we don't have to go to every family event and baby party. I mean when I'm hungry I eat i don't do everything else in the house first! Obviously when we go we act like a normal happy family. It just annoys me.

It's strange because I feel like i see our baby enough and actually want to miss her rather than try to get away which sort of makes me feel guilty.

Just needed to rant. Anyone relate to this?

DancingDuck Sun 13-Dec-15 22:49:47

I imagine most people who have been the SAHP will recognise what you are going through. You are understandably in a rut, stuck at home in a limited job you don't enjoy and looking after a toddler, who you adore but let's face it, that can be dull day in day out. I love being a mum more than anything else in the world but before they went to school it felt like Groundhog Day.

Is there any way someone could babysit overnight so you could go away, to have a sleep in and then a chat about changes you could make for your mutual benefit. Remember things will change in the next year. She'll start nursery full time then school. Perhaps your wife could go down to three or four days a week and you could step up your hours and do the same - maybe three days somewhere? The overlap day might need a childminder, but that's fine.

Sounds like you both need a bit of a break and a rest and to reassess what you want most from the next stage. Your wife does sound like a very good parent, taking her to nursery in the morning and always doing bath time. That's more than loads of DC get from the full-time working parent.

Imho, this is the very hardest time, the year or two before they start school. You are bored and drained and sleep deprived and life feels like it may never be fun again. One thing that worked for us was to really make the most of family days out. Not family gatherings where you have to behave but just us getting muddy in the woods or taking a boat trip up the Thames and having lunch in a pub. That sort of thing. Do you do that? Have fun as a family, I mean?

confuseddad101 Mon 14-Dec-15 08:41:11

Thanks for replying dancingduck.

I think you've hit the nail on the head; stuck in a rut. We've always been a couple moving forward, making plans be it at home or professionally but it's all come to a grinding halt.

I'm in a rare position of working from home but that means i lack any proper outside world contact! My job situation is really pulling me down but I'm quietly dealing with it rather than allow it to affect everyone around me.

Dc does go to nursery for most of the week and sees me more than dw but when dc does, is completely attached to her which makes her feel like shes not seeing her enough. This also means a babysitter is out the question as dc will freak out at seeing anyone else but mummy on waking.

It's just I'm concerned that if she quit her job I'd have to be full time and things swing completely the other way and I'd almost never see dc in the evening as I'd have to work in town and be back after bedtime.

Yea we take dc to kids shows, swimming, muddy parks/forests etc. It's great but also tiring but I can deal with that. tbh when monday comes i'm glad I can sit at my desk in peace.

Feels like we're always in a rush to get things done but we're not sure what we making time for. It's very odd.

Feel a little ungrateful as I do appreciate we are all healthy and we're generally get a full night's sleep every so often.

Our strength to put up with a lot can sometimes be our downfall in that we will put up with a lot to our detriement and eventually fall apart. Not sure if that makes sense!

I did mention I'd like to have just one morning not having to wake up early and change a nappy and make breakfast and all the other morning dramas before 730! But it only works if you both want it else I'd feel guilty.

Friendlystories Mon 14-Dec-15 09:07:42

Would you hate me if I said it sounds like you're both trying a bit too hard? By that I mean the bits of your OP about your DW feeling you have to attend every family event and get everything done before she can think about something so essential as eating and you feeling that you can't ask your DW about things and worrying that she will get stressed, it just all sounds a bit pressured and as though you're both afraid of things not being 'perfect'.

I don't know how possible this is but it makes me feel that you both need to just stop, take some time to enjoy and appreciate what you have and during that downtime maybe reassess what's important in your lives and figure out if there's a way to find a little more balance. I'm not sure how you do that, maybe a holiday? Do you both have a decent break over Christmas where you can take some time to just breath? You don't even necessarily have to go away (although a change of scenery might be a good idea) but you definitely need to get off the treadmill for a little while and just press pause on everything. I hope that hasn't offended you, just my observations from the tone of your post, it just all sounds a bit frantic and high stress.

Tangoandcreditcards Mon 14-Dec-15 09:08:56

confused - your "set up" is near identical to ours. I work out of home full time, DP is SAHD and PT freelance at home.

DS is 22mo.

I hear myself doing what your DW does, having a moan on staying in days, and feeling knackered on going out days (I'm also pg at the mo, which doesn't help my moaning). It's not that it "isn't enough" or I'm not happy with the situation - I guess it's the guilt and busy-ness of combining work and parenting. DP told me how upsetting he found it and I've reeled it in, I guess you need to say to her how this makes you feel.

I'm lucky enough to have a period of mat leave now, so am going to get time at home, I understand that financially it would be bonkers for me to be the SAHP long term, so have needed to accept that, but I have little out-loud daydreams about it sometimes.

Does your DW not take some morning shifts at the weekend and let you have a lie in? It really is only fair as you are "on" all week? I do this (even heavily pg, DP deserves a break!).

We DO struggle to make time for each other though, but lots of couples with toddlers do. Honestly, our hour watching telly together in the evening is gold dust. I often think I should be "doing" something but have now decided that is the best thing to be doing!

I also recommend some outside help. We have a cleaner (which takes the housework burden off both of us) and (although DS isn't at nursery) MIL comes to babysit when DP is stacked with work. A babysitter will never work until you get one IYSWIM, but get over that hurdle and carve out a little time with your DW, especially to talk to her about this, you sound disheartened, but not unhappy, so think a bit of open communication (over wine?!) can fix.

confuseddad101 Mon 14-Dec-15 10:01:18

Fern - no offence taken smile I definitely think we try too hard to be perfect esp DW. We have a clean house and who cares if the tv hasn't been dusted for a week or kitchen needs a bit of a deep clean. We're chasing our tail most of the time.

Is there such a thing as too much family time? We've got some time off over xmas but that leads to its own issues of being pulled in by both sets of grand-parents. I'm probably not the first parent to say xmas is pretty hectic :D

Tango - our week day mornings are tough becase dc only wants dw so she has double the issues of trying to get ready while sorting dc out too as she won't let me do anything for her. So I end up doing all the bits around it like making breakfast getting bags ready, lunch for dw etc. Weekends she is just as tired probably more so, do it's not fair shes does it and give me a lie in. We both need a lie in smile

She did suggest we get a cleaner which i pushed back on but it may be worth it every couple weeks. Yea I also need to get over the babysitter issue as I think it will make time for us in the long term.

dw does like to veg in front of the tv and i get that but its not quality time in my eyes and I hate watching tv. But I understand that she needs it. I'd rather be at the gym with friends or doing something less mind numbing with her.

Yea more disheartened than unhappy. I actually think things are pretty good just need dw to accept that.

TheMshipIsBack Mon 14-Dec-15 10:20:43

Let her veg and you go to the gym? DH and I are not in the same situation (both work ft, DS in nursery and currently preg with DC2) but have accepted for years that the things we do to relax don't have to be together.

For the mornings and the babysitter, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do it. Find a sitter, have them come over an hour before bed on a Saturday and let your child play with them and have them present through the bedtime routine. Say goodnight and go out for a couple of hours. It's likely your DD will sleep through till you're home, but if she doesn't it's not the end of the world. There'd be a responsible adult there, and the next day is Sunday so she can catch up any missed sleep.

Do the lunches and lay out breakfast things and clothes the night before. Then you do DD's morning stuff every day for two weeks. That's probably long enough that she'll accept dad can do it too, though she'll be a total nightmare at first and your DW will have to be strong to keep sending her back to dad when she comes crying and clinging. In the end you should be able to tag team mornings and vary how much each of you do as needed.

confuseddad101 Mon 14-Dec-15 10:44:45

Mship - yea we have come to that realisation too.

Our mornings are pretty organised but obv dc has to play ball. I think it could be solved simply by us waking up a bit earlier to get a head start on things but the obvious issue we lose that sleep. UNtil about a month ago I was getting dc ready and it was smooth but then she got ill and since then the habit has been for mummy. Need to break the habit clearly.

Agree on the babysitter just need to bite the bullet.

I like to be organised and have systems and plans as they take the decision making out which I think is 80% of the battle.

Friendlystories Mon 14-Dec-15 10:58:34

Chasing your tails, yes that's exactly what I took from your OP but you worded it better than I could smile I totally take your point about Xmas and of course family will want to see you but could you maybe get away for a few days once the main event is over, I just think your DW in particular needs to step back in order to see just how pressured your lives have become. It sounds like you're overdue a reassessment of whether your current arrangements are working for your family and sometimes everything needs to stop in order for you to do that. Holing up in a remote cottage or even at home with the phone unplugged and just relaxing together might be just what the doctor ordered and may enable you both to look at things with new eyes and see what changes need to be made.

confuseddad101 Mon 14-Dec-15 14:12:51

Agreed we definitely need to reassess and I'll make some time soon. Most problems tend to have obvious solution when you step back and look from outside the mayhem.

I think a cleaner and babysitter will help. Also pushing back on excessive family gatherings etc will give us some breathing space.

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