Am I Normal?(28 Posts)
First post on here so go easy! ☺
I'm a dad of two lovely boys (3 and 1 year old). I have quite a busy career, so does my wife. We've been married for 4 years. I'm writing this post because I'm looking to talk to others with a bit of anonymity. It's not something I feel great about talking to friends but I have spoken briefly with my brother.
Does anyone else have moments where you feel like you just want a long holiday on your own? I feel terrible saying it as I love my boys and my wife. It just seems like life is so over-consuming sometimes and I just want to pack up and dissappear for a while.
I can work long, long hours and I get home and I have to take my work hat off and put my dad hat on immediately and i find myself getting frustrated as I never seem to be able to relax. I get angry sometimes because I feel like I'm doing most of the work around the house. My wife tries but our one year old is very demanding and has separation anxiety, my eldest is still in the terrible twos. I go a bit quiet while I'm rushing around the house doing washing, cleaning, making dinner etc and as I got into quiet mode it causes arguments.
We've recently had a family holiday abroad and it was difficult. The eldest was a whirlwind of energy and the youngest wasn't really able to get a lot out of it being so young. I had a few moments with the eldest where I've lost it because of his behaviour. Ive not hit him, I couldn't. But I've basically dragged him by the hand back to the hotel room and gave him a massive telling off and he got very distraught. I feel awful about it. But he was being very chaotic, to the point where other people were noticing and tutting (I should say people tutting who didn't have kids with them). I look around and there's other family's sitting there with their kids all nice.
I wonder to myself 'am I a bad dad?' because of this, I should have more patience but our lives are demanding from every angle and I sometimes blow a fuse.
When the youngest was born all was fine but the last 6 months have been hard. Id given up going to the gym where I had been going for 11 years as I literally had no time. I started drinking a bit more, almost every night until recently I've cut back. I just feel like I need a release at the end of the day and I'd replaced the gym with drink.
I'm going on a bit now sorry but in just wondering if anyone else ever feels like this. I feel life is going 1000mph and I'm struggling to keep up. I'm not depressed but it does get me down sometimes.
Anyways thanks for reading if you've got this far!
Just remember your dw is also in the same boat!!
Why not replace your nightly drink with a massage? Alternate nights with your dw getting one!!
It's hard with dc and 9 million jobs /but make time as a couple too. .
Oh this is so normal. When they are this age OP it's very very intense! When your eldest starts to get closer to 4/5, you will notice a difference in the intensity. Just a word of warning, if you have another it will be a bit worse in this aspect and for longer.
It will pass I swear.
Could you go for a night somehwhere? You and your wife could take turns for one night in a spa hotel every now and then.
I'm watching with interest as you sound pretty similar to my DP. He wants to relax when he gets home and I have to tell him to "parent" rather than leaving it all to me. He also slips into quiet moods which used to frustrate me and I would read into it as being something deeper whereas it is simply because he is tired and wants to relax.
We have similar aged DC and it is bloody hard work. My 1yo is very clingy too and it is draining!
As previous poster said remember your wife is also struggling. Make couple time.
Can you go for a jog in the evening?
And above all make sure you tell your wife how you feel but wait until the kids are asleep and make sure you express that you understand she must feel the same and think of ways together that you can both release some of the daily struggles of parenthood, work etc.
Completely normal, as long as you don't lose sight of the fact your wife is also living through this. If you go quiet marching around doing jobs she is going to feel you are blaming her for not doing them and after all it is not like she is doing nothing she is looking after the children so you are able to do that.
I think you need to give each other equal time off. Also, if you have family nearby rope them into some babysitting and arrange some time away together, even if it is just a B&B a few miles away.
Approach the situation as a team with your wife and you should be fine. If you start feeling resentment that is where issues arise.
Regarding the gym, I think you are making excuses a bit. Can't you go later on in the evening as kids that age go to bed really early? Obviously you will be tired by then but twice a week you could force yourself out.
Can you afford a cleaner? Do the minimum that you both need to survive. Easy meal planning. If she's at work at all day she probably doesn't want a one year old attached to her on arrival so you're both probably desperate for some space.
I'd say you each get a day off a week where you just get out of the house for two hours. Gym, pub, cafe with a book. Alternate. Always take the day off.
And no, you're not abnormal. This is everyone with young children
This is normal family life. My top tip, share how you're feeling and be totally HONEST. You're a team and tea members pull together not apart. If you try and cope on your own to get through it, you'll isolate yourself and the communication between you both will suffer.
I've read various relationship books and it says to carve out couple time so yes date night and sex time. The authors say it does seem weird to schedule sex because it takes the romance and spontaneity away but it is important for you both to be reminded that intimacy will suffer if your not actively committed to protecting your relationship. Anyway I've rambled a bit and no you didn't mention the sex bit but I kind of thought that it might be an issue!
I can't think of anything more soul destroying than scheduled sex.
Yes, I get that, too, and I am a woman. Your children are very young and it is very stressful, as lovely as they may be. It will get easier but you need to find ways of making things easier now.
With regards to work, is there any way either or both of you could apply for flexible working? Change jobs? Could you book some time off on the occasions where you feel things are getting too much? Could you outsource some of the work around the house? Could you lower your standards regarding some of it? If the children are at nursery all day, how messy does it get? Could you look at nannies or au pairs (some do light household duties)? Finally, something I am getting from you is that you feel you are doing all the housework. It's interesting because sometimes I've felt like that because I have higher standards or my husband has said you never do this or that because I deem it of lower importance. Could you have a discussion about it? You say the youngest has separation anxiety. Why do you have to pander to it? Couldn't you take the youngest and push him to get used to you? That would be a strain for your wife, too. You could maybe take him for a walk/drive. Out of sight, out of mind.
Some of what you have written is familiar. My husband says he can't relax in his own home, which is probably true. 6pm is a hideous time with young children. Aim to get them in bed earlier and set aside some me time or couple time for then. It's good that you have stopped using drink as a crutch but maybe you could set a time when they are in bed for gym - even if it is 8pm. My husband plays football once or twice a week or goes for a cycle. That is his release.
As for all the families sitting around with their kids all nice, that made me laugh because you so could be my husband. When I see any child acting up in public, I immediately draw my husband's attention to him/her and say 'see, it's not just us.' You children are very young. It is what they do. Did anyone tell you they ruin holidays at this age, too?
Thanks for the replies, it's reassuring to know it's not just us. I don't like talking about it too much cause it just sounds like I'm moaning.
We're not planning to have any more. It was decided a while back. Im happy with our two boys. I'm not sure I could cope with another baby now!! Hats off to those who have more than two !
We've had a little chat this afternoon actually. I posed the question about having little breaks separately. I wasn't sure how she would take it but surprising to me she was up for it! We agreed we should maybe have long weekends away with friends. It would give us some breathing space, unfortunately apart. But I think we need it.
I knew the holiday would be hard but Ive got to be honest here.. I wanted to go home after about a week (we were there for a fortnight). I was exhausted chasing the kids around and trying to keep them entertained all day. So much so that we are considering where we will go next year (any recommendations? We'd consider anywhere!)
There's a couple of more issues I haven't bought up on here which makes the situation a little more complex. Briefly, my wife has started a business along side her normal job, which is obviously ambitious given the situation. The nature of starting a business brings a lot of demands, a lot of extra demands on an already demanding life. I don't want to go on but I wasn't really considered when this business kicked off. Which has made me resentful of it to be honest. I feel as though I've been pushed into a corner. Partly by this I mean every Saturday I have the kids because she is either at her normal job or away working on her business. So we only ever really get Sundays on our own. It's annoyed me because Saturday used to be the day I did the other jobs round the house like sorting the garden, washing windows etc. Plus she is talking about working on her business during the week soon! This is why I get frustrated because I'm thinking when do we get any time for ourselves!? I bring it up with her but she blows up at me. I don't know, maybe I'm being unreasonable, it just feels like it's another layer of pressure and I don't get any say in the matter because I get accused of holding her back. Im just expected to put up with it.
Gosh a business as well? Do you need the money? Hey I'm all for ya'll doing your own thing but this business venture seems a bit mad considering your current situation? Most couples come to a compromise when making decisions (the business) so you were 'forced' into agreeing to looking after the kids on a Saturday yes?
We do quite well financially already. It started because the wife wants to get out of her career. I did compromise but the business went in another direction to what I was told originally. It started out as a small time op, a few hours here and theree, build up a client base, which I was OK with but it changed into something more ambitious.
What annoys me is that she has decided to do this in her free time. What she has decided to do has essentially taken away my free time. She says 'its still work' but my argument is that she decided to fill her free time with work. Why should I lose the little time I get after a long week at work? I understand why she wants to do it but the timing is terrible. It's caused a lot of arguments. I turned it round once and asked how she would feel if every Saturday she had to have the kids on her own all day while I worked? She had nothing to say.
I'm not asking for free time to go out drinking or playing golf or whatever. Just some time to catch up with stuff and people who I need to see. Someone said to take time out to go out for a coffee... I would love that but God knows when I'd have chance!
Your situation sounded usual until you wrote about your wife's business. That is too much. As Bibbidee said, do you need the money? If not, then it has to be a joint decision, with childcare and chores shared. Is your DW, consciously or unconsciously, hiding from the childcare with the extra work?
As to holidays, the easiest I've found with small children is Butlins. All-day entertainment, everything close by, and in the just-for-tots weeks everything is tailored to the under-5s. But unfortunately it sounds like you may have bigger problems than an unsuccessful holiday.
Rather you than me but, in a way ,I admire her ambition .
Something has to give, doesn't it? Maybe if it's making money, scale down one of your jobs to free up time. Money isnt everything and nor is career but that's just personal. It depends where your values are and, more importantly, if yours match up. Have a chat about it over a wine
Holiday wise I would also recommend Butlins for the little ones. We've just been and my 3 year old had the best time ever and it was easy and accessible with the baby.
The rest of it sounds normal. I'm not sure if we'd do long weekends away with friends though, seems a long time for one to manage alone if can be avoided (my husband travels with work and it can be relentless). We'd just do maybe one night away to get a break but not break the other one.
Have you asked her how much time to herself/yourself she feels is reasonable per day, or per week?
I turned it round once and asked how she would feel if every Saturday she had to have the kids on her own all day while I worked? She had nothing to say.
As you do well financially, can you ask her how to cover her working the extra hours, and the Saturdays, and allow you to have time off? Do you need more childcare? Or does she need to do fewer hours? Doing neither isn't an option, because you sound like you are about to break.
Is it possible that she may be depressed?
Op, this isn't going to work. You need your Saturdays back and you both need to carve out some time together. The business might be a massive success but at the cost of your sanity and your relationship and family. You need to have a proper sit down and explain how you feel. Tell your DW that you're proud of her for trying to change careers but if it means you're bloody miserable it isn't working for you. By turning in 'towards' each other by finding a working solution to problem solving ways around the new business, it will stop you turning 'away' from each other. I think this is why you felt alone with this problem. You effectively tried to manage your unhappiness and it was making you resentful, that your needs weren't being considered or met. I'm rambling again!
Thanks for the holiday recommendations 👍 will investigate
My mum does the childcare on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The eldest goes to nursery Monday and Wednesday. My wife has Thursdays and Fridays off. She has the little one while the eldest goes to nursery. Hope that makes sense!
My wife may work 1 or 2 weekends a month with her normal job. The other weekends she spends Saturdays working on her business and Sundays are 'family time' which we try and get out with the kids. Why spend the only day you all have together holed up at home cleaning??
I work Monday to Friday, sometimes I do a few hours on a Saturday morning and my mum watches the kids. My job is quite demanding, particularly at the moment.
Thanks for listening, it's hard to talk about with my wife as it always ends up as an argument. I can see why she wants to do it, I really can but it's taking its toll.
Go out to a restaurant and talk about it. You'll both be better behaved and less inclined to raise your voices! Tell her what you want/prepared to accept and then take it from there. 👍
As you have money, try to outsource some household tasks (you can always stop them if you need to). Try to establish at least some 'relax' time. Keep talking, make a plan of where you both want to go with things. OK the holiday was a bit of a problem, hopefully next time you can be a bit wiser (chose something not too ambitious) and anyway the children will be a bit older. Explain that you 'going quiet' does not mean you love her less. I would consider it being a small 'conserving of energy' but that may be rubbish.
Can you afford for her to give up her employment so she just works on her business?
Agree with outandabout - outsource everything! You mentioned doing the garden etc on the weekends, could you get a gardener and a cleaner for a few hours a week?
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