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Why are parents always so tired?

(17 Posts)
Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 11:45:00

Please help my ladies with this one. I am a SAHD with a wife who thinks being at home with kids is some kind of holiday. I am lucky to have a house with a garden for kids to run about in and it is admittedly nice.

But being the bloke at home I am constantly laden with jobs which need doing like sanding the stairs, repairing this or that, all kinds of jobs. I do like the outdoor jobs like hedge cutting but the inside ones I'm less enthusiastic about, like hoovering etc.

When the kids are home from KG it is the futility of doing stuff for them which gets me down. They ask for food type A. You give it them, they moan its wrong, you change it to food B bust they moan there's no suger on it so you put sugar on it but they scream that they want to do it themselves....you get the drift of course. I always think of that fat chap in the wheelchair in Little Britain when I get this attitude! Then there are the cuddles when one falls off some sofa or whatever. You can't concentrate properly oon any real task with them about.

How can I explain how exhausting this all is? I mean we don't actually physically DO anything? to the uninitiated outsider it all looks easy, but it certainly isn't. Can anyone explain this to me as I am always tired and I try to explain this to my dear wife but she doesn't understand it.

Please help me as I get sometimes very down about this. A bit of silly humour always helps down here as Bavaria is a bit of a laughter desert!

WinkyWinkola Fri 10-Jul-09 11:48:39

Best way to explain is to walk in someone else's shoes.

Get your wife to take a week off work.

You book a week into a spa.

Your wife looks after the children for a week. Be kind - make it a term time week. See how she gets on.

She will be begging for your return after 48 hours. Guaranteed.

And then she will book a spa trip.

randomtask Fri 10-Jul-09 12:06:02

I'm a working Mum and my DH has just qualified as a teacher. He won't start working until September. I get annoyed when he's at home with DS (8 years) and I'm at work. They go out for walks in the rain, to feed the ducks, go to a garden centre with Nanny, all sorts (as well as cooking and cleaning), whilst I'm at my desk losing the will to live. I have spent a lot of time thinking what a better time they have, and, what I'd be 'getting done' if I was a SAHM (incidentally, because DH doesn't do things he doesn't notice, I still do 'jobs' when I get home but realise that's fine really).

However. I had one day off work with DS when he was having a 'tired and can't be arsed day'. He lied to me (following a chat a few days earlier) so instead of going to the seaside, we stayed at home and 'did jobs' whilst he did some maths homework. It nearly killed me. I found myself shouting at him (something I've never done) and felt very very trapped. I called DH on his morning break at school and he told me to go out (with DS) to do the shopping as it would be a change of view and break the mood cycle. Definitely worked.

That said, I'd still love to be a SAHM but realise it's still just as much work (less sitting about, more concentration/emotionally draining) as being at my desk. I also think part of this is that DH isn't particularly organised so I get fed up as I still end up doing things when he's home all day (happening at the moment and DS is still in school)!

I don't know if this helps or not, but I thought I'd try to explain it from the other point of view (albeit sometimes and sometimes not understanding).

Incidentally, don't give your children what they ask for. Or rather, don't bust a gut. They'll eat what you give them if the alternative is being hungry. This seems to be a problem many parents have and IMHO all you need to do is stay firm and the children will follow. It'll take out a big emotional drain and (definitely with DS who was very fussy about food before living with me) it gets easier quite quickly once they realise you won't budge. DS now eats all sorts of things he wouldn't before, but we still don't give him things we know he hates (or not too often).

Good luck!

Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 12:36:32

Thanks you both. Food was a bad example to pick as actually they are pretty gregarious as I am into food and cook always new stuff which they do eat. Last night I made chicken tikka masala from scratch with which I was very proud.

What gets me is the constant mess. Clean up mess one then off to mess two.

The isolation is also hard. Thanks to MN (God you ladies are fantastic) I've lost some of that but you can't beat real contact. The ladies at KG at nice but they aren't willing to invite a man into their world so easily.

Also I do everything in a foreign land Germany. Outside of my garden "here be dragons" and everything is an effort which you might take for granted. Small example. This morning i went for a haircut for the first time (my wife normally does it). The lady was lovely but spoke to me at first some gibberish which i thought was offering me a drink but turned out to be "do you want your hair washed?" Those misunderstandings - even eẃhen you speak fluent German as I do to a degree - multiplied times over coupled with language related cockups daily do take it out of you.

Would be easier if they were obnoxious shit but they aren't they are gorgeous and I love them like mad - I know a Brit SAHD and he seems to hate his kids - II am the opposite, and I always feel guilty that I should be doing more with them but that never happens.

Right now DS2 is playing piano thoroughly obnoxiously next to me and driving me nuts. How pray tell does that wear you down? I don't understand but by evening i am finished. It is all a contrast to my old world of sofware mapping where you could see what you did and got an eventual reward (though not always). Al I get is bad attitude and feeling down all the time like I ama crap parent.

flier Fri 10-Jul-09 12:40:54

Manina... sounds like you need a break

scampadoodle Fri 10-Jul-09 12:47:36

I am a SAHM (but work from home sometimes) with 2 DCs at school, & I find it's a comletely thankless task. The DCs take it for granted that I am around to pick them up etc & all they do is moan at me - I've brought the wrong snacks/cooked the wrong tea/won't let them have sweeties/haven't bought their comics etc etc and bloody etc. It wears me down and even though they're out between 9 & 3.30 that time is taken up with domestic groundhog-day stuff &, if I'm lucky, a chance to do some work (I'm trying to set up a part-time one-woman design business). I am constantly exhausted & emotionally drained.

You are not alone!

Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 13:25:00

scampa - to set up a design business requires hugfe amounts of creative thinking. Would you say that's hard to come up with new thoughts in the daily drudge?

We watch Grand Designs on Channel 4 a lot and I am awestruck at the design ideas they put into their homes. I dream of fitting a home designed stained glass window into a space in my home. But I am usually hoovering crap up instead!

Way I see it yu've got several types on energy you need to live:

physical energy - cut grass, clean house all muscle. That is least demanding with kids past crawling (I buggered my back lifting DS2 and digging a veg plot the first time ever)

intellectual energy - logical thinking - also possible with kids as you can sort of "autopilot" a bit. Isnt that the right side of the brain?

creative energy - the bit upstairs which comes up with new ideas. Many new ideas get crapped on very quickly. I know parents who always do crafts etc with their kids, and I am creative. But after three minutes with them theres an argument or some mess on the floor and sod it as usual. Leads to the e-beebie-sitter and a sesh on the web to take my mind off the upset.

flier - yes I do but I never get one. A good blow out with some mates (which I don't have anymore here in Germany) lots of silly crap talked over beer and a massage with a Cambodian girl with a spot of extra thrown in an I'm right as rain!

The humour I get on MN makes me giggle a load. I love you all (sorry to sound corny)

moosemama Fri 10-Jul-09 13:46:42

You need to get your wife to read this book.

I know its called What 'Mothers' Do. But it is just as relevant for SAHDs. Its is brilliant for explaining exactly why we are so exhausted despite it appearing (to some people) that we either do or achieve very little. It also examines the lack of positive language to describe the whole all encompassing role of being a stay at home parent.

As a sahp you literally are never off duty, I can't think of another job that would require that of someone. We all need a break sometimes, but its really hard to explain exactly why. I have found myself quoting the book to my DH and I do think it is helping in a drip-drip kind of way.

I am still reading it, but it has helped me enormously by affirming that I do work hard and have a genuine reason for being shattered all the time.

BoysAreLikeDogs Fri 10-Jul-09 13:48:15

yy the relentlessness of the daily grind IS exhausting

sarah293 Fri 10-Jul-09 14:07:05

Message withdrawn

madwomanintheattic Fri 10-Jul-09 14:15:44

find yourself a hobby or part time job that involves occasional weekends away. i'd suggest something entirely physical, like rock climbing or kayaking (with due apols if you're more a quilting or baking type) and every couple of months take a trip.

and find yourselves a babysitter, and do get out to sample the local beers once in a while. no excuses.

the groundhog day stuff does lessen as they get older, honest.

Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 14:16:43

Mouse that looks a good book. Id like to order it next time some money comes in for some reason, along with maybe a recipe book.

The thing I've achieved on top of childcare is to ensure my kids eat very healthy food, and that means sourcing locally and buying eggs from farms etc. Growing veg also and seeking out new herbs for the garden. I am proud of that. Last night I cooked up a chicken tikka from a Jamie Oliver book in German which took ages of concentrating and hassle from the kids - my German isnt fantastic but passable.

I do this job in a conservative part of the world where the man goes to work and the mother stays home so there are few of us here. It gets very lonely here. It is the constant worry about their welfare I think is so exhausting.

I get amused when I get the impression that mothering is treated as such a lower order activity by society, when it seems to me that in the peck order SAHD is even lower. When I was single lad wandering my Welsh town I used to see those girls pushing prams and wonder why they looked so worn out Now they have my respect and admiration!

abraid Fri 10-Jul-09 14:18:10

What gets me down is being responsible for cooking supper every night. With one very fussy child who won't eat anything the rest of us eat. I feel like cooking something special tonight: getting out a recipe book, finding some seasonal specialities and trying something new. But she won't eat it so...

Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 14:42:33

Abraid I can't complain there. I waded thru that German recipe last night, kicked them out of the kitchen and got on ẃith it.

abraid Fri 10-Jul-09 14:44:25

What was the recipe, Maninadirndl?

Maninadirndl Fri 10-Jul-09 14:59:02

www.thecookbookcritic.com/archives/2005/10/jamies_dinners.html

is the one only I did mine in German. Thankfully it all come out okay.

abraid Fri 10-Jul-09 15:21:19

Yum! Thanks for that. The two 'eaters' in my family and I would love that.

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