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My life is not my own.(25 Posts)
I'm sort of new to this forum. I don't usually write in these things but there's no one I can talk to and really be honest with. I'm a single mum to a 3 year old (nearly 4) and she is such hard work that it feels like I simply don't have the energy to be the mum I want to be or have the life I want to have.
She fights me on everything and whinges and wails at me all day. The minute I say no to her she screams. It's got to the point where I can feel myself doing anything I can to avoid hearing that noise or having to enter yet another battle with her. I know it's her age and I know that by giving in to her I'm creating a problem, not solving it. But I'm so tired.
I fight her on the things that I think are important because I want her to be a nice person, eat well, sleep well, stay healthy and happy but it leaves me exhausted and her constant battles make me feel defeated and worn out. I feel like a prisoner in my own home sometimes. I'm lonely and fed up and I comfort eat all the time. I bought a treadmill to lose weight and get more healthy but my daughter screams at me if I try and go on it.
She goes to nursery a couple of days and her dad's one day so I do get breaks and I wish I could do more on those days but I'm so tired that all i can do is use the day to recover mentally and physically. I also have bipolar disorder so the toll it takes on me mentally is more extreme. I have less ability to cope with the stress of her behaviour. I shouldn't feel as tired as I do and that's a symptom of my illness.
I do feel like my life is not my own though. I have nothing left to give after I've taken care of my daughter. I have nothing of my own. I have no social life that doesn't involve mothers and other children. I can't even do the exercise I want to do because i feel so worn out and because it just isn't worth the tantrum when I try to do it. Something as simple as bedtime makes me cry at the end of it. It's a nightly ordeal of one "no" after another as I try to put on her pajamas, clean her teeth, put her on the potty, get her into bed.
I hate the fact that I feel resentful and sometimes I wonder whether I should have had her. But she's here now and I have to find a way of creating a more balanced environment. It's not right that i feel so tense whenever my daughter is with me. It's not right that I don't feel in control in my own home or free to do the things I want to do, and at the mercy of a 3 year old.
Does it get easier? Am I going to feel this trapped forever? Does anyone have any similar experiences and can give me any advice?
Ask for some support via gp. Eg counsellor. Family therapist /child psychologist who can talk about strategies or ask locally about parenting classes for some hints and tips and ideas. A class that looks at positive parenting.
If the day with dad is regular do something for you, join a walking club or something.
Start bedtime prep a lot earlier, eg bath and pyjamas on at five pm then eat dinner in pyjamas, time to chill before bed at seven or eight. Don't push it all into half hour sprint.
Don't be too harsh on yourself.
Have you tried Vitamin B Complex? it is good for energy and your nerves.
Forgive me if I am saying stuff you already know, but try to make sure you pay more attention to her when she is being good and less when she is misbehaving. Pick your fights. Choose one thing you are not going to permit and then go easy on other misbehaviour. Make sure she knows you love her.
Children can go through these phases quite quickly and a four-year-old is much less work than a three-year-old so, even if you do not have much of a life right now, you will have one shortly.
Make the most of your breaks - my children don't see their dad. My break is when they are at school and I am at work!
I don't have much to add except that your dd's behaviour is like my dd, she is hard work and I avoid doing the stuff we should be doing because I can't mentally cope with it.
You need to break the cycle you are in. What helped me was getting my ex to have our dd one extra night one week so that I could kick myself in to gear and sort my life out. I organised my paperwork and a thorough to do list that I felt mentally clear.
I also suffered from exhaustion and tiredness and got that checked and I had a B12 deficiency. I've had 5 injections and I feel good.
I wonder if, instead of trying to use the treadmill, you could just take her out to the park and both of you have a run round?
I used to walk miles in all weathers with my DC, it did us all so much good, they let off steam and slept better, and I lost loads of weight.
I used to take them out all the time - I probably covered at least 5 miles walking every single day. I have never been so slim, or so fit since.
IME small children hate being indoors.
Thank you everyone! I knew that other parents would give me the advice and kick up the bum that I needed! ;) The suggestion about getting ready for bed earlier is a good one, I was so stuck in our routine that that didn't occur to me!
And I'll definitely check out that book.. thank you!
I do give her lots of positive reinforcement and praise and we spend lots of 'quality' time together. I do think all the backwards and forwards between parents can throw her a bit sometimes and that's when her behaviour gets worse. It always feels like she's punishing me. But she's still so little and she'll handle that better as she gets older.
Yestersday was a particularly hard day and I think it made me feel a bit defeated.
I find the screaming really hard to cope with as part of my illness is a problem called sensory integration disorder which basically means my brain starts to shut down if there's too much outside stimulation (like noise). It can be a bit wearing sometimes!
Anyway, today is a new day. Thanks again for all your advice. I have a feeling that, now I've found this forum, I'll be coming here quite a bit to see what other single parents are saying.
Hope you all have a nice day!
Glad you're feeling better today OP.
Can your dd go to nursery for another morning or afternoon a week? Do you have family nearby?
I work but I find days are more manageable when I have a clear idea what we're going to do. So on weekends we'll spend at least one day with family or friends. DS is happier as he has other kids to play with and I get a break and to socialise. Even if it's just the park and a coffee afterwards.
Bedtime is always stressful in every household because tired kids plus tired adults = hell! But start early - dinner on at 5, then eat, bath, milky drink and a story then bed at 7. Then you get a couple of hours to yourself before an early night.
Take the path of least resistance at the most stressful times. If you have a "recovery Sunday" where you stay in your pjs all day then fine (although I wouldn't do this with DS as he's far easier if we're out and about!)
Thanks Should! No family nearby, and friends all have partners and do 'family stuff' at the weekends, so weekends can be a bit lonely. DD is also better when we're out and about so I need to find some other single parents to hang out with on sundays. Pajama day sounds good too!
also for other working parents saturday as playdate is the only time they can socialise their kids
try to get with other parents and perhaps if you get 2-3 kids together you can have chance for few hours off some weekends
Being a sahm is hard. It isn't for everyone. Some women can cope with the tedium more than others.
Have you thought of going out to work? I know jobs are scarce atm but it might help you psychologically.
What about volunteering on nursery/dad days? It sounds like you need more time around other adults.
Are there any PPP programs where you are? Ask your health visitor for advice.
I'm starting a course in a fortnight so that will get me out and around other adults for a bit. I'm resigned to life feeling tiring and boring for now. I think I'm more concerned with how I cope when we're in the house together and it feels like I'm just waiting on my nerve endings for the next tantrum or scream. I feel like I can't do anything for myself without her making a fuss. I just tried to do my hair and makeup and she stood behind me whining and then wacked me on the head really hard (at which point she got put on time out). She's always been like this. She just can't cope with me taking my attention off her and on to something for me. The only time I can do that is if SHE chooses to play a game by herself. But I spend all day waiting for moments when I can get on with things like banking or paperwork without her screaming and hitting me. And I just give up on the idea of doing things like exercise as she would have a total meltdown. It's like she's in charge. I do all the usual disciplinary techniques but nothing makes any difference. I feel like a prisoner in my own home half the time.
The thing is, OP, it is normal not to be able to do anything when they are awake at this age.
It is easier to just take them out, walk them, let them run around, play, burn off some energy etc, then you can get them to bed early and do all your admin stuff in the evening. The weather is lovely at the moment so being outdoors is enjoyable.
She is old enough to have a little rucksack with a drink and a snack that you can have mid morning.
The more you try to get on with things while she is feeling bored and left out, the worse she will be.
You also need to get very adept at getting up and ready extremely fast - usually while they watch CBeebies.
I used to be the only person in the park at 8.00 am
The thing is, OP, it is normal not to be able to do anything when they are awake at this age Agree! But again, this period will pass very quickly.
If you take the Vitamin B and you change, she will change. These things are subtle. When I had a big exam to study for the next day, my dd would not go to sleep. According to me, I was doing everything the same, but she must have perceived my tension...
Agree that it is unrealistic to be able to do things like paperwork around little ones. I can't do a thing until my dc are in bed and they are 11 and 8.
All children need undivided attention unless you are very fortunate to have a child who will sit and colour or play happily on their own in short bursts.
It is very hard on your own I know and I get the resentment sometimes too, then the guilt that follows of course! Make the most of the time you do get to yourself.
It's tricky to get things done around DS, definitely.
I try to get up and get ready before he wakes up. We have our breakfast together so at least I can eat while he's busy with his porridge.
In nap time I usually just sit down with a cuppa and some lunch as I love the break in the middle of the day too much to rush around trying to get things done.
I have a tidy round and do the washing up while he's having his tea.
Once he's in bed I'll fold and sort washing, pay bills and anything else which takes longer than a couple of minutes.
I clean when he's at his dad's.
When I was first a single parent I used to hate sundays so in the morning we would go swimming and bake in the afternoon or maybe go to the woods. When weather allows make lunch then bag\pot it up and go to park to eat it mine used to love this and it kills some time!
Same here chocolate!
Swimming by 9am, picnic lunch afterwards, fall asleep in the car and home for nap by 12.
After nap an hour in the park, then home by 4 for telly and a wind down whilst I did tea.
Sunday - tick!
Looking after small children is a full time job.
When DH used to complain that nothing much got done in the house, I used to ask him what he would expect from a nanny that he was employing to look after his children from 7.00am to 7.00pm. Would he be happy if the nanny was doing her paperwork/banking etc? No - he would quite reasonably expect the nanny to be focused on the child.
It isn't worth trying to get other things done because the child goes crazy with boredom and frustration.
But it does get better as they get older.
I agree with a previous poster. Try to do a parenting course. Nursery will be able to sort it out for you.
They are not for 'Bad Parents' they are for parents who would like some clues and insights on how their child works.
It gets you out of the house with adult conversation and tea and biscuits once a week. With other parents who also like to know how other people manage.
You're right. I think I probably have to stop thinking about what I can't do and focus on what I can do. I.E spend some really lovely quality time with my daughter before she starts school and everything changes. You must all think I'm a massive whinge-bag! Loads of good tips too, thanks! Your sunday schedule sounds good.
You are certainly not a wings it is bloody hard work, sounds like you are doing a great job so don't be hard on yourself. They grow up so fast so def enjoy the time you have it goes even quicker once they are at school
It is really hard! I felt with mine at this stage a lot was frustration, wanting to run before they can walk, try occupying her by encouraging her independence like dressing herself, choosing her own pjs and putting them on herself, also make her feel important and needed but getting her to help with simple chores, usually you will have to do it again once she isn't looking and it will take 5 times a long, but she will feel happier for contributing too. And it's already been said, but I believe children and so intuitive, if you are feeling stressed so will she and she won't understand nor know how to deal and express those feelings, I find by telling my kids that I'm stressed or cranky (bad pms) and give a simple reason they then are less effected as they know it's not directly related to them, promise it does get easier, it's just finding your way xx
also at nearly four she can go to nursery 15 hours week for free and if you can then book her for longer. many kids are ready to go five days a week at three or four. then weekends are your family time with her.
family time can be just you and her...it s a step to realise that that's ok and equally valid. but it is.
getting out to park in all weathers. get decent boots and wet weather clothing for you and her ready for winter. join local ramblers see if they do family walks or goskyride cycling rides for families.
look at saturday morning classes like dance or swimming. gives a focus.
and remember cbeebies is totally ok. especially if it follows a three hour outing to park etc.
getting out and about rather than trying to do your paperwork.
your exercise = her exercise so out to park you go for long walks.at her pace stoppping to look at things etc.
think how dd will look back on her childhood - will she remember those long fun walks to park etc with mum?
if you can get out and do that in the mornings then maybe in afternoon she will chill with tv and you can do some stuff. but really as others said you have to accpet you cant do much when she awake.
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