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Feeling blue - am a spoilt madam?

(21 Posts)
Janus Fri 05-Jul-02 14:10:35

Don't know where to start with this really but for a couple of weeks I have been feeling decidely miserable!
I have a 2 year old (yesterday!) girl who is adorable but also extremely lively and, quite frankly, exhausting (but what 2 year old isn't). I have a partner who I love and is supportive but has to work long hours and is away about 1 week in 6 due to work. However, he earns quite well, we live in a nice flat, I am able to choose to stay at home with my daughter, we have a nice holiday once a year, we have a cleaner for a few hours a week to iron his shirts as I refuse and so does he, and clean the bathroom, his decision to keep her on once I gave up work so he doesn't begrudge paying her even though I'm at home. He mostly makes it back home by 7pm so he then takes over and gives her a bath, etc, while I start tea.
I feel that I spend every waking moment looking after my daughter, we have no family anywhere near us and all my friends are mums with young chidren themselves so cannot really help out. I have no 'break' from her, we do not go out as we have no-one to ask to babysit and we did try an agency but felt uncomfortable (long story) and have been nervous to try again. My parents have come up three times since my daughter was born, when she was born they came the weekend after for 24 hours and then darted back home as my Dad had to get back to work, the next time they won tickets for Wimbledon and so came up but went out the entire time, and the next time I booked my partner and I into a hotel and they came for 24 hours and literally dashed out the door 20 minutes after we got back! My partner's parents have been twice but at least for a full weekend! I did used to go down to my parents when my partner went away on work as in this environment my Mum is brilliant and sent me back to bed from 7am to 9am every morning which I really appreciated. However, it is now almost too much effort shipping us off down there when he goes away so I tend to get through it alone, literally, absolutely alone.
I find myself constantly exhausted, trying to keep my daughter occupied by walks, a couple of classes (but these all seem to close for the Summer and I'm wondering what the hell to do with all the days), my two good friends both work 3 days and so I don't see that much of them and my other good friend is away for 2 months so maybe I'm just feeling a bit lonely being by myself so much. I just find I'm bursting into to tears for no apparent reason.
The worst thing is I feel guilty really because not many people can afford to stay at home, have a cleaner too (although I do do all my own and daughter's ironing, wash floors, clothes, hoover, unload bloody dishwasher, etc!) and I think maybe I need someone to tell me to stop acting like a selfish bitch and get on with life. When I read back through this I just hate that I sound so bloody sorry for myself when I'm normally an independent, happy person. Where can I get my va-va-voom from?!!
Sorry, I have compeltely rambled here.

Enid Fri 05-Jul-02 14:33:44

Janus, I stay at home with my dd (2.5), she is the light of my life but absolutely on the go all day long. I am very lucky as we live in a lovely cottage, I have a cleaner once a week and helpful MIL & FIL living nearby. But I would GO MAD if I didn't also have a childminder, who takes dd for 2 mornings a week. I can take a bit of time to go to the gym, go shopping without a toddler in tow or just lay on the sofa reading Heat, with a large mug of tea and a slice of cake. It keeps me sane and gave me back my 'va-va-voom'. I also do the odd bit of freelance work so I have a tiny bit of my own money occasionally. Childminders are brilliant, its lovely to have that regular twice-weekly slot and its really helped dd become more independent so hopefully she'll handle the transition to nursery well in September. She costs £2.75 per hour which I scrimp out of the weekly food money. I completely sympathise with your worries and the only way out is to GET SOME TIME ON YOUR OWN, regular, weekly time, even if its just one morning a week. It will change your life, honestly.

No 2 arrives in October so I'll lose my bit of independence for a while, but fully intend to farm them off to a childminder one morning a week when I feel up to it.

PamT Fri 05-Jul-02 14:33:54

Janus, I know that feeling well. We're not as fortunate as you on the financial front but I still feel that I am the bored, lonely housewife. I go to a toddler group with DD once a week and DD also goes to playgroup 2 mornings each week but I do feel that I have very little time to do what I want. I also lack the opportunities for adult conversation other than 10 minutes in the school playground every afternoon when I pick the other two up.

I have forced myself to do evening classes in the past and have enjoyed them even though it has been a struggle to motivate myself to go out in the evenings. I know that DH works late and sometimes away so perhaps you should look to some sort of daytime activity where there is a creche. Lots of gyms and colleges have creches where you could leave your daughter whilst you had some 'me' time. Another alternative would be for you to find a part time job where you could escape from family life for a while. Even if this only paid enough to cover nursery costs at least it would give you some independence.

If all else fails, there is usually something to talk about with other parents on Mumsnet

Dumbledore Fri 05-Jul-02 14:39:41

It sounds as though you need some "you" time.

There are obviously lots of options to achieve this, one that springs to mind is to get a p/t job and putting dd into a nursery.

You'll be amazed how your social life will increase, I work 3 evenings a week (just a little job, 6.30 - 8.30) but I go on no end of girly nights out through the circle of mates I have made. It gives me my own identity, I'm not just "the mum of"

I, like you, have no parents and no in-laws that live near by, but I do have some good friends who babysit now and again if I dh and I want to go out. Have you thought about creating a babysitting circle with the friends that you have got?

Mopsy Fri 05-Jul-02 14:49:19

I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestions made so far in that you need more (some!) 'you' time

However, what is also important to get things really back in balance is to also find some time for you and dh to be a couple, and for you and dd to have other people around more during the weekdays.

When my ds was born I knew absolutely no-one with a child (I was too young myself!) and for a while was very lonely. I took him to two twice-weekly toddler groups, taking care of two mornings and two afternoons, and on the fifth day we did food shopping, library and swimming.

From these toddler groups I made three really close friends - 9 yrs on we are still eachothers best mates. It was really great for that time from 2 until school age - trips to the park, cutting and sticking sessions, piling round to someone's house and leaving them to play whilst having a good gossip.

Be brave, and let us know how you get on. love Mopsy x

florenceuk Fri 05-Jul-02 14:53:08

Janus you sound as if you need a break! Is your husband always working or can he take over for a night - or even a weekend?

One thought, if you subscribe to the Simply Childcare magazine they have listings in the back for nannies who are willing to babysit - cheaper perhaps than an agency and you have the chance to interview them and check them out before leaving DD with them.

Rhubarb Fri 05-Jul-02 14:58:23

I think all SAHM's can feel for you here Janus. When I had my dd I was not prepared to become a mother at all, I had my whole career ahead of me having just got my degree. However career went on a permanent hold as I took to being a f/t mum. The weeks seem endless, mums and tots offer some light relief, but if you don't particularly like kids, as I still don't, you dread them coming too! I take dd as I know she needs to mix with other kids, but sometimes I worry I am going out of my mind! I used to be a good writer, but sometimes struggle to spell words now and often 'lose' the word I am looking for.

To keep my sanity what I do is go out every weekend, near enough. I go out Friday night whilst dh looks after dd, then it is his turn on Saturday night. This gives me something to look forward to. Ask some of the mums you know if they would like a night out sometime - bet they'll jump at the idea! I also got involved in a charity, so I feel like I am doing some 'work' and that boosts my self-esteem too.

And if you are not short of money, well your daughter is old enough now to go to a nursery for a couple of mornings a week? Not only will it be good for her to mix with other childen and be indepedent from mum, but you can have your time out too.

Marina Fri 05-Jul-02 15:45:20

Janus, no you aren't a spoilt madam, as others have said, you need some "you" time. Can I make one suggestion? Think again about the effort involved in hauling yourself down to your parents as they are clearly a lot more help on home turf. I know it's no joke, mine are a 4 hour train journey away, and I am lucky to have them visit more often, but it does sound like a good, cheap break for you - and nice for dd to build a relationship with them, albeit on their terms.
I work full time, and with nursery opening hours under review, probably to be shortened to the point where we'll have to look elsewhere, and being 13 weeks pregnant I was beginning to understand why some expectant women chuck themselves off multi-storey car-parks. If only I could stay at home full-time, etc...your post reminded me that it's just swapping one set of preoccupations for another.
You were going to move soon, weren't you? How is that going? And I think you were moving to a location where there is going to be a mini meet-up soon? Maybe you and some other local Mumsnetters could set up a babysitting circle?

Twink Fri 05-Jul-02 18:38:45

As the others have said Janus, you're not alone or selfish. I felt exactly the same when dd was a similar age and one of my NCT friends pushed me to put her into nursery. I now do that for 2 half days a week and have met loads of other people who do the same.
It helps me do things like get a haircut (don't laugh, before dh used to have take half a day off cos dd + hairdresser is NOT an option), I go to the gym which helps to give me more energy to do everything else - and I've met more people in similar circumstances.
Nursery is also good because it doesn't shut for the summer, I remember only too well last year thinking 'oh no, 6 weeks when everything we usually do will be invaded by 'big' kids...'
I also use the creche attatched to our local leisure centre sometimes - one time I just sat in the cafe and wrote my Christmas cards in peace alone with my own thoughts.
One other thought, maybe two or three Mumsnetters could occasionally meet up during the summer with kids ??..

Tinker Fri 05-Jul-02 19:18:27

Ah Janus, I was only wondering last night where you were.

I don't think you're a spoilt madam at all, I think anyone who's stays with their kids all the time must be a saint. I work f/t but even find the weekends a strain.

I think there are lots of really good suggestions here - especially about a childminder or nursery for a few sessions a week. I used to take leave and still send my daughter to her childminder just for a rest and to do the cleaning.

Even now, I spend virtually every other weekend at my mum's (no family either round nearby) just for some help. If you could rekindle that it would help you feel less on your own.

aloha Fri 05-Jul-02 19:30:14

Before I had ds I was so suspicious of the NCT but I have met such great other mums through it, I think it has saved my life. We all live locally, hang out in the park, at each other's houses and even go to the pub together now and then. We met through a tea group, but there are toddler groups too. Can you contact your local NCT to ask about some near you? I always find looking after ds is a million times easier when I'm with other mums and babies - he's less dependent on me. I agree with the childminder/nursery/babysitter ideas too, and Simply Childcare is brilliant.

WideWebWitch Fri 05-Jul-02 21:02:15

Janus, I just want to add my support to that already expressed. My ds is now nearly 5 and is *SO* much easier to be with but when he was 2 I was a SAHM and pretty ready to slit my wrists at the end of a long day. It is SO BLOODY UNRELENTING isn't it? I do remember it well and sympathise with you.

I'm still a SAHM and it got easier for me when he went to pre-school at 3 years old and I had 5 whole mornings a week to myself. It was bliss. Before that I did have some friends with kids and if they cancelled an invitation to tea I would cry at the thought of being on my own with ds for another 3 hours! And the idea of the summer holidays filled me with dread too. You are not alone and you are NOT a spoilt bitch. It's hard work and completely understandable that you feel like this.

I agree about setting up a babysitting circle, getting in touch with the NCT, using a nursery, whatever it takes. You need some time alone and with your DH. What about a mothers help? If money isn't a big issue, use some of it to make sure you are happy and supported and get a break.

jasper Sat 06-Jul-02 02:44:34

Janus, you have been given some great advice here.I hope it has helped to know lots of women you have never even met not only sympathise, but care.
Isn't mumsnet the most wonderful resource?

bloss Sat 06-Jul-02 04:11:34

Message withdrawn

bossykate Sat 06-Jul-02 08:03:17

Janus, sorry to hear you have been feeling miserable - don't blame you at all, have been know to count the hours till ds goes to bed (and I work outside the home!). Just wanted to endorse what people have said about getting childcare and then using it to get some you time - endless baby chores and entertainment can really grind you down! It's definitely worth investigating M&B/T activities and the NCT, but not everyone finds these work as a social outlet for themselves - I didn't - so studying or voluntary/paid work might also give you an additional dimension to life.

I noticed from your post you almost seemed to be apologising for having a cleaner even though you are a SAHM - don't. I take a fairly robust attitude to things like this - looking after your child/ren is a full time "job" anything else you manage to get done is an extra, but women, being so marvellous, do nevertheless manage to get lots of extras done anyway!

I also agree with Twink - getting your hair done or something like that can really give you a boost. Maybe your dh could give you a break and you could go on spa day with some pre baby friends?

Hope you find some suggestions you like from the thread and hope you are feeling better soon.

susanmt Sat 06-Jul-02 09:00:30

Janus - I know how you feel too. I'm a SAHM and I love it and have no desire to go back to work but I send my dd to childminder one day a week, just to get a break (keeping ds at home right now but he will be going soon as well). You have to remember that you 'work' at the weekend as well, plus your hours are constant. And employing someone to do some ironing and cleaning for you is only sensible in my opinion. We have a holiday cottage which we rent out and I now employ someone to come and clean it every Saturday as I am so knackered after the week with the kids I just cant face it. I'm so lucky to be able to stay at home with my kids and not have to teach, and the important thing is not to waste your time feeling guilty about it!
It is awkward when you are far away from your family - all my parents/inlaws are about a days travel away, but we find it is worth the effort to go to them as they look after the kids far more willingly on their own turf!

chinchilla Sat 06-Jul-02 22:21:20

God! This is uncanny - I have been feeling exactly the same way lately, and have been worried that I am getting depressed again. Reading this has made me vow to join a M & T group. I haven't before, because I hate all the cliquey groups that you often get at these things. It's like being back at school again, and I was never any good at being in the 'in-crowd'.

I saw a 30+ group advertised in my local 'Kiddaround' magazine, so I WILL try it out. Plus, my mum has offered to have ds for the odd afternoon or whole day. Due to a misunderstanding, I thought that she didn't want to have him, and she thought that I didn't want her to!! This is now sorted out, and I feel much better and positive about having some 'me time' without having to wait for dh to finish work.

My ds and I are very close, because of having spent so much uninterrupted time togehter. I am worried that he will become too clingy, and I know that I am too clingy with him, so it will do me good to have a break.

Plus, dh has offered to let me have two nights away with my sister, so I can have a pampering weekend. I must book it soon!!!

The only thing is that I don't have loads of friends. I have a couple, but do miss not having loads. Oh well, you can't have it all. At least I can post here, and it is great to see that things I am feeling are common, and that I'm not a bad mummy needing some time to myself!

Janus Tue 09-Jul-02 08:50:34

Thanks so much everyone, I already feel so much better. We are in the middle of an imminent move so for months now I have been in limbo, not wanting to consider putting her in a nursery, etc, as I always knew we would be moving away and I'd have to take her out again. I think this being in limbo has not helped as I haven't been able to do anything practical to help with the situation. However, we are now getting nearer to a move and when we get there I will definitely enrol in a nursery for 2 half days a week and look at the positive side of her having a huge amount of fun rather than feeling guilty.
I will also look into doing a course so my brain can concentrate on something else and have already been scouring the internet.
Must look into a gym with a creche, even if the thought of exercise repulses me!!!! Must be able to find one that does yoga or something.
I must get hold of the Simple Childcare, will do a search as we do need to try and get someone for the odd night of babysitting so we can go out as a couple, I didn't realise you could interview before signing up for a babysitter and would feel much more comfortable about that.
Although my folks are about a 5 hour journey away I am going to make the effort to get down there in August so I can have some lie-ins!!!!! She does love it there as she loves her grandparents, their dog, their big garden, the beach is only 20 mins away, etc (if we ever see some bloody sun!!), so will get there.
The big thing I have just done is gone for a whole day's pampering with a friend who has a one year old. We had a swim, sauna, FULL BODY MASSAGE (fell asleep!!!), manicure and then went to the pub for 2 and a half pints of stella and felt tipsy!!! How nice to have a whole day off and round it off with sitting outside a pub and joining the real world!!! Have vowed to do something once a month together as we both had a brilliant day, 10 precious hours of me time, what a tonic.
Thanks again to everyone, I really can see some good ideas to take up here and just to see so many lovely replies really has changed my mood. xx

Azzie Tue 09-Jul-02 09:39:17

Janus, glad you're feeling a bit better. Isn't it horrid when you sit and count your blessings but still feel awful?

Just a thought on the toddler group front - even if you're not really a mums and tots person (and I'm not really one myself) it won't be long before your dd starts making some friends of her own, and can go and play with them occasionally. My dd is 2.5 and has a friend she is happy to go and play with, so sometimes the friend's mum has them for a couple of hours, and I return the favour. And of course this gets easier as they get older, so even if you can't afford a nursery or childminder at the moment, hang in there - it starts to ease up a bit.

pamina Tue 09-Jul-02 21:25:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bossykate Sat 03-Aug-02 21:11:56

hi janus

just wondering if you are feeling any better now.

hope so. all the best.

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