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Tell me honestly, do you enjoy your children?

(37 Posts)
missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:20:26

I am a SAHM with 3 children aged 10, 8 and 5. Because of DH's job we live in a country where women have little independence. I cannot work or drive, and DH travels a lot for work which means I am often in the house with the children all weekend.

My children seem to fight constantly. I don't know why but our family dynamics just seem all wrong, and everyone seems miserable a lot of the time. This is so not how I imagined family life to be. I desperately wanted lots of children, I really enjoyed the baby and toddler stage although it was hard work. But now I just can't wait for them to go back to school on Mondays so I can get away from them for a while. This just seems so wrong somehow, I thought having children would be enjoyable most of the time.

DS(8) seems to have made his aim in life to wind up his sisters the whole time, DD(5) spends what seems like 90% of the time crying, and DD(10) tells me I never do anything with her and always seems bored and unhappy. I try really hard to play with them, do crafts, baking etc but I want them to just go and play sometimes too. But whatever I do always seems to end up with them fighting and me annoyed and shouting too much.

I feel so guilty that I don't enjoy spending time with my children!

whomovedmychocolate Sat 27-Nov-10 11:23:13

Ah yes the perils of close confinement with children of different ages. You need to find friends for them who they can play with - preferably in a different venue, or get them into sports so they are busy.


HecateQueenOfWitches Sat 27-Nov-10 11:24:48

I think that people telling you yes they do, would only depress you and make you feel (wrongly) that there is something wrong with you.

So I am BEGGING others who post after me, to PLEASE NOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION!!!

Please don't feel guilty, you are not a bad person. You may need some support to be able to see the way forward and ideas to try out.

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:25:52

During the week it's not too bad as they are at school but at the weekend I have no means to get them anywhere when DH is not around to drive them. Sometime we invite friends over but I don't like to intrude too much on other families' weekends.

Bonsoir Sat 27-Nov-10 11:26:45

Are you quite sure that it is motherhood that is the problem? It sounds as if the constraints on your family's domestic existence are very considerable

loler Sat 27-Nov-10 11:27:44

That does sound like hell - my dc are fine when they are out of the house (or car) being at home is really hard work with all 3 of them together. They turn into a tag team of hard work and moaning.

Are you able to go somewhere/anywhere without your dh? Swimming, park, bowling, just for a walk?

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:28:08

Yes we don't lead what you would call a normal existence, but I found it easier when they were little in a way, there was less fighting.

Rosebud05 Sat 27-Nov-10 11:28:36

I wouldn't enjoy being in the house with my children all weekend. Everyone benefits from a change of scenery and a break from each other.

Is there really nowhere at all to go at weekends? What about the children's friends? Couldn't you farm one out to a friend and have other's dc round to entertain them?

It sounds like the dynamics are too intense and the maths wrong - 1 adult trying to meet the needs of 3 kids is too hard for sustained period of time.

What does your dh think?

Mumcentreplus Sat 27-Nov-10 11:28:57

Yes and No grin

MimsyRogers Sat 27-Nov-10 11:29:08

Poor you. I know what you mean. I love my DC, but I love them especially when they are sleeping, or at school grin. I suggest you try and find some interests of your own away from the children and that will hopefully invigorate you so that you enjoy them more when you are with them. It sounds difficult for you to do something for yourself where you are at the moment. Can you get out for a hobby, a bit of tennis, or a class of some sort? Or are there no such opportunities?
And what do you actually do at the weekends when you are stuck with all of them? Can you all go out swimming or something. I find the fighting and bickering eases off a bit when we are busy.

Hassled Sat 27-Nov-10 11:29:19

Yes, I do enjoy my children very much, but then it's easy for me to enjoy them because I'm not stuck in a house on my own with them for long weekends. When they were younger and more squabbly, we went out as much as possible - they were always better behaved in public, and while we might bicker at home we usually had fun in the park or swimming or wherever.

You sound so unhappy that I can't imagine it's doing your DCs any good, quite apart from your own wellbeing. Does your DH realise how bad things are? How long do you have to stay in the country - do you have to stay there at all? Could he find work somewhere else?

I really think that having a family life that's enjoyable and a lifestyle that gives you the opportunity to be your own person and do your own thing is more important than earning big bucks (I'm making some assumptions here) - and it sounds like things are bad enough to warrant having that sort of discussion.

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:30:04

Loler being out without DH is not so much the problem, in certain areas, but there isn't any bowling, parks or swimming, so we have to make our own entertainment. Being with other families is the best way generally, but not always possible.

Rosebud05 Sat 27-Nov-10 11:30:23

How long have you/will you be leading this what you call a not normal existence?

exexpat Sat 27-Nov-10 11:31:42

But maybe other families are feeling just like you?

I think most of my friends agree that it is often easier to have extra children around to 'dilute' the sibling dynamics - I know I find it much more relaxing when one of mine has a friend over or is off at a friend's house. In your position, I'd tentatively ask a few other mums about weekend playdates or suggest getting a couple of families together to do something - park, cinema trip, pool if you are somewhere hot? You may find they will leap at the chance.

Doodlez Sat 27-Nov-10 11:33:11

Sounds to me like you've all got cabin fever. Difficult if you don't have a car but you've gotta get everyone out and over to their friends houses - they need a break from you, each other and those 4 walls and so do you! Dilute the situation a bit, so that when you all come back together, it's less intense and claustrophobic.

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:35:36

MimsyRogers, we play in the house, do crafts, watch a film, I try to get them in the garden for a while. It's hard.

We can't walk anywhere from the house, it's not very safe. When DH is not away we can drive into town and go to a restaurant.

Hassled I agree that getting out is good for everyone. We don't know how long we'll stay here, and yes DH is on a career path and saving for the future etc.

mousymouse Sat 27-Nov-10 11:36:46

yes and no as well.
mine are only little but even now if I can*t get out with them during the day they drive me bonkers.
dh sometimes travels for work as well, that is extra hard I know.
can you keep them busy with projects? like building a papermache city and puppets, writing scripts for playing with it?

exexpat Sat 27-Nov-10 11:37:23

Does your DH know how you feel? Is there any chance he could adjust his working schedule to be around at weekends more? Or if you are somewhere like Saudi, maybe arrange a car and driver for you some weekends so you can get out of the house? Any expat clubs you could go to? I know it would drive me crazy too if I were stuck at home with both DCs most weekends.

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:40:47

In his current job DH has to travel a lot as he has to visit offices in different countries. It could change though. We've been living like this for 7 years now, in different places.

I can ask DH about a car at weekends, it would be expensive but probably worth it! There's not many places to go apart from centre of town which is why weekdays with school are easier. I think DH would try to helpme but he doesn't see why a couple of days in the house is such a problem.

Ragwort Sat 27-Nov-10 11:42:19

I too find it incredibly hard work, and I've only got one, live in the UK with loads of access to activities etc so have it so easy compared to you. It is the constant 'organising' of another person's life that I find totally draining and boring; I also feel guilty that I don't enjoy just being with my DC when so many people are desperate to have children.

So, OP, you are not alone - you are also living in incredibly difficult circumstances; there was a thread recently on the guilt parents feel when they don't enjoy being with their children - but it is such a taboo sunject.

MonkeySee Sat 27-Nov-10 11:45:58

It sounds like your circumstances are really difficult at the moment and that is affecting things, rather than it is intrisically motherhood/your children that is the problem?

missinghamster Sat 27-Nov-10 11:46:38

Objectively I actually think there are good things about how we live - my dcs would not have a clue what to ask for from santa for example, and they don't have access to much junky food etc so I don' t have to fight those particular battles. But day to day it is hard to keep everyone happy - thanks for the supportive words!

Gay40 Sat 27-Nov-10 11:52:00

Yes, I enjoy mine - only got 1 DD 8 - but that's because I work all week and she spends some of her time at her father's. If I had to spend ALL my time with her, I'd feel just like you.
I don't think there's anything wrong at all with wanting your own time and space. I know it makes me a better parent because I don't spend 24/7 with DD. We all need a break and there's nothing to feel guilty about.
If your DH doesn't see the problem, he needs to spend a week with them on his own while you go away for Your Time.
At the end of family holidays I often feel like you do.

cory Sat 27-Nov-10 12:17:52

The circumstances under which I do not enjoy my children are almost exactly the ones you describe. In our case it is not location that is the problem but disability, but it boils down to the same thing: when we are cooped up together for too long we get on each other's nerves.

The one thing that makes it bearable to me is that dh sees what I see: I think you really need to work on your dh for this one. A car would make a big difference if there is any way you can manage it.

loler Sat 27-Nov-10 12:18:13

Get a Wii for christmas - This is what I stick on at about 4pm when I've come over all shouty! Really good fun for all the family.

Do your dc go to an international school? - I thought they had a good support network generally?

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