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Just not enjoying being a parent at all - anyone else?

(21 Posts)
StickyFloor Sun 24-Jul-11 19:37:31

Twins are nearly 8 and that feeling I had when they were newborns who never slept and settled and my life was manic and exhausting, well that feeling has not gone away.

Every aspect of my life has been taken over by the children to the point that even when I get time to myself I don't really bother doing anything because it is only a matter of time before I have to do something for them, with them, to do with them.

I have been sat here for an hour or so wondering what the hell is the point of it all. Not in a suicidal sort of way, just in a totally can't be bothered with anything sort of way. My life before kids was by no means perfect, but at least I had some independence and freedom and control over my life. Now that has disappeared.

We are off on holiday soon and people keep asking me if I am looking forward to having a break - wtf? if I left the twins at home then that would be a break, but I am not, so it will be the same old stuff just in a different location. I am not going to be having romantic evening meals, strolls along the beach, cocktails and then a long lie-in and lazy days by the sea am I? It will be bickering, sandcastles, packing and unpacking bags, organising toys, clothes, food and playing. Am i weird because I don't think that is going to be fun?

But I don't know of anyone else who feels like this, just me it seems. I just don't see how this is going to get better. I thought life would be easier as they get older but actually it is getting worse as they stay up later and so we have even less of an evening to ourselves too. Each day I look forward to 9pm and then I can tidy up in peace and sit on the sofa for an hour or so, then go to bed. Woohoo.

Has anyone else been through this and come out the other side perky and enjoying parenting after all? Please tell me I can turn this around.

TheArmadillo Sun 24-Jul-11 20:09:55

For a start - it is very unusual to enjoy every stage of parenting. However you seem to have felt like this for the last 8 years which is far too long. Your lack of enjoyment in anything seems to sound more like depression than anything else. You don't have to feel suicidal to be depressed - sometimes it can be lack of enjoyment in anything or an intense boredom with life itself.

I would start by seeing your doctor, but there are also other things you can do.

Exercise is great for helping - it gets endorphins pumping that give you a mild high. It doesn't have to cost money. It sounds like you have a partner so could they watch the children will you go out for a walk or run in the evening. Or go to the gym or an exercise class, even swimming if you can afford it.

Take up a hobby - something you are interested in, maybe learn something new. Make yourself do something that isn't connected to the children.

Have a night out with a friend or a group of people. Try to arrange a regular event - even if it is only once every couple of months.

LyraBelaqua Sun 24-Jul-11 20:16:22

Hi I'm afraid I don't have any experience of twins and my only DC is 20 months old but I didn't want your thread to go unanswered for too long. I can imagine that having twins is extremely hard, god knows I have trouble coping with my 1 and I get quite a bit of time to myself thanks to DH and grandparents. I dont want to sound condesending or anything but have you spoken to your GP as you do sound really low. I do not want to offend you if you have but I have a fair bit of experience with depression in family members and they usually convey the same kind of hopeless feeling. I'd hate to think of anyone suffering when they may be medically unwell smile

StickyFloor Sun 24-Jul-11 21:17:39

Thanks for the replies, ladies, and some things to think about.

We are a bit of a stiff upper lip family so depression is not something I have really thought about - I just don't see how a magic pill can help when it is my over-all situation making me so unhappy.

I do some exercise and have some other interests that I force myself to keep up with, and I have recently picked up some pieces of work too, so lots of stuff not-child related. To the outside I have the perfect life, or so i have been told by several different people.

But I am always acutely aware that I am doing something not child-related, and I am clock-watching until I have to be back in myummy-mode again IYSWIM.

Might talk to GP and see what she says, thanks.

TheArmadillo Mon 25-Jul-11 22:08:13

magic pills are not the only thing that can help with depression - there are different kinds of therapies.

Magic pills also aren't as magic as sometimes made out to be - if you're not functioning they can get you up to a level where you can but they won't cure you. I don't think they should be dismissed as they can be useful but certainly not necessary in every case.

I hope your gp has some good advice for you.

Jux Mon 25-Jul-11 22:18:27

Do you have a dh/dp? Have you spoken to him about it? Does he know or does he think everything in the garden is rosie?

How about your mum? Could you talk to her? Could you get a relative to take your twins for a few days so you actually get a real break?

We were often packed off when we were kids, stayed with uncles, aunts, cousins, friends of the parents', friends of my grandmother's ...... It was brilliant! Cemented parental friendships (kids/cousins would come to us next time etc), family ties, all that stuff. GAVE MUM A BREAK!!!!!!!

CrumblyMumbly Mon 25-Jul-11 22:42:11

It's certainly not just you feeling like this. I am sure there are lots of parents who do, but don't admit it and insist everything is perfect and they are blissfully happy. I'm afraid I don't have a magic answer - my dd is 10mo and I am struggling with the same things especially lack of independence. I think we have to draw a line under our pre dc(s) life and let that go. Things will never be the same as before and really we don't want them to be. Like Jux said, could anyone help to give you a break to recharge? Maybe on holiday, don't try to be superwoman - go with the flow and say it's Mummy's holiday too. You're doing a fantastic job -thankless and boring at times but at least there's mumsnet and wine! (flippant emoticon to disguise mutual pain).

MrsGravy Mon 25-Jul-11 22:50:01

I also agree that it sounds like you are depressed...no experience of this myself but maybe something other than pills could help? Some kind of therapy/counselling? Worth a try I would have thought.

It sounds like you are waiting for your life to return back to how it was, this isn't going to happen so you need to somehow find some acceptance of how things are now.

It did strike me from your OP that perhaps you are doing too much. Could your kids be encouraged to be a bit more independent? Pack their own bags? Make their own sandwiches for lunch and their own breakfast? Help tidy up at the end of the day? Where is your husband in all this? You should be able to spend some time on the beach relaxing with a book while he plays with the kids surely? Why isn't he packing bags or cooking - especially while you're on holiday?

methodsandmaterials Mon 25-Jul-11 22:57:01

Gosh, I could have written your OP. DS is 2 and I keep waiting for the moment where it all makes sense and when I start feeling positive about my role as a parent.

bejeezus Mon 25-Jul-11 22:59:50

sticky floor I took ADs for post natal depression when dd1 was 9 months old. Previous to that I would have felt the same as you about taking happy-pills, similar stiff upper lip family.

IME

Pills wont change your situation but may help you to find the joy in your situation-you already said others describe your life as perfect.
I felt like, Anti-depressants gave me an anchor to get my life back on course. I no longer felt so dispondant about everything. They dont give you any kind of euphoria, just a gentle leg-up

Mellowfruitfulness Tue 26-Jul-11 06:53:24

There's a lot of good advice here, Stickyfloor. I also think you are probably suffering from depression, and you should see a doctor, because 8 years is a long time to be unhappy for. However, if you don't want to take pills, then maybe you could see a counsellor, and talk it through?

I've had a taste of what you're going through. At one point, I would take the kids to school, come back, sit in a chair and then at 3.30 I would get up and collect them. The chair would be surrounded by empty coffee cups, but I would have no memory of the day at all. Looking back, I think I was just exhausted after a particularly difficult year, and recharging my batteries. Luckily, it didn't go on for more than a few months.

On another occasion, I realised that I whenever I opened my mouth I was complaining, and constantly negative about everything. So I bought myself a scarf to remind me to try to put a positive spin on things. I had to work at it, but it did eventually break the habit of always looking at the bad side.

Nothing lasts forever, and you will come through this period, but it is sad that you are not able to enjoy it.

Mellowfruitfulness Tue 26-Jul-11 06:55:15

Oh and giving your kids to someone else for a week - can you do that? My sisters and mum were fantastic and often had mine for a week in order to give me a break.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and yet we all try to do it entirely on our own and feel humiliated when we ask for help.

chickincharge Wed 27-Jul-11 13:37:16

I don't think you're depressed, I think you're honest, I don't understand how people think that giving your entire life over is fun, how picking up toys, wiping backsides, breaking up fights, having nothing for yourself is something you should do with a constant smile on your face. I'm with you, pity there aren't more people who can acknowledge that being a full time mother is a bloody hard boring slog, but we do it because they are our kids and we love them, and you can't pay someone to love your kids, give yourself a break, crack open the wine with a mate, and have a good bitch about the other mums who won't admit to their kids getting on their tits, and pretend to be so fucking perfect (usually the ones who rarely see their children, as the mil is bringing them up while they carry on their pre kids lives)

AngryFeet Wed 27-Jul-11 13:52:56

Hmm I disagree chickincharge. I felt the same as the OP when DC2 was young and the first 3 years of his life (2 year age gap) I did feel very low. But now they are 6 and 4 life is so much easier and I would imagine by the age of 8 it will be even better. I now enjoy spending time with my kids (90% of the time!).

I think to be unhappy all the time when your kids are at one of the best ages (from what I have heard) and to not be able to enjoy time away from them sounds abnormal to me. They are 8 not babies, it shouldn't be this hard at this stage.

OP - are the kids difficult? What makes it so hard to be with them?

bejeezus Wed 27-Jul-11 14:00:21

It is the hardest job in the world chickincharge it is repetitive and crazy-making and often mind numbingly boring. Most people feel like this.

But IMO what the OP describes goes beyond that. She seems unable to 'crack open a bottle of wine with a mate and give herself a break'

After 8 years you would hope OP would have been able to adjust to being a parent to some degree and find some humour amongst the insanity

plinkduet Wed 27-Jul-11 17:45:01

God yes. But then I'm a lone parent so it makes 'me time' almost impossible. I don't have older children (or twins) like you, they're both under 4 with a very small age gap.

The eldest starts school this september but the youngest will still be too young to start nursery, so I'm sure I may have more time to myself then, especially as the youngest still naps for an hour or two during the day.

But 8 years old and you have no me time? That worries me sad
Are they not old enough for regular sleepovers at their friend's house, staying with grandparents for a week at a time, etc.?

'I look forward to 9pm and then I can tidy up in peace and sit on the sofa for an hour or so, then go to bed. Woohoo. '
Me too! I just need to be able to sit still sometimes in complete silence and do ..... absolutely nothing. That's not a waste of my me time, it's not unproductive in anyway to feel guilty about, or is it to be underestimated. It is essential for recharging my mental batteries.

Lastly, magic pills as you call them, don't even bother, it just conceals the underlying problem. Better off with some relaxing therapies such as yoga smile

MrsGravy Wed 27-Jul-11 19:20:46

I totally disagree chickincharge. The OP's experience isn't your typical experience of motherhood at all. I don't think anyone would disagree that it's exhausting and all-consuming, and no-one enjoys motherhood ALL the time. But to not enjoy it at all - over the course of 8 whole years?? No, that's not right. I would suggest this is a problem that takes more than a glass of wine and a good gab with a friend to fix. Life should not be that miserable and the OP owes it to herself to try and make her life happier.

TheMonster Wed 27-Jul-11 19:21:28

I have never enjoyed it. My DS is nearly five and everyday is a chore.

abcdangel Wed 27-Jul-11 19:26:09

OP and chick I can so sympathise and had actually been considering starting a similar thread.

Nearly everything you have said is ringing true. I love my children SO much, but I don't much like my life since having them sometimes.

I have a lovely home, lovely DH and 2 gorgeous DDs (12 & 8), but I don't always relish my role as a mother. I find it REALLY hard work. I feel all I do is nag them -

get up...
get dressed...
eat...
clean teeth..
remember this...
take that to school...
don't forget to bring that home...
do your homework...
hang uniform up...
hurry up...
don't do that...
pick that up...

Most evenings one of them does something. I feel in between the "doing" there's no time to actually "be", and being a natural loner, I do really resent not having time to just be on my own and quiet - in fact my "me" time tends to be at work where I can just be quiet and get on with things.

I don't want to wish my time with them away, or look back and feel I have wasted any of it, but sometimes I wonder whether other children have a nicer life cos their mums are better at it than me.

littletinkers Wed 27-Jul-11 19:45:28

Hi

Have depression, goes up and down, and sometimes like the last week I find it all a drag. My husband has arthritis (bad arthritis) and works 12 - 13 hour days and I can't get out in the evenings much as a result. It's all pretty much down to me. I hate the endless washing, tidying up, ironing, and even things like teeth brushing, trying to get them to eat stuff i have slaved over. I love the kids dearly and enjoy their company most of the time but the jobs, the absense of adult compnay, the inability to go out, the fact that after an oxbridge education all i do is endless domestic chores... i hate all of that. I am in therapy and it helps hugely - made me realise I am terrible at going after what I want in life - feel guilty about it and kow tow to others opinions. If you are not happy that's okay - don't beat yourself up about it - what are your options. If other people think you have a great life that is BS they are not you and this is about what you want and need to be a happy good parent. They don't know the reality of what you live with or your real circumstances. I'd say get some proper supportive psychotherapy and look at ways you can get what you want out of life whilst being a good parent.

titihood Wed 27-Jul-11 20:25:37

Echoing other people's opinions, but I think it is normal to not feel fab all the time - whether you are a parent or not. (And is probably far less likely when you are a parent as you have no time to yourself and your whole life seems to revolve around other people). However, feeling disinterested in things and not having the energy or wherewithal to bother, when everything feels like a drag and happiness seems like a distant memory are symptoms of depression, and there are a lot of things you can do to help cope with and overcome those feelings, not just magic pills.
Being a parent is the hardest and simultaneously most wonderful 'occupation' you can do. Don't feel guilty for feeling down - get some help. There are people who specialise in all sorts of therapy depending what you think might help you most.
Something quick and easy that you can do in the meantime is to start a journal where, every evening, you write down 3 things that made you happy that day. You cannot repeat these things on other evenings - e.g. if you write "healthy, dh made dinner, had nice walk" you cannot use any of those in the journal again. Sounds silly but it helps me.

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