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I have days when I hate being a SAHM and feel trapped and hopeless

(16 Posts)
Cantnookian Wed 19-Oct-11 15:40:51

I am having a particularly bad day and I am maybe using very negative language and thinking which is not good for me. I have 2 children, 2 and 3 yrs and the elder one goes to kindergarten (austria) each morning and the other one is with me all day. I cannot extend the hours for the elder one (hopefully next year) and there are very limited options for the younger one. Sleep is awful - every night we are woken up - sometimes 3 or 4 times in the night - we have taken to taking it in turns to sleep in the basement spare room so that one of us sleeps. I have to do the week nights as my husband obviously has to go to work and I am so down and angry sometimes in the morning when I feel tired and have another day to get through. The mornings drag as I try to get things done with the younger one with me and then by 1pm I have both of them until bedtime and I don't know what to do some days or a I so fed up and tired and I don't want to do anything TBH. I feel sometimes that the demands of the two of them at once make me feel like I am being literally henpecked and things like getting them to get in and out of the car just makes me seeth as I wait for them to stop messing around and get in the car.

They are tired by the end of the day (sometimes a lot earlier) and will sleep in the car in the afternoon but then they are much later going to bed and I need a break by then and so I don't want them to sleep - so the vicious circle goes on.

I am sounding like the a horrible mother and finding myself shouting at them as I was shouted out. I had no experience of children before having them - apart from finding them irritating if I was out and about somewhere so I don't know what I signed up for but I sometimes feel so trapped and hopeless and wonder when things especially sleep will get better. We have no help where we are, no family/friends so we are on our own.
I do not enjoy being with them all day and know that I will regret this stage when it is gone but find it so hard largely by myself (DH does what he can) and I could quite literally cry sometimes. I feel pathetic that I cannot do better and for all the parenting books I have I am still getting some of the basics wrong - (like shouting at very small children).

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 19-Oct-11 16:14:18

Lack of sleep is the way they torture prisoners smile so don't be surprised if you're feeling a little less than rational and have no patience as a result. Sounds like getting them to sleep all night his your top priority.

You don't mention an afternoon nap other than in the car. I would suggest that when the eldest gets home from kindergarten at 1pm you have lunch together and then introduce a 2pm nap when everyone goes to sleep for an hour or so. Don't plan anything for the rest of the afternoon except home-based activities. Try to get anything outside done in the morning when you only have 1 to cope with. Relax while they nap or even nap yourself.

I think, if they get an hour in the afternoon, and then go to bed at a normal time after supper and a bath etc... 7pm-ish... they will sleep better. Good luck

TheOtherElizabethTaylor Wed 19-Oct-11 16:26:02

All day with a 2 year old and a 3 year old does sometimes try the patience of a saint, but please hang on in there - it does get better as they get older.

Don't worry about what parenting books say - they are frequently written by people who have never actually experienced life with babies and small children day-in, day-out. Any parent who says they have never lost their temper with a toddler is a liar - simple as that. I am a SAHM and one of the things that kept me sane when my kids were smaller was meeting up with one friend in particular each week - we would take turns making tea for each other, and still do now. Is there anyone nearby you could share some of it with? Or if you are feeling so low, maybe it would be worth getting a part-time job - literally doing anything -just for a change of scene, and your children could spend some time each week in childcare of some description.

Also, when feeling like this, bring out what I call the "big guns" - stick them in front of a Disney movie for an hour or so, let them each eat a lolly or icecream (will occupy kids for a surprsing amount of time!) - forget what you're supposed to do and just get by until things get better. Be good enough for a bit.

TryLikingClarity Wed 19-Oct-11 16:40:22

You are not alone!

Sending you brew as a fellow SAHM.

LillianGish Wed 19-Oct-11 16:41:49

CogitoErgoSometimes I think that is great advice. Reading the OP made me remember that however fondly I may look back on those years with my two, there were many days like the ones she describes. I would definitely try to get out and about in the mornings leaving afternoons free for a nap - for all three of you or just to grab a bit of time to yourself (which is what I always did - never mind about sleeping when they sleep, I was glad for a couple of hours off!). And remember the Mumsnet refrain "This too shall pass" - everything is only a phase in these early years and you'll soon be out of this phase and into another one.

Cantnookian Wed 19-Oct-11 18:58:05

thank you for your posts. They were both in bed tonight for 6pm - elder one having pushed younger one and she banged her head against the cupboard - to which I shouted. Anyway little one asleep by 6.10pm and older one not much later. So way too early and expect them up at 6am at latest tomorrow.

I have tried a 'quite spell' in their bedroom (they share) in the afternoon and one of them (mainly younger one) will muck about and then if they do sleep it means they can be much later going to bed, possibly 8.30 to 9pm if the sleep is too late. They used to go to bed at 7.30pm for 8 and I have got used to it being 6.30pm for 7pm but there is a price to pay for that if they are tired in the day. My DH used to be home reasonably regularly for 7pm and now it is often 8pm or later and TBH I don't want them up until 8pm if I am on my own - I am shattered by then.

The older one is taking the brunt of my bad moods - I get no time on my own with her apart from a couple of hours most saturday mornings. TBH I don't much like being with the 2 of them on my own - the squabbling and back and forth one to the other and never being able to focus just on one of them I find hard. In the mornings I am almost trying to ignore little one as I am just wanting a quite spell and clearly that is not fair to her - I am looking into whether i can find a group she can go to a couple of times a week to help both of us.

All not very satisfactory - i need a kick up the backside to sort myself out.

ellesabe Wed 19-Oct-11 19:10:46

One thing that struck me is that you are suffering all the sleepless weeknights so that your dh is well-slept for work in the morning. What you do every day is no less 'work' than what he does and I'm sure he would be able to cope with a couple of tired days once in a while. Does he know how you feel?

Cantnookian Wed 19-Oct-11 19:12:55

oh yes - I have said it many times over the last 2 yrs. He has done his share and we have only started the sleeping arrangements in the last few weeks as there is no sense in us both being shattered and his recent change of job means he cannot veg at work as he used to.

Cantnookian Wed 19-Oct-11 19:15:18

I am worried that I am getting to the point where it will bugger up my sleep permanently - i really struggle to get back off to sleep when woken and have taken to falling back to sleep with my ipod in my ear - luckily lots of great stuff from the world service and radio 4 but sometimes I wake without the children waking me.

boglach Wed 19-Oct-11 21:30:57

Hi cantnookian

I am a sahm but one of mine is at school. It will get easier but I know that is not much consolation now. I still find after school until my dh gets home hard, and that is only 3-4 hours. It is having both of them, they can bicker and my eldest is going through a tough phase as he has just started school and is quite grumpy and moody at home.

I know it has been said umpteen times and some level of cleanliness is essential but it will not matter if the housework slips a bit and you have beans on toast for tea some nights. The lack of sleep must be a killer, mine sleep well but I am still knackered!

Do you have anyone who can help? Take the kids for an hour a couple of afternoons so that you can nap?

In the morning I would do the bare essential jobs and then do something with your youngest that involves you resting as well. Do they like books? Will they play while you lie down and watch/chat. When my ds was a toddler he loved cars. When I was very tired I would lie on the sofa, whilst he played with his big box of dinky cars. I would even doze very lightly. He used to love running them up and down my arm, which was like getting a massage smile

I think if you are really struggling it is not unfair to get your dh to at least get up a couple of times through the week. My dh has always had a busy job, but he would get up if I was really tired. It is different now mine are older but when they were newborns and waking a lot, he would help in the night.

I do not believe any mother who says they never shout or lose their patience. We try our best but we are human. 2 and 3 year olds can be very trying

lovechoc Thu 20-Oct-11 11:01:24

Another SAHM here. I am sorry to hear you've been having a rough time. I've a 4.6yo and 15mo and although the eldest one has always slept through it's the opposite story with my youngest. Still waiting on him to eventually sleep through the night - last night was up every 1.5hrs feeding. Like you, I also feel like this sleep deprivation is going to have a detrimental effect on my wellbeing long-term. I just want one decent night's sleep, to know what it's like to rest fully. One day it will happen, and that's the only thing that is keeping me going. It cannot last like this forever. Be strong, and try and find other coping mechanisms during the day to get through it til your OH gets back in from work.

If I'm really struggling in those long days, esp in the afternoon, I take DC up to their bedroom and they both play, and I doze on the bed (not quite the same thing as having a proper nap but it's the next best thing). I do sometimes read them both a few books too.

I would recommend getting your DH to help out maybe just once during the week to begin with, he may find he's not as tired as he'd imagine if he helps you get them ready in a morning or evening. It's not fair on you.

And don't feel bad for shouting - I've done it too. I think most mums can be guilty of this. You are not alone!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Oct-11 13:10:41

They should nap in separate rooms... Then a slightly later bedtime so DH can help out and they also won't wake up quite so early in the morning. When they go to bed, turn in yourself rather than sticking to an adult schedule.

Klinda Thu 20-Oct-11 16:12:17

I sympathise! Being a SAHM is hard (esp when like me you were kind of forced into the decision by the high cost of childcare). Firstly I would say give yourself a break! You are being very hard on yourself and really I'm sure your kids are perfectly happy, every mum has moments when she gets a bit shouty.

My two are nearly 4 and 18 months and I have another on the way. I get myself through the tough times by reminding myself that this is not forever and no matter how bored or frustrated I get my kids are actually getting tons out of me being around so much and for every bad time there are plenty of great times.

I try to plan some fun stuff every week, mainly cos I go crazy in the house. Try and get out to toddler groups or swimming lessons or something to meet other parents as it makes all the difference to have people to hang out with, or try inviting your older child's friends and parents round to play?

Good luck!

Susemyoli Thu 20-Oct-11 20:42:33

I quite understand how you feel. It gets a bit boring and frustrating at times and your lack of sleep does not help. Try to introduce a routine afternoon nap. Both my girls (2 and 5 years old) are going for a nap in the afternoon and I join them! It really makes a difference to my energy level and I feel so much better and refreshed when I wake up. What it affects though it's the time when they go to bed...10 or 11 pm unlike other kids! But then my hubby gets to be with them in the evening and spend some time with the girls.

cherrysodalover Mon 24-Oct-11 06:17:07

We all have days like you describe and the tiredness is a killer.
I moved countries before my son was born but I have made myself getvout every day.this makes the difference.I get social contact every day and when my son was I'll recently it felt very diff being in all day.my first insightbinto how being a sahm could be really tough if every week was likecthat.
Can you find something tobgo tobwith other parents every day.it really helps break the day down.
My mum was tired and depressedca lot of my childhood but I still loved having her around and knew even if she lost it that she loved me so don't worry too much about that side of things.we all get shinty at times.

cherrysodalover Mon 24-Oct-11 06:18:26

I pad. Change to make sense any bits that don,t.

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