So Depressed. I am a terrible mother. Please help me change?(43 Posts)
I am a quiet regular but have namechanged for this as I am so ashamed to find myself writing this post. From the outside, my real life friends probably wouldn't guess this is me as I seem to keep it together in public but fall apart at home.
I am a SAHM and have 3 dcs (4.4y, 2.2y & 5mo) and am really struggling. We have had a terrible time recently and I know that I am stressed to the hilt and I know that I am taking it out on the children but at the same time I can't seem to stop. DD (the oldest) used to be very well-behaved but since DS1 has turned 2 and become more verbal and they have really started playing together her behaviour has changed. DS1 is not very mature for his age and can't really communicate in sentences yet (although he has lots of words) so DD seems to be 'dumbing down' to his level - lots of silly baby talk, and running around screeching which of course DS1 finds hilarious and so it goes on. I know she is only 4 and that I am expecting too much from her (DH has told me I am too hard on her too) but i hear myself constantly saying 'don't do that..', 'don't do this...' or worse 'why are you being such an idiot?', or even worse still 'shut up - I don't want to listen to you anymore '.
I hate myself and don't want to be the shouty screechy Mum. I am terrified that my daughter hates me and will grow up to be distant and removed from me. I love her so much and really hate the way I am.
Please Mumsnetters can you help me cope better. Other than counting to ten before speaking what else can I try to restrain my damaging comments? I am in tears writing this. Admitting my behaviour to myself by writing this just makes it seem so much worse than I had thought. I really think my kids would be better off without me right now . DH is a much better parent. He is so patient but isn't around very much as he works a lot. I really do love my kids and they deserve better than me for a Mum.
Any help gratefully received. I'll try anything. Thanks.
Have you seen your GP?
Don't buy into the stigma of depression medication, if you need help then get it.
Also you say you want to stop, then try stopping.
I know thats incredibly simplisitic, but its what I do, hold your tongue ... take a step back, go to the kitchen,take a few breaths then walk back into the room with a huge smile.
I was struggling like you when my eldest was about 4 and I had 3 .... I decided it would END. I didn't want my kids to have bad memories of me shouting
Hi Carrots. Everyday I wake up and say 'today will be different. It stops now' and within hours I am back to form. I know I am weak-willed and easily triggered. I haven't seen a GP as I live overseas. There are no GPs here and I do not speak the local language. I am very isolated which I think is part of the problem. But thanks for your reply. I will of course keep on trying to stop.
Can you afford a mother's help, at least part time?
I have no way of getting a break. I am 'working' 24/7. Again I know that this part of the problem but there is no way round it at the moment. I just need help in the heat of the moment to gain some perspectibe and hold my tongue. It's really tough.
Please don't be so hard on yourself. You are not a terrible parent. We've all been there! Three under five, my goodness that would try anyone. It must be so draining and difficult. You're feeding them, keeping them clean and safe and you need to give yourself more credit for that. Do you have a partner who can help a bit more, or family nearby?
X-posts. I think you need to try and be more kind to yourself, first and foremost. Feeling like you are doing a good job, that you are doing your best and looking at all you've managed can make you feel more in control and positive. I think that can help you stay in control a bit longer with the kids rather than losing it.
I am naturally a shouty, and patronising mother. I don't know why, but like you there have been times when I have put my children down 'youre an idiot'. I have to make a conscious effort when stressed not to be this way.
It can be controlled, and that control gets easier as it becomes more natural not to scream and shout. On the occasions I catch myself doing it, I apologize. Either at the time or afterward. My dc are young,i want them to know that when I behave that way I am wrong, so I say I'm sorry, and I explain what I did wrong ( I'm sorry dc, I should never have shouted at you like that, its jot okay to shout at people, and I was wrong) I never ever use the word but, and follow it with blame- I was wrong, but you did xyz and it upset me', because I don't think that they or anyobes actions are responsible for my behavior.
I'm not the best mum out there, but I'm trying my best, and I think, that although sometimes I scream and shout, I am addressing that and looking to change which in itself let's me know that I am a good mother.
Good luck, go easy on yourself, and remember, its easy for your dh to have more patience when he's away so much- the days I work and only see dc for 1-2 hours, I'm a great mum, patient and calm even in tantrums, its so nice to see them after being away its easier, and when your there all day everyday with dc it can start to feel claustrophobic. Again your not a bad mother- you're a good mother, but not perfect- nobody is.
Can't afford Mother's help/cleaner etc. . I use the weekends when DH is here to catch up on housework/shopping that I haven't had time to do during the week. Iknow there's no magic solution. i need to work on my behaviour. I will try to leave the room if it gets too much. That's a good tip. Thanks.
I was in a very similar situation with 3 under 3's. Ds1 'dumbed' down to ds2's level, everything revolved around ds3's sleep routine and I never gave myself a break because I convinced myself I just couldn't. Getting Ds1 to nursery was more of a headache than it was worth, getting ds2 to pre-school was even harder.
Things changed when I lowered my standards (housework and kids behaviour) and started going out on my own regularly - I now go out to exercise 3 times a week. I also started talking things through with my dc's - I explained why I was tired/cross to them in simple words and worked though my frustration that way. e.g I know you're cross because ds2 keeps grabbing your toys but if you scream at him then it won't make him give it back. If you scream he will copy you, then you will all be screaming and I won't know why!
It was a really, really tough year - put yourself first a little bit every week and you will feel better.
Thanks mama. I don't actually ever think about what I have achieved. I just seem to lie in bed at night thunking about how I failed again that day, so I will try this.
PregnantPause You made a good point. I do apologise but I do use the 'but you made me...etc.'. That is an excellent point I had not thougth of.
I am so glad I posted now because I think when you are too close to a situation, you cannot analyse it properly. As my name suggests, I just feel like I am drowning, but these are good tips I will definitley try.
Thanks NaturalBaby. I would love to go out by myself sometimes but it just can't happen at the moment. Not least because I am still bf DS2, but also because there is noone to leave the kids with but in a year or two, this should change (fingers crossed!). DD will start school next year at least.
I ebf for 7months and could only go out when dh was home and ds3 was fast asleep. "it just can't happen at the moment" was what went through my mind all the time and it made me feel even more trapped and frustrated. Can you go out in the evening when your DH is home?
Can you really carry on like this for another year or two?! I started making a real effort when ds3 was 8months and ds2's behaviour has really suffered.
Dh doesn't get home from work until 8-8.30pm and by then I am exhausted. I just fall into bed. I could maybe go out on the weekend, even if ds2 had to come with me, but I don't feel comfortable saying to DH that I am off out after the long week he has put in at work. We usually have one family day out at the weekend which helps a bit as there are 2 of us to oversee the kids and then the 2nd day I need for housework, ironing/shopping etc.
Also, thinking about it, part of me would feel even more of a failure if I had to tell DH I needed time out on my own. I should be able to do this. I am trying so hard to relax and lower my expectations. i will keep trying and will get there I am sure.
that's hard, mine gets home at 6 and I'd be hopping around peering out the windows from around 5!
I had the Hv out for a chat a couple of times, and she got me an appointment with a lovely GP. Talking really helped. I make sure I have a sit down with DH at least once a week to go over things properly and make bit of a plan for the week.
We've found it works better to split up on the weekends for at least 1/2 a day - the dc's get a turn to have 1:1 time and the house is much quieter! I took ds2 swimming for the first time in ages and he was like a different child because he was so happy, then they all played together much better.
I had a couple of sessions with a therapist who told me off (in a friendly way) about using words like 'should' to set myself up for failure. She said 'try', you can try this or that but it doesn't matter if you don't do it. If you can break out of the negative way of thinking then you'll feel much better to start with.
You can't do it all by yourself all day every day.
Wha?! You are in no way a failure for needing time out from looking after 3 under 5s.
You are a human, yes? Not an actual robot? You need a break.
Please don't be so hard on yourself. Yes you state that you are treating you children in a less than an ideal manner BUT you realise that you are doing it and you want to do better.
My suggestion would be to start trying to say nice things to your children. You will find you still make the inappropriate comments but you can even things up a bit. It will feel artificial at first but the children won't realise that, and as time goes on it will become more and more natural.
Try: "I love you." "Well done for eating up your dinner." "It was nice of you to play with your brother." "You look very smart in those clothes." "Haven't you got a lovely smile." "You're the best big sister ever."
There are no end to the possibilities.
The other thing you _must _do is to apologise if you have really said something you shouldn't. If you say "You're such an idiot" to your child, then say "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have called you an idiot. Can you forgive me?" You are teaching your children a valuable lesson here: how to admit to making a mistake and apologise.
From the tone of your posts you are having a tough time right now. Can you get any help or support at all?
Try when ur angry to drink some cool water,or wash your face it can help.as well some deep breaths,go to sit in another room.it should get easier as you lose the habit to automatically shout
On top of the excellent advice offered above re a break/help etc, in the immediate if you feel like shouting/losing it try doing the opposite and joining in with the kids??
You might feel like a complete idiot but getting down to their level, running round
quite literally in a circle whilst babbling or singing can a) stop them dead
b) make them think you're cool/mad
c) is more enjoyable than shouting
Also trying age appropriate things and asking the other one to "help" out can work.
Thanks everyone. This is really good advice (the apologising, splitting child care at the w/e, not saying 'should', giving compliments etc.). I think I will stick a list to the fridge!
I'm not trying to be difficult and avoid advice when given but there really is no support right now due to where we live/language difficulties etc. I realise I may also be a bit depressed too. Things have been really tough the last year or so. I do appreciate all your lovely encouraging posts. It's actually a bit of an eye-opener that others think I might need a break too!
I am off to bed now (different time zone). I have stayed up far too late mumsnetting!
Will check in tomorrow
or more likely in the wee small hours whilst feeding ds2!
Also, thinking about it, part of me would feel even more of a failure if I had to tell DH I needed time out on my own.
I think you really need some time on your own - even if it's just for a coffee or to go shopping. There's nothing wrong in needing this and you are NOT a failure if you tell your DH this.
Having time to yourself helps you to catch your breath, and also helps your DH see how tough it is for you being a SAHM to 3 under 5s as he will be doing childcare on his own for a bit.
Good luck, and remember to cut yourself some slack. You are doing a great job!
Drowning you have this thread running now so use it. If you have a good day tell us and we will cheer, if you have a bad day tell us and we will encourage and offer advice and support. It's a hard slog with three children. My DH says 'never have more children than you have hands'! A silly saying but it sums up the difficulties.
The other thing is I promise it will get easier when they're older. At 6 they're much more capable of entertaining themselves, at 8 they'll be glued to a computer/book/phone, at 13 they won't leave their room. Accept that you are in a genuinely difficult time of life and that, while you will do your best, you aren't perfect.
My DH is one of four. MIL says she doesn't remember much of the 70s; FIL says there was a lot of shouting. All you can do is give it your best. xxx
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