Does being a stay at home mum get easier?(21 Posts)
I have a nine month old baby girl and recently had to give up my full time job as I couldn't afford full time childcare and my employer couldn't offer a part time position. I was quietly devastated as I loved my job and felt valued there (til I became a mum at least!) but I knew it was for the best - I wasn't really happy about leaving my child with someone else to look after and I like her to have the security of having me there til she is old enough to go to the local pre-school. Admittedly I did feel as though a weight had been lifted knowing I wouldn't have to dump her off and dash to work shattered after a terrible night of teething.
However, I am someone who has worked all her life in the hubbub of a busy sales environment and has always had an aversion to housework, baking and anything remotely mumsy - even watching Jamie Oliver brings me out in a rash. So the adjustment to stay at home hood is proving to be challenging. Trying to keep her occupied is hard work - singing about the wheels on the bus only kills a few minutes as does feeding, changing and going for a walk. I feel so desperate for conversation I swear the postman thinks I fancy him as I open the door to greet him every day! I feel pathetically grateful when my mother visits (although not my mother in law - am not that desperate yet!) but all she wants to talk about is my daughter and she doesn't even pretend she's come to see me as well anymore! I feel sweet anticipation when Deal or No Deal comes on as I know hubbie will be through the door soon.
I do go to a mum's group once a week but if I am honest my shyness makes it difficult. Some weeks are good but there are weeks when I'm mostly sat on my own or hovering about trying to perch in on a conversation that I know will be surprise surprise about children. I feel exhausted with the effort of smiling and pretending to be interested in how Elliot's potty training is going. When I've had a bad week there I feel even more lonely. It doesn't help that my old friends have gradually drifted or moved away and not really been replaced so I feel very alone sometimes and question whether I'm likeable and whether I'm really cut out to be a mother.
Has anyone else gone through this and if so please tell me it gets easier!!
I think you need to find some more friends that you have more in common with...I went to a few groups before I found some ladies that I clicked with and had more to talk about than our children. Though I found it a great support to talk about the baby stuff too! Don't give up, it will feel easier if you can find some more adult conversation. Do you do an activities with your DC? That might be a different avenue to meet mums through...swimming or something like that, Good Luck! It will get easier! xxx
By the way, I love cooking and baking. (But hate housework). But I hate stay at home. I couldn't stand it during my maternity leave. It's like being back in school with the pettiness and cliques. I wasn't popular at school so it's no different.
It will get easier when you get used to it. If you believe it's the right thing to do for your family.
I felt very much like this, we had also moved overseas when DD was just a few weeks old. I felt so lonely, exhausted and I remember the feeling of hanging around on the edge of conversations at baby groups very well, awful!
It did get better though. I made one very good friend who had a DD the same age which helped greatly but I also started going to lots of structured groups which changed as DD got older, swimming, gym nippers, music, messy play. That kind of stuff. I found the structured groups much easier and DD loved them and gradually I started to make friends at them. I also tried to find a routine and make sure that it included doing things with DD that I enjoyed too.
I have to be honest and say that ultimately being a SAHM was not for me and I have gone back to work part time, DD is 4 and DS nearly 2 but I went back a year ago. They both go to a fab nursery which they love so I don't feel guilty at all. But the time I had alone with DD, not so much the first year because that was as you describe but from a year onwards, until DS was born, was really special. I hope it does get easier for you too.
Oh and I meant to add the one that really helped me was getting a regular break, we had no family as we were overseas but the local gym had a really good and cheap kids club so from around 14 months DD went there for a hour or two a couple of times a week whilst I went to a class and for a coffee. It was bliss. I know that not be something you can do here but if you have a way to get a regular break just for a short time- use it!!
Are there more activities/groups you could go to? When I was on maternity leave I went to groups almost every day otherwise I would have driven myself crazy, and its great for them to interact with other kids too. Maybe something that you sign up for a block of classes then you see the same group of people every time?
I was also lucky in that I did NCT classes and made some real friends that way, we see each other once or twice a week still.
Yes it does get easier. Do try other mother and baby groups (I'm a little shy too but some groups you find you click better) but also try and fit in some things which are just for you. When my first was a baby I used to sometimes go to art galleries and museums and some cinemas do mum and baby screenings (of films for grown ups). I had Radio 4 on pretty much all the time too. Adult conversation piped into my own home. Of course there is always MN for chat. I have a good friend who lives literally round the corner with DCs the same age as mine who I first met on MN.
I'm afraid I didn't find it got easier and went back to work full time . It was an enormous relief to realise that it was not the best thing for our family that I fretted away at home. My 2yr old and 5yr old are now very happy with the mixed care of mum/dad/a nanny/school/nursery- and I am sane again.
Agree with doing classes to help structure the day/week. Also play dates etc.
Agree with trying to get regular breaks yourself too - I have two mornings a week ( go to the gym and supermarket and run errands) and it helps keep me relatively sane...
Personally, though, if you love work, I would keep looking for a suitable/part-time job: try to find something that works in your situation.
Being a SAHM has its ups and downs, but it isn't for everyone.
I am shy too but I really found trying to go to groups during the week helped. Surestart had two groups a week locally that were only a pound per session and then I paid to go to another class.
In hindsight, I wish I had changed my budget and paid for another class too. It really makes a difference to get out of the house more.
I really sympathise with you.
When our first dc was born we were living in the UK (we are Italian) and I didn't know anyone there who had children and therefore had some "free" time during the day. The few people I knew and liked were working full time.
I tried some groups, but didn't enjoy them at all as I really didn't enjoy talking babies the whole time, or at least I didn't like to take this whole parenting lark so bloody seriously.
Things improved when a friend had a baby and we spent more time together, it was lovely.
Another thing that helped me was to send ds to nursery part time. Those hrs of freedom meant a lot to me.
Some very sound advice and so good to know it's not just me - thanks guys xxx
I do think the area you live in can make a difference though. We live in a market town, which is lovely, good for the children, great facilities etc, but a lot of the mothers are very cliquey, to the extent that other mothers (who weren't from this area) that I have met, have ended up persuading their DP/DHs to move again because they have been bored/lonely. I have visited friends who live in other towns about 2hrs away and the mothers in their groups have been really friendly and welcoming. I also agree with Franca about the mothers not having much of a sense of humour and only talking about babies, drives me nuts. DS1 is 4 now, but although I have DS2, 4 months, I will avoid these groups altogether this time. I really miss working too.
I hated it! it never got easier! I tried ALL the groups in the area! I'm a better mum when I'm doing my own thing with work etc and DCs are happier when I am and it works for us.
For me the value of working is more than just making a profit after childcare costs, there's also NI and pension contributions, keeping your CV up to date, and of course our family's happiness
It's just not for everyone! I feel I am a better role model and a more fun mum when I am working and happy
I agree about the radio. I think when you have a small baby it is really hard and even at the mums groups you can not talk to anyone. I only really think I clicked with other mums when DS started school. I liked rhymetime in the library, depending on the size of the group you could say you were going for a coffee and did anyone else want to come.
Or try and find parttime work that means you get the best of both worlds.
Can you fill your time somehow?
Maybe join a baby/ parents walking/ jogging class in park, you can excercise and meet people at the same time
Once you know one or two people it's easier as they can introduce you to others and you can arrange to meet up outside of classes
Are there museums/ places of interest near you thy you have wanted to visit? Go now while you are free
I think it helps to remember that you can be whatever kind of mum you want to be. You don't have to like Jamie Oliver or keep a pristine house. I myself have never baked or gone to baby yoga or toddler groups. It wasn't really the kind of person I was before having DS and I didn't find myself wanting to radically change afterward.
The turning point for me in my ML was realising that actually this was fantastic, it was like being on a long holiday and I could do whatever I wanted, I just had to have DS along for the ride. Nine months is a great age! I used to go to museums, I'd hop on a bus and go across town to where I could take long walks, I'd meet friends for coffee. I spent a lot of time at home doing random projects (another big time Radio 4 listener!)
I gave DS a lot of attention and cuddles and made sure he was happy but it was sort of like I just got on with things and kept him with me, rather than making him the sole focus of my day. I was very lucky though in that he was happy to amuse himself or just chill out watching me clean or bop along to some music.
So I guess I suggest thinking less about what you can do with DD and more about what do you want to do, that you can bring DD along?
Another friend of mine went to a knitting group every week, it wasn't specifically for mums but no one there minded that she brought her son. Is there anything like that you might enjoy, if it meant a chance to socialise and meet new people?
How about setting up and running a group as well as attending them? Identify a time in the week where there doesn't seem to be much on locally (often a Monday morning) and see if you can set something up - maybe a messyplay session within a soft play centre, or another playgroup but where people bring their own toys etc. A group of my friends who weren't working did that, they clubbed together to pay for the hire of a hall once a week and brought a few toys along each. Also, is your local pre-school / nursery state or private? Ours is private, run by a volunteer committee of parents (though the staff are properly employed). You could volunteer to be on the committee of the one your DD will go to in the future - if your background is relevant, maybe do the accounts or fees or something - they'd be v grateful and you could do it from home.
Jac1978: I really empathise with you, there can be a huge pressure to be a constantly happy, perfect mother but in reality it can be very hard work, lonely and (whispers it) a wee bit boring.
I'm on ML at the moment and am pretty sure being a SAHM isn't for me so will be going back to work. Here's a few things I've found have helped make things a bit easier:
- a few people above have suggested organised classes, I'm a fan of these too, you don't have to make more than a couple of minutes chat with other mums unless you want to but baby gets some fun entertainment. Have a look online and in local baby related shops for cards and posters;
- check out childrens (sure start) centres. If you don't like the one nearest to you try one a bit further away. I've found the mums really down to earth and friendly at my local one and theres always stuff for baby to do. They also run free classes. Not all centres are great though so try as many as you can.
- ignore/avoid the mums who try oneupmanship or are just that bit too perky IYSWIM I prefer the ones who like to have a good moan and are planning their next night out (whilst smothering baby with cuddles and kisses
- try to get a break and time to yourself if you can. I find a night out or a lunch with friends who don't have children really refreshing as it makes me take an interest in something else.
- if you're lucky enough to have a chilled baby like dreamingbohemian definitely do stuff you enjoy and tag baby along. (Dreamingbohemian: oh how I wish I could do that!)
Personally I love being a SAHM
now but it was tough to begin with! I persevered at the baby groups, and arranged to meet mums outside of the groups. I'm naturally pretty shy, but just mentioned once or twice that I had to pop into town the following day so if they had nothing planned would they like to join me for a brew? I found some mums who were really not people who I would choose as friends, but one or 2 who are now as close to me as my pre-baby friends! At those groups it's hard to be yourself, socialising away from them is loads easier IMO.
I tried to describe it to DH once, and he put it very well : they are like work colleagues. Some you wouldn't have anything to do with outside work, but are pleasant enough with during office hours. Some you actually want to spend time with and that sums it up perfectly - my 'job' is raising our son, other mums are my colleagues. The more groups you attend, and the more mums you speak to, you will find people you really like.
I've also found that I'm much more domestic than I was although that's been a gradual change. I love to bake with DS, and I now appreciate a tidy house after it being a mess of toys all day
Being a sahm can be crap
Long hours on your own, spending time with ppl you don't really know
It can very lonely
How I felt with it was to make sure I got me a life in the evening.
Take a course
Date night with dh if you can get a babysitter
Make sure you keep a life for yourself
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