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I'm a rubbish mum - how to be better?

(20 Posts)
Screamer Wed 20-Feb-13 10:05:46

I am a rubbish mum. I have DS1 age 2.5 and DS2 aged 2 months. DS1 is going through a challenging toddler phase.....hitting his new baby brother, refusing to get dressed, shouting, having tantrums, refusing to eat. DS2 is EBF and not sleeping very well.

I just don't know how to cope with them. I end up screaming at DS1 or crying. I am constantly telling him to leave his baby brother alone (think repeating the same thing 1,000 times in a day). It sounds awful but I just don't have the patience or enthusiasm to deal with both of them.

I have about 30 minutes to myself during the day between 8.30pm-9pm when normally DS2 is in bed (although not always) and I can relax before going to bed myself (I'll be up again at around 11pm-12am for feed). I must be a selfish person as I would kill for more time to myself. I just want to do my own thing.

DH bathes the kids and cooks every night. He does play with DS1 but any spare minute he has he runs to the laptop to surf the Internet or play games rather than his first action being to play/look after kids like I have to.

I just don't have the energy to be a 'good' parent. I do jigsaws and read with DS1 but any quality time is always ruined by DS2 crying. I feel like I'm mourning for DS1 who has turned so naughty since baby came along and I just can't pay him the same attention as I'm always breastfeeding baby or jiggling him to try and stop him crying.

I live abroad so no family support at all. DS1 is in nursery 4 days a week and I still can't cope.

Sorry this is all garbled.....I think I need to do a parenting class or something as I feel like a rubbish, shouty mum. I have zero patience and I just hate the mum that I am. Every morning when I'm begging DS1 to do his teeth and get dressed and it ends up with me wrestling him into clothes a little bit of me dies sad

whattodoo Wed 20-Feb-13 10:11:53

You don't sound like a rubbish mum to me. Just a mum with a heck of a lot on her plate and very little support.

Are there any baby groups for you to visit while DS1 is at nursery? Sometimes just getting out of the house might help lift your spirits.

Do you do anything with both children together, eg put them on a seesaw or play a tickling game or similar? Maybe it would help the eldest see his brother as a potential playmate rather than a baby who takes his mum's attention.

Can you talk to your DH about how you need him to help more?

SquidgersMummy Wed 20-Feb-13 10:27:30

Surely if your new baby is just 2 mths it's still all new to everyone - and you're knackered and hormonal - and everyone is still adjusting - and your DP needs a slight boot up the arse. Re getting dressed can you use a stopwatch as a game to see how fast he can do it? Or have a treat? Most parenting courses are all about rewards and just catching moments when kids are bring good and really praising them to get them feeling good and into getting mummys praise: if you think about it we always tell them to stop doing stuff but not when theyre being good or what we want them to do. If they're quiet and good we tend to just get on with jobs.
Also can you somehow engineer some special time just you and ds1...sounds like the two of you don't get any nice time together. He's prob just trying to get your attention...but hey, what can you do, EBF is so good for baby but takes time. Have you got a sling? You are doing so well. Especially abroad with no help. Are there toddler and baby groups there? I remember those early weeks with my dd - there's no time for yourself but it does come back. In 4/5 months I bet they'll be - sort of - playing together. HUGS. Let us know how it's going. We once lived abroad. Its hard. xx

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 20-Feb-13 10:30:43

You don't sound like a rubbish mum to me either. When mine were that age, my aim was just to get through the day having fed and cared for them and kept them safe.

With your DS1, I would suggest reading 1-2-3 Magic, which gives you a strategy to deal with challenging behaviour and hip it in the bud before your frustration levels build to the point where you lose your temper.

bring8sunshine Wed 20-Feb-13 10:45:34

I want to say that I understand, two children 15 months apart and abroad. It was bittersweet, the best of times and the worst of times. I look at the photos now and wish I could have done things better.

Don't be hard on yourself. My standards for most things dropped once the second came along. Give Dad a kick up the backside - you need all the support you can get and that is him. Be specific and tell him what help you need. I don't think my husband had a clue about how desperate I was.

I second getting out of the house though didn't much like the expat toddler groups.

Can dad help in the morning and get Ds1 dressed and ready? My husband was never home in the evenings but did help in the mornings.

I will make a comment about the EBF because that is also something I did but with the first child. It was bloomin hard and in the end very painful as there was not enough milk to sustain just EBF. I wish I had stopped a lot earlier than I did and removed one major source of stress. I don't want to turn this into a breastfeeding debate because you don't need that but if I had my time again I wouldn't have pursued it as long as I did.

ScillyCow Wed 20-Feb-13 10:47:01

123 magic worked wonders for my family.

Hope you feel better soon, OP.

theri Wed 20-Feb-13 11:13:56

you don't sound like a rubbish mum, just a little frazzled. Get ds1 involved in doing things with/for ds2, like fetching nappies or playing peeka boo, make even the simplest task into a game. Like singing whilst getting dressed, here we go round the mulberry bush used to last for hours in this house but kept everyone sane and hardly ever late. As for snatching time for your self, there is nothing wrong with sticking on a dvd and letting ds1 entertain himself whilst ds2 naps and you get to put your feet up, have a coffee/tea and relax. In our house the kids were DH's responsibility in the evening unless it was about feeding and my responsibility first thing. Even now at 7,5 and 3 it works but unless you discuss it with DH nothing will change on that front

Remember your not superwoman, you need to look after yourself too. You'll find if you do even the most naughty behaviour will just produce a sigh

Vasilisa96 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:54:09

Dear OP, Take it easy and don't be so hard on yourself. Its never easy having two little ones (mine are 19 months apart) and at times, it get a bit much. If you feel the need for 'me time' tell DP to take over from you when he's around, and do something you like to. Go for a walk, take a trip into town, take one of the kids if you like, or take none at all! Just take the chance and grab it. DP needs to be TOLD that you need 'me' time- my own DH has often been clueless about my own needs until I have had a breakdown... Somehow, the men feel we're able to work magic, being Mums. Thry should be reminded (and I often do it nowadays) that it took the two of us to make the kids. So its a JOINT responsibility!! Have you got friends who can listen, without offering advice, and help without making you feel ingratiated!!? if so, run to them and give them a hug, and have a cup of coffee whilst you're there! Hugs.

Writergirl Wed 20-Feb-13 13:06:29

Totally agree with other posters.

I have completely been there myself, with a DS 4.5 and a DS 2.5 now.
Also had the good intentions followed later by shouting/crying meltdown by all parties! Plus, the same casual hitting from older DS on little DS, and trying to get through that.

Also live abroad with no family and every time we need help, even for a couple of hours, we have to pay someone.

I really recommend a book called "How to Talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk" - for me it give me tools as I really couldn't see a way through asking DS to do something over and over and over again with no response, as well as other things like tantrums, saying no, the whole thing.

The book opened up loads of possibilities for me as a parent and I'm now going on a course on it.

In turn I'm also going to look at 123!

One of the things I try to keep in mind is that every day is a new day, with a chance for a new start, and you're not going to mess up your kids or your relationship with them overnight, especially if you're coming from a place of love and consideration, which you obviously are.

As others said, try and get some time off, which you obviously really need.

Good luck, and don't get discouraged as you'll feel so great when you come through this phase and turn it around :-)

NaturalBaby Wed 20-Feb-13 13:11:37

The only way I coped with having a baby and toddler in the house was the fact that they all had a long afternoon sleep , and I would join them!

Just try and spend a few minutes with ds1 when baby is asleep giving him undivided attention, doing what ever he wants. Let him know that this is his special time to be with you. My dc's behaviour is much better when I do that.
Make sure you're all eating well - when I look back on my very grumpy, shouty moments it's when I'm really hungry or have eaten too much junk food.

misscph1973 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:22:30

You are not a rubbish mum, but your oldest child is going through a phase of sibling rivalry/jealousy and that is wearing you down. He will do anything to get your attention, even negative attention, which for a child his age is better than no attention.

I remember it so clearly with mine, it was horrible, I was so tried and didn't enjoy it much. I felt I was a service machine and that all I did was feed, change nappies and clean. I honestly don't remember any quality time with either of the kids at that stage. And my DH hardly helped at all, he just complained about the service level!

It will get better - your oldest will get over the shock of no longer being an only child and your youngest will get more independent. They will start to enjoy each others company.

At this stage, just survive and prioritise - ie. only do the absolute minimum of house work and get all the down time for yourself that you can possibly get.

Best of luck!

Screamer Wed 20-Feb-13 15:13:23

Thank you - its good to know I'm not alone in struggling! I know I need to be more patient and not get as angry with DS1 as I am doing at the moment. It doesn't help that DH is impatient with him too and DS1 seems to have inherited both of our impatient/stubborn/independent streaks.

Will have a look at the 123 book.

perceptionreality Wed 20-Feb-13 15:22:34

Poor you - of course you're not a rubbish mum, you have a young baby and a challenging toddler. My dd is 3. Some days I've been reduced to tears by her tantrums - she is very strong willed, will not listen to my explantions of why she can't do something and just screams her head off. At the moment I am afraid to take her anywhere because she has a tantrum and everyone stares and I can't get her back in the car - I am telling myself it's a phase she will come out of. At nursery she's fine apparently!

Just wanted to express that I totally understand that feeling of having almost zero time to yourself. We all do need this to keep sane!

Margie32 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:47:49

Screamer I am in exactly the same position as you - my DS1 is 25 months, my DS2 is 10 weeks and we live abroad. It is hard. Like you I really miss my time with DS1 and I know that he misses me too, as often he cries for me when DH is dressing him or putting him in the bath. But of course that's when I'm bfing DS2 so can't be with DS1. Have you tried expressing milk so that your DH could feed DS2 while you're with DS1? As others have suggested, I get DS1 to help me change DS2's nappies and bath him and then really praise him for it. Sometimes when I'm feeding DS2 I put on DS1's Peppa Pig or Pingu DVDs for him and comment on them with him - that way I feel like I'm interacting with DS1 without being able to get down on the floor and play with his cars with him. It also stops him trashing the house while I'm pinned to the sofa! I have got a long list of things I need/want to do, and I try to cross one thing off everyday, even if it's just posting a letter. Being able to cross something off makes me feel like I've achieved something that day.

Like you, I am exhausted from DS2's night feeds and it's therefore hard to drum up enthusiasm for anything much. You are NOT a rubbish parent, the fact that you've written on here asking for help shows how much you care. Everyday I remind myself that this stage is not forever. Take care, big hug.

Chottie Wed 20-Feb-13 15:53:01

Just sending you a hug { } I know it is un MN, but I don't care you sound a really caring, loving mum. Having 2 little ones, so close together with no family to help and living abroad sounds really tough.

It will get easier smile

Screamer Thu 21-Feb-13 14:17:19

Thank you! I need to make a concerted effort to be more patient and to lower my housework/general life standards I think.

You're right, I am exhausted - DS2 waking at least 3 times a night to feed and DS1 (once a perfect sleeper) has been waking countless times in the night since baby arrived and wanting to come into our bed for a cuddle.

It seems so sad but I am wishing the months away and just wanting DS2 to be about 12 months old when things should (hopefully) be better.

bunchofposy Thu 21-Feb-13 19:13:09

You aren't alone! I only have one (so far) and I often feel like a rubbish mum. I am always trying to catch five minutes for myself and I can be quite impatient too. A lot of it is being tired, and at the moment you must be exhausted.

If it's any hope for you, my DD is almost 3 and is starting to get a lot easier now - I actually found 2.5 quite a tough age, mine seemed to be at her most stroppy yet then.

Go easy on yourself. Lowering housework standards sounds like a good start!

Nevercan Thu 21-Feb-13 19:27:47

I am much better when my caffeine level is high too! Probably not a healthy option but helped me in the short term with sleep deprivation and improved my patience no end. I try to drink tea, coffee, coke etc. when I am getting grumpy through tiredness

Snazzynewyear Thu 21-Feb-13 19:36:12

I can see your DH is cooking and stuff but I think there is more he could do. Could he jiggle DS2 to settle him while on computer? DS2 at that age will just be entranced by pretty lights etc so maybe he could do that while still getting some computer time (not saying this is an entitlement, just thinking of what might be most persuasive) and you could focus on DS1 (or yourself...) It sounds like even with his dad playing with him, DS1 is aware that he's not getting as much of your time - it might be worth trying to switch around a bit so it's not always you dealing with DS2 and your husband trying to distract DS1.

ChunkyChicken Sat 23-Feb-13 09:42:16

I've just seen your thread. My DD is now 2.10yo & DS 14+6wo. A couple of weeks back I could have written an almost word for word post. However, by realising I can't do it all, getting DH on board & making sure DD gets some 'quiet time', where we play a game, do a puzzle etc, I feel like things are improving (despite DS actually sleeping less lately!! shock) and I'm not failing. I felt like nobody was getting my best, everything was missing out on something they needed. The house looks like a tornado has swept it but I'm happier at least!! Hopefully you'll feel the same in a couple of wks.

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