Anyone else hate motherhood?(125 Posts)
DS is now 10 months and I've struggled from the start. Practically I manage fine, DS is the best behaved, good-natured baby in the world. He sleeps all night and always has. I have no baby-related reason to find it tough, I just don't enjoy it. If I never have to change another nappy in my life it will be too soon! After 10 minutes of sing-songing or reading a book with him I'm bored. I resent him because he takes up ALL my time and I can't do anything else except look after him. The thought that I'll never have a proper relaxed lie-in or holiday for the next 16 years or so fills me with horror. Oh, and I hate going to Mother and Baby groups because I find the baby conversation dull and irritating.
Yet, I can't talk about this to anyone except my husband because it's socially unacceptable to say you don't like being a mum. People even ask "so are you enjoying motherhood?" And I try to give some non-committal answer. I don't have the guts to just say "no" and see what they say! Don't get me wrong, I adore my little boy and he was very much longed-for, but now he's here I regret the decision to have children.
And if you don't like reading this, please don't bother responding. I'm looking for support and people who feel the same. I don't need to hear sanctimonious twaddle about how lucky I am to have had a child, many people aren't so lucky and he didn't ask to be born so it's not his fault etc etc. I know all that. I'm desperately miserable and I feel very alone and I hate myself for not being happy and being able to just enjoy and be grateful for my gorgeous little boy.
I think it would help to get out and meet other mums. Even if you don't consider them your proper friends yet, the drudgery is halved when you find someone else to laugh about it with. There will be others who also hate the baby chat, you just have to get to know them.
Lie-ins - dh and I have had one day each every weekend for the past 6 years. Nothing is more sacred in our relationship.
Gardening - you can do this but the weather hasn't been right yet. Spring is just around the corner! *
Decorating - harder
Reading - lie on floor with book, let baby crawl on top of you. Fun for all. Buy lots of children's books, the best ones you can get your hands on, they're great. I actually love adult books less now. Still, around age 1 I introduced 'you read your book and I will read mine' during restless bedtime.
* I stole this sentiment from a book my Dd has about Frog and Toad. Children's books are fab.
You have a partner so you don't have to be in sole charge of your baby 24/7. Send your child and its father out together for the day and have a nap, read a book, prepare the garden for spring.
It sounds like you're trying to do it all yourself and VERY few women enjoy that.
Thanks Earnest..love the link!! Me to a tee!!
I wasn't going to reply but i really can relate to your post. I had 2 dc when i was very young. I hated it. I couldn't talk to anyone about it as i knew they would tell me it was because i was young.
I went back to work when the youngest was 18 months old as i needed the money. I liked the time away from the dc but hated actual work, so i really relate to you in that respect.
It got easier as they got older. They are almost 24 & 21 now. I have a fantastic relationship with them both. Ds24 particularly. I was very strict with them but it did them no harm& have turned out to be happy & successful adults.
I went on to have 3 more dc in my late 20's & 30's. Parenting these 3dc is a totally different experience. In many respects i did a much better job with my older dc.
Stop beating yourself up. I think there are lots of mums out there who feel just like you do but are scared to admit it or presume they are depressed and on anti depressents.
Finally i really feel if people knew exactly how exhausting, isolating & draining parenting is alot less people would have dc. There is so much hype around parents, babies & so called'having it all'. All over MN are posts about sahm vs wohm, relationship struggles, exhausted Mums&the reality of being a parent.
Your not so different...You just voiced what many feel.
OP don't build a profile of yourself as someone who has something wrong with them and can't enjoy life. I have long-term depression and anxiety too, and it is a millstone for sure, but you CAN be happy. You just haven't found what makes you happy.
Not having enjoyed any of the jobs you have had in the past doesn't mean you can't love or get fulfilment from work, just that you haven't yet. Most jobs, let's face it, are excruciatingly mind-numbing.
Not enjoying being cooped up with a small baby when your friends don't have children and you don't get any breaks - doesn't make you an unnatural mother or mean that you can't love or get fulfilment from motherhood, just that so far your experience of it has been a grind, and motherhood isn't enough for you - it isn't for most people. I am an early years teacher and I adore small children. But when I was at home with my own babies full-time there were times when I would rather have had my nipples removed with a blunt spoon than read the same fucking Thomas the Tank Engine story AGAIN.
It gets better! As they get more independent you will feel less suffocated. And they are much better company once they are talking. In the meantime, think about what makes you feel fired up and excited, and how can you take practical steps towards getting more of it.
Oh & I've never been to a mother & toddler group! I paid for them all to go to playgroup! Im the opposite to alot of people who've posted. I love the baby stage!
My younger dc are all between 4 &11 at the moment. If i had the money i would pay someone to care for them from after school until bedtime, probably 5or6 days a week. I have a Dp but he works rotating shifts so it means 1 lie in a month. Evenings very often on my own with dc.
I have no social life as i don't have anyone to babysit the dc so i appreciate what you mean by the restrictions having dc put on you!
Nursery? Or a mother's help? Sharing the responsibility with other people helps so much. It also helps you see your child through others' eyes and it is reassuring to see that you've done a good job. Because you have. Our 16 month old has had people helping out since I went back to work when he was 5.5 months. And it has been great for everyone. I could never do this full time - feels like drowning - but time away makes me work harder at the time we do have together. No longer an endless slog.
When the walls really close in on us, we go out. But not into nappy valley. Back into the land of the living. Museums. Lunch dates in nice restaurants, not child-only places.
You don't have to be stuck. Maybe try to see motherhood as life expanding rather than limiting. Use your babe as an excuse to get out there.
It gets better.
I understand, OP. I often have felt like you. Babies are pretty dull, and toddlers are just a bloody great slog. For us, things started to become amazing at 3.
Now my eldest is 6 and a nicer person you could not know. Like others, I wished the time away when he was small and difficult but now, I love and admire him so much, beyond any measure of reasonableness (!) that I almost grieve for each passing day. I want time to stand still. Knowing how great it can be has given me real perspective in dealing with my 2 year old who can be a total pain in the arse. Just like his older brother was! Hang on. I promise you it will be worth it. And thanks for posting. It has helped me to know that others have felt and do feel the same.
OP - I feel for you. I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing normal women say normal things like babycare is dull and tiring and are told they need a doctor.
Just because PND can include these feelings doesn't mean you are mentally ill. Where in history are the great paeons of praise to the majestic human rite of passage that is nappy changing and wiping vomit? Funny, all those epic stories seem to have been usurped by stories of romance, epic achievement and stuff.
Cheer up - some bits of motherhood suit some people some of the time. Your time will come. No one regrets it long term.
Try and get shot of the babe for a bit so you can find something to keep you going through this difficult patch.
Ha ha Corygirl I'm sick to the back teeth of hearing normal women say normal things like babycare is dull and tiring and are told they need a doctor.
Well done my dear. Just try and get a break (correction : get a break) to do something sane once a day for an hour.
Will keep you going through the dirge - it does end, it really does.
There is nothing wrong or unusual in your feelings - the modern role of full time mother, often isolated a lot of the time, is a role which has only been recently invented, and has no relation to how humans evolved to thrive and survive.
Humans evolved (and lived for most of our time on this planet) in tribes, where women would have kept 'working' ie. collecting food etc from soon after the baby was born - and they would never have been alone or solely responsible for a small child.
I really recommend a great book - The world until yesterday by Jared Diamond - he writes about the way the last few tribal cultures live and what that tells us about how we actually evolved and what we are really designed for...
He talks about how on average a woman had up to 15 people nearby to take the child for a short time / hold while she sleeps or works or does whatever!
This idea of focusing on 'looking after a baby' is a complete invention of modern culture - of course it's lonely - it's also unique to western life where people work long hours -
I also think there is nothing wrong in not enjoying work! You just haven't found what moves you and makes you feel alive yet - but of course it's more enjoyable to watch films, decorate , lie in the sun -
I wonder if you can sit down and without feeling miserable and angry about your feelings, look very clearly at what you don't like about the day to day role you are carrying out and see if you can be a mother in a different way? Could you head off travelling with the baby? Can you afford childcare even if you don't work?
Could you get some shifts in a cafe that just covered childcare so you got to talk to others, daydream a little and be free from your child for a while? Could you see the baby as just an excuse to meet new people and be out and about?
Detach from the 'ideal' of what being a mother means and work out what it would take for you to enjoy your life...
Corygal, you make a really valid and really important point, but OP, I must say I picked straight up on what only Inclusionist and to an extent Greensleeves seem to have picked up on. In a way, you had a baby hoping it would be a fix for your depression and an escape from the drudgery of (working) life. That made the situation you are in now pretty much inevitable, I fear.
Could you say a little more about the therapies you have undertaken? How long did you see each counsellor/therapist for? Why did you stop going in each case? I don't mean provide a detailed list , but think about these things to see if there is a pattern. Committing to the long haul with the right therapist could be life-changing for you; I speak from experience. And I am wondering whether you have ever been checked out physically? You sound as if you find the demands of life at your stage of it rather exhausting in general. As harsh as this will sound, we are made to have a purpose and a drive to achieve it, and although the thought of pottering and gardening for pleasure might seem attractive at various times in busy people's lives, an irresistible pull to do no9thing but potter, not engage with the world in any form, is a sign of something underlying, something that needs attention.
You speak with love of the idea of focusing on your garden - might there be any mileage in making something more of that?
I think this goes a lot deeper than the very true and valid points people are making about the experience of early motherhood, and motherhood has brought it into focus, perhaps to crisis point. It's a tired old line that 'crisis' is just another word for 'opportunity', but it's true and I think it's an opportunity you are going to really need to take, OP, in order to turn things around for your whole life.
Oh Lancy you are so not alone in feeling this way! Babies and children are bloody hard work and as my DM would say, relentless. I think there are some excellent points and suggestions on this thread, especially waterrrat's one about the extended family and how mothers in other cultures / previous generations had loads of support. Another point that I think is particularly true is cakecrumb's one about how first babies are really hard. I certainly found that. You wrote that your closest friends don't have children and that you haven't made any mum friends. I think that having a social network is essential. When I had DS1 we had just moved to a new area where we knew no one. I felt very isolated and bored out of my brain. Babies don't make the greatest conversationalists (is this even a word? ). It was very hard. I too am not a big fan of the "cutesy" baby groups etc. I know I'm sounding a bit judgey but the sort of "well done Boo! It is a kumquat" thing sets my teeth on edge. I found that trial and error worked well; I went to loads of different groups and found a couple I liked full of people you could have a proper chat and gossip with that didn't revolve purely around the children. It was hard at first but it did pay off. In my experience, once I'd met some other mums in the area it got a lot better. Humans are social animals and we need support and contact from other people. Check out local parenting websites, local cafes etc. This is just my opinion of course! Best of luck, you are not alone!
OP - you are so not alone.
However, I'm reading this snuggled up on the sfa with my 5&3 year olds, and I love 'motherhood' now. Baby work is hard, relentless and thankless, but it DOES pass. Take heart, and remember the MN motto, 'this too shall pass'.
Oh, and I ditched gina ford for baby #2, it made for a much more pleasant experience! (but then you also know what you're doing
a little bit more for baby 2).
I have/still do feel like you at times. It's awful as I then also feel guilty for feeling like that. I long for time to myself, lie ins, holidays, reading etc. I also find myself counting down until nap time. My DS is 15 months old.
I went back to work when my DS was 4 months old but did 2 x 4 hours. I gradually built this up and now work 18 hours over 4 days. It's a great balance. I still dislike motherhood at times but not as much as I used to. I honestly had times where I just wanted to run away. In hindsight I think I suffered pnd and at times it tries to make a come back.
Is it not possible for you to work part-time? When you work part time it's not so important for it to be a role you love. You can also then get some time out from motherhood, find a new role where you can be you and maybe start appreciating your time with your lo more.
I almost wrote that I admire anyone that is a SAHM but have changed my mind about that statement. We are not all the same. We have different needs, interests and personalities. What works for one won't necessarily work for another. I could never be a SAHM - I would certainly have a breakdown. I think I have found a balance with part time work although I still find motherhood hard.
I found the baby/toddler years tedious on the whole with the odd bit of fun and enjoyment. Ds was born early, poorly and was poorly until he was about 4.5 yrs. I love him and always have but I found it pretty dull until he could have a decent conversation with me. He started speaking in sentences at 18 months and was very verbal by the time he was two. He is 8 now and I love this age. He is fab company and has a unique view on the world. I have experiences with him that enrich my life, something I could never have imagined when he was a baby.
I would add that I would never tell anyone in RL how dull I found life when he was a baby. It was pretty much continual worry. Everyone used to say what an amazing mum I was and how strong I was to cope. I hated it as I spent ds's baby years feeling scared about him being unwell etc (although he wasn't seriously ill he was continually ill with lung problems as well as just not developing and meeting milestones until months/years after he should).
Oh, so much to reply to! Sorry, this is going to be a massive reply
I'll start with what I was going to say - having reflected on some of the responses overnight - I really appreciate all your support, and I don't want to sound ungrateful, but I don't find any of the practical stuff helps. We do all that already: sharing lie-ins on a weekend; I go out a couple of nights a week to activities; my parents have him one day a week... but it just isn't the same. I really like a quote from the article drjohnsonscat recommended: Theyre a huge source of joy, but they turn every other source of joy to shit. Take the lie-in, there's a reason why I said in my OP "a proper relaxed lie-in! To me a proper lie in means sleeping until your natural body clock wakes you up your body tells you how much sleep it needs. Well that just cant happen anymore. I still get woken up by the baby on the monitor when he wakes up and then I can hear him chattering away to DH. My sleep has been interrupted, and even if I manage to get back to sleep its just a light, fitful snooze, not a proper lie in. Thats just an example, but its the same with the going out it ends up being such a rush, I dont get time to eat before going out so Im starving, Im too knackered to actually enjoy being out anyway etc
waterrat thats really interesting about tribal culture (I studied Anthropology so I find that sort of thing fascinating). I was thinking just the other day how on earth has the human species survived if looking after a baby is so hard? But then I thought evolution will have favoured those who can cope with it.
EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy some of what you say is valid, but it wasnt a case of having a baby hoping it would be a fix and escape, it was more like ten years of me and DH going Should we, shouldnt we? We both always wanted a family, but can I cope with it? Would it be a mistake? Oh sh** Im 37 now, if we dont try now it may end up being too late, oh well wed better to give it a go or well regret not doing it !!
As for the therapies I think Ive tried everything! And yes, I know all about committing to the right therapist. You have to have a good rapport with them. Most I didnt give more than a couple of months as they didnt fit for me, but I saw a counsellor/life coach who specialised in NLP for over a year - he was the only one who really got me. But in the end it drifted to an end with no solution as nothing was working for me. Most recently I saw an NHS Psychologist. We went for the maximum 20 sessions youre allowed on the NHS. Her conclusion was Ive just got to keep working hard at it but there is no magic solution, no fix, and the problems I have will always be with me and its more a case of I have to accept that but find a way to live with it.
Its not actually true that Motherhood has brought everything to a crisis. Ive been very depressed and suffered anxiety to the point of not going out of the house in the past. I know I am not depressed now. My anxiety hit crisis point when I was pregnant for me pregnancy was the worst experience of my life - but motherhood has actually helped it massively. From that point of view DS has been better than any therapy Ive had. He gives me a reason to have to carry on come what may. Its just that carrying on is just so flippin hard and irritating . and dull
Im afraid I dont agree with you about being made to have a purpose and a drive to achieve it - thats a very Western Protestant work ethic viewpoint and one I dont subscribe to but thats another debate for another time!!
Oh dear, that really is a long post. Sorry, I wanted to answer as many things as possible Ive probably opened myself up to all sorts of attack there that will just end up making me more stressed but I guess I wanted to try to make the point that yes, I do have underlying issues, but thats only part of what this is about. Ultimately, I just dont have the patience for baby care. Hmmm, maybe I should have just said that
Also, sorry I can't reply to everyone. I'd love to be able to. You've all said some great stuff and really helpful stuff and it's just lovely to know others feel/felt the same... the same worries, the same internal conflicts etc...
Also look at the small things you can do to help whilst you're waiting out the baby months...why have you still got a monitor in your bedroom? We used to wear earplugs if it was our turn for the lie in.
brainonastick because otherwise I wouldn't hear if something was wrong! He had an awful sickness bug a couple of weeks ago but the only way I knew he'd been sick the first time was because I heard it on the monitor. I will use a monitor until he's old enough to get out of bed himself and come and get us if he needs us. If I didn't, I wouldn't sleep anyway as I'd be too worried about him...!!
OK, that's probably contrary to what I just spent a long time saying in the last post! It's the same reason why I wouldn't ever leave him with anyone else overnight, or be able to go on holiday without him - I'd worry too much.
Lancy I'm in no way underestimating anything you've said, and I'm not dismissing your history or any problems you yourself feel, but reading your last post makes you sound like a lovely Mum. Just because you're finding it hard going (which I think is pretty normal) doesn't mean you're not doing a good job. I stand by what I said earlier; I think that getting some local mum friends would help a lot. Motherhood (like romance) is nothing like the slushy films and media make it out to be, it is
bloody hard work, but fabulous too. I think that if you could brave a few rhyme times / baby groups / children's centres etc and get some more social contact then you might feel a bit more positive. Really hope I don't sound like a patronising twat! I just remember how I felt when I had DS1.
Join the discussion
Please login first.