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.
When I say 'purpose', I don't necessarily mean 'work' as in 'career' etc. Your purpose might be to create, maintain and develop an absolutely wonderful garden, and pass on those skills to your dc. (I do think that the point about financially chipping in that someone else made is a valid one - but you know your circumstances and I don't).
Your psychologist's conclusion might sound a little negative - I wouldn't necessarily agree that these problems are doomed to be always with you - but she's right that any change is bloody hard labour. I've been in therapy for a couple of years and it is a terrible slog, but things I never saw changing are beginning to shift and transform. if you could find a good client-centred therapist (BACP accredited) and really stick with it, I think it would pay dividends. The fact that the practical stuff doesn't help, as you say, is a really good indication that something deeper is going on.
That said, the baby phase can certainly be an awful grind. I enjoyed it - and in fact motherhood has just got better as mine have got older - but that doesn't mean I assume everyone will. The restrictions early motherhood imposes would be tough on anyone, but women are expected to suck it up with a smile - I agree that that is a real, wider problem.
I think when I said motherhood brought stuff to crisis point, what I meant is that now your dc is in the mix the stakes are a lot higher, iyswim. Withdrawing isn't an option, as it perhaps was with the world of work. And that might give you a push to try and dig out the roots of this.
I massively don't want to patronise or offend you here, but have you read about pathalogical demand avoidance? It is characterised by being incredibly (and involuntarily) stressed out by the routine demands of everyday life.
I have worked with a number of children with this condition and actually the way you say you feel rings some bells.
Thanks xigris, it's lovely of you to say that. . If I'm honest, the going to groups and stuff is also linked to my anxiety. I have reasons I hate going (won't bore you with the details...) But I do find them intensely irritating and I haven't met ANYBODY who I feel I can relate to/have anything in common with even the tiniest little bit. So I've rather given up and don't feel it's worth putting myself through that stress for very little gain. Which leads nicely onto EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy's point about the withdrawing...
Yes, that's very true. I was actually about to withdraw from this thread as it was starting to make me stressed, but I'm glad I didn't as I'd have missed your's and xigris's last posts! The issues of motherhood are a reflection of the rest of my life... e.g. my comment about the baby groups in the last paragraph... "I haven't met ANYBODY who I feel I can relate to/have anything in common with even the tiniest little bit" in the rest of life either (except DH)! Ok, that's an exagerration, but you get the point...!
I do think my purpose (at the moment and has been for the last few years) is to build a beautiful house and garden - and I mean literally build. Every wall has been replaced, every inch of wood stripped - and I think that's a big part of my frustration. DS came along too early really - we started trying because we thought it would take a long time at my age, but it didn't - and now we're stuck with a half-finished project that I have no time to complete. The occasional hour when he's asleep or a few hours a week when he's at my parents aren't enough for building/DIY/decorating. They are full on tasks that require full time commitment.
The flip side of this is that if I DO spend time on them, I then regret the time I'm away from DS. A few weeks ago he spent nearly every day with my parents for a week or two while I got on with an urgent task in the house - and on one of those days he started to crawl. I was absolutely gutted. I will never have that day again and I missed it. So I feel kind of stuck in a no-win situation! We are now paying people to complete the work, which is frustrating as we can't really afford it.
(I'm not sure why I felt the need to explain all that - I think I don't want you to think I just want to spend my time 'pottering' - there is something concrete I want to be doing, and it's something that is bloody hard work!)
But it also shows why I DO want to be a SAHM - I don't want other people to be the ones sharing his 'firsts' and his milestones. I want to be there for every second because the time is so precious. Yet I find the daily grind of that unbearable... internal conflict, internal conflict, internal conflict....!
I massively don't want to patronise or offend you here, but have you read about pathalogical demand avoidance? It is characterised by being incredibly (and involuntarily) stressed out by the routine demands of everyday life. No I haven't.
Yes, it does sound like me - a lot! Will look it up.
Hmmm, no, on a quick read of major symptoms, I don't think it's me. I've been a very high achiever in the past (albeit with a lot of struggle and misery). I think me 'dropping out' of work/life is sort of rebelling against what I spent my first 30 years struggling to do... if that makes sense.
Motherhood is slavery by another name make no mistake. It's perverse - what other job would you be expected to be on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week with no training, no lunch hour and no pay? Yes there are women who find it fulfilling but the rest of us find it bloody hard and long for the old days of lazy mornings laying in bed looking at holiday brochures drinking a cup of tea that was actually hot. Mums groups are generally horrendous too - when else would you be expected to bond with other women when the only thing you obviously have in common is that you've had sex in the last five years? It's ok - you don't have to love it you just have to do the best you can - your son only has one mum and you will always be the most important woman in his life - all you need to do is be there for him, you don't have to be a happy clappy earth mother you just need to love him and do what you can to keep yourself sane. Let yourself grieve for your old life if you need to but try not to focus too much in all you've given up - think about what you've learnt and overcome too. none of us are naturals at this lark but we just have to keep our sense of humour and not let it become an endurance test.
I hope you find things getting easier as your DS gets older. I think you will find this spring/summer very different from last year, especially in terms of getting out into the garden.
Can you start making plans for what you want to do in your garden? Doesn't need to be big landscaping projects, just planning your seed planting etc. I found that I spent a lot more time in the garden with my toddler-aged children than I ever did before, they would be pottering around and I could do bits and pieces of work.
Perhaps having some plans for yourself would make you feel more in control?
Jac1978 you're absolutely right, thank you .
piprabbit that's what I'm hoping - and hoping we get some good weather this year so that I can! - It's good to hear you managed lots of time in the garden with toddlers.
Weissdorn, I don't think that's a terribly good attitude to volunteering? Yes there are a few volunteer things you can do as much or as little as you want (being one of a team of online moderators for instance) but in most volunteer jobs ones who turn up only when they feel like it are about as much use as a chocolate teapot...
OP, I read your post with interest as your situation is rather similar to that of my DSis (although you are in a better position as you frankly acknowledge your issues and have tried to get help e.g by seeing counsellors).
From what you said in your OP and following posts, I wonder if you are a little like my Dsis, in that you are doing a good job of being a mum yet find it very frustrating at times, but don't feel you can delegate the task to anyone else. DSis seems to get very anxious about leaving her DC with anyone, whether family members, paid carers or even her DH -- and as far as I can see it's irrespective of the competence of the carer, whether the children enjoy being looked after by them, etc. Over the years it has made her very frustrated as she now has no real interests of her own nor time to pursue them, but it's hard to help someone who won't or can't let go and trust other people to help with DC.
As regards wanting the beautiful house and garden, I wonder is it the process or the product? If it's that you'd simply like to have them, but can't afford to employ builders, landscapers etc then it would be sensible to factor some days at nursery into the equation as if you're going to do the work yourself, that is the cost of your time ifyswim? A friend of mine did up his house while his DW paid the bills with her City job, but he had no DC costs, it saved lots of building costs and he got to pursue a creative ambition at the same time (writing a novel). On the other hand he was prepared to, and did, return to work when his DW was made redundant.
If it's the process then that's a possible way forward in that when your house and garden are done you will have a useful skill base that could lead into satisfying work in building or horticulture (I would say interior design or garden design but I think those areas are very very competitive at the moment). As an interim step, although you say you don't enjoy mother and baby groups would you consider setting up a group that would include children and parents but focus on gardening, craft, design etc? I know I often enjoy things more when I have organised them.
If it's about using those tasks as a form of therapy, again, it might be worth the investment in the childcare so you can do them properly and again it could lead to an interest such as therapeutic horticulture. There are organisations that specialise in that such as Thrive (http://www.thrive.org.uk).
I suppose what I'd try to do (and what I'd love my DSis to do) is to stop telling myself "I should" about everything all the time and work out what would actually lead to a more satisfying life -- which might include taking turns with DH to earn a living/him becoming the main carer for a while if feasible -- and work out steps I could take towards those.
We don't all have to be exactly the same or 'do' motherhood (or life come to that) in the same way to be a success at it.
However, I don't think many people get to have proper lie ins once they're past the teenage stage though!
Mammoth post, sorry to blah on, thought you were very brave to acknowledge how you felt & hope you can find some solutions...
I think that lifes hard full stop. All this 'finding fulfilment' and 'being happy with everything' is unrealistic I think.
The fact is whatever you do, whatever you have some days are shit. There's no getting away from that. All you can hope to do is balance the shit with stuff that really makes you smile and you enjoy.
Weissdorn, I wasn't lecturing just responding to what you said... sorry if I misunderstood! I have volunteered in various roles for about 20 years; it can be very satisfying if you commit.
I wanted to add that perhaps you and DH could come up with some plans to help break up the rigmarole? I've been feeling stuck in a rut with the daily grind of motherhood and my DH decided I was plain bored! He came up with some ideas to break up the monotony. Just days out etc that help colour life and stop every day feeling the same. Gives you things to look forward to and events to enjoy as a family. You may very well doing this already but just a thought...
OP- I also really struggled with the first 12 months in particular, but even now (dd is 2.3) I am looking forward to her being older. I find her about 1000 times easier now than a year ago, but still struggle with the demands of a small child. She is more independent now and can do more for herself, but I love having time away from her. I adore her, but have decided that I'm probably not cut out for having more than one child! Like you, I imagined gardening etc with my child, but didn't realise just how long it is before you can actually do those things. I dreaded my DH leaving for work when she was little as I knew that meant I had 10-12 hours on my own with dd. I found it boring, lonely, repetitive and fairly thankless looking after a baby. You are not alone feeling like you do, but it does get better as they get older.
Is there anyway you can put your ds into nursery or with a childminder for a day or 2 a week? I appreciate this is an expensive option.
So brave if you to be honest ! I'm sick of people who just cherry coat things. I'm not enjoying it much myself and my dd is only 2 months !
I do however have friends with kids but this doesn't make things easier , I've tried to tell them things are hard like really really hard but they look at me like I shouldn't feel like that like I'm doing something wrong.
So NO you're not on your own !
I think more people should open up and tell it like it is
No-one tells you what it's really like to have kids I for one thought it was going to a lot easier than it turns out to be
Just keep looking forward I've been told time goes fast and before we know it the tiring boring baby stage will be over and we will wish it back hahaha
Good luck !! X
Where do you live ? Maybe someone could help? We don't all talk about nappies all day . I am a Sahm but I can converse in other subjects too
I know where you are coming from, OP. I skipped back to work when DD was 6 months partly because I wanted a bit of the old me back and wanted to be treated as something more than DD's mum. And achieve something other than me and DD still being alive at the end of the day. Parent and child groups were ok for me but I wouldn't want them to be the centre of my existence. Like you, I felt that I couldn't admit that I didn't enjoy it because my mummy friends seemed to enjoy it.
Then I decided to be honest, and admitted to anyone who asked that it was a bloody hard slog but that I loved DD to bits. In hindsight, it took a long time for me to properly bond with her and see her as herself and not a problem to be solved. The pressure to be a perfect parent really doesn't help and the first year is the worst for it IME.
DD is now 6, and DS is 3. There are still things that are hard - they are still demanding, but less incessantly, and any idea of spending a full day doing something is still out of the window unless they are not here. But it really does get better because they get more independent, and having DS was a different kettle of fish altogether (I was more relaxed about everything, juggling the demands of two was a bit like being knocked back to the start - this time I knew it got better) so things do change. Sometimes I still find the idea that my old life is gone until they're at least in their teens all a bit much, and I want to plan in one dimension not four just once in a while, but that's normal I reckon. No-one loves every single second.
You wrote up thread about firsts. When I was talking to a friend about this she very wisely said that whilst I might not see DD's first steps, there would be a first time I would see her walk. That really helped and I don't think there's much I felt I missed.
Good luck, OP.
Hello OP, I'm a regretful mum up here in Edinburgh. Fuck me, it's hard, isn't it? I mourn my old life every single day, and envy old people because they can laze about with no responsibilities.
I had horrendous PND and am still on the meds, though weaning off. I have got my life back in so many ways but ds is still a toddler and it is hard, physical labour. I'm pretty relaxed and happy these days though, because I have given in to the reality of the situation and am now at peace with the idea that my happy motherhood years are out there waiting for me.
I have mentally battened down the hatches, and I'm getting through the weeks and months by visualising my wonderful future. People tell you not to wish time away. Nod and smile. Why wouldn't you wish away the hardest time of your life?
Every day feels like an eternity when you're unhappy, but time ticks by all the same. Make little milestones for yourself, I do this all the time. Each one gets you further away from babycare hell and closer to happy family life, with tons of self indulgence built in.
Don't worry, you're pretty normal from what I can see. Wee hugs xx
LancyLass, I can relate to a lot of what you're feeling. I find myself having a mini meltdown and in tears at least once a week. DD is 2 months old and (I'm told) a very good baby. She's started babbling and we have lovely little conversations when she's in a good mood. She's also started to sleep 5-6 hours a night. Nonetheless, I realised soon after she was born that I'd had no idea how bloody hard and intense caring for a baby is. And that's with a brilliant DH, who does 3/7 nights (she's formula fed). I find the days when I'm on my own with her very, very boring and unfulfilling. DD won't sleep anywhere but on someone during the day, so getting anything done is difficult. I've been out a couple of times to see the other mums in my NCT group, but as a rule I find going out with DD very stressful, because I'm scared she'll cry endlessly until we come back, which is completely irrational, as she spends most of the time we're out asleep. I miss our old life all the time and I miss my job. Even though I love my daughter, I can't quite remember why we thought this was a good idea.
You're definitely not alone and it's been so helpful to read everyone's posts. No one else in RL seems to feel like this.
That's a really brave post too GraceSpeaker. Im so sorry that things are hard for you. If it's any consolation, my best friend had a baby 7 months ago and she has had more than her share of 'mini meltdowns'. She said she wasn't prepared for how tough it is to have to think about someone else's needs every second of every day and feels that she's had to really neglect herself, and that's been much harder than she thought it would be.
'No one else in RL seems to feel like this'
They do, I promise you, they really do. It's just still such a taboo to talk about it. Motherhood is supposed to be every woman's crowning glory, the pinnacle of her fairytale, and something every woman wants desperately. The truth needs to come out more often and it takes brave posters like you to share your stories to make that happen. And there's such pressure on women to keep up the fairytale facade and be the 'perfect mother' (no idea what that would even be!) that it's hard to be honest.
Something that saves my friend's sanity is spending a night out with a friend, or a night away with a friend about every 4-6 weeks. I know your little one is still tiny but it might be something to think about in the next few months?
I hope things get better for you
I went to a baby massage class with DS3 today - the lady that runs it is brilliant, every week we start with a bit of a chat, today it was what we find difficult about having babies. For all the first time Mums it was like opening the flood gates and much of what has been said on this thread was talked about. It also made me remember the early months with DS1. I found it soooooo hard and so
bloody boring! I too used to worry about him crying and people think I wasn't doing it "right" (whatever that is, I'm still probably not!) I really think the early months with your first baby are incredibly tough. It's such a massive change to every part of your life, your body, relationships, everything! In my experience and most of my friend's, it does get easier. I think that some of the problem is expectation and the fact that we're all told that having a baby is so fulfilling and marvellous. I certainly did not find that for a second when I had DS1! It did get easier though, so much so that I've just had my third. Best of luck!
Join the discussion
Please login first.