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Anyone else being a completely crap mum right now? :((19 Posts)
I have 2 dc's - ds1 is 4.5y and dd2 is 6 months. Dh works long hours, sometimes weekends, and we don't have any family closer than a 4 hour drive. I'm used to looking after the both of them all day and am still on mat leave following dd2 - I go back to work part-time in September.
I shouldn't be complaining or struggling to cope as dd2 is actually a very good baby - she has her moments of crying and has been ill a few times (hospitalised with bronchiolitis) which has been stressful, but I have been so lucky in that she is a good sleeper. But I am finding myself so lacking in patience right now and constantly stressed. I keep snapping at ds1 and honestly today I have been horrible to him, so naggy and shouty and all he has really done is been a bit excessively lively, not even really naughty. I feel worn out that I never have any time to myself. I can't even find time to keep the house clean and tidy - lucky the kids don't have dust allergies (yet) as the upstairs gets hoovered rarely. Yet I seem to spend all day trying to get things done. I just don't know where the time goes.
Ds1 is old enough now to be remembering things - I don't want him to remember his mummy as being a snappy witch and I don't want to damage his self-esteem or upset him. I feel such a failure right now when all I want is to be a great mum and make my children happy and secure. My own childhood wasn't good and I want happier ones for my kids.
Do other people feel similar or am I the only stressed, snappy, witchy mum? Sometimes it feels like everyone else is managing to do a great job and stay calm and patient when I am not. Sorry for the rant... feel a little better for writing it!
Oh God we all get like that - motherhood is relentless - there are no other jobs that expect you to be on call 24 hours a day with very few breaks, no pay and no positive feedback!!! We expect so much of ourselves but we are only human and exhaustion and lack of time to ourselves will always take its toll eventually. For starters - don't try to be the perfect wife and mother because you are setting yourself up for failure - you are never going to have an immaculate house and you aren't going to get everything right - so don't become your harshest critic - that's what mother in laws are for. You are as likely to dust the bedroom as you are to do your pelvic floors so unless the Queen is due a visit don't sweat it - no-one ever died from writing their name on a dusty tv. Your problem is that like many of us - motherhood is getting to be an endurance test rather than a pleasure because you need more support than you are getting and you're probably feeling isolated and a wee bit bored sometimes too. You would really benefit from some support so that you can have a little time each week to call your own and just have a break from it all and feel like yourself again - it would make the world of difference - if you have a friend or neighbour you trust it would be so worth it, even if they just took the baby for a walk for an hour. Don't feel bad about getting shouty - we all get like that - just take him to the park or something when he gets lively and let him burn it off. I doubt very much if you've done anything to scar him - kids have to know when they've gone too far but if you feel yourself losing control and reacting emotionally to his behaviour just leave the room and take some deep breaths. Don't forget it's a very hard job being a mum and you need to look after yourself just as much as them xxx
I this you need to cut yourself some slack, it is bloody hard work caring for two small children.
With the house, i have lowered ( my already pretty low) standards and just do what i can. Some days that is quite a bit other days nothing. I keep the sitting room, kitchen and bathroom clean and everything else when i get round to it. I have become very organised with cooking, so several nights a week we have something from the freezer usually made the week before. On my non cooking days i have try to get a bit more done around the house.
I know how you feel about the lack if a break, but i find i can cope better if i know i have a break coming up even if it off in the distance. I try to build time for me into my days, even just a hot cup of tea whilst the baby naps and my toddler watches a bit of Thomas helps.
We go out a lot too, everything seems better once you are out of the house.
What they said!
You are NOT alone in feeling this way, the good news is that nor will you feel this way forever. Carve out any possible time for yourself - I would try and think of it as "sanity time" and prioritise that over chores. It is far, far too easy to let yourself get pushed to the bottom of the list. When you go back to work I think you may find that helps too, it certainly did for me.
Don't waste time beating yourself up and feeling guilty. Your children love you so much, as far as they are concerned you are the best mummy in the world. They don't need to live in a show home to be happy!
I found when my eldest started school it was far better regarding keeping on top of things, with the best will in the world it can be very demanding looking after DCs. I never felt any guilt about parking mine in front of the tv if I needed time to whizz round with the hoover or set up the ironing board for 20 minutes. I found it easiest to set my alarm clock for half an hour earlier in the summer months and try and get a couple of things done - load the washing machine, put stuff out to dry, sort out laundry - the only answer is to balance daytime playtime with the odd chore.
I put on music when I felt under stress or better yet, bundle everyone up and go outdoors.
Frankly if DH is absent the only adult you have to please is yourself. Make a game of it with DC1 set a timer for 10 minutes and pick stuff up so you aren't surrounded by junk by the time the DCs are in bed. Worth buying a big box or laundry bag you can literally shove everything into so you have at least one clean area as a sanctuary come evening.
DCs do remember the oddest things and tbh the one time you go spare and throw something or shout is the one that'll stick in their minds but overall, if you have plenty of good memories to counteract the bad, they'll grow up without thinking of you as Grumpy Witch, promise.
I'm so bad I'm sat here considering reporting myself to social services as the girls deserve so much better than me.
Now love, who would put up with them, if not their mum, you are truly keeping it together and look, keeping fit too! The screaming makes things 10 times worse, you are stronger than you think. Remember the MN saying, this too shall pass, it really will.
Me me me!! I've just logged on to MN to ask for advise myself, I literally could have wrote your post.
DS is 2.6 and DD is 13wks, I've coped quite well up til now but the past few days have nearly tipped me over the edge!
I've shouted at DS over the smallest things, mainly him being over active and charging round the house, or getting himself stark bollock naked for the gazillienth time today!
meow sending big hugs your way x
Ah thanks lovely ladies for the kind posts. Sending you all a hug for replying and a although I think we all probably need a instead! Ironically, I can't have a glass of wine as I have bad reflux and gastritis following too much coffee. Typical huh.
Miaow and lollipoppi sending you lots of empathy. Miaow my ds1 had severe reflux - to the point of developing a feeding phobia by the time he was 8 weeks old and was in and out of hospital for feeding tubes. If your dc's symptoms aren't controlled go back to your GP and ask for ranitidine, if they aren't already on it, or else a referral to paediatrics. Hope it gets easier. x
Me too!!! DS1 is 5 and is lovely but requires a lot of attention and input (not a bad thing at all) he's funny and gentle and great to be with but then when you add 16 month old DS2 in to the mix it all just becomes a bit too much.
DS2 is still very whingy and demanding and obviously needs constant supervision to stop him from climbing, falling and screams whenever I leave the room. Poor DS1 seems to be suffering from my temper when my nerves become frayed. I get snappy and moody. DS1 also has a nasty (unintentional) habit of winding up DS2 by constantly waving objects around him that he's not allowed or not safe for him to have, cue more whinging from DS2 and more snapping from Mummy!
I have been lazy with him sometimes, plonking him in front of the TV while DS2 goes for a nap just to actually get my breath back and actually sit on the sofa instead of on the floor with DS2! I am exhausted despit the fact that (thank GOD) both the boys now sleep 12 hours a night. I just seem to spend my days not really achieving anything and not really enjoying either of them.
What to do about it though? I have no idea. I feel like I am constantly on egg shells, trying to please both of them but actually not giving either of them 100% so I feel constantly guilty and sad for DS1 that I am not the mummy I used to be to him.
I keep waiting for it all to get better but for now I feel like I am just treading water. I know I am lucky. I have 2 gorgeous, healthy children. Other people I see at the school seem to cope just fine and that is with much smaller age gaps than I have but I just seem to be floundering about waiting for bed time.
My own childhood was not particularly awful but I always hoped I'd be so much more 'fun' and happy then my own parents but the truth is, I am knackered, bored and snappy quite a lot of the time.
Yes, I'm ratty, shout too much and smack too much. I'm trying to hold it together at work in the mean time.
I'm counting down the days until DD starts school in sept. Her behaviour is impossible and her sleep isn't great, I've basically got all my hopes pinned on her having to use her brain more tiring her out . Her older brother can be quite well behaved these days, but she's drained me.
How do we get out of this cycle though? Any suggestions? I have (so far) managed to get through without smacking but some days I can be so venomous and snappy I think smacking would probably be the lesser of two evils at the moment! I need to change my horrible attitude and try and enjoy it a bit more for their sakes!
Ah hugs to you both. mamjar - plonking children in front of the tv sometimes is an absolute necessity! I love disney films - when I'm feeling completely knackered I put one on for us to watch, and ds1 watches it happily and chats to me while I feed dd2. Favourites are Cars, Toy Story and Wall-e. I can usually slope off before it's finished and grab a sneaky cuppa
or come for a whinge on MN
I just bought a book called 'How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk' that was recommended on MN. I think it's meant to help make us all calmer and feel less frustrated (mums and kids). I'm hoping it will be helpful.
I had a better day yesterday, because I'd been so witchy the day before that I made a big effort to be nicer, to listen and be more patient with ds1, and not to snap and nag at him all the time. Because I was consciously thinking about it, it was a bit easier to be calmer and less stressy. I had to consciously hold back from trying to rush him when he was painstakingly slow trying to get his shoes on - so tempting to bark "hurry UP!" at the poor little guy. But I did feel better for managing to not be quite so horrible.
My dh is reading a book at the moment called The Chimp Paradox (I know... he has managed to find time to read a BOOK! To be fair he works very long hours and needs a little wind down time at night
while I'm washing and sterilising baby bottles ). It sounds all self-helpy which dh is not at all, but he bought it because the author was our old med school tutor. Anyway, the author is a psychiatrist and he describes us all as having two parts - the 'human' and the 'chimp'. The human side of us makes rational decisions and thinks things through, whereas the chimp is our inner emotional side. If we let our chimp control the human, we get stressed all the time, find it hard to cope, and don't react well in many situations. If we take control of our chimp, and put the human in charge, we tend to be more rational and calmer and ultimately happier. Okay, sounds like a load of mumbo jumbo monkey talk, but I quite like the analogy. When I get really stressy (usually about something trivial like being 2 minutes late to school, or the bathroom being dirty) I am going to try to tell myself that that is my chimp talking, and be a bit more rational and put my 'human' in control to think up a sensible plan of action ie. clean the bathroom tonight, or "it doesn't matter if we're late to school, nobody died."
Does that sound daft?! Putting into practice is another matter. Ahh the baby wakes..... arrrgghh Just my chimp stressing...
I fight the tide in my house! I tidy at the beginning of the nap to have it destroyed the minute they wake. I dont tidy for half a day and its like a bomb hit, but if I tidy all the time my head will explode leaving a shower of antibacterial lemon scented spray everywhere i've just tidied! I can turn form supermam to "what the hell was i thinking when i thought this was a really good idea" in a miliseconds. But then you just rationalise that these home life stresses cant be shoved in an office drawer and left until you are ready to pick them up again. I can see myself building i to a time bomb and have to physically stop and have a little review and remember that its usually not their fault and its not who you are! you do your best, but as mother you are the most tested human being aswell. its normal. it upsetting. its frustrating. its a blip. its not the definition of you as a person or a mother. go to the park, they'll love you for it and you'll love the peace when they are shattered
At least all these books will give you something to throw! Seriously though I think there is some truth in the chimp thing although I'm not sure how helpful it is to call human emotions a chimp but that's by the by. We do get stressed because we react emotionally to our children's behaviour - we take it as a personal attack when they don't do as we ask or show the same devotion we show them. It might help to think how you would deal with a difficult patient who wasn't taking their medicine or who turned up late for an appointment - presumably you wouldn't scream at them although they probably deserve it (!) - you manage to detach yourself enough to react in a calm, practical way and that's I guess how we all need to cope when motherhood gets difficult. You call yourself mummy2benji but don't forget there's more to you than being a mummy - you're also a clever, strong, capable professional woman and you will get yourself through this tough period but remember you do need a break and some support because you're only human - chimp or no chimp x
Ah thank you! I am now chuckling at the thought of screaming at my patients... I guess in a way it's taking advantage if I lose it and yell at the kids just because they are not going to write me a formal letter of complaint. If I can be calm at work I should be able to be
calm calmer at home... In theory! And yes it is very true that we take our kids' behaviour personally. Well this book 'How to talk so kids will listen' has just arrived so that will be great for throwing at the walls useful I hope. When I get a chance to read it, that is - most likely in 2030 when the kids are grown up.
So true how personally we take it all isn't it? I think that's why it hurts so much and why we can not detatch ourselves when they are being so difficult. I find myself really dreading DS2's whinging and I do take it so personally if people comment on his behaviour or moodiness. I am so emotionally involved in it all that it's hard to see how I can be calm around them. Strangely I get lots of positive comments on DS1's behavious (now not as a baby or toddler!) but I find it hard to take those to heart and always seem to think I got lucky with him being so good now. Clearly DS2 is so 'bad' because I am shit. That's how it seems to me while I am in the middle of all the screaming and whinging. I wish I could take a step back and not let it affect me so badly but it does and that's when I get snappy.
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