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Has parenting affected your mental health?

(1000 Posts)
NutsinMay Sun 26-May-13 15:13:52

There seems to be a lot of links about Mental Health affecting your ability to parent but nothing about parenting affecting your mental health(beyond post natal depression).

Yet although there have been times in my life when I've felt low, anxious, possibly more than that, I've never felt as anxious, stressed, neurotic, controlling, irritable, occasionally close to the edge as I have had since having children. I have no desire to have a relationship or go out (beyond doing stuff with the children as they are always much easier when out).

I do work part-time and that provides some relief but I wish weekends were something to look forward to like they used to be pre-children. Now they are the most tiring shifts of the week.

Having one was fine and didn't change me or my life that much (and I had a high needs baby) but having two for me is a whole another level.

I am tired very tired. I've not had an uninterupted night's sleep for about 5 years so I think that might be a major contributor but I find the fighting between siblings, the noise, the whining, the whinging- the demands of "mummy" shrieked in stereo are occasionally just too much to bear. I sobbed in front of them this morning because I just wanted them to leave each other alone. I sometimes fear picking up by daughter from school as I just don't the energy to cope with the afterschool grumpiness/meltdown/rudeness.

I know parenting isn't easy and I'm full of admiration for those who have more than two, do it alone or unsupported or have children with complex needs.

I do hear stories of women locking themselves in the bathroom to escape their kids and I know a lot of women got by on valium in the 70s and laudenum in the 1870s(or earlier) so I know it's not uncommon.

But I'm wondering why there isn't more written about this? Is the stress etc actually doing damage to my physical health? Is it normal? Does anyone else think they are going mad?

Thankfully, they are out with DP this afternoon as I've been on the go since 6.

Badvoc Sun 23-Jun-13 14:53:06

Also don't it what you like.

shufflehopstep Sun 23-Jun-13 15:06:44

Not read past the first page of comments on this thread but I am the opposite OP. I frequently suffered bouts of the blues (luckily not full blown depression) that would last a few weeks at a time before having DD but since she was born just over a year ago, I have felt much calmer. I still get angry and upset with things but am able to pull myself out of it. I think, for me, there was a certain element of being a bit too self-absorbed whereas now, I haven't got the time to dwell on things. And to be honest, a lot of things that I used to get upset about just isn't important anymore.

Having said that, most of my problems were work-related and I've only been back at work a few weeks so there's time for things to change.

hettie Sun 23-Jun-13 15:55:51

To some extent it's a matter of perception.... depends what you call 'mental health'. Personally I think depression/anxiety is often a very normal distress reaction to difficult life events (and you can certainly count parenting as one of them). I know lots of professional types who might seem to be doing very well who in fact struggle with issues of self-esteem, low mood and anxiety. They often have unhelpful coping strategies (drinking a bit too much/relying on controlling partners/filling their lives with 'activities' to the point that they are exhausted) too. But if you asked them if their mental health was suffering they would deny it, partly this is self-denial and partly this is often about peoples lack of ability to think reflectively.....There are lots of people out there who think that depression is something that 'other people' suffer from, yet if I carried out a full clinical assessment with them I might well say that they are struggling..... Part of this is also about access to services. Resources are very tight so the bar is set ridiculously high, to get one to one help from an experienced clinician at the moment you need to be really depressed. This makes many people feel that they must be ok, because if they were bad enough surely they'd meet the requirements for help.... not so If mental health services were to offer appropriate help (in a timely manner) to all that needed it then we'd need to massively increase our budgets.

Feelingood Sun 23-Jun-13 19:11:10

Hi all I'm still hovering.

I'm really very low today, re issue with DS I don't feel I can post about it as its delicate and worried someone might read it on here in RL. I have read some other threads and mind mind is a little eased. But it has took the whole edge off a nice weekend.

I have been incredibly frustrated - trying to write a report, DD wants to do books, blocks etc.

My DH has been fantastic.

I feel heavy, sick and have a headache. This is what parenting has dent o me in the last few hours.

OddBodd Sun 23-Jun-13 19:58:45

Sorry you're not feeling well feelingood I hope everything sorts itself out and you get a break tonight. Glad to hear your DH has been fantastic.

I've read back your comments about my 'friend' with the 'perfect Christmas and perfect daughter' and the more I read them the more I think you're right and she's heading for a fall. That's not what I want because she has been, in the past, a very good friend to me. Lately it all seems a bit too competative and stressful really. We went round to their house today (DH is on good terms with her DP) so we went round as a family to see her and the kids. I noticed that the 3 boys were all shoved on laptops or tablet style computer thingys while all their attention was on 'the little princess'. Sad, I'm hoping it's just bcause she's only 3 weeks old and it was just a way of making sure the boys behaved etc. Hopefully the novelty will wear off a bit as she gets older but I noticed all they talked about was her and nothing to with the boys or their achievements. I can't stand how they call her little lady or princess or little missy, bllleeeugh! I throw up a little in the back of my mouth everytime they say it. Meanwhile DS1 was lovely, chatty and sociable... DS2 roamed around whinging and moaning at everything (as usual) which lead to rather snide comments about how 'noisy' boy babies are compared to girls and what a little treasure their baby girl is hmm I really hate it when people bad mouth boys in front of my boys!

Another one here who hates Christmas. Well actually, I love the lead up to Christmas, seeing the lights being switched on, the wonder in DS1's face as we decorate the tree and 'track santa' on christmas eve... but the day is just so stressful. I always have to make a real effort to go see my dad who is crap with the kids and always makes DS2 cry. We have to see my MIL who is OK but doesn't really see the boys much throughout the year. DS2 just whinged and cried all day last year and I can't see this year being any different. I miss Christmases with just DS1. that's awful isn't it?? sad

Anyway, I don't mind if the new thread is anonymous or not but looks like we'll need it soon! Where will it be?? In parenting section still? Who is brave enough to start it? Haha.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Sun 23-Jun-13 20:50:26

That's really sad, OddBodd. I would be absolutely livid if someone badmouthed boys in front of my DS. If she's been a good friend in the past I hope it turns out just to be postnatal weirdness and in a year or so she can look back and laugh at how ridiculous she was. Otherwise it sounds as though her boys are in for a pretty thin time sad.

Feelingood Sun 23-Jun-13 21:41:14

thanks oddbodd

I don't get that girly like obsession with having a little girly dolly baby. I have enjoyed buying nice dresses etc but she is not a little princess - a little tomboy hufflepuff more like!

Anyway peaks and troughs - that friend maybe storing up all kinds of trouble for later on.

I once knew someone who always seemed sorted - job, house, outfits cool social stuff etc she turned out to be a toxic nightmare all brought to the fore when she realised she had fertility problems and was understandably stressed out by it all - it was so stressful (fearful at times) dealing with her, like walking on egg shells she said some unforgivable things about a situation I was in......

I now realise no-one ever ever has it all and if they appear to be, they are just good at keeping up appearances. Some people are just to proud - I have let another friend go recently for this reason - one small e.g: apparently her kids were never cheeky - never ever my response Oh...ok. Im nearly forty and haven't got time for evasive, passive aggressive fake folk.

Same here re lead up to Christmas though last year had too much stuff booked then all the end of term stuff came along and was a bit overwhelmed. Im being a lot more measured this year - but looking forward to what DD will be like with her presents as she will be nearly 2.
Its sad we don't do any family visiting really or have any near us, but we don't have any of the hassle it can bring for some so we do our own thing.

I feel a bit better as I have spoke to my mum. I wish I didn't have to go out of the house tomorrow and see anybody.

I have a deadline to meet for midday tuesday, this last week has left me wondering whether Ive took too much on with this degree, thought of revising for exam fills me with dread - just because of time and fitting it in around DD during day.

Im rambling....I hope everyones had help from DP/DH's this weekend and have been able to rest.

Maybe the new thread title should be desperately seeking mothers!

MacMac123 Sun 23-Jun-13 23:16:40

We could call the new thread 'light and shade'?

Feelingood Sun 23-Jun-13 23:58:31

<chuckles> why yes MacMac that at least has a positive element to it and I think it resonates with a few regular posters.

KingRollo Mon 24-Jun-13 06:12:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ledkr Mon 24-Jun-13 06:50:53

I dread Xmas. It's just a lot if work and effort for me.
I have grown up sons who stil like to come and don't have pil yet so its always a big affair with too much cost.
Dh family live in Essex so always obliged to see them which I hate but after last year when we went after Xmas and they had nothing in for the dds (not even a yogurt) I'm not going this year so at least that's one less chore.

Feelingood Mon 24-Jun-13 07:50:11

Ledkr take control now! order as much as you can in to minimise what you have to do re actual running about to shops and food preparation....well just a thought <humph> I can't even organise the dishwasher at the moment so what do I know.

Thanks kingrollo I had three hours as stayed up late doing uni work for deadline tomorrow. I read back through a few of your posts. I have suffered from depression and looking back can see I must have been a pain to live with at best miserable - I was quite proactive after a while to get myself well using self help strategies. Does your DH do this or is he using medication - I think a lot of the recovery does have to come from within the person.

I also have been through very difficult patch in my own marriage - we came back from the brink, I've no doubt if id posted on MN i would have been told to LTB and bet some would say that now, There are some unforgiving people out there/on here.

Does your DH know how horrible you feel for the way you speak/argue? Looking back we had all these changes happen in quick succession and didn't realise or were unable to acknowledge the amount of changes we were having to cope with inc having Loss of twin/DS+PND then Moving/Wedding/Both changed jobs....I hated my new job. It changed the dynamics of our relationship. - I could rattle on but please ask away if there is something you think I could help shed light on.

Im dreading getting through today DD has woke up very early and grumpy. My house is like a midden and I have now t go an wake DS up.

I think I have bitten off more than I can cope with, with degree but get bored when I'm in-between modules. DD has just got the dust pan and emptied it onto the carpet, i may swell be reduced to her shadow....

hope everyone has a better start to day than me.

Ledkr Mon 24-Jun-13 07:54:33

feeling exactly the same here. Dd woke at 6.15 and is being horrible and awkward. I'm so happy I'm working today, couldn't stand a whole day of it. Poor dd1 is trying to help as she can see I'm on the brink.

KingRollo Mon 24-Jun-13 08:10:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingRollo Mon 24-Jun-13 08:11:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Feelingood Mon 24-Jun-13 09:47:53

Oh kingrollo we are in our home country but moved away from our home region - no one ever comes to visit. But after being here for 6 years now we are settled and have our network of parents who are mostly in the same boat as us and we have adapted to having a social life based around other parents at the kids activities. But this hasn't come easy, it has took time (I know this is not useful on a day to day basis).

I think if you didn't feel anything for your DH you wouldn't feel so horrible - its almost like every things frozen until everything thaws out you can't see what you've got - if that makes any sense. For us it took a 6 month separation, half way through divorce proceedings (inc a new relationship on one side) before we were calm enough to work through what had happened to us. When it does you think bloody chuff in hell - no wonder we things were all over the place - I think its FWIW its really important to acknowledge the amount of changes you've both been through and still are.

Maybe going back to work will give you an outlet where you can be a grown up and be with other grown ups where emotional demands are not constantly made on you. Hang on in there is my gut response (but maybe I'm biased)

Also my DH was well pretty crappy at the whole family lifestyle thing (always been good in the house) and never wanted to socialise, he is now but its been slow haul. He now will suggest doing stuff with other families and days out etc.

Just take tiny tiny steps.

Ive done the school run, the thing that was worrying me didn't happen and I don't think it will now. i hate the school gate thing, hate hate hate it. I will not be making repeating the same mistake when my LO starts school.

I have 26 hours to submit a report about development oft he self to a PITA tutor - a real stickler.

Im doing lasagne out of a jar and frozen mixed veg for tea with salad - quick n easy will last for two days. Tomorrow I will definitely take the laundry to the drop n go people - it will cost a lot but DH tried to do some for me yesterday (I felt really guilty about this as being a SAHM I should be on top of all of this right?) but he could see getting it dried is a problem and said just put it in.

The laundry really messes with my head - tis the goldfish bowl mentality.

I really wish I could just go on a cookery holiday to Italy and eat lots of bred and cheese with red wine while someone rubbed my feet and whispered the secret of how to do all this in my ear!

Have a good day at work ledkr [jealous]

Brassica Mon 24-Jun-13 10:00:57

I'm so relieved so find this thread. Yes is the answer to the question. I feel at the moment as though my head is in a vice and I am barely functioning as a mum.

My twins are 2.5 and I am separated from their dad. He left in February to live with another woman, and I have been coping with that alone since then, though he has had contact 2-3 times a week. Last week he told me he wants to come back - the ins and outs of that are another thread, but I just want to set the context that emotionally it has been murder the last 4-5 months, and in fact for about a year now since I began to suspect the affair etc.

I work in a demanding job 4 days a week, yet frankly I'd do 7 days a week for less money if it meant I didn't have to be my children's mum at the moment. They defy me on every score daily, with dressing and nappies being the main thing. I now also have to add in giving antibiotics to my willful daughter twice a day, as she has an infection, and it is enough to push me screaming over the edge.

This morning with the medicine I tried coaxing and cajoling and all manner of tactics until in the end I screamed at her and forced the syringe in her mouth and even pressed down on her I was just so furious at the sheer defiant, impossible, evasive nature of her and the stress of knowing these FUCKING drugs have to be got into her twice a day for the next 5 days. She cried and I went off and cried, I am so ashamed at using my weight and brute force to make a little girl take medicine.

I am so full of guilt, confusion, self-hatred, anger, grief, loneliness, exhaustion, anxiety, rage. I feel so worn down and run down, my equilibrium is so fragile that even one extra task or one "no" too many from my children makes me scream and rage at them, I get no physical warning sign that I am about to blow, it just happens.

I wanted children for years and we had IVF to get them, I feel I should be delighting in having them in my life and not slagging them off to people, crying about them, raging at them and looking for opportunities to have a break from them.

I am just so tired and I know that it's only a phase, but their lives since 1 year old at least have just been a phase that I am looking forward to something better coming along. There is always something that you're desperate for them to start/stop doing, yet I should be proud and pleased that they are growing up and developing their characters. Instead I just want them to be pliant and dumbly obedient because it would make my life easier. I feel fucked up.

Ledkr Mon 24-Jun-13 10:10:56

Welcome brassica my ex left me with four dc too one was 8 months. I never wanted him back tbh even though he was furious yes furious hmm about that.
Must admit I loved it on my own.
Those if you about to return to work, yes it dies get easier.
Lots if organisation but also lots if time away from the little darlings.

Feelingood Mon 24-Jun-13 10:24:59

Welcome Brassica it is ok to feel like you do.

Permission to let go of feeling bad about the whole medicine thing, I'm sure you didn't hurt her and the alternative of not giving her the medicine is worse yes - sometimes you do what you have to do - to save you going throughout at again would it be possible to put it in her favourite food like with mash of beans?

Re your DH - please take the time to consider your position. Affairs can both brake or make a marriage, I often think the latter is over looked on MN and is a taboo almost. I wasn't my in my finest hour as a parent when I went through my separation and DH started a new relationship. You must tell yourself things will get better, just a little self belief to try and get through the day. you are in turmoil re your marriage so it is impossible to pass judgement on yourself as a parent.

Re your IVF - let go of how they got here, they are two of them and they bloody hard work so stop feeling guilty for not bouncing around like Mary Poppins - as you've seen there are plenty of us nt full of the joys wink

Sometimes when we can't affect change in our emotions it is easier to concentrate on practical aspects of day to day to make things easier:

Friends and family - get them on board
Have you been to doctors to discuss your stress/sleeping etc would that help?

and you know what some people just don't like certain phases their children go through and/or better suited to other phases. I am not enjoying my DS(7) at the moment feel I get very little back from him and find him really irritating to be around. DD(1.5) is cute and playful but has constant demands for play n nappies etc. but I find her easier than DS.

Feelingood Mon 24-Jun-13 10:25:58

I never knew that ledkr

Badvoc Mon 24-Jun-13 10:40:47

Wrt getting meds into them. Wrap her in a towel. Put het on your knee and syringe it into the space between her cheek and teeth.
It can be horrendous but as you say they need them so that's it.
Whatever you need to do.

Badvoc Mon 24-Jun-13 10:44:39

I have come to the conclusion that it will always be something tbh...
My dc have a 5.3 yr gap and so in August I will have ds2 starting reception and ds1 starting middle school.
I am dreading it/excited about it all at the same time.
Neither of them cope well with new things/situations (like their dad)
Have lots of induction stuff coming up for both of them in the next fortnight and I just want to hide and go to bed and ignore it all.
I don't want to think about uniforms, lockers, dinners....I feel totally overwhelmed ATM.

Feelingood Mon 24-Jun-13 11:23:07

badvoc sounds like you need to regroup yourself and get a plan together - can you order uniform on-line?

I am going to do a meal plan for the week or goto and use the meal planning function, you just then click on the ingredients needed for that meal if you need them. There are recipes for all budget levels.

my easy meals

lasagne - I use jars but bang lots of veg in and it last for two days.

Omlette - my latest favourite quick meal - I do one large 6 egg one for the four of us in a large frying pan and finish it under the grill. Serve with toast and beans - its not bad, even better with broccoli and cheese!

Roast chicken - crusty bread, coleslaw salad preferably with nice salads from M N S

Breaded fish/fishcakes plus boiled new pots and broccoli/cauli

its not at all exciting but there its square meals four meals. Pudding is always fruit and yoghurts.

KingRollo Mon 24-Jun-13 11:30:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KingRollo Mon 24-Jun-13 11:49:51

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