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Parenting lethargy

(14 Posts)
AlwaysWashing Sat 08-Nov-14 13:45:51

Ok (deep breath) I have 2DS ages 3.5 & 2 and I'm really struggling to find the patience to enjoy them right now. It really seems like a case of however much DH & I do, whatever nice, fun stuff we plan and do with them it just ends up a big whiney disaster. Most times we end up asking each other why we even bother. It's good stuff too, we have annual passes to the zoo, aquarium & a local theme park so we're not going to be "but we took you to stately homes" parents!
1:1 DS1 is pretty good, bossy assertive, but good company, DS2 is ok but going through a very "you say black I say white" stage.
I'm fortunate that I'm a SAHM and DH is around a lot more than most Dads but I'm just finding everything a massive, massive, draining effort. If we stay home they fight over everything if we go out it all just ends in a big whiney mess.
My wonderful Mum died in September and I just want to hide under my duvet and sob until I'm sick or simply just hide from the children so the fact that I'm trying to do lovely stuff with them and it ends up thrown back in my face makes it even harder to want to bother.

I know this is more about me not having the time to grieve properly but I feel like I'm sucking the joy out of my DSs lives as well as my own and can't haul myself out of the rut of being a dismal, lethargic, misery arse.

Please come along and give me a good MumsNet sorting out.

BackforGood Sat 08-Nov-14 14:04:13

I do think this is more about your grief, than your parenting.

I know when I lost my parents, I got very "short" with my dc, and in the end, agreed to go to a bereavement group. It did me the world of good. I never thought I was "the type" (??whatever that is??) to want any sort of counselling, but this really helped me just acknowledge my anger, and all the other emotions you go through when you are grieving. It just gave me the space to talk, and listen to others, and work things through.

In terms of parenting, that really is a lot of "stuff" to be doing with such small dc - they will gain as much from a walk to your local park at that age you know, they don't need all that organised 'stuff' to go and see, if you are finding that difficult at the moment.

Pocket1 Sat 08-Nov-14 16:05:19

Just wanted to send you a hug in the hope that it helps a bit smile

memememum Sat 08-Nov-14 17:23:42

I wonder if some days doing more basic activities might be less tiring for your dcs and maybe give you a little bit of space too. Eg couple of hours in the park/playground in the morning (sit on a bench with a flask of hot choc and biscuits for snack time) followed by lunch and a movie at home in the afternoon.

QTPie Sat 08-Nov-14 22:26:06

I am so sorry for your loss. Loss of a parent is incredibly hard and being the mum of two small children just isn't forgiving.

2 is a difficult age, I think, and two will be harder work. Once one starts whinging and whining, they probably both will...

We are a similarly busy family - lots and lots of outings and a fair few annual passes - but DS is now heading towards 5 (and only one of him). I think that you might be being a bit "over ambitious": for the kids and yourself (maybe you need a little you/escape time at the weekends too?). Can you scale back a bit? Think park, walks, feeding the ducks, quiet afternoon with a film on and DH playing with the younger one a bit (and maybe you can get a nap or go for a walk or something?)? Still activities, but maybe not so much expectations and organisation. Yes the occasional trip to the zoo/Aquarium, but try not to pack it all in.

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some time and opportunity to grieve, to work through emotions and to get over the exhaustion that grief can cause. Also try to manage your expectations about your kids: many 3.5/4 year olds can cope with quote a lot, but maybe the 2 year old is a little young. Take it easy and take care smile

crapcrapcrapcrap Sat 08-Nov-14 22:38:11

Big hug for you.

You don't need to pack your days with things. If I am home all day (well, mine are a bit older now, but when they were tiny) I would have one outing planned - perhaps a walk to the park, the library, visit friends, sometimes just some shopping. The rest of the day was spent at home, in the garden if it was dry, or inside if not.

There is a lot to be said for setting them up with things they can then potter with themselves. Duplo, playdough, train sets, jigsaws etc.

If they'll settle with a DVD, reserve one for that point in the day when you have had enough and need space.

Also, if finances allow, you could consider occasional childcare for the next wee while, so you can have the time you need to grieve. If they can go to a nursery or childminder for a half day once a week, you can have some you time - have a walk to clear your head, see a friend for coffee, have a long hot peaceful bath, anything to just be and feel how you need to.

AlwaysWashing Sat 08-Nov-14 23:55:18

Thank you.
I think a lot of the time it's my time management that's a bit off too. My oldest does go to nursery 2 afternoons a week but I still don't seem to manage to make that time count - I still don't seem to take any time out for myself, timeout with my husband or get 1:1 time in with DS2???
I hear what you are saying about bereavement counselling & I'm not opposed to it, I'll look into it. I know I'm exhausted, it's been hard on us all.
As for the activities it does sound a bit full on but the zoo maybe once a fortnight or three weeks, the aquarium is more a summer thing and the theme park a monthly thing, we do more often have scooters down the seafront, throwing leaves in the park type trips than anything else, just highlighting that their activities are fun and very much about them. I feel guilty when I rely on the TV too much but it does help.
It just seems so difficult to get out of the rut of a negative mindset and I feel like I'm spending more time Googling how to fix it all than actually getting with being with my children. Raaaaaaahhhhhhh!
Thanks for letting me rant x

SetTheWorldOnFire Sun 09-Nov-14 00:07:50

2 and 3.5 are both quite difficult ages, before you add bereavement into the mix. I know it seems a world away now, but my DS2 is nearly 4 and suddenly it feels like our lives are opening out again. When they're little every outing needs to be planned around naps, buggy/ other transport, tantrums, etc and just packing is tiring.

I know all the outings are sometimes easier than staying at home, but maybe re-assess what they get out of them. There are some places we go where I know I can relax a bit while the DC run wild, but some places I stopped going as they tended to be stressful outings, no rhyme or reason to some if it - similar places, but there's at least one where we invariably had a miserable time, even though it wasn't a different set up to others. If some things work better than others, then stick with the ones which work.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Nov-14 00:08:11

Two things.

3.5 and 2 are draining ages. You're "in the trenches" so to speak. It's quite a lot of putting in a load of effort for very little back, lots of whining, fighting, pointless battles.

So - set your days up to win. Don't make TV a guilt point, make it a part of the day. Have the special trips as a one off at the weekend, don't try and do lots of complicated activities. Have an extremely simple, low conflict discipline model. This is the best tip a friend gave me - if you're trying to make everything great something's always going to go wrong, so save those for the days that you feel strong and you can laugh it off. The rest of the time set yourself up to win. Do activities you know they don't fight (much) over. Serve food you know they don't whinge about. Who cares if it's not perfectly balanced, nobody minds if you don't do seven educational activities before lunchtime. Set up some easy wins and then high five yourself, and you'll enjoy everything a lot more.

Secondly, you are grieving, you can ask for help. GP or bereavement charities. Counselling, group, meds, or just space and exercise - whatever helps for now. It won't be forever.

QTPie Sun 09-Nov-14 00:13:55

To be perfectly honest, there is no problem using the TV when need be. Don't feel guilty! Give yourself a break.

You are grieving, you are emotional, you are stressed, you are exhausted. At times like this, you just need to "get through" and things will get better with time. I promise.

An afternoon at nursery is no time at all (by the time you drop off and pick up): I know, DS used to do just mornings (3 a week). I was running around like a lunatic, didn't have a 2nd child, but still hart seemed to have time to do things...

Do what you need to survive (including TV/films if they help), make sure you get some time (and nap time) for yourself and start celebrating achievements (no matter how small) rather than worrying about the small things.

AlwaysWashing Sun 09-Nov-14 00:22:56

Yes! I need to assess what they are getting out of it all. Yes! I need to stop setting myself up to fail. Yes! I need to be kind to myself.
If I could just shake the lethargy.....tomorrow is a new day & I shall try to start it with a smile instead of a grunt.
Thank you all very much

SetTheWorldOnFire Sun 09-Nov-14 00:30:15

Don't beat yourself up if it does start with a grunt though!

AlwaysWashing Sun 09-Nov-14 00:31:06

That sounds really trite but if I can manage not to grunt at whichever little person it is who wakes me up it will be a much better start than the last few weeks.

AlwaysWashing Sun 09-Nov-14 00:32:07

Me trite not you SetTheWorld!

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