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Parental Guilt - It's eating me alive

(13 Posts)
Givemecaffeine21 Tue 13-Jan-15 11:43:58

I feel constantly guilty as a parent. I have always felt this way. I've got a 19 month old and a 30 month old and I'm a SAHM. I do my best but I don't feel like I can get it right. Between them I deal with frequent tantrums, tears, fights and screaming fits. I just want to lock myself away at times. DD goes to nursery some mornings now which has helped hugely. DS was a high needs baby and between them I went on anti-depressants which I've recently come off. I'm in a strong marriage and they were very wanted children after years of ttc but the 11 month gap has been a killer.DH constantly tells me I'm a great mum and put them first, but no matter what he says I can't accept this. I don't feel my best is good enough.

I think half, or more, of the problem is that whilst I do love being a mum, I find the constant demands frustrating and I desperately want to do my own thing but I never can. My brain is so active, I have a load of hobbies, and I feel frustrated by parenting because I don't get to do any of my own stuff; by evening I'm so knackered I can't anyway. I can't return to work because we could never afford childcare and actually I don't want to whilst they're so little anyway, and getting a break is very difficult as asking grandparents to have BOTH is full on, it's the equivalent of giving them twins. DH's parents do it occasionally but only for an hour, they always have a commitment or other, which is nothing by the time I've dropped off and picked up.

Am I the only one who struggles with constant guilt? I have a 'break' at lunchtime on nursery days and DD watches TV whilst DS naps and I have my lunch alone. I really bloody need this but then I get guilty because she's watching cbeebies in the lounge whilst I'm in the kitchen but when I sit with her I get constantly climbed on and bothered.

Any wise words? I can't stop beating myself up.

Givemecaffeine21 Tue 13-Jan-15 11:55:12

I'd also add that DS hasn't improved much and is a very tricky toddler.

Chickz Tue 13-Jan-15 13:08:24

Wow you are doing amazing! I have one high needs But you have two tiny ones.
You are doing brilliantly.
Frustration is part of the job as are tantrums crying fits.
And so is guilt. I'm sure most parents feel guilt. But that's only because you care and clearly love your children so much.
Don't beat yourself up.
It sounds hard but it does sound like you need a weekly trip away to do one of your hobbies.

Givemecaffeine21 Tue 13-Jan-15 16:19:24

Thank you chickz - you've really helped me xx

Chickz Tue 13-Jan-15 17:22:06

Also - I haven't used them myself but apparently your local home start centre maybe able to help you by coming round for an afternoon a week or so.
Also there is nothing wrong with watching tv. It's a great idea. I wish mine would sit long enough to watch even a 5 min programme!

Chippychop Tue 13-Jan-15 17:31:21

Guilt!!! Hate it!!!! I think everyone feels it to some degree - whatever we mums working or non it's never perfect or quite right is it. I like the SMA which ends saying "take it from us you're doing ok" and keep saying over as a mantra! Guilt means you caregrin

Givemecaffeine21 Tue 13-Jan-15 18:11:45

Thank you! Thank you! Honestly, it helps so much to be told I'm doing ok and we all feel this way. I'm starting as I mean to go on by banning negative speech about myself as I have to stop 'feeding' this mindset! X

Littlef00t Tue 13-Jan-15 19:41:48

I think you are doing an amazing job!

I only have one 10 mo who naps well and is usually happy and not overly demanding.

I was still pleased to get back to work as it exercises a part of the brain not used with wrangling kids and I'm often still happy to see bedtime come along, even on 'easy' days. It's tough, especially with the children your ages.

Does your partner give you a break on the weekends?

forwarding Tue 13-Jan-15 19:52:27

Jesus a 19 month old and a 30 month old?

If I were you I'd be rocking in the corner.

Don't underestimate yourself. You're knackered, stressed, probably not getting your vitamins.... You're in bits!

Plus how long have you spent with small kids now without a break? And I don't mean an hour to have your lunch whilst one watches TV. That's not a break!

Look living life with the kind of constant noise, stress, pressure, demands and whining which you have could probably be used to torture terrorists. It's physically and mentally debilitating.

Best thing I did was go back to work. I'm a calmer, less stressed parent, and a better parent when I'm there because I'm not constantly living on that knife edge of JUST SHUT UP AND LEAVE ME ALOOOONE!!

NickyEds Tue 13-Jan-15 21:39:39

It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job. An 11 month age gap must be absolutely brutal. I have a 12.5 month old and am pregnant with no 2, I'm a SAHM too and it's exhausting. Not just physically but emotionally. Just before Christmas I had a minor meltdown after just too long without some free time without ds. Do you get any real time to yourself? Not 10 minutes here and there but a couple of hours to yourself without the dcs in the house?? For me it's just so essential and we're really trying to prioritise it, although it's hard with family commitments etc. And that's with just one!!
As for the guilt, it's insidious and awful. On another thread a poster said that when they take the placenta out they put the guilt in, and that rings very true to me. You're a good Mum. You're definitely that best they'll ever havesmile so give yourself a break. in every sense of the word!

ineedausername Tue 13-Jan-15 22:00:24

Just thought i'd come in and offer you a hug.
I have an almost 3 year old and an almost 4 year old. (12 months 5 days gap!)

Small age gaps aren't easy! My eldest daughter is lovely, tantrummy but lovely and my younger son is certainly a handful!
I think the age you are at is definitely difficult, but i'm not going to turn around and say that it all magically becomes all rainbows and unicorns. because it doesn't, sorry ;)
But what is does turn into is 2 wonderful little people, who may spend the day between love and hate of each other but have so much love for each other, who always help each other, get upset if the other gets upset, love each other and of course gang up on you!
My youngest started at his playgroup at 2.5, it was amazing! His sister goes 4 mornings too, and to actually have some mornings to myself is wonderful. I can re-group, watch a movie, shop in peace and, as sad as it sounds, clean up a bit and just watch tv in a tidy house!
I also don't work, for the same reasons as you and tbh i don't know if i could with them being so young.
Anyway, some things i have discovered:

Afternoon baths together with bath crayons, shaving foam soap stuff.
Floor picnics
The garden, every day!
The park, every day!
cbeebies and ipads
Do somthing special with the eldest when the younger naps. Bake some cakes (i use the packet mix!), get the paints out.

I understand how you feel about asking grandparents to watch them, but do ask, or even get your OH to take the kids and his parents for a day out, so there is plenty of help.

Absolutely don't feel guilty for wanting time to yourself, your life has been completely taken over by these little creatures and you're still a person, not just a mum

Givemecaffeine21 Wed 14-Jan-15 09:47:40

Thank you everybody - your responses have really helped me, and forwarding you cracked me up, as did DH when I got him to read it all (thought it best!).

I'm definitely going to stop giving myself such a hard time. The fact that they are happy, fed properly, clothed and the house is clean is more than enough and I'm not going to let myself be this way anymore. You've all really helped me stop judging myself so harshly! X

forwarding Wed 14-Jan-15 15:13:00

Glad to hear you're feeling better.

You're doing your best. Let that be good enough xx

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