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feeling so overwhelmed by life... is it normal? what do you do?(19 Posts)
So, sorry for a not very light-hearted post but basically I'm just feeling like life is on top of me with no way out. DD is approaching 6 months old and still completely consumes me, she relies on me for everything... ebf (bottle refuser), to get her to sleep, to keep her asleep, to occupy her. She cries/screams/whinges a huge proportion of her awake time and wakes 1-2 hourly at night. Everything else has taken a back seat, I completely expected this for the first few months but 6 months on, I can't seem to get back on track.
Housework doesn't happen. I'm really not a clean freak at all (family used to joke about my relaxed attitude to cleaning!) but it's got to the stage where I can't stand the thought of anybody coming over. DD is normally hysterical by the time I've put the dishes away, never mind reunite myself with the mop or duster. DH has hardly any time off and so many DIY jobs, started with the best intentions of improving our home, remain unfinished and just make the place look even more shite. We live in a tiny flat and there's stuff everywhere. I'm so lucky to have been passed on things for DD but we can't move for things everywhere. I'm trying to declutter but have no energy and struggle ignoring the crying while I sort through clutter. I can do some stuff with DD on my hip but my back kills and she will not tolerate a sling.
DH works very long hours with no scope to have time off at the moment. He too has admitted to feeling completely trapped and overwhelmed at the mo.
I am so so so fortunate to have a healthy DD and a place to live and a loving DH and possessions
how can I grumble about this with refugees fleeing with just the clothes that they wear but I'm going a bit insane. I feel as if there's not enough of me to go round, I can't emotionally/physically support DH and DD and myself and have 'to-do' list that's vaguely under control.
I've friends and family that I talk to but mostly people suggest that I just ignore the housework, but there is a line!! I don't want to sound dramatic and I tell myself to just man up and get on with it but, day after day, it's grinding me down.
I'm preparing to go back to work soon and will be doing tiring hours in order to reduce childcare costs. I can't imagine throwing this into the mix with everything else.
All very routine stuff, so why do I feel as if it's all too much? Is it normal? Do others go though this and just muddle through? Any tips for getting life back under control? I feel a bit beyond a cup of tea and hobnobs
although I never say no...
Awww OP, just wanted to give you a <sneaky hug>
It will get better, but no wonder you're feeling so overwhelmed at the moment. It will pass.
How are finances, is there any option of getting a cleaner in for an hour or two once a week/fortnight?
If not, don't worry about friends or family coming round and judging about the mess, honestly, people will completely understand! Some might give you a hand?
Do you think the mess is making you worse? I know when my home's a mess I start to feel like everything is so on top of me and I can't see a way out of it.
I don't have any advice other than it does get SLIGHTLY easier as they get older. But I'm watching with interest for any tips as I feel very similar to you and DS is 14 months! (Sorry, you probably don't want to hear that do you!) In my case it's exacerbated by underlying mental health issues (mostly depression and anxiety). Maybe if this is a possibility with you then a trip to the GP would help?
But I do think that what you describe can be totally normal, too. Nothing can really prepare you for how exhausting it is being a parent! It's so, so hard sometimes
<hugs> from me too. I know how you feel, I felt it when my DDs were little. Nothing really prepares you for parenthood and it can just be so overwhelming having a small person totally dependent on you. It is very normal to have a clingy baby like yours, but that doesn't make it any easier.
It WILL get better, she will gradually be that bit more independent, but I know that doesn't help you NOW....
Can you get any practical help at all? A cleaner? A friend or relative who could help you declutter or take DD for a walk in between feeds? It sounds as though you could really do with a little space from her.
Also, do consider talking to your GP or HV about how you're feeling. You sound a little as though you're trying desperately to keep it together and put a brave face on things, but underneath you're really struggling. You may well have pnd. I had it with DD2 and it took a long while for me to seek help. I just thought 'well this is what parenthood is like, it's hard' but actually it was more than that, it was the depression talking. Once I started on the right medication, things seemed an awful lot brighter.
OP I've been there, so for me yes I would say it is "normal." But I do remember feeling like so many other new moms managed to keep everything under control much better than I could. That may have just been my perception, but the point is everyone has different circumstances and different abilities to cope. Even before kids I struggled with organization and motivation, so of course introducing an infant into the mix didn't help. But of course it doesn't matter what's normal for everyone else. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you need help getting out of the rut.
Keep in mind that the best thing you can do to be a good mother is take care of yourself. It's cliche, but it's so so true. Do think it's possible a bit of PPD may be at work here? For me I know that was part of it, and gojnh on ADs helped me enormously. I took them for a bit while BFing, with my dr's full blessing. It's worth lookinh into.
The next thing is you need to get rid of the guilt. Becoming a mom comes with so much freaking guilt. It can be about anything but for me it was about BFing. I loved BFing and I fully believe in its benefits, but I am infuriated at the amount of pressure put on new moms to BF at all costs. Just yesterday I was reading a thread on MN about what an "achievement" it is to BF and it brought back all of the feelings of shame and inadequacy I had about having to use formula. My kids are now well past that stage and it just seems so unimportant. I don't know if that is an issue for you but if it is, 6 months is a very reasonable time to start thinking about extricating yourself a bit. Have you tried everything you can to deal with the bottle refusal? At 6 months perhaps a straw or sippy cup would work. Your baby should be starting with solids now so that should help a lot.
Likewise, do you have any family or £ to hire help to get you a break, even for a couple of hours a week or every other week? If you have the money at all do not hesitate to spend it on this. At the very least your DP should be giving you some uninterrupted time alone when he is not working. Your baby may cry but s/he will be fine. And s/he won't starve either. No guilt.
What is your baby's sleep like? If you aren't getting a full night's sleep at this point, I would address that sharpish. Everyone has their own opinions on sleep training and I was lucky that my kids were both naturally decent sleepers, but this is another area where guilt is not your friend. It is VERY hard to function on broken sleep and the effects are cumulative. It's often easier for the father to handle sleep training, and even if your DP works a lot he can step up and help with getting your baby's sleep sorted.
Finally, don't torture yourself by worrying about what happens in the future or when you go back to work. You will cross that bridge when you come to it. Your baby will change a lot even in a few months and there's just no point in stressing about it.
It sounds like you are a wonderful mom and no matter what you will get through this time. Be kind to yourself and your partner and take it one day at a time.
Everything went to shit in our house after I had my first and I lived in a permanent state of exhaustion and anxiety for quite a while.
Don't stress about returning to work - if you're anything like me it will give you much needed rest and headspace.
I would love to get a cleaner and agree with pp that you should do it if you can.
The first thing I'd do is try and improve your DD's sleep. At 6 months, she is capable of going for longer stretches without waking. Everything gets easier when you've had a decent night's sleep! I'm not surprised you feel overwhelmed when you don't get more than two hours' sleep at a time! Have a look at the sleep board on here, it is a great place to start from. Loads of helpful tips and information on further reading.
Does your baby have a dummy? I introduced one at 5 months (also breastfed and bottle refuser, accepted mam dummy when I was out and loved it). Things also might improve when she's eating solids, she will naturally nurse less.
Sometimes, if you want to get something done, you just have to let your baby cry. I know it seems bad and I'm totally against controlled crying and all that, but if you need to hoover, crying for 5 minutes isn't going to kill her.
Does she have a jumperoo? Putting her in front of baby tv while you unload the washing or something also doesn't make you a bad mother (not suggesting you do it for an hour, haha). I had one high maintenance baby and one completely mellow baby. I soon found out what worked for him, he HAD to have fresh air in the morning, he had to nap on a set schedule, along with meals on a set schedule. He also needed me to change up activities all the time, even at 6 months. So, he would be in his jumperoo for 10 minutes, 10 minutes of floor play, 10 minutes of baby tv, 10 minutes of bumbo with textured stuff on his tray, etc.
Honestly though, if it would make you feel less stressed having a tidy house, you are gonna have to let her cry in short spurts, it really won't harm her. You might find that when she's eating solids and crawling around, she's a lot happier and sleeps better
Oh and by the way, I totally had times, with my eldest, that I had to go upstairs and scream into a pillow while he cried for a minute, feeling like a complete failure of a mother. High maintence babies really are hard work and until someone has had a child who caries a lot (mine would cry for an hour solidly after a nap, it was horrendous) then they can't really understand.
It does get better...he's now a wonderful, calm, well behaved, affectionate 4 year old. Chin up x
Thanks for all the replies and kind words
Aye- I do think the mess is stressing me out even more, didn't really realise how much until I ranted about it on MN . I just don't know where to start. We can't really justify a cleaner financially but I'm going to try and start sorting through bits.
Yes- I don't really want to hear that but it's reassuring me that I may not be completely incompetent and maybe it is just hard going! to all the other mummys that are finding it bloody tricky...
MrsK- I do need space from the baby! I feel kind of suffocated but just cannot escape. Even when I leave her with other people for a few hours, nobody can get her to sleep or get her to drink enough so I am handed back a grumpy, tired, hungry screaming baby! Only left her a couple of times and this will change as she takes more solids and learns to drink from a cup. Not long now . I must admit, people aren't exactly queuing up to babysit!!
Bea- I always feel guilty. I feel guilty for even feeling like this!! I don't think it is PND but first baby so no idea how I should be feeling. I'll try to ease off the guilt a bit, doesn't really help me and I am sure I am doing my best
I'm giving it all I've got with what little energy I have
Lev- makes me feel more human! Saying that everything's gone to shit pretty much sums up how I feel!
Scrumptious- absolutely agree about sorting out the sleep. Think it is playing a big part of me feeling shit. I've mooched about the sleep section and had some feedback. Don't know how we can improve things, just keep hoping that she'll improve as I can't leave her to CIO and the gentle approaches just infuriate her. Plus I always end up opting for the quick fix as I don't have the bloody energy to battle through the nights/naps!
Need to drop her off with a super nanny and check into a hotel for the night <imagines if that was possible!>
Daisy-OMG yes that is exactly it!!! I have to weigh up how much I want to do something vs how much I feel able to listen to the screaming!! Hence why I get just the bare minimum done! Some days, just the thought of her crying makes me wanna cry too so I spend all my time occupying her, other times I'm tough and leave her to scream while I shower/hoover/tidy the coffee table... she seems to needs constant stimulation and then, boom, you blink and she's overstimulated
didn't even believe in this concept pre baby!
I'm just getting to grips with rotating like you say (have something similar to a jumperoo), she can do about 6 mins in a few different things with changes of scenery. It's taken me so long to learn how to respond to what she wants and pick up on her sleep ques
doesn't normally result in her sleeping but at least I recognise she's tired. Basically, she is just so demanding and frustrated all the time! She still refuses a dummy, I try weekly
I felt the same way, OP- it really does get better as they grow.
Babies are cunts
Just echoing what others have said. It gets easier, my daughter was the same, my house was the same, it has taken two years to get there but it is finally getting easier. Hang in there, take help when it's offered.
Aw op it is really, really hard. She will get better at occupying herself as she gets older. How much does she nap in the day? If she is cranky a lot of the time and not sleeping well day or night I would definitely try and address that first and the crankiness might ease.
Things that used to keep mine occupied for longer periods of time were not toys but random things - sitting in the high chair with a couple of breadsticks of chomp on, playing with my car keys, a few Tupperware pots and spoons, a feather duster ... might be worth a try? Can she sit up unsupported yet? If not you might also find a change when she can, I think they get pissed off lying on the floor all the time! Also a swing is a miracle worker for generally chilling them out/ napping.
My dd is very demanding of my time also. I recently started taking her to mums and tots groups and she loves them. She comes home exhausted and has a lovely long nap, and so do I. It breaks up the monotony of staying at home all day, and you meet lots of other mums in the same boat.
My dd is a few months older than yours and she is MUCH happier now she can toddle about, her grouchiness was mainly due to frustration and teething.
If she is whiny and clingy I know that she is tired, and I try and get her down for a nap. (I use nap time to rest, or do a bit of washing etc)
I found the months 3-8 quite difficult, with no time to get anything done, and bored of being tied to baby, but it gets so much easier as their personalities and abilities develop.
Op what you describe is normal. I've been through the baby stage with two children and have seen many friends with babies - they are so varied, and high maintenance babies like yours are absolutely draining physically and mentally. It's hard for parents of chilled out babies to understand so don't feel bad if others seem to be having an easier time of it.
Dd1 was such an easy baby - I could put her down anywhere and she was totally flexible about feeding and nap times. She became harder as a toddler and now at 4 is absolutely exhausting as she never stops talking and wants constant interaction. Dd2 on the hand wanted cuddles all the time as a baby and wasn't a good sleeper. But she's very sweet natured and a placid 2 year old now. So don't worry that your baby will always be demanding. They change so much.
I am the same, my DD is nearly 8mo and due to allergies ( in only aware of 2 but due allergy test to find out if more allergens destirb her) she is uncomfortable, have to keep her in carrier during the day when asleep and at night I wake up several times to find comfortable positions for her. I also start work in 2 weeks, I exclusively bf as she won't have her special formula and I also work shifts pfff. On top of that she had eczema, is not very bad but it does does get to me sometimes. I feel like crap when the flat is messy, mostly nuat things everywhere and if I stay and sort them out all the time I feel guily I'm not spending time with daughter.
Sorry this is no help, I just wantet to let you know you're not the only one. It always makes me feel better when I know there are other parents in same situation and still somehow manage. Time flies by and in a few years these will just be memories. You will get to tell your LO what a pain she was ( jokingly of course). My daughter was a lot worse before though especially at nights though and now it's improved so it will get better with time.
Babies are cunts
This is so true (sometimes!).
I've had two high maintenance breastfed babies. OP, what you are describing is a totally normal response to that situation. I agree with pp not to waste time wondering why other parents have it sorted - they either don't, or they do because their babies are much much more easygoing or they have loads of support.
When my first was about 6 months old I felt so overwhelmed by my house - bags of crap everywhere to sort, endless laundry. My advice is to throw a good 40% of it out. Just throw it out as a once off. Don't consult with your dh cause he'll suddenly want to keep everything, but sounds like he's not the one who has to try to survive in a sea of mess everyday. Put stuff in black bags and straight to the bin. You'll never get around to charity shopping it.
When people offer you stuff for dd, politely refuse. I still find this hard to do but life is actually much easier all around if you just wait until you see you clearly need something and get it yourself. Then you have one pack of baby grows instead of seventeen that all need to be dealt with.
On the sleep stuff, loads you can try but IME not much point until they are eating and moving a lot. Until then just get through it. Don't do BLW whatever you do. Traditional weaning, with a mix of spoon and finger food, works much better for babies like this.
Don't worry about returning to work. Your life might actually feel easier in the long run. She'll eventually learn to settle for whoever is taking care of her and it won't all be on you.
Hang in there. In a year's time your life will feel so, so much easier.
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