Absolutely hating motherhood - how can I get through this period without walking out?(86 Posts)
I have a 9 month old (who has never slept through) and a 5 yr old who has just started school.
I can't go back to work as my husband runs his own business and can't share any school runs or school holidays. After school clubs, breakfast clubs, nursery fees and holiday clubs are absolutely not affordable to us based on the kind of wage I could bring in. We have zero family help and no friends in a position to assist either. Husband works long hours and does not share any household tasks Mon-Fri. Even if we could afford for me to go to work I simply don't see how I could do all I do every morning, get a baby to nursery, a child to school and myself to work by 9am.
I can't bare the fact that I cook and do housework and childcare all day long. I know, I know, I should have realised this before I had kids. I just never knew it would be quite so relentless, tedious and repetitive.
I currently hate my day to day life. Up through the night with the baby. Start the day with both kids 6am, load of washing on, put away from yesterday, unload dishwasher, reload, make numerous breakfasts (everyone likes different things and on different diets, plus 5 yr old going through a growth spurt and has 2-3 breakfasts!). Manic 3 hours until school drop off. Baby always naps on school run so I bring the pram in and get 30 mins peace each day... that is it. Afternoon nap is hit and miss at the moment. If he does go down in the cot he wakes up screaming 45 mins later. After the chaos of the morning I hardly ever feel like making it to a baby group so lately I've been placing him down while I pick up the mess from each room. And thats pretty much our day until 3pm school collection then homework, reading, make dinners, bath, bedtime routine. I don't have any evening at all (go to sleep just after kids do at 7 ish) so have to spend most of the day tidying the mess of the day before.
We recently moved areas so I have no friends to meet for coffee or invite round the break up the day. Plus my house is too much of a tip and far from 'guest ready' so I don't/wouldn't/can't anyway.
I can't have something as simple and enjoyable as a bath in the evening as we are too scared to disturb the baby (noise) as he wakes so easily/frequently.
I'm quite OCD about my environment and it really gets under my skin to see crap everywhere, washing hanging everywhere, laundry to be put away, dishes out on the side, food stuck all over the kitchen floor after every meal time...and no matter how hard I work at it every day it never gets any better.
Yes, we have had a sleep consultant. We followed everything she said and saw some progress but not enough to make life any better for us all.
Sorry this is long. I just needed to rant. I know I should be grateful to have a family and a home. It was actually all I ever wanted. But the reality is sending me loopy. I just want to escape. I cannot see a way to get through what is realistically going to be another 4 years until my youngest is at school.
Weekends arent much better. it seems they are filled with commitments - visiting family, children's parties, catching up on housework.
4 years is a very long time to hate your life every day!
Any ideas? What can I do?
Oh and the neverending dealing with childhood illness that will be around for the whole of the winter.
I can't / won't take anti-depressants as I'm breastfeeding. And reluctant to anyway as its situational depression.
Have you spoken to your dh about how you feel?
Is he supportive?
Could you look for a weekend job? Taking Saturdays and Sundays for yourself to work would incur neo childcare and would have the added bonus of dh having to do more.
You would probably make yourself a circle of friends too. Even just over the winter period and reasses in Jan?
Your feelings are completely understandable. I have been in a similar position. I never realised how many obstacles there would be between me and going back to work. I also never realised the sheer magnitude of work that having kids and running a house would involve.
I think your DH really needs to step up. When I was in your situation (my kids are older now), there was a drop-off playgroup at the school that I used for two hours twice a week. It saved my sanity and was the only time I could be me.
Your DH may be running a business, but his wife is struggling and un happy. He needs to either delegate so he can step in, or pay for some help so you can have a break.
Yup I hear you. I've got three (8,6,3) younger two have autism so day to day life is a roller coaster. Dh is barely here in the week so doesn't help at the moment though doesn't do loads when he is here. I can't work because of the younger two. Have you thought about taking a class/doing something of your own? Life can be unbearably shit and boring though I know.
Are you me? Sounds like my every day! I have 9 month old and 4 year old so still have the older one most days too.
I don't know what to suggest. I'm getting counselling in a couple of weeks as I need an outlet.
My HV has been really supportive and comes over once a week and listens to me moan. She's given me some stay and play class info I can take them both to which I'm going to really try and do.
Regarding breakfast and after school club how much are they? My local school breakfast club is free and after school club is £8 a session.
If you got a job surely it would cover that? Can you get any working tax credits if you go back part time?
I'm starting a course next September as I need a career for myself. Being a sahm is HARD.
Hello there I just wanted to sympathise as it can be very hard indeed and you really aren't getting a break at all. I would say though that it does get easier.... but you really need to protect your mental health until it does!
Could you at least afford a cleaner so that you aren't doing so much drudgery? Even once every two weeks? Even just a big clean whenever you need it to get you back on your feet? I think if you feel you can't have people back you are isolating yourself further and if you had a little more time on your hands then baby groups might be possible again. Small changes like a slow cooker can make cooking etc. easier (and less messy)... but you need the energy to make some changes which is hard to find (I know!).
I think you should also reduce your commitments at the weekends so you are getting a break at least one day, you don't have to visit family, attend parties etc. every weekend. You really need to prioritise being well and protect yourself.
Also, please don't discount antidepressants if you are breastfeeding. There is very good research that some (especially Sertraline) are safe to take (either trace or no drug found in the breastmilk in some small studies).
I am finding it hard myself and know I am lucky to have a cleaner and some other help but I really would struggle otherwise.
It sounds to me like you both need a complete re-think of your lives and jobs. I don't think just putting up with it for the next four years is going to work. it will require changes from your DH but that's life when you have a family
Have you checked to see if you would be entitled to childcare costs if you went back to work? Have you looked into part time? Weekends? 4 years is a long time to be out of work, I would go back even if it's just 1 day a week for an agency or something.
Sounds like your DH should be helping more, what time does he get home? Does he share night wakings with you at weekends? Your house can't be a tip if you clean all day everyday! You need to lower your standards.
If you worked just one day a week you could afford a cleaner and then go out for a coffee a couple times a week.
Sounds miserable, I don't blame you. It is temporary, things will improve a lot when you get sleep and as your baby grows and gets more independent, but in the meantime you need to survive.
First thing to sort is your DH. He should be helping, at least a bit, during the week. My DH works very long hours (out of the door at 7.30 and back sometime 8.30-10pm) but he still manages to do a fair bit at home during the week. He gets up with the DC at 6-6.30, gets them dressed and starts their breakfast. I get to lie in till 7 which makes a big difference. He often shares night wakes especially when there is illness. He cooks dinner and washes up most nights. All of this means I can get on with other tasks (laundry, admin, online food shop etc), or catch up on a bit of sleep. It's crucial and I don't see why your DH can't do the same.
Admittedly I do WOH, so it's easier for me to say things have to be shared more equally - but you are "working" too - looking after a baby and doing school runs etc is bloody hard work - so please don't think that just because he goes out to work he doesn't have to share the domestic stuff/broken sleep.
Weekends - I would suggest that you cut commitments to half a day - so if you have a party Sat am then leave Sat pm clear and so on. That way the day can be half fun and half getting stuff done.
Sleep - dare I ask if you have tried controlled crying (controversial on MN but it was my saviour and most people I know in RL have done it). Also, how is your baby doing on solids?
Can you afford a cleaner? Would make a huge difference I think.
It's a very hard stage of family life. Wine got me through, too much though at times, so wouldn't recommend that route.
Speak to your health visitor or GP.
If you worked just one day a week It is very hard to get a job for one day a week.
Hand hold for you. Sounds crap!
One thing that jumps out from your post is about the tidiness of the house though and I wonder if you could find a way to keep things at least look tidier as you go as well as trying to find a way to care less. Closing doors on piles of stuff. Rethinking your storage. Having some plastic boxes for throwing stuff in that you and dh can sort later. That kind of thing. We have 'muddle drawers' where the random things go and get sorted when the drawers get full!
And 'visiting family'. Really? In your situation they should visit you, and help.
I think you need to put your foot down and tell everyone that you need a bit of help. Quite honestly if I had a family member or friend who said they needed help gladly go round 'for coffee' and do some cleaning/ sorting etc while we chatted. In fact I'd enjoy feeling I was able to help. Remember you can always return the favour in a few years.
And please, please be honest with your dh about how unhappy you are. You have to find a way through this together.
Does your dh work weekends as well? If so, he needs to cut back so he's taking the dc off your hands for a while.
I have three dc under 5 and the things that help me are getting the sleep sorted out first and foremost. I did sleep training with all of mine and was pretty draconian about it but it's how I keep my sanity.
Then at weekends, dh is responsible for the laundry and any bums that need wiping. I do the cooking but he does all the cleaning and tidying. I also get Saturday mornings off and go to an exercise class.
You need time to yourself to feel human again. Your dh should be facilitating this one way or another. Working all hours brings in the money but you as a family need more from him than just money.
I think you need to simplify and stream line things. And get your dh to pull his finger out.
So if you wake at 6 you have 2.5 hours ish in a morning. I would have quiet playing and TV for the kids until 7.30. In this time I would sort out the bedrooms, put a wash on etc. Several different breakfasts? Sod that, is there one thing you can all have? A pan of porridge with fruit everyone has at 7.30. Everyone except the 9 month old clears away their own bowls. Then get the kids dressed . The 5 year old can put their pjs in wash/on bed etc , then big tidy up of toys etc before school. What time does your dh go to work? Is the any reason why he can't help with at least some of this?
I would go straight to a baby/toddle r group or walk or library or shopping I the morning when your baby wakes up from your coffee time. It will help you meet people and wear your baby out.
You need to be stricter about the amount t of mess that is made. I really struggle with this and sometimes felt like a mean mummy but my 2.9 year old and 15 month old will get every sodding toy out in 20 mi ute if I let them so in the morning when we are going out they just aren't allowed to. I bring a few toys into the living room and lock the play room (obviously helps if you have an area you can cordon off) so it's easier to tidy up before we go out.
Cut way back on weekend activities. I need to do this too. If I can't keep on top of the house during the week then it has to be done at the weekend. Together.
X posted with RNBrie but I absolutely agree about sleep training. We did controlled crying with ds at 12 months when he was waking every 90 minutes and needing rocking for 30 minutes to go back to sleep. One bad night, one ok night and he's slept through every night barring illness since. Best parenting thing we ever did.
It won't be till the youngest is in school, it'll be until they get their free nursery hours at 3. Some families are eligible when the child is 2, check if you qualify!
It will get better, honestly. You are on the treadmill right now but it will change.
I look back on the period when we moved house, DD1 was 2.5-4 and DD2 was newborn-18mo, and I was so desperately lonely and unhappy it was like a fog - I now realise I had PND or situational depression, made all the worse by the guilt about how I should have been enjoying it (no money issues, healthy children, supportive family and partner).
Two years later I'm now very happy, lots of friends, working part time, a full and vivid life with two children (now 4 and 6) I adore. That period feels very dark - but it is very much in the past.
A huge, huge part of the issue was sleep deprivation. DD2 woke every two hours until the age of 18 months. I tried to sleep train her EXACTLY as I successfully sleep trained her older sister, using baby whisperer at the first attempt and then the second I full-on let her cry but it simply didn't work - one night she cried for 5 hours which felt like utter cruelty - so I gave up and accepted it.
You cannot do anything when you are sleep deprived, that is why it's used as a torture. You cannot even make decisions about how to make your life better. I was so sleep deprived I think I was unsafe driving.
Then on 1 September 2013 (red letter day!) when she was 17 months old, she slept through the night on her own and has slept perfectly every since (barring bad dreams and sickness).
My life started again. I got a haircut, lost weight, went to groups, met people, rediscovered my joie de vivre.
If your baby cannot be sleep trained - and I know from experience that some cannot (though honestly most can, my eldest trained in 3 nights) there is still light at the end of the tunnel. ALL children figure it out for themselves eventually.
Just hold on.
I agree with xinnajane, have another chat with your dh. His business shouldn't trump your needs - if you can't bear the life you have at the moment, then you need to agree together what changes you can make to enable you both to work and to both get some satisfaction from the day. If he is running his own business then he must have some leeway to decide his own hours, delegate jobs etc which would enable him to co-parent and enable you to work part time.
YOUR SALARY does not need to cover childcare for your children. Your husband's salary should cover at least half - they're his kids too!
Can your husband afford a cleaner? Our cleaner can iron about 10-15 shirts in an hour eg for £10 and fold laundry and just give us a break.
It honestly sounds like he doesn't give a shit about changing his life or your life - your joint lives - to make you happier.
More superficially, try:
- free or cheap playgroups where you can have a coffee and meet other parents while baby crawls round. They do exist but can be hard to find. Have you joined your local Facebook parenting page?
- controlled crying or giving water at night. Don't judge until you've tried it. All babies are different, our second needed an extra cardigan at night, our first didn't.
- different breakfasts?! Your husband can make his own
- meet family half way, in cafe or park. Have a break while they play with kids.
- refuse invites to some parties on the basis that you're busy
Yes, DH knows exactly how I feel. I just don't think he feels capable of doing anything else during the week other than his work. I have seen several working mums on this forum say they would be annoyed at being expected to do any housework through the week if there was a SAHP. People seem to have very different views about this.
I will have a word as I think he could get up the same time as us, allow me to have a shower and at least do a couple of short tasks like unload the dishwasher every day.
Please could somebody explain their method of controlled crying? DS won't be placed in the cot so he is currently cuddled (used to be b-fed to sleep) with some music until he is very drowsy then I place him on his tummy. I try to ensure he knows he is going into the cot, so drowsy but not asleep. What do I do when he wakes in the night? Sit by the cot? Let him cry? PUPD? Cuddle? Not remove from cot? Its so confusing!
I know I really need to help him to sleep through as it's sending me over the edge.
We have some storage furniture arriving this week which I know will help the chaos downstairs at the moment.
Thank you all. Some really great suggestions which I have written down.
I have seen several working mums on this forum say they would be annoyed at being expected to do any housework through the week if there was a SAHP. People seem to have very different views about this.
I think it depends a lot on the age of the children. SAHP with school age children ought to be able to get housework done in the day, maybe even prepare dinner etc. With a 9 month old who doesn't sleep, not so much. And you will be exhausted (assume you are dealing with most of the night wakes?) so that makes a huge difference to what the WOHP can expect too.
Re the sleep: so he knows how to go to sleep on his own, and does at bedtime? In that case I'm not sure controlled crying is the best solution as I think it's really for teaching a baby to fall asleep on their own... Happy to share method if you want to give it a go though. You could try putting him down a bit less drowsy at bedtime and see if that helps.
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