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Am I an awful mum?

(25 Posts)
ruby7 Mon 27-Aug-07 09:45:39


I'm struggling a bit at the moment - I am feeling very very low and finding it hard to look after my son and don't want it to rub off him and for him to end up becoming a serial kiler, or in a mental home himself!

Do you think it's okay to let him play by himself for ages? He doesn't have any brothers or sisters (am not strong enough at the moment even though I would really like another), but sometimes I find it really hard to keep entertaining him. He goest to nursery to play with other children, and his grand parents look after him a lot, so he gets their undivided attention, but when he's at home with me I find it really hard to know what to do with him. I'm sure in our parents' generation they didn't really have to worry about this, as all the mums in the street would be friends and all the children would play together but I feel like the poor little thing is on his own a lot and isn't getting the love and attention he needs from his mum. I put him infront of the telly a lot, and am just desperate for some time to myself. At the moment he's playing with his trains, seems quite happy, and I'm selfishly writing on the computer. I'm so eaten up by guilt - for not giving him a brother or sister, and for not reading him books/inventing games/doing cooking etc that all good and normal mums do. I love him so much, and kiss and cuddle him all the time, but at the moment, even feeding him is very very hard.

Does anyone have any advice/words of comfort?

niceglasses Mon 27-Aug-07 09:57:19

Hi Ruby, No you are certainly not an awufl mum.

I think playing by himself for ages is to be positively encouraged. As long as he is happy to do it, I wouldn't worry too much. Okay maybe toys are better than the telly, but as long as the TV isn't for hours on end your'e fine.

I have 3 and they are often left alone to play by themselves. Don't forget kids learn thru play.

The old guilt is a hard one to get through. But you know you love your child, you know he is cared for, try to fight the guilt.

You sound very down - are you getting some help?

fryalot Mon 27-Aug-07 10:01:53

You do sound very down, it wouldn't hurt to talk to someone in rl if there is anyone around.

As far as your ds is concerned, trust me, if he is unhappy, you will know about it. I also have 3 and I can say with confidence that some children just like playing on their own.

Dd1 would have screamed the house down if I wasn't giving her 100% of my attention, ds is happy to play on his own for half an hour or so as long as I am in the room, but dd2 is obviously so much happier on her own and you can see that she actually resents the time she has to spend with her siblings.

If he was not ok, he would be screaming blue murder, not playing happily with his trains while you do other stuff.

The really important thing is to try and get some help for yourself so you can be happier. As soon as that happens, everything else will slot into place.

luckylady74 Mon 27-Aug-07 10:03:59

rather than worrying about it all - why don't you set yourself 1 small target a day - such as - today i am going to cook tea (beans on toast or an omlette is just as nutritious as more complicated things) and talk to him over tea. or today i will play trains for 5 mins with him.
studies have shown that 'normal' mums don't spend more than a few minutes 'quality' time with their children each day. and only children are just as happy as other chikldren if you do what you arte doing which is socialise him with other children and spend time with extended family.
hope you feel better soon smile

LoveAngel Mon 27-Aug-07 10:08:20

OK, first things first - you are not an awful mum - not by any stretch of the imagination. It sounds more like you are stressed, tired...possibly a tad depressed? None of these things makes one an 'awful mum' - just a human being.

I feel very similarly to you a lot of the time, so I can only tell you what I do and hope it helps...? I force myself to do one activity with my son per day. Sometimes its something low key - doing jigsaws together, having a teddy bears tea party, going for a walk in the park - and when I'm feeling a bit more energetic, we'll do something more active - swimming, visiting a friend etc. I don't force myself to do something too energetic or sociable if I can't face it - so if I'm feeling tired, we 'bake cookies' (ie. bung a cake mix and some water ina bowl) and if I don't feel like going out, its drawing and reading stories I'm afraid. Maybe I'm selfish - but it seems to work out very well for my son, because he's getting some good 'quality' time with me in a way I can handle, and it works well for me because I can then feel less guilty about the fact that my son (an only child right now) is playing alone, watching TV, pottering endlessly in the garden chattering away to himself a lot of the time etc.

It may not be PC to admit it - but motherhood is tiring and boring a lot of the time. Not all of us are natural nursery nurses. I gave up full time work to be with my son, and don't regret it a single bit, but there are days, weeks sometimes, when its tough and I'm exhausted and I can't be bothered. You're not alone.

EllieG Mon 27-Aug-07 10:17:29

Hey ruby7 - how old is your DS? I only ask because I wonder if you might be a bit stressed, or even have a touch of post-natal depression? Either way, might be good to see someone in RL to talk through. Please don't beat yourself up for not being super-mummy, very few people are. When I was depressed I found I physically could not do much with my DSD, and I felt so guilty, but she's not been harmed by it, she knows I love her and now am feeling better I try to give her a bit more of my time, and we both enjoy it. But I couldn't do that when I feeling really down, and let DP take the strain for a while, and she's been absolutely fine. Tbh, I also actively encourage her to play by herself at times - I think it's good for her to develop the ability to amuse herself without being spoonfed activities. We do stuff together, but if she is happily playing by herself I don't feel guilty at all!
Maybe think about contacting your GP for some support? Do you have a supportive partner, or family you can lead on? Sounds like you need some help.

ruby7 Mon 27-Aug-07 10:26:59

i did have supportive friends and family and dp but I think I'm slowly driving them away. i'm on meds and see counsellr etc, but don't seem to be gettingany better. sometimes i love being a mum, sometimes it's just too much and seems totally repetitive and i have no time to myself. can't remember who i am anymore!

filthymindedvixen Mon 27-Aug-07 10:27:45

Even if all you do is snuggle down and read him a story once a day, it's 100 per cent more than many parents do.

He gets social interaction at nursery, he gets unidivided 1-1 with his grandparents, he gets oodles of love from you...and now you need to think about yourself. You do sound low. Have you spoken to anyone about this?
Take care of yourself, and the rest will follow x

filthymindedvixen Mon 27-Aug-07 10:28:38

ah, x-posted. There is no time limit on getting better. But you are doing all the right things, and get better you will.

ruby7 Mon 27-Aug-07 10:30:42

do you think so? sometimes i just dwell and dwell and can't get out of my head. and i keep thinking about all those awaful stories about people who don't get better... and it seems to have been going on for so long now.

i just don't want my ds (or my dp) to suffer.

filthymindedvixen Mon 27-Aug-07 10:32:15

Can I ask, were you depressed before giving birth? Or is it 'just' PND you are struggling with?

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 27-Aug-07 10:33:42

I've posted on your other thread ruby7 - so was sorry to read this one.

You really, really need to be kinder to yourself. I know it's very easy to say that, but you are being very harsh on yourself.

Do you have any friends close by who you can talk to? Do you go to a post natal group? If not, it's well worth joining the NCT and asking for some post natal support - it's provided by other mums, not someone 'in authority' like your HV or a MW.

Where do you live? Are there any MNetters who can help?

You don't sound like an awful mum at all because you obviously love and care for your son 1000% - you just need to love yourself a bit more.

flightattendant Mon 27-Aug-07 10:33:49

Ruby, I could have written your post - except now I have another child and that makes it even harder for ds1 - while ds2 is a baby anyway.
I think you are depressed and so am I. I too had some therapy (it was NHS so stopped now) and have been offered AD's but am scared to muck about with them as I've heard they are temperamental. I too feel ds1 is missing out and lonely, also its so hard to find energy to look after him/play with him.
I don't know how universal it is but reading this thread there seem to be a few of us.
I wish it was easier to get help, I know if I wasn't depressed I'd be able to do it all...just replying so you know you're not alone feeling this way.

EllieG Mon 27-Aug-07 10:34:24

You will get better. When I was depressed I thought I would never be happy again, it's part of the condition, but I am, and you will be too. In the meantime, don't beat yourself up, do what you can, and be reassured that, like fmv said, your LO is fine - getting loads of love and attention. What does your GP/counselor say about your depression? Have you got any kind of diagnosis?

karabiner Mon 27-Aug-07 12:24:30

Dear Ruby

You do sound low and I saw your other posts. Just wanted to say I know how you are feeling, I have one DS too and often felt like you do - still do some days still but it has got better this last year - those feelings of feeling really really low are terrible to live with, they will ease with time.
I felt really low this week for example as on holiday we were surrounded by seemingly happy families with 2 or 3 children, and that really hurt while I have just one and dont feelhappy. Forced myself to do seom srting out at home yesterday and feel better today for doing so. So you are not alone really.

TheodoresMummy Mon 27-Aug-07 14:50:57

What meds are you on, Ruby ?

How long have you been on them ?

Have you had to change them ?

Have they helped at any point ?

Not all meds work for everyone, but when you find something that works for you, it's like a miracle. Not a long term cure, but enough to let you feel good and give you a chance to get better properly. I really didn't realise how ill I was until my meds kicked in.

What did you used to enjoy before you became ill ?

scattyspice Mon 27-Aug-07 18:13:01

Re your DS. If he seems happy then he probably is.

Acinonyx Mon 27-Aug-07 19:29:34

If you have been on your current meds for at least 3 months and you are not feeling better then you should see someone about altering them so they work better for you. If your gp prescribed them he should probably refer you to a psychiatrist who will have more experience with meds. I did this - it's really not as scary as it sounds. You have to be incredibly bonkers to worry a psychiatrist but a referral can take a while so I would ask now.

You can get better - you just need to keep the faith. This will not go on for ever - it just feels like it. Jill

ruby7 Mon 27-Aug-07 20:46:55

Thanks so much everyone. I have messed around with my dose loads, and the only time I've been all sorted and grounded is on 30mg of citalopram. I can't seem to come off them, it's just too awful without.

I used to enjoy lounging around, reading magazines, seeing friends and movies, going to the pub, getting interested in music, playing piano, stopping and taking time to 'sniff the roses' as it were - none of which I can do now. I can barely find the time to go the toilet to be honest!

I can't believe my poor little boy has a depressed Mum. I always thought I'd be someone who'd be making cakes, going on day trips, playing games, having a big brood... And here I am, a hot contender for the loony bin. Life just isn't going to plan ....

EllieG Mon 27-Aug-07 20:54:03

Things rarely do, but it does not mean that he will not be OK. Like someone said, if he seems happy, he probably is. You will not be depressed forever, it just seems that way, and the way you are thinking (e.g guilt, catastrophising) is a symptom of depression, and not necessarily the way things actually are. Easier said than done I know, but if you stop beating yourself up for your shortcomings (as you perceive them) and try and think about the things you have achieved and that make you happy, (you have a lovely little boy, you are surviving day to day and managing routines, you love your son and show him affection whenever you can) it might help you. Can you try and think about the things you are successful at (just little stuff, the day to day things)? It helps me to do that - silences the 'inner critic'. Please be kind to yourself a little more - I think you sound like a lovely caring Mum who is doing her best under very difficult circumstances.

ruby7 Mon 27-Aug-07 23:15:31

Hi Ellie
You're right. If he seems okay, then he probably is. God, the responsibility is overwhelming though!
I've calmed down a bit today. It's so weird how I can freak out and think it's the end of the world, and then it's all better and I feel okay again. And I just don't know why either happens.
I don't understand it at all! But thank you so much.

EllieG Tue 28-Aug-07 08:44:00

That's just how depression goes I think. It's very all-or-nothing, black and white thinking, which makes you feel that things are a disaster if they are not perfect. My therapist told me to think in the grey areas - to remember that there are all sorts of interpretations to every situation, and that life is not actually made up of absolutes and black and white scenarios.
Hope you are feeling OK today x

TheodoresMummy Tue 28-Aug-07 09:52:17

How are you feeling today Ruby ?

What's your weekly set-up like (if you don't mind me asking) ? When do grandparents help out ? When is DH around ? Did you say DS goes to nursery ?

ruby7 Wed 29-Aug-07 17:21:17

My weekly set up is like this:

Monday day off with DS - try to see friends (those of whom can still stand to be with me)
Tuesday - work (DS at nursery)
Wednesday - work (grandparents come to look after DS)
Thursday - work (DS at nursery)
Friday day off with DS

I'm trying to get DS into a local nursery as am still driving to one near our old house, but can't find any I like. Also my parents stay the night before having him which is quite stressful.

DP takes DS to nursery in the morning and I collect, which takes a couple of hours.

I just don't really think I have anything to be stressed about. It's ridiculous. I'm very lucky and my job isn't too stressful, although it's not much fun and it's quite 'heads down'.

I am just a bad Mum because I'm depressed, and I feel guilty all the time, and I can't clear my head of ruminating over being down the whole time and letting down my family, and subsequently those things come true coz I'm stuck in my head!

God, I sound completely mental don't I?

I just want to go away somewhere for a week with nice girlfriends and not have to think or be a partner or a Mummy. But that's impossible. Besides which, I'm rapidly running out of friends because I'm so depressing!

EllieG Wed 29-Aug-07 20:06:57

You are NOT a bad Mum - you are struggling at the moment, and you can't beat yourself up for not being able to cope with the normal stuff - that's what depression does. That is normal for someone with depression, and does not make you bad and you should not feel guilty.

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