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Am I the only one swimming uphill through custard?

(204 Posts)
motherinferior Sun 03-Apr-05 13:50:17

Six years ago I wasn't particularly happy, but I did have a life. I went out. I had a lot of friends. I saw movies, lots of them. I'd finally decided that I was quite nice-looking, and in fact quite a few blokes asked me out, and if they were sufficiently dodgy, unreliable, attached elsewhere and/or the proud owner of a mild drink and/or drug habit, I would consent to some sort of pointlessly tortured affair-ette. All in all I was adjusting pretty well to the fact that I was facing a childless single middle age - and that I could in consequence take the risk of going freelance and generally Making A New Life.

And then I took up with DP and got pregnant and in lots of ways took a turn for the better, and actually my freelance career took off too and now I live in a rather nice house with two delightful daughters and a man who does want to be nice to me.

So why do I feel as if I'm swimming uphill through custard? Am I the only one? I have reached the point where the Inferiorettes, although admittedly capable of a certain winsome charm, also seem to behave in a manner more suited to under-fives boot camp than anywhere else. DD2 said her first sentence to me the other day (in front of another Mumsnetter and her family ): it was GO AWAY. She biffs people, bellows NO and throws herself into strops which I know perfectly well I should manage in boundary-setting chilledout way instead of standing around feeling pathetic and pointless. DD1 whinges and whinges and WHINGES, and also refuses to eat. I'm fed up and knackered - and then of course feel dreadfully guilty if they do, as they frequently do, commit a winsomely helpful act in my direction. They have eaten my life. I cannot remember when I last saw a grown-up movie. Come to that I'm such a knackered crap parent I can't remember taking them to anything similar either. And my self-image and self-esteem have taken such a major knock that the idea of anyone, however dodgy and/or desperate, succumbing to my aged charms is bloody ridiculous.

Anyone else for the custard waterfall?

tamum Sun 03-Apr-05 13:55:28

I can confirm that she did indeed say Go Away with great clarity

It sounds as though you need some reliable babysitters. Had I not had my hands a tad full I would have offered. Maybe once dd1 starts school you will be able to get some good recommendations?

Blackduck Sun 03-Apr-05 14:16:32

MI - sympathy - I could have written your post...I feel guilt that I enjoy going to work and don't want to spend all day with ds, guilty that I don't do wonderful 'mummy' things with him (sure he's going to grow out a twisted, introverted soul...), guilty that I wish I had a life of my own...god I could go on....

think (hope!) this is all part and parcel of being a parent and that we are actually not that bad!

Tortington Sun 03-Apr-05 14:37:06

i think most mums have a custard period there is light at te end of the tunnel - its called school!

ks Sun 03-Apr-05 14:37:24

Message withdrawn

Earlybird Sun 03-Apr-05 14:56:07

Ohhhh, I can relate to this! I think part of the feeling is down to the fact that as single people our lives were outwardly focused on the world. I longed for the security/intimacy of my very own family unit. Now that I have it, my life is inwardly focused....and by that I mean, focused on the people who inhabit the four walls of our home, and what transpires there. At it's best, it's a cozy little world, but there are times when it can feel suffocating - especially when those people are behaving in a less than edifying way.

I think perhaps for you the freelance world could also be a double edged sword. It gives precious flexibility, but means that you are in those same 4 walls much more. There is little chance for a break, or change of scenery.

When we were single, if a friend acted moody/strange/terribly, we could take a break from that person. Now, we spend every waking moment with the people who depend on us. It can be wonderful/charming (or even winsomely helpful!), but also is never far from mundane. If demanding/unreasonable behaviour is added to the mix, it's easy to feel guilty, angry, frustrated, bewildered, fed up. For example - while I'm writing this, dd is behaving quite nicely, but she still has interrupted me 3 times with various requests. This being a parent lark is relentless!

Anyway - this is a long, rambling way of saying that I think it is important to do things for ourselves apart from the kids. And I'm not talking about time to go to the hairdresser or dentist. We need to make time to go to the movies, have a meal with a friend (without kids in tow), see an exhibition, etc. I know I am guilty of running out of energy when it comes to planning things for myself - it is always the disposable part of my schedule. And it is easy to feel knackered, floppy, and devoid of any "spark". And I know completely what you mean about plummeting self image and self esteem. I used to have a wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes. Now I no longer have the body/budget for it. And my priorities are different. But, I think we've allowed ourselves to disappear as we've gone about the business of trying to turn ourselves into successful mums.

I think I should take a uni course, or open university for mental stimulation and satisfaction, but I fear that it will become another chore and another thing to feel guilty about not doing as well as I should.

So, I don't know what the solution is. Like you, there's nothing awful going on (and that is a huge thing to be thankful for), but I feel I've lost my sparkle. So, I'm right there with you in feeling the same things, but also don't know how to change it. DD just looked at me and said "mum, let's go do something. I have loads of energy - like a rocket!" And, I'm thinking I'd like to take a nap.....

unicorn Sun 03-Apr-05 15:20:04

sympathies Mi...
I often feel it is more like swimming in treacle!!!

Apparently it does get better!

btw - you are not a crap parent (I reserve the right to hold that great plaudit!)

ps please check out my Bohemian fashion thread, bet you can help me!

Tommy Sun 03-Apr-05 16:06:28

Know how you feel DS1 particularly horrid today. Thank god his godparents have taken him out for the afternoon - I did ask if they could have him for the week but they declined, for some reason
Feel like I'm nagging all the time and getting cross (like my Mum used to and I definitely don't want to be like that)also keep thinking that other people might think "Why is she having another baby when she can't control the ones she's got already...."

Easy Sun 03-Apr-05 16:08:53

Thank God it isn't just me !!!

I try to be a good mother, but some days I just feel I want my life back.

More later ds is reading over my shoulder

See ....

maisystar Sun 03-Apr-05 16:14:16

hmmm yes this rings a bell tbh i am sick of the sound of my own voice at the moment! ds is undergoing some delightful changes although(tempts fate)i think we may be coming out the other side of a dark tunnel.

ds starts school in sept and i am sooo looking forward to getting a teeny bit of my life back

Jimjams Sun 03-Apr-05 17:10:40

Earlybird- I think that your appproach - of striving for some of your old life- of thinking about going to see a film etc is actually a recipe for being unsatisfied.

I've recently been craving to go to out for a pub meal (or cafe or something) as a family- and getting quite cross about the fact we can't. DH pointed out that there was no point mourning the fact we can't do that, or thinking about when we might be able to as it just made me unhappy about what we haven't got. His view was that we shoould accept our boundaries (which are pretty tight tbh) and stick to do stuff within them. And I have been happier since applying that. So for example trip to the beach yesterday- ds1 refused to go on the beach but spent a happy 20 mins running up and down a sand dune. Then we all piled into the car and drove home- happily enough. had I beeen going for the bucket and spade experience I would have been unhappy.

Think its the same with doing things without kids really. There's not much opportunity for that, so we're better off doing alternatives at home.

lou33 Sun 03-Apr-05 17:17:32

it's doing stuff without dh and kids in tow that keep me going

nikcola Sun 03-Apr-05 17:22:35

hey MI chin up, you are a lovely lovely lady are you are nice looking infact your georgeous (ive seen a photo rember!)

your dd sounds just like mine , she is allways shouting at me she is allways angry with me (dont no why) and she treats me like dirt,

i havent got any advice but i just wanted to tell you that i think your wonderfull

where do you live id gladly go to the cinema with you xxxxxx


snafu Sun 03-Apr-05 17:23:08

A life? A life? I think mine's under the sofa with two bits of Thomas the Tank Engine puzzle and half a box of raisins.

Well, whatever you do, MI, don't go out for lunch to a gastropub in an achingly trendy part of London and sit trying to hold your stomach in while your child(ren) scatter cheese across the floor and bellow, whilst all around you sit lissom young things just out of bed and having conversations about art and books and music and life on the outside. I've just done that and, pathetically shallow as it sounds, I felt so frumpy, miserable and out-of-touch after about 10 minutes that I could have cried. And the only man I have to be nice to me is my dad

I am in a canoe at the top of the custard waterfall, paddling madly.

JanH Sun 03-Apr-05 17:24:08

Well it's nearly 20 years since my DDs were about the same age as yours, MI, but I know I felt like that about life. My DD2 had a similar temperament to yours too - she was generally either foul or delightful (HV's abiding memory is of her "scowling at me from her pushchair"!)

My circumstances were different - didn't work, didn't want to (congenital sloth), house was hovel, but they wittered and ground me into the uphill custard frame of mind, even without a day job.

I still voluntarily went on to have 2 more though so it does get better as they get older. Honest.

hoxtonchick Sun 03-Apr-05 18:10:46

oh sweetie, i'm sorry you're feeling so crap. your dds were delightful the other day, ds can't wait to meet up again & force dd1 to play pirates with him.... don't know what to suggest really, just wanted to be sympathetic (i am a bit scared of how i'll cope with 2 as well). did you buy your silver topshop jacket?

Dahlia Sun 03-Apr-05 18:31:22

Oh honey, I'm sorry you feel like this. I can relate to everything you've said! I feel like a knackered crap parent alot of the time too. I listen to (childless) friends talking about what they did at the weekend and I get really depressed. I actually sat and read a whole Sunday paper this morning on my own, while dh took the girls out to the park. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it! Such a rarity to do something like that. My main concern with dd2 is that she is very clingy, which does my head in at times, plus she still only drinks milk from bottles, no cups in sight, which may sound a minor thing but I get really stressed about it. Plus she just TRASHES the house. I feel like all I do is tidy things away (only so no-one breaks their neck), I have put on a flipping stone, and dd1 is at the 'attitude' stage where she talks to me like I'm a piece of ploppie. I look in the mirror and think 'haggard. you are haggard.'
I sympathise deeply MI, and send you big hugs. Like someone else said, you have school to look forward to. Its not that far away! And in the meantime, you will have good days and shite days like we all do. And you're obviously doing something right because my dd2 is nowhere sentences! xxxxxxx

Dahlia Sun 03-Apr-05 18:32:10

Nowhere near sentences, that should read. See, I can't even type.

Beetroot Sun 03-Apr-05 18:51:43

Message withdrawn

Mog Sun 03-Apr-05 18:58:24

Does it really get better JanH? I've got three under 4 and it seems so hard at times to see that light at the end of the tunnel. It would be nice to hear from mums of older children about what we can look forward too.

Having children has been the best thing that has happened to me but pre-children I hardly ever lost my temper because nothing really bothered me that much. Now I seem to get stroppy/angry at least once a day and I don't like that person I've become. As I'm typing my two older ones have started playing nicely together in the garden so it feels lovely. But within the next hour it could all go pear shaped as they get tired and start bickering. It really is a rollercoaster ride this motherhood lark.

Mog Sun 03-Apr-05 18:59:08

Typed that before you posted Beetroot!

ks Sun 03-Apr-05 19:01:07

Message withdrawn

Mog Sun 03-Apr-05 19:02:43

And thanks for this thread MI.

Twiglett Sun 03-Apr-05 19:07:33

Hang on a second here

MI met up with Tamum ???

So is Tamum down south at the mo? or is MI up north??

If there have been scottish movements down to my neck of the woods and I didn't get to play (despite the pox that we are presently infected with) I shall be most perturbed

Oh and Uphill... swimming .... custard .. yup sounds familiar ..

Jimjams Sun 03-Apr-05 19:26:19

Please stop saying it gets better when they get older- that's the one phrase that still makes me cry (or want to throw myself off the nearest tall building).

Actually not my thread so I'll shut up and take the not read advice! Ignore!

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