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The haves and the have nots......

(32 Posts)
fatnfedup Sun 10-Apr-05 15:53:53

And I don't mean money.

I've came to the conclusion the world of having small childern isn't split between the SAHM or the WORKING mum.
Oh no.
It's split between those who have non-elderly parents/ sisters/brothers nearby who can take the kids off your hands even for a few hours to give the exhausted and worn out parents a break...and those who don't and never have time together during the day or weekend as a couple, who have to go out separately and who have never sat and read a Sunday paper in 7 years.

I've got a neighbour who claims children are a breeze, always has her hair done and make-up too, wears loads of trendy clothes and looks at me with a look of amazement when I seem to be having a hard day (most of the time...). And I look at her as she is driving away from her parents with only her and her dh in the car, away for another childfree weekend/Sunday lunch/dinner together without a care.

It's not fair. I love my dh but we never have any time together as I can't afford a childminder or babysitter. So we're just going through the motions now instead of being as close as we once were. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids but I want time with my dh and we never get it

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 15:55:46

Why don't you get any time? What about evenings when the children are asleep? Or what about time together with your children? Do your children sleep? Why are you so exhausted? Do you sleep? It's hard to help without knowing more I think, can you tell us more?

Ameriscot2005 Sun 10-Apr-05 15:57:03

Yep, we've always lived far from either set of parents, and have been slightly jealous of siblings who use (and abuse) babysitting priviledges.

Still, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes for all other aspects of life...

fatnfedup Sun 10-Apr-05 17:28:23

www, I work 3 jobs to fit around the children and my dh's shifts, my kids are early risers, up around 6, maybe that's why we are tired.
Of course we have evenings, but by the time the kids are in bed and the chores are done we are both tired and want to relax in front of the tv or having a chat.And also of course we do things as a family ALL THE TIME.
I'd just like to have a day/few hours with my dh alone and I'm really jealous of parents who have this all the time and I feel we never have it.

sacha3taylor Sun 10-Apr-05 17:34:30

I 'm with you on this one fatnfedup!

My parents never have my children (we have got 3),they are also early risers. The only main difference is I only work 4 hours a week.

My children are all in bed by 7, but as you say - a day as husband and wife not mum and dad would be lovely every now and again!

littlerach Sun 10-Apr-05 17:35:10

I have to say that although we are in the have not category, in many ways I am glad! My family are about 60 miles away, not too far for a day trip, DH's are in USA, but at least we don't have some of the problems others seem to have, especially with inteferance!

Why don't you organise a friend to have the children for a night, then repay the favour some other time? Or start a babysitting circle, that costs nothing.

fatnfedup Sun 10-Apr-05 17:57:21

To be honest my kids wouldn't stay with anyone overnight and as they are such early risers and get up during the night too I wouldn't wish this on anyone! Also most people I know can afford a babysitter and don't want to form a circle (I don't think I'd leave the kids a lot of the parents I know anyway)..

NotQuiteCockney Sun 10-Apr-05 17:57:34

I don't really use family to take the kids - DS2 is too young (6 months). I do trust my in-laws to take DS1, but not for more than a few hours, he's only 3.5. We have a neighbour who will certainly take them both for short times when DS2 is bigger.

Now that DS1 is three, though, I'm finding swaps with other parents easier and easier. I'm happy to have a spare three-year-old, it's not actually any more work than just having DS1. And then the other parent can take DS1 at some point (or not, whatever!).

Depending on your kids' ages and temperaments, I'm sure you could get a Saturday off this way.

fatnfedup Sun 10-Apr-05 17:58:54

Good idea but I work Saturdays and Sundays...

tortoiseshell Sun 10-Apr-05 18:00:55

I really notice the lack of grandparents to help out - our parents are 140 and 300 miles away, and neither sets like travelling! I think it would make a real difference to be able to take them to grandparents for a few hours - just to be able to get something done!

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 18:06:09

Hi fatnfedup, could you say sod it to the chores at least a couple of evenings a week? Get the children to clear the table/tidy/hoover (I don't know how old they are but my 7yo can hoover perfectly well) so that once they're in bed you can spend some time together, get a bottle of wine, cook a nice meal, watch a dvd? If I was bothered about the state of my house I'd have less time with dp in the evening, it's true. But there you go, we live in a mess most of the time but we're happy! Also, why aren't they sleeping? How old are they? I do know how awful it is when they don't sleep, my baby is only JUST sleeping through at 16mos but it seems to me you really need to sort this out or you will be constantly knackered. I do know it's easier said than done but you could alway start a thread for advice. I got loads of ideas, which really helped.

MaryP0p1 Sun 10-Apr-05 18:11:58

We begged my mil to have ours this weekend so we can pack for our move. She agreed begrudgely and when we collected then less than 24 hours later with her in a fowl mood with them.

I had said DS1 (age3) v tired needs to go to bed soon. 3 hours later went to be and up at normal time (6am). She won't take them out during the day even though she lives by the sea and then wonders why they fight like cat and dog and ds1 is in a very distructive mood. My children are used to doing something every day.

Its going to take me at least 2 days to get himback to normal and we that kind of support I think I'd rather cope on my own.

lockets Sun 10-Apr-05 18:17:33

Message withdrawn

maria1966 Sun 10-Apr-05 18:23:03

Fatnfedup,I totally agree with you.I have long been of the same opinion.
Most of my neighbours with small children have grandparents visiting all the time,taking them off the parents hands for weekends etc and i have to admit makes me upset and jealous to watch.
My parents died a few years ago and dh's parents live away and even if they did,nt would not be the sort of grandparents we could ask to babysit.They only just tolerate them when we visit.
I know what you mean about spending quality time with your dh,it is really important when you become a mother,as i know i feel like i am a mother,nurse maid,cook,bottlewasher but not a wife or a woman.
Like you my children would have a problem with staying away for a night from me.
For me even though i know i don't have the support around me i think some people take it for granted and it must be nice to know if you ever need it, their is support there for you means a lot.
How old are your children?
Have you parents or in laws nearby?

Mud Sun 10-Apr-05 18:26:19

I didn't have children so that I could be without them for a weekend or week or however long so no I don't feel jealous

as for babysitters, start a babysitting circle with friends - you do for them, they do for you

sacha3taylor Sun 10-Apr-05 18:26:38

Fatnfedup, where abouts in the country are you?

I am in Bath, if you are anywhere near me I would look after your children for you.

Tortington Sun 10-Apr-05 18:36:54

although i completely understand your POV i think its a touch of "the grass is always greener" syndrome. families dont just turn up to take the kids away for the weekend to give you a break - they are there, constantly with whatever drama comes along. with the " well in my day we didn't do that" and the back handed critisisms.

the truth is - some people cope with kids better than others. i am of the barely coping variety. who despite having my MIL on the same street - never got a babysitter to go out with my dh.

i dont know how old your children are - if you have a baby then ok - they wake up. if your kids are not babies then why are they waking up?

also am not quite sure about your job situation - are you not getting taxed to fck having 3 jobs?

the way i got time alone was to go out without dh. it sounds like you need to get some time for yourself doing a course or going out getting drunk - just one night a fortnight where your dh could sit the kids. you could return the favour.

having kids should come with a warning lable

maria1966 Sun 10-Apr-05 18:37:33

Mud, I not saying that I would want to be without them for a weekend,but knowing the help was their if needed is a comfort.
As for the jelousy,I am coming from the point of view that I lost my parents,and they never got to see my children or I never got to have that relationship with my mother that some new mums have.That is what upsets me ,and is so difficult to accept.

Fatnfedup,you would probably find like i am sure i would that even if we got the chance to have time away from our children we would be worrying about them and itching to get back to them,i know i would

bellababe Sun 10-Apr-05 18:38:48

fatnfedup I absolutely agree.
Last week I was near my inlaws for a few days. ds1 had a temperature and I couldn't take him out and I found that all my medicines were well out of date. And we were half an hour from the nearest shop (literally). For once everything slipped into place and someone was able to get to a chemist for me and my MIL was able to take dd and ds2 off for a couple of hours. (ds2 is 3 and really neeeds entertaining). It was such a simple thing but it chaged my world and I really think that people who have others nearby who can at the very least help out in a crisis really have no idea how lucky they are. I have no family, no neighbours, and while there are people who I would call on if it were a real crisis (ie chld in hospital or similar) they generally have their hands full with their own families - plus a lot of them do have family nearby so I know the favour would never be reciprocated.

I also have early risers. And the chores in the evening are non-negotiable. It takes me 1.5 hours to do the bedtime thing, then they are down for the night at about 7, 7.15, then I have to start clearing up, cook for dh, do the lunches, and all the things I haven't had time or space to do during the day. I am damn grumpy by the time I do sit down and dh and I barely talk to each other. Plus, haven't had a holiday in four years.

I'm not trying to hijack this post. Just saying I know how it feels and wholeheartedly agree.

maria1966 Sun 10-Apr-05 18:47:42

Custardo,just had to say agree with your opinion on coping.Like you i am of the barely coping variety as well and their's nothing to be ashamed of .Admiting it and asking for help takes a lot of guts.
I hate it when my Mil comments on me not coping with my ds and dd,and says what would you do if you had 10.
Really helpful comment,not.

Fatnfedup,i am not a selfish person as far as my children are concerned,but you should'nt feel guilty about wanting some time away from them,for your own well being.

vict17 Sun 10-Apr-05 18:56:35

Where do your family live? If it is making you this miserable have you considered moving to be closer to them. Do you really need to work all weekend? I live 3 hours away from my parents, and 6 hours away from my in-laws. I have a good friend at work who babysits every once in a while - she brings her boyfriend and I leave something nice for them to have for dinner and she doesn't ask to be paid. My other siblings who live in the same place as my parents do get babysat for at weekends etc but they don't take the kids for whole days. I think it's easier to accept what you've got, if possible make your life more what you want it to be if you really can't accept it.

WideWebWitch Sun 10-Apr-05 19:12:03

Well, if you spend all evening every evening putting kids to bed (why does it take 1.5 hours bellababe? My 2 take half an hour or sometimes 45 mins and that's with stories and bath but maybe you've got more children?!) and then spend ages doing chores then life will be absolute misery I think, of course it will! If your day starts at 6am and doesn't finish until, what, 10pm? with the last 3 hours being pure drudgery, blimey, well I'd be fed up too! Fetnfedup, does your dh pull his weight? If not, why not? Could you defer some chores, do lunches in the mornings? I find the ONLY good thing about 6am starts (we have them too) is that there's tons of time in the morning to unload the dishwasher, put washing on, make packed lunches, get breakfasts, go on mumsnet and I'm still completely ready to leave the house at 8.30am! I do think you've got to
a) crack the sleeping with the children. It colours EVERYTHING if you're not getting enough sleep
b) cut down the chores and make sure dh/kids are pulling their weight
c) Consider lowering your standards so less time is spent on chores
c) Sort out a babysitting circle, or, if you can't, budget for a sitter (Sitters are v good and there's a discount through mumsnet by cutting back on something else maybe?
d) Make time for you and dh at home if you can't go out. We sometimes go to bed early with a bottle of wine, I'd recommend that.

I hope there's something in there that helps but obviously, feel free to ignore it if not!

Jimjams Sun 10-Apr-05 21:49:38

Agree that its a case of the grass being greener.

We moved to be near my parents -- they provide us with invaluable support. My mum has all 3 kids. But she's the only person we have who can cope with ds1 (severely autistic) - she will remain the only person who can cope with him other than us for a long time. He will require a lot of supervision (full time? quite possibly) until he goes into residential care- hopefully as an adult- I really want him at home as a child. So time for "us" is pretty non-existent. Family days out are pretty impossible as are family holidays - we are going away without ds1 in June- not faer - just 20 miles down the road- to give us all - and especailly ds2 a break. We can do that because of my Mum. but to be honest I'd swap her help for ds1 notto have his problems in the first place.

It is very very very easy to get bitter. But bitterness is not a healthy characteristic. I remind myself- that OK we have a lot of hassle compared to many, but we have a strong marriage (just as well really!) and allthough ds1 is severely autistic he has a lovley disposition (when he's not headbanging walls that is) and we have many blessings. I try not to do bitter- although sometimes I fail. I'm happier when I'm not bitter though.

I've foound craving something you can't have too be aroad to unhappiness. I've given up on the idea of a family pub meal as not being able to have it was driving me to distraction.

Frizbe Sun 10-Apr-05 22:04:42

Have you tried getting the kids to stay in their rooms until say 8am? We did this with ss, we brought him a colour coded clock, off the internet (I can list the details if you like) if he woke in the red zone, he had to stay in bed, amber, he could get up and play in his room, green he could come into see us! Within two weeks of him getting this we were getting an extra two hours in bed at the weekend, how marvelous! I do recommend it!

WestCountryLass Sun 10-Apr-05 23:59:15

Most of my friends are childless and the one friend that has kids has gt a 5 and a 12 year old and she works full time now. My Mum lives in Spain and my Dad lives in Dorset, my MIL is dead and my FIL could not cope having them on his own.

I knew it would be like this but I too would love to go away for the weekend with my DH when my DD is older and 'leavable', it ain't gonna happen! My DD sleeps through the night but my 3.5 yr old has never slept through all night Some kids just don't sleep through no matter what you do!

Whilst I would really appreciate a ahelping in ahnd every now and then for the most part I am glad that I don't have the interference.

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