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PLEASE help me become a better mum - or just not the atrocious one I am now.

(37 Posts)
NoseyHelen Fri 17-Jul-09 15:36:50

I have an 11 month old DS and almost 3 yr old DD. It seems that much of our day is spent watching CBeebies and me shouting. I can't take anymore, and I dare say the children aren't too impressed either.

My DS is thoroughly miserable. All he does is moan and whine. He is only happy if he is attached to me which means I can get nothing done because he is pulling at me and he'll fall over if I carry on with the laundry etc.

DD is turning into a little brat and I am sick of her tantrums.

I am upstairs on PC at the moment trying to get 5 minutes head space. DD is in hallway screaming and pulling at her brother whislt he sreams his head of and pulls at the stairgate. When I go down it will be impossible to get through stair gate because DS is trying to climb up my leg.

There is no escape. I have few friends and no family around here. I am in these 4 walls with my miserable children all day, every day. I am married but obviously DH is at work.

Their noise has crescendoed as I write this and I have put them in their rooms kicking and screaming (which I have never done before but it is just too much).

How do I become a mum who can cope with this situation which I guess it not that far removed from a lot of other mum's lives?

llareggub Fri 17-Jul-09 15:39:06

You need to get out every day. Go out every morning. It works, trust me.

GarconsSontCommeDesChiens Fri 17-Jul-09 15:41:32

You must get out every single day - four walls do no one any good

Wrap up, wet gear if necessary, get walking, streets/park/beach it really doesn't matter

Think about going to some organised activities, find some souls in the same boat for sympathy

This stage of parenting is v wearying

NoseyHelen Fri 17-Jul-09 15:43:53

To be fair, we do go out every day, be it to the shops to get bread or go to the park but too much of it is spent at home.

I don't know how to find 'some souls in the same boat'. I've tried mother and baby groups but I can't penetrate the cliques.

JohnDory Fri 17-Jul-09 15:45:28

you need an activity
you need to take each day as it comes
you need to accept that ds wants a cuddle

check how hungry or tired they both are.
sotp thinking clique - its defeatist.

at lunctime you put ds to bed and say to dd" youare now going to watch tv while I have some quiet time too"

turn the tv OFF at 9 am and dont turn it on till the afternoon

put dd in nursery a couple of mornigns a week

Greensleeves Fri 17-Jul-09 15:46:51

I don't know what I did when mine were that age (similar age gap to yours) but there were days where I just wept with exhaustion and self-loathing at the mess I felt I was making of it all

All I can say is that it may feel as though it will go on for ever, but it will not! It gets better, and better, and better. And it's normal [hollow laugh] we've all been there

Could you get a place in a nursery a couple of afternoons a week to give you a break?

llareggub Fri 17-Jul-09 15:47:29

I've never managed to penetrate the cliques either. Do you have a local park? I often meet mothers there. Could your eldest go to pre-school? More opp to meet other mothers at the schoolgate.

NoseyHelen Fri 17-Jul-09 15:48:23

DD is booked in to go to pre-school for 2 sessions from September.

whyme2 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:48:56

Talk to your health visitor about having a Homestart volunteer. It is someone who comes once a week to your house to chat and help a little by playing with your children etc. They are usually very good.
Definately go out everyday - sort out the housework later.

Sam100 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:49:12

Do persevere with the mother and baby groups - I know they can be off putting if it seems like cliques but most of the time people are just as shy as you. Look out for other lone mums and start up a chat. Also if you stick around at the end and help tidy up you will soon get talking to the organisers!

Greensleeves Fri 17-Jul-09 15:50:18

can you meet up with some local mumsnetters? I have made my dearest friends that way!

NorkilyChallenged Fri 17-Jul-09 15:50:26

That all sounds like good advice.

Can't offer much more help as I am struggling with my two (2.5 and 14 months) so will watch with interest what advice you get. I feel I am Shouty Mum too often too. No excuse for it either as I really dont' have things that hard.

I'm sure it's all about my own state of mind but cannot figure out how to change that.

GarconsSontCommeDesChiens Fri 17-Jul-09 15:50:48

TBH you sound a bit low - everything is an effort, yes?

Have a word with your HV to see if she can put you in touch with others; Church groups are ime 'better' at welcoming new people to their groups; there may be a regular storytime at your local library that could become a fixture in your week; telly off except for quiet times

abraid Fri 17-Jul-09 15:51:35

Dr Christopher Green in the Toddler Taming book said it was vital to get out every day--regardless of the weather. I found this to be true, even though the bundling up and de-bundling and wiping of dogs' paws when we came back was lengthy and timeconsuming. It just seemed to break the spell. I must have pushed my double buggy to John O'Groats and back.

I sometimes just used to drive very slowly round the village if we'd already been for a walk. Until they fell asleep. Then I'd park in our drive, shut our gate and make a cup of tea and drink it in the sitting room while I read the paper and kept an eye on the car. Or went to the loo in private.

Yeah--and nursery. That was a life-saver three afternoons a week. Also, try and join a mother and toddler's group. You might meet someone you like and then you and she could do child swaps: you take her two for an hour or so, then she takes your two in exchange. This worked well for me.

Sam100 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:51:48

By shy as you - I meant as shy as me! I hate going into new places. I remember coming out of one m&b group and bursting into tears in the car because someone had said something v uncontroversial that I took as a direct dig at my parenting skills. At the time I thought I would never fit in there but that same person eventually became a good friend!

llareggub Fri 17-Jul-09 15:52:46

Mine are a similar age to yours, although my youngest is 3 months.

I usually sit down on a Sunday with my phone and laptop and decide what to do each day. Sounds regimented but it needs to be to save me from despair. I write down on the calendar what we are going to do each day, and use netmums and the local council website to find out what is going on locally. I text other mothers I know to arrange for people to come over with their kids to play while we chat.

If I can't fill the week I start texting people I don't know so well but you'd be surprised to know that most people with children are happy to be asked over/out.

llareggub Fri 17-Jul-09 15:54:49

I just read that back and it sounds like I only text those I don't know so well as a last resort. I didn't mean it like that!

NoseyHelen Fri 17-Jul-09 15:55:22

I did speak to HV about feeling 'down' back in March. She referred me to GP who said that he could not do anything until DH spoke to him (that was a whole different thread at the time so no need to comment)!

I feel that I have persevered with the groups and I go every week (when I think about we do go out more than I thought) but it's always me playing with my children whilst, in my view, all the other parents are huddled around ignoring their children. We are moving soon and hopefully that will give me chance to try new groups and 're-present' myself if that makes sense.

littlelamb Fri 17-Jul-09 15:56:37

Completely agree with getting out every day. Our library is a good place to spend an hour and doesn't cost anything. my dd is 5 and ds is 13 months and given the choice would go to the lay cafe every single day, but it's a bit of a chore at this stage tbh as ds is still a bit little to really play and spends most of his time getting knocked over by older ones. In 6 months or so it will be brilliant though. If there's any chance of your ds napping in a buggy I'd try and get to somewhere liek that while he's asleep so your dd can run around and you can have a coffee and read a crappy magazine in peace.
On the clique front, I've decided to take my cue from dd. SHe will go up to anyone and just start playing. It's not so difficult to do the same, it just takes a deep breath and a smile, and go and say hello to the other mums in the park. I can guarantee that they all have shitty days and will, on the whole, be glad that one of the other mums is actually talking to them. I find the eeire silence you're meant to maintain with other parents in the park to be just bizarre

llareggub Fri 17-Jul-09 15:56:49

Where are you? If you are near me then we could do something. I'm in the midlands.

I remember your other thread but not the detail.

littlelamb Fri 17-Jul-09 15:57:28

play cafe

Horton Fri 17-Jul-09 16:06:05

I only have one DD, nearly three, but totally agree with the advice to get out of the house, no matter what it takes!

Even Sainsburys or whatever can be stretched out for a while if you are prepared to do it at toddler pace and in a toddler kind of way. On a really wet day when I couldn't face walking anywhere I have resorted to turning it into a kind of treasure hunt by getting DD to find different items we need (do them in the wrong order so you send her to the loo paper first, then tomatoes, then bacon, then shampoo, then biscuits or whatever - plenty of running in a big Sainsburys and I like to think it's educational wink). If you have a sling, your DS can be physically attached to you while doing something like this and he will be happy, too.

Where do you live? There must be other mumsnetters nearby. You need more friends with kids. Maybe if you go to mother and toddler groups, you could just mention that your daughter would love to have someone over to play to anyone who seems a bit more receptive than the others?

Baking cakes and biscuits is v popular here on a wet day. Have a picnic in the living room if it's really too wet to go out. Or pile all the sofa cushions and pillows in the house into the middle of the living room floor and have an impromptu soft play afternoon. I think both your kids are of an age to enjoy this.

Sorry, I sound obsessed with wet days but that is because it is tipping it down and we have only been to Sainsburys all day because I am feeling lazy. But we have baked a cake, we have done some painting and we have built a tent out of a sheet and some chairs so it's mainly me who has cabin fever rather than DD.

I know lots of these activities are pretty dull for an adult but if your kids are happier you will feel a hundred times less stressed. Maybe worth a bit of boredom?

If you are anywhere near SW London, you are more than welcome to come and meet us for a coffee one day.

scribblehead Fri 17-Jul-09 16:19:33

Am here with DS1 - nearly 3, and DS2 nearly 1 - also feeling a bit rubbish today. You're not alone! I echo what others have said - I find being out and about 100 times better than staying in the house. I also tried 3 toddler groups before hitting on one I love so it's worth persisting. Also at toddler group I'm sometimes really aware that I haven't chatted with a new bod. I don't mean to be rude it's just that sometimes keeping both my kids happy and running the craft table, (a gloified mess), take up all my time. Sometimes I think people don't mean to be unfriendly, they may just be a bit preoccupied.

NorkilyChallenged Fri 17-Jul-09 16:34:25

Also, why is NOTHING on for mums of little ones on Friday afternoons? The traffic starts getting bad at about 3.30 so we're basically stuck in as I can't face anything else.

KTNoo Fri 17-Jul-09 16:58:28

Good advice here.

I really feel for you, I remember that stage, I had exactly the same age gap as you, and it was HARD.

The little one is still a baby but a mobile and more demanding baby. And your dd is at the stage where they need a bit more structure.

Some things that helped me:

Have a rough routine. Doesn't matter what, do what suits you. Once your dd is in preschool that will give more structure to your day. I did go to toddler groups but found once dd was nearer 3 she needed more and tended to hand around me. I used to take my ds while dd was at nursery. It seemed so easy having one child after juggling 2 of them for the last year.

Go out every day - even the supermarket was an "event" (my DH could not believe it took me the whole morning to go to Sainsbury's). We would do the shopping then have snack at the cafe. When we got home everyone was in a better mood just because we had been out.

Schedule snack times as well as meal times - seems a bit retentive but gives everyone a break and stops the constant whining for food because they are bored.

Don't know if this is possible for you but I found a kindergym class for dd which had a creche for ds. Your ds would get lots of attention and your dd could have you to herself for a bit. Also wore her out very nicely.

Have tv times. Otherwise tv is on too much. After breakfast, while you're getting ready to go out, and around 4pm, while you're cooking dinner.

Don't give up on the toddler group! Try to leave the kids to play as much as possible while you drink coffee. Start conversations - a child does something cute or funny, you comment on it, ask the other mother how old her child is etc, and it goes from there. Once you have chatted to someone a few times it is perfectly reasonable to ask them to come over for coffee and play. Your dd is at the age when they really start to enjoy playing with their friends. I know it's hard - I am lucky now that I live abroad and expats are unbelievable social animals, but when I lived in UK I went to a toddler group every week and chatted to the others and wonder now why I never invited them over!

Good luck - if you lived near me you could come over tomorrow. smileI have a 3 year old dd who is desperately in need of nursery and who I'm sure would love to play with yours - send her over!

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