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I'm an introvert, DD is highly extrovert, am finding it really hard to be around her. Please help.....very long, started writing and couldn't stop...sorry

(69 Posts)
oneplusone Fri 24-Jul-09 15:23:44

DD is a highly extrovert child. She relishes being the centre of attention, loves everybody watching and listening to her, is bossy but manages to do it in a nice way wrt her peers. She is very sociable, needs constant company, always wants to be with friends. She is 5, nearly 6.

I am an introvert. I exist in my head. I need regular longish periods of time on my own to think as i always have loads going on in my head.

I have concluded that DD and I are incompatible. DD wants my head space, but i need it for myself. The holidays magnify the problem, as of course she is around all day instead of being away for 6 hours a day during the week.

For reasons too long and complicated to go into now, i have no help or support during the holidays ie no grandparents to help out, nor any other family. I don't have that many friends i could call on to give me a break from DD, she has lots of friends at school but most have gone away and are busy with family etc right now.

I am at the end of my tether. I feel depressed, lethargic, disillusioned with motherhood, I am clearly not cut out for it, certainly not to be a mother to DD.

I also have 3 year old DS who is completely different. He is far far less demanding and i find it so much more enjoyable spending time with him. The less attention he demands, the more i want to give him my time and attention. With DD, however much attention i give her, it is never enough, she always wants more until i am drained and exhausted.

I feel i am on the verge of just walking out of the door with my bad and passport and not coming back. DH doesn't understand, although i have talked to him about how i feel. He thinks things will get better when DS starts school and i have time to do what i want/go back to work etc.

But i am not in the least bit optomistic about the future. I can't see how i can go back to work even when DS starts school. I used to have a professional job, i can't go back to that as there are no real part time positions, it's just not that sort of profession.

I just feel like i have sacrificed most of the rest of my life due to having children. Before i had them, or even when they were still very young, i naively thought i could go back to work once they were at school and life would kind of go back to how it was pre-DC's! Just writing that now makes me realise just how clueless i was about what impact having children would have on my whole life.

I feel quite bitter that i was not given the slightest inkling by anybody, none of the books etc etc, about how having DC's essentially means giving up my own life, not just temporarily but forever.

I know theoretically I could put DS into full time day care and go back to work full time, with DD in wrap-around care before and after school. I know a lot of mums do that. But i know i personally couldn't. I would be crippled with guilt and probably as bad as i do now but in a different way.

I am sure this is not a problem i alone face, i know so many of you feel similarly, if not perhaps as bad as i do right now. I have wracked and wracked my brains for some sort of solution that i would feel happy and comfortable with, where the DC's would not be the losers, but I cannot think of one. That is why i think i feel such despair, to the point where i have even thought of suicide as an option. I couldn't do it purely because of the DC's, and yet it is because of the DC's that i feel this way. I'm between a rock and a hard place. There is no way out that i can see.

Has anybody solved this awful dilema?

webwiz Fri 24-Jul-09 16:40:29

Hi oneplusone I couldn't leave your message as your distress comes through clearly. I think you have a lot of things going on at once, your DD is full on, you feel depressed and you're panicking about the future. If you have had suicidal thoughts please talk to your DH again and see your GP for help. If you have a demanding child you need enough mental energy to cope with it or it will grind you down.

My DCs are much older than yours and I can tell you that having children doesn't mean giving up your own life. There are loads of different things you can do in the future but at the moment you are feeling too down to see that. When my youngest DS started school I started doing voluntary work, then that gave me the confidence to take new qualifications and retrain in a completely new area. I am now self employed and am constantly finding new things I want to do. When I was at your stage I don't think I would have even had an inkling that my life would develop in this way. Obviously its not all roses along the way but I'm just trying to show you that this stage will pass.

You do need to get some help though or you won't feel able to put any practical things in place to make your days better. As a quick sticking plaster are there any play schemes/swimming lessons/creches at the shopping centre just to give you a break to get your head together even if its just for an hour?

oneplusone Fri 24-Jul-09 16:53:38

webwiz, hi and thank you. I do need to talk to DH again. I just don't think he gets just how bad I feel. I'm not just a little bit down, I am completely depressed. I don't really want to go to the GP, all they can offer is AD's and a 6 month waiting list to see a psychologist.

But, thank you for telling me how your life has panned out once your DC's started school. I think I am panicking about the future. I have also thought of doing voluntary work. But the charity that I am really interested in is based an hour's travel away and I would feel uncomfortable being that far away in case there was an emergency with one of the DC's, especially as DS is only just 3. DD would be fine if she had to go to a complete stranger's house for a bit until i got there, but not DS.

I know there are lots of charities etc, but there are 1 or 2 I am really interested in as I hope to maybe retrain and try and work in that area once the DC's are older.

But then I think about school holidays, children being sick, etc etc and wonder how i could possibly go to work and also meet the DC's needs as well.

DS will start full time school in Jan 2011 which is such a long way off. I don't think I'm going to last that long. sad

hercules1 Fri 24-Jul-09 16:59:21

I could have written most of your post. Thought I was the only one too. Ds (now 13) was a very easy and fairly quiet child. I wish in many ways I'd have realised how that suited me and stuck with one however when he was 7 we had dd who is different altogether.

SHe is very loud, demanding etc and I am quiet and introverted too. It is difficult. SHe is going to stage coach for a week next week and although I have 6 weeks off too that will be my holiday.

I'm fortunate that I do work full time although I still find the evenings and weekends hard. She does stage coach for an 1hr and a half on Saturdays and that gives me some respite.

I have often considered leaving but like you wouldnt ever.

If it's any consolation ds is now 13 and is rarely at home as he goes out with friends.

I am literally counting down the years to when dd will prefer this.

hercules1 Fri 24-Jul-09 17:01:18

You can go to work before then you know. You need to weigh up your own sanity and how you will cope against their needs.

DD has not suffered in anyway through going to nursery and childminder now. WHilst she has done this I have built up a good career and intend to continue doing so.

I dont know any other solution tbh. It's not the sort of thing you can easily discuss with other parents.

bigstripeytiger Fri 24-Jul-09 17:04:53

If you feel that you cant manage as you are until your DS starts school, then I think you should not feel guilty about nursery for your DS, and wraparound care for your DD.

There are lots of children at my DDs nursery who go full time because their parents work full time, and I cannot see that they are any less happy than my DD who goes part time.

I hope that you manage to find a good way through this.

LyraSilvertongue Fri 24-Jul-09 17:06:40

Could you consider retraining into a profession that would allow you to work part-time?

RubberDuck Fri 24-Jul-09 17:07:48

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I too am an introvert as is ds1, but ds2 is a full-on extrovert. It not only wears me out, but is a source of many rows between ds1 and ds2 as ds1 needs his space and quiet too.

I just wanted to reassure you that it does pass. Ds2 is now 5 and is capable of entertaining himself far more, has interests outside the home and other friends. He can even go disappear up to his room for half an hour and chill out now - something I never thought he would learn to do!!

I've learned coping mechanisms of my own too. Even in the holidays I make sure that I have full-on time with them, then go do something on my own (with earphones on if necessary grin). My ten minute meditation in the morning is sacrosanct and they know to play downstairs and not disturb me during that time, and I know it sounds nuts, but that 10 minutes to myself is a large source of calm for the rest of the day.

Nintendo DS time/TV time is also a godsend when your head is about to explode grin As is borrowing other people's children (oddly, adding more children means your attention is required less and can often mean far less work).

The main thing is, hang in there and take each day at a time. Deep breaths and it won't mentally scar them for life if occasionally you tune them out and go into your happy place (I can be an expert at the nodding and smiling "really? wow" responses that ds2 likes without really requiring me to know what he's talking about or interacting more deeply).

The rest of the issues I know seem insurmountable at the moment, but, if you're like me, they seem insurmountable because you are drained and exhausted. Once you find ways within yourself to refill the well at regular intervals throughout the day, then solutions to the rest will materialise.

AxisofEvil Fri 24-Jul-09 17:11:06

I think you might want to separate the issues out to the extent that you can. Please don't take any of this as an attempt to belittle your problems - I can feel your desperation, much of what you're feeling is normal and I do understand you feel totally overwhelmed but if you're anything like me then the whole thing ends up as a jumbled mess and feels like one giant unsortable problem rather than a number of issues I can tackle in turn. Here's my go for you, based on your lists:

1 - You feel aggreived as to your loss of career

2 - you have no help with the DCs

3 - your daughter wants a lot of attention and you don't feel able to give it to her.

Looked at that way, I'd have said each problem is more manageable than you think. So turning first to 1, are you sure you've investigated options in your profession, even if not exactly what you did before such as teaching in the subject, or alternatively looking to retrain/volunteer. Or what about some further study you could start now that would give you more options later? Even having a plan might make you feel less despondent on this part.

For the second problem would you be able to consider getting in an au pair? This would also help with 3 as there would be someone to help entertain your DD. Or even say a teenage babysitter who could help out with you elsewhere in the house? Have you also considered some part time holiday clubs etc so you're not dealing with her all the time?

piscesmoon Fri 24-Jul-09 17:13:58

It isn't a lot of help to you right now, but looking back it doesn't last long. Now that mine are teenagers they do their own thing and organise things with friends themselves. I provide meals and a taxi service!
For the moment I would enrol her in a holiday scheme and have a few hours free. If the weather is nice I would take them to the park with a picnic and a book-hopefully she will find someone to play with and you can sit and read-or think. Is there any possibility of her going on her own to stay with family or is this completely out of the question/or no family? Have you any neighbours with teenage girls who would like to earn a bit of pocket money playing with her?

OhBling Fri 24-Jul-09 17:21:46

You sound very overwhelmed, not just by the relentlessness of it all, but also by the guilt you are feeling. I agree with Axis that you should try to break the problems down, but I would add one to her list - you need to address the fact that you feel guilty no matter what you do. Wanting time to yourself does not make you a bad mother or person. Settling for a situation where, in the worst case scenario only you would have to let DS go somewhere he wouldn't really enjoy, does not make you a bad person.

It sounds to me that not only are you feeling depressed and frustrated, but also trapped with no options. But I think if you look around (like Axis suggests) you will find there are more options than you think there are. Maybe it's a CM for DD on certain days? Or perhaps it's finding her more activities she can go to where you don't have to participate?

I think that if you have found something an hour away that appeals, you should find ways to make it work, and accept the (small) risk that if something happens, it might take you a little longer to get to where you need to be. If you plan for that, perhaps it will become more manageable?

Is your DH an extrovert too? Perhaps that's also why he doesn't fully understand. I am an introvert and so is DH, but my brother is an extrovert married to an introvert and it can be dificult. He doesn't understand why after a long week she wants to collapse on the couch - he would far rather go soothe his stress with a meal with friends or a drink. They are learning to make accomodations for each other, but it's had some tough moments.

IdrisTheDragon Fri 24-Jul-09 17:35:27

I think the combination of introverts and extroverts is very hard. I am definitely an introvert - I need time and space to myself otherwise I don't function properly.

On the depression side, I have long term depression which I control. I take ADs and have done for some time. When I have been at my lowest ebb, ADs have given me the mental strength to be able to pull myself out of the pit that surrounds me and do something/anything to help myself.

I had a course of CBT last year which really has helped. I found it was better for having waited a bit as when I was at my lowest I'm not sure it would have helped. There is a website called Living life to the full which my counsellor recommended which you might find helpful (I never actually used it properly bur have loomed at it).

My DH is an extrovert and it has taken him time to realise how I do need space from all of them, but he has a better idea now. Can you get your DH to take both children out for a few hours at least at the weekend and at least know you have some space for you?

My rambling are probably not too helpful but wanted to let you know that I understand a little bit.

BonsoirAnna Fri 24-Jul-09 17:46:38

I'm going to ask you a hard question: are you truly an introvert, or do you just have a hard time putting up with less-than-intellectually-demanding behaviour?

I am not an introvert. But I have a very low tolerance threshold for inanity. A lot of childhood is fairly inane, especially if you have a very sociable child.

Othersideofthechannel Fri 24-Jul-09 17:50:42

It's not forever.

She is nearly 6. Soon she will be old enough to understand a toned down version of how you feel.

I don't think I am an introvert but I do like time to think without DS rabbiting on. He is very talkative. He is 6 and a half and I can say to him that I need to do something by myself and listen to my thoughts and he accepts it. I set a kitchen timer and he isn't to disturb me unless it's an emergency. Last time he went to do a crafty thing while I weeded the patio in blissful silence. (DD who is 4 was playing alone in her room, like your DS she just goes off and gets on with stuff without craving other people's company).

fufflebum Fri 24-Jul-09 18:09:55

Hi oneplusone I could have written your post, the main difference being my DD is 4 and my DS is 18 months.

My DD starts talking the minute she wakes up and does not stop ALL day.

I feel so sorry for my DS as he does not get a look in most of the time as she has to be the centre of attention ALL the time.

I completely empahthise with your post regarding working too as I am SAHM and would feel guilty either way.

I know this does not offer you solutions, however, it does let you know you are not alone!

Good luck, I hope that others have some suggestions. I will be watching this thread with interest

Acinonyx Fri 24-Jul-09 19:08:41

I wonder the same as Anna. I don't think of myself as introvert - I'm very sociable and love company - adult company. But I also need a lot of time alone and live quite intensely inside my own head.

My dd is very shy and I find it hard for the same sort of reasons - she needs my constant interaction and attention. If your dd is so extrovert I wouldn't worry about chidcare and clubs - she'd surely love it.

I've been studying PT and hope to get a PT postdoc. So many people have said that's going to be next to impossible but I've talked to the relevant dept heads and I'm confident that they are OK with me going 4 days/week meaning I can have 2 half-days to pick up from school.

I would go totally out of my mind as a SAHM and yes I feel guilty about that but this is the kind of mother I am and we have to find a solution to my needs vs dds.

IIWY I would really look into PT working - there may be possibilities maybe 4 days/week rather than 2-3. Or start retraining and treat that like a PT job and use the appropriate childcare. Even my very shy dd loves her childcare days with her childminder - she has a small group of regular playmates - it's kiddy heaven.

Would your dh really want to be home all the time? Mine used to say he would - until dd actually came along and now he totally gets why I can't take it 24/7 every day.

MickeyD Fri 24-Jul-09 19:51:43

I can completely understand where you are coming from. I went back to work full time when DS was 6 months and DH stayed at home. I think it would have been bad for us both if I'd been a SAHM as I wasn't coping. I feel guilty sometimes when I go to groups with SAHMs but in reality I know it would have been a disaster and I am v grateful to Dh for staying at home. I think he manages to switch off from DS more easily and doesn't feel so bad about letting DS get on with playing while he does his own stuff.
Sorry not to make any helpful suggestions but you're not the only one who feels like you do.

vonsudenfed Sat 25-Jul-09 04:06:54

I meant to answer this earlier and then got distracted by a small child (!).

I completely understand where you are about the time on your own/introversion thing. It's the bit I found hardest about parenthood. I used to spend acres of time on my own, and suddenly am living this life where I am lucky if I get ten minutes in the bath. This isn't some trivial complaint, I've discovered -nearly three years down the line - that if I don't have time on my own, I go mad. I think you need to carve out quite a lot of time in the next six weeks now- a course or something. And then don't spend it doing the washing but either write or read or whatever it is that makes you feel better.

I think the other thing that might help is finding something to do for you, for fun. Not necc career related, but which gives you a sense of achievement. And pleasure. My career is in tatters and probably irretrivable, but I do creative writing, which may never get published, and certainly won't pay the bills, but it keeps me sane (and I send dd to the childminder two mornings a week so that I can do it).

The DDs won't be the losers if you take some time out, they'll be the winners. I'm much nicer to DD for not seeing her twice a week!

And I also agree with everyone else who has said that you need to break the problem down - but I think tackling the solitude thing first may be what helps you to do that.

oneplusone Sat 25-Jul-09 12:53:54

Have just come back to the thread. I went out last night, forced myself as ideally I felt like just going to bed early as I am always so tired (which I actually think is a sign of depression ie wanting to sleep all the time). It did me good to go out. But as soon as I got home, around midnight (have not stayed out that late for literally years), I consciously thought "Oh well, back into my cage after a little taste of freedom for one evening". And that is how I feel. Like I live in a sort of open prison. It looks like I can come and go as i please, but in reality, i am held in by invisible chains ie my commitments to my family.

I am so grateful for all your replies. I only have time right now for a quick read through, but I am so glad (and sad iykwim) that i am not alone in feeling like this. And there are some very insightful points that have been made. I need to come back when i have a bit more time, hopefully this evening and have a proper read through and respond in more detail. I am also going to show DH this thread. Although we have talked a bit and have come up with a few options for me, I still don't seem to feel any better. I haven't just 'snapped out of it' purely by talking to DH. That tells me I am really depressed rather than just a bit down, as normally if i am down, just talking to somebody makes me feel better.

Also, my family problems (as in my parents and siblings) which are far too long and complicated to go into here, i think are having a huge impact on how I am feeling right now. Essentially i feel totally alone, i have no family support whatsoever, not just in a practical way, but no moral or emotional support, and I think that is partly why i feel so overwhelmed. I need help but don't know where to turn. DH works long hours in a demanding job and he does what he can to help me but it's not enough. My cleaner occasionally doubles up as a childminder for me, but she's not always free when i need her.

I have felt very upset at thought that during the school holidays so many of the other mums that i know are going off to stay with their parents for a while. I can't do that. I feel like a child at boarding school who is fine during term time, but when it's the holidays, all her peers go off home to their parents, and I am left alone at the school because i have no family to go to. I know this may not seem to be directly related to the problems i have already talked about re going back to work and DD's extrovert personality. But i feel i could cope with it all so much better if, every now and then, mostly during school holidays, i could go somewhere and just be able to flop, and be looked after myself, share the looking after of the DC's and just re-charge my batteries. But i don't have that. I just have to carry on regardless and i feel burnt out and resentful that nobody seems to understand or even care how i feel. I feel that DH won't take any real notice unless i do something drastic like literally walking out and staying away for a few days. Because i am just here day after day, plodding on but feeling dead and desperate inside, he doesn't think things are that bad for me.

Sorry, i have to go now, but will be back later, i really want to respond to some points that have been made. I am kind of amazed that other people feel the way i do and seem to understand me, i honestly felt it was just me.

GrendelsMum Sat 25-Jul-09 20:59:38

Just wanted to say that approx 6 months ago, I was posting something not dissimilar to you, except that I truly felt at times that my DH was in a conspiracy to make me kill myself through having children. ADs and waiting for counselling for 6 months are not necessarily a bad option. I was very reluctant to do this, and it has worked out extremely well for me. The ADs had a very quick effect - initially made me super-energetic and perky (loved it, it was such fun), and now has settled down into being normal for me, without morbid fantasies. No difficulty in giving them up again - I'm stopping at the end of next week, but have previously forgotten to take them for a few days without any issues. The counselling has been difficult and irritating, but actually seems to have worked well.

It also may be that your DH's job with it's long hours isn't actually suitable for your family life now. Perhaps you need to consider together whether he should start thinking about how his job and family life should be relating to each other.

Hugs to you.

Podrick Sat 25-Jul-09 21:08:14

What about sending your dd to a holiday club. There are loads available. If cost is a problem then churches often run ultra cheap schemes for £1 for a morning. In my area there are also a choice of several council run outdoor play sessions each day of the hols which are free.

Having no back up / time for yourself is very gruelling and I think you need to think about how you can create this for yourself without having parents around to help.

oneplusone Sun 26-Jul-09 20:43:31

Sorry did not manage to log on last night, was very tired so went to bed (but couldn't sleep, as usual). Have also been busy today, and again not much time right now.

I think subconsciously i am stopping myself from booking DD into a holiday club (there is one run by her school) because after chatting to some of the other mums, it seems hardly any of them are sending their kids to the holiday club. And so i tell myself that if they can manage without doing that then i should be able to as well, and if not I am clearly a complete failure as a mother. Rationally i know this is actually ridiculous as i am sure most of these other mums have other sort of help in the holidays ie grandparents etc where i have none and also they are probably better able to cope as they don't have all my other issues to deal with as well.

And i feel guilty at DD having to go to holiday club because through no fault of her own she has a mother who for various reasons cannot cope on her own in the holidays. Feelings of guilt and failure are always there with me. I am always comparing myself to other mums and feeling a failure. And i know those other mums have not had the sort of problems i have had to cope with and probably have a lot of help that i do not. But i still cannot seem to shake off the feeling that i am not as good as the other mums and i am trying to keep up with them but i can't manage it and then feel even more of a failure. How do i get out of this way of thinking? To me, putting DD into a holiday club when i am not even working feels like i am failing and inadequate as a mother. If DD herself wanted to go i would happily put her in but she has in the past been very upset at the idea of going to the holiday club so i feel even worse at making her go somewhere i know she doesn't want to go to.

I have booked a drama workshopo that she will be going to every afternoon next week so i feel a bit better about that, but i have nothing planned for the week after. Perhaps i will look into something that i think she might enjoy.

Sorry have to go now, back later.

oneplusone Sun 26-Jul-09 20:43:39

Sorry did not manage to log on last night, was very tired so went to bed (but couldn't sleep, as usual). Have also been busy today, and again not much time right now.

I think subconsciously i am stopping myself from booking DD into a holiday club (there is one run by her school) because after chatting to some of the other mums, it seems hardly any of them are sending their kids to the holiday club. And so i tell myself that if they can manage without doing that then i should be able to as well, and if not I am clearly a complete failure as a mother. Rationally i know this is actually ridiculous as i am sure most of these other mums have other sort of help in the holidays ie grandparents etc where i have none and also they are probably better able to cope as they don't have all my other issues to deal with as well.

And i feel guilty at DD having to go to holiday club because through no fault of her own she has a mother who for various reasons cannot cope on her own in the holidays. Feelings of guilt and failure are always there with me. I am always comparing myself to other mums and feeling a failure. And i know those other mums have not had the sort of problems i have had to cope with and probably have a lot of help that i do not. But i still cannot seem to shake off the feeling that i am not as good as the other mums and i am trying to keep up with them but i can't manage it and then feel even more of a failure. How do i get out of this way of thinking? To me, putting DD into a holiday club when i am not even working feels like i am failing and inadequate as a mother. If DD herself wanted to go i would happily put her in but she has in the past been very upset at the idea of going to the holiday club so i feel even worse at making her go somewhere i know she doesn't want to go to.

I have booked a drama workshopo that she will be going to every afternoon next week so i feel a bit better about that, but i have nothing planned for the week after. Perhaps i will look into something that i think she might enjoy.

Sorry have to go now, back later.

Acinonyx Sun 26-Jul-09 21:05:16

I do have some idea about the giult you are feeling. I get up in the morning with dd and think - now today I am going to engage with dd all day, cheerfully, and be a better mummy. And it never works like that. After an hour or two I get that restles, caged feeling - I just really don't want to play anymore - I just want to read in peace.

I feel very bad about it. We also have no family at all - no grandparents, no cousins. Friends with children of a similar age are my life line.

I guess there are many different kinds of mothers out there. I think of all the mothers I know irl, I have the biggest problem of this kind, although quite a few have soem of the same issues (which is why we hang out during the week). I've noticed a few mners who say they prefer to work at least part-time for this reason and that helps.

For me it's not so much feeling a failure so much as feeling guilty - how can I have this precious adorable child and not love being with her every minute?

bigstripeytiger Sun 26-Jul-09 21:11:55

Maybe your DD might enjoy the holiday club?
My DD has chosen to go in to her holiday club on some days when I didnt need her to, because she wanted to go and spend time with her friends. That put any guilt I was feeling about her needing to go to the club into perspective.

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