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I feel like a useless mother

(13 Posts)
AnotherRegularPoster Thu 13-Aug-09 14:44:10

My DD is 6 and obviously off school for the holidays at the moment. But I am struggling so much with her. I have noticed I am getting really snappy with her and dealing with things in a way I wouldn't usually, such as shouting. I feel really terrible, DD is an only child, I am on my own and have no one I can ask to help me such as family. I don't have many friends, in fact I only really have one around here. DD's friends are on holiday or too busy to be seen.

I have not been sleeping well, and struggling to muster the energy to even do anything. DD has started wetting herself since just before the end of the summer holidays. I thought this was just nerves due to moving up a year in September but it hasn't stopped. It's during the day and during the night. I wonder if my behaviour is due to this.

I want to be able to do more stuff for her and with her! I want to be able to say "yes let's go park/play/etc" but I have to really force myself to do it.

I don't know what to do, I feel really crap about myself. I have been trying to make more effort since I've realised this, but it's such a struggle. Can anyone recommend or suggest something that I could try to either increase my stamina (if that's the right part of me) or something just to help me be a better mum, and not to make DD feel like she has to just play on her own

wheresmypaddle Thu 13-Aug-09 15:37:42

Hi there, I don't really have much great advice for you but just wanted to say I'm sorry you are finding things tough at the moment you are not a useless mother at all- if you were you wouldn't feel a bad about this situation.

My DS is only 2 so I can't exactly relate to your situation but I know that during periods when I've several days in a row of no help or support I begin to feel fed up. I feel sure that having little support or friends to turn to is contributing to you feeling a little down.

Can you think of any ways you could get a break or some more support - could your friend help? Sorry if this seems rude but is there no one in your family who could help out- I find I sometimes my family only help if I ask. it can feel like begging sometimes but its not, sometimes people don't realise you need some help or company unless you ask.

Are there any activities you could do together? I find that a 'structured' activity at a specific time gets us out of the house and once done I feel like I have achieved something.

I hope someone else comes up with a more helpful solution- you are not alone in this lots of people feel the same way.

Klaw Thu 13-Aug-09 15:56:12

You're not useless, just needing support. I know EXACTLY how you feel, and I won't be the only one.

Go to the GP and get checked out, sounds like you are depressed and could do with help. It doesn't have to be antidepresants, you can get Exercise by GP referral, talking tharapies and I think most areas should have family support through Sure Start, I've had a period where a volunteer came once a week to chat and keep me company.

Keep talking here, so you know you're not alone. Maybe there will be other MNers in your area who you could arrange playdates with?

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 13-Aug-09 16:24:05

Sorry you are having such a tough time.

I have a 6 yr old dd and although I've had a really, really great holiday this year which has sped past, I had a dreadful time last summer (no holidays - dh away - endless rain - no support or family or friends around and it seemed endless) so I can really, really sympathise.

I think parenting an only child can be very intense - it's one on one all the time - and if you don't have any respite it can be difficult ... I'm sure, as social creatures, we were not designed to be in our individual, isolated boxes raising our dc alone...

Not sleeping, having no energy and having to force yourself to do things are classic symptoms of depression. Could you face going to your doctor and trying to get some help (either medication and/or counselling)? Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed - depression is an illness and effects thousands ...it's not about trying harder or increasing your stamina ...it's about getting some support and help for yourself. If YOU are happier and more fulfilled the rest will follow ....(believe me - I have been there).

Try and be a bit kinder to yourself! You are not a crap mother! Could you afford a baby-sitter to allow you to do something you enjoy? Even one hour a week makes a difference.

Agree with Wheresmypaddle about structuring an activity most mornings. DD can settle and play happily by herself for a bit as long as we have been out/ done something together first. But schedule something for yourself too during the evenings when dd is in bed. I've borrowed DVD box sets of my favourite tv series this summer from the library and watched one every night. It's nothing major but it's made a difference as it is "my" treat.

Although I enjoy my own space I find that childcare is alot easier when shared from time to time. How about advertising locally for a play mate for your dd? You can keep it casual and meet the other mum and her dd for a coffee somewhere child-friendly and take it from there. If you click with someone that would be great, if you don't, nothing has been lost and you can try again.

Lastly, am no expert, but I doubt very much that your dd's problems staying dry would be related to your mood swings unless they are much more severe than you have posted here (and you sound as if you are being far too hard on yourself tbh - not the reverse). Could she have a urinary infection? Have you taken her to the doctor? You could kill two birds with one stone and ask for a double appointment for yourself as well.

Good luck x

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 13-Aug-09 16:26:49

Good idea from Klaw about finding another Mmsnetter locally ...even if meeting up is the very last thing you feel like doing right now ... you will feel better afterwards (promise!!) smile

AnotherRegularPoster Thu 13-Aug-09 19:11:46

Thanks for your posts.

I have been depressed before, was really hoping I had overcome that. I don't speak to my family as we have really bad relationship, which was one of the reasons for my depression before.

The structured activities sounds good. I will have to think about that.

I will try to go to the doctors, and hadn't thought of that CTGH. Will ask my GP about DD. It has been going on for a long time. I've tried everything I could think of, almost considering getting those bedtime nappies they do for 4-7year olds though DD is horrified by the idea of wearing nappies again.

I hadn't thought of seeing if anyone lives nearby. I do feel very isolated here, I have hardly any friends, and the one I do have has been very good to me. She was round last night and I'm seeing her again on Friday.

I've just been worried that my short fuse with her at the moment, like being snappy and shouting at her when usually I wouldn't, makes me feel like my mum. We have a horrid relationship, and I really would hate if me and DD ended up anything like that. I love her very much and know I should be doing more, so hopefully I can take these ideas on board and do something about it.

Klaw Thu 13-Aug-09 19:17:49

Be aware that premenstrual times are more likely to give you a short fuse and also the few days before you ovulate can also make you very short tempered!

I have found that becoming more in tune with myself allows me to deal more effectively with my own temper. Looking after YOU will enable you to be a 'better' mother. Now is actually the time to be very selfish! You can't look after your daughter so well if you need looked after.

So, lets find a way to help you there. It's great that you do have a friend who is there for you. Let her know that you appreciate it, and make the most of her grin

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 14-Aug-09 10:13:20

ANP - it's obvious how much you love your child - you are not a crap mother - and it's great you are taking initiatives to change your situation.

Your friend sounds lovely btw - I hope you have a good time with her today.

Good to know also that you are going to approach doc. If your dd's night-time accidents are waking you up then that will effect both your moods adversely.

BTW, I could have written your last paragraph myself so I can really sympathise. My ma was not exactly "mother of the year" - not all bad - but her child-rearing was very much in the mould of "you have to show a child's whose boss" - "you must break a child's will" - and it was all about outside appearances which didn't really tally with what went on day to day. As a result our relationship is quite poor and I am trying to do things very differently. It's so hard though because under stress I do still occasionally resort to my mother's "default" parenting ie shouting and ranting and I hate myself for it and worry that it will effect dd.

Sorry for the essay! Just writing all this down because I want you to know it IS possible to head things off at the pass before habits become too entrenched but you need to get lots of support for yourself.

Good luck x

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 14-Aug-09 10:16:17

Have just re-read the post above and it sounds a bit smug. Sorry. Didn't mean it that way! Just wanted to say it's still a situation I am actively having to work on and I'm sure it will continue to be. And progress isn't all upward - there are good and bad days - but it is greatly improved than before. Tbh, alot of it was that I just didn't know how to parent because my ma was such a poor role model.

Take care x

AnotherRegularPoster Fri 14-Aug-09 16:15:11

CTGH, that didn't sound smug in the slightest. I appreciate you sharing that with me. I think my family have still been affecting me lately. I reported my sister to Benefit Fraud as she has been claiming tax credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit as a single parent though her partner lives with her. She spends ridiculous amounts of money on stuff not needed and expects my parents to bail her out. It really pisses me off, so me reporting her is something I don't regret considering how much I have struggled in the past.

Klaw, I hadn't thought of that. I am due so that could be a factor. Will have to be more aware of those!

And thank you. I'm looking forward to seeing her. We've been helping each other out a lot recently, so I'm glad it doesn't feel like it's just me piling all my problems on her.

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 14-Aug-09 19:36:33

How strange! Are you my doppelganger AnotherRegP? I also have a spend-thrift sister whom we all bail out from time to time and just recently dh and decided that we wouldn't do it any more ...it's a terribly stressful situation so have some inkling of how you are feeling ....

And I recently was in the position to help out a friend who is feeling pretty miserable and usually it's the other way around ...

[Cue wierd floaty music they use in sci-fi films to indicate mystery ....grin]

Klaw Fri 14-Aug-09 20:32:07

Today, my patience levels on a scale of 1 to 10 are -50!!! blush

Yes there are bad days, but there will be good days too....

wheresmypaddle Mon 17-Aug-09 12:13:14

Hi there, Anotherregularposter just wanted to say hi and ask how you are doing after the weekend? If you have decided to make an appt with your doctor I hope it goes well.

Sounds like you have a lot to deal with with your family and the combination of having your sister uppermost in your thoughts and your having so much one-on-one time with your DD over the holidays without any respite has caused you to feel down- as so many mumsnetters have said it is tough parenting on your own.

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