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Have children spoilt my marriage - will it get better?

(18 Posts)
whatalongday Mon 28-Sep-09 13:29:31

I have a 4mo and a 19 mo and the last year and half have been pretty hard. I feel that our marriage has been seriously affected and want some reassurance that things will get better. We had niggles as everyone does but children has given lots of reasons to find fault - a lot of it on my side, DH just doesn't attend to things as well as I would like. I am now worried as he is obssessed with DD1 and worry that he will never give DD2 a chance (I was most upset at birth of DD2 that DH and MIL were not bothered and didn't phone SIL on the day and she thought something was wrong with baby - it was like both of them were so what). I am obviously tired and suffering from sleep deprivation and a lack of time to do anything for myself and for us to do things together. I know I overanalyse and read too much into things (got peed off when DH said I needed to get back on track with DD1 - as if I haven't been looking after her for the last 4.5 months). I want to calm down and take everyday as it comes and want people to tell me that you do survive these first few years.

I am trying to get DD2 sleeping through the night (well 12-5am would be good) and DD1 may go to a nursery 2 mornings a week so all of that may help by xmas.

Just sometimes feel quite down about everything - feel I don't exist anymore as me - PIL say "look after the children" - don't feel anyone gives a toss about looking after me.

sandyballs Mon 28-Sep-09 13:38:23

Don't be too hard on yourself, small children are incredibly stressful and you have had two very close together. No wonder the last 18 months have been hard. Is there any chance you can get out with Dh for a meal or a night out? Very important in my experience to at least attempt this now and then and talk about other things.

I do feel for you, I have twin girls and I look back on the first two years and wonder how me and dh stayed together. It will get better. Much much better, just hang in there and keep talking to each other.

sandyballs Mon 28-Sep-09 13:39:22

Meant to add that tiny babies are a bit scary and dull to most men, I'm sure you DH will be just as obsessed with DD2 when she is a bit older.

whatalongday Mon 28-Sep-09 13:56:10

Thank you - I know it's not new when I say I feel I am on a treadmill and there is a relentless grind to the days. We are able to get out occasionally - maybe once every 2-3 months. We don't have family or close friends nearby so that does not help. I know I whinge too much (have got to the stage where I know I need to stop saying to DH how I feel). I did say something to him about favouring DD1 and he does acknowledge it and says it will get better - I know I must not say it again as it will come true if I keep hammering it home.
I am irritable and find offence in everything that is said and as DH said "you don't do light anymore" I feel a miserable, nagging woman who goes on about petty things - I am trying by xmas to get DD2 sleeping through, weaned, off BF and onto formula and sleeping in with DD1 and that is all a big deal and DH says "relax, don't get anxious about everything" but he doesn't understand that the reason things go quite smoothly is that I have got things under control, I do have a routine and I am constantly monitoring it to keep my stress levels down and the children on an even keel.

Acanthus Mon 28-Sep-09 14:03:02

It gets easier, honestly. You are in a very hard stage with a very close gap between children. Everything will get better. Let the housework slide for a bit, get as much rest as you can, cook simple meals, get help.

It's a stage and it will pass.

sandyballs Mon 28-Sep-09 14:07:50

Having the close age gap will reap its rewards in a couple of years.

One thing from reading your last post - i completely understand your need for routine and control as I was exactly the same, still am to a certain extent. I felt if I relinquished any control then everything would go to pot (DH is very chilled about everything!). But I gradually realised that this wasn't the case and for the sake of family life I did try and chill a bit more and go with the flow. Don't set yourself those kind of targets (xmas for sleeping through, weaned etc), as it can add to your stress levels if this isn't achieved.

Easier said than done I know if that's is your basic nature.

Littlefish Mon 28-Sep-09 14:12:03

You sound very stressed by your plan to get dd2 "sleeping through, weaned, off BF and onto formula and sleeping in with DD1" by Christmas. Why have you set yourself this deadline? It sounds like a recipe for self-imposed stress.

Have you spoken to your GP about your need to be in control of things, and the way that you feel if you are not in control?

When I have felt like this in the past, I was suffering from depression. I felt that the only way I could function was to keep control of everything. However, when things didn't then run smoothly, I found it incredibly stressful.

You will survive, but I do think that you need to go and see your GP and explore the possibility that you are suffering from post-natal depression.

Good luck smile

hattyyellow Mon 28-Sep-09 14:43:44

It may not be your cup of tea but are you going to any mother and toddler groups? I find sometimes just the reassurance of other mothers can help enormously - you don't feel so isolated as if you are the only one feeling frustrated and struggling.

My DH gets a lot of things but a lot of things he doesn't get as well - I think sometimes you need the company of other hormonal knackered women to really understand where you're coming from.

Sleep deprivation is sooooo hard. I got obsessed with all my DD's sleeping and I enjoyed them all a lot more once they started giving themselves and me some solid chunks of sleep. I love all my girls passionately but was delighted when they could move out of my room and I did so before 6 months with all.

I think you need to get even an hour to yourself at the weekend - even if DH sticks the older one in front of ceebeebies just go and walk down the road and sit down for a bit and switch off.

I massively empathise with the need for control and things will seem more in control again soon - you need to try and live in the moment (says she who is rubbish at doing so!).

Really hope things get better for you soon. It's hard for everyone when babies are small, people just don't talk about it enough - it's easy to think you're the only ones struggling - I know we often do.

inthesticks Mon 28-Sep-09 15:05:20

The year you have the second baby with a toddler is IMO the hardest ever but I promise you it gets easier.

hattyyellow Mon 28-Sep-09 15:34:51

When you say you can only get out every 2-3 months do you mean as a family? Do you manage to get out much during the week with the kids? I only say this because I find it keeps me sane to get out as much as possible - do you have double pram or could you borrow one?

Even a trip down to the shops can break up the day significantly - I remember getting really excited somedays when my twins were tiny and I had a health visitor appointment! Dear me, it is a hard phase at times!

whensmydayoff Tue 29-Sep-09 08:36:53

I had been with my husband 13 years before DS was born. We were very close, soul mates, best friends (puke) and I felt that all ebbed away after DS was born. It really got me down at times. I even felt I just didn't feel the same about him. Babies are 24/7. They occupy your every waking minute and thoughts and getting time for each other - ha! Even if you do get a babysitter - you can't be arsed!
My DS is 2.4 now and Id say I love my DH more than ever. We are just as close if not closer and get on so much better again. Reason is, a 2.4 year old is miles easier than a 19 month old and quantum years away from a 4 month old. Life is getting back to normal and easier, less stress, more sleep and more time and fun with each other and DS.
Im now 26 weeks PG with DC 2 so I know this time things will be strained again but at least I know it's temporary and not to let it bother me as much. Hope that helps you too. x

Fizzylemonade Tue 29-Sep-09 12:21:52

When they are under 3 it is very stressful. Mine are now 6 and 3 and I have only had help in the last 2 years which is my Mum coming over 1 day a week and helping me out. I am a SAHM so everything is about the children.

She babysits in the evening so I get to go out with DH, bliss.

Do you see any other parent/human being apart from the check out person at the supermarket? grin I found it hard going until ds1 started preschool aged 3. Then I met other Mums and my life became easier just by having friends. We had moved 100 miles when ds1 was a baby so I found it harder to make friends as everyone already had their little of group of friends and to be fair they weren't very welcoming.

It is easy to let the day to day crap get on top of you, been there, done that.

Don't set yourself deadlines like Christmas, concentrate on the stuff you would like to change the most and do it one at a time. Start with stuff that you can control just to give yourself some success. So sleeping through etc would be further down on my list.

Try to go to bed earlier yourself, then you might get a decent chunk of sleep before you are woken up.

I did babywhisperer, ds2 was 14 months and had been sleeping on me in the day. He had been poorly as a baby with reflux so slept upright on me, I broke his habit in 2 days.

whatalongday Tue 29-Sep-09 14:00:45

Thank you for all your posts - I need to know that it is a phase. I do see people - we moved here about a year ago -indeed - we have moved 5 times in the last 8 yrs so I miss having really long term people around. All the women I see are recent 'friends' and we only talk about children - and I feel I whinge too much to them. Unfortunately DH and I have not made joint friends so we don't see people at the weekends. We do go out into the park and stuff altogether and that is getting easier with baby doing less crying.

So I am not lonely as such in that there are people around - I find the toddler groups too stressful ow with 2 children to watch but maybe 2 mornings a week I see one or other of the women I know.

I do feel safer in my routine - feel that things are under control as I find crying babies and toddlers hard to deal with.

MmeLindt Tue 29-Sep-09 14:06:34

Ah, that is a small age gap and the first year is going to be hard. But it does get better.

Do try and get out of the house and try not to get too caught up in being a mummy that you forget to be yourself.

Do you get out alone occasionally? Even for a glass of wine with a friend? I find it important that I have something else other than the DC to talk about with DH.

My two are now 5yo and 7yo and from the time that my youngest was about a year it got better and better.

They play really well together (when they are not knocking each other's heads off, but that is just siblings for you). It does get better. I promise.

whatalongday Tue 06-Oct-09 14:17:42

Thank you for the posts. We do go out as a family at the weekends if only a walk to the park but there are then other things to do, shopping etc and baby is still feeding a reasonable amount. I guess some of the problem is that my husband and I just don't cooperate very well and there is some resentment on both sides as to how things have been in the last 18mo - I feel he has mocked me for wanting routine and being concerned about safety and trying to do things well and he has not read any books and knows nothing about small children and has just assumed he knows the right thing to do. I am sure he has resented me criticising him and making him feel like he is not a very good parent. I sometimes feel that he is only happy to see DD1 and not much bothered about seeing me or DD2 and I am oversensitive to the silly things he does - he came back from work last night just in time to kiss DD1 goodnight and when he was cuddling her she appeared to be pushing me away (I was standing next to them) and she laughed and he laughed. When we were out the other day she wanted to hold my hand and he said "oh so I am not wanted now" a couple of times -like a lovesick teenager and it really irritates me. We don't cooperate very well and though we are not rowing (been through that stage) there is lowlevel irritation and just not very loving. It is not so much that we have different parenting styles but there is no sense of cooperation between us.

leolantern Tue 06-Oct-09 14:22:55

When dcs are small it can be very tough. I have 2.5 years between 2 ds and DH was like this too he would dote on ds1 but pretty much ignore ds2. When I asked him why it was just that ds1 could do so much more than ds2. It got better as ds2 got older and now they both get equal amounts of dh's attention and our marriage is much better too.

ABetaDad Tue 06-Oct-09 15:01:27

whatalongday - having two childen that close together is incredily tough. Looking after our two at that age is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and DW was sharing the load.

One thing that rings out from your posts and also from other SAHMs is that they often do not feel they can 'trust' DH to do things right. Yoo talk of different parenting styles and feeling you have to stay in control of everything.

I wonder how much you actually would let DH do?

Would you for example be willing to let him look after DD1 and DD2 for an afternoon and just go and pamper yourself. How much of the tasks at home would you really be willing to relinquish? Would you let him do all the grocery shoppng online and plan the meals for a week? Would you really be willing to say nothing and just let him get on with it witout hovering in the background and instructing him?

DW and I have older children now (9 and 7), it does get better. We too are not very compatible (both with very strong wills) when doing jobs. We resolved this by splitting the jobs and childcare and promising not to interfere or criticise unless it was a life threatening or injury inducing situation.

Would that work for you? Your DH's comment "oh so I am not wanted now" is perhaps a kind of half hearted 'jokey' attempt at saying he feels pushed away and wants to be more involved. I suspect a lot of Dads who go out to work just kind of give up trying to be involved in the end when a SAHM runs and controls everything in the home.

Finally, letting the ironing, cleaning, washing just hang for an hour or two on just one evening a week without mentally ticking off what is still left to do should let you and DH have a bit of time to talk and reconnect.

JohnnieBodenAteMyHamster Tue 06-Oct-09 15:17:46

BetaDad, yours seems to be a very sensible post. Having a toddler and a baby is very, very hard - and even more so if both parents aren't 100 per cent in agreement about how to look after them.

I am a SAHM, and I do feel exactly as BetaDad describes - that DH can't be 'trusted' to do it right. I think it's an absolute fact; he thinks it's highly insulting of me (and I can see why he thinks this!) I am also very keen to maintain control over existence generally. For us, the best solution is for the one parent to do it his/her way while the other one does something completely different. It's not entirely consistent, but it is on the whole better than one apparently looking after the children while the other one's hanging around in the background saying: "aren't you going to stop DS doing x,y, or z?" (Ours are older now - 5 and 7 - so this is of course less immediately relevant to you, whatalongday).

One thing I noticed in your post is that your DH hasn't 'read any books' [about children]. I have to say I have never read a single book on parenting/children - but I don't feel that this disqualifies me from looking after them.

To look on the positive side, it's lovely for everyone that your DH is so besotted by your DD1. He'll undoubtedly be equally keen on your DD2 once she's less of a dependent baby. Some people aren't that keen on babies, even their own - but become more keen as the babies become more interesting.

As I say, this phase is very, very hard. It does get better, though. Honestly!! My DH and I are not 'the same' as we were before having the DCs, but we have thus far negotiated ways to weather the gloom/disagreements about the DCs, and to accommodate one another's exhaustion.

I did find that getting out and taking the DCs to NCT coffee mornings was a big help to me. I didn't do it with DS, and only started when DD was born - but it was marvellous (contrary to all my expectations/prejudices). It was so nice to meet other women who were all largely going through similar things, and I even met some people whom I'd have liked regardless of having children the same ages as theirs!

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