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Are mothers entitled to 'time to themselves'? Or is it just blatantly selfish?

(43 Posts)
Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:06:43

I have a 2.5yo dd, who is the light of my life (goes without saying), and am 29 weeks pg with ds. I am craving some time to myself, just to sit, read, watch TV, maybe have a bath. On my own. I wouldn't describe dd as clingy necessarily, but she is the type of child who follows me around the house.

I work 4 days a week, which involves a 2 hour daily commute. To be blunt, I am absolutely knackered. Dd has slept through three times in her life, and I have spent four nights in total away from her. She has co-slept with me and dh since she was 4mo, more by accident than choice.

But every time I mention that I might ask dh to take her to his parents for a weekend, my mum shoots me a dirty look or makes a comment along the lines of, "She'll be crying for you", which obviously makes me feel guilty and thus it has never happened.

I definitely take too much notice of my mum, but I do know that when I was dd's age, I spent every Friday and Saturday night with my grandparents. My mum will deny this now, but my dad has assured me this was the case.

So, am I being completely selfish and neglectful? Do I have a right to some time to myself?

NoBiggy Fri 16-Oct-09 11:08:13

Of course you bloody do!

What's your mother like, for goodness sake?

NoBiggy Fri 16-Oct-09 11:08:14

Of course you bloody do!

What's your mother like, for goodness sake?

WinkyWinkola Fri 16-Oct-09 11:09:38

Noooooo way are you selfish to want some time to yourself. I think everybody does.

Trouble is, will you be able to enjoy any time if you think your dd will be howling for you?

Could you start gradually by leaving her for an hour or two with her gps? Then build up to a night. A whole night is a big step but it could be managed.

I feel for you as I really need time alone too. I do love my dcs but I can't spend all my time with anyone every day all day. It's normal to feel suffocated.

Work out a plan about scheduling in some time apart from your dd. She'll soon understand that you're always coming back for her.

sfxmum Fri 16-Oct-09 11:10:33

Everyone needs time for themselves in order to stay sane and besides your child would be with her father it is not like you would be shipping her out to boarding school at 2

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:11:21

Winky - I think because I'm not a SAHM, my mum thinks that work is 'my time'. Which clearly, is not the case.

I think the whole issue is compounded by the fact that she doesn't sleep through, so I feel like whenever she is with me, she is attached to me, so to speak.

paddingtonbear1 Fri 16-Oct-09 11:12:05

of course you do - it's not selfish at all. Would dh be happy to take her to his parents? If so take no notice of your mum (easy to say I know). On occasion my dh has done this, if I had something arranged say a night out with my best friend.

OrmIrian Fri 16-Oct-09 11:12:42

It's not a question of entitlement. It's just essential. In my case, for example, having time to myself is probably the one thing that stops me taking an axe to my beloved family <manic laughter>


ShowOfHands Fri 16-Oct-09 11:13:04

Oh PJ.

Oh my lovely.

Here's what you do. You stop mentioning it to your Mum. You ask dh. Job done.

L will miss you, of course she will but she's spent time away before, she'll be busy with her grandparents and daddy and if she's truly upset then she can come home. She'd love it. DH will be there and you need a break.

Come here for a weekend. I'll look after you. I have chocolate. You can educate me in all things trash American tv.

leolantern Fri 16-Oct-09 11:13:28

of course you are entitled to some "me" time. After all you are a human being too not just a mummy. I think you need to ignore you mum and tell your dh how you are feeling and then decide if you need a whole day with just you or just a few hours a couple of times a week and make it happen. Don't feel guilty about it because if you are relaxed and happy your dd will be happier for it too.
Kids are Knackering business espcially when pg so be kind to yourself, you deserve it!

brimfull Fri 16-Oct-09 11:13:57

Can your mum have her?

Of course you need sanity time ,I'm knackered just reading your post .

I am going away this weekend to visit friend -no kids allowed. Dh and I take it in turns about twice a year at least.

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:14:10

Dh is more than happy to do it, he feels my behaviour borders on martyrdom, and tells me often enough. He does get lots of time off, so to speak, lots of nights out, weekends away etc, and is even going to the World Cup for 2 weeks next year.

But because I'm the mother, somehow it's neglectful if I want to do the same. Not the World Cup, mind <yawn>

angel1976 Fri 16-Oct-09 11:16:10

You DEFINITELY have a right to some time to myself. Ignore your mum!

I have a 20-month-old DS who is hard work, very active and loves being on the go. I wouldn't have him any other way. Love him to death! Am now 37 weeks pregnant with DS2. Meant to finish work this week but stopped last week as have a 1.5 hour commute each way and it was frankly killing me.

DS is still going to nursery for 4 days a week and will be doing so till December so that I now have a few weeks to sort out the house and relax and a month to get used to baby on my own before dropping the number of days he goes to nursery.

Also, my inlaws have been literally begging to have DS overnight since birth but I haven't agreed as I have felt he is too young. He is now at the age where I can see he adores his grandparents and sleeps through with no problem in their house so am considering letting him have the odd overnighter there without us.

I have to admit since I stopped work (only been a week!), I have felt slightly guilt about DS being in nursery while I am at home BUT he loves going to 'school' and it gives me some time to myself. My DH has encouraged me to give up work early and to keep DS in nursery so I can have time to myself for a bit as I do realise that once we have two, it will be a while before either of us gets a chance to relax completely! Am also going to book myself for a 'pamper' treatment next week once I have sorted out all the baby stuff. Tell your mum to keep her nose out unless she wants to have your DD for a while while you have a much-needed rest? grin

NoBiggy Fri 16-Oct-09 11:16:19

Oh, I've had that. Used to to be out working/commuting 11-12 hours a day, then felt I had to spend time with the DDs, so denied myself things like a swim, or a visit to a friend or a shopping trip.

Wasn't good, I suffered, my work suffered, I guess the children suffered as well.

You need time to get your head straight, and to be "off duty", to be responsible for just yourself from time to time.

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:16:28

SOH - but look at someone like LG&T - she never gets a break - you never hear her whinging.

overmydeadbody Fri 16-Oct-09 11:18:47

Of course mums need time for themselves.

Just because you are a mum doesn't mean you stop being a person in your own right, a woman, a human being.

Your mum is not being very supportive.

Mothers shouldn';t have to dedicate their entire beings to their offspring. How would that be healthy?

And what is wrong with being selfish? Nothiong. Selfish is not the same thing as neglectful.

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:24:31

NoBiggy - that's exactly it, just some time to just be responsible for myself.

OMDB - It's interesting because to a certain extent, my mum has completely rewritten history with regards to my childhood. She had me very young, and I think she does feel that she dedicated her life to me, which I don't feel is healthy. She also went through a rebellious phase when she hit 40 and started clubbing all the time. I remember her telling me she felt like she'd missed out. So that's not good either! She won't have dd overnight as she suffers from migraine, and is worried that she wouldn't get a good night's sleep. The way that she plays with dd, well, she wasn't like that with me! But in her mind, in her memory, she was.

PuppyMonkey Fri 16-Oct-09 11:28:07

Yes it is very selfish. Now get off MN the lot of you. grin

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:28:41


teameric Fri 16-Oct-09 11:29:08

Of course it's not selfish, Mums need a bit of "me" time otherwise we'd all go mental!
Totally agree with what overmydeadbody said about being a person in your own right too.
I'm lucky that my Mum is very supportive and has the kids to give me a break (she understands cos I used to stay at my Nans house every friday so my Mum and Dad could have a bit of time to themselves )

ShowOfHands Fri 16-Oct-09 11:30:06

PJ, I love and respect ginny enormously, she's one of my most favourite people in the world but while she doesn't whinge, she does have a breaking point and has been too close to it at times. You know what she'd tell you, that you take a break before it gets too much and then she would roundly ignore her own advice.

Why doesn't M take L for an afternoon to the park or for a walk or bike ride. Or to the shops or whatever her heart desires. Because M is so keen to shout martyr at you yes but what does he do the second L asks for you or she is upset or cross, I bet he expects you to handle it. As part of a loving, equal relationship you both get 'time off' anyway and not because you're tired or fed up or you have to ask for it but because it's the way a family, a partnership works.

I have never had a night or evening away from dd but I get to do all the things in your OP and more because dh is her parent too and I don't have to ask him for a few hours to do whatever it is I want to do. He loves taking M out.

It's exhausting doing everything even when you're in a marriage. And while you do everything, it's you that L wants. And to be fair to her, you'll be in hospital after Christmas and the balance will have to shift. Help it shift more gently before the world turns upside down again in December.

I'm sorry if I sound cross or unfair but I love you more than any scouser I know (ignore the fact I know no scousers other than you) and this situation isn't of your making alone regardless of what somebody might tell you.

Pinkjenny Fri 16-Oct-09 11:33:02

SOH - do you actually have a hidden camera in my house? You are so right. I was drying my hair last night and he brought her up to me, screaaaaaming. Because apparently, "she wants you".

Aaaargh, I can't even dry my f*ing hair!

<gets to the root of the actual problem>

ShowOfHands Fri 16-Oct-09 11:38:49

<<nonchalant whistle>>

BTW, love what you're wearing today. wink

In all seriousness, he needs to man up and you need to make him. When you're a couple of hours post op, is he going to bring her to the hospital and expect you to sort it out. I think not.

While it's okay for L to prefer you, I mean face it, you're wonderful, she does need to forge a better relationship with dh and before ds comes along.

I wonder if it hasn't got to the stage where you have to leave them alone together to figure it out because my hidden camera tells me that dh won't accept you trying to teach him ways of dealing with L when she's cross or unhappy. He might need to work this one out for himself. And trust me, he needs to.

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 16-Oct-09 11:38:56

It's nothing to do with being a Mum. Everyone needs me time/time to do what THEY want, and with regard to parents, both parents need to both share the childcare and get their me time.

Stop listening to your mum as she is fundamentally just being sexist and unreasonable. Your DH has a great attitude so take him up on it. A weekend might give you a lovely break but don't leave it there. Little bits of me time are really good for you as well. Dh can take her for an afternoon at the weekend so you can go shopping or to the cinema; he can arrange to handle all the night wakings at weekends (or even all of them while you're pg) so you get some sleep; he can do bath and bedtime some days.

I also like to take a day's holiday occasionally while DS is in nursery and have a blissful day to myself having a haircut or massage, shopping and lunch out. (Or if you prefer, do the same but spend it in bed with a magazine and chocolate!) This stuff keeps you sane and is nothing to do with selfishness. You need to care for yourself, especially when pg.

chipsandtart Fri 16-Oct-09 11:44:38

according to my step mum who has never had children of her own it is selfish to have me time because some people cant have children so why would you want to be away from your children

i nearly hit her over the head with a rolling pin i was holding at the time.

we all deserve a bit of 'me time' i think its essential, a happy mum makes a happy child.

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