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Worried about a potential relationship? (Family, children, odd one)

(22 Posts)
TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 09:02:49

Sorry this is long!!!

I was in two minds to post this on here, or on "Parenting" I chose here because I'm more familiar with the ladies that post on here and I know a lot of you have children.

I'm due to give birth in Jan and I am having a mild panic (OK full on panic) about bonding with my daughter and developing a good relationship.

We didn't pick the perfect time financially to have a child, both skint, and I am on a debt management plan that won't be paid off until I'm nearly 40 (I'm 27!) So money is always tight and I'm always worried.

I work over 40 hours a week and my OH works 4 hours a day, I was hoping this situation may have changed by the time we had a child but it hasn't. We both earn slightly above (pennies!) the min wage. So it's been decided I can only really afford a few months on maternity pay until I need to go straight back to my long hours. (I'm out of the house from 7am until 6:30pm) While the OH sorts out the little un for a few hours childcare, then comes back to be the part time "house husband" I suppose. I won't deny I'm jealous, and I hate this idea, because I'm already miffed he gets so much time at home to do "nothing" (obviously it won't be nothing once the baby is here) while I'm at work and only have time to sleep and eat (and cook and clean...etc but that will HAVE to change)- but that's another story altogether.

(I must state that besides my above gripe, we do have a great day to day relationship and are very much in love)

My main problem is I'm terrified I'm not going to have any relationship or bond with my daughter. I'm not maternal (at least not yet) I don't do well with children, never babysat or even changed a nappy, so I'm going in blind, and was already under the impression it may take a while for me to be "motherly" But I guess a lot of first time parents have this worry.

Working part time would be out of the question as I am in a front desk customer facing role. I could try and negotiate hours, but it would only be something like coming in an hour later or finishing an hour earlier... which barely seems worth it to lose 20hours pay a month? :/

Are there any other ladies on here who work full time and have any tips for being away from you child for so long? How did it affect your bond? Was there anything you did that improved it? I feel like I'm going to miss out on so much.

CogitOIOIO Thu 18-Dec-14 10:12:21

I'm a lone parent that has worked full time since DS was 13 weeks old. He's been cared for by CMs, breakfast clubs, after school clubs, you name it. I was not 'the maternal type' before he arrived and, even now, although I find children quite interesting I am not the one rushing to poke small babies in prams or demand cuddles.

If it's any reassurance, I can honestly say I have never loved anyone or anything so much in my life as my DS. It wasn't a 'rush of love' from the moment I saw him but, when they handed him over in the delivery room (and this is going to sound weird) I recognised him straight away. My first words to him were 'Oh, it's you..' smile

It was challenging sometimes in the early days when I'd been up all night with him and still had to put in a day's work. I probably made lots of mistakes on the parenting front ... still do. I missed him during the day and when I travelled but was happy that he was with people that cared about him and always tried to make the times we were together as full as possible. He is now 14yo, a great guy, and we have a very relaxed and close relationship in which we talk about all kinds of things and generally enjoy each other's company.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 18-Dec-14 10:21:54

Every 1st time parent worries about this sort of thing.
I went back to work full time when my DD was 3 months old.
I wasn't maternal and I'm still not really.
I stopped at one as I got my little girl and that was enough for me.
I wasn't keen on the baby stag, although everyone said what a natural I was, but I loved her more than anything.
Still do. She's nearly 17 now and we've had some problems, without a doubt, but she's a lovely hard working girl now and I would die for her.
I've been a single parent since she was 11 YO.
You'll be just fine. It's natural to worry.

I'd be addressing why you put up a lazy man who only works 4 hours a day but you don't get time to relax due to cooking and cleaning and working full time. WTF is that all about?
Get him to start pulling his weight right now! He'll need to get used to it before he has to do that and look after a LO!
Time to split the chores fairly. Time to be treated with respect and be looked after!

hellsbellsmelons Thu 18-Dec-14 10:22:42

Stage!!!

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 10:39:08

Thanks ladies!

Very reassuring! smile I know I'm not a special case, but with money worries and me not being a child friendly person I keep setting myself up to have some breakdown, running out of the hospital holding the baby up shouting "what do I do with this thing!?" lol :/ haha

My OH is very child friendly, a complete natural, and never worries about our money, he's very very positive "oh don't worry everything will be fine" But I'm sure you know that kind of attitude can sometimes be even more infuriating when you feel like you are the only one being "realistic" lol!

*I'd be addressing why you put up a lazy man who only works 4 hours a day but you don't get time to relax due to cooking and cleaning and working full time. WTF is that all about?
Get him to start pulling his weight right now! He'll need to get used to it before he has to do that and look after a LO!*

hellsbells Haha, he'd agree with you too. He does things "under instruction" at his own pace. he's a mummies boy who doesn't really do anything off his own initiative chores wise. It's part laziness and part not realizing anything needs doing. You have to point and say "this dirty, clean with this, then sit" haha. He's a lovely guy, and isn't nasty about it. Me and his family are slowly kicking him into shape. ;) I know the baby chores will be a different animal to the house chores for him. I'll probably still be stuck with the scrubbing! ;)

Joysmum Thu 18-Dec-14 10:45:41

All I can say is that my DH fully bonded with our DD before I did. He works full time, I'm a SAHM.

He felt that feeling of overwhelming love and connection from the off, I loved and cared for her but didn't feel the same until she was about 5 months old.

Plenty of dads who don't have paternity leave and work full time are wonderfully bonded. It's not something you can decide or define, it just is smile

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 10:48:24

thanks Joysmum, I guess you are right!

Just wondered about so much I will miss, especially as she gets older and starts interacting more throughout the day sad. Just one of those things I guess.

Can't have everything... Well I could! but I'm not prepared to be one of those mums that live off handouts smile

Jingalingallnight Thu 18-Dec-14 10:54:40

I think you should shift the balance as much as possible so your partner is bringing in more money. Four hours a day! I didn't know jobs like that existed.

You don't know yet what type of SAHD your dh will be especially if he is lazy. I went for this set-up (me working all hours, him, now ex, at home) and it was a complete disaster. We had such resentment towards each other the relationship broke down and the kids missed out.

Be firm about what you actually want and then work towards getting it.

Thurlow Thu 18-Dec-14 10:56:35

While I was fortunate to be able to afford a longer maternity leave, since I've got back to work DP has probably done more 'childcare' than I have, due to the different hours we work, and I'm out the house 8am-7pm. On a bad day I see DD for 30 mins in the morning and maybe 45 in the evening.

But the thing is, I'm still "mummy" to her. When she is sad, upset, hurt, poorly, it's "mummy" she wants more than anyone else. That bond is there regardless.

There does need to an acknowledgement from your OH that he is pretty much the SAHP and so needs to do as much of the housework as possible.

However, the thing to focus on is that this is what's happening now. You are in this job now, your OH is in this job now, this is the situation as it has to be right now. But that doesn't mean it is forever. Things change - new jobs and new opportunities arise and this situation probably won't be forever. So while it might not be ideal, it's just what you have to do at the minute, and I bet anything things will change at some point.

Beangarda Thu 18-Dec-14 10:58:47

I'm not remotely maternal, had a baby on a whim when I was about to turn 40, and spent my pregnancy feeling terrified and ambivalent. The small baby stage was isolating and unpleasant, despite the fact I was used to children, but I'm adoring the toddler years, and I love him more than I could ever have imagined.

Don't worry about the 'bond', which ime, comes by itself eventually, and don't put any pressure on yourself. Plenty of women don't feel the much-famed immediate rush of love, but come to love their babies gradually, over time. I always think that reading the very wise and supportive Mn adoption forum is an education on this - here you get posts from parents who are handed a baby or child with who is literally a stranger to them, and understand the bond needs to be worked at, and won't be instantaneous on either side.

I can understand the money anxieties, but I think that by needing to return to work pretty soon, you are avoiding some of the potential difficulties women with longer leave face - isolation, loneliness, the claustrophobia of being home alone all day with a small baby. I had to take unpaid leave after maternity leave, and was miserable. I don't think it will make the slightest difference to your bond with your child. Your husband needs to do his fair share of household work, though - that sounds like the mist important thing that you should both be working on before the baby comes.

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 11:13:22

Jingalingallnight he's actually only contracted to 16 hours - so he's getting more than that! lol smile (some people are on 0 hour contracts so we are very lucky in that sense!)

When I book half days off work I think oooh heck it'd be nice to have this daily smile

The upside with his short hours are that we are going to save a ton of money on child care, and he's been there years and is pretty safe. Getting a new job could risk him losing it after probationary period (Which is a risk anyone takes) But there are upsides to both. I would love us to be earning equally and have some more disposable income.

I don't think he will scrimp on the child work at all, it'll be more my jealousy that I can't be at home more that'll bother me! I know it won't be easy for him, as he won't be full time sahd, he'll be taking little un to child care, working, picking up, coming home, then doing the child stuff. I trust him.

More worried about my own bond with her x

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 11:16:16

Beangarda & Thurlow

Thank you, I guess it just had to go as it goes, I'm worrying about stuff I can't particularly change or manipulate. xx

Bloody control freak sad

thingswesaidtoday Thu 18-Dec-14 11:25:07

My sis-in-law went back full time after 9 months and she said it makes her appreciate the time with her DD even more!

Beangarda Thu 18-Dec-14 11:25:31

It's understandable, Hermit!

Do you know many women who've returned to work fairly soon after having a child? I ask because it sounds as if you think it's an anomalous situation, whereas returning after a few months is absolutely the norm in many places, and no one assumes an adverse effect on the mother-child bond because it's just what you do. And many or most fathers in this country have a fortnight's paternity leave, and I don't see mass fretting about the damage to father-baby bonding as a result.

Personally, looking back at my own experience of the first six months of my child's life, I think I would have enjoyed it all far more if I'd known it was strictly temporary, and that I was returning to work on a particular date. You may find the same. And looking at it from another pov, you're very privileged in that your baby will be with your DH most if the time when he's not with you, cutting down on anxieties about childcare etc.

When you gave a half day off work now, it's nice because that's leisure time in a way it won't be when you gave your baby, or not in the same way. And as a pp said, new job opportunities are likely to arise for both of you in time.

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 11:34:09

Beangarda

Thanks for your reply.

I already said I do not consider myself special, or a special case. But I didn't realise that meant I wasn't allowed to worry based on the norm?

Prior to and during pregnancy my day consists of working long hours, walking about 3 miles and taking 4 different busses (neither of us drive). I literally spend the week days in a daze, and have no time to myself. So putting a child into that mix really sent me into a panic, and I was looking for other women to relate to on the subject, not pity me or tell me anything different. Just how they coped day to day. I have one other friend who is a mum who works at home. And my mum was self employed at home too but died when I was 19, so was just looking for some ladies who I could chat to who have gone through the same worries/days and could offer a bit of coaching/advice. smile

As for the half day off work - I was mentioning it response to Jingalingallnight who was surprised at the idea of working 4 hours a day. And I was telling her how easy it was for me when I have half days off (booked holidays). He isn't working 4 hours because the baby, he has always worked that, therefore it has been a luxury, even if it won't be in the future.

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 11:39:06

I also didn't mean to make it sound like my ideal would be SAHM - it wouldn't at all. Ideally I'd work shorter hours closer to home so that my working day is less stressful, and I have a bit more time at home. But that's an ideal.

Just wondered how other ladies coped in the same situation. Every body goes through this shit, so it wasn't really a moan. More just sharing situations x

Thurlow Thu 18-Dec-14 11:40:56

It's so easy to worry about things you can't immediately control or fix. I spent most of my pregnancy and maternity leave worrying myself into absolute knots about childcare arrangements as DP did shiftwork. It all worked out perfectly once it happened. But it's so easy to worry.

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 11:48:59

Thanks Thurlow!

I'm a chronic worrier... strangely enough the only thing I haven't worried about is the labour, haven't even bothered with a birth plan. That'll be fun for me (I think I'm in denial!) haha

Beangarda Thu 18-Dec-14 12:16:20

I'm sorry if I sounded critical of your worries, OP. It wasn't my intention. Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy.

JamNan Thu 18-Dec-14 12:43:48

I am very sorry to hear of your predicament. You must feel overwhelmed. Can you talk to your midwife or Health Visitor?

I wonder who advised you on a debt management plan lasting 10 years given that you are on a very low income? Have you considered bankruptcy? Maybe have a word with CAB or National Debtline to help guide you through the maze.

Are you getting all the tax benefits you are entitled to? Working tax credits, child care vouchers, housing benefit and council tax benefit etc.

flowers for you.

JamNan Thu 18-Dec-14 12:45:19

I have just seen that you can do webchat on Nationaldebtline. I found them really helpful (a few years ago)

TheHermitCrab Thu 18-Dec-14 13:06:05

JamNan

Thanks for your post. To be honest I have little faith in the midwives. :/ They've asked me in every midwife appointment the three "Do you feel down or depressed" "do you have less interest in things"...etc type questions every appointment. Every appointment I've said yes, said how shit I feel, Was written in my medical history about past depression and that my mum pretty much lived on diazapam, yet all they say is "aww but you seem so happy!" lol I've had a different MW every single appointment.. so I never really get anything out of them except blood pressure and my wee being checked :/ I'm not even sure what I need to do when I go into labour lol!

The debt management plan was my choice. I'm paying it through Step Change. It's all my debt so I want to pay it off. Loans, credit cards, overdrafts. Wanted a "clean start" I.E not living in a negative bank balance, but didn't want to take bankruptcy or write off anything. I'm quite happy paying it because I was quite happy (and stupid) spending the money. The plan is just helping me pay it off in more manageable chunks, whilst not staring at a negative bank balance every month. It's still better only having a fiver in the bank a month without an overdraft, than thinking "sod it" and using money that isn't mine smile

We are currently not entitled to any tax credits. When I turned 26 I applied with my OH and they said we weren't entitled to anything, but would be when we had a child. But that's something I can't apply for until she arrives.

I'm definitely not entitled to any vouchers or benefits of any kind. I wasn't even entitled to JSA 4 years ago on just my partners part time wage. Don't know how some people get away with getting thousands a year! lol I must just be too honest smile

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