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How do you honestly feel about being a mum to young children?

(47 Posts)
1wokeuplikethis Tue 28-Feb-17 14:05:39

Because I don't know if I'm normal.

I have two children aged 4 and 1 and I absolutely adore them. I want their days with me to be varied, interesting and loving. I am a SAHM by choice and this is a recent decision. My children are very loving and well behaved and fun. Not many tantrums from the older one and the baby is not especially clingy like his sister was, unless he is ill.

It's just that i find the days very long and completely knackering. I am constantly busy with them and the house and don't have chance to sit down. The most relaxing part of each day is if I drive us somewhere and can drink a take out coffee in the car. I want them to eat varied and healthy food but the littlest only likes toast and anything carby at the mo; chips, Yorkshire puds, fish fingers, cake, raisins, altho he will eat peas, banana and apple. I'm good at doing organised tasks with my eldest (sound like Monica from friends) eg painting, crafting, bracelet making, baking, reading. But I'm shit at pretend play. And she always wants me to join in. I try my best but feel so distracted by the stuff that needs doing (cleaning, washing, cooking, changing bums, going somewhere) that I think I let her down.

I am not fun. I am worn out and boring.

My littlest has just started nursery one day a week, so I have one day a week that is my own and I feel tremendous guilt. We haven't said I'm never going back to work so feel like I should be doing something great like training or writing a book but all I want to do is read and nap. And not get up off the sofa for q few hours. But at the same time I miss them terribly and feel depressed by the silence.

I keep thinking, when I was at work I found parts of the day boring, tedious, stressful and if it's OK to look forward to going home or lunch break at work, surely it's ok to look forward to nap time or bedtime at home? But I feel so guilty. I chose to stay at home with them and I should jolly well enjoy every second and stop feeding them fish fingers and saying 'in a minute darling'.

I love them so much but I am just so tired, and lots of the time, bored. I have jobs to do, namely making several meals a day for them and my husband when he gets in, but there's not much fun in them.
My favourite parts are cuddling them, watching a film together, going out to see friends with them, swimming, either an activity or a cuddly time.

Am I normal or am I depressed? I do feel quite down and tearful about it. Being so torn between adoring them and tearing my hair out with frustration. And 95% guilt at all times. It's exhausting.

MyheartbelongstoG Tue 28-Feb-17 14:09:30

All normal op!

Somehowsomewhere Tue 28-Feb-17 14:10:59

I don't know if it's normal, but I'm a SAHM to a 3 and a 1 year old and feel very, very similar.

Yeahfine Tue 28-Feb-17 14:11:26

Honestly that sounds completely normal to me.

usernoidea Tue 28-Feb-17 14:11:26

God you sound like a supermum
Stop being so hard on yourself you're doing amazingly well x

WalkThePlanky Tue 28-Feb-17 14:13:14

Normal - I'm a mum to a 1 and 4 year old too. Feel much the same. Very much enjoying back at work part time.

penguincrumble Tue 28-Feb-17 14:16:31

Normal. It'll be warm weather soon, you'll be in parks all the time and they'll find friends to play with while you sit in the sun and MN.

JumpSturdy Tue 28-Feb-17 14:17:27

How you find the whole thing sounds normal - although the extent to which you're guilt-tripping yourself about life not looking like some kind of SAHP brochure did make me wonder if you might be depressed. It's okay to find large parts of it boring and a hassle! You need to find a way to let yourself off the hook there.

melonribena Tue 28-Feb-17 14:20:02

Normal! I could have written your post! I have a 4 year old and a 5 mth old. Life is full of never ending guilt!

1wokeuplikethis Tue 28-Feb-17 14:20:27

Ok I'm getting teary at the positive and encouraging responses.

Perhaps I am just quite wobbly. As this is new and my choice I feel I need lots of support that I'm doing a great job. My husband does big me up, which is nice, but says I completely overthink everything, which is spot on. I wish I didn't because it would make everything much simpler.

I worry that I spend so much time worrying I will look back one day and be cross at myself for not just getting on and enjoying it and allowing myself to go, it's no picnic but I am doing quite well.

GoodLuckTime Tue 28-Feb-17 14:28:18

OP have a read of this article about self care and why it is an essential part of being a good parent www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/in-defense-of-a-parents-day-off/2017/01/23/270ffafc-d8f2-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?utm_term=.d3b3c78c42d1

I think what you describe is normal.

Maybe being a SAHP ratechts things up a bit. It's your 'job' so you have to make it 'perfect'.

Well, perfect is the enemy of the good.

For now, use your child free day to recuperate and get what you need. Nap, read, watch TV, loaf. You are in the thick of it with two young kids. resting when you get a break is probably the best use of your time.

But, when you're feeling a bit more rested, then use that time to think about how you can structure your days.

e.g. into time when you get the chores done (when the kids are napping or watching TV)
and then time when you 100% focus on them, doing imaginary play with commitment and forgetting about the washing up for that time.

Have a look at ahaparenting.com it has loads of great ideas and talks about the importance of being present.

I try to live that. So when i'm with the kids, i'm with the kids and I put my phone away and out of reach, focused on them.

I do work, so I get some of my me time / sit down time / quiet time at work, and I outsource a lot of chores (cleaning lady 2x a week, our nanny cooks for us 3x a week). But that's not everything! So I try to be mindful: so if the DC are absorbed in something then yes, I tidy the kitchen when we've finished dinner so it's done. If they want to play with me, I try to do that, fully committed, and leave the kitchen until after they've gone to bed.

I have a day off a week, and now the youngest is in nursery half of that day, I split my time between self care stuff for me (a rest, an exercise class, shopping) and chores and life admin so that when I'm with the kids I can focus on them.

As they are growing up, I can get htem a bit involved in some chores now, but that's not reliable yet so the current mix works for me.

Ditch the guilt OP! You are doing your best. Guilt is a pointless and destructive emotion. So either use it to make some positive changes or consider some therapy to get to the bottom of why you're beating yourself up.

usernoidea Tue 28-Feb-17 14:30:29

Reread your last paragraph you've just written and print it out!
Seriously if you were looking after my children I'd be well chuffed how much you were doing with them! X

toffeeboffin Tue 28-Feb-17 14:33:06

Normal.

I'm currently in the car with a large coffee, praying that DD stays asleep grin

And I'm not even religious!

daisydalrymple Tue 28-Feb-17 14:37:31

Totally normal. I'm a SAHM (dcs 9, 7 & 2) and feel guilty all the time for how much other mums seem to fit in. I take dc3 to soft play twice a week. Other than that we pop to see my mum, Potter about the house (doing housework!), or go out for a walk / to the park.

At soft play this morning I overheard one mum tell her friend they were at singing class yesterday and her dd ignored the biscuits on offer as she wanted to share another child's fruit salad. She felt guilty for only packing a banana as they were on their way to ballet after. She's on the waiting list for gymnastics, does junior trampolining, library x2 per week and swimming x2 per week. (One class one fun with mum).

I'm in awe of how women fit all these things in plus cook and get their housework done. Ds1 does footy, dd does gymnastics, both do swimming (thankfully same class). I just about get us all fed on those nights, and it's always a stress fitting in homework / spellings. My dcs have the least after school activities of all their friends too.

Deep down I'm actually quite happy doing our pottering, bit of colouring/ reading / watering the plants etc. I like a trip around Asda browsing, just for bread / fruit / milk top ups (get main shop delivered as easier!) but when I hear how much other people do, I feel like I should be doing more. It's daft of me I know. I do work weekends, and find that just getting out of the house for a few hours and having some me time helps me (until I get back to the mess and chaos and all the stuff dh hasnt done... hmm )

I remember being pregnant with dc1 10 years ago, telling dh how I was going to structure my day and all the activities I was going to do...I forgot to count in the everyday stuff like baby needing help to nap, feeding, changing nappies, cooking, cleaning etc! I've also been blessed with three non sleepers, so energy took a nose dive a long time ago grin dc3 slept through for the first time last week in his own cot - at 2 yrs 4 months!!!

You sound to me like you're doing great (more than I do!) but maybe you could think of something for yourself one evening / at the weekend.

Blackbird82 Tue 28-Feb-17 14:38:00

My little boy is almost 2. I am a SAHM but I also run my own business. I'm permanently knackered too....

I also like to try and do an activity with him every day as neither of us like being stuck in the house. Which is stressful in itself, trying to find something to do every day.

Right now, I'm sat outside Pets at Home, DS is asleep in the car and when he wakes up we'll go and look at the animals, then I need to walk my five dogs, then I need to do some work, make dinner, play, read etc....

It's relentless and bloody hard work!

ijustwannadance Tue 28-Feb-17 14:40:41

Perfectly normal. I found it mindnumbingly boring being at home.

Mol1628 Tue 28-Feb-17 14:42:50

How do I honestly feel about being a mum to young children?

Bluntly honest, I hate it. My children are well cared for and loved and I spend a lot of time making sure they have a good childhood and upbringing. But I don't enjoy it at all. I'm hoping I enjoy it more when they're older and less annoying

Fishcakey Tue 28-Feb-17 14:45:19

I was bored stiff.

TerrorTwilight Tue 28-Feb-17 14:46:45

That all sounds 100% normal. It's just really, really tiring.

When ours were little, we used to look at each other over the heads of two happily shouting toddlers and just do that "Tim from The Office look to camera". I remember when littlest turned about 3 and the two of them went upstairs to play quietly without our input. We sat down at the table and had a cup of coffee and went "WOW." Because it was the first time in 4 and a half years we'd stopped.

They're much bigger now. Still adore them. Adore them more and more every day.

But I do also look at the baby/toddler photos and vids every once in a while and get a pang of "OH THEY WERE SO ADORABLE". Believe me, you get there and it's hard to remember just how hellishly exhausting it could sometimes be.

PegaGryf Tue 28-Feb-17 14:47:39

From 2pm onwards I'm on a mental bedtime count down. I'm knackered. It's the having no break ever which gets me. I'd be financially worse off to go back to work, so the trapped feeling is stifling. Love all my dc to pieces, but it's A LOT.

PegaGryf Tue 28-Feb-17 14:49:05

When ours were little, we used to look at each other over the heads of two happily shouting toddlers and just do that "Tim from The Office look to camera".

Most perfect, relatable summary of parenthood, ever grin

minipie Tue 28-Feb-17 14:59:11

I chose to stay at home with them and I should jolly well enjoy every second and stop feeding them fish fingers and saying 'in a minute darling'.

Ah see this is the error, thinking you should enjoy every minute just because you chose it. It's a job like any other. Some bits are fun some are not. I chose my job (I WOH) - doesn't mean I have to love every second of it. Just means I have to think it's better than the alternatives.

Why did you choose to be a SAHM? Presumably because you thought it was best for your DC/family , or because you thought you'd enjoy it more than being a WOHM? Neither of those is the same thing as loving every second.

Personally, I don't enjoy being a mum to young DC (4 and 2 here). They don't sleep, we are exhausted, the eldest is defiant and tantrummy and the younger one is very sweet but wakes us up a lot and increasingly stroppy. There are bits I really enjoy about being with them but it's ermmm about 20% (though this is increasing as they get older, thank god).

Imstickingwiththisone Tue 28-Feb-17 15:05:13

OP I have guilt for different reasons. I have a 4 year old and newborn. 4 year old goes to nursery and i feel guilty even though it's part of the 15 free hours that most people use. I look forward to her coming home but then I have no patience and get shouty sad she's a really good kid but I find her smothering with a newborn. She always wants to be sat on me, which along with the newborn means I'm constantly nagging her to be careful, be gentle, why don't you sit over there etc.

I also feel like I've babied her and am trying to get her to dress herself, wipe her own bum etc.

The other day she was asked who shouts the most and she said mummy sad this isn't who I am, I just want to make her a good rounded kid and I can only seem to get through to her by being shitty. I try fun ways and she ignores me, then I lose patience.

I hope someone reads this and tells me this is the same everywhere and my DC won't hate me

nigelforgotthepassword Tue 28-Feb-17 15:10:10

Normal. Until both of mine were well over 4 I felt like this.
It gets better as they get older, really.
Mine are 11 and 9.5 now-life is infinitely better and actually, dare I say it, lots of fun.

wobblywonderwoman Tue 28-Feb-17 15:13:16

I have a 2 and 3 year old and I work full time and even then I find it hard to be supermum when I get home at 4pn and try and bake and craft etc. So I don't know how I would fill everyday and would a bit lobely for adult company.

So I think you're great grin

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