How to be a happy SAHM?

(42 Posts)
Ejr2012 Sun 11-Oct-15 19:36:59

I hope someone can help me. I am a stay at home mum with a 26 month old and 5 month old. I have lots of friends, go to lots of groups, nice home, husband who helps, no money worries. Life should be excellent but I am really struggling to be a SAHM mum!
I feel so lonely and isolated. I used to have a career but now feel I have no identity as a SAHM. I don't want someone else to raise my kids but some days it is such hard work and can be so boring staying at home. I find the daily cycle so tedious and find myself angry and wound up by such silly things like whining, and non stop talking! I hate it when I get cross at my toddler.
I feel guilty for feeling fed up and I worry I am screwing them up. I love my children, they are amazing but this job is so hard. No days off while breastfeeding, the only job you can't hand your notice in on! I clock watch but then feel I am wishing my life away. I know they will grow up too fast and I will miss these days when they are gone.
How do I make life more enjoyable again? How do I appreciate the time I have with my children?

NickyEds Mon 12-Oct-15 14:26:16

Hi op. I'm in a similar situation but my kids are a tiny bit younger (ds is 22 months and dd is 12 weeks), bf constantly, nice dp, home etc. I think the reason you find it hard is that it is hard! We're not getting out much atm if I'm honest so we have a lot of time at home nd the days can be looong. Some things I've found help;
-mix feeding- I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but it does mean that I can get out once a week. In the last month I've had one evening out a week, nothing spectacular just meeting my friends or sister in a local pub for a hour or two. It make.s a big difference to me.
-Focus on the advantages-We don't have to be up, fed, dressed and out by 8.00 like some of my working friends so we really enjoy mooching around in pjs in the morning, having long relaxed breakfasts.
-Really make the most of weekends-I try and get most of the housework done during the week leaving weekend free to do things as a family.

I also do something soo soppy I can barely bring myself to write it!! I just spend a bit of time thinking about one thing I've loved about being at home with them every day-something I would probably have missed if I'd been working.

This time next year we'll be gearing up for ds's 15 free hours (he'll start a year in January) and I'll never get him to myself all day every day again. This time is so fleeting if you blink you'll miss it,

Ejr2012 Mon 12-Oct-15 21:11:38

This is what I tell myself on the hard days...i will never have them to myself again. But boy can it be hard! I get some time to myself every week but I still feel it is never enough. I'm sure working full time or part time would also be hard but for different reasons. I will try to focus more on the positives as you suggest.

Pobspits Mon 12-Oct-15 21:19:45

Have you been a sahm since your eldest was born?

It is emotionally, socially and mentally difficult I think. I've been a SAHM for 8 years and my youngest has just started school so I'm back studying with a view to retraining.

Things I did which helped :
-got out every day
- mix fed youngest
- gave myself 'projects' such as crafts or redecorating or something that wasn't entirely child led
- saw friends when I could
- took help (never been v good tbh)
- took a bit of time to myself in evenings if Dh home or weekends.

Chottie Mon 12-Oct-15 21:22:08

I think you need to do something for you everyday smile

It's not being selfish.

Pobspits Mon 12-Oct-15 21:22:32

Also presumably you don't have to be a Sahm.

Cloudcuckoo50 Mon 12-Oct-15 21:25:09

As well as meeting up with friends with similar aged children and attending toddler groups, I used to go to the gym/exercise classes and put the children in the crèche for an hour.

alicemalice Mon 12-Oct-15 21:27:36

It's bloody tedious looking after small children at times.

Think you need to find some time off from them, what about expressing?

moderndiamondcats Mon 12-Oct-15 21:29:42

Those early years are hard imo, things got better for me once DC1 started nursery, we had some routine to the day and I started meeting more new people. DD started wanting to have friends round and at that age the mothers usually come with the child, luckily I have made some good friends like that (I know that initially the only thing that we had in common was the fact that we had DC's of the same age but luckily we had more in common and hit it off).

Right from the start I have always had the odd Saturday off, I go out and get my hair done, have lunch with a friend, basically turn into 'me' again. Once I get in I DH usually sorts out dinner so I don't have to.

I also found having a couple more DC's helped me to enjoy it all more, the days certainly whip past faster, that's possibly quite an extreme approach to take...but we always wanted 4 and I got a bit worried because I found 2 so difficult.

I used to worry about where my identity had gone because I had stopped working (I also had a career, and it did define me very much at the time), I felt utterly lost for the first 2 years. Now I feel that I am more 'me' than I ever did when I was working, answering your post has made me realise that I don't worry about 'my identity' anymore.

I'd give it time OP...there is also no law that says that you have to remain a SAHM, you still raise your DCs even if you use a childminder for a few hours a week. Since being a SAHM I have met some really lovely caring childminders, if ever I need childcare I know that my DCs will be more than well looked after.

SevenSeconds Mon 12-Oct-15 21:31:07

Hi OP

I think that you owe it to yourself to consider going back to work. I was a SAHM when my DC were small, so I absolutely do not think there's anything wrong with being a SAHM, but I do believe very strongly that it's not for everyone and that you should choose the life that is right for you. What happens if you leave aside the 'I don't want someone else to raise my kids' thought, and think about what you want for yourself? Is it this, or something else? Would there be any opportunity for you to work part time, as a compromise? Are you under any pressure to be a SAHM from your DH / mum, or is it your own choice?

If you decide that this really is what you want, then I think the above posters have made some great suggestions and I hope things get better for you soon.

snottybeammeup Mon 12-Oct-15 21:50:08

I know you've most probably heard this before but the stage you're at is the absolute toughest by far! It IS tedious, monotonous, overly emotional and so very lonely. Motherhood being a utopian pleasure is a myth.

These are the days we have to watch our children all the time, dont mix with other families often enough and have little community spirit. Although it DOES get easier, it will always be the hardest thing Ive ever done by a million miles.

My DC are 5.10 & 3 now and Ive only just got my mojo back. Where you are now was the absolute pits and there was nowt me or any of my friends could do to make our lives a Particularly happy place. We could make things bearable by going out every day, making like minded friends, do things for ME but it didn't change the fact that only time would my saving grace. Having said that, if you have the opportunity to have time to yourself, no matter where when or how. . .take it! It saved me. All I did was have a lovely bath with bubbles and got my teeth into a book. That was my paradise and escapism. And then wait until they get to a stage where there are few tantrums, plenty of communication/reasoning, so much cuteness through talk and little supervision! Life is now lurvely and there are no regrets, it only gets better.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Mon 12-Oct-15 21:52:53

Hi OP,

I agree with sevenseconds. It might be worth investigating options regarding work. I was a SAHM and I loved it. But then I find children interesting not boring!

Is there the possibility to work part time? You might find that you enjoy time with your DC more that way.

Ejr2012 Tue 13-Oct-15 07:21:23

I have been at home since I had my youngest. I could work but I choose not to. I don't want to regret not spending these precious years with my children before I don't have them at home. I want to spend time with my fab kids! It is just finding a way to make things more enjoyable at times. I would also not put my youngest in full time childcare until she was at least 2. (That's down to my personal views on young kids in nurseries)
I have tried putting my eldest in childcare for a day a week but she won't settle. I took her out. She is not easy to leave with people as gets very upset and so crèche at gym is out.
I do express everyday and have a stock pile so I can go out. I have also thought about only bottle feeding in the day from six months to help. But I feel guilty as I fed my first till she was a year. Also bottle feeding can just create work!
It is the grind of washing, tidying, cleaning, shopping etc that I find boring not my children twowrongsdontmakearight.
Maybe I am trying to be to much of a perfectionist and need to let some guilt go! And let the housework get left! Thanks for telling me it gets better (moderndiamondcats and snotty beammeup) and for sharing that you also found it hard. I was worrying that it was only me! I feel better knowing others struggle at times too.
I need to look at other childcare options for extra help. Does anyone have experience of an au pair? Something we have thought about.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Tue 13-Oct-15 07:34:39

I could have written your post, although mine are also a bit younger (23 months and 3 months). Baby won't take a bottle so also feel severely limited in what I can do. We don't have money worries but don't have extra for gym membership/crèche etc. It can be really tough!

Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 13-Oct-15 07:53:14

When my two were the age that your two were (well not quite as my age gap is bigger but you know what I mean) I was a WAHM but I was on maternity leave so my day to day life was very similar to yours. The difference was that I knew it was for a limited amount of time.

There is nothing like knowing that something is only for a very limited time to make you appreciate it!

Perhaps, in your mind, commit to being a SAHM until the baby is 1 (so Easter time) and then reconsider. If it is still working for you then another six months and then so on.

moderndiamondcats Tue 13-Oct-15 11:24:12

It is the grind of washing, tidying, cleaning, shopping etc that I find boring not my children Perhaps you should look at getting a cleaner rather than an au-pair, much easier to arrange too, she/he could be in and out once or twice a week and leave you free to enjoy the fun stuff.

My house looks tidy and clean, but once number 3 came along I decided to cut ever corner and take every short cut going, I wish I had done it sooner! Housework is done at speed and kept to a minimum. Just to top it off I read the Marie Kondo book and de-cluttered the house, not having as much 'stuff' has made life much easier too.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Tue 13-Oct-15 18:44:42

Sorry ejr I misunderstood. I know a lot of people don't really find children that interesting! There's another post just appeared about when things 'get better' from someone with a 3 month old.

In that case I do get it. I hated all the cleaning etc. It never seems to stop. But then that's no better now that I work full time and DC are 15 and 12!!

Being at home made me feel that the house ought to be immaculate all the time when actually all my energy was used up doing fun things with the DC. What made a difference to me was accepting that I'm not my mum - a super energetic cleaning machine - and I learned to be 'good enough'. A quick whizz at the end of the day that's all. Just like PP said.

I doubt I'll lie on my deathbed wishing I'd had a cleaner house (unless it's the germs that get me!!).

Misty9 Wed 14-Oct-15 16:11:40

I think just allowing yourself to find it hard can help. You sound a lot like me - i worked hard to get qualified in my career then had ds and stopped working from choice as we too didn't want him in nursery until he was two. In the end, I found being a mum really tough and got a part time job (in my career) when he was 22 months. He really struggled to settle at nursery (think hysterical drop offs for 2-3 months) But was only in for two days a week as dh went part time too (self employed). I found it hard but I was at breaking point before working so it was necessary.

I've now got dd, 18 months, and ds has just turned four. I didn't work for another 18 months when pregnant and until dd was one, but do three days now. Dh is still part time and nursery is just one day a week for dd but she has settled much quicker than ds did.

Anyway, you're not alone at finding it tough - and having two has been harder than I ever imagined. But you need to put your sanity first - can your other half work part time at all? To enable you to get some identity back? You are in the toughest stage of having two (is recommend the book coping with two) and it definitely gets less physically intense when you stop breastfeeding as much, but can you realistically cope with another two years of this? I'm finding my ages pretty stressful and that's just for 4 days out of 7!

Hang in there, and I'm sure you're doing a great job; the hardest one in the world!

Longdistance Wed 14-Oct-15 16:30:40

I feel your pain op. I was like you. It just wasn't me to be a sahm. I worked from the age of 16 and was always on the go. But as soon as I was a sahm I slowed down, and hated it.

I am now back working, but that was only after dd1 was at school ft, and dd2 was at nursery. I'm so much happier for it too.

The days were long, and I used to clock watch and couldn't wait for my Dh to come home.

SparklyTinselTits Wed 14-Oct-15 16:33:50

I feel exactly the same OP flowers I love spending all day everyday just hanging out with my 6 month old....but I feel like I don't have anything for me anymore. I'm just "DD's mum and DH's wife"
I've recently decided enough is enough, and I want to go back to bar work in the evenings. Been applying to every pub and club in my town to try and get a bit of time away from being the "childcare robot" day in day out.

ArriettyMatilda Fri 16-Oct-15 08:08:55

Another one coming along to agree it is hard work and I feel very similar. I have a nearly two year old. Some days are absolutely wonderful and others I am just getting through the day by whatever possible means. I definitely agree with you about the constant grind of housework. I keep reminding myself that it would still need to be done if I worked and then I'd have even less time with dd. The only thing is when you are a sahm you feel like you have loads of time to get things done so it's easier to put it off. I imagine if I only had a small window to clean then I'd actually get things done (like I do when we have friends visiting or people staying over).

I will be watching this thread for tips. Mine are: get out every day (toddler groups, children's centre, soft play, park, library, shopping, garden) get out all day some days a week, minimise the mess at home!
Meet friends with similar aged children, they know what I am going through
Keep on top of housework (please can someone tell how to motivate myself to do this) I find it helpful to do one load of washing a day and setting a timer for ten minutes for tidying or half hour for cleaning to help me focus and get it done.

I love the tip about thinking of one thing you have loved about your day, that will really help to focus on the positives. I am decluttering would help me too.

I've also recently been offered a Saturday job. I've not started yet, but I am hoping it will be something I will really love and therefore feel like a bit of a break whilst developing skills and knowledge for work. I may be naive but it is the only way I can work without putting dd into childcare and like you I feel the best place for her is with me. I am sure you are doing the best you possibly can with your children and that they love you being at home with them. Sorry for the long post, your feelings have really resonated with me.

GunShotResidue Fri 16-Oct-15 08:31:22

I finished my OU degree when DD was 16 months and was really down and struggling for a few months feeling like I'd lost my identity. I've started down courses on wowcher and groupon. They're cheap and most aren't recognised but I feel better working towards something!

FartemisOwl Fri 16-Oct-15 08:55:45

I know exactly how you feel OP. Whilst I chose to be a SAHM for exactly those reasons (I didn't want to miss out on anything as she's likely to be my only child) I still feel like my whole purpose in life is to cook, clean and look after other people. All my friends and family are 3+ hours away, so time to myself or time as a couple with DH is non-existent. I don't know who I'm supposed to be these days either, apart from just mum. If you asked any of the people I've met since moving here about me, all they'd be able to tell you is that I'm so and so's mum. Most of the time they don't even remember my name. That said, I do try and get out and drag DD around things I'm interested in - earthworks, historic buildings, etc. life doesn't just have to be about playgroups and soft play. (I freaking hate soft play!)

PicnicPie Fri 16-Oct-15 09:12:29

Another sahm here. Two dcs 2.10 and 15mo.

Eldest in nursery 2 mornings a week. Just started in sept and it's been great. She loves going now and I know she is getting lots of attention and age appopriate interesting things to do. Likewise I get to spend quality time with the youngest.

I do one hour max of cleaning, putting washing on, bedrooms, whizz of bathroom in the morning around 9am. Then we go out or have someone over to play. They both nap at lunchtime and I use this time to MN, make tel phone calls, do admin, watch TV, chill etc. In the afternoon I normally do indoor activities, drawing, sticking, baking.

House is always clean and tidy and I've always got people over to break up the day. So my mum and sis always stop off if they're passing. I invite my elderly neighbours over once every couple of months. They love coming to see the DC'S. Also arrange play dates weekly either at ours or friends. By 630pm they're in pj's with milk on sofa for tv time while I do a whizz round with hoover and wipe surfaces, prep adult dinner etc. DH is home at 7. Then it's up to bed for lights out at 730.

I struggled so much in the first year of DC2. But now I've got into the gist of it. I'm managing housework a lot better and the little one is walking and eating and in the same routine as eldest so has made it easier.

But it's by no means easy. The constant shrieking "mummy", feeding, nappy changes, trip to loo , tantrums when out is absolutely exhausting. And so dull.

Just remember no two days are the same. You'll have bad days but you'll also have fab days. Simplify housework chores and keep busy.

PicnicPie Fri 16-Oct-15 09:18:24

That was really long! And I forgot to add...With regards to it being enjoyable. Well I've just accepted that it's not enjoyable, well not all the time. Yes I'm very fortunate to be able to be at home with them and have this precious time with them I think it's ok to say to myself that there are days it'll be utterly dull and boring, but that's ok. It's part of the job.

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