I need help(27 Posts)
This is going to be a long post, it's pretty much a howl into the void really. It comes with the hope that someone will be able to help.
I'm really struggling as a parent. Really. I love my children but I struggle daily with the realities of life. So, my routine is this: my husband and older child leave for school and work respectively. After getting my son breakfast and his lunch packed and sorting out his clothes (he gets himself ready), I wander around until they are gone. Depending on my daughter's mood, she is up and then I feed her breakfast too (she's a baby). After that, once they have left, and it is time for my daughter's morning nap, I get back into bed with her (I bed share without pillows or blankets and no one else is in the bed with us). I spend the rest of the morning there, nursing and sleeping, on my phone etc etc. My house is a mess, my to-do list is so wrong and I'm losing out on all the opportunities that well meaning friends are throwing me. My dream is to write and unbelievably, I've actually had some starter opportunities but I'm squandering them. I stay in bed and I nurse and oh yes, I eat. I eat anything that there is to eat. I binge eat, comfort eat, go out shopping and blow my budget on Nutella (none of this is an exaggeration, it's my daily reality) and every day I think that today is going to be my last...it never is. My child comes back with another mum or I go and pick him up depending on the day. I look like a bit of a mess even though I have a top-of-the-range pram. Haha. We have lunch in some form. I might make sandwiches or give my son leftovers. Sometimes I'll give some home cooked food to my daughter or I'll give her something brought from a store. And so it goes, when it's nap time, I get back into bed and stay there. My son watches documentaries on Netflix or he will nap too.
In the afternoon, the rush is on, to make everything look like a normal day to my husband. I clean a bit,cook, run a comb through my hair. My son sits down for homework. We live in a country without homework so these activities do come from home. Surprisingly my son can read quite a bit now and add up and stuff. He could have done more had I done more. He has so much potential and he's such a lovely soul. I'm ruining him...
So that's a typical day. At other times, we go out for one of my son's activities or to meet a friend (I'm always surprised that I still have friends and that I haven't been caught out yet). On those days, I binge casually, a snickers here, a twix there, a donut here and there, pit aro at Starbucks. At times I've even taken my son to McDonald's for lunch...
I can't carry on like this. I need routines, my children need routines and I need help too. I believe I might be depressed but I've always been like this, it's just that I've acquired children along the way (three degrees, lots of jobs- in my former life before becoming an expat in a non-English speaking country, I was an English teacher - one marriage, two children but don't ask me how).
How do people do things? How do you motivate yourself to live your life? How do you talk yourself out of a dark cloud? Something heavy sits on me allllll (haha English teacher!) the time. I always say to myself "not today, tomorrow". How do you stop that?
I'm ruining my kids. My daughter is nine and a half months and still can't crawl. She's also tiny. Just barely 7 kg. That's definitely my fault for not doing enough for her.
I'm just really really scared that not only have I killed my own life dead in the water but that my inability to live is going to waste my children's potential too.
If you could share your routines and schedules and the way you talk yourselves around that would be of immense help.
Hi, you need to get motivated, I know it can be hard, maybe you are depressed, have you thought about seeing a doctor?
When you get out of bed, make the bed, and don't get back in it
Maybe set yourself little targets for each day, Monday clean bathroom, Tuesday Hoover the whole house, feel proud when you achieve these
Try and keep on top of the everyday stuff, washing up, laundry
Little and often
It's been a long time since my kids were little but I sympathise that it can feel like a struggle
If you have older kids make them a chore chart, just little things like dusting, emptying the bins, just 10 minutes a day could really help you out
Then try and get out of the house each day, just a little walk to the park or library, it's good to get out and get some fresh air, it will do you and the kids good
Hope that helps a bit x
Thanks for posting back! My howl into the void was heard by at least one voice and I'm really grateful for that. I wrote a lot of things there that I've never been able to share with anyone.
I do think I'm depressed. I am scared to go to the doctor because I'm afraid of the judgement and their consequent fears about the kids (I'm a rubbish mum but they are fed, clean, loved etc). I'm also afraid of what my husband will say. I've basically done quite a good job of masking it. As far as anyone outside can see, including him, I'm basically incompetent. The house could be cleaner, I could be doing more with my life (I had a fairly privileged upbringing, an Oxbridge education etc) and my children could be learning more (like roller skating, my son's peers know how to but he doesn't) and my daughter should be crawling but she still falls into the spectrum of 'maybe she's not there yet'. Does that make sense?
Anyway, thank you for the tips on getting through the day. I will try them.
I think you're being hard on yourself about somethings. But practically speaking:
1. As pp said, get out of bed and make bed. Don't get back in.
2. Have shower and wash hair straight away.
3. Get out and walk anywhere.
4. Use something like my Fitness Pal to give structure to your eating.
5. See your gp.
6. Book your son into some after school activities if you're not up to doing stuff yourself.
7. Give up breastfeeding?????
8. Go to baby groups or send her to a nursery for 2 mornings a week if you're worried you're not up to doing much.
You are a good mum but you've got a baby and it's bloody hard. I found it so tough and depressing due to lack of sleep, loneliness, isolation etc. I think there are many many women like you. I never lay in bed as dc wouldn't allow, but I'd certainly sit on the sofa a lot. This is just one phase of many; I'm finding it easier as they're older. I've also had to pay for childcare as I really couldn't cope at times, despite being at home. Good luck with everything.
Oh OP I've been there (and still am at times). You sound depressed to me. Go see a Dr. Would you be comfortable going on ADs? They really help me. Would you be able to access CBT where you are?
When I'm really really bad I write just 1 task in my diary to do each day. Some days it's as simple as have a shower. And make myself do it even if I want to curl up in a ball and cry. There's something hopeful in just crossing one off your list.
And worry about the bigger stuff later when you're feeling better.
How do you think your husband will react if you tell him? Is there anyone else you can talk to in RL?
I do think that you sound depressed as severe lack of motivation is a key factor especially as you clearly haven't always been like this. Go to see your doctor and explain your lack of motivation and see what she/he suggests. In the meantime...
My biggest tip would be to make a to do list and plan things. Sit down and decide what you are going to do each day and when. Get up a bit earlier and have a shower and dress first thing so that you're not tempted to get back into bed. When your leittle boy has gone to school dress your daughter, put a wash on, dishes in the dishwasher, quick tidy round etc then every day plan an activity with your daughter even if it is a walk to feed the ducks (if you have them where you live), walk to the park, etc. If there are any expat mothers groups or baby gym classes they are a great way to meet people and for your daughter to socialise.
You know what is available locally but the essential thing is to plan and then stick to that plan. Tell people what you are going do, arrange to meet friends so that you will feel obliged to go and less likely to cop out.
Spend time playing with your children away from your phone that is also essential for their development.
I would imagine that you will see your son come along in leaps and bounds with a bit of your attention and likewise your daughter is likely to put on weight and start being more active and crawling if she is around other little ones.
Don't feel bad if you slip back for one day just make sure you push yourself back into the routine they following day. Once you have started you will find it easier to keep the routine going and you will find it easier to not binge eat as you won't be bored and constantly thinking about food as your mind will be occupied in other things.
I doubt I'm going to be much help here OP but would it help at all to know you're not alone? I have zero routine, feel like I'm drifting through life, achieving nothing and existing rather than living. Procrastination is my middle name and I put everything off 'til tomorrow' but tomorrow never comes, I feel I'm failing my DD because we don't do enough.
I do think depression is probably a factor, I know it is for me but can't even find enough motivation to see my GP. I'm not afraid to go though, I'm in the UK and not worried about being judged or seen as an unfit parent for admitting I'm depressed, are attitudes generally different where you are?
I think I would start by speaking to DH if I was you, assuming your relationship is reasonably strong and he's generally kind and supportive of you anyway. If he loves you he will be concerned about you rather than likely to judge you for 'failing'. You're not failing btw, you're struggling and need some support that's all.
Would you maybe feel more able to see a doctor if DH knew and was supportive? Getting some counselling and/or some short term medication might make you feel more able to tackle your routine and get out of the vicious circle of doing nothing and then feeling bad for doing nothing which saps your motivation to do anything! Feel a hypocrite typing this because I really need to take my own advice but hope at least that it helps to know you're not the only one who feels like this
Thank you everyone for replying to me. It really means a lot to put my darkest fears and thoughts out there and for people to respond.
I am trying to take your advice on board. It's not easy and nothing magical has happened overnight. Motivation is hard. I need to work up the courage to talk to a medical professional. I'm in Switzerland where things are rather traditional and Germanic. I got shouted at yesterday for taking the clinic's wet wipes without permission. One wet wipe. I didn't realize I needed to ask permission!
Anyway, I have mentioned it (the depressive cycle) to my husband but he doesn't understand it. He thinks talk about mental health is just in vogue now and fashionable. He also thinks depression means feeling sad. He's more than a bit clueless about anything that is not 'logical' or 'practical'. He thinks I need routine.
I don't thinks he's entirely wrong. I set myself one task today regarding the house and I did it (other than cooking and taking the kids to the doctor's) even though I did revert to old habits and spend the rest of the time in bed. I need to accomplish one household task and one personal writing task or professional task I think and my sense of self esteem might pick up eventually.
Thank you again.
you could be me OP, I have 2dds that are both at school and my OH works, so when I get back from the school I pretty much spend most of the day on the sofa and eat my feelings (I'm already a bit overweight which I'm not happy with ) and when I'm back from the school with the kids I cook do a bit of cleaning and then go to work when OH gets home, I too think I might be depressed but just can't bring myself to go to the GP, and I have never told anyone about it I feel ashamed I don't want to go onto anti depressants if I am depressed... sorry I can't be of much help OP, but I wanted to let you know you're not alone.
I don't know if there's a way to reply to people individually...but honestly, I can't thank you enough. Knowing that there are other people out there facing the same issue has been very comforting. I feel like less of a freak. If you anyone would like to and especially for the three of you who have replied saying that you are in a similar situation, it would be lovely if we could work together to help each other out.
I've got up earlier than usual today and I've actually eaten a normal breakfast. It's a good start but the urge to retreat back into bed is enormous.
Woo hoo! Well done! Can you make the living room your base for the next few weeks?
Honestly I think you're being very hard on yourself and your last line a few posts ago says it all for me - you need to regain your self esteem and stop knocking yourself.
I do need to get up and organised now though (I too am a procrastinator) but I WILL reply again soon.
In the meantime I want you to say three good things that are currently true about you.
Okay. I have re read your post several times. And I wonder if you are struggling with what your life has become and are torn with wanting to do "the right thing" and what you actually want to do. I hear your passion for writing. And I also hear you saying you try to "make it look like a normal day"... what IS normal? What is it you think you SHOULD be doing that is actually holding you back? You seem so caught up on what you want to appear to be and yet the gap between what you appear to be or want to be seen as and actually are is widening all the time. And so you punish yourself with negative thoughts and to some extent food- though you also reward and nurture yourself with food too? The bingeing is an act of both self love and self hate...and it's so very wearing. (Can you tell I relate here?)
As a writer I think you should journal. Stop eating your emotions and thoughts and write them down. You KNOW what your issues are... start facing them instead of hiding from them.
By all means keep on one of the cuddly nap/phone time going. It's a thing you will miss when your baby is grown. But begin to fit some small jobs into the day- so first thing have a wee kitchen tidy and put on washing before the nap. I find a ten minute timer helps motivate me as I reckon I can do anything for a short while...and often I can carry on past 10 mins as it's the getting started I struggle with (I love the saying "I'd be unstoppable if only I could get started" it's SO me!)
Then nap and chill for the morning nap. But plan several small jobs to fit in after and don't do the second nap when your son is home as leaving him watching Netflix really isn't ideal and not really fair on him. Watch stuff with him as a treat, or maybe craft or cooking or even involve him in tidying and sorting.
Speak to your Husband a bit and try to help him see you're struggling a bit. Find some small things you like to do for you and do them... you say you "look a bit of a mess" which says a lack of self care... so start caring for yourself a bit more.
Fwiw I don't think you sound like a bad mum at all- you sound loving and caring. Your little girl being small isn't down to you- in fact I bet she needs that cuddly nursing time in the mornings. When she is awake just talk to her and let her watch you doing things...
But write. Focus on your feelings and be honest with yourself in your journal. And I bet you see little changes. Write small lists and if you don't manage things don't beat yourself up, just work round it the next day.
I just got a new journal as the front cover has "every day is a fresh start" on it. I needed that message. And so do you.
Aww. Op. You sound really down on yourself.
Having kids is bloody hard work. You do sound depressed. If you really don't want to go to the doctor, maybe you could try a bit of self care to see if it helps. If it doesn't help in a week or two, you MUST go and get some professional help.
You sound a bit overwhelmed with everything that you 'need' to do. Break it down in to tiny bits and do one thing at a time.... baby steps.
Try and get out for a walk with your baby. Show off that pram!
Meet a friend for coffee and a moan.
Treat yourself to a haircut/new top/magazine/nice notebook or pen.... something that tells yourself you are worth it.
I find mindfulness really helpful. There are loads of free apps. Even two minutes a day gives me a bit of time out and head space.
I have been where you are. It is hard, but it does pass.
Keep talking on here. It's good to talk. X
Oh and don't give up BFing. One- baby isn't a year so you'd have the faff of bottles and sterilising on top of the "long to do list" and two- I found I felt quite hormonal and low for a while after stopping BFing.
Maybe you are not made for being at home..Get a job. Maybe teaching Englizh. Anything..Pay a cleaner. Put your baby with a minder. Something needs to change and l believe that would give you a lift, some mental stimulation.
Also doctors meet people who are depressed every day so wont judge you..lts part of their daily life. You dont have to go into all the details.
Could ye move back to your own country? Do your family visit?
OP, I will go through this with you, today I went into town for the morning I didn't eat anything or buy much but I couldn't face being at home I spend just about every day at home... came back did a bit of tidying and had some tomato soup, now i'm on the sofa again but I do plan on trying to get some clothes sorted out and put away and get a bit of ironing done < sighs >
Set yourself aside some clothes to leave the house (any time from now, it doesn't matter what you wear but sometimes we have clothes that are comfy at home but make you feel self concious out and about). On the next sunny day, put them on when you get up. Decide to go for walk with the buggy. It can be just around the block, it can be to the post box or somewhere that you could pick up mill or something.
If it's just a little walk it doesn't matter if you forget to take the baby bag or thing you need for you but it can just break the habit of going back upstairs.
You might feel you can do something small around the house, you might not but you broke the cycle. Even if you went back to bed after you still achieved something.
In regards to house work, really break it down. Tiny sections that take a few minutes. It's all just bits extra than you're doing now so don't think you have to do all or nothing.
Definitely see a gp. I suffer from depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. It gets so overwhelming particularly with a baby. I find now DD is a toddler she wants to do more so I do it for her whether it's housework or getting out. Everyone is different though.
OP, have you thought about getting a job? I too am a writer and if be lost without work. It is possible to work and raise kids. Some of the cash you get from working can go on cleaners etc. You don't have to be at home. I'd be depressed at home and I know it so have always worked.
Can you get completely ready in the morning and then feed in the lounge during the day. Wrap a blanket around you for cosyness
It must feel overwhelming. Set yourself small targets for yourself.
Buzz your close friends and explain how you are struggling.
Op you've got some excellent advice here.
I agree with taking small steps. Lack of sleep and a bad diet can contribute to low moods and lethargy. I know you've got a lot on your plate and lots to consider but do try to take a couple of steps.
See the gp.
Make sure you're getting most of your sleep at night and not from naps.
If you can't sort out your diet yet, aim to include your 5 a day into your diet. Try 2 pieces of fruit and 3 portions of veg and a supplement like floradix.
Get washed and dressed first thing and go out every day. Even if it's just a little walk.
Hi OP, how are you today? I have woken up more determined, I am going to deep clean my place today and give it a good tidy and de clutter, I will then have a bath, get dressed and take a walk to the shop, I am trying to find a term time only job as my job I do at the mo is in the evenings but I am not enjoying working evenings, but it is convenient as I don't have to worry about childcare and holiday clubs etc will take anything I do earn if I were to work during the day in a job that is not term time only. anyway I digress, I hope your day has been better today OP.
The responses here have been really amazing for me. For two days in a row now, I've managed to have a proper breakfast which has helped a lot with the bingeing. Lunch and onwards have gone downhill because...I don't actually know why. I eat my feelings and its this weird reward I give to myself and then feel bad...It actually makes no sense...
Saturday is when I go and teach for a couple of hours. It makes me feel so much more human, I get up early, dress up for the day etc etc and it just 'works'. I would love to teach more. Sadly there's not enough demand for English Lit tutoring and the language learning market here is pretty chocka. Work helps me to appreciate the kids more. My husband has them when I'm out and it works all around for us. But like I said, not enough opportunities...
I really like the idea of dressing up for the day and sitting in the living room instead of the bedroom. I hate the bedroom actually. I've gutted it actually. I'm going to move stuff around in there so it feels 'better'.
I worry about the doctors here. They are pretty judgemental, wont to get quite angry. My Paeditrician was actually upset with me for taking my kids to the out-of-hour's clinic. I worry that if I go to them and say that I'm struggling with managing my emotions and mood, I'm not sure what the repurcussions will be...
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