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To miss my old life so very much

225 replies

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 09:10

Adore our toddler Dd, had her late and waited a long time for her, but so miss our old life.
Most days are just a slog, hard work and with meltdowns. I usually wait for bedtime just to have a moment of peace. Even days out are pretty exhausting and just something to be got through. Of course there are lovely moments and I love her so much, but I was happier before overall 😥and I feel terrible saying that.
We live abroad so have no help at all, we’ve never been without her or on our own in almost 3 years.
Looking back, our life was a dream life. We’d wake whenever we wanted, have a leisurely breakfast, watch what we wanted on tv in peace, maybe head down to the beach, or we’d lounge around sunbathing in the garden, having lunch with wine and head to the beach for sunset and ocean swims.
Now, I generally get woken by a shouting Dd, complaining as she doesn’t sleep well. Dp and I rarely get on these days as it’s mainly about controlling Dd when she gets too hyper, we have no time for each other and are both exhausted. We can barely even talk to each other as Dd demands so much of our attention. She’s an amazing girl but has never slept well as she never wants to sleep. I now spend summer evenings May in bed trying to coax her to sleep whilst she jumps around.
I know I sound so awful, but our life before was so very different, filled with travel and leisure and love for each other, I cry at how much I miss that sometimes and then feel guilty.
I can’t believe how easy life was before kids.

OP posts:
Countrycode · 09/05/2021 10:22

Very normal. The early years are hell for a lot of people - myself very much included.

No family help here either so after yet another day of cracking up as a SAHM I decided to send them to a childminder two days per week. Best decision ever.

My eldest will be 5 soon as she's become so so much easier. Her 3.5yo sister seems a complete pain in the arse in comparison, honestly I'd quite happily send her to the pound this week (and she was always my easier/most compliant child). Another year or two will make a big difference.

They grow up quickly so I'm told! Not to wish their life away but....

osbertthesyrianhamster · 09/05/2021 10:23

I really hated the toddler/pre-school stage and I have teenagers now! I found it really hard work. I think a lot of people have this expectation 'family' will 'support' in the form of providing childcare but I think this is a really outdated and unhealthy ideal to have because it's often not forthcoming or impossible and then the parents feel hard done by.

We've always been on our own (my family is abroad and DH's family all have ill health or a dead).

I strongly advise hiring a sitter or the like.

Personally, whenever I read thread written by women in their late 30s or 40s swithering about having kids I'm reminded of the reality of having them, like this.

Roboticcarrot · 09/05/2021 10:25

I feel the same at times, what I've realised is that it's okay for them sometimes to sit in front of the TV. Sunday mornings we pop cbeebies on for a bit whilst having a coffee and some breakfast, I used to be very much anti TV or anything, but having some down time is important too. Also take DD places you enjoy too, toddlers are often interested in really mundane things as well as the park etc- I love hiking so I used to take her in the carrier. I guess what I'm trying to say is that no, life won't be the same, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable all round, and as long as she is loved in a safe and secure home, you can do what makes you happy too!

Goldenphoenix · 09/05/2021 10:26

I felt like you when mine were in the preschool phase. It's ok to admit you adore your kids but miss your old life. It's nature's little joke to make us long for babies because you have no idea how easy your life is before children.
My youngest is five now and I have rolled out of bed at 9.30am this morning, kids have got themselves breakfast and entertained themselves. It has suddenly got a lot easier now my youngest is at school (lockdowns apart!!). I promise it will get easier, mine are generally a joy to be around now and they are so easy I can go out for nights out, lunches etc. Hang in there!

DietrichandDiMaggio · 09/05/2021 10:26


I think without any help at all it must be really hard
Lots of people do it but amongst my friendship group, our kids grandparents are only in the 50s/early 60s and still working or working part time so they are young and available, even if it’s for weekend sleepovers, coming on holiday with you to take kids off your hands for a bit etc. I mean when I myself was 4, my parents would go away for weekends and leave me with grandparents and I loved it! They even went to New York once. It’s so important to have time away from parenting in my opinion. Can you afford, at all, a nanny or au pair or anything? Nanny share? So you can have a date night, night in a hotel, even a long walk and dinner? How old is dd, can she start nursery ? Will she not sit quietly with tv for an hour or so so you end DP can have a glass of wine and a chill out?

Lots of people do manage, and the majority do it with more than one child. Many people don't live close to family, often having moved away for university, and even if they do and have relatively young parents, then they are usually still working full-time.
I think it would be better for the OP and her partner to find ways to manage caring for their child themselves, in order to make family life more enjoyable, rather than looking for someone to take her off her hands.
Sixsillysausagessizzlinginapan · 09/05/2021 10:29

It gets better

PermanentTemporary · 09/05/2021 10:31

Totally feel it. Just accept that you love her, you wanted her but being a parent is hard.

Find ways to give yourselves and each other breaks. Work out when she's most fun and award yourselves those times with her.

Re babysitter putting her to sleep- why not? Probably she would go to sleep for the sitter because there's much less reward to her in keeping the sitter around. That's the bit that's making you feel terrible. Stop thinking you MUST keep the worst bits because, um, you deserve a terrible life?? Try a sitter, have an evening to yourselves and see how it goes.

osbertthesyrianhamster · 09/05/2021 10:33

I think it would be better for the OP and her partner to find ways to manage caring for their child themselves, in order to make family life more enjoyable, rather than looking for someone to take her off her hands.

Why? There's nothing at all wrong with hiring help for childcare. It's healthy for the parents and the kids to have space from each other. If I could have afforded it I'd definitely have done so as had no family, but also would never expect family to 'help'/provide childcare.

PermanentTemporary · 09/05/2021 10:37

'Lots of people do manage'

Yes they do, and the OP is also managing perfectly well. However she'd like to feel less shit. This is allowed.

ColourMeExhausted · 09/05/2021 10:43

I hear you OP. Life with a hyper sleep refusing toddler and no help is bloody hard. We have two DC aged 5 and 3, and whilst in some ways things are better than they were they're also much harder. We also have no nearby support, my parents are a few hours away and obviously lockdown meant they couldn't be here at all. Every day I feel utterly worn down, stressed and drained. I have begun to resent weekends because it means 4 days of childcare (I don't work on Mondays and have my DS at home). Rest of the time they're at school and nursery and I do sometimes think I prefer those days. It's just constant...the demands, the tantrums, the fights, the mess, the chores. Being woken at 6am every weekend, having to go on yet another bloody walk.

Like you say about your relationship with DP, me and DH spend so much time dealing with the kids that we've forgotten to tend to our own needs. We bicker so much, we would be fine if we could just have some time away from it all but that's not happening anytime soon. I feel so envious of people with family support nearby, who are able to help on a regular basis. Tbh even in normal times my parents aren't able to be that much use and DH's family are a no go area.

I don't regret having them and they do bring a lot of joy to my life. I just hope it gets easier for us all Flowers

ColourMeExhausted · 09/05/2021 10:45

I meant 3 days of childcare not 4!

joystir59 · 09/05/2021 10:47

It's why lots of women choose to not have children. But she is here now and forever and she will grow and mature and become independent. And you will grow into a new life yourself.

MindtheBelleek · 09/05/2021 10:47

I won’t repeat what others have said, OP, but one specific thing came to mind — what astonished me with a challenging, restless, high-needs bad sleeper was that he napped completely unproblematically for his childminder from virtually the moment he started. For us, he was a disastrous sleeper, but she (as she had to, he wasn’t her sole charge) just used to lay him in a cot in a darkened room with another child a little older napping nearby, and he just conked out. Every time.

A babysitter/regular childminder might surprise you in terms of what your daughter may do for them.

Countrycode · 09/05/2021 10:51

I think it would be better for the OP and her partner to find ways to manage caring for their child themselves, in order to make family life more enjoyable, rather than looking for someone to take her off her hands.

I think having someone to take them off your hands occasionally is exactly what makes family life more enjoyable (well as enjoyable as toddlerhood can be anyway). Too much time with my DC is what I struggled with as a SAHM, hard to enjoy them when you don't get a minutes peace. As soon as I get some breathing space I enjoy them more. Balance.

joystir59 · 09/05/2021 10:52

"It takes a village to raise a child".
Never was there a truer expression. Why do couples have children when they haven't developed a support network beforehand? What do they think it's going to be like?

Comtesse · 09/05/2021 10:53

I got a sleep consultant (Andrea Grace) when my eldest was just 3 and her sleep suddenly completely went to pot. Her sleeping properly (and naps at this age still seen as very normal in a lot of Europe) will make such a difference to all of you.

Christmasfairy2020 · 09/05/2021 10:56

It gets easier. My 11 year old y6 is her room on ipad. The youngest whom is 6 is playing in her room. Only just woke up all of us

SirVixofVixHall · 09/05/2021 10:57

I was in a similar position to you OP, a toddler who was wakeful and then a baby who didn’t sleep through the night until 4, we moved to a new area so had no help at all.
I do remember having the odd little cry about my old life, even though I adore my dds. It was just exhaustion.
We also never had babysitters, so didn’t have a meal out together as a couple again until they were both at school and we could have the occasional lunch.
Honestly it gets easier. It is a huge adjustment.

Sunnyfreezesushi · 09/05/2021 10:58

I have 4 children and my youngest DD is really hard work. Never slept properly, very clingy when a young toddler, super inquisitive/wild/bright - she is wonderful but really exhausting, some children are just like this. She is super charged. Your DD sounds similar, some kids just need a lot of extra stimulation so best to get her into sports early/challenging education etc.
My second DS never slept much either but he just occupied himself playing or reading on his own non stop from 3.5/4. So he is inherently high energy but more reserved and that is fine but my youngest is high energy and sociable/interactive etc She started preschool and initially they could not cope with her until I explained her personality. Now they know how to stimulate her she is a dream there and helps with the younger kids - she needs tasks/rewards/challenges etc constantly. I think once she gets to later primary stage and has loads of activities after school and harder work that challenges her mind, she will be fine.
So children really do have different personalities from the start just like adults and some are much harder work and need more challenges/stimulation

osbertthesyrianhamster · 09/05/2021 11:02


"It takes a village to raise a child".
Never was there a truer expression. Why do couples have children when they haven't developed a support network beforehand? What do they think it's going to be like?

Why do people expect other people to participate in raising their kids for free as a 'support network'? Hmm
SirVixofVixHall · 09/05/2021 11:02


"It takes a village to raise a child".
Never was there a truer expression. Why do couples have children when they haven't developed a support network beforehand? What do they think it's going to be like?

It is harder as an older mother though, most of my friends had already been through the baby stage and were back at work by the time I had mine. Then we moved to a new area for unavoidable reasons and so I knew nobody at all and had no support whatsoever. My own parents were two hours away and weren’t well enough to help, my in laws the same distance and didn’t want to help.
I remember feeling tearful with envy of the DIL of a friend, as my friend is the most supportive and helpful MIL, mother and grandmother I have ever met. Having older women around you is a gift when you have very small children, I would have loved to have had my Mum in good health and living round the corner.
Wowyouareboring · 09/05/2021 11:05

It gets easier. I found 3 the hardest age and felt some of the things you did.
Now it’s a lot easier, maybe get some help with her sleeping to see if that can be improved

MarshaBradyo · 09/05/2021 11:05


"It takes a village to raise a child".
Never was there a truer expression. Why do couples have children when they haven't developed a support network beforehand? What do they think it's going to be like?

I’d this just to provide childcare?

Or more parents with young dc of their own
Icannever · 09/05/2021 11:07

I have two boys with less than two years age difference, neither of whom am we’re great sleepers, the first was horrendous. Toddler years were exhausting and often I was just waiting for a day to finish.
Do you have friends with children? I found spending times with other mums and kids was the best thing possible, you have someone to compare horror stories with which helps you not feel so bad and the kids can burn off some energy playing. Could you take her to playgroups, activities etc? Friends with older children are absolutely they best as the older children are often happy to entertain your toddler while you have a chat 😀
I have family near by but they all have their own lifes/jobs/children etc so I don’t expect them to do much to help 😊
I agree with previous posters that say to make sure and take turns with dh so you both get at least one long lie in the weekend and def book a babysitter. I understand not wanting to leave her in the evening, I was the same but also having a night of bedtime is such a relief and might be good for all of you to get a change in routine
Mine are now 10 and 8 and have been such good fun to be around in the last few years. We love days out exploring, climbing trees, kayaking, beach days, making sand castles, theme parks, dinners out, walks to the pub, board games, they really are great fun and I’m gutted they are growing up too fast now (even though they are still pants at sleeping)

Peachesarepeach · 09/05/2021 11:09

Honestly - do you have money to throw at this?

A non-sleeping child will drive you to the brink especially if one of you is spending hours getting them to sleep; that's the few hours you have with your partner to decompress, have a glass of wine and chat.

We employed a sleep consultant and got a babysitter. We'd often go to the pub and talk about how much we missed them but actually missing them felt lovely as before that I felt overwhelmed!

Honestly it does get easier - mine are 5 now and they'll get up themselves and watch tv on a morning, they love going to restaurants and behave nicely, they love long walks.

But it'll be a nicer time if you can crack the sleeping. Pay for a consultant.

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