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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:
Thewiseoneincognito · 09/05/2021 11:09

Reading posts like this just make me feel so privileged to not have children. I love my independence and freedom far too much to trade it in for the hellish existence some of you poor people endure. OP I really hope you find some middle ground soon, don’t have any more!

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 11:14

@joystir59 We have a wide group of friends with kids, but..they’re all managing their own kids 🤷🏻‍♀️

OP posts:
Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 11:16

@Icannever Yeah, there are a wide group of us with kids who get together often, that definitely does help, but it’s not a break as such.

OP posts:
belowdeckyoubet · 09/05/2021 11:17

@Eggyquiche I think you are almost being held hostage by the sleep situation. I agree completely with @Moirarose2021about getting someone else to settle her in the evening. but certainly research sleep training. I think 3 might be a little too old for a long nap in the afternoon, but running her ragged on the beach in the evening would be a help. Fresh air, lots of energy, she'l settle into a better sleep pattern just by upping that

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 11:18

@Sunnyfreezesushi Sounds very much like my girl, she’s very alert and inquisitive, spoke really early and interested in everything. I’m an early years teacher, but currently staying at home with her, so we do all sorts, activities, nature walks, see friends etc etc, I put so very much into our time together and I do love it, but I have these moments where I just remember..being..alone 🤣🤷🏻‍♀️

OP posts:
Voomster953 · 09/05/2021 11:19

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.

Op, ignore guilt-inducing, judgmental bollocks like the above ^.

joystir59 · 09/05/2021 11:20

@joystir59 We have a wide group of friends with kids, but..they’re all managing their own kids
Why aren't you sharing childcare so that you can each have regular breaks? I don't understand why this doesn't seem to happen.

Thatisnotwhatisaid · 09/05/2021 11:21

I think your biggest problem is the fact you’ve never had time away from her aside from when you’re at work which doesn’t really count. You need a date night with your DP at least once a month to reconnect. If you have the money for it, I’d hire a babysitter and go out for a meal together once a month. Also maybe take it turns with DP to look after her so the other one can go do something for themselves.

Three is a hard age, one of the hardest but it does get easier.

LunaL0veg00d · 09/05/2021 11:24

I understand what you mean, toddlers are very hard work and looking after a small person 24/7 completely takes away your independence.

All of that being said, I can say with confidence that when the moment comes that your life flashes before your eyes, it won't be getting up late and watching tv that you see, it will be the years of precious memories with your daughter. At least that's what I tell myself during the meltdowns!!

Laundrydragon · 09/05/2021 11:26

I hear you op! The two-three age is grinding me down too! I really love the little one but I am so, so far from the pre-motherhood person I was.

Hoping you find some decent advice here.

TheKeatingFive · 09/05/2021 11:30

I so hear you OP. Our almost 3 year old is like a little demon at the minute and sleep deprivation is making us all suffer.

the difference between 3 and 5 for example is miraculous

However I totally agree with this. Things will get better soon.

Movisoul · 09/05/2021 11:34

I think you do need to carve out a bit of time for yourself regularly so you have something to look forward to. Can yo go our for a coffee/ breakfast at the weekend while your DD is with her Dad? It really does rejuvenate you to do this stuff. No guilt - it's totally normally to need that time.

Also, the feelings of missing old freedoms are normal. But think how empty that would all feel if you hadn't been able to have kids. You would now be longing for a child and not fully enjoying your child free life!

It is relentless and tiring. I think some regular time to yourself would really help

ImInStealthMode · 09/05/2021 11:34

As @joystir59 suggests, can you not do some childcare swaps with your friends every now and again? They have your DD for a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning and the next week you have theirs?

Even friends without kids can help. I live in a very ex-patty place so loads of friends with kids who don't have family here, over the years I've been 'Auntie' to lots of their DC, babysitting in the evenings, taking them to the park or zoo for a couple of hours on a weekend, occasionally having them overnight. I've always been happy to do it because I love the kids and their parents, if I can make their life a bit easier then of course I will.

aiwblam · 09/05/2021 11:41

She won't be a toddler forever. She'll be able to do the leisurely things with you in the not too distant future.

sadfanny · 09/05/2021 11:42

What is her sleep actually like? As you said she slept 8-7 last night?

I agree with another poster that I'd have her winding down from 5:30. Get her in bed early. If she goes to sleep earlier then you have time to yourselves and you can take turns to go shopping or gym ect.

Also if you're finding it hard why aren't you at work? 3 is a long time to solely be with a toddler unless you really really enjoy it!

At some point she'll start getting up and pouring herself some cereal and popping the telly on, then you'll have an easier Sunday. Can you put a gate on her room so she can get herself up and potter about in her room?

Killahangilion · 09/05/2021 11:44

Your old life sounds pretty idyllic and you can probably get back to something similar when your child is older.

I think the poor sleeping issue needs tackling as a priority. Sounds like you’ve got yourself into a hole and you might need professional help to re-train your DD. My DH is a trained hypnotist so DS has always been a great sleeper.

Regarding nights out, we’ve got a 12 year old and no family nearby.

We’ve had one night out together in 12 years and that was to a friends dinner party when he was 9 and another friend offered to babysit. The worst time for me was when DH and I had flu and he stayed in bed and I lay on the sofa for 2 weeks trying to keep toddler DS safe and fed. That was pretty shit, to be honest.

You get used to staying in together or going out separately although last time I had a meal out with my friends was our annual Christmas meal out in 2019. DH never goes out on his own as he’s not interested.

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 11:45

@joystir59 @ImInStealthMode We’ve all discussed it but it never seems to happen, we’re always so full with our own. For example a friend wanted to go out for a few hours one night but that coincided with my putting my own Dd to bed (Dp wouldn’t have been home by then) her Ds doesn’t go to sleep until late, around 10, so I couldn’t go to her, he could come to me, but I’d need to be sorting Dd for her bed and then would be up with another active toddler for a few hours 😩it’s all a bit complicated when friends are managing their own kids and problems too, but we all meet up regularly so the kids play together and we get a bit of time to chat..it’s short lived tho!

OP posts:
Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 11:47

@sadfanny I enjoy being at home with her and we made that choice (I’m returning to work when she’s in school) but I just need a wee break away.
She won’t sleep before 7, even if tired, that’s the thing, she’s happy and refreshed if Dh has around 11 hours at night and 2 in the day..without those 2 extra hours, it seems to build up over days and she’s overtired.

OP posts:
Blossomtoes · 09/05/2021 11:52

It’s shit. I remember it as if it was yesterday but it gets better. Get a babysitter and go out. As a pp has said, you don’t know that he won’t go to sleep without one of you because you’ve never tried. Everyone needs some time to themselves and is a better parent for it.

Blossomtoes · 09/05/2021 11:52

She - sorry!

Annasgirl · 09/05/2021 11:59

Hi OP,

I work in the area of maternal mental health. Some suggestions for you

  1. Please find an au pair - it will change your life. Right now your DD has only you and your DH to support her. She needs to have more social support and so do you. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child - if you do not have family near you then you need to buy in family. This will REALLY, REALLY help with your mental health.

2. Spend time alone with your DH - you need to rediscover this relationship. The most important gift you can give your DD is a loving family - this will only happen if you and your DH work on your marriage. I say this with love, and with many, many, years of experience - you need a solid base to cope with the toddler years.

3. In order to spend some time with your DH it is important that you get an Au Pair or a nanny. I don't know where you live, but if you are from the UK and live abroad, why don't you try to get someone recommended from the UK to come and live with you to learn the language and experience the culture? Or else, get someone local or from the same area as some of the other mothers where you are do.

4. Take some time for you, each day while the au pair is there - and do something only for you. So an exercise that you love, like swimming or running or tennis - very day; and a relaxing activity or a lunch with friends and NO KIDS - a couple of times a week.

I know this sounds like huge leap, but you will only get through this period by caring for yourself and minding your relationship.
Coldwine75 · 09/05/2021 12:03

Oh bless you and well done for being honest. I think a lot of people feel this way and 2 is a difficult stage as they can be on the go 24 7. I have to say it will get easier as your dd gets older so hang in there. Sounds like you could do with someone to help so you and your dp can go out and have some time, are there any friends you can call on?

Ariela · 09/05/2021 12:04


I think now summer is coming, we perhaps should think about a babysitter for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon/evening..the issue is sleep, she needs one of us to go to sleep and it can take a long time. I wouldn’t leave the poor babysitter with that job, but equally by the time we get her to sleep, it could be 9 and these days I don’t think we’d really be in the mood to go out then!

You say 'she needs' one of you. I would bet she doesn't. If you get a baby sitter build it up to being fun, and how lovely and baby sitter will let you stay up a teeny bit later than usual and then she will read you some stories in bed.
My friend used to do this every time I baby sat. She couldn't understand how I managed to get her little boy in bed and fast asleep most times before they'd got their starters in the restaurant/the adverts had finished for the film. In truth the parents were on edge that he was not going to go to sleep, their son picked up on it and played up. Whereas I breezed in and was all fun and cuddles, a bit of child showing off as to which songs they now knew that sort of thing we'd work a bit of steam off with action songs or playing with something, but it was known we'd have a bit of fun when mum and dad are out, so as they got ready we'd choose books to read - I often brought a new one, and upstairs for PJs, wave to mummy and daddy - and then we'd have a warm milky drink and escape off to read the books as soon as they'd gone. I'd do animal actions and voices and make it fun, but by the 3rd book the eyes would droop, and I'd say lets just snuggle up and we'll quietly read this one, and bingo lights out fast asleep before you knew it.
But I had no expectations and wasn't getting upset. So he wasn't picking up on it and playing up, he was chilled and enjoying it and the expectation was he was tired and would sleep. Which he did.
Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 12:07

@Annasgirl Thank you 💐

She does have lots of support and interaction around her aside from us, lots of friends with children and we meet a couple of times a week for example, plus she’ll start part time nursery in September. I’m not worried from a social point of view or even worried about her, she’s very happy and thriving and I put my absolute all into motherhood, but I think that’s the issue, just not having one minute to myself. I don’t show that to Dd and never would, I decided to write it on here instead, almost in secret, but feel so guilty about it! She’s what we waited so very long for, I just have these moments of reminiscing about our old lives and was checking to see if this is normal 🤷🏻‍♀️

OP posts:
user1471554720 · 09/05/2021 12:09


Lots of people do manage, but they feel bitter and resentful without a break. This can carry through for years. I would encourage the OP to take annual leave or unpaid days off, while dc is in the minder and use this to get a break.

I work full time, had no help with dcs other than minder when I was at work. A lot of colleagues and parents at dcs school have involved grandparents and lashings of help. I stopped talking to colleagues because I was so upset at having no help. I keep to myself and don't really bother with parents at dcs school unless I have to. I have a younger sibling and I would resent minding their dc in future as I ddn't get a break. I point blank refused playdates with a 'friend' as I would be afraid I would mind her dcs and I wouldn't get my turn back.

In fact if dh wanted me to mind any inlaws dc, I would say that WE didn't get help, keep staring at him and arrange to be 'out' during the minding.

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