My feed

to access all these features


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:
Coldwine75 · 09/05/2021 12:10

Its completely ok and fine to miss your old life and feel as you do, please please dont feel guilty (motherhood is endless guilt you will find anyway as it goes on). 2 year olds are hard work !!!

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 12:10

@Ariela Can we borrow you?

Yes, agree, I used to nanny for a friend years ago and was able to get her lovely boy to nap and to sleep at bed really quickly, whereas they struggled, I can see how it can be different with a new person.

OP posts:
LondonJax · 09/05/2021 12:15

We were similar to you in that we met late, had a last chance child so all but one grandparent was dead by the time DS was two and my DM was in her 80s (about to be confirmed with dementia). Apart from one weekend when we went to a wedding when DSis baby sat, DS was with one of us all the time until he began nursery and then, of course, at the weekends. As he has a heart condition we were wary about leaving him with a babysitter for too long. He too wasn't a great sleeper - 5.30am was his usual getting up (4.30am if we were really unlucky) and that didn't depend on a late night. When he started nursery that went up to 6.30am.

We went to a party once when he was 5 years old and he was up on the dance floor until midnight. Seven o'clock the next morning in he bounced...

He's still an early riser - always up by 6.15am (maybe 7am at the weekend) no matter what time he goes to bed. He's now a teenager.

We used to miss the Sunday routine of read the papers, trot off for a walk, sit in the garden, eat when we wanted to etc., But those times are now back. DS will get up and make his own breakfast and generally look after himself more. We'll read the papers, we've just come back from a long walk.

Apart from the sleep thing which you should try to get help with if it's causing you problems (DH is an early riser so DS being up at 5.30am wasn't an issue really), a lot of the other stuff is adapting your lifestyle for a few years. You have to try to find a way of getting control and giving each other a break - not easy but a few tweaks can help.

For example, we'd get a paddling pool and put loads of toys in it in the summer. Big parasol over the top and plenty of suncream, sun hat etc., dump DS in it then we'd sit by the side reading (so we could keep an eye on him) and he was as happy as Larry for an hour or so. He learned to amuse himself - I'm not his plaything although I'm happy to play (just not all the time). He got used to me having a break in the afternoon when I was a SAHM. I used to get a cuppa, pop him on the floor with a load of toys and put a programme on with the subtitles on so I could concentrate above the clatter! Even now he enjoys 'Murder She Wrote' as that was one of the easy to watch things I put on!

Travel was never an issue - we even did a huge trip to Australia when DS was four years old. The lady behind us stopped me as we were getting off the flight and I thought 'Oh God, what's happened' - she said her heart had sunk when she saw a little kid in the seat but he put some of the adults to shame! Which was lovely. We just got used to flights so had a goody bag, toys, snacks, books, comics, or we'd plug DS into the cartoon network if it was a long flight. One flight stuffed in front of the TV isn't going to hurt if it keeps everything calm. TV is your friend sometimes. It helps give you a break and retain some sanity! Don't be ashamed of using it.

Ocean swims aren't out - take the pushchair and a blanket, some snacks and drinks and head off later in the evening. It will mean only one can swim whilst the other watches unless you take DD in to the shallows with you (got to learn about water some time) but at least you get a swim! There's something very special about showing a child a rock pool or something on a walk in the woods and watching their brain work everything out.

DH used to give me a weekend to myself now and then and I'd reciprocate. He'd either take DS away or I'd go to a hotel (same with him - I'd take DS into London, stay in an apartment type hotel so I could cook rather than rely on eating out with a ravenous kid and go to a show or a museum like the Natural History as he was a dino freak). That alone time helped to remind ourselves that we're adult humans who still have interests. And the other one, whilst tired, actually began to realise what an amazing little person we had - my goodness did he take stuff in!

DH would take DS swimming most weekends so I could have a bit of me time and I'd take him to the park so DH could do what he wanted for an hour or so. If there was a programme one of us really wanted to see the other one would have some play time or cooking time with DS.

We found that way worked for us - the other person 'babysitting' whilst the other had me time or a break. By the time DS started school it was easier as he was more interested in the type of places we would go to like stately homes (always loved history as I'm a history lover so we'd have a chat about the Tower of London or why a picture showed this, that or the other) and he was showing his interests (what he doesn't know even now about dinosaurs you can write on a stamp).

It's just finding ways of getting through until the calmer times. And a lot of that means adapting a bit. It also means not accepting mayhem all the time - getting a routine of dad going to the pool on Saturday mornings with DC or having a snuggle with mum in the afternoon whilst mum watches a programme or reads a book. Kids have to learn that the world is not revolving around them alone all the time.

Cowbells · 09/05/2021 12:15

This time will pass. You are in the worst of it when you are bone tired from having done it for so long. But soon she will go to nursery, then school and then the years shoot by.

I agree that you need help with sleep control and you and your DH definitely need some nights out together, so maybe start getting her acquainted with a friendly reliable teenager or student so that she can have a babysitter once or twice a week, even if you just go for a walk, a swim or a glass of wine together. Not big dates, just breathing space.

ZoeMaye · 09/05/2021 12:28

It is ok to hold two contradictory opinions at once.

I very much miss the freedoms of my life before kids. I miss being able to do what I want when I want and live spontaneously. I often find parenting exhausting and suffocating (touched out).

I hate being apart from my kids and they are my everything. I would never want to live without them and they are my greatest joys in my life. I love them wholeheartedly.

Crazy innit?

I think as they get older I will be able to have a more full life, but when they are little it is all consuming and you do lose a bit of yourself for a while. Your life becomes very child centred. But as they get older you can have more of those things you miss back to. It just takes time. But it is a massive adjustment and it's normal to feel sad or melancholic sometimes. We all have days that the grind of parenting gets to us, it does not mean we don't love and value our kids. It means we are human.

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 12:42

@ZoeMaye Yes, that’s exactly how it is

OP posts:
Mulletsaremisunderstood · 09/05/2021 12:44


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!

Jesus, there's always one. Do you really think your smug self satisfaction is of any help to the OP, who is struggling?
Coldwine75 · 09/05/2021 12:49

Can i add, when they get older you then miss them being little, the joys of parenting, it certainly isnt easy :(

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 12:52

@Coldwine75 I can imagine 😪that’s the messed up thing, I half love it all too much and don’t want her to grow up and even now miss her being a teeny baby..! It’s so confusing and emotional, all of it

OP posts:
Insert1x20p · 09/05/2021 12:53

Honestly, weekends with toddlers suck and I imagine lockdown has exacerbated it. It gets better. Agree with PP that tag teaming is the way to go. But yes, also agree that I would try to sort out the sleep.

Coldwine75 · 09/05/2021 12:55

Eggy it is a complete rollercoaster, welcome to parenthood, please please dont feel bad for any of your feelings, bet most of us have felt it, once your dd gets to 4/5 even then its easier, 2 year olds are very very draining.

osbertthesyrianhamster · 09/05/2021 12:59


Can i add, when they get older you then miss them being little, the joys of parenting, it certainly isnt easy :(

God, no. I don't miss them being little or toddlers and pre-schoolers at all. I really don't.
Liliolla · 09/05/2021 13:01

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Cocolemon · 09/05/2021 13:04

@Eggyquiche I read your post whilst lying with my demonic overtired 3year who needs a nap!

I think when you have children later in life and have had a good standard of living it's a big shock for it to change. Of course you miss those amazing care free days!

It gets easier as they get older. I have a 6yo too and they can entertain themselves way more. With 2 kids as well 3yo can play with older sibling and give me a break.

It's so hard without family support. We have none. It's either tag teaming, nursery or get a babysitter.

With sleep - does she need to drop the nap? Later nights I'd often a sign. You will suffer a few weeks of overtired toddler but she could well be ready. My 3yo is almost 4yo and still naps every few days. She's better sleeping at night without a nap.

With a babysitter- let her stay up and play. She will fall asleep eventually, even if it's on the sofa watching tv. Different people, different rules.

It will get better and yu can work parts of your old life back into the new.

littlepattilou · 09/05/2021 13:31

@Eggyquiche I can't add on anything that hasn't already been said, but I would think you a bit odd if you DIDN'T feel like you do! Your life is upended when you have a child, and in the early years, it's hard.

We struggled for the first 6-8 months (very little sleep, baby waking for the DAY at 5am, and STILL having to go to work.) 25+ years ago, I only had 16 weeks maternity leave, so was back when she was 12 weeks old. (Finished 4 weeks before she was born.) And my GOD it was hard, working, and having a baby who woke at 5.30 am, and we had no help from anyone.

I did feel (several times) like 'I can't do this, I am permanently knackered.' Like you, we had no help from anyone, as we lived (at the time) away from family and friends. You do start to LONG for your old life back, but there's no going back! Shock

Then from 9-10 months old, life was lovely with her, she'd play and sing with us, and come with us to the park and the beach, and for picnics, and was an absolute ANGEL to be around. This was an amazing time. Until she hit 3 and a half years old. Then she turned into a little hellbat. Argumentative, whiny, non-stop talking (would always butt in when me and DH were trying to talk,) and just generally disruptive.

In fact it got SO bad that we just never tried to strike up a conversation when she was there. She went to bed early and went straight to sleep (often by 7pm,) so we had evenings together, but she would always wake by 5.30 a.m, 6 a.m tops. (We did put her to bed later a few times, like 8.30pm, but she still got up at 5.30-6am, but was crabby because she hadn't had enough sleep!)

She would moan and whine when we were out for a day trip/shopping trip, that she wanted to go home (often as soon as she had had what SHE wanted; toys, ice cream, time on the little fair, or the beach,) so we often had to cut short our day. It was just blimmin annoying!

However.... this lasted for about a year and a half, and when she hit 5, her going to school, coupled with entering another phase in her growth made her change again. She became fun to be with, lovely and chatty but not butting in all the time, she would be quiet while she watched a film, and would do jigsaws, and play board games and bake cakes with us, and draw and paint, and read with us, play video games, and go for walks with us, and she became a treat to be with.

The ages 5 to 11 years old were amazing, and we loved her company.

She went to secondary school then, but even between 11 and 16, although she made friends, and didn't interact as much with us then, those few years she was fine, and we still had good times with her, (daytrips, pop concerts, playing games, watching films, going for walks etc.) But we had problems (for some of those 4 or 5 years at secondary school,) with her and other girls falling out, and their mothers (school politics!!) And of course, the strain of exams! And this was all hard going. But life with HER was pretty good for that time. Smile

But then she hit 16 - and became a little teen demon. She hated everything me and her dad did, picked fault with us constantly, moaned about everything in our home, and how she wanted bigger and newer things, nothing was good enough, and she wanted to go to a uni as far away from us as possible, and avoided talking to us when she could. Annoyingly for her, her friends seemed to love us. It was like Kevin and Perry where Kevin loathes his parents, but his mate likes them and gets on with them!

Then when she went to uni, (at 18,) she didn't make a lot of contact and it was always us who made the contact first, she never remembered our birthdays, and always wanted money as she kept running out, and only rang us if she wanted supplies, or a lift back from uni!

Then........ she left uni 6 years ago, and now has her own home with her boyfriend, and a really good professional career. And she is now the loveliest kindest most wonderful human being, and she and me and DH are like best friends. We talk every day (on whatsapp, twitter, or the phone,) and we see her every 2 weeks, (obvs less during pandemic!)

We go for pub lunches, and coffees, and me and her go for shopping trips and day trips alone, as well as with her dad too, and her boyfriend. We live rurally, and 20 miles from her, and have said in the past year or so, as much as we love it here, we would like to move nearer to shops and train stations and doctors and suchlike in about 5 years. She even said (the other week,) that when we do, she wants us to move near to her, as she wants us close to her.

Funny, as she couldn't get far away enough when she started uni! Grin

She also comes to see us more, and buys lovely gifts for our birthdays and Mothers day and Fathers day, and Christmas, and our anniversary etc... She even sends flowers 'just because' as a lovely gesture to brighten our day. Smile (We go see her too, just as often.) Smile

Sorry for the long rabble. I just wanted to illustrate that it has its ups and downs having kids, but when they're grown, they're like your best friend. The best thing that has happened in my life is having our daughter. And DH feels the same. We love her so much. There's nothing we wouldn't do for her. And I believe she pretty much feels the same. Smile

It's hard now, but my GOD you have so many good times ahead with her. And the good will outweigh the bad!

Sending you (((HUGS))) and flowers Flowers

babbaloushka · 09/05/2021 13:33

My DD sounds just like yours as a toddler, bright and curious but so bloody charged. At 16 she was diagnosed with ADHD and my biggest regret is not getting her assessed sooner. Just a thought, obviously you know her best.

ValerieMalone · 09/05/2021 13:45


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!

If you were truly at peace with your decision you wouldn’t feel compelled to gloat about your childlessness on a thread like this. But please know it is totally normal to be conflicted about whether or not to have children. But if you need to put others down in order to convince yourself you’ve done the right thing then you are clearly still in need of some soul searching around this issue, ideally with a good therapist. Being nasty to others is never going to fill the gnawing fear of regret that is clearly eating away at you. Best of luck Flowers.
Lemonelderflower · 09/05/2021 13:58

I must admit I sometimes think these threads are done on purpose by child free women, no idea why they come on to say how wonderful it all is. I am sure you aren’t OP but there’s definitely people with an agenda hanging around MN.

Choices21 · 09/05/2021 14:02

Hi @Eggyquiche, I’m so sorry that this is a struggle at the moment. But over time, I’m sure things will get better. It must be incredibly difficult to do it all without help of family being around. Probably seems relentless!

I don’t have children - through choice. I knew that I’d really struggle with what you and so many others describe, although it was an incredibly difficult choice and I agonised over it. But you have been selfless and given yourself to a child. That is wonderful.

Sending positive vibes your way and for your DC to improve with their sleep very soon. I bet that might be a game changer..... Flowers

Choices21 · 09/05/2021 14:08

@Lemonelderflower. I agree. But for both ways. People with children saying it’s wonderful and vice versa.

There is nothing stranger that folk!
Like I say, I don’t have kids. My life is lovely but I will always have that “what if....” in my head. But suppose again that can work both ways. Many folk with kids wondering “what if....”

Basically we are damned if we do! Damed if we don’t!

GettingUntrapped · 09/05/2021 14:08

I have no problem with a child free person commenting in sympathy, which is how I understood her comment.
I don't see the need to attack her for this.

JeanClaudeVanDammit · 09/05/2021 14:14

there’s definitely people with an agenda hanging around MN.

What agenda? To encourage people not to have children? If someone is so easily swayed that an anonymous comment on a thread on MN then they probably didn’t want children much after all.

Three year olds are hard. Sometimes parenting is shit. Are we allowed to say that?

One thing that poster certainly got right is that if you feel this way you probably shouldn’t have any more. That’s not a criticism of you for feeling like this - it’s reality that this will be easier to manage and this stage of your life will pass more quickly with one child rather than two or more.

Lemonelderflower · 09/05/2021 14:15

I didn’t say people were swayed by it.

I said there are people with an agenda.

JeanClaudeVanDammit · 09/05/2021 14:21

So what’s the agenda?

Lemonelderflower · 09/05/2021 14:22

To boast about how wonderful a child free life is!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.