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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:
Allmyarseandpeggymartin · 09/05/2021 16:01

Ooh op there are some throughly unpleasant posts on here - don’t feel guilty for feeling the way you do it is totally normal. All actual parents feel like it at some time.

Allmyarseandpeggymartin · 09/05/2021 16:02

@CirqueDeMorgue Do you feel better now you’ve made someone else feel worse?

Snakeprint · 09/05/2021 16:03

There is nothing wrong with how you feel.Flowers You need some help with her sleep and a physical break. Shes 3, can she go to a CM or nursery? Can you incorporate her into the things you miss?

LilyMumsnet · 09/05/2021 16:03

Hi folks,

Can we leave it there, now? And get the thread back on track?
Flowers, OP.

Skyla2005 · 09/05/2021 16:04

Use a qualified nanny and they won't mind bathing a putting to bed that's what they do. You had her late In life and she's an only child. Please don't take this the wrong way but these children are usually spoilt because they have 100per cent attention. It wouldn't hurt to let her fit in with you a bit more. Do the things you used to do and she will go along with you. You should give in to every whim and life shouldn't have to revolve around a three year old Focus more on your relationship together and let her take a back seat a bit. Ignore temper tantrums and bad behaviour. You don't have to give her what she wants all the time it's good to say no sometimes. It does sound as though she is somewhat ruling your life. It shouldn't be this way.

Snakeprint · 09/05/2021 16:05

[quote Eggyquiche]@Allmyarseandpeggymartin She will start part time in September and I’m really hoping it will make a little difference, even though I’m sad at the thought of it too as I know you don’t get these years back. It’s so amazing, she’s so amazing but it can be relentless[/quote]
You will feel so much better, once you get a break.

littlepattilou · 09/05/2021 16:13


Hi folks,

Can we leave it there, now? And get the thread back on track?
Flowers, OP.

Thank you Lily. Flowers
Choices21 · 09/05/2021 16:55

I’ve worked in a nursery school many years ago. And children are more naturally tired after it so fingers crossed it helps with the sleep in the future.

I’m 39 years old. I know I’d be knackered if my sleep was disturbed. That in itself will make you feel emotional about your old life.

If anything will make life seem a bit grim and that’s lack of sleep!

Cindersrellie · 09/05/2021 17:13

I could have cried reading this because I feel the same way. And mine is in nursery threw days per week too! Get her in nursery asap Grin

Shimmyshimmycocobop · 09/05/2021 17:27

I think these feelings are totally normal, DS1 was really hard work as a toddler, tbh he's been hard work most of his life but is now 20, at Uni and seems really happy.
I remember a colleague telling me to treasure the time when they were very small as it goes so fast, I just thought she had forgotten how hard it was.
I had another one as I hoped they would be able to keep each other company and give me a rest.
There was a period from 5 to 12 when I found it fun and really wanted to press pause, but prior to that I often felt like I was wishing their lives away because it was so hard.
I'm now almost child free and facing empty nest syndrome, I look at harassed parents of wee ones and would never want to go back and do it again.

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 18:16

@LilyMumsnet Thank you 💐

OP posts:
Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 18:17

@CirqueDeMorgue I understand, but we all have difficult days, right? For many different reasons. It’s ok.

OP posts:
BigSandyBalls2015 · 09/05/2021 18:22

You do forget, mine are 20 (twins), and I think I look back with rose tinted specs at times ... DH puts me straight “it was brutal”.

I made a moonpig anniversary card recently for DH ... pic of our wedding day in it ... next to a pic three years later holding our 1 year old DDs. The DDs were laughing at how different he looked .. completely washed out bless him.

I was in a supermarket yesterday and there was a lady in there with a baby in a buggy, a 2/3 year old and a 5ish aged boy in school uniform. The boy had obv had a bad day at school and was moaning and whining all the way around the store and his brother kept legging it. The mum seemed so calm and together ... I just thought I couldn’t do all that again.

Ohpulltheotherone · 09/05/2021 18:27

I have nothing to add but I totally sympathise. It’s relentless, it’s exhausting and it’s equally wonderful and awful.

When you have no childcare options at all it is incredibly difficult. This is like extreme level parenting, you have no grandparents, siblings, friends or family to help. People really don’t understand how hard this is unless they are in the same boat

Dustyhedge · 09/05/2021 18:57

Do you think your expectations are perhaps a bit high with your background as an early year’s teacher? Some of the parents I know that have found it hard with their own are the ones used to teaching 20 toddlers and wonder why their own one is harder work?

I think everyone has their limit. We found one fine but two has stretched us to breaking point and I definitely wouldn’t want a third. You are so close to things getting easier. My 4yo is now very good company. We can take her to a restaurant and know she’ll behave. If you stick with one you’re not far off things getting much easier.

I do think you’re making your life much harder with the co-sleeping though. I think I’d you can really work on sleep and get her in her own bed, you’d be getting much more time for you and you as a couple back.

CirqueDeMorgue · 09/05/2021 18:59

[quote Eggyquiche]@CirqueDeMorgue I understand, but we all have difficult days, right? For many different reasons. It’s ok.[/quote]
We certainly do. If it's any consolation, my youngest has ASD and can be very challenging. I think it sometimes helps me to tell myself I have no choice but to suck it up. I hope you feel more positive soon, I really do.

Dustyhedge · 09/05/2021 19:06

Also there is no reason why you can’t do lots of these things you miss. Granted 3yos are hard work but a primary age child would be much easier.

*We’d wake whenever we wanted: to be fair this is a while off but my 4yo is much better at lying in and could probably be persuaded to play on her own.

*have a leisurely breakfast: no real reason why you couldn’t do that now

  • watch what we wanted on tv in peace: you should be able to do that of an evening.
  • maybe head down to the beach, or we’d lounge around sunbathing in the garden: no reason why you can’t do this now.
    having lunch with wine: no reason why you can’t do this
    head to the beach for sunset and ocean swims: again could do this in a few years if you can’t now.
KarmaStar · 09/05/2021 19:52

Stop looking back! What positivity are you getting from that? is pointless longing for the past,it's gone so thankful you had that idyllic time in your life that many thousands of people don't then let it go.
Count your blessings for what you have now and sit down with your dh and work out some ideas to get your marriage back on track and how you can plan some help with dd.Nursery will be great for her to socialise and burn off some energy and give you some time for yourself.
In years to come you and your dd will likely be best friends,you'll enjoy her company,she will leave home and find her own path,then you and your dh will have that alone time again.
But live in the now.You have to stop all this longing for the past,if you're always looking back you won't be able to see where you're going.
Make arrangements for child care so you can have date nights and for whatever you want to do as a couple or with friends,yes you'll have to be home by a certain time and you can't drink as much as you'll have to care for her after but this is what life is,nothing stays the same for ever!not the good times nor the not so good times.
This,right now,is your life,do your very best to enjoy what you have,take it hour by hour,day by day,and even knowing you're going to make changes will give you a lift.
One word of warning,our thoughts are heard,what we send out to the universe we get back.
Try writing a diary of all the times your day is happy,the funny things your dd does to make you laugh,or she's loving and kind.When you read it back one day it will make you smile and be happy your life is as it is.🌈

RaspberryThief · 09/05/2021 21:26

So many people have said it already, but sorting her sleep will transform your lives. A bad sleeper is hell and will leave you exhausted, drained, claustrophobic and furiously resentful. (I had a bad sleeper too, in case it's not obvious...) I think at her age you just have to trust that she is capable of and ready to sleep more independently. Everyone in the family will benefit because you'll all be better rested and more energetic, you'll have evenings with your DH again or just to chill out and do something for yourself, and you will at least get a break from her at night even if there is no extended family network to help during the day. Co-sleeping at that age is fine if it's working, but it doesn't sound like it's working for you any more. It's OK to make changes, you won't be letting her down - quite the opposite. But you have to feel ready for it yourself, otherwise she will sense that you don't believe she can manage without you at night and that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Also, I agree that you need some form of help whether that is a trusted babysitter for a few hours once or twice a month, a similar type childcare swap with a friend, or a few hours of nursery during the week. Even a couple of half days a week after she turns 3 would leave you a bit of time to sleep, read, go shopping without dragging a toddler along, go and have a long lunch with your DH, lots of things. But if you don't want to go down the nursery route just yet then there are other ways of carving out just a little bit of time for yourselves every month. Reading your post about the horrendous time you had, I did wonder whether on some level you had such a bad time trying to conceive her that now she's here it's hard for you to believe that it's OK for her to grow a little more independent from you now that she's older, or that it's OK for you to want a little time for yourself and that that doesn't make you a bad mother. Apologies if I'm wrong - it was just a passing thought. Much sympathy for you - it is very hard at that age when you have no family to help. Flowers

Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 23:11

@RaspberryThief Yes, you may be right there

@CirqueDeMorgue Very sorry that must be so hard

OP posts:
Eggyquiche · 09/05/2021 23:12

@KarmaStar What we send out we get back? So what will happen if I can’t help yo think like this sometimes? I’ll get punished, wow.

OP posts:
Caterina99 · 11/05/2021 00:46

Hi op I’m also a sahm living abroad with zero family in this country. My kids are 3.5 and nearly 6 now and things have definitely improved in a year. Apart from covid of course!

I could be wrong but it sounds like you don’t have such an issue with the mon-fri sahm life? It’s the weekends that you’re struggling with. I personally find the weekends hard going as we’re pretty scheduled in the week with play dates and then lots of people want family time on a weekend and we obviously have no one except us. And after a full week with the kids I don’t want to spend another 2 days doing the exact same thing.

Fortunately my kids have got pretty good at getting up on a morning and going and watching tv with an easy snack so we get an hour or so of peace. Of course the oldest helps the youngest, but if that downtime is important to you then I’d allow screen time on a morning and either go back to bed or sit in a stupor with a cup of tea. DH and I also strictly take a lie in each on a weekend day (now it’s evolved more into a few hours off from parenting as we’re getting more sleep now they sleep all night). We also used to get a babysitter before covid (hoping to get back to that soon) about once a month for a few hours either on an evening or a weekend afternoon. It definitely helped with the feeling of relentlessness just to have a break from it together occasionally

A bad sleeper is so soul destroying, so hopefully that improves. I do feel significantly more human now that I’m not regularly being woken in the night

Caterina99 · 11/05/2021 01:07

Also the nap dropping is hard on them (and you). It takes a while to adjust and while I personally prefer my kids to go to bed earlier and so dropping the nap worked well for us, I did feel like we missed out on the beautiful summer evenings as they needed to be in bed early.

You could try taking a drive late afternoon to squeeze a short nap in. Then she’d be up later. Something I avoid at all costs as my kids being full of beans until 9/10 pm sounds like hell, but I do understand the appeal of the summer evening activities

Rangoon · 11/05/2021 02:11

My husband and I used to have a winter holiday somewhere warm every year - without the children. I think we first went when the oldest was about a year old. We hired a nanny who lived in for the week and in the early days my mother stayed as well. They were absolutely fine and adored grandma. Grandma loved coming and the nanny did any actual childcare. Apparently our weekly job was keenly sought after by the nannies because we paid generously, left frozen casseroles etc for meals, and they had a constant round of outings. The children had a great time with the nanny.

We have always had a cleaner. In the early days we had somebody come in to do the garden. A dishwasher was a marriage saver. For the first year for both of our children there was a nanny who started the day they came home from the hospital so we didn't have to worry about drop offs and so on.

If you are in the fortunate position of having money to throw at it, you can improve your life with children considerably.

I never let either of my children rely on me or my husband to get to sleep. They got a story, their musical mobile was wound up and we left. I can't believe stories of parents having to lie on the floor in their child's room till the child sleeps. Obviously if the child is unwell you are there. A child has to learn to self settle though and it's better they learn earlier than late. I know somebody who fell asleep at the wheel with their toddler in the car because she never got any decent sleep. She was lucky the baby wasn't hurt and she had only minor injuries when she mounted the pavement and hit a wall and she was lucky not to kill somebody else. Her husband insisted then that they started a program of sleep training and controlled crying. He said it was the worst five days of their lives but the toddler slept through after that.

I realise I am probably going to get flamed for this but the current child centric idea where all joy for the parents is meant to be through their children is just another way of making mother's lives difficult. A generation or so ago, children had to fit in around the parent's lives to a much greater degree. My mother would no more have dreamt of sleeping on the floor or waiting for children to fall asleep than she would have thought of going to Mars. She was a great mother and grandmother but her view was that the mother had to be in charge. My husband and his brothers were brought up in the same way - their parents used to drop them off with their grandparents and the parents went on a week's holiday on their own every year.

Ollinica · 11/05/2021 02:18

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