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Parenting

Feeling like a shit mom and it’s tearing my apart

17 replies

PaPaParrot · 25/01/2023 13:18

Hi,
I don’t even know where to start or what I want to hear, it’s just been bothering me so much lately.
We have a lovely 2y DS. Without going into too much detail, his dad, my DP had to had 2 operations in one year. He’s been off the work since summer 2021 and as you would imagine it really affected our financial situation.
When DS was younger I felt that was easier to entertain him, just park and fresh air would do but now when he’s older I feel that I don’t give him enough experiences due to our financial situation and considering cost of living crisis too…
We live next to a small but very nice park where he likes to run around, we go to supermarket or shopping centre, sometimes we take a bus just for a change..In spring/summer time we went to different parks and playgrounds. But I feel I’m not doing enough for him.
We used to go to a nearby softplay which he really enjoyed but couldn’t afford to pay it even once a week. There’s a really nice aquarium/sea centre close but again, we can’t afford the tickets although I would love to take him there. Forget the toddler groups, swimming… Anything to do with money. Sometimes I feel that all he sees is just park…park… park.. endless park, because it’s free.
As he just turned 2 he is entitled to 15 free hours of childcare which I intend to use and at least it will make him see something different.
I just feel like a failure and cursing myself everyday that I’m not able to afford to show him things and that may affect his development and view of the world.
So yeah…

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Nursemumma92 · 25/01/2023 13:29

Oh I really feel for you OP, it's so tough at the moment with the cost of living without the challenges you are facing with your DP's health. The fact that this is playing on your mind so much shows how much you are a good mum as you care so much about him and his development.

Parks are great, but definitely tough in winter when the weather can be dodgy. Do you have a library in your town? Often they have free sessions such as rhyme time or similar, or even just go and enrol for free so you have somewhere to take him each week to choose new books etc.

Also churches often do toddler playgroups that are approx £2/£3 entry for you both and are good to meet other mums and little ones who you can then do play dates with potentially. I went to a couple of different ones with my DD and am not in the slightest religious but they don't pedal this at all it's just a community thing.

If you are on social media keep an eye out for events in your area as often free/cheap events for families are advertised on there.

And in the mean time, don't beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can with the circumstances you have found yourself in which are beyond your control. He is safe and loved, and that is the most crucial part of his development ❤️

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Rafferty10 · 25/01/2023 13:37

Op, Please stop worrying, at 2yo an engaged mum, park games, and exercise is really all he needs, l assume you read to him, play games with him, take him to talk to neighbours, other families in the park/supermarket? as does his father?

It is enough really...but l understand it must get dull for you, so why don't you ask family for tickets to things/places he may enjoy for him Birthday and Christmas?
Or cash to be put to this?
I second libraries, also get hold of the local whats on paper, there are often free craft events at local churches.
If you can be brave and ask for other mum's numbers everywhere you meet any, you could end up with a weekly coffee morning group at each others houses or the park, free but fun for both of you. ( and great on wet winter days.)

He will be fine. you are doing just fine!

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WhatNoRaisins · 25/01/2023 13:45

At 2 they don't really get that much out of more expensive things in my experience. It's more for the parents. I wouldn't worry so much right now.

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RoseslnTheHospital · 25/01/2023 13:49

You are doing absolutely fine, you're not negatively affecting his development at all. You are doing exactly the right things with him, it's not about how much cash you can throw at it.

I would agree with the library as a source of free activities, there could be a free Rhyme Time type activity, and just exploring and choosing books. Church playgroups are often very cheap or free, just for some variety. If there is a local museum you can get to, they often have outreach projects to engage children which should all be free.

Just going into town, around the shops with you as an attentive and responsive parent is brilliant. Lots of things to look at, lots of people to see and interact with, nothing wrong with that at all.

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whistledowntheway · 25/01/2023 13:57

PaPaParrot · 25/01/2023 13:18

Hi,
I don’t even know where to start or what I want to hear, it’s just been bothering me so much lately.
We have a lovely 2y DS. Without going into too much detail, his dad, my DP had to had 2 operations in one year. He’s been off the work since summer 2021 and as you would imagine it really affected our financial situation.
When DS was younger I felt that was easier to entertain him, just park and fresh air would do but now when he’s older I feel that I don’t give him enough experiences due to our financial situation and considering cost of living crisis too…
We live next to a small but very nice park where he likes to run around, we go to supermarket or shopping centre, sometimes we take a bus just for a change..In spring/summer time we went to different parks and playgrounds. But I feel I’m not doing enough for him.
We used to go to a nearby softplay which he really enjoyed but couldn’t afford to pay it even once a week. There’s a really nice aquarium/sea centre close but again, we can’t afford the tickets although I would love to take him there. Forget the toddler groups, swimming… Anything to do with money. Sometimes I feel that all he sees is just park…park… park.. endless park, because it’s free.
As he just turned 2 he is entitled to 15 free hours of childcare which I intend to use and at least it will make him see something different.
I just feel like a failure and cursing myself everyday that I’m not able to afford to show him things and that may affect his development and view of the world.
So yeah…

I'm so sorry to hear this. Are there any free toddler groups near you? There are a few free ones at churches that I go to with mine. Or some are £1 and you get a tea and biscuit

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Emmamoo89 · 25/01/2023 14:00

You're not a shit mam. X

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Tartifletti · 25/01/2023 14:13

It sounds like you have had a really tough time. But, honestly, 2 year olds don't need a lot of exciting experiences. So long as he will get some social interaction from the 15 hours at nursery, he will be absolutely fine with doing very simple stuff with you. Baking at home, painting, messy play, running around in the park - all perfect. Pp's suggestion of the library is great. The aquarium is the sort of thing that can wait for a few years, when he will much more out of it. Ditto swimming, no massive rush on that (some toddlers hate it, he can learn when he's a bit older).

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PaPaParrot · 25/01/2023 14:14

Thank you for the kind words. Wasn’t expecting them to be honest. Made me cry a bit.
Thank you!

My mum doesn’t live nearby but she’s been helping us with money a few times so bills are paid and we are warm, fed and clothed.
My DP is getting better, he’s on the mend but due to nature of the operation ( leg ) he can’t fully take our DS out by himself yet, he can’t run after him or pick him up and carry.

I just had a little look around and there is this arts/community centre just down the road from us which I never really paid attention to as being something for kids/babies/toddlers. Just had a look at their website at found this.
Actually a few things for kids ages 2+.Some free, some just £3. …. And had a little cry again. Well a big one actually. Definitely gonna book that!
Thank you for encouraging, I was feeling so deflated

Feeling like a shit mom and it’s tearing my apart
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Redannie118 · 25/01/2023 14:22

Have a look for your local Sure Start centre, they often run free activities. Also lots of nurseries have free family fun days( my son works for a SEND nursery and they do community events at least twice a month) instead of just the park try and look online for some plants/wildlife and go for a walk and try to find some. Even in inner city areas there are plenty around. You are not a crap mum, you are doing really well.

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AliasGrape · 25/01/2023 14:22

You sound like a lovely mum and you are doing all the right things!

I agree to try the library if there’s one you can get to easily, and the local church playgroups. At one stage we were going to a different church every day of the week before I started working fixed hours again! Now we still do 2, one is £2 and the other is £1. I know that even that might be pushing it - if so it might be worth contacting the organiser and explaining and asking if there’s any way they could waive the fee - perhaps if you volunteered to help with setting up/ putting away at the end.

Have a look on Facebook for local mums/ parents groups - there’s a few for my small town and I’m also in a WhatsApp group with loads of local mums - that has the added benefit of people often passing on toys/ clothes and other stuff either for free or very cheap. But it’s also great as people share stuff that’s going on locally for free. For example a ‘Chinese lantern trail’ with different shop windows decorated and you could go round and spot them all. If you don’t find anything that way it’s worth googling ‘what’s on free for kids near me’.

Lots of museums are free entry (some may have a suggested donation but it’s not compulsory and if you feel bad about it just tell yourself that once you’re back on your feet you can be the ones donating so that others can benefit from the free entry when they need it). I know often it’s the transport there that could be the issue but worth a look to see if there’s anything nearby.

But honestly lots of park walks and exercise sound great - loads of opportunities to talk about what you can see, notice the trees that don’t have leaves and in a little while you can talk about how they’re growing back now because it’s spring, wear wellies and jump in puddles, play hide and seek, take a toy truck and let it whizz down the slide, take a ball, when it’s summer take a blanket and a picnic, take bubbles, climb trees - genuinely he will be getting so much out of it!

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ManchesterGirl2 · 25/01/2023 14:27

That sounds great OP. You sound like a great mum, in tricky circumstances.

If you have the energy, maybe you could introduce some creative games with him. E.g. watch some Olympics on your phone and do long jump at the park. Or hide things for a treasure hunt. Or download an app on your phone for identifying plants or insects and see how many you both can find. Read to him.

There's plenty of time to get experiences when he's bigger. For now, the most important thing is a safe, loving attachment, and it sounds like he has that in spades. 💐

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StopGo · 25/01/2023 14:49

@PaPaParrot you are not a shit mum, you sound a very caring and engaged mum. Your DP has been unable to work for well over a year and that is tough.

Check on a site like www.entitledto.co.uk and make sure you are claiming everything you can.

Can DP look after DS at home on his own? Maybe you look for some part time work. I do appreciate that it might not be possible

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Littlebummybums · 25/01/2023 15:01

I live in a really remote area of UK. My 3 yo old has never had access to soft play, aquariums, museums etc. he has the free park and walks. All the children here grow up to be well rounded individuals so maybe reset your expectations. He will be happy as long as he is with you.

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justforthebotoxthread · 25/01/2023 16:09

Hi OP, completely off topic, but I thought 15 hours was for 3 and onwards? I've been looking into it but the gov website says 3 and onwards or all I wrong? I could do with 15 free hours but didn't think DD was old enough yet

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rattlinbog · 25/01/2023 16:23

@justforthebotoxthread some children from lower-income families are entitled from 2

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rattlinbog · 25/01/2023 16:23

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ZoChan · 25/01/2023 17:25

@PaPaParrot you sound amazing. Parenting in the winter is so hard because it's boring and cold and the littles just get frozen as soon as they go out, regardless of your best efforts!

There's so many birds about at the moment- challenge yourself to identify the ones in your area (likely to be Robin magpie pigeons blue tits at this time)- get to a library and see if you can check out the little book of garden bird song- you and your little one will have a great time listening to the birdsong and seeing if you can hear it in your playground! If you have a hot chocolate in a flask for you both to share, it brings a little warmth to the day too- then home for lunch and a rest and free play and that's another day done.

All the best- sounds like you'll really benefit from accessing the 15 hours (don't forget that childminders may offer funded hours also)

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