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I'm such a miserable failure

13 replies

tarquin · 12/03/2003 19:30

I have been reading these boards as a lurker for some time now and have finally plucked up the courage to ask your advice.

I have 3 children and I can honestly say things are not turning out how I thought they would. I seem to have the baby stage sussed now but I cannot handle my older children who are 5 and 3.

I don't seem to do anything with them and when I try it is always so stressful. My eldest is very bad tempered and frequently tells me she hates me and lashes out at me. My 3 year old can talk perfectly well but just seems to scream at me all the time. They won't eat anything I make them and I take it away, although I am fuming and then I feel guilty for starving them.

I seem to be able to be patient for ages and then I suddenly snap, screaming and shouting at them. I also smack them and I hate myself for it.

I lie awake at night crying and wondering how I can improve things, I promise myself that things will be better tomorrow but they seldom are.

I really want to change my life around and make things better for my children but I just don't know where to start. I have got a dp and our relationship is ok but not brilliant. I just feel such a miserable failure, this is not the way I wanted it to be. I never imagined I would be such a bad parent, I don't think I would have had children if I had known.

OP posts:

Tinker · 12/03/2003 19:42

tarquin - I think if most of us knew what it would be like we'd think again. You're certainly not alone there. You're not a failure at all, you try to do stuff with your kids (three at 5 and under must be an incredible strain), you feed and clothe your kids and you're worrying about when you, understandably, lose your temper. That does not sound like a failing mother, a stressed one maybe, not a failure.

Do you work? Do you get any time to yourself away from the kids? Is there anyone who can give you a break? I work full-time and know I get snappy when I come in shattered from work. Equally, I get snappy at the weekends when I'm meant to be 'doing stuff' with my daughter and it doesn't go according to plan or other things need to be done because that is the only time I have to do them. You can't win. Unless you're serene by nature (I'm not), you're going to get snappy when things get stressed. Please don't be so hard on yourself.


bossykate · 12/03/2003 19:56

hello tarquin. i think tinker has made some excellent points. i get stressed enough sometimes with just one "lively and spirited" child. it crossed my mind that you might be depressed or on the verge of depression. would you consider going to your gp who could refer you for counselling or other appropriate treatment? hope things seem better to you soon. good luck


mands1 · 12/03/2003 22:02

The main thing is coming to terms that things are not ok.Getting help is the next and hardest thing.I think society today puts too much pressure on us all we all want to be perfect have the nicest clean house well groomed and best mannered kids.Life isn't like that me and my mates laugh because we shut the windows (so the neighbours can't hear) then shout at our kids.

Do you know i went back to my doc last week in fact and i was impressed with her candor.She said "WHEN you hit your children make sure you have nothing in your hand"!I was shocked but really appreciated that as most professionals/people are against smacking while she was not condoning it she made it so i could talk about it not feel that my kids would be taken away.She suffered pnd when her kids were young. I do smack mine and have once lost controll and hit my 3year old that was when i first went to doc.

I don't claim to know who is and who isn't good or bad we all deal with things differently there is help out there you just have to find it.

that wasn't much help sorry


tarquin · 13/03/2003 09:35

Thanks for your comments so far. I don't work and it is a rare day that I get a break from the kids. My mum helps me when she can but she works long hours.

I have tried telling others how I feel, my mil and the hv, but I don't think they really understand. My mil just says she knows what its like but doesn't offer to help. This does hurt a bit because she is always helping her daughters with their children but I suppose I'm not a blood relative.

I have been thinking of going to the doctors because I can't seem to pull myself together, which is what everyone expects me to do.

My dp thinks I like making a fuss because I am after sympathy from ppl. I tell them how I feel because I think I need help, it just never arrives. I don't mean that I want them all to run around after to me, I'd like some emotional support really.

Sorry this is a bit garbled, can't really get out what I want to say.

OP posts:

Lulu41 · 13/03/2003 12:09

Tarquin and everyone out there who feels like a crap mother - you are not alone that does not help one bit does it but its a really tough job being a mum and maybe it is time you sought some help from GP - depression is something I have suffered with on and off throughout most of my life and it can be greatly helped with anti depressants (which are not addictive) try to be kind to yourself - from one far from perfect mother I wish


Lulu41 · 13/03/2003 12:10

sorry - pressed the send key - I hope you feel better soon and please dont hate yourself too much xx


nerdgirl · 13/03/2003 12:14


You are not a bad mother. A bad mother is someone who doesn't care about her kids, not someone who cries herself to sleep because she cares so much or takes the time ( and the courage ) to post here and ask for help.

Mumsnet is wonderful but sometimes I really regret that we're not all meeting in the playground waiting for our kids after school. Really want to give you a big hug and invite your three round to help my two wreck the house!

Actually, that reminds me. How much of your time and energy goes into housework? I have a friend who works herself into a state over the tidiness of her home. She gets really stressed about it. I live in a tip but I don't care. No one ever lay on their death bed and regretted that they didn't clean the skirting boards more!


Bozza · 13/03/2003 12:27

Tarquin - your DP sounds quite dismissive of you and how hard you work - just getting 3 kids of that age fed and dressed and out of the house is hard work. I think you need more support from him. Can you go off somewhere on your own and leave him with all three of them for half a day.

Also its a bit shortsighted of your MIL who must know your circumstances. OK you're not a blood relative but has she overlooked the fact that her grandchildren are? You definitely need a break. Have you actually asked (or got DP to) your MIL outright to have the kids for a couple of hours once a week? It may be that she would be willing if asked but doesn't want to interfere.


tomps · 13/03/2003 13:16

Tarquin, I'm so sad reading your post. How awful for you to be feeling so miserable. Agree with others who've suggested you getting some time for you if you can. But if it's mostly your relationship with your kids that's getting you down, could parenting classes be an option ? (for you & dp) Might give you a few pointers on doing things differently to relieve those stressful times. You'd also probably meet others with similar situations. By suggesting parenting classes I absolutely do NOT mean because you are not a good enough mum, of course you are. But if you want things to change, maybe they could help. In any case, please know there are plenty of mums who really feel for you in your situation, and hope you can find a way to feel more optimistic. Big hug to you - good luck with whatever you do


Bozza · 13/03/2003 14:35

Tarquin maybe spending time with your children individually might help. Could you get DP to look after the younger two while you take the older to a Saturday morning film or something like that. The treat and special attention from Mummy might help you to feel closer and improve her behaviour. Then another week a treat for the 3 year old. Also this would be buying you a semi-break. A five year old at the pictures has got to be easier than entertaining 3 at home while trying to do chores etc.


tarquin · 13/03/2003 19:45

Thank you for being so supportive. I have thought about taking parenting classes and I had a look online today. There seem to be loads out there but any personal recommendations would be really helpful.

I do think that some time on my own would help, I never get the chance to miss my children iykwim. I have got the opportunity to go away with a friend and I would love to go. I do feel quite nervous about it though, will the kids be ok with dp (he is a great dad), I'm worrying about being involved in an accident when I am away from them and the threat of war looming. I know, I sound so depressing don't I?

I think spending some time with the children individually would probably help, in fact I talked with my dp yesterday about taking my eldest to the pictures soon.

I have had a better day today, I've not worried too much about the housework and have just lounged around with the kids. Teatime was fairly stressful though, as usual, but this time I managed to keep a check on my temper.

Thanks for your advice and I'd be grateful for any more suggestions you may have.

OP posts:

Bozza · 13/03/2003 21:54

Basically the advice is just go for it Tarquin. Take the opportunity to go away with your friend. It will (hopefully) be lovely then coming back to your children. Of course you worry and thats part of being a Mum but realistically unless you're thinking of a parachuting weekend or something you're no more likely to have an accident when you're away than at home.

Set a definite date for taking your eldest to the pictures. Then start thinking what you could do with the middle one.

Now you just need someone to advise you about your teatime stresses. What are the problems here? Is it mainly that your children are fussy eaters? Do they have any nutritional issues or are they basically healthy?


tarquin · 13/03/2003 22:05

Thank you Bozza. I think I will go for it, I've never been away from my children so it will be weird, I've not had a full nights sleep since I was pregnant with my first. I will also fix up a date to take dd1 to the pictures.

Teatime has turned into a bit of a battleground unfortunately. DD1 is improving and with a bit of coaxing will eat what I give her, ds is a complete nightmare and eats practically nothing and rarely even tries anything I offer him, he would rather have a bottle of milk. DD2 has started throwing her food and plate all over the place. None of them have any health concerns, they have just become unbearably picky and very messy.

They are quite often tired at teatime as well and get very whingy. My ds will just scream for milk until my nerves are in shreds, he is barely human in the morning until he has had some milk.

Thanks again for your help.

OP posts:
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