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Parenting a preteen can be a minefield. Find support here.


This isn't the life I thought it would be

14 replies

ChloeR32 · 22/04/2013 16:55

Hi. I'm new on here and although I had heard of MN I had made an assumption it was for parents with smaller children - thankfully a friend set me right.
I'm saying this with some trepidation - but for months I have been battling these feelings and I wonder if anyone also has felt it or can offer some reassurance.
I don't like my children, my husband or my life.

I know how that sounds and two years ago I would re-buffed anyone who said it, but just lately I have asking myself 'is this it?'
I keep wondering where the life I thought I would have has gone.

My children are rude, impatient and demanding (they are angels with other people) and I have only myself to blame.

I have been a stay at home mom for the last 13yrs something I deeply, deeply regret. I allowed myself to get sucked into a world that I thought I wanted - but find that I don't. I have always felt a slight unease at staying at home, to the point where I won't really ask for things (it's not my money after all) and concede most things. It also means I have given the children what they wanted.

I tried to discipline them at first but my H works away and it was a real battle - there was 3 years between them and for some reason I just couldn't hold my ground with a headstrong 3yr old whilst looking after a baby. And so, because of my laziness, they have no idea what the word 'no' means. I do know that I have only myself to blame - which adds to my frustration.
My eldest son is 13 (just turned) and still refuses to get the bus to school telling me that driving him is what I'm 'Paid to do'. He says it with a sneer and a part of concedes because it's true. What have I done?

But I find that I'm close to breaking and constantly questioning myself.
I wake up every day with a voice in my head asking myself 'is this what my life is' I feel as if I'm occupying a space in the world that would fold in on itself and not notice the difference if I was to vanish.

I am just a cleaner a cook, a taxi service, a maid, a bell-boy, there is nothing else happening in my life.
My H is often away, we still have sex and that's what it is, there is no passion, no lust, just a quick morning fumble (usually on Mondays before he works away) and i can set my watch by it. We have very little to discuss - other than the children, decorating and his job (sometimes the cat does something amusing so thank God for him!)

I have battled for months trying to switch my own voice off but I feel so empty.

I do love my children dearly, but I find that I have created rude demanding monsters, who have no respect for me and the elder on is showing signs of his fathers arrogance and speaks down to me and often says that his life is more exciting than his. But his words are true - I have accomplished nothing.
My friend has said that I might be feeling early in-set 'empty-nest' in that at 13 and 10 the boys no longer need me as much.

This is the life I thought I wanted; husband, nice house, 2 children (and a cat!), but I don't it and I hate myself for saying so.

My husband is well know in his circle of work and I feel like an invisible anchor that supported him through promotion after promotion - and I have nothing of 'me'.

Oh blimey what a moan - I'm going to hit the 'send' button in case I chicken out.
I am open to all comments and I'm sure I'm just being a spoilt 'shame for me' fool, but I hate waking in the morning because I feel so useless.

Thanks for reading this far,
C x

OP posts:
DeepRedBetty · 22/04/2013 17:05

First of all well done for posting.

It's going to be a big job, but we (The Nest of Vipers that is the MN network Grin) can help you get your life back on track!

Quite a few issues to address here. Your 13 year old son is BANG OUT OF ORDER. You need to get him taking the bus like his peers, and devise appropriate punishments for any more back chat or disrespect. Your H should be backing you up 100%. If he doesn't, you need to consider what future you have with him.

You have accomplished a great deal, it's just you can't see the wood for the trees right now. For a start you've enabled your H to become successful. Where would he be without you in the background for the last 13 years?

I'm wondering if you've become clinically depressed also, some of what you say has echoes of what depressed people say.

DeepRedBetty · 22/04/2013 17:07

Also, Preteens isn't a very busy area of the forum, and frankly most of what you're going through is more about Relationships or Mental Health, so I'd consider reposting there. There are some very good helpful regular users in both those parts of the forum.

SingingSands · 22/04/2013 17:13

You are not useless. I bet if you went away for a weekend your family would be forced to see how much they take you for granted. Time to make some changes. Just because this is what your life has been does not mean you have to continue in this way forever. Do you ever get the time to do things that you want? If not, why not? Have you spoken to your husband about how you feel?

FunnysInLaJardin · 22/04/2013 17:14

you poor thing, you sound at the end of it. I would ask for this to be reposted somewhere busier like relationships so that you can get proper help.

FWIW I have noticed that sometimes SAHM's think they want the whole SAH thing and then when they get it realise that actually it's not all it's cracked up to be. By that time it's too late to back out. I know of one couple where the DH couldn't understand why his DW suddenly didn't want the SAHM life 'when that's all she ever wanted'. He made no effort to understand that she couldn't possibly know before hand what that life would entail. They ended up splitting up.

Good luck in sorting out how you feel and how to make things better.

ChloeR32 · 22/04/2013 17:26

Oh blimey - I'm crying at your replies now and I've been keeping these at bay for weeks.
thank you for your support. Just reading your words makes me feel stronger.
You're right I do have a lot to consider. I have no idea where to start but it suddenly feels 'smaller' now that I have said (written) it.
Off to mop up my face before I face what's ahead.
Thank you (I will insert smiley face or flowers as soon as I learn how!)

OP posts:
itsatiggerday · 22/04/2013 17:27

Hi well done for articulating how you're feeling. It sounds to me like you have reached the point of needing to change things and what you've said would suggest to me that there's a lot that's totally within your control to change.

What do you enjoy? What did you used to enjoy doing that you miss? What did you hope to get around to at some point and have never felt you've had the opportunity? If you can pick a few things you'd really like to do, you're on the way to doing them. So sports team / college course / classes etc? Do you want to do something on the way to being able to look for a particular kind of job in future or just because you love it?

As far as feeling like you can't because you don't earn the money - have you ever discussed this with your husband? We have only one income but we have a joint account, it's all ours, we discuss and track general outgoings and would consult each other on significant / unusual spend before doing it. There are lots of different ways couples manage it, but could you be burdening yourself with constraints your husband doesn't think you should have. Even your son - and his attitude stinks - thinks you're 'paid' to be their mum and people who are paid generally have money to decide how to spend....

Re the children, we're not at this stage yet, but my guess is you keep taking it or you decide it's never too late and change things around. If you start being busier with your own stuff going on, they're going to get a certain message anyway - you can't drop him in school if you're due in a different town by 9am for a course - but at that age, can't you just be up front? "I've realised that I've spent 13 years focused on you and you're old enough now to be a bit more self sufficient and it would be good for you to learn some more independence. So, as of September / Y7 & 10 / this birthday / Monday next week the weekly routine will be... I will do the supermarket shop / put washing from the basket into the machine / ... and DS1 you will ..., DS2 you will .... We will all focus on treating each other with kindness and gratitude for the contributions we make, at home and school etc...

Re your husband, I can't tell from your message how much your feelings are the result of current situation or more serious. If you have more going on that you enjoy and makes you buzz, will you feel better able to engage together? Is it about your own self esteem? What did you enjoy together before the children? He obviously works long hours and away, does he feel on a treadmill too...? If you could make some decisions for some changes for you, could you talk to him about the stage of the boys being older and being able to reconnect for yourselves again? There's real danger in allowing your relationship just to be about them and the practical for the next few years... it'll only get harder to reconnect.

Sorry, that's an epic but your post sounded so down and I wonder if you have far more power and opportunity than you think.

ChloeR32 · 23/04/2013 17:57

Hi itsatiggerday and everyone
You have hit several nails on the head and last night I really felt clear headed for the first time in a very long time - I think just writing it down did the trick. There is a lot to address at the moment. I do feel alone. We moved away from the midlands 10yrs ago and I left a number of friends behind. My closest friend and I are still close, nad I really envy her, she has no children, takes several holidays a year with her partner and has her own business. When I married - she married at the same time but she divorced after just a year and I have to admit I felt cheated. We were on the same path and then she took another one.
I need to stop focusing on other people and other things and take stock of what I have and why I feel the way I do. I think that I have avoided a number of things for a long time.
My husband wouldn't 'object' if I worked but history tells me he would make it difficult. Despite being successful he has very low self-esteem and sees rejection in everything I do.
i have no close family (long dull story but it was violent) and so I do feel obliged that he and his family make me feel so safe.
But safety doesn't equal happiness.
I realise that what I'm talking about is a total lack of control in my own life and you're right - it is all down to me and my choices.
You have no idea how liberating (and slightly scary) that is.
I just need some space (how cliched is that??) to figure this all out and when its straight in my head I can move on.
Thanks again to everyone. I've read other posts and it's clear I'm not the only one who sometimes struggles with this - I just always felt I had to be perfect in order to be liked.
I might consider counselling because I think this lies in the damp dark past..
here's to doing it rather than moaning (I've been doing a lot of that!)
C xx

OP posts:
bubbles1231 · 23/04/2013 18:10

Couple of things spring to mind OP- the first is that you need to talk to your DH explain how you feel. If it's difficult to say, the writen a note to him. I think a lot of men are oblivious to their wife's situation until it reaches a crisis point. You have boys- does OH spend time with them on the weekend? They are getting to an age where Dad becomes more of an influence. Can they do sport together?
It also sounds like you need to put some tough love into place. The trouble is that when you start, the bad behaviour will escalate to begin with and you need to be mentally strong to deal with it. I would put my foot down over the bus thing. Let him miss school a couple of days and face the flack from his teacher. He needs to be responsible for his behaviour and deal with the consequences.
You do also need to find something for you- can you do voluntary work?
When I was going stir crazy at home I ended up helping at the Citizens Advice Bureau.
By voicing how you feel, you have made a start in putting things right Smile

cory · 23/04/2013 22:40

Agree with what bubbles said about the importance of Dad's influence.

Another thing to remember is that your 13yo has reached an age where they thrive on having a bit of responsibility themselves.

So I would not only refuse to drive him (as bubbles says, let him be late for school and take the punishment), but would also find that I was unaccountably busy at least one afternoon a week and that he would therefore need to step in and do the cooking/shopping/delete as required.

itsatiggerday · 24/04/2013 08:21

Glad you're feeling a little bit excited and inspired to start taking some control. I agree with other posters that you need to talk to your husband.

And you mention the low self esteem - do you vocalise your appreciation for him. I've been challenged recently with just assuming that DH knows how I feel about him working for our family income and the fun the children have with him when he is around, we had a conversation where I realised I haven't told him for ages how much the dynamic changes for the better when he's around a bit and he's being much more proactive about carving out extra time to play with them etc as a result. The children do change so quickly and a proper conversation about the positive influence the other parent has at the current stage might be really helpful.

If he's made working difficult in the past - is that likely to be a bit different now they're older? I can relate to needing your partner to be around reliably for childcare if you're going to make commitments outside the home and don't have a nanny or close family around, but I'm hoping that is less pressured as the children get older and can get a bus or whatever more easily. Maybe if you've communicated that your self esteem is the one you're trying to address and he sees you enjoying things, it won't be so threatening to him.

Good luck.

ssd · 24/04/2013 08:52

Hi op, I recognised a bit of myself in your post

I think you're seeing life change around you, eg. the kids getting older and you becoming a bit redundant

I agree with others, this is your chance to do something for you, instead of it all being a one way street

Does your ds1 see his dad talking to you like this? Must admit thats one thing I dont stand, cheek like that, I tend to run after my 2 (similar ages to yours) and do far too much, but when they speak to me like that I nip it on the bud

good luck, its a struggle sometimes isnt it

TantrumsAndBalloons · 24/04/2013 09:11

Do you want to go back to work?

Because if you do, I would honestly suggest you try and do just that.
Even a part time job or volunteer work, just something other than running after your family.

The children are older now so logistically it should be easier wrt childcare.

Work out what you need everyone to do in order for this to work. So for example you need your DS to take the bus to school. And to help in the house, even if you start with a small job like putting the laundry away every day.
You need your DH to support you in enforcing these rules, plus you need him to now do his part wrt to household stuff.

Get them all together, tell them that this is what is going to happen now and do it. They will probably fight it at first but be strong. You have spent 13 years looking after other people. Now it needs to be evened out.

bubbles1231 · 24/04/2013 15:04

Would second Cory's thing about responsibility.
My 12yr old is better behaved if he has more of it. He cuts the grass for a bit of extra pocket money.
A couple of times we have given him a budget for the weekly shop, then gone with him to the supermarket. We didn't cheat & buy any extras but by the end of the week the only available afterschool snack was a bowl of cereal! He said it did make him think a bit about budgeting.

lisacol · 28/04/2013 06:37

I think you need to give yourself more credit for what you do, and get more self-confidence, which will then give you the courage to start fixing the issues. A marriage is a partnership, and it sounds like you have taken all of the day to day work off your husband which has meant he can focus on his job without worrying about home stuff, so you deserve to be "paid" and share financially so shouldn't feel guilty about spending money. Why not take baby steps to look after yourself - set yourself a goal (e.g. Get fit, join a gym, do a5-10k run, lose weight, take classes during the day etc.) and have a makeover/spa time, new haircut, new clothes etc. it will make you feel better, get you meeting other people, have something else to talk about. Your husband might appreciate the new you as well.

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