Not enjoying being a mom: what's wrong with me?

goodhome631March 31, 2009

I have a 3.5 yo and a 7 mo. My husband works a lot (every day) and we are in a relatively new area where I don't have any family and not really any close friends. I guess that could all explain my feelings.

But my husband and I just had a big discussion where we shared that we are feeling like robots, just getting everything done. There is no pleasure or joy in each other. I am yelling at our 3.5 yo way too much. We both sadly have taken out our frustration on the 3.5yo at times (just yelling).

I feel so lost and confused. My mom lives 3 hours away and doesn't like my husband (and vice versa). I don't confide in her. My other relatives are 2 hours away.

I work full-time from home and my husband has discouraged my suggestion that we get a sitter and go out ourselves. He wants us to just be more sharing and caring in our daily life (and more sex, which has been nonexistant). I just feel lost and I don't want this all to affect my children. But of course I'm sure it is.

Part of the problem is my 7mo is up a lot a night and I'm nursing her. I don't get much sleep.

Have any of you older moms gone through this period and does it get better as the kids get older?

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popi_gw feel sad...a big hug to you.

I think you know what is going on. You seem to be exhausted, how can anyone function under those conditions.

Is it really necessary for you to work full time ?

How do you do that...and look after the children ?

In Australia, where I live, there are Playgroups, for young mothers such as yourself. So where ever you live, you can find one, and join in. Just a weekly meeting with other mums and children, and they usually have some toys, the children play and the mums have a coffee and cake. Do you have such a thing where you live ?

I joined several of such groups when mine were little and they were a godsend. Just somewhere to go, and chat to someone.

Perhaps you could just tackle one problem at a time.

Why is your little one up a lot at night, what do you think you could do about that ? Seems to me if you could just get a good night's sleep you would be well on the way to feeling better.

I remember feeling like you do, when mine were little, and it really does get easier and better.

Keep chatting, I am sure others can help you here.

Take care.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Yes, I went through plenty of times like that, and I was a SAHM. My husband worked a lot of long hours, and it was exhausting for me trying to do the housework, childcare, run the errands, pay the bills, do the yardwork (we had a lot of yard work to do), and do the painting, wall-papering, etc. (our house needed a lot of work when we bought it). I remember when my first child was little and my husband was startng a business and I was exhausted, a much older friend of mine told me, "These are the best years of your life". I remember telling her if this was as good as it gets, then I'd just go home and put a bullet through my head.

I'm sure you're exhausted, and it does get better as the children get older. When my children were going through the baby and toddler years I felt so guilty for not enjoying them more, but now I wish I had cut myself some slack. Like you, we were new in the area, the house needed a lot of work, my husband worked long hours, and I was always tired and just trying to make it through the day.

My advice is first, take care of yourself - get some exercise and rest as much as you can. The dust and dirty laundry can wait.

Second, hire a sitter and go out just you and your husband. Even though you said he doesn't want to, you want to and that's enough reason to do it. Your children will grow up and have families of their own - so keep the connection with your husband.

Third, if you can find another mom with young children that will help. Schedule a Sunday afternoon play date, or get the dads to stay with the kids and go get a cup of coffee together. Girlfriends help keep you sane.

I loved the elementary school years - we did lots of family picnics, bike rides, campouts, trips to the pool. My kids are 16 and 19 years old now, and I can honestly say I enjoy them more now than I ever did when they were babies. Life gets a lot better for a lot of moms. Hang in there.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 8:16PM
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I feel for you, I've been through it myself. It's hard to spend long days all by yourself with small children, you can feel as if you are going insane. I used to go outside for a minute or two just to escape the screaming. You sound depressed and tired. It does get better, it really does!

Now that my sons are older (11 and 13), I really miss the times when they were little. We used to spend a lot of time cuddling and reading stories. I disliked sitting on the floor playing with them - so boring. And I don't care for TV, cartoons in particular, so I just stuck them in front of the screen by themselves. (I'm not proud of it but TV and videos come in handy). So I spent lots of time reading to them, because that's what I like to do and I became quite an expert on picture books.

Maybe you should plan when you will stop nursing at night and encourage the baby to sleep thru the night. I started off just rocking them but not feeding, then progressed to just visiting and patting, but not picking them up, ending with a few very painful nights when I just had to let them cry themselves back to sleep. It seems cruel but it's necessary. Everyone suffers when Mom can't sleep at night.

And you and the 3.5 year old might need a break - from each other. I'm not kidding! Is the child in some sort of preschool? When you pick them up you will be happy to see them again and they can tell you what they did, about their friends, etc.

I hope you are not trying to keep a perfect home. The dirt and dust will just return. My kids used to like to try to write their names in the dust. Do you have to work full-time? Taking care of the kids all day is a full-time job! You do need to get a break from the kids, as a couple or not. It will refresh you and help you to be "more sharing and caring" .

Take care of yourself. They really do grow up so fast! I used to roll my eyes when people said that to me but it is really true.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:02PM
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Sleep deprivation will do it. To be a better parent, you also need to look after yourself, which means going out and doing grown-up things for yourself. I agree that the house doesn't have to be immaculate and you don't have to live on Wisteria Lane where it's all picture-perfect. If at all possible you should try to reach out to family and friends for a support net, if you can mend things with your mother it might be good for the kids to have a grandmother (or a friend who will step in)

Given the age of your youngest, I would say Post-natal depression is definitely a possibility too. You should speak to your health professional or a counsellor or both, and your partner should participate too. I've put a website here that may help as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Post natal/Post Partum depression

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 3:18PM
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If you were working full time outside the home, you would have to put the kids in some kind of day care. It sounds like you're doing both a full time job and the full time Mommy job. On top of that you don't have any kind of support network, family, friends, etc, to give you some relief and adult time, and your husband isn't buying into the idea of a babysitter for much needed husband-wife time. On top of all that you're not getting enough sleep.

No wonder you're not enjoying being a mom. Everything seems to be stacked up against you.

First thing, get a babysitter. Find someone you can trust and go out at least every two weeks with your husband. This is essential to rekindling your intimate feelings for each other.

Second, if he's not already doing this, your husband needs to care for the kids, on his own, at least one night a week. You need some "me" time, and he needs to see how it is to take care of the kids by himself. By the way, this is not called "babysitting". He is their dad and should spend some time with them when you aren't there. Not only does it help him see what you go through but it also strengthens the bond between him and the kids.

While he's with the kids, go out and do things you like to do. Go shopping, or go to a movie for example. Seek out ways to make friends. Ideas: attend your neighborhood homeowner's association meeting; join a church; check the local paper for volunteer organizations that you can see about joining. You get the idea. The fact that you work at home means you don't have work as a resource for making friends. You'll have to cultivate other resources. Oh, and when you do go out with friends, DON'T talk about the kids.

Although you probably need to keep the 7 mo old at home with you during the day, the 3.5 yo is defintely old enough for preschool, another great place to meet adult friends.

Is your job something that must be done M-F? If not, take off one day (or even a half-day) during the "work week" to just be with the kids and enjoy them, then work on Saturday or Sunday and have your husband be in charge of caring for the kids all day. This might enable you to connect with SAHMs who have play groups during the weekdays. Connecting with other moms while the kids play is a great activity. During these kinds of outings, you SHOULD talk about the kids, compare ideas and vent. It's great for your mental health.

So, to summarize, you need:
1. adult time with husband
2. time with the kids where you aren't working
3. connection with other moms in mom/kid playgroup type settings
4. adult time away from husband and kids, either alone or with female friends

There is nothing wrong with you. There's no question that your current situation is causing you great stress. As you begin to take steps to make changes, you will regain your mental health, and you will begin to take greater joy in your children and your marriage.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Working from home and being a SAHM are both stressful..more so when doing them together!! I give you a lot of credit for what you do!

I know that has listings for local activities and in my area moms groups advertise on there. Maybe you could meet friends in your area by doing that. Or there is a website It is another moms group type thing.

Is your older child in preschool? Thats a good way to meet other parents. Maybe you could even get to know them well enough to do a babysitting swap with them for date nights?

Date nights are essential to a marriage!! Even if it is just putting the kids to bed early and watching a movie together or having a candelight dinner. Just having sex more without really connecting in other ways is not going to rekindle all those feelings! Is it possible to drive the kids to a family members house for a weekend? Then you and dh could have a whole weekend to reconnect! I know me and my dh really reconnect when we have no kids around for a day and can actually hold a conversation! LOL

My kids are older (6, 11, 13, and 14). My dh works afternoons and I am a SAHM who babysits at home during the day. My 6yr old is in 1/2 day kindergarten. Me and DH have both had to work at having time together. We try once a month to go out without kids for a date night. And I often stay up late to spend time with him after he gets off work. He often gets up early so we can have breakfast or coffee together in the mornings after our kids go to school.

I was working full-time till this year and the only one home for the kids afterschool. It was too much and I was always stressed! I finally broke down and told my dh how upset I was and that it was all too much and that is when we decided I should stop working full-time. It really hurt our checkbook and I have to be a lot more frugal...but it was the best decision for us.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2009 at 9:41PM
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I really feel for you..I suggest you keep your job, for me, and others, if parenting sometimes drains your soul, MORE time spent meeting the needs and demands of children is NOT what you need-it could cause you to feel more depressed. Remember, when you are at work you have a break from hands-on parenting. If you cut back work hours, you will be substituting paid work, for non-paid work-meeting the needs and demands of your children.
I also suggest focusing on yourself as an acutal person, not just as an extension of your children, your husband, your co-workers...Even if you go into debt a bit, hire a sitter to take the kids somewhere and get at home time to yourself, or get some extra day-care, OR do a sitting co-op type thing and use the time to walk, yoga, read, a class, friends, or whatever feels right for you!!!Find YOU.
As for your husband, he supports you or he does not, don't get stuck in the reactive mode with him.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 5:02PM
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Is your 3 year old in a pre-school program? My children are 22 months apart and those years were the toughest of my life! Nothing was easy, going anywhere was an ordeal. I also had babies that did not sleep through the night until 8 or 9 months.

I put my oldest child in a preschool twice a week for four hours. That allowed me to grocery shop with just one child (huge difference between taking two). I even kept her there in the summer because I needed that break and she enjoyed playing with the other children. This was hard at first because I wanted to it ALL -- but looking back on it it worked out well.

And yes, it does get easier. Your life and marriage will be so much less stressful in a few years.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:19AM
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My youngest of four will be 43 this month. What the heck happened? It seems like they were little such a short time ago. I won't idealize their childhood years but they were really the best for me, even with a mostly absent husband,(working, drinking, etc.). Perspective is something young mothers lack I think. Time passes fast, believe me. I think you need to have a person come in once a week or every two weeks to do the heavy cleaning for you. Tell your husband it would give you a break to spend with the children and it would also make you more relaxed in order to have time for yourself...fix yourself up, feel sexy again and give him (and yourself) some good sex for a change. Honestly I think that last suggestion would do you both a world of good and give you a better outlook on everyday life. Don't let him make all your decisions for you. You want to go out, make reservations, tell him to be dressed and ready and take him out, treating him as a special date. You make all the plans for after too, relieving him of any decision making. I sometimes think that's why men don't want to go out with their wives, they have to do all the planning and doing and even then don't know if it will fit the bill so to speak for their wives enjoyment.
Enjoy your lives every day, no matter how dull or boring or filled with drudgery they may seem. Get up and do stuff to make things different. Remember, soon enough you will be, like me, looking back on all those things that could have been, or all those things that were.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 12:30PM
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OP here. Everyone, thank you for your comments. Things have improved. I have made an effort to be more affectionate with my husband, including sexually (he is happy). I am working on remembering what mary.helen has said: this time goes fast.

I think part of what I was suffering was some cabin fever (finally, summer is here).

Thank you all for your support; it meant a lot. I hope other moms out there read this thread and make use of it too.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 11:00AM
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Do you belong to a church? Is there a YWCA? or other programs involving family? Look in the yellow pages, or in the paper. Look for free things or low cost this involving the community. Library? Schools? You would be surprise what is around.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 3:21PM
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