Stay at home mom and feeling like a failure

Kimberlee - posted on 07/13/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My darling 18 month old is very active and lately doesnt sleep all that well. My husband leaves around 7am and doesnt return home till around 8pm. We move abroad and are currently away from family and friends. He is a wonderful father, but he doesnt help with her. He will play for a while when he gets home, but that is all. He is very tired and usually doesnt wantt to talk either, so, when I tell him something that has happened with us during the day, he wont listen or turns his back on me or interrupts me.. In the last 17 months, I have gone out alone 3 times. My little one still sleeps in bed at night with me, since we move so much, its hard for me to put her in a new dark room by herself. I feel she will feel more protected and I wont have to worry about her, if she is with me. I do put her in her crib (that is beside the bed) initially and then if I hear her, I put her in bed.

I happen to be overly tired lately and was worried I had something wrong. Got all my test back (full blood, pap, urine, etc) and just had high white blood cell count. My doctor said I was in perfect health, and it could just be a bit of depression. he said i should go and talk to someone, that my insurance covers it, but I have no one to leave my daughter with. I feel like such a failure...Haley, my daughter is very active and I feel guilty if I dont pay attention to her at every moment. She has free roam of the house and is very sweet, following me around everywhere, doing chores in the morning. She is always in the kitchen with me when Im cooking (which I love to do), playing with pots and pans...we have playdooh sessions and dancing sessions, we go to the beach, to the store, parks, walks.... but I still dont feel it is enough. I feel guilty all of the time and to make matters worse, she has started throwing tantrums (which I deal with quietly, letting her stop when she is ready, all the while giving a look of dissapproval), hitting, kicking and has become very hyper and very clingy..I feel that maybe I am not paying enough attention to her, and I just dont know how to balance everything out. I have always been fiercy independent, traveling around alone, but now I miss my family and friends and truly believe it takes more than one person to raise a child...Any insight or words of sanity?

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Heather - posted on 07/24/2010

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omg my god. it;s like you took my life, and wrote it out for me. There is absolutely nothing different to this except my son is 19 months old..... i have no options, and feel the exact same way.....

Jacquelyn - posted on 07/24/2010

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I would talk to your husband let him know how you feel. I know you said it feels like he does not listen I would let him know thats not ok. Even thou you are a stay at home mom does not mean you don't work. This is the hardest job to do you are a cook, cleaner, teacher, nurse, maid, friend, wife, everything and you do it for free. I am a stay at home mom also and I like to take my daughter to the park during the days so she can play with kids and run off her energy. I like the idea to of starting a group of mothers to talk to. You are not alone I hope it all works out for you.

Christy - posted on 07/24/2010

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Join a mom's group, or start one. You need to get outta the house and concentrate on yourself a little bit more and get some support from other moms. It will also allow your child to play with other kids and not be so dependent on you.

Lizan - posted on 07/24/2010

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I think all stay at home moms have felt this way one time or another. It's going on, trying new and different things that will eventually pull you out of the rutt. It's easy to feel dumb and dumber the longer you are a stay at home mom, but you're not alone. It's even worse when your kid clings to you and is super needy. We have superhuman powers sometimes whether we like it or not, and our kids will grow up faster than you think. Like Elizabeth said, playgroups are great, catching up with old friends, making new ones at playgrounds, shopping centres, etc these all help. Most times i'm still in my PJs and having breakfast at lunchtime just because i've had so much stuff to do with my 19 month old. Patience and you will reap the rewards, or so they say!

Shana - posted on 07/20/2010

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I can tell you you're not alone. I don't live abroad but have experienced a similar situation. I worked until my son was 9 mos old when he had something happen to him in daycare. He wound up with a broken leg while in the care of a babysitter and no one knew how it happened. I was so distraught I quit my job to stay at home with him, thinking it was somehow my fault. My husband was ok with it at the time but he believed i would look for another job when the cast came off. I was so overprotective i didn't want to have to leave him with another person ever again. And i spoiled him. I slept in his room with him and did everything similar to you. He had the run of the house (but he's a good baby and can entertain himself without getting into trouble). We would go to the park and shopping and for walks. My husband works long hours too. Shift work. He would come home and play with our son for maybe an hour and then go to bed or sit in his chair to watch tv and leave everything for me to do. I lived aggrivated and honestly, still do most of the time. He never picked up after himself or offered to bathe our son and put him to bed or offered to do any of the household chores, even on his days off. When we fought about it he said that all i did was stay at home on my ass and thats all i had to do. So let me tell u, i think all men think that no matter what you tell them. They dont understand how hard it can be to take care of a child. Our son has stomach problems and i can say that I haven't had a good nights sleep in over 18 mos. He has never sat up with him. Now i am working for the Post Office and his opinion hasn't changed. Now it's just that i don't work as hard as he does or as many hours, so it doesn't make a difference. So i just stopped doing everything that didn't involve my son. If my husband wants clean clothes, he'll have to wash them. I leave the dishes in the sink till he does them. But yes, i was depressed and didn't talk to anyone. I go to work nervous because i have to leave him with a babysitter again. I was told by my OBGYN that women have a "worried mother syndrome" that never goes away. We always worry about their safety and well-being. So that is probably what you are feeling too. I always worry and wonder if i am doing enough for my son.

Julie - posted on 07/14/2010

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the tantrums are common and nothing to do with how you treat her or act with her. thats the terrible 2's you hear people talking about which can last longer than 2 years old. as for the sleeping. even if you dont want to put her in her room at least insist on her own bed. she really needs to get used to being on her own though so no matter how many times you move she needs her own space like you do. when you get a new room make it fun for her and allow her own stamp like where things go and what soft furnishings she wants like what duvet cover to have on her bed that first night etc. bed time story and talk about her room and how pretty you think it is and generaly make it nice(i am presuming you have a girl adjust the owrds for a boy but the principle is the same). as for going out. have you thought of having friends come over for an evening and amybe letting the little one stay at grandma's for the night to let you go out without worrying. your not a bad mum and your tiredness is natural we all get frazzled and frayed and if any mum says she doesnt sont beleive her ha ha. you know your child and will eventualy work it out just work yourself into a frenzy worrying about it.

Kimberlee - posted on 07/14/2010

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Thank you so much ladies for such kind words of reassurance and understanding. We are not military, my husband is a turbine engineer for a multinational and we move every 6 months or so. Right now we are in Barcelona. I have searched high and low for play groups, however, Spain is structured a bit different the the US. When parents work, they leave the kids with the grandparents, when parents are off, they are with their families. I know for a fact there are 2 important changes that I have to make, which are hard, but will make all the difference. 1. A daycare, couple hours in the morning, couple times a week... I havent done it up until now, because I was afraid she would be afraid and alone and I couldnt do that to her. But now I feel as if she NEEDS other children and other structured activities. and the SECOND thing is to finally get her to sleep in her cot at nights. That would insure that I was getting a good nights rest and I think now that she is getting so big, its just not as comfortable for her. (Plus, take care of my husbands snoring, he he he). I have slowly figured out that Haley isnt an "indoor, play by herself" kinda toddler, when she is out at the beach, at the park and running she is the happiest. So, girls, Im out to get some multi-vitamins (to keep up) and off we go to explore the world, as she wants! Oh, any advice on what to do when they hit? She has started this and at times it actually hurts. I usually grab her hand and sternly say "dont hit mama, it hurts, hitting isnt nice" and then keep on to what we were doing.. but its been going on for a couple weeks now and Im hoping it will stop soon. Thanks again so much for the sound words of advice. It is much appreciated at this trying time!

Hayley - posted on 07/14/2010

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Can I just say Haley is a perfect name and she sounds like my 19 month old. Elizabeth is so right - no audience, no tantrum. My little one gets frustrated because she tries so hard at things and is just not quite doing them properly- distinguish between anger and frustration - thats half a battle wom too. My husband works shifts and its very erratic when he is home. You have more of a job than your husband. your job is 24/7 365 days a year. I am in the same boat as you - I have H go to daycare 3 days a week and I can do what I want in those days, house work, hobbies or even better sleep. To be fair - my husband does play with H for about 10 mins before her bedtime if he is home. It is hard but as Elizabeth says find a playgroup so you can have YOU time and to be honest honey, you need to tell her dad what you need. We all know men can't mind read (unfortunatly) you need to tell him what you want and you amy find he wants more time with baby.
Please don't feel alone. I feel exectly the same sometimes- you need a break honey. Have you spoken to your doctor about how you really feel inside? I have depression and its not fun at the best of times. You have done the right thing- you have reached out and we are here for you. Email me/ add me to your circle - Moms stick together and we are all supporting you on this one Hxx

Lisbeth - posted on 07/13/2010

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I agree with Elizabeth, also just so you know unstructured play (free play) is very important for her brain to develop and in the end will make her smarter. Play groups are a great way for your child to interact with other children and for you to interact with other moms if you don't have one in your area start one your self. post an add I am sure there are other mothers that are in your area. also if you need to speak with a therapist and can't leave your child with anyone bring her with you most therapist won't mind. I am also a stay at home mom b/c I was injured in a car accident 4 years ago and haven't been able to work I have a 21 month old little princess. If you are feeling lonely or need someone to talk to feel free to email me.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2010

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It sounds like you are in the military. I know what you are saying, but my situation is in reverse. My child has been going to the child development center since she was 2 months old. It was only part time for the first year thank goodness. But now we have moved home and I find myself being a stay at home mom due to not having a job yet. I am also very independent and like time to myself occassionally. My recommendation to you would be to take advantage of all the programs in resources that the military offers. Enroll her in an hourly toddler program so that she can interact with other children. Do not be disturbed by the temper tantrums. It is nothing that you have done or neglected to do it is a normal developmental milestone. When she throws one just walk away, no audience, no temper. Don't disapprove necessarily because you are telling her it is not okay to show you her feelings, this will backfire on you later on down the line. Find a playgroup so that you can get out with other moms that have children the same age.
You are doing a great job. You probably just need some alone mommy time, that is just as important as spending quality time with your munchkin. It is important for mommies to have time to collect themselves and remember what it is all about.

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