I feel like I am failing as a mother, how can I get back on track?

Nikki - posted on 10/20/2011 ( 29 moms have responded )

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I used to be great but the last 6 months I have just been falling apart slowley and now I feel like I am hopeless. I can't get my house in order, I can't keep it clean or get motivated too. My kids don't listen, they watch way to much t.v or rely on me so much to entertain them. When I take the t.v away or tell him to go play in his room he will cry and argue with me for over an hour till I give in. I am constantly refereeing the fights and somedays I yell so much my voice hurts or I get a headach. I am tired all the time and I don't feel like eating, I am angry over nothing and it's killing me and I am making my childern suffer because of it. They are becoming angry themselves and repeating things I do or say when they get mad. I used to do crafts with them or just enjoy the peace and now everything is just so crazy and unorganized. They are never clean and now I am told my almost 4yr old has a speach delay. I have no friends and I work part time and hate my job. We are having issues with money and we owe so much to our parents. I can't afford school and I can't afford to pay for daycare but don't qualify for any help. I had dreams of being a loving wife and mother, staying home and making home cooked meals but I am not the best cook and my oldest doesn't eat anything anyway. I just don't know where to start.....I feel like I make progress in one area but fail in another. I got alot of cleaning done today but the kids were winey, and I yelled alot.

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Erica - posted on 11/08/2011

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I just read this book called "Have a new kid by Friday", and it honestly has worked. Within a week, by changing my behaviours and actions, and learned to respond instead of react to a situation, my 3 1/2 year old is finally stating to listen to me, I'm going to start a chore list to have him help me with the things he can do like pick up his toys, make the bed, feed the fish, and he gets a nickel for every star he gets at the end of the week. And we make it fun by playing music, or singing ourselves, or we make a race out of it to see who can pick up faster. But this book has given me a new kid who listens, and given him a more patient mom. Just take it one day at a time. REmember to take some personal time too, that is huge, little things from a 15 minute bath with candles and music, or a girls night out with one close girlfriend, or date night with the hubby, just make time for non-kid stuff. Good luck and God bless!

Shauna - posted on 10/23/2011

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1st take a deep breath. Ready... You're going into depression. Been there done that still fighting what seems to be an uphill battle. Make a list and don't worry if it doesn't all get done today. Turn off the tv and close his door. Don't argue with a child. Look at him when he comes out and whisper. Go back in your room and... Play/ read / clean up. Then turn around and walk away. This is different and he won't know how to respond so more than likely it will scare him and he will follow directions. Take them to the park with a frisby and sandwiches from time to time. Try to get some quiet time even if it's not ''quiet'' I had my kids read to me while I did house work. Told them I wanted to read but didn't have time and asked if they could read it to me. Then they turned on me and I had to read while they cleaned lol. But you're spending good quality time together things are getting done and your not fussing and argueing. Goodluck. And you're probably a great mom just a little stressed...

Michelle - posted on 10/22/2011

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okay, first of all, NO ONE IS A PERFECT PARENT!!! So cut yourself some slack!! Life gets hectic and crazy and can fall apart at times, but one the one consistant is your kids and the fact that they need you. The only one who cares whether or not the house is spotless is you, they really won't care. If spending more time working with your kids means that the house is messy, then let it be messy. i gave up having a spotless house after attempting for a year. It's not worth the stress. So some days its got junk all over the floor because the kids have been "rearranging" and other days I have energy to clean it up. Now, I'm not saying to stop cleaning the dishes, bathroom, vaccuming, etc. But the house can be clean without being spotless. If there are toys everywhere but the kids are happy then that is a Win in my book. You need to get yourself under control, because having you be angry and moody is not helping the kids. Sit down and make a list of your priorities for your household? Ok, on to tv. I hate it. Sadly I gave into my husband wanting it and it really has screwed things up. Limit your kids to a certain amount of time a day, or even a week. I totally understand the fights for tv but stick to your guns! You are the head of the household, not the kids. They will learn to amuse themselves and look forward to the times they can watch( my kids watch tv or a movie when its raining outside, and boy does my son get excited to see rain!). Your 4 year old should be able to do simple chores, ie clean up his toys, help set the table, he' prob even love being able to help with laundry, unloading the dishwasher, etc. There are star charts you can use to reward him and can even get an app for your phone. Give him a star when he doesn't scream about NOT having tv. make 10 stars worth something he'd really like. YOU can do this!! make dinner when you get chance but don't stress over it! plan out a menu over the weekend and don't do anything that takes to much time. Pampered chef has two cookbooks that are meals made in 29 min or less. there are hundreds of recipes online with the same time frame. Your oldest should be able to have favorite meals but should not reject everything you make. Again, you as mom get to decide if he will eat it or not. Reward eating dinner with a star.
Don't get down on yourself. I know how it feels when it seems like the world is crumbling around you but please don't lose sight of what is most important, your family. They need you and love you!! And asking for help is never a weakness, its smart! so even if someone can only watch the kids for an hour, take it! ask a friend or family member to take the kids out for a walk or to just come and watch them so you can get something done. You already are amazing because you're working and taking care of kids, thats huge!! So don't lose heart!!

Amanda - posted on 10/21/2011

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Honey, I feel the same way a lot of the time my 2 girls are ages 9 & 6 yrs old. There's times I feel like all I do is yell at my girls & it breaks my heart. I feel like the worst mother ever when I have days like that. Then I've been dating a guy going on 4yrs & at times it feels like he makes things 100 times worse. Because hes never happy with anything I do & he's constantly yelling at me telling me how stupid I am & how all or most of my choices are wrong. I mean yeah we do have good days. I just feel that if my girls would listen to me & follow the simple rules things would be easier on that aspect. But then there's the bf aspect. When we 1st got together things where great but now 4yrs later at times I feel like things have just went 2 crap. All I can tell u is what I do or at lest try 2 do 2 make it through the rough times. I read a good book & try 2 imagine my life being the 1 of the book when I have the time. When I dont u try telling myself that all moms go through this. The 3 things that matter the most 2 me & I care the most about would have 2 be #1 being the BEST Mom I CAN BE. #2 making sure I give my 2 girls everything they need. Be it in their education, their physical needs (food, clothes, a home, things like that), that I'm there 4 them when ever they need me (if it's 2 help them through a difficult time, 2 hold them while they cry, 2 just listen 2 how there day was, to help them with their homework or 2 study 4 their tests, things lik that). # 3 is 2 show them that I DO LOVE THEM even if I'm not very happy with their behavior & 2 teach them that we ALL DESERVE 2 be loved & 2 be happy. The hardest 1 would have 2 be showing them we deserve happiness when I rarely feel happy right now. But I try my best 2 hide what I'm feeling inside from them when what I'm feeling isn't a good emotion. I've also discovered that at times (when I'm ALONE) a good cry helps me 2 feel better. Just by letting out the emotion I'm trying 2 hide at timed it provides me with enough relief that I can once again go back 2 my pretend 2 be happy front I like 2 show the girls. So I may not have much advice that is helpful but try thinking about some positive things (I know how hard it can be believe me), & try 2 find a release that works 4 u. Mine is reading. But after ur able 2 find a positive in even the roughest of situations & u've found a release that works 4 u I think u'll be able 2 deal with things a little better & know that even though u may feel like it ur NOT the worst Mom out their. By realizing u had this problem & asking how u can fix it shows that u care & that puts u WAY ABOVE some if the Moms out their. So keep ur chin up & know u can handle this & that u are a good person & probably a great Mother. Don't be so hard on urself.

Melinda - posted on 10/20/2011

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If your kids like music, crank up the radio and encourage them to help you clean. Make it a game. With a nice treat at the end. (like cookies or ice cream) This will get you a little break from the t.v. Consider waking up a little before them and getting yourself ready and throw them into a routine once they wake up. What are the ages of your children? I have a list for my 9 year old to accomplish in the morning, taped to the bathroom mirror. She gets up, washes her face, eats breakfast, chants (a form of meditation for focus), gets dressed, and brushed her teeth and hair.
For my little one. She's 2 so its easy for her to want to follow big sis in her routine.
Hope this is even a little helpful.

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Emily - posted on 12/02/2012

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It's ok. I'm not a parent of older children yet, as I only have an 8 month old, but I have a 4 year old niece and bratty 8 year old nephew. I've observed over the past years what works and what doesn't, especially from babysitting them and how their parents react to certain situations.



Children mimick your behavior, they can sense your stress and anxiety over a certain situation. If your children are old enough to help around the house, make it an exciting thing...I often refer to using chore sticks as an exciting thing to get kids to help around the house as it is something my husband and I plan on doing. Essentially, get a bean can or whatever you get at the grocery store and after you use it, rinse the can obviously and get some plain white paper. Let the kids/child decorate the outside and each of the individual chore sticks. Then use tape or glue and attach the decorated white paper to the cup. Place the chores face down that are age appropriate chores. I tend to like the method that some use that divide their age by 2 and that is how many chores they should be doing. Essentially, upon completion of the chore they get the option of playing video games or watching tv for an hour for that chore, or they get 50 cents. It teaches hard work and also they must earn their privileges.



You must reinforce discipline as well in the form of time out or if you believe in corporal punishment, but before you punish them, MAKE SURE you calm down before you do so. BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR DEMANDS. Before you sit down with them, tell them that we are going to have a grown up business meeting or something and tell them what you expect.



Take some time for yourself, it will help tremendously. Even if it's for an hour. Go for a walk or if you enjoy some other hobby do that.



Make a list when you wake up or before you go to bed for what you/your family must accomplish for the next day. Include your children in the list and enlist them to help if you so choose, let them help cross the item off of the list and both you and the children will receive so much gratification with this, it will help, but make it manageable and reasonable. Assign certain days to certain tasks such as cleaning two rooms of the house and doing laundry one day maybe and that's all you do, etc.



USE THE CROCK POT. There is a woman who cooked in her crock pot for 365 days as her new years revolution. She even made dessert in it. Again, if you really want to, include your kids in it, have them help check the food to make sure the crock pot is turned on. Then you can stick it in and forget it.



I feel your pain, believe me and I hope some of these things have helped. Currently my husband is deployed overseas, I attend college 15 hours a week, I do not have any friends besides family and my mother helps a lot whenever she can, but there are many tasks to do. PM if you need anything else. I hope my observations of horrible parenting have helped another person. I know they have helped me try to mold my 8 month old son into a good boy someday.

Mother Of - posted on 12/02/2012

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I feel your pain! I had dreams of a lovely weekend baking Christmas cookies and it ended with me throwing them all away - I got so irritated with the whining that I crumbled them up and and threw them out. I just couldn't take one more complaint, one more tear or one more stint of whining.

Ann - posted on 05/21/2012

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Forgive yourself, and start to treat yourself with some tenderness please! Just being you and staying positive will be enough, and you are STILL GREAT! you care to do the right thing!

Jesse - posted on 11/01/2011

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I've sooooo Been there too! It will get better... just start small & retrain yourself... and your kiddos. Your kids will resist new rules for about a week, but stick to your guns and you will come out on top! You'll do Great and your kids will be better for it too! Parenting is a real Job. No holidays, vacation days, sick days or promotions. you hold the highest honor of CEO of Casa D'Mama. Get a good cup of coffee, or tea and make some lists for yourself. I'm a mother of 3 and have been in the same position as you. Bravo to you for staying home with your kiddos! It's one of the things that they will remember as they grow! You make an attempt, so you're still there buried under that mommy persona! Try to make a date night with dad, Very hard at first... ( I know, i've been there) trade a friend for sitting alternating evenings. then it doesn't cost you a sitting fee. Go for a walk in a local park when you get a chance. I've done that for date night... It was free! Enlist Grandma & Grandpa for some help. They're probably bored & don't want to step on your toes. Try some yoga. My 4 & 2 year old do that with me. That's mommy's Time out. Long Hot showers can feel like a mini vacation... especially with a yummy smelling body scrub or candles. make yourself feel pretty. Paint your toes, do your hair, put on some makeup (if you don't already) It made me feel better to feel prettier. It's rough to feel like the only thing you can do is get buried in the messy bits that are life... but that's the adventure Sister! Paint a Smile on and Live it up, laugh at your mistakes, there will be enough to make you giggle every day. Enjoy your payments of oatmeal kisses, sticky fingers, and toothless (and teeth in) grins, because it goes by too fast. The Best payment and satisfaction at the end of the day is knowing that your kiddos are safe and healthy in their bed. Keep your chin up girl!

Shauna - posted on 11/01/2011

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I'm very happy for you Nikki! Keep smiling, good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.

Nikki - posted on 11/01/2011

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Thanks everyone so much..........I have let go some of the things that have been causing me stress, ie facebook and friends and noticed I am starting to feel alot better. I decided to focus on the kids more and they have also been happier.......happy mommy makes for a happy family,lol. I did manage to get a ton of cleaning done last week but you wouldn't even notice today :( I also managed to pay some bills so the phone calls have mostly stopped.....except the cell phones have been cut.....but we will have power which is more important. I have been working on getting more organized and it is all starting to come together, still working on getting the motivation but it will take time and I do have a doc app next week so hopefully he can help me with some of the anxiety I have. Hopefully by christmas we will be all caught up......I am really looking forward to the holidays as they have always been my favorite time of the year :)

Jennifer - posted on 10/30/2011

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I have been right where you are! I had to make some major changed and the little things just kind of fell into place. Right after my daughter was born, only 21 months after my son, I was so unmotivated and overwhelmed, well come to find out I was depressed. They gave me the lowest dose of antidepressants and it helped soo much. They just got me back to where I was natually. I also applyied for financial aid which took care of my rent for the whole year, plus quite a bit, and lets me stay home with the kiddos. As far as the cleaning I can't help you there I have the same issue lol. Too much stuff not enough storage which means for a huge mess lol. But when I'm feeling really overwhelmed I put the cleaning aside and get on the floor and play with the kids, and I find that when they are really acting up they are bored and have too much energy so I try to get them outside for some running and playing. It usually helps. I hope this helps and lets you know you aren't alone.

Deirdre - posted on 10/29/2011

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I definitely agree with the people who have said to see the doctor. If you don't want meds, then maybe try counseling. If that isn't enough, try meds. Antidepressants have come a long way in the past decade, so if you feel you need it they are a good option.

VANESSA - posted on 10/29/2011

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IM NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND TRY AND GIVE YOU ADVICE BUT I WILL TELL U, YOU TOOK THE WORDS OUT OF MY MOUTH..I FEEL THE SAME WAY...I USE TO BE GREAT IM JUST DOING ONE DAY AT A TIME...MAYBE WE CAN CHAT AND EXCHANGE HOW OUR DAY WENT AND WE CAN HELP EACHOTHER WITH DILY STRESSES! YOU SOUND LIKE A GOOD MOM JUST DO ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!! MESSAGE ME IF YOUD LIKE..IM KINDA NEW TO THIS!

Leslie - posted on 10/29/2011

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don't see a doctor cause it may not work the depression pills. they did not for me and messy up my sleep schedule. I have a hard time falling back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. I still cry and I just ignore it. I just think of something happy. like I just graduate from college with a child care degree.

Kyra - posted on 10/28/2011

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Oh my goodness, wow you have gotten a lot of encouraging feedback and i really hope it helps. Just remember you are not alone we have all been there so don't be so hard on yourself. Have faith, stay strong and things will work it self out. God Bless!

Janessa - posted on 10/26/2011

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Focus just on one area at a time, I would say start with you. What makes you happy, and make sure you give yourself that a little each day. It isn't being selfish because if Mommy isn't happy everyone suffers. Then don't ever compare yourself to your idea of how it is supposed to be or how anyone elses family is. You are unique, and so is your family. Don't do things with your kids you don't like to do, for example, I don't like crafts, so I don't do them. I do love to read to them though. Have quiet time everyday, and set aside a designated time for the TV and stick to it, eventually they'll stop fighting it. If cooking isn't your fortethere are a lot of easy recipes out there that don't take much time and are pretty healthy, the internet should have some. As far as cleaning goes, I do certain things on one day of the week, and others on another usually during their nap/quiet time, and on 2 days of the week during that time, it is me time. If the floor just got dirty again after I just cleaned it, I don't worry about it until I have the time to clean it again. Just break things up, and don't try and do it all at once. Things will never be perfect, and they are not perfect in anyone's house even if you think it is. : )

Rebecca - posted on 10/26/2011

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Nikki, the most beautiful thing about you as I read this is your self awareness. I recently started back on an antidepressant due to the same struggles. I used to think I could just do all the right things and I wouldnt feel that way, but reality is, life can be really tough! It is depression. So how your going to deal with it is the question. Life should be a beautiful experience, not a struggle. There is much to be happy about and grateful for and its hard to see those things through the colors of grey. Much love girl. I know you'll find your way back to the sunlight.

Cynthia - posted on 10/25/2011

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sounds like you need to see a doctor. i was like you. i could feel everything falling apart but i could not find the energy or motivation to do anything about it. my husband made me go to our family doctor. he put me on zoloft. in 2 weeks i felt better. i could see the light again. i began trying again. i could enjoy my kids. and now my life is on track. i am not where i want to be as far as school and i'm not the best cook but i feel like i can learn and do better now. i believe you are already depressed and a doctor can help with the hormones so you can start to feel better. dont be ashamed to go to the doctor. this is my opinion.

[deleted account]

First, take some time for yourself! Even if it's just 1 hour a week (your husband could take the kids out for a walk/drive, for instance), it makes a huge difference!

Second, figure out the MINIMUM you need to do in terms of housework. Do that, and don't worry too much about the rest. For us, dishes/kitchen and laundry are priorities, so that gets done everyday/every other day. Scrubbing sinks, vaccuuming, mopping -- I do that stuff when I can't stand it any more.

Stifler's - posted on 10/25/2011

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Welcome to my world haha my kids are the same, whingers and if I pay attention to them all day I get not much done.

Virginia - posted on 10/24/2011

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I can speak for myself and many other moms who have a dream/image of what their role of being a mother will look like and that dream soon drifts into a reality that is foreign to us at times. Motherhood is a very fulfilling role but not everything about it turns out how we expect. You need to be able to laugh at yourself and not take everything to seriously. Life is a gift and we have a short time here on this earth. Your children are a little older tomorrow than they are today. Remember that what you are going through is only for a time and tomorrow it CAN be better. Schedule a time out for yourself and regroup. Us moms think we can do it all and we just can't. Try breaking up the cleaning for different days, get your kids involved. Make a slow cooker meal. Get your kids to peel carrots, my boys call it "shaving" carrots. None of us have this mom thing completly figured out. You are NOT alone. Just remember tomorrow brings a new day. :)

Hope - posted on 10/23/2011

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Wow reading that is like looking through a window into my own life....Shauna, you are right. I know this because I to suffer and have suffered from depression for the past 8 years. My advise to you firstly is to go see your Dr. don't make the same mistake I did and wait 8 years to do so. The sooner you see your Dr. the soon your road to recovery can start and the shorter your road to recovery can be. I truly wish that I have the courage to speak up about this when it all started happening to me.

Mary Renee - posted on 10/22/2011

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Get out of the house! That's my best advice. When I feel myself being subpar (watching hours and hours of tv or spending too much time online instead of with my daughter) I have to get out of the house to clear my head.



You don't have to spend money. I'm fortunate to live in a place with good weather year round. Sometimes I'll just go online and search for a child-friendly place I've never been to. Then I load the kids in the car and GO. I bring enough diapers for hours and hours of time outside of the house and pack a lunch so that I don't feel like I need to rush home.



Sometimes I will plan a whole week, sometimes I don't even know where I'm going until I leave the parking garage and see if the light is red or not. The house might be messy, the laundry might not get done, but when I am out in public with my kids, I don't have the option of watching TV or going online and I am a much better and more attentive mother.



Keep your ears and eyes open when you watch the news or listen to the radio. I find out about grand openings and events that way and most of the time they are totally free (we are tight on funds as well)



I read something once that said, the things you focus on become your life. Your perspective, is, in short, your life. If you focus on the negative, that is all you will see and that's all that will fill your mind. Instead of assuming your kids are doing something to bug you or piss you off, change your perspective. Tell yourself they are frustrated. Relate to them, because you're frustrated too. Treat them how you wish someone would treat you when you're feeling down.



As for the cleaning though... I'm a terrible house cleaner! I can't do it with out a Red Bull, haha!



Another thing that my sister has to tell me ALL the time... if all you see is the mountain you have to climb, you'll never see the path in front of you. Basically... take one step at a time. Just focus on trying to do one thing at a time. Don't fret over the bills. I mean, don't go out and spend like there is no tomorrow, but don't waste your time worrying about something that you can't change for the moment. Pay your parents back as best as you can and then stop thinking about it.



If you are making progress in one area, give yourself a pat on the back! Work on the next area tomorrow, but for now, give yourself for love.



Being a mom is NOT easy. I feel like moms don't talk about that enough. They always try to out do each other or compete with each other. They don't admit that sometimes the kids watch too much TV, or sometimes they sleep in their clothes, or whatever. And then since no one talks about it, it makes everyone feel like maybe they're a bad parent, because everyone else has it under control. Nobody else has it under control. Well, I don't know, maybe they do, I know some mom's with such clean homes and I have no idea how they do it. Then I saw a roach in their kitchen and I kind of like "YES!" Haha. We all do our best and no one is perfect. One day at a time, though, and you'll find that slowly but surely the rest will fall in place. Good luck!

[deleted account]

You do sound overly worn out and in need of time AWAY from the kids! I think talking to your Dr. will help. He may likely offer up meds to help cope, so be prepared and if that is a road you will want to take. Lots of pros and cons there. Reading your post was like reading a blip of my life. Know that many of us have had the same aspirations to be that amazing mom and wife, but the reality is... we won't be. And we need to be ok with that and know we can only do the best we can do. My kids hardly eat... they'll eat when they are hungry. If you don't have much in the way of family or friends to help out, an open conversation with the husband might go a long way. Otherwise... to keep my sanity, I rely on yoga and meditation. Great stress reliever, even 10 minutes will help if you can kick the kids out for a few. Keep us posted! I'll be praying for your sanity and happiness to return!

Nikki - posted on 10/21/2011

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Thanks guys....I had the music on alot yesturday and did manage to get alot done but the kids were completley nuts. One was crying alot and the other was just not listening. Today there were in happier moods but not as much got done,lol. I did make a behavior chart for my oldest with a few things that will be expected from him and I decided to use the t.v as a reward when he completes his morning and afternoon tasks. I also have been a little stressed and overwhelmed but I have a doc app coming up so hopfully he can help me out. I am starting to see some progress after 2 short days so I am sure there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Megan - posted on 10/21/2011

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Do you have any family that can help you out? Or maybe join a church that has some childcare so you can drop the kids off for free. It sounds like you need a break. I feel like that sometimes and I am a sahm and only have 1 child. It also sounds like you are depressed so maybe some therapy or medication would help for a little bit to help you regain your sanity and confidence. Hope life improves for you soon!

Amanda - posted on 10/20/2011

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Music instead of tv is a great idea. I put music on when I clean (it's the only way I'll get motivated to do it) and the kids sing and dance along while I vaccuum and they pick up their toys and books. Definatley get them involved with your chores. My 2 love to help me load the washing machine and dishwasher and to help me hang the clothes on the line and bring them in. They pass me the clothes or put them in the basket while they play.

Get creative in the kitchen, have them help you make cupcakes that you can all enjoy when they are cooked. Pizza is another good one to get everyone involved in eating.

I always find that an early morning shower wakes me up and gets me ready for my day, I always feel better after one.

My kids love the tv too. They also know that they only get to watch tv when they first get up and have breakfast and then for a little while in the afternoon while I am preparing dinner for everyone. The in between times they are either playing in their rooms, in the garden or we are out and about doing stuff (gym, park, playgroups, feeding the ducks) sometimes we colour or draw together or play with play dough, do crafts that sort of thing.

Is hubby willing to help you out and take over the cooking a night or 2 a week??? Or can you both get stuck into the cleaning together???

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