Anyone else feeling isolated and frustrated?

Laney - posted on 09/14/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I feel bad for the way i'm feeling. Don't get me wrong, i love my son. Hes two and while i know this is a difficult time period, i am overwhelmingly frustrated to the point of depression. My boyfriend (yes hes also the father) works 45 minutes away from home and i am home with my son all day, all night, everyday, all week. All of our family lives in the same area, 45 minutes away (we had to move far away because it was the only place available at the time we had to move. Our landlord foreclosed on the apartment we were in. This happened about a week after my son was born and the landlord actually moved to Florida and sent someone to the house everyday to tell us to get out. I was trying so hard to find a place we could afford and in the end, we ended up here.) . So i rarely see family and never see my friends. i cant even remember the last time i talked to my best friend. I've tried every game in the book to play during the day and my son is just not interested. I try to go for walks whenever i can, but my son refuses to let me go for walks with him. He will sit in the stroller and scream bloody murder until i turn around and take him back. (we live in the middle of nowhere so i cant blame him, there's really nothing to look at). But the other problem is that he wont play outside. in the summer our yard is plagued with horseflies, deer flies, massive spiders (which i'm terrified of), nats, bees, and an assortment or other things that will chase you to the ends of the earth if you don't run inside immediately. So its hard to go out in the summer. In this time hes become obsessed with the TV, its all he wants to do. if i take him out he immediately runs to the door and cries until i let him in, then runs to the tv and wants me to turn it on. I'm trying so hard to keep his attention on other things, but i'm also about four months pregnant with our second baby and its been a very rough pregnancy. I find even so early on in it that i become exhausted very quickly. I feel like i'm losing my mind here and its making me depressed and angry. I don't want to be like this around my son, but at the same time i cant help but feel like whats happening isn't very fair to me either. I feel a little selfish in this way and it makes me feel like a bad parent.

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Julie - posted on 11/23/2013

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That was a beautiful reply Melissa. Laney, I feel your pain too! My situation is quite different but I'm experiencing the same kind of isolation and depression. I'm in a terrible rut right now and currently literally holed up in my bedroom because I can't face my children just now.

I have a toddler not yet in school and a preschooler who has school in the mornings. My husband works late most nights. The toddler is becoming more self-sufficient, thankfully, but he is obstinate about so many things, like putting on pants, for example. The preschooler is really craving attention and wants me to play with him every moment his brother is napping. If I give in and play, the housework suffers. If I stand my ground, even after spending 45 minutes of really focused play, so that I can wash dishes or prepare dinner, I cause major disappointment. We also have a dog who is becoming a bit senile; she is often needy and anxious, and I can't seem to appease her either. Some days I can deal with this, but other days the constant bombardment of whining and tantrums and fighting and my kids' failure to do what I say makes me frustrated and angry and I just want to pull my hair out or walk out the door.

Our financial situation is bleak. We have little money for going out for food or entertainment. I've been in this city for 15 years and have lots of friends, but many are without kids and most tend to meet up at places that would cost money I don't have. The few with kids seem to have schedules that conflict with mine, so I feel very stuck. I feel extremely lonely when I see all the Facebook posts of friends going to concerts, bars, restaurants, etc. I finished school recently and should be looking for a job, but it's nearly impossible when I am managing the house and kids all day every day. And I feel like the money I make will just go to childcare anyway and struggle to manage housecleaning, grocery shopping, meal prep, etc. will just be compounded.

When the weekends come I am hoping for my husband to help me out with the kids, but he likes to sleep in and I end up resenting that. Whatever he does do to pitch in is never enough and I unfairly push him away. We are both stressed to our limit. He works very hard and very long hours and I am grateful for that and the paycheck he brings home. It's just that I am likewise exhausted and guilty for not contributing financially to our family. I depend so heavily on him emotionally, which is totally unfair.

Then I'm feeling bad about myself, my weight, my failure to exercise. I would like to look a little more polished but usually I wear no makeup, my hair is frizzy and unkempt, my clothes sloppy and ill-fitting. The kids' needs always come before mine, and my poor time-management prevent me from ever getting to mine. Even showering is way down on the list of priorities. If I met me on the street I would not be interested in me. So I guess I am feeling a little unworthy of help even though I really need it.

When I am out running errands or perusing Facebook, all I see are people who look more put-together than me and seem to be more successful and happier than me. That preoccupation prevents me from meeting other people, and the cycle of isolation continues.

Sorry to rant for so long and for sounding so negative. I just had to let it out. It feels therapeutic, really. I just wish I could turn this awareness into some actionable steps to change my perspective and habits. I'm not there yet, but hopefully, by sharing my experience, I can help somebody out there feel a little less alone. I have been up and down many times in my life, and I know there is a way out of this. Hang in there, Laney!

Laney - posted on 09/16/2012

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Thank you for the reply. I have been looking for a place that's closer. Unfortunantly with the price of gas, my boyfriends bank account is pretty much zapped during the week getting back and forth to work. Sometimes i feel like hes working just to pay for gas to get to work. We had found an apartment but we couldn't afford the security deposit as well as the first months rent because we just cant keep the money in the account. That at the area that we grep up in and wish to move back to is near a college, so during most of the year the college students come in and take all of the cheaper apartments. All that's usually left are the ridiculously priced ones and i also have a cat. Usually abut 2 out of 20 apartments allow pets. So its very hard to find an apartment.

The other problem is that my son, even though he two, is VERY stubborn. Hes also not talking and while he does understand commands he has a short attention span and wouldn't understand me if i told him to be good. So sometimes that can be a very frustrating factor. I have been talking to my boyfriend in hopes he will take less hours so that i can get even the smallest bit of a break.

Melissa - posted on 09/14/2012

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Laney, I really feel for you, please don't blame yourself for how you are feeling. If we bring up a baby on our own without the relief of other people to chat to, reassure us about difficult behaviour, just provide some normal adult interaction, it really is a recipe for feeling isolated and depressed. In previous generations,, not only was help from the extended family the norm, but also frankly the expectations of parents was far lower, in that children were routinely tipped outside to play in the street/ countryside all day and not come back till teatime, and regularly with only young children in sole charge, out and about with 2 or 3 year olds! A girl of 10 might take a baby in a pram to the shops and leave it outside - really, today's mums would be instantly arrested and their children taken into care for half the things our mums used to do!

Nowadays there is much less community interaction, and not being in walking distance of local shops where you can interact with people who know you and can chat a little is a very significant loss of quality of life for the elderly and mothers of small children, and a shame for everyone.

I can really undrestand how hard it is for you to get your son to stop watching TV. My 3 year old is obsessed with Cars and Bob the Builder and puts them on himself while I'm occupied with the older ones, and if allowed would stay glued to the screen for hours and be very tetchy and restless at the end of it. I have resorted occasionally to removing the fuse from the plug of the TV, and he soon got over the frustration and stopped trying to put it on.

If you want him to have some TV time, maybe try films like Jungle book which has lots of lovely songs and a gentler place than some of the frenetic fast talking short-attention-span stuff, and just manage what he watches so that it all does him good.

You mention that you feel very tired- I felt sleepy in the first 3 to 4 months and then got a big burst of energy in the middle of the pregnancies, before becoming a bit of a beached whale by the end. But if your energy doesn't pick up, you could very likely be anaemic as the baby will be taking all your iron. This can make you depressed as wall as exhausted, so it really is worth checking .

If your son doesn't like being in the stroller, have you seen those trikes with a handle for the parent to push along? Or give him a treat to eat in the stroller ?

Please don't feel like a bad person for feeling like you describe. I have felt exactly the same at various times with my children, and so have many of my friends- I think lots of women feel so ashamed of themselves for not being happy alone with their child 24/7 that they never admit it even to their friends, and people don't realise how widespread it is.

But the bottom line is that you are doing the most important and demanding job that anyone ever does, and you can get help with your feelings and it is important and urgent that you do. You are not being selfish, as your well-being is crucial to your son and your baby's healthy development.

Also, are there any playgroups you could take your son to?

and phone your best friend and tell her how you feel.If she has kids she'll understand exactly what you mean, and if she doesn't she can come over and see you!

Tell your doctor how you feel, though, and start to get the help you deserve.

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Have you started looked for a place closer to where you were before? Maybe now would be the time while you have time to look and not be rushed about it unless you are on a long lease then you may have to wait!! It is hard my son is 11 he really dislikes being outside also I literally have to push him out the door when his cousin is here to play! He is my only one so I understand when no one is around he does not like to go out and play which I get. We do not live in a neighborhood where there are other kids his age only teenage and up! All he wants to do is play with his Legos and watch TV! Maybe try and get him involved in some kids music play kids songs and make some of the instruments and he can pretend to play them during the songs! I stay home and have since he was born I know how it feeling cooped and no where to go or talk to!! Even though my son is in school all day and dont have anyone to talk to most days.My husband works a lot of times late shift and he works weekends which leaves me home no other adult around! You are not being a bad parent you feel what you feel and it is not fair to you! But I have learned in the past that you have to make them do things sometimes they dont want to! Maybe try and bargain with him! Tell him you are going to go for a walk and maybe if he behaves you can give him something special when you get back a cookie or a treat of some kind does not have to be food or he gets no TV time if he does not go for a walk!! But if its in your budget maybe now its time to start looking for a closer place back by your family and friends where you can get help and have someone watch him so you can get away for a bit!! Just to have someone around you that will listen and be there to help especially with another one coming soon you will have two young ones and you will need help!! My son has not been away from us one night for over a year now and at times I want to pull my hair out also after being home all summer and not getting nay breaks it wears you down!! So I know what you mean and how you feel!! I hope you start feeling better an your pregnancy gets better as you progress! take care

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