Feel like a bad mom...

Sarah - posted on 07/05/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Lately I've felt like a terrible mom/wife. For the last 2 years I went to school (and worked part time also for a year). I am now trying to build my photography career, and been having a hard time juggling my life. I also don't have a drivers license (long story) and have a 4 year old son who we STILL don't have an eating schedule or sleeping/napping (he WILL NOT EVER take naps) routine developed. I also HAVE to get him potty trained this summer or else he cannot go to preschool in the fall and I already got guilt tripped by my husband for not getting our son trained last summer and having to wait a year to send him to school. So I have to build a career (HAVE to get money coming in soon to pay off college debt) ,get my written test, permit, and drivers license, potty train my boy, and get him into a sleep schedule all in like 2 months. Lately my 4 year old has been SOOO whiney too and flips out and screams about everything and I haven't had an OUNCE of alone time in FOREVER. The ONLY "alone" time I ever get is if I have to do a photoshoot with a client. This is not "real" alone time in my opinion. Sometimes I go as long as 5 days without a shower.. its terrible! If I do try to shower when my husband isn't home to watch our son then he gets into everything possible! Hair spray, mouse traps, laundry soap.. he will stack boxes to get to things that are even out of reach! But its stupid because he doesnt do it for my husband..he'll just sit on the couch and be a little angel..so he doesn't undertstand WHY I don't get to shower or how irritating it is to have someone climbing on you and whining about stuff every day all day NON STOP! Lately he has just been making me so mad that I scream at him sometimes just to GO AWAY! Leave me alone! or I'll go in and lock myself in the bathroom just so I can escape his whining and crying. I know this is bad.. but sometimes I day dream about my best girl friend coming and kid napping me and going to an amazing concert and awesome clubs and just having fun in Europe and being a 26 year old. I know a HUGE part of this is the fact that my parents made my husband (boyfriend of 4 years at the time) get married because we wanted to live together and had no one to room with. Sometimes I feel like I hold resentment towards my parents for doing this. But I got married at 21 and pregnant 3 months later and that was that. I never got to go out and party and have fun or anything and I feel like I have gotten stuck into this life. I love my son so much and feel terrible for feeling this way, but I just think my life is so boring and don't EVER want to own a mini van, mom shorts, or go to "play dates".. that just seems SO lame. I feel so bad for feeling this way though! HELP!

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Darlene - posted on 07/09/2013

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First and far most your NOT a bad mom. It sounds like your life is on the fast track and you don't know how to slow it down, Your young and sounds like you were put in a predicament you shouldn't have been put in. #1 children need alone time just as much as we do, if he has his own room set him in there and let him cry, it won't hurt him. You can also leave him with dad or somebody else for even a couple hours to be young and not think about being a mom (everybody needs it to keep from going insane) #2 discipline isn't a bad thing, ( a pat on the rear, time out, etc.) it will shock him more then it will hurt him then he will start to understand that he has to listen to both parents not just dad. #3 most of the time children will know first when their ready to potty train, and a little hint: boys are harder to potty train then girls and pull ups don't work in my opinion, try regular under where or cloth training pants with plastic covers, their old fashion but they work cause kids don't like feeling wet or dirty just like we don't, with pull ups or diapers it keeps the skin dry so they don't know they went in most cases and make him stay in in it a couple minutes but not to long. You can also let him go in the bathroom when you or you husband go, it shows him what your doing in there and what the toilet is used for and don't move the potty chair around, he needs to know it belongs in the bathroom, I used a toilet seat that coverts the adult toilet into a smaller one with a step stool so we all used the same one and my son loved that he used the same potty as daddy and it helped allot. #4 he will need to be on a schedule for preschool, Wake him up early in the mornings so he's tired by nap time, you could put a small tv or radio in his room and lay him down or you can also start out by laying down with him. #5 Play dates are not always a bad thing, toddlers needs friends too, it helps them with so MANY things and to burn off energy and it can also help you to have other moms to talk to about what your going through and some times you can meet other moms that will take turns watching children so they can have a break( cause we all need a break once in while). Good luck

Emily - posted on 07/07/2013

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Honey I had my daughter at 23 and I can say that I wasn't as patient as i am in later life. Its hard trying to juggle everything, you need to stop for a second. I know all the books talk about a schedule for everything, but life is just not that way. I am in the UK and our children go to school at 3, and my daughter was only just within the age when she was potty trained, children know when they are ready and they need to feel secure to begin the process. I know you are trying to do everything and be everything to everyone but the fact is my dear you're not super woman! You have to prioritize and relax, do not let anyone guilt you into doing things, if your husband wants your child potty trained, then he should do his bit too. Your son is picking up on your stress and thats why he is whiney, are your college debts not something you can receive a break from? I really don't know what help there is in the US, but in the UK you have to be earning before you pay back your University fees. If you could get a break with having to find work right away so that you can have a little breathing room. Before anything else your mental health is important, because without you your family will not be stable. As a parent and I have learned over the past 12 years that YOU are the parent, you have to raise above it, if you don't then you all get into a big argument which is no good for anyone If you love your husband then tell him how you feel and try to present a united front. Life is a learning curve, and potty training takes time and patience., its good to try both, potty and toilet; my daughter for instance never sat on the potty but went straight to the toilet she wandered around with a potty on her head! Your life is what you make it Sarah, having kids young doesn't mean that your life is over, you just have to find the joy in what you have now. Is it that essential to have everything going at once? if you can drop something like the job or the driving ( like i say please excuse any lack of knowledge of your country) then focus on you and your son and your relationship first. Breathe and take a minute to try and keep yourself together. Having children earlier in life doesn't mean giving up on life, when you're older you will look back on this period of your life and breathe a sigh of relief. Good luck x

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[deleted account]

I hadn't read your second post when I posted that reply.

Get your license first. You can't go to clients if you don't have a way to get there. It will only take a month. Study the book for a week, take the test. Practice for a few weeks, take the test. The written test is very easy--if you got through college, this test will be a breeze. Just read over the book at bedtime each night. You can work on getting your son on a schedule at the same time because a schedule is just something you implement. Once you establish the schedule, you will have time to work on your business.

Something you might want to consider with your business is your image. I am assuming you are opening a portrait or wedding photography studio. Is that correct? Consider your community. You mentioned that most moms snub their nose at you in play groups. Moms are the biggest target audience with photographers. They choose the person who takes the family portrait, they influence their younger friends getting married, and they are a HUGE, like indescribably big, source of word of mouth marketing, which let's not forget, is FREE. You need to portray yourself as someone the people in YOUR community will hire and trust. I know it sucks having to go against who you are, and I hope I'm not telling you to do that, but you need to find a way to express who you are in a way that doesn't scare your clients away. Does that make sense? Unfortunately, that's business. When you start out, you have to conform to your clients. When you make it big and people are begging for your work just because it has your name on it, you can take more liberty.

[deleted account]

I started to reply to you the other night, and I obviously got distracted and never hit post.
Anyway, here it is.

Put your goals in writing, just make a list. Then look at the list and prioritize them in the order you want to accomplish them. Focus on ONE thing at a time, and until you have accomplished that goal, don't even think about the rest, just keep the list so you can refer to it later. Once you accomplish one goal, cross it out and move on. Crossing it out will give you a sense of accomplishment and order that will motivate you to tackle the larger goals.

Now, for your son. He is probably not going to take a nap--most children give up naps between 3 and 4 years old, so you don't have to worry about that anymore. He does need to be on a regular sleep and eat schedule though, and that's not difficult to do--way easier than naps! Develop a nightly routine that you start at the same each evening, should be something like: Dinner, short play time (while you clean up the kitchen), bath, teeth, pj's, potty, read him a story, bedtime. You have to do it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. NO EXCEPTIONS. Make sure he has enough to drink at dinner, don't give him water or let him get up for it after bedtime. Make sure he goes potty before bedtime, allow him one bathroom trip per two hours. If he gets up, just walk him back and say "bedtime." You'll have to do it a lot at first, but he'll stop in a few weeks once he gets used to it.

This is the trick I used to get my alone time when J was younger. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Play with your son until it dings. Don't do anything else--no phone, no computer, no tv in the background--just focus on him and do whatever he wants to do.
When the timer dings, tell him you will set it again, and you will be back to play with him when it dings again. Set it for 10 minutes. Gradually increase the time between playing by a minute or so a day until you have an hour or so to work in between each play time.
You also need to make sure you are doing something social with your child at least twice a week--I know you think playdates are lame, but they are important for your child. You chose to become a parent, and sometime we have to do things we don't enjoy in order to do what is best for our children.

Usually, when kids get into the kind of mischief that you describe and behave for one parent and not the other, it is because they are not getting the one on one attention they need. He is grasping for your attention because he only gets it when he misbehaves. You might play with him every now and again when he is being good, but he can't depend on it. Also, Half attentions do not register to a child--if you are watching him but working on the computer, that doesn't register to him as you paying attention to him, so you end up distracted, and he still wants your attention. If you just stop for a few minutes and play, he will let you focus a lot more when you need to, and you will get A LOT more done.

I hope this helps. I know how stressful it is to get a business up and running--I've owned 4 of them. All but one are successful, but they took a ton of effort to build.

Sarah - posted on 07/10/2013

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Thank you for your replys. I know that i really need to just slow down and breathe and try to just take one step at a time. But I just feel like society and my family is putting SO much pressure on me to do everything because I "HAVE to". I "have" to get my license because I am 26 STILL without a license and I am reminded of that every day by my husband and his family. They'll say things like "well if you had a license you wouldn't feel that way" and at family events it always gets brought up like "so do you think you're gonna get your license any time soon". I got in a serious car accident as a teenager too and I get really bad anxiety when I drive. I haven't driven since we've had our son (4 years) and have to admit I am kinda scared to even start trying again. But first I have to take the written and get my permit THEN i have to take the drivers test and get my license. But I feel like I'm on this timer that is just constantly ticking telling me "you're running out of time. they are getting irritated with you.. you need to get it NOW!" Now #2 with the kid stuff. The naps and alone time are just don't happen with him. I've tried laying down and he just wants to run around an i end up fighting him to lay down with me and its just not fun. I've tried many things to get him to just STAY in his room and he doesn't want to..he always wants to be where I am ALL the time. I would go out and meet with girls with kids...but the community I live in is REALLY snooty and religious and there aren't many moms that are like me. I have pink hair, tattoos, and most moms around here just turn their nose up at me and run their kids away. I know if I lived somewhere closer to seattle it would be better for me in that way that I could meet more alternative moms like myself. NOW with the potty training thing... I have a potty seat AND a potty chair.. we are doing the undies with the plastic covers (pull ups just at night) and have been for the last month and he still goes in them almost all the time. It just doesn't really bother him until its dripping down his leg or something. Even then he still does it! :P I have tried the timer thing of going in every hour but he has really random pee/poo schedules and usually wont go when i take him in there. I really wish my husband would help but he works most the time in the summer and when he's home he's like "well this is my time off. you figure it out" I also REALLY wish that I even COULD get my husband to "watch the kid for a while" so i could go out. But when he does have time off and my mom won't watch him, and he is forced to have to watch him then its only a couple hours and i get majorly guilt tripped when i get home. I just kinda feel like even though he works, and we have good "bedroom time" a few times a week, he doesn't really contribute other than that and its really frustrating. But I bring it up and he gets mad and says "well you don't even work. And you went to college and built up all this debt and now I am stuck paying it off and you STILL don't have any clients yet." and so i feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders to get my career going to get clients and make money. In the US and with my school you have 3 months after school until you have to start making payments. And then you HAVE to make payments or it will default and you will be sent to collections. If you built up too much debt you end up bankrupt and that stays on your record for 7 years. You can't get a house, to rent or buy, you can't buy or rent a car, you can't really do ANYTHING that has to do with your credit. and sometimes you even have to go to jail. Our system is really messed up. So there is no just waiting around or having time to take it slow. I really wish there WAS a way I could just take one thing at a time, but I just feel SO much pressure from everyone that I feel like i have no choice and I have to do everything as soon as possible. I feel guilty as it is that our cousin who is 10 years younger than me just got his license (and EVERYONE reminds me of it), and then my husband "irritated' that I just "sit at home and do nothing" when I cook and try to clean as much as i can (my son makes it messy again alot :P). I don't know.. I just kinda feel like I wanna throw my hands up and say "I GIVE UP!" and cry and run into a hole and hybernate. Get ALL the years sleep that I've lost due to my sons poor sleeping patterns and my husband never letting me sleep in on his days off. Other than 2 occasions that i was extremely sick and throwing up all night, I haven't slept in past 8:30 in 4 years..since my son was born. I've got used to living off of 5-7 hours of sleep when I am the kind of person that really needs like 11. My doctor has even said that more sleep i possible would really help my anxiety. And that's one other thing that I worry about and frustrates me.. my doctors don't take me seriously and just give me a piece of paper with breating exercises and say "here's this..good luck".. really?! Err :P But yes..enough of my rambling.. anything else ladies? Would love more advice ♥

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