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Feel like a terrible mum and wife
I have two small children and a wonderful husband and work in a job that I love, but my life is a mess and I feel like I am a bad person and doing everything wrong. I am always stressed and snap at my husband constantly. He questions everything I do and it makes me so insecure and anxious that I get angry. I try my best with my kids but I am often impatient with them. My mind is crowded with things I have to do, it’s relentless. I forgot my daughter’s Show and Tell twice in 2 weeks and missed a lunch order last week. The mental load is killing me. I love my kids but I wish I’d never had them. I look at child-free people with an envy so strong it makes me feel nauseous.
We have no family support in our state and only a few friends. So many friends have moved away, faded away or 'broken up' with us. Recently one of my best friends told me she didn't want to see me again because I made her feel bad last time we hung out. I feel ashamed and upset about it. I thought we would be friends until we were grannies, making fun of the world together. Now I’m alone again.
Oh, and I’m on anti-depressants and they do help with my diagnosed generalised anxiety, but I’ve put on 10kgs in 18 months because of them and it makes me feel so bad about myself.
My husband and I fight constantly. We’ve always been different but those differences are really starting to be a problem in how we raise our kids and run our lives. I think I still love him, but I’m not really even sure anymore. We keep saying that things will be better eventually, but when is eventually? My daughter started school this year and it’s triggered her anxiety, which is now so bad that she can no longer be in a room by herself. We have to accompany her everywhere: to her room, to the toilet, outside. My husbands and I are taking turns sleeping on her floor, and half the time our toddler is up during the night too. It’s like having two toddlers. We’re run ragged. My husband just started a new job after months of being unemployed and it’s very intense. He’s always stressed (even more than me, hah!) but won’t go see anyone about it because he’s ashamed. I would love to see a psychologist. I used to have a great one but she moved away and now I’m going to have to get back on the mental health plan train.
I’m not even sure what I want out of posting here. I guess I just feel like I can’t tell anyone else because everyone in my life has their own problems and I don’t want to be a burden.
hi Wallaby, welcome
You are not a burden. It's a pleasure to try to help you.
There is a case for- not blaming yourself. Modern life involves hundreds of things to do each day. Then add a needy child and tension between you and hubby and you dont have much of a chance at stability. Over time this could prove catastrophic to your marriage. That is why it is great to get in early to try to remedy.
In my experience anxiety needs to be tackled with professional help but there is some basic changes that can have a remarkable effect on the illness. Here it is-
In terms of raising your children- I had a best mate and they had 2 kids. He was stricter and would, place the older boy (then 3yo) in a playpen when he hit his younger sister as punishment. Immediately after that his wife would extract him from there and cradle him as he cried. Effectively it seemed the mother would never discipline their child at all and... go against the father for his decision making. I suggested they read up on these topics and come to a agreement. So the agreement finalised on - that when the son did an unacceptable action they would remove him from the room. The playpen was seen as a mini gaol so was discarded. Being so young the boy was left outside the room where everyone else was for only 10 minutes maximum which was more than enough for him to reflect. The mother would not retrieve the child, the father, or rather the one issuing discipline would allow the boy to return and be reminded as to why he was removed from his sister. This reading up and agreeing on a new strategy worked and is one example of what is possible.
With the sleeping issue can you let the child with anxiety sleep on the floor in your bedroom? I think over time if you read a story to them both and at the end you gave that child a choice of her bed or on the floor in your room eventually she'll just snuggle up in her own bed. I'm guessing, worth a try.
Forgetting important events? Use the alarm on your phone.
Your low self esteem could need some work.
I hope they help, I'd be interested in your views.
I've found 3 of the most challenging things to do in life involve being a mum, a wife and coming to understand myself better. The challenges are definitely never ending in all 3 areas. As Tony mentions, there can be hundreds of things to do each day and not a lot of those are all that obvious. So, you can have dozens of challenges and within each of them can be micro challenges. I'll give you a simple lunch order as an example...
Can recall when my kids were in primary school and the school decided to change the lunch ordering process from brown paper bag with cash to online ordering. After my rant about 'Why do the simple things in life need to be complicated?', I faced the stress of the online system not working on my laptop, the disappointment of my kids at that stage, my inability to let go of the old style ordering, my inner rager battling it out with my inner stresser and my inner sage which was insisting I 'Calm down and just breathe. Everything will be okay'. While my husband was dictating 'Just settle down' as opposed to helping me manage it, I was left to manage it alone. So, one challenge with about half a dozen micro challenges. Who would have thought lunch ordering could be so intense. If there's one thing about motherhood that's consistent it would have to involve it developing us into who we are gradually becoming - someone more capable, more patient, more open minded, more supportive, more of a problem solver etc. Given that we gradually develop these traits, they don't happen from the start or over night. You may never see yourself as developing in the moment, only in hindsight. I've lost count of the number of times my kids have led me to develop more in some way. Could your daughter be leading you to have to develop ways of managing the nervous system and stressful inner dialogue etc, for the 2 of you? Outside the square but do you think the 2 of you could explore some guided meditation CDs for kids together? A practice you could both develop perhaps around bed time. Even if the practice begins as something to simply help stretch and exercise the imagination. They're technically calming audio stories with gentle background music which leads the imagination to positive places and feelings. Good for the mind and body (nervous system especially).
With my marriage, I found it never paid to simply wait for things to get better. Things typically painfully stayed the same or got worse as they naturally unfolded without any kind of intervention. Clear communication with emotional regulation would have to be the toughest thing to achieve in a marriage, in my opinion. It's easy to fight for what we want or need or express with great emotion what we just can't tolerate anymore. Much harder to express deeper feelings in a way that's honest, caring and calm. Took me a good couple of decades to figure out when I fight I'm fighting for something. Whether it's to have my stress acknowledged, to have a sense of fairness for the kids, to have more help when I'm feeling overwhelmed, to have my vision of the future shared in some way, there is plenty to feel passionate about but, to start with, I have to know exactly what I'm fighting for and why I'm having to fight so hard for it at times.
It can all be such hard and exhausting work at times. So incredibly overwhelming.