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Feeling like my world is falling apart

Community Member

Don't know where to start...I feel down in the dumps, feel like everything is an effort and I just want to sleep.

I am a mother of two boys aged 12 and 7 who are my life. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in October 2018, after a lumpectomy, Chemo and Radiation I am now in the clear. You would think i would be over the moon, but im not, i feel emotional, tired and a failure as a mother. During the last year I have had no energy with raising the boys and just doing what had to be done to get through (cooking, cleaning, Working, Uniforms, lunches, drop off etc) I feel like my boys dont listen to me until i start yelling and then they tell me to calm down like im making a big deal of nothing. I am constantly yelling at them to get off there games,have dinner,get ready for school, showers, help out around the house and then when i yell at them i feel upset that i let myself get angry in the first place and feel like maybe i over exaggerated and feel like a bad mother.

I just want to be a happy family and a happy mother for my boys and not feel so angry and upset all the time.

Can anyone relate..... would love some advice

6 Replies 6

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Tammi,

First of all, congratulations on your clean bill of health. Whether or not you're able to appreciate it right now, it's a hard-won victory an unqualified triumph, objectively.

Second of all, what you are describing is a very well-known phenomenon. I am a medical anthropologist by training, meaning I study how people make meaning out of their sickness and recovery. The idea that coming back to wellness– remission, addiction recovery, etc.– is not always experienced as a good thing is a common one in the literature and comes up in many different cultural contexts and illnesses.

While you were sick, you likely reworked your own ideas about yourself, your loved ones, your priorities, and perhaps even were forced to come to terms with your own mortality in a new way. It's hardly surprising then, that with your newfound health you find yourself feeling lost at sea. The cruel irony is that when we recognize that we are not happy at a time we are "supposed" to be, that itself can make us feel even worse, ungrateful, and confused.

Please allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling, and recognize the gravity of what you have just been through.

Now coming to your family. I am not a parent and have never had cancer, though I was once the young son of a mother with breast cancer who I'm certain had some seriously crappy behavior when my mother most needed me to be good. It's something I feel a lot of shame about and wish that I could go back and change. For what it's worth, now that I am a young adult I really understand what she was going through and appreciate not just what she did for me as a mother, but the additional obstacles that were thrown her way.

Your boys will, and on some level likely already do, know how much you love them and that you are just doing your best under extraordinary circumstances. Consider being open with them about some of your concerns, but be prepared for your young ones to not quite be ready emotionally to grasp what you're trying to communicate. They will in time.



Thank you Gems for your reply, I will definitely try and have a chat to them. Its great to hear that you turned out so good and appreciate your Mum.

Kind Regards


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Dear Tammy, and hello to Gems 😊

Just got to say what a beautiful reply from Gems, kind of blew me away! Such wisdom and warmth. Thank you Gems.

My reply will be so simplistic compared!! But i just wanted to ask you to not be so hard on yourself.

Being Mum to 2 vibrant young boys plus working and getting back on an even keel after illness and so much treatment ... you are doing a terrific job getting through each day with all its challenges.

I am not a mum, but a lot of my friends and neighbours are, and i can guarantee you that yelling is to be expected from time to time! Sometimes you need to, otherwise apparently they "can't hear you". (Also, nobody in the history of calming-down has ever calmed-down when their sons tell them to "calm-down"!!)

The fact that you feel bad about it and are reflecting so deeply about it shows how much you care for them and want the hest for them.

Maybe it could be time to change things up with how chores are distributed (a different chart/reward system or something, eg. No games until these chores are finished etc).

Do you have any other support, friends, family, neighbours who can help to share the load a little? One of my neighbours is a single mum with 4 kids ranging from 2 years to 14 years and it can get pretty noisy over there, especially from her! When i can hear big stressful times, i reach out, offer to take the older kids to the beach or just have them over to play cards or do some cooking. She says it helps immensely, and it's a tiny thing on my part. Is there someone in your life to help share the load?

Please feel free to come back and talk more about this or anything at all.

Lay some of your worries down here with us.


Thank you Birdy,

It makes me feel much better knowing its not just me. I do have family around, but they are all busy with their own lives, work, children etc.

I have started a chores chart with things they can do to do with an amount they will get paid each week if they do them,lets hope it works. I have also barred their xbox during the week and that is making a big difference.

Kind Regards

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Dear Tammi,

You are absolutely not the only one. It's stressful trying to run your life as well as the lives of at least two others, and not feeling supported.

I am so pleased to hear that banning the x-box during the week is making a big difference - already! See: one small change, and things have started to improve. You can do this!

The chore chart soundslike it could be promising. If it works, terrific - but if you find it's not working as well as you'd like, that's ok, you just tweak it so that it does. It might take a few adjustments until you get the balance right.

I am glad you have family, and i do understand the feeling that they have their own lives and issues, but when things get out of hand, know that you can reach out and ask for help.

Or come here, and we will listen and cheer you on or nut out some different ideas.

You are never completely alone.


Community Member

Hi Tammi,

First a huge hug. I cannot even start a reply. Amazing 😉

Your story, so beautifully written. Have some similar and different things this last year. The insight to how you feel now and interact with your boys does sound familiar.

I am single, near full time working Mum, separated last 3years with 97% care of 4 daughters 15,13, 11 and 8. I can swap kids if you know how to plat hair!!

Also carer for my mother, lived with me last 17yrs, has mild dementia.

Last year was hospitalised and diagnosed with immunosuppressive disease. Regime of drugs, therapies etc. unfortunately still ongoing.

What a year. I can feel your everyday... sorting children, work, housework, the chaos and everything else done, when you don’t have energy or wellness to do it. Then add feelings of failing mother when you rant, raise your voice or ask kids to do their own chores. 😩

Take some huge credit, your, understanding and insight of current situation, and then sharing your story. This sings your love and care for your boys.

Trial what works with your boys. I do similar chore, each child has a household job... such as garbage out, feed dogs, empty dishwasher and then set amount of pocket money for each. Some things like homework, bedroom cleaning, laundry away etc. are an expected responsibility. Sometimes they do.

I did chat with them as group and then individually. “Sometimes Mum cannot and shouldn’t do everything. That our family and our home doesn’t work unless we all contribute our little bit.”It doesn’t work 24-7. They do understand, so I tell them how it is.

The girls do their best mostly! Still have a rant occasionally.

Sounds like you’re doing a great job, asking for help, finding solutions and getting your kids involved. Know you are not only one 🤗.

Let boys know how you are feeling and they will help to find the solution with you. And possibly surprise you

Kind Regards