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Topic: I don’t like being a parent

20 posts, 0 answered
  1. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    10 October 2021
    I feel sick saying this because I love my children dearly, but I absolutely hate life with kids.
    Nothing can prepare you for the relentlessness of parenthood and how much of yourself you lose in the process. Everyone says it’s hard but you don’t truly understand what that means until you’re in the thick of it and once you’re there, I feel like there’s nothing you can do about it.
    If I disliked anything else in my life - where I lived, my job, my husband, I could leave, change careers, do something different, but you can’t take back having kids and yet it’s the one decision that I really wish I’d had more background info on before I took the plunge.
    I have a 5yr old and a 1yr old, they’re so very loved and clever, and funny and wonderful, they’re great kids and I’m a great Mum (mostly), but I grieve all the time for my lost life, all the freedoms I had and all the TIME I no longer have.
    I used to have so much choice in my day - I could spend my day sleeping, exercising, crafting, eating, listening to music/podcasts/audiobooks, binge watching tv or movies, relaxing, renovating our house, organising, literally anything I could imagine or think of I could do.
    All I do now is work, cook, clean and parent, there isn’t time for anything else. If I do get any free time, it’s post 8pm when the kids go to bed and I’m too tired from the day to do much more than sit in front of the TV and scroll on my phone. It’s such a crappy life.
    The kids needs are never ending, someone’s always in my space and requiring my attention, even if they just want to play, I feel like everything’s draining. I don’t want to play, or cook, or clean or do family admin etc., every task that fills my day now is not one that I would choose, all of them are required to keep the family running and someone has to do them, so I do, my husband is really helpful and we share the load pretty evenly but even so, we still both feel permanently burnt out.
    I can organise some extra time away from the kids etc. and I have done; feels great while I have that time but it’s always only a cpl hours, or a day max. and the second I have to go back to reality I hate my life again. I long for my pre-child life and all the wonderful things I could do with a day, presently i probably get about 10-30mins of each day to choose something for me and it’s not enough, I didn’t know how hard this was going to be and now I’m here and I don’t like it and I feel stuck. What can I do?
    4 people found this helpful
  2. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    6136 posts
    15 October 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name
    Hi I_need_a_name,

    We’re so sorry to hear how you’re feeling, and how it’s affecting you. It’s so good that you had the bravery and strength to share this here. You’re not alone in the way you’re feeling, and this is a really safe space to talk things through. 

    We’d really recommend reaching out to the Beyond Blue counsellors to talk this through on 1300 22 4636, or via webchat here. They’re experts in helping people who are feeling this way, and they’ll be able to discuss getting some further support. Another option is reaching out to Parentline on 13 22 89 (from 8am – midnight AEDT everyday). They offer confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues. We’d also really recommend reaching out to our friends at PANDA on 1300 726 306. Their lovely counsellors can help you work through your challenges by talking openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences, and they’ll be able to help you if post or perinatal depression might be part of what you’re feeling. 

    Thanks again for posting here. We think it’s an incredible thing to have done and could be a huge step towards feeling better. Hopefully we’ll hear from some of our lovely community members soon, some of whom will be able to relate, or might have gone through something similar and come out of the other side. Feel free to add to your thread, whenever you feel comfortable. 

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
  3. Petal22
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    Petal22 avatar
    1543 posts
    15 October 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hi I need a name,

    Sorry you are feeling this way I understand that children do dramatically change our lives.

    I understand you want time with out the kids but have you thought about joining a play group? You will be there with other mums and talking about the way you feel with other like minded mums can help…. Also the kids will be occupied there aswell with the other kids.

    Maybe even calling PANDA and discussing how you are feeling could help you aswell as per Sophie’s previous post.

  4. Juliet_84
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    617 posts
    15 October 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hi I need a name,

    That must be such an awful feeling to have and no doubt fills you with guilt as it’s not the socially acceptable thing to admit or say. In actual fact, I am sure that many many parents feel the exact same way, particularly when their children are young. It’s such a shame that we don’t talk about this stuff more as it could stop you feeling as though you are the only one or that there’s something wrong with you. Unfortunately with children you are required to give up most of your life in the early years to raise them and your needs are so low down on the scale it feels as though they may as well not exist. But this is a stage and like all stages it will pass, and change into something else. Once they are both at school, you will find that you will have more time for yourself during the day. And hopefully you would need to work five days a week so that you can at least have one day for yourself. It’s tough and it’s not something you can truly experience beforehand so I imagine it comes as a bit of a shock to the system and force you to question “what have I done”. But please remember that there is also always an element of “the grass is greener” to each decision. Without children you are right in that you have more time to do things for you, but most people just go to work and come home and do very little otherwise. And after awhile it can feel like a bit of an empty boring experience. I often envy people who have children when I see those little arms around a parents neck or the excitement of Christmas morning or even thinking of the adult relationship that I have with my parents. Like any major decision, there are pros and cons to each approach. You definitely sound burnt out at the moment, which is not surprising. I think that you need to find a way to perhaps have a break for at least a few days. Do either you or your husband have grandparents who live nearby or even friends whose place they could sleep over? My partner and I don’t have kids and we rarely get asked to mind friends kids because I think they think that we’d hate it but we would love it.

  5. Athenry
    Athenry avatar
    5 posts
    15 October 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    I don’t have the answers but to some degree, I totally get it. My kids are 4 and 18 months, so I think we may go through similar things.
    I work and I feel so jealous of my coworkers who have no kids and can just sit and relax - as soon as I log off I have to run downstairs and cook dinner before they’re home. Little on is teething and wakes at 5am, big one wanders in at about midnight with her blanket and pillow. I miss lots of things!

    I have been told by every parent I know that it DOES get better. I’m hanging on to that thought!

    yours in solidarity ❤️

    2 people found this helpful
  6. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    17 October 2021 in reply to Sophie_M
    Thanks for the suggestions Sophie, I’ll reach out soon. Also looking forward to hearing from the community, hopefully someone has been through the same thing and come out the other side.
  7. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    17 October 2021 in reply to Petal22
    Thanks for the suggestion Petal22, I work full time and not sure if they run playgroups on weekends but it’s definitely worth looking into, I’ll do that.
    1 person found this helpful
  8. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    17 October 2021 in reply to Juliet_84

    Thanks for your reply Juliet_84 you’re 100% right that we always think the grass is greener but it’s not necessarily that way. I know I’m very lucky to have my little ones. I could definitely organise for someone to take them for a few days, we have some great Aunty’s, Uncle’s and Grandparents, unfortunately I don’t think this would really help my problems though. I’m finding I need help dealing with the grief of my lost life and handling the every day relentlessness of having children. A break would certainly be nice but there’s nothing in particular I would do with that time. I struggle so much with the lack of time and choice I have now but if I got time alone, I think I would only spend that time sleeping or watching TV and I can’t imagine the guilt I’d feel if I gave up a weekend with them to do “nothing”. Even though I crave “nothing” all the time. It’s very hard to explain, I miss them while I work so I don’t like to spend time away from them on the weekends but I also hate that I have zero time for myself or anything else. I know this sounds ridiculous and i’m basically wanting to have my cake and eat it too. I look back on all the time I used to have and those days I did nothing with that time, not realising what was ahead and I’m full of regret and longing. I don’t know how anyone accepts that this is their life now, I guess that’s why I posted, to hopefully seek out others who’ve found some relief. I went from having all my nights and weekends full of choice and wonderful things to being able to choose at maximum an hour or so of things for myself for the whole week. It’s a really hard, really permanent transition. Rather than struggling with the kids, I think I struggle with accepting what I’ve lost in order to have them. I love my kids, I just wish there was enough time and space to have kids and also have things for myself but the reality of parenting is that’s not possible. You basically give up all that you are to become their everything and although they’re wonderful and I love them dearly, you don’t know you’re doing that until you’re stuck there. I could ask for a sleep in, I could ask someone to watch them for a few hours so I could watch tv or craft or do something lovely for me, and my support team would do it, I think though, I need help with acceptance and “enjoying the ride” because asking those things will get me some temp relief but I need to deal with this long term. Hope that makes sense, thank you for taking the time to reply

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Juliet_84
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    Juliet_84 avatar
    617 posts
    18 October 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hi I need a name,

    I completely understand, you are mourning your lost life, and all that it entailed. I suppose I thought that you could recapture a bit of it, even briefly, with a temporary break. To remind you that your life hasn’t actually gone, it’s still there waiting but you just can’t see the forest for the trees at the moment because you are in the thick of it for the next few years so to speak. I hope that you will consider taking a break for a few days, even to do “nothing”, especially to do nothing as you put it. Self-care takes all different shapes and forms, fore some people that looks like going to the hairdresser or a day spa, to others it looks like sport, or for others it looks like spending the weekend in bed catching up on lost sleep with a bag of chips watching Netflix. There should be no guilt in there, you are a mother to young children, you do more than enough. We used to mind my cousins children one to two days per week to give her a break, we never asked what she was doing with that time but it was just for her to decide what she needed, I’m sure some days she didn’t get out of bed and other days she went shopping or out to lunch. That was her time to decide what she felt she needed most during those times, and we loved the opportunity to establish such a close bond with the kids when they were little. Hopefully others on here will have been through similar and will have some useful suggestions on how to overcome the grief, but I think trying to recapture a bit of freedom may help to show that it doesn’t have to be all of one and none of the other.

    2 people found this helpful
  10. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    20 October 2021 in reply to Juliet_84
    Thank you Juliet_84, until you mentioned it I didn’t even consider that a break could at the very least help to reset some of my all or nothing thinking.
    Thanks again for your suggestions, I’ll definitely work on carving out some time for me without guilt. 😊
  11. Humble_Pie
    Humble_Pie avatar
    1 posts
    3 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hi I_need_a_name,

    I don't have any answers but I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this. I've been feeling the same way for years. It makes me feel so much better knowing I'm not alone. I'll try to implement some of the strategies that I'm seeing in the replies.

    2 people found this helpful
  12. quirkywords
    Community Champion
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    quirkywords avatar
    13027 posts
    3 November 2021 in reply to Humble_Pie

    I need a name, thanks for starting this thread and sharing your feelings. My children are adults butcwhen they were little it was full on. I didn’t have much time to myself but once a month I joined a book club. Is there anything you could that you enjoy for yourself.

    Humble pie and welcome to the forum. Thanks for your kind words. It is true by people writing here others realise they are not alone.

    I hope both of you find a strategy that helps.

    2 people found this helpful
  13. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    4 November 2021 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi quirkywords,

    I definitely can find some time for me, my husband is amazing about looking after the kids if I ask, and vice versa. Realistically, without being selfish I could probably organise a couple of hours to do something for myself every week. Whilst that time's great, I feel like any time I get now is so minscule in comparison to what I used to have - I struggle so much with "is this all I get now".

    Pre-children; I'd work for 8-10hours a day and sleep for 7ish hours, which leaves free time of around 8 hours a day to do whatever I wanted with. Add in weekends where I wouldn't work and it's approximately 72 hours per week of time to do with whatever I wish.

    Post-children; I could definitely make time for me, an hour per weekday after the chores are done and kids are in bed and probably a couple of hours on a weekend day where my husband takes the kiddies is probably realistic. That's around 9 hours of free time and choice (compared to 72 hours). Unfortunately, the majority of that time is post 10pm where I'm so exhausted I only feel like sitting on the lounge and scrolling my phone. There's so many things i want to do, and it doesn't all fit into this 9ish hours a week. I want to watch a movie (have to do it over 3 nights), I want to read books (could probably get in a couple of chapters), I want to craft and create (I can try, but there's not much i could setup, do and packup within an hour or two), I want to exercise and eat better, the list goes on and on, so many wants, so little time. I could do any one of these things for a couple of hours a week but not all, it just won't fit.

    I knew having children would be hard but I wasn't bargaining for my free time reducing by 90+%. It seems an obvious realisation, but it doesn't really cross your mind until you're in the thick of it and you realise how much of you has disappeared. I don't know how to accept my new reality. It's like I have a want-to-do list that outweighs my free time by 10 to 1. I can definitely organise time for me, but it's not enough, anything I do for me feels like a drop in the ocean, it's nothing compared to what I used to have and I also miss my children when I organise time for me. I feel like I need double the hours in a day - I love my children and want to be with them and experience life with them but I also want a life for myself.

    How are other parents accepting the loss of time and increase in "busyness"?

    Thank you for letting me be so open and honest here. : )

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3546 posts
    5 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hello I_need_a_name,

    My goodness reading your post took me right back to when my two were very little. I'd feel guilty every single day that I hated being a Mum.

    Some days I still feel that way.

    My two are now 6 and 8 and in terms of the domestic drudgery (man I hate making lunches and the endless pointless cleaning) that hasn't changed much.

    But two things have made a massive difference.

    1. Being diagnosed with depression and my ongoing treatment.

    2. Recognising that I need regular time alone that I can rely on.

    It's not enough to have the occasional break or few hours away. I used to feel worse because I'd get a taste of freedom and then know it would be ages before I got that again. Now I make time. Even if that means the chores don't get done. When the kids go to bed I do the basics and then do something I like. For me it's LEGO. But you mentioned you enjoy craft.

    If you sat down with hubby could you make a list of things you both do every day that could possibly wait and work out how to make time out for both of you? I find being able to rely on regular alone time helps me. Just an idea.

    If you haven't spoken to your midwife, GP etc yet it's worth a try. If depression is an issue it does make it harder to cope. When I'm low the endless noise sets me off badly. The guilt is overwhelming.

    You're a great Mum. It's not remotely easy. I still feel like I've lost my identity often. But as my two slowly become more independent I feel like it will one day change. I remind myself all the time I'm not just a Mum, I'm still a person too. My kids are learning that too whenever I remind them they have two arms, two legs and a heartbeat (or do it yourself!!).

    A psych told me once as parents we can only do what we are able to and that is absolutely good enough!!

    I hope you can find a balance that helps you soon.

    Nat

    2 people found this helpful
  15. I_need_a_name
    I_need_a_name avatar
    10 posts
    16 November 2021 in reply to Quercus

    Thanks Nat, all good advice, we're working on making more time for ourselves. It's a struggle, I feel like I need double the amount of hours in a day but we're definitely trying.

  16. TunnelVision
    TunnelVision avatar
    18 posts
    18 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    Hi there. My kids are older now (2 X adults and 1 X teen), so I can assure you that what you are going through is just a function of having to care for very small children. Quicker than you can imagine they'll be older and over at friends' places or in their rooms telling you to go away. You will get your time back.

    I'm not telling you to suck it up - those early years are so, so physically, mentally and emotionally draining. I can remember that whole resentful feeling where everything I used to be was given up entirely for these small emotional vampires. It's exhausting.

    But then they grow up and turn into pretty nice people and you get to become or grow into yourself again.

    I think it's important for now that you are really carving out some time that's really for yourself. Now the weather has warmed up make meals a lot simpler - salad and a BBQ chook - so you're not having to cook after work etc. Have a pyjama day on the weekend occasionally where you just do nothing together all day. Simple things like that can help reduce the stress of it all.

    I think parents these days are under a lot of pressure to do things 'right'. Which, obviously, we should be the best parents we can but we shouldn't expect ourselves to be perfect.

  17. BeforeCare
    BeforeCare avatar
    15 posts
    18 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    I need a game,

    as you can see all ready, you're not alone here.

    I had PND after baby#2 and alot of this was just loosing myself.

    Going back to work helped but at the same time, it reduced the freedom and down time.

    Everyone worried when six years later I had baby #3. No PND that time around though

    But at the same time, just when things were getting easier, and it really does, I went back to 0 personal time.

    The youngest is still a personal time chewer but I would never look back to regret the personal, or what I now think as wasted time bringing them up.

    I struggle still and hubby and I rotate time away (like for sports/seeing friends) to make sure were being our own selves too.

    I do remember a time being so jealous of separated parents having so much of their own time but have since seen the heartbreak that creates, like having to share Xmas, birthdays.

    Sorry I got to cut this short, better drive these children to school now. It's one of my stay at home days, which means over 5 hours of free time. I need this for my want it. Not sure what I'll do yet but trying to beat my current depression, it will include a walk

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Amanda2000
    Amanda2000 avatar
    135 posts
    18 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name
    Thank you for your post! I've been struggling with the exact same issues. I totally hate my life right now.

    My kids are now 17 and 15 but the problem seems to be worse now than when they were little. When they were little, at least I was more in control with the time-schedule for the day. Now my life revolves around their schedule/constantly waiting for them to do things. I feel like I'm always on stand-by mode eg. I cannot wash the bed-linen until they're out of the bed, I cannot start the dishwasher until they've had breakfast etc. They go to bed later and later (no longer 8pm as you mentioned - more like 11.30pm nowadays). I have not had much decent sleep since the moment they were born. I never imagined that my sleep deprivation would continue as they get older (maybe even worse than those newborn night-feed days?).

    I know what you mean about the 10-30 minutes in-between free-time that you might get that's not long enough to do anything you truly enjoy. I feel totally exhausted. When I do get a moment to sit down, I often fall asleep in front of the TV. Very frustrating that all my energy has been drained by my family and I don't have any energy left to enjoy watching TV.

    For me, the first 12 years had some rewarding moments. There was a fun element to make the hard work bearable. Now and the future seems to be all about "responsibility". I no longer enjoy spending time with them and I dread how I'll manage my relationship with them as adults.

    I find it overwhelming that parenthood is something that you can never get out of. If you don't like your job, you can leave and get a new job. If you don't like your partner, you can get a divorce. But the decision to have kids is a life-sentence without parole. Trapped for life. I feel like I'm carrying on just out of responsibility, rather than out of love.

    When you feel burnt-out from your job, you can take time off work. But when you're burnt-out from your family & everyday life, where can you escape to?
    1 person found this helpful
  19. TunnelVision
    TunnelVision avatar
    18 posts
    20 November 2021 in reply to Amanda2000

    Hi Amanda. Are your kids doing any of the household chores to help you at all? At their ages they should be able to help with some things.

    My kids are all expected to wash their own bedlinen, put on a load of washing if they see one needs doing, give the floors a quick sweep or vacuum if it needs it, keep their own rooms tidy, bring in and pack away the groceries when I have done the shopping and cook the occasional meal (eldest cooks once or twice a week depending on his work shifts, the other 2 a bit more sporadically). I see it as them just contributing to family life

    And I just go to bed when I am ready to go. I tell the younger one to go to bed by 10.30 but the older 2 can please themselves.

    You sound really tired from your post. Maybe you could have a conversation with your kids around them helping with a few things to take the pressure of you? Not only would it help you but it also gives them the chance to learn some valuable life skills.

  20. Frankie230
    Frankie230 avatar
    1 posts
    29 November 2021 in reply to I_need_a_name

    I could of written all of this!

    I have a 3 year old and she is HARD work, the housework never ends, I work full time and try to be as social as possible on weekends - which may add to the chaos, but I feel like I need it too.

    I wish I had advice to give, but just want to let you know, you're not alone. I really miss my old life.

    1 person found this helpful

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