I have been slowly simmering with unhappiness for a long time and for some reason I just hit a boiling point this afternoon. I just put the kids in front of the TV (we are normally TV-free during the week) so I could sit down and write. Here's my deal. I have been a SAHM since my older child was born, nearly 7 years ago. I now have two kids, a 6.9 year old boy and a 4.4 year old girl. There have been a lot of ups and downs, it's a tough gig as you all know, but the past year and a half or so have been pretty bad. I guess I'm just looking for some advice as to what I can do to pull myself out of this slump. I'll start with my typical daily routine.
6:00- kids wake us up by getting into bed with us for cuddle time. If I get out of bed in time I shower.
7:00- Make breakfast, we all eat together as a family, husband leaves for work around 7:15. Scramble to make DS's lunch, get kids dressed, get out the door to catch DS's bus by 7:30. Walk back home with DD. Make beds, straighten clean up from breakfast. DD used to entertain herself while I did morning chores, lately she whines the whole time.
8:30- Leave for DD's preschool, which is 10-15 minutes away. Park, bring her in, get home around 9.
9-11:15- Varies. Sometimes grocery shopping or other errands, sometimes household chores, sometimes catch up on email, work out, or try to get some down time. Almost always alone.
11:15- leave to get DD from preschool. We get home around 11:45 and I make lunch. She no longer naps so after I clean up from lunch we have a little quiet time reading books, then I either play with her, do chores or more errands, or some combination.
3:00- walk to the busstop to pick up DS. Feed kids snack, help DS with homework, play a few games with the two of them. Then they play together while I make their dinner. I usually have to break up several fights during this time, although sometimes they play together well, esp. if it's warm enough to go outside.
5:30- Feed kids dinner, and while they eat I either clean up or start on the adult dinner. Then it's maybe another game, then bath, stories and bed.
7:00-7:30- kids go to bed. If DH comes home at his normal time, 7:15, they usually stay up a little later and play with him. If he comes home later, like at 8, I just put them to bed at 7 and he gives them a kiss when he gets home. DD goes to sleep pretty quickly, DS gets to read in bed til 8.
7:30-8:30- Make, serve, and eat dinner with DH. Sometimes something fresh, sometimes leftovers from the freezer.
8:30-9:30 or so- TV on the couch with DH. I usually go to bed before he does, exhausted. I close my eyes and wake up to do it all over again, unless I wake up at 3am with insomnia in which case I can look forward to feeling like a zombie all the next day.
When I write it all out like that it looks horrible to me. I spend the bulk of my time alone with a 4-year-old. She's great, but she's 4. When my kids were younger I had this great network of other SAHMs to hang out with. We'd do playdates all the time, and the moms could chat while the kids played. We'd have moms' nights outs on occasion and really bond over margaritas. Now, many of my closer friends moved away. Those left went back to work full or part time. Our older kids have such a long school day that after school play dates are difficult to manage. I have an awesome neighbor with three great kids I'd love to have over more, but she works nearly full time from home and her kids have a bazillion afterschool activities. I tried starting a hiking club on meetup to meet other SAHMs whose kids are in school in the morning. It didn't work out too well. Although it was halfway through the fall when I started it and the weather got cold fast; perhaps this spring it will pick up again. Other than that, I'm not sure what to do.
I feel like I have two shifts, the kid shift and then the husband shift. He used to get home at 8 and honestly I preferred it; I got the kids to bed right at 7 every night and I had an hour to myself before he got home. Now, he gets home right at the kids' bedtime, gets them all riled up, and then my kid-time is extended. Then they go to bed and I feel all this pressure to take care of him- he doesn't exactly complain if I don't make dinner, he's not a big talker, but I know it bothers him. If I do make dinner he sort of shovels it in. Either way, not very satisfying for me. Sex is similar- he wants it every night, gets it a lot less than that, and it's a sort of unspoken pressure on me either way. Both of us are too tired to talk much by the time the kids are in bed, so we just sort of zone out. It's depressing. During the week I take care of almost all the household stuff, from arranging to get broken appliances fixed to taking in the dry cleaning to getting clothes for the kids. On the weekends we relax and do family stuff. Actually I'd prefer to have more "date time" with just DH on the weekends but he wants to see the kids. The weekends feel too similar to weekdays- I'm basically always in my work place, always doing dishes and straightening and making endless snacks. By the time Sunday afternoon comes around I'm actually looking forward to monday morning, when after the rush is over I'll at least have those two hours when DD is in preschool where I can breathe.
Another factor is that about three years ago my mom moved to my town. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and moved here to be near the grandkids and us. She lived with us for 4 months which was a disaster and almost ruined my marriage. We basically had to kick her out- she didn't want to leave and wasn't looking for her own place as per the plan- and she found a pretty crappy apartment closeby. Her health is quite good, I actually think her original doctor was too conservative when he gave her 1-5 years and I think she's going to live a lot longer, which is great. But she still fatigues easily and can only do a little babysitting. We still mostly use paid sitters. The thing that's tough about having her here is her emotional dependence on me. She calls me several times a day, either just to chat or to ask advice. She wants advice on EVERYTHING, from emailing a document to finding a place to buy a printer to what recipe to make for dinner. She's always been a really dependent person, but before she moved here she mostly called other people (like my sister) for this kind of daily chatter. She is an alcoholic who secretly still actively drinks, and a "secret" smoker. When she goes away, like to visit her brother across the country, I feel this huge weight lifted. Having her here is like having a third child, but one who is an adult and I can't really control anything they do.
I used to work part-time as a doula and that fell apart too. The on-call nature of it just didn't mesh with being a SAHM. I had all these panicky days where I'd have a mom possibly in labor and a child with a stomach virus and I'd be praying the kid would get better before the labor began. My DH was supportive of my becoming a doula (got trained after DS was born) and said he'd come home from work if I couldn't get a sitter for a birth, but it didn't work out that way. He works in the city, an hour away at least depending on the train schedule, and his job is not amenable to his leaving at a moment's notice. It didn't make sense for the breadwinner to put his job in jeopardy so I could make $300 for 14 hours' work. But when I stopped attending births I also lost the whole birth community I'd come to know and love. I feel weird going to the meetings when I'm no longer actively working as a doula. It was something that took me outside of my SAHM role, and I loved it, but I just couldn't sustain it.
So here I am- I have basically no friends, my relationship with my husband is strained, I'm sick of my kids, sick of housework, sick of having no time to myself yet paradoxically being so incredibly lonely. Any ideas?
Edited by Katielady - 3/5/13 at 2:18pm