How to stop losing myself? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 09-01-2011, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been a sahm since DS1 was born 2 years ago.  I never really followed this forum but I am happy to have found it!  Recently however we added DS2 and I lost my pt wah job so I find I am falling out of touch with the last vestige of my former life and career. 

 

I was finishing grad school while pregs with DS1 and am SO out of the loop in my field now.  Like SOOOOO out of the loop.  And that is particularly bad for my future but there it is.  No time and not much interest with all that I have going on.

 

Most of my old friends don' t have kids so I rarely see them anymore.  Our new "kid" friends are great but we always do kid-centered activities and are limited by this.   In fact I generally am way happier to stay at home most evenings because it is easier and I am always tired.  Woo-hoo.

 

I have been super sleep-deprived for over two years (DS1 still wakes frequently and DS2 is an infant).  It has caused me to lose brain cells and add fat cells.  Not fair.

 

It has been a long long time since I have dressed up for anything.  I am super frumpy all of a sudden and I hate it.  My hair sucks.  My body is not mine, but communal family property so I don't feel like myself.  My interim post-partum wardrobe looks like a "mom" wardrobe and that scares me.  Not sexy.

 

I never have time for my hobbies and am so out of practice with my instruments- my crafts are in boxes.  Our new home is basically piles of stuff everywhere as I have no time to sort and neatly put things away.  The precious few minutes I have each day to myself are spent either resting, cleaning, cooking or working out.  My home is not me yet.

 

I yearn for travel, excitement and I have been so wrapped up in the nostalgia of our former life before kids.  It makes me feel guilty because they are the best thing we have ever done.  But still the desire to have some freedom burns inside me.  I feel like I just wrote off the rest of my life to be a parent.  I know this is stupid and not true and I don't resent the kids or anything but man what I wouldn't do for a good old road trip!  Or Europe!  Or backpacking!  Or just a raging party of blind excesses!

 

Sigh.  Time to go sew diapers ;)


Mum to DS1 7/09 and DS2 5/11

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#2 of 20 Old 09-01-2011, 11:55 PM
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Your words have struck a chord with me, and sound so familiar!  Not only because I've heard similar words from several of my clients, but because I've definitely felt the same way on more than one occasion.  You are not alone!

But you asked a question, and I'd like to do my best to answer it with a few ideas.

First, know that this sleep-deprivation and "body-not-your-own" phase WILL end. It's so hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you're exhausted, overwhelmed, and feeling under appreciated.  But it will come.  And you may even miss this phase.  Hard to believe, but many of my clients tell me they do.

Secondly, give yourself a break, and try to take small steps.  It's so easy to look at who you currently are, and then look over at who you wish you were and see a big chasm.  But there are two problems here.  First, that "ideal self" may not be realistic, and secondly, even if it is, you're not going to be able to get there overnight.  Take small steps.  Make a list of the things you miss, or yearn for, and break them into "bite-sized" pieces.  For example, if you're dreaming of a trip to the Grand Canyon, try getting a sitter and going on a 2-hour local hike with your partner.  Or if you're craving a night out with friends, instead invite a few friends over to your place (after the kids go down) for some wine and gossip.  Dress up a bit and put some makeup on, and make a fun evening of it.  

Finally, get some support.  Have a heart-to-heart with your partner and share your needs.  Ask family or close friends to help out, if possible.  There may be more support you can get if you're creative.  Some SAHP's I know trade off childcare or meal prep once or twice a week, so they can have some time to themselves.  Use this time to do something that's important to you (i.e. don't waste it on the internet or in front of the TV - unless of course that's what's important to you).  Reach out for emotional support too.  Talk to a good friend, a life coach, a mentor - someone who understands where you're coming from and wants the best for you.  Sometimes a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can make the biggest difference in the world!

Send me a message if you'd like to chat more.  I'm happy to be that ear or shoulder for you.  I also have some ideas for helping you figure out what's most important to you, and figuring out what "small step" to take first.

- Michelle

Latest blog post: http://www.ripple-effect-coaching.com/1/post/2011/09/who-are-you.html
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#3 of 20 Old 09-02-2011, 11:53 AM
 
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I'd just like to encourage you to keep that part of yourself that's you, and not parenting related going. It is possible. I'm so glad that I did. My kids both just started school, and I think this transition would have been really hard if I hadn't kept up with things that are just for me.

 

For example, I always made reading a priority. I'm always in the middle of a book, and it was that way when they were really small too. I took a book to the playground, car, anywhere that I could steal a few minutes, and read before bed too.

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#4 of 20 Old 09-02-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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And if you have a partner, arrange a regular time each week where they take the kids out, and you spend time on yourself.If there's no other parent., make it a priority to get a sitter.  It used to be Saturday mornings here, and I didn't spend them cleaning. I spent them on myself. 

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#5 of 20 Old 09-03-2011, 04:24 PM
 
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I feel the exact same way.  I feel like I can't even focus on the things I enjoy anymore. My life is just so different in every way.  I have been thinking lately I need to take an evening class or something just so I can have a time to focus on something that's not either a) parenting or b) total exhaustion. 

 

 

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#6 of 20 Old 09-03-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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I feel the same way.  I have a DS1 who is 9 months and I think the core of the problem is sleep deprivation.  He wakes every 2 hours and lately has been resisting going to sleep and napping.

 

I feel like I have nothing left in reserve and nothing left of me. 

 

I'm frustrated that I'm still carrying around extra weight and don't fit my pre pregnancy clothes, and in fact my whole body shape has changed.  I can't think of a day when I havent' been spat up on or now, end up with baby food on me.  I feel like such a frump.  There is no point doing my hair or wearing jewellery, because DS1 ends up pulling and grabbing at them.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry I'm in a very dark mood right now so I can't offer any words of inspiration, just to let you know that you are not alone in the way you are feeling.  I think the sleep deprivation is a huge factor.

 

Urgh.


40 y/o married Mama, 3 y/o DS, Angel Baby lost in Sep 2013, Angel Baby lost March 2014.
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#7 of 20 Old 09-06-2011, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Um, yeah.  I HATE the spit up.  I know I need to find time to do stuff for myself but it is just not feasible on a regular basis.  I know this will pass soon enough and I will miss the kids being little...but that's little consolation right now!


Mum to DS1 7/09 and DS2 5/11

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#8 of 20 Old 09-06-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Redmom View Post

I feel the same way.  I have a DS1 who is 9 months and I think the core of the problem is sleep deprivation.  He wakes every 2 hours and lately has been resisting going to sleep and napping.

 

I feel like I have nothing left in reserve and nothing left of me. 

 

I'm frustrated that I'm still carrying around extra weight and don't fit my pre pregnancy clothes, and in fact my whole body shape has changed.  I can't think of a day when I havent' been spat up on or now, end up with baby food on me.  I feel like such a frump.  There is no point doing my hair or wearing jewellery, because DS1 ends up pulling and grabbing at them.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry I'm in a very dark mood right now so I can't offer any words of inspiration, just to let you know that you are not alone in the way you are feeling.  I think the sleep deprivation is a huge factor.

 

Urgh.

 

Exactly how I feel.  I've been in a very "dark mood" for a year now.  I do know it ends because when dd1 turned 10 months I started getting back to normal.  That included my sex drive...unfortunately (or fortunately because we love our baby) that sex drive led to my getting pregnant when dd1 was 10 months old and then I started off with hyperemesis gravidarum for the first 5 months then general awfulness for the rest of the pregnancy while parenting a toddler.  I have an excessive spitter upper and I don't sleep.  When would I have time to take a shower?  DH is very helpful and involved and it takes us both most nights to get everything taken care of and there is zero time to take care of me.  Here it is 9pm and I should take a shower...but I'm too tired and grumpy.  I just want to SIT!  And by the time I get over myself and get up to shower, dd2 will need to nurse.  I feel about ready to throw in the towel on attachment parenting and just go with formula and let someone else take care of my kids for a weekend.  I just want to be alone and clear my head for awhile!!  And I feel guilty saying that to anyone and like I'll suddenly lose my family for saying such an awful thing.  But, I'm saying here - I want to be alone.  And everyone tells me to go somewhere and be alone for awhile...but I haven't showered in a week and I don't want to go anywhere.  I want to stay right here and I want everyone else to go somewhere!  But I wouldn't put my dh through the terror of taking a 23m old and 3m old out by himself.  So here I sit, unshowered, tired and pissed.  I adore my girls more than I ever thought possible and I wish I weren't wishing away this stage.  I wish it didn't take 3 hours to get a baby to sleep for only 30 minutes so that I wouldn't resent the energy it takes each time I put her to sleep and so I wouldn't have such anxiety about going to bed (she has this lovely habit of waking just minutes after I fall asleep no matter what time it is,  It's like she hates me or something).  Anyway...I understand how you are feeling.

 

 

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#9 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Right there with you penstamon! I can't offer any real advice, just commiseration. I can't remember the last time I dressed up, finished a whole book, ate a leisurely meal, or even  really used my brain. Sigh. I really believe that we weren't meant to parent in isolation...I think our society of isolated, nuclear families really puts a heavy weight on the shoulders of the primary caregiver--especially SAHM. It's hard not to lose yourself when you have two little ones who are totally dependent on you and no time to yourself. And I think as women we receive subtle cultural messages that we should put other's needs (especially our children and husband's needs) ahead of our own. I'm trying to recondition myself and realize that when I make time for myself, the whole family benefits. I think Natalie12's  advice is really good--I'm going to start scheduling "me" time, maybe even sign up a class of some sort so that I'm not tempted to spend my free time cleaning or running errands. And I console myself by remembering that the baby years do go relatively quickly and once they're over, we'll have the time and energy for road trips, hobbies, dinner parties that go late into the night, and all the rest. Hang in there mama!


~may all beings be free from suffering~
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#10 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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OP, slip away for a haircut... soon. And sign up for a frivolous class like pottery or bellydancing and leave the dh in charge. Get your kids their own little instrument and a half hour of chaotic music time each day.. that way you get your practice in.. even if you have to listen to noise from the littles. Take some baby steps and get a grip on your house.. no house should feel so prison like to loving mom. Taking care of you means you can care for everyone else.Good luck!
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#11 of 20 Old 09-07-2011, 11:00 AM
 
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I am afraid of this. My girls are just three months old, and everything is changing so fast things haven't settlled yet. I'm just entering the decision of whether I'm ready to go back to work when my maternity leave is up next month. But I'm afraid of losing myself. Or continuing to do so; betweeen three months of bed rest and three months of twins I lose myself more and more. But no one else has noticed yet, and I worry that if I stay home with them I'll just dissappear, both from myself and from the rest of the world.

Not anything useful, I'm afraid.
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#12 of 20 Old 09-09-2011, 07:11 AM
 
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Dot-to-Dot, I so understand this. Your DH can handle taking the kids out for awhile by himself. You do it. So can he. You deserve time to yourself. Alone. At home.


[quote name="Dot-to-Dot"
And everyone tells me to go somewhere and be alone for awhile...but I haven't showered in a week and I don't want to go anywhere.  I want to stay right here and I want everyone else to go somewhere!  But I wouldn't put my dh through the terror of taking a 23m old and 3m old out by himself. 

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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#13 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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Penstamon, you hit the nail right on the head. I agree with and completely understand everything you said. I have only the knowledge that this indeed will pass, but the next person to start a sentence with the word "someday" in my presence will get a frying pan to the back of the head. Sometimes I just want to jump up and down and shout, "but what about NOW!!??? I want to feel normal NOW!!!"

Sigh... hugs, mama. I feel your angst.

hh2.gif Proud Mama to DS1 09/07 ribboncesarean.gif, DD 07/09 hbac.gif, and DS2 06/11 uc.jpg.  Feeling more and more blessed with each day!

 

 
 
 
  

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#14 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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I have a little bit more perspective on this than I did when my oldest was young. I remember realizing that I had COMPLETELY lost myself when she was two or three, but I began to come back to being me somewhere between three and four.  She's now almost 10, and I have a three year old, a two year old (this week!), and another due in December.  

 

I've  again lost myself to mom-land- largely because right now I'm alone with the kids 24/7.  When I have my husband around though, it's pretty easy to carve out time here and there to feel like myself again. 

 

I think it's totally normal to be lost in being mom to very young kids, the trick is to force yourself out of that role from time to time, and to remember that it's intense for now, but will be very different in a few years. 

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#15 of 20 Old 09-10-2011, 08:33 PM
 
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yes and yes.  to everything.  I had the feeling the other night of wanting to just start jumping up and down in a crowd yelling "me, what about me, I am still here, I am still a person!!!!"  so i went and dyed my hair pink.  not really, i had a few pink streaks put in.  but whatever.  you could also watch this: http://www.themompetition.com/2011/01/be-careful.html?spref=fb  some of her other videos kind of rub me the wrong way, but this one is good.  I've also started getting books on tape/cd, that way i can be "reading" a book and cleaning up, or making food, or any of the other fifty million things i have to do during the day. and then i make myself uber-sleep deprived because at night , instead of going to bed when everyone else does i waste time on the inter-webs.  i ve decided when the kids are older and i don't need a van I'm going to get one of those jeep wranglers.  'cuz people who drive jeeps are fun! and adventurous!.   

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#16 of 20 Old 09-12-2011, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Exactly!  Well said

Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

Penstamon, you hit the nail right on the head. I agree with and completely understand everything you said. I have only the knowledge that this indeed will pass, but the next person to start a sentence with the word "someday" in my presence will get a frying pan to the back of the head. Sometimes I just want to jump up and down and shout, "but what about NOW!!??? I want to feel normal NOW!!!"

Sigh... hugs, mama. I feel your angst.


 


Mum to DS1 7/09 and DS2 5/11

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#17 of 20 Old 09-12-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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he can take a 3 mth old and 23 month old out by himself. don't underestimate the Dads. He could to lots of things with them, strap the young one on and go to the grocery store, take the 2 yr old out for ice cream, go for a walk in the stroller....I know they can do it -DH is a stay at home Dad.
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#18 of 20 Old 10-26-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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One of the best things that happened to me has been a book club with mommy friends.  We don't bring our kids.  We talk about the book.  We pull it apart intellectually and spend a few hours digging in, covering its relevance to our own life, current events, whatever.  It is fantastic.  I look forward to it every month.  I have always enjoyed reading but have never appreciated talking about a book so much.  It is just such a joy to get away with friends and not have our kids there.  And to use our brains.  It really is fabulous; I am so grateful for it!

 

Wishing you peace.  I, too, have abandoned all hobbies, including the musical instrument I studied in college.  Not forever, of course, but it is still a loss for now.  My mantra is "To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven."  But I do miss myself at times!

xo

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#19 of 20 Old 10-26-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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I so, so remember those days.  DD1 was a horrible sleeper and didn't start consistantly sleeping through the night until she was 4 and soon after that dd2 was born so it was back to having a very needy little one around.  For me, the worst thing was wanting to do more for myself but being too freaking tired to actually do it.  It sucks that when you most need a break, you're the least likely to get it.  As the kids got older, I slowly started having more time for myself but until then I just kind of surrendered to the idea that most of my time and energy would go to the kids and not so much to myself.  I'm not saying that's the best outlook to have but it stopped me from feeling so frustrated all the time.  My girls are now 10 and 5 and in school full-time and I have nothing but time on my hands for myself now. I wish I could travel back in time and give some of that time to myself back when I needed it so badly.  ((hugs))


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#20 of 20 Old 10-26-2011, 06:49 PM
 
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Oh my goodness, I feel your pain. For me, the hardest part wasn't about becoming a mommy. I LOVE being a mom. He's everything to me and every second is precious. It's that adjustment from being a wife to a mother. From being a woman to a mommy. Before we had things that were ours and time that was ours. Now, nothing is ours. :) It's such a difficult adjustment. We went from pretty  panties and painted eyes to hair legs and maybe clean underwear. I was never one to get a pedicure, but as I told me husband the other day, I finally get it. It's not about the damn painted toenails, it's about having an hour to yourself where you're just TAKEN CARE OF. 

 

You've got a case of what I have. We're exhausted and we need some attention. Just some time to sit and be still and not listen to anything. A moment to fix our hair. A cup of coffee alone. A warm embrace from our husbands telling us we look beautiful. We need that, don't we? I feel lost too. And like you, I feel guilty about my feelings. 

 

I wish we lived nearby. I would vote for a night without children and a night with some wine. 

 

I suggest you talk to your partner about your concerns. Not about your lack of happiness, just your need to recenter. Every now and then my husband takes our 15 month old son out for about 4 hours and it's such a refreshing experience. 

 

 

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