Wednesday, 16 January 2019

MOTHERHOOD: It is so hard and I am not sure what to do next?

MOTHERHOOD: It is so hard and I am not sure what to do next?
If you follow me on Instagram then you may be aware that recently I've been struggling. Parenthood is hard, testing and challenging; it's also relentless and exhausting at times. Of course there are all of the wonderful times too, but recently our family life has become more and more challenging. Isabella is well into her third year of life and as we approach the grand age of four we seem to be coming up against behaviour that is...well...hard. I feel out of my depth and unsure on how to progress forward if I'm honest.

Up until this point all of the challenges have felt manageable, something we could overcome together as a family. That might be ensuring we're consistent, implementing consequences or using the same parenting techniques, but right now I don't know what to do next. Three year olds are renowned for their challenging behaviour, as per their 'threenager' name. It's a time filled with a desire for independence paired with frustration of not being able to do it all themselves straight away. That is all understandable; they're emotional little beings. However, it is the pushing away that is been breaking my heart slightly.

Isabella has increasingly been pushing me away and I can't express how hard that has been to face each day. I love my children with every fibre of my being, so when one isn't interested in being with me anymore or going to me for comfort then it breaks my heart. I really hope it is just a phase, but despite having almost four years of parenting under our belts, we are still new to each and every stage of Isabella's life. She's the eldest and therefore experiences everything first. My biggest fear is that it isn't a phase and that this is just 'her'.

I want to be someone she wants to be with. I want to be someone she comes to for comfort. I want to be someone she heads for in a room full of people. I want to be someone she snuggles up to when watching a film. I want to be someone that does her proud. I want to be someone she looks back on and thinks did a good job at raising her. I want to be someone who is there everyday for her, no matter what.

Since becoming self employed and working from home it means that there is no real break for her or me. I don't think this helps because she knows that I'm just always around. When their Daddy gets home from work there is excitement, silliness and fun; there lies part of the problem I think. In our family I'm the one that implements the rules, is the one that keeps them in a routine and the one that does the more mundane tasks around the house. When their Daddy gets home from work he can put all of his attention in them, whereas comparative to the time I spend with them I simply can't put the same amount of focused attention in.
I am pretty much a sole parent during the working week, so it is down to me to do all of the cooking, cleaning, washing, tidying etc. while looking after two children and working. It's not easy, but I certainly try my absolute hardest to get the balance right. I organise play dates, trips to the park, soft play, cinema, library, groups and set up craft activities at home. Yet, doing all of that and then being told that it's been a boring day, that I'm mean and they can't wait for Daddy to get home is hard to hear. I know children will be children, but it doesn't make it sting less. Everything I do is for Isabella and Poppy, so being told it isn't good enough (even if by a child) hurts. A lot.

I have cried many tears, laid awake at night worrying and researched ways to manage this behaviour. None of this really helped, but what did was all of the lovely people who commented or messaged on Instagram/Facebook offering advice, support and encouragement. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is the lowest I've felt in this parenting journey, so having fellow mummies reaching out with words of strength, positivity and reassurance has been just the best. So many of you said it is just a phase and I so hope you're right; I really do.

Motherhood takes it toll on us sometimes, after all we are only human beings. So, if you're also feeling like this then please know you're not alone. I felt so alone and as if I was the only parent going through this, but by simply reaching out to fellow parents I quickly realised I'm far from alone. It doesn't make the heartbreak any easier, but it does relieve some of the guilt. Hopefully one day, very soon, I'll be able to reflect on this time as a 'challenging phase', but for right now it is reality for my family and something we are trying to get through together.

Have you had a particularly challenging phase of parenting that stands out for you?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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23 comments

  1. I am not a mother yet, but I know motherhood is the most difficult job. All you can do is try your best <3

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  2. I remember being told in the early days that motherhood is like a long, slow goodbye. My daughter is now 10 and walks to school with her friends rather than with me and her brother. It is sad at times that she is growing up so fast. However, she now regularly tells me she loves me, which she hasn't done until recently. Some parts of pushing away seem to come back as needing us in other ways. Hope you are okay x

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  3. Oh hun this must be so hard but I have had many stages of this with my daughter as they grow and develop and test their boundaries I know it is easy to say but this is all part of her discovering who she is and her relation to you and the world. All you can do is not take it personally which is easier said than done, and let her know you love her no matter what. Sending strong mama vibes x

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  4. it sounds like you're having tricky time at the moment - i hope it's a phase for your little girl - another way to consider it is as your raising a strong, independent girl ;-) I bet when she's at school she'll be pleased to see you when she gets home.

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  5. I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling, going self-employed is always a strange change and I can only imagine that kids complicate that further. With that said, they're lucky to have a mum who so obviously cares very deeply about the effort that they're putting in, as they grow up they will be grateful for that.

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  6. Oh sweetie, it is not easy and I agree even harder when you are working from home and doing all the house work on top. I can't give any good advice other than I am sure it will pass.

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  7. Hey, there is no rule book to this. There is also no right and wrong way to do it. You're incredibly honest for sharing this. I commend you.

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  8. We all go through times where parenthood feels like a neverending struggle, and as much as it is hard at the time, it makes you fully appreciate it when things are going right and you really celebrate the wins!!

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  9. We all go through this. We're all just doing what we can, when we can, HOW we can and best of all? We do our best. Our kids are clothed, fed, happy...some days that's all we can do. Parenthood is one of the hardest, most challenging experiences of your life but no matter how hard we all find it? I guarantee you, we are all rocking the hell out of it in our own way! xx

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  10. I could honestly have written this myself 18 months ago. Evie went through a phase like this and I promise it really is just a phase. Parenting is so hard!! I found that because I was a work at home Mum and the rule enforcer and because I was there so much in Evie's life she started to reject me. If I went out anywhere with anyone else she would want to hold their hand while we walked. If we were in a room of people, she'd want to be with anyone but me. I felt like she preferred being at her dads too for a very long time. I actually started to bump up her nursery days and thats when everything changed. Just getting that little break from each other seemed to help both of us and now shes at school and we are honestly closer than we ever have been. I promise you...it's just a moment in time. I know its super hard, but it will definitely pass <3 xx

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  11. It sounds like you need to have a heart to heart with your husband and see if you can get some more help with him. I’ve been in the same situation with my daughter as she would push me away and play up but as soon as her dad comes in she’s happy and listens. It’s such a challenge at times and I know exactly what you’re going through. You are an incredible mum just remember that x

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  12. Oh lovely. I totally get it. I found the baby days the hardest for me and I actually cry every time I look back at those photographs because I know how much I struggled then. We made some big changes over the last year. My husband changed his job to be home more to help and I'm trying to make a bit more time for myself too. All these little things just give you a breather sometimes to re-evaulate and come back with a fresher approach. We put so much pressure on ourselves to have it all great in all areas and we are always doing better than we will ever give ourselves credit for. Sending lots of love, Katie x
    Beyond Tired

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  13. All these different stages give you something else to be challenged by, we have to learn so many different parenting skills as they grow up don't we. I have always been at stay at home Mum then work at home Mum and the kids just know I'm there. I'm not as fun and exciting as Daddy, but my kids have grown up knowing I am there for them and they can come to be whenever they want. So yes your not as fun but you're a fantastic support and a lovely Mummy. So don't worry too much, as things soon settle down through these phases.

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  14. Gosh I remember being told that the Newborn wasn’t hard at all in comparison to the toddler years and thought it was a load of rubbish. I had PND for around a year so I couldn’t see how it could get worse, only better. Unfortunately 3 year olds have a way of making us all doubt ourselves. However, when I was in your shoes, I remember writing a similar post on a Facebook group and lots of lovely mums came together to tell me exactly what we both already know; 3 years old are just exploring who they are and searching for their independence. Most importantly you need to know that the behaviour is so, so normal and most parents will go through being pushed away and argued with on every single thing they say. It is a good indication that she’s where she should be, development wise, for her age.

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  15. Yeah, Parenting is so hard and yet it can be so rewarding. I totally get your feeling of inadequate. I felt the same when I got married back in 2013. That day, not only did I marry the woman I love, but also became a dad on the same day. Wife had 1 daughter to a previous relationship which went sour.

    To this day, I have always treated my daughter like my own flesh and blood. I love her to bits, even though she drive me nuts at times. I am dreading the teenage years. ughhhh. Boys, its easier. For girls, there are more things which can make it way harder. Parenting. It never ends, even when the get to their 20's.

    John M

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  16. Being a parent can be so hard at times, we all go through it and it makes us appreciate the good times!

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  17. It is challenging when they are young and so active and finding themselves. As a parent of teens I can say it does get better! hang in there x

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  18. Parenting is hard work. I found potty training hard work.

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  19. Aww, bless your heart. I had similar problems with Oscar at that age. And even now his behaviour at home still isn't as good as I'd like it to be. But it's more manageable. Sadly, I don't have any advice for you as I was a complete mess at the time - getting no sleep, working myself into the ground and generally just feeling sorry for myself because I felt like I couldn't cope. But I can assure you that it will pass. She's acting up for you because you're the closest one to her. Sending big hugs.

    Louise x

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  20. It takes a lot of guts to share some challenging times. we're all moms.. and we've all been there. Each stage in childhood has its trouble and joys too.. this challenge will pass be strong.

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  21. I have four children aged from 6 years to 22. I am almost certain it is a phase - mine have been through it too. Being a mum is the best, but most difficult 'job' in the world. Kaz

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  22. Being a parent really is the hardest job in the world. I am really struggling with it at the minute with our youngest daughter. Hang in there!

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  23. When you use a genuine service, you will be able to provide instructions, share materials and choose the formatting style. motherhood

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