Balancing Life's Demands

I am a young stay at home mom. I moved in with my fiance, got married, then pregnant all with in a year. Don't get me wrong I love my husband and my baby girl to death and wouldn't trade them for the world, but some days (more than others) I feel constantly overwhelmed and unhappy. Not with my marriage or life in general, but just with myself.

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My husband and I have moved to a new town where we are 30-60min away from anyone we really know. We just bought a new house (which is rather big and a lot for me to clean). I take care of my 5 month old baby and keep our home spotless. While also getting ready to start online courses to finish my degree.

I feel like I am an excellent mother and I take a lot of pride in our home and the way it looks, so I do a lot, but I still feel like I don't do enough and as though I don't have much of a life outside this house. I don't go do things without taking my baby, and even though I sometimes feel like a need just a few hour break every now and then from her when I get the chance I typically don't take it. When my husband's not working we do things as a family and I love it.

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When he's at work I sometimes feel as though I have no motivation to do anything other than take care of my daughter and house work. I think I sometimes find things like this to do to avoid doing other things. But why? I want to go meet people and do things, but it's like I am somehow scared. I never used to be like this. I've always been very outgoing and never had a problem making friends. I want to feel less emotionally dependent on my husband and have a little bit of my own life so what is stopping me? I feel overwhelmed and confused. Advice please.

By Kitty from West Virginia

August 20, 20090 found this helpful

Try joining a baby and me exercise class. You'll get to meet other Moms with small children. You'll get out of the house and the exercise will help to improve your disposition. Don't stay home and lock yourself away. That could lead to depression. You're in a new town, take time to learn what is available to young moms and jump right in! Look for local activities. Try several. If the first activity isn't for you, find another.The biggest thing is to get out and enjoy your new town and your new baby :)

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

The library :) They are not just for books anymore and most of it is free. Reading for kids days, craft camps. You name it, they have it, and you get to meet all the other moms at the same time. I agree with readingiggits. You need to get out, even if its for a little while. How old is your little one? You can try nursery school as well...one that has you volunteer is the best. Also try your local church as they will also have get togethers. They are out there, you just have to look. When you are down (I know this sounds easy). Be still and listen to you.

There will be something under all the stuff going on in your brain. When you find out what it is you really need for you. You will be able to do something about that. Be still, even if its for only 5 minutes at a time. You can do this, but you don't have to do it alone. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Believe me, I've been through it along with a whole bunch of other moms. We all understand because we have been there.

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

I can definitely relate to your plight. I moved from Seattle to Boston when my husband got a job opportunity and promptly became pregnant. It was much more difficult to find friends when you are not working or in college. I would babble at my husband non stop every time he would walk in the door, grasping at the adult conversation and interaction.

One thing I might recommend is to take a class at your local community college or the recreation department in your area. If you can do one with the baby, like a baby swimming class, that would be fun and you are sure to meet people. Or take one night a week and do an evening class, maybe learning a craft or an exercise or dance class. Even though this time will be away from your family, it will be good for you to have some time alone and your husband will love having time alone with your baby.

Aside from this, I might get a really easy to use stroller or one of those snugglies or baby backpacks. I would love to take my oldest to the zoo, or the mall, or just for walks in the park. it was good exercise and there is nothing like a beautiful baby to start conversations.

Another idea would be to pick up a craft, maybe scrapbooking as I bet you have a ton of adorable photos. There are groups that meet on a regular basis and it can be fun and companionable. You might check with your local craft store to see if they have any ideas.

Please let us know how you are doing and hang in there.

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

I feel for you. Many of us have been in your "boat" (away from friends & family & a bit overwhelmed!) especially military wives.

It may be hard for you to do this, but you have to realize that the housework should be the very last thing that's important in life. Of course, you don't want the County Health Department to ban you from your home! But a little clutter (or even a lot) isn't a bad thing! If you have hobbies (that will keep you sane) or kids, you usually won't have time to keep a spotless house. I recommend you find something you'd love to learn & take a class in that or join a group that self-teaches these things. Be it painting, pottery, sewing or knitting or whatever you are interested exploring. This will keep you sane & you'll meet others at the same time! Because you have access to the internet you have the ability to explore countless possibilities.

Children are one thing I know about. I raised 4 & they are all happy adults now. When you have a baby you get very little sleep. Instead of cleaning your home, you should be sleeping whenever you daughter is. (any doctor will tell you this!) It's not a bad thing to leave a child with a sitter once in a while. In fact it's healthy. You need time to yourself! If you don't trust a sitter then get a "nanny-cam" (a video camera to tape the sitter) then you'll know your daughter is taken care of properly. At least leave her with your husband occasionally while you go out with friends.

I doubt you can do this because of your husband's work, but have you thought about selling (or renting out) your home & moving back to where you were happier. Maybe into a smaller home that you can more easily care for? Also, don't worry about what other think of you. No one will think you are a "bad mom" or a "bad wife" because you house isn't spotless! Everyone knows that babies require lots of time & that new moms are usually sleep deprived. Unless you actually enjoy house cleaning, keep it down to cleaning an hour or two a day & don't spend your time being a "slave to your house".

As far as you going back to college on line. If you actually enjoy it, then for all means go for it! But remember classes & homework will take up a great deal of your time. And time is not what new mothers with babies have! If you feel you need to keep the baby & the house spotless while at the same time getting a 4.0 in college then maybe you should wait to go back to school (even on-line) until your little one gets a bit older & requires less attention. Some people feel that if they can't keep things in perfect order that they aren't the best mother's or wives. But the opposite is true!

A good mom & wife takes time for herself, so she will be happy & fulfilled. If your home is large enough, how about taking a room all for yourself to sew, paint, arrange flowers, or do crafts in. A room where you can just leave the mess then go back to what you were doing the following day. If this is to big a project, then how about learning to crochet or knit for fun. Nearly every town has a yarn shop that offers free classes for beginners. Knitting & Crocheting don't make a mess & can be done in front of the TV & easily be put away. I don't know what I would have done without my crafts when I was raising my family! They gave me a whole lot of fulfillment & kept me sane!

I also found you could meet other women at craft classes, be it ceramics classes, spinning classes or just knitting get togethers at the Community center where they knit scarves & hats for the homeless & blankets for homeless moms. If you feel like you can't leave your child, then you can usually take her to some of these. Also, there is a group in many churches called "M.O.P.S." = Mother's of Pre-Schoolers & also one for mom's of babies where all the mom's get together & let the kids play. This gets the mom's out of the house & gives them someone to talk to.

My main advice to you is to not over-do anything (even house cleaning) remember, "Everything in Moderation" is the key to a happy life! Find something that fulfills you & makes you happy. Maybe it's reading, crafting, studying or whatever. Start by letting the housework go once a week & do something for yourself on that day. Remember, if you're happy, they your family will be too! Everyone needs friends, someone to talk to. My mother doesn't live near her kids or sister's, but she talks to them nearly every day on the phone. Call a friend or family member every day. Also, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your little one will soon grow, & require a little less of your time. You don't have to be perfect, just give your little one lots of love then just relax & enjoy life & everything will work out!

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August 20, 20090 found this helpful

All of the replies to your posting are excellent advice. Take in the sights of the new town on foot and use your camera to get some good shots. See and learn what it has that may attract you and possibly you might find a way to enjoy your new surroundings more. You might even put an article in your local paper about your views of the town as a newcomer and add a couple of your camera shots too. We all need good things to read in a paper too and you might enjoy doing this as an outlet.

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August 21, 20090 found this helpful

Dear Kitty,

No one has mentioned this, and I hate to be the one to bring it up, but a few things you wrote kind of nagged at me, so I'm wondering how your relationship with your husband is, and if your working so hard to keep the house "spotless" is in any way due to having a demanding husband. If that's not the case, I apologize for bringing it up, but just in case it might be, then I would gently suggest that you start learning about abusive relationships, because even though it may be your "job" to take care of your family (be a good wife and mother, housekeeper, cook, etc.) the proper response of a husband and new father of a 5 month old is to relax standards and share the load with you.

Take heart, please know that the demands of a 5 month old do lesson over time, it will get much easier. But just as the first two weeks of being a Mom were the two longest weeks of your life, you will look back after these first 6 months and start to sigh and feel a little relief. I found that hitting the 2-year mark was a lot easier -- my kids walked and I didn't need to carry them so much. Lugging those babies around all the time is exhausting!

Does your baby nap? Mine never did that's also unusual but normal. It's so very hard if you don't get a break to yourself.

Absolutely, your husband needs to take the baby so you can have some time alone to yourself (to take a walk, take a bath, take a craft class, join a support group, whatever). If he is unwilling to do that, that's a worrisome sign. Marriage counseling to help you both adjust to being new parents might help. Have you talked to him about your emotions and fears and concerns? What is his response? Is it helpful? Your husband should be your number one support.

Have you considered post partum depression? That can really sneak up on a new mother, because you are not expecting it and don't know what it looks/feels like. Please talk to your doctor (your ob/gyn, your family doctor, your pediatrician, etc.) and describe what you are going through and ask them what they think. Possibly, spending some time yourself getting some support from a therapist might help get you through. It's not a sign of weakness. You absolutely need support. In the old days, women helped each other more. Now, we are so much more on our own, and yes the demand are absolutely overwhelming.

Great idea to find a local mother's playgroup or support group for new moms. Sometimes hospitals can direct you to those, or ask at the library, social services agencies, etc. or start one yourself. I joined one because I noticed another new Mom posted an ad in our community paper. Only 4 moms showed up to the first meeting, but after two years the group had grown to over 100 members, including a couple of dads! Once you make some friends (yes, it takes time), you might start a babysitting co-op, so you can all take turns having breaks.

Sometimes dads like to take the babies out by themselves, too. Maybe your husband would like to take a turn grocery shopping or taking your daughter to the zoo, or for a walk in the neighborhood, and that gives you a little respite.

Honey, you just aren't having any breaks, and that takes a toll. You need to address this because it will get worse if you don't assert your own needs for some time to keep a train of thought going in your head; a block of uninterrupted time just for you. Everybody needs that. You have taken the step to reach out to this group, and that's fantastic. Keep reaching out until you feel better.

If what I said at the start rings any bells (exacting husband who insists upon a perfectly picked up house), then I recommend contacting your local domestic violence group. Even if you are not experiencing violence, if you feel that you just can't do things right, no matter how hard you try, then there is a problem. These agencies provide a lot of anonymous and helpful resource and support. Sorry to bring that up -- I lived through it myself, and I was so unaware at the beginning what was going on.

And I don't want to project. I'm hoping very much that you are more simply an exhausted new mother, which is quite normal, and the remedy is to ask for and get support from the people in your community, starting with your husband!

Best of luck to you. Elizabeth

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August 22, 20090 found this helpful

Many young families in our Quaker Meeting get together for picnics, camping trips, or just hanging out at the park or one another's homes. They leave their children with one another for a break. If you don't belong to a church you might want to consider it. Or try one of the other groups that have been suggested. Isolation isn't good.

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August 22, 20090 found this helpful

It sounds like you have forgotten about you. I think you should do something for you every week, even if it is just getting a manicure, having coffee with a new neighbor, or just go for daily walks for 30 minutes. It would help clear your head, get you out of the house and doing something you enjoy. It would lift your spirits so you won't feel sorry for yourself. Try it, you'll be surprised. Make the time for yourself. When you feel good about yourself, it will be reflected in how you interact with your family.

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

I went through this when my son was born. It turned out to be depression, or post-partum depression.

It is urgent that you tell your doctor what you have told us. They have great medications these days and you will fell better in no time. Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor.

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Everyone has given such great ideas, but I just wanted to chime in with my support. Hang in there! I remember when my daughter was born and I was at home with her all day. I felt like I could feel my brain cells dying from lack of use. Definitely get out there and find a mother's group. That was a life saver. And buy a magazine that challenges your mind. Something not about Parenting or babies. If you are too shy to go into a mother's group, just go to a local park with your baby. Someone is sure to approach you, moms just love to talk about their babies. They might invite you to their mother's group, then you'll already know someone. And the fresh air and getting out of the house (and away from cleaning) will do you both good. Good Luck and Congratulations on your baby!

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Like the other posters have written, try to find an outlet for creativity. Put your baby in the stroller and walk your neighborhood. Strike up a conversation with a neighbor about her beautiful flowers, etc. If you see a house with toys in the yard, all the better. Moms playgroups are all over the place. When my kids were little I took every craft class that interested me. Mostly through the church, so there wasn't much expense involved. I even learned how to make stained glass.

Also, if you are near a community college, take a non-credit fun course. They usually have on-site daycare. A big thing to remember, if you are happy, your whole house will be happy. And you'll have something to talk to your husband about when he gets home. It's so important to not lose sight of yourself and your needs. And to heck with the house, keep it neat but don't obsess about it. There are way more important things in life.

My local library always has something going on, also go to the playground. I bet you meet a new friend there within the first week. So many things you can do to get past this. If you are on the shy side, even a simple "hello" will eventually lead to a conversation. You can do this, there's no reason to isolate yourself any longer. Get out of that house.

Sandy

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

You have had so much change in your life in the past year, it's no wonder you're overwhelmed. That's a lot to have to deal with in such a short time. I would suggest you talk with your doctor about it and ask him for his help. Getting out of the house will help too, like the others mentioned. Even if it's just walking around the neighborhood, that is better than being isolated in your house all day. You could also find a chat room on the internet and talk with other people while your husband's at work, if you're not able to get out of the house. That way you could stay connected with other people while at home and make new friends at the same time.

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Anonymous Flag
August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Am not trying to scare you but if you don't get out of the house more often and make new friends and find outside activities you enjoy you could be setting yourself up for possible phobias and/or anxiety or panic attacks :-(

I am over it now but I went through a period of time where I shut myself in and the furthest I ever wanted to go was the market a couple of time a week (and only because I had to), became afraid to even drive on the highway and dreaded going to any sort of function including family holidays.

Please get yourself out and going and living and not just simply existing again because it is so hard to snap/work yourself out of phobias or anxiety attacks or panic attacks!

I promise I am not lecturing you!

And I agree about housework being last on the list! Your home should be a home and not a showcase ;-)

Good luck and I hope you come back here and let us know how you're doing because many of us use the 'get responses' link at the top of the page and know we would appreciate hearing how you're doing :-)

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Everyone has given you great advice. You have had a lot of change in your life recently, and change is very stressful. You are feeling overwhelmed because you are a bit overwhelmed. Those are perfectly natural feelings in your situation. If you feel that this is too much for you to handle on your own, you should see a therapist.

However, I suspect that if you do some of the things that have been suggested; join a group of some kind where you can hang out with other moms (exercise, play group, church group, La Leche group), find something for yourself that will give you pleasure and a life separate from the baby. Let your husband have some one-on-one time with the baby while you have alone time (and don't spend that time cleaning the house!) or where you go to exercise or craft class or university class or whatever, something that you enjoy, and something that helps you get out and talk to people; pop the baby in the stroller and get out in the world; shopping, walking in the park, chatting up the neighbours.

Wouldn't hurt to pay a visit to a doctor and see if you are in good health. You don't mention being tired, but when I had my first baby, I was worn out all the time, and thought that was the way I supposed to feel. Turned out it wasn't. I was anemic, but I didn't figure that out until I had the second baby, and felt so much better. And I think it wouldn't hurt for you and your hubby to spend a little time just for yourselves, a romantic dinner, going to a comedy club, something fun and romantic like you used to do before you had the baby.

You may not even have to leave the house to do that. What if your hubby brought home flowers, wine, and made a romantic dinner? Wouldn't that be lovely after the baby was asleep some night?

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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

There may be a physiological reason you're feeling this way. I've learned a lot recently about chiropractic care, and I've discovered for myself how effective it can be. The issues you described are very similar to mine before I started seeing a chiropractor. My C1 vertebrae was misaligned and putting pressure on a nerve. The result was depression, anxiety, headaches, chronic tiredness, difficulty remembering things. Some people get some of these, some get all. The point is that it's easily correctable, without drugs or surgery, and there's nothing wrong with you, really. It's all bio mechanical, not psychological.

Most chiropractors will offer a free/inexpensive evaluation, but make sure they do xrays before they start adjusting you. You also should seek out an office where physical therapy is done in office.

Please feel free to contact me. Bebhinne AT hotmail.com

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August 24, 20090 found this helpful

Hi!

I've been there, too. I agree with a whole bunch of folks here;get something going that you enjoy. Just you. If you use up yourself on everyone else constantly, pretty soon you implode--then you are no good to anyone, least of all your children.

One other thing; thyroid problems can cause these symptoms. I found that mine wasn't working worth a hoot and that contributed to depression, among other things. You can have a test done, and you can also do a simple, easy test at home. Take some regular old iodine and paint it on your skin (like your arm or stomach) and then time it to see how long it takes to go away. If it's gone within just a few hours, you have some problems. If it's gone within 24 hours, you definitely need iodine. If it stays there for a week, you are fine. The thyroid needs iodine to make the appropriate hormones.

One other tremendously important thing I learned postpartum, was to use progesterone cream. When a woman is pregnant, her body becomes flooded with progesterone, which is the hormone that maintains pregnancy. By the third trimester, the placenta itself is actually making a great deal of the progesterone. When that baby is delivered - boom! The progesterone level plummets, and we can go nuts!

I tried using over the counter progesterone cream from the health food store, and it balanced me out to where I didn't have weird feelings of down and up and crankiness.

Two really easy, really cheap things that can totally change how you feel-physically and mentally--and then, seriously, think of something you are tremendously interested in, that you feel passionately about, and get some quality time to yourself.

Best wishes and blessings!

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August 24, 20090 found this helpful

Looks like you have a lot of good advice to consider. I would just add one question: What is your spiritual life like? God gives us 24 hours a day. How much time are you giving him?

I have been through depression, and it seems to just hang on. But when I spend time with God, I don't feel it. In fact, I feel great! If your health is fine and your relationships are fine, that's the third thing to consider. People are essentially spiritual beings. Just a thought.

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August 24, 20090 found this helpful

Wow, this is all such wonderful advise. What a great group of moms! I would just add how a moms group like MOPS.org would be so helpful to attend. Check their website and call around at some churches in your area and see if you can find a local group.

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