Monday, December 12, 2011

More Regretful Moms Let Loose

Thanks to CFVixen for directing me to a thread that is currently running on a site called CafeMom in which moms are venting about how much they hate motherhood, regret having kids and are angry that they were duped into believing the myth that motherhood is the most wonderful and necessary path to happiness and fulfilment.

The thread starts with this post and takes off running from there.

"Why is it that we are conned into thinking that motherhood is a blissful, satisfying, and rewarding blessing? I attend a mothers group for young mothers and the other day one of the social workers asked..."Who hates being a mom?" Everyone looked at each other as if they were afraid of the question and that admitting to it is a mortal sin. My hand shot up. After a year of being a mother I can't hate it more. It just prevents me being truly happy. I know some women out there have invested time and money into having a child and think its the most glorious and officious thing in the world. But I think that from little girls we are brain washed into thinking that being a mother is what our duty is. Its evident by the toys marketed towards girls: baby dolls that poop and pee with their carriages, little tiny kitchens, even vaccum and broom sets. JESUS!

Needless to say my pregnancy was unplanned and unwanted. I was 21, unmarried, and still in college with hopes of attending medical school. I dreaded being pregnant and the permanent scars it would leave on my already flawed body. I thought that once I had the baby I would love being a mother and a wife. The truth is I hate it. I couldn't love my child anymore, his smile touches a part of my heart that no one else can, but I don't like being his mother.

It is just a burden I don't want to deal with at this point of my life. The feeding, the changing, the constant neediness, which I know will perpetuate until the day I die. I decided to breastfeed him and still do and regret every day I decided to do this. It has been 14mo since he was born and I still have no ownership of my body. I have tried to ween him, but he become unbearable.

Before having him I was a straight A student, active in school, and I held up to two jobs. Now its seems I can't get my shit straight. My grades would be more that satisfactory for other students, but they just don't cut it for me. I feel like I have to choose between my dreams, and being a good mother, which isn't fair.

I have all the love and support from my husband, but its not enough because I feel like a failure, like I've failed myself. All these emotions have just turned into anger, and its just boiling inside of me because its turned into hate. I can't control my anger anymore. I can't stand being alone all day with my son. He wants to be all over me and all I want is my space. I try to play with him, but I'd rather be elsewhere. I feel like I have to give and give and give, but in return nothing.

To make things worse, I'm totally isolated. My mother lives in an other state. All my friends graduated 2 years ago and moved on with their lives. I have no friends I can relate to, even when I'm at school. I just feel thrusted into a position where I had no say, and I was pushed into it "because it was the right thing to do".

Now I'm filled with regrets, morn the loss of the life and the person that I was (which I really liked) and feel all alone in life. I hate being a mother. I hate my life. Most of all I hate what I've become. "

Some replies:

"The easy part is under 4 years old. Parenting is a whole new ball game as they get into school age. Frankly, it's harder.

I was married young, had a child, finished college, had more children and now I'm working on my graduate degree to requalify in my choosen career field. At my age, I should have 10 years of working experience and make enough to cover daycare. I have no real experience, every job I had was quit due to pregnancy!

I just told my screaming kids in the van I was going to work, hiring someone to take care of them, because I quit! Seriously, I want to quit being a mother, a parent and a wife.

I think you feelings are normal. I don't have any other answer than that for you."

"so many truths spoken here.

Yes, the first four years are easier. The exhaustion that begins to set in at 18 months - 2 years is complete by the 4th birthday. I was hospitalized for 2 days when son was 18 months, then at 4 years, I needed it again, but refused because western medicine had nothing to offer me except prozac.

I discovered that I was pregnant at 35 when I went in for my blood work before my tubal ligation. I wanted the surgery when I was 22 but was told I would have to wait until 35. I accepted my responsibility and hoped "god would provide". I hoped he/she would provide the Money, the Physical Stamina, the Emotional Stamina, the Personal Discipline, and the Social Network necessary to raise a child alone. (father chose not to participate) After 6 years of selfless service, I feel "done". At 41 the career and relationship oportunities that I had always wanted in my life have come to my door, and because I am a mom I cannot accept. I am just too tired.

I do realize that I have "made this bed" so I get to lay in it, but I still hate motherhood. And like all other mothers, "I love my son", because we are biologically and genetically programed to. If not we would have abondoned our children eons ago and the human race would never have reached 6 BILLION. So I struggle with the gaping disparity between my ancient genetic programming and my modern evolved mental self.

The sadest (to me) part of this whole paradigm is that this pattern of suffering mothers is probably only going to increase in numbers and intensity as our culture moves farther and farther from the need of human animals to live in extended family groups/villages in which the young, strong and healthy bear the children, while the elder aunts, uncles and grandparents raise them.

So where does that leave all and each of us today?

I don't know.

I have working with a Homeopathist and her remedies seem to be helping.

I wish you all love and a good night's sleep.

With Gratitude for your honest sharing,"

"Thank you for posting this, I have felt so hopeless recently I have a 4yr old whome I do love but sometimes I get so depressed but feel obligated to stay. I love my husband but I feel so disconnected from him too. I just feel overwhelmingly unhappy. I have tried to cheer myself up but nothing seems to work. I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way."

"I'm so happy to find that others feel this way. I never wanted to have children - it's not that i didn't like them - it's just that i loved my free time and was happy with my life. My husband and I had been together for 14 years and he always wanted children but said he was OK with whatever I wanted to do. At 35 I decided to take a chance because I was on the fence with the whole idea and i thought it was now or never - to my surprise i was pregnant within a month. I love my daughter with all of my heart - but I hate it when people say "I bet you forget what life was like before her!" - no, I don't. maybe it was because my husband and I had been together for years before - but i think of my life before her quite fondly - and i think of it quite often. I also know how you feel about being isolated. We live a few states away from our family and we have few friends in this town. So, thank you for posting this. At least I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. "

"I know exactly how you feel because I have been dealing with these emotions which have probably increased over the last two years. I truly thought I was alone in these feelings and it's not easy dealing with these feelings even today as I type this. There is not one aspect of motherhood I've enjoyed not even since pregnancy. and I have been doing it alone since day one which probably adds to the frustration and probably somewhat depression I feel on most days. Not really sure where to go, anyone I try to talk to doesn't understand and probably makes me feel even worse for feeling this way. They automatically think that I dislike my daughter and that's not what I'm saying. I love my daughter, I just don't want to be the one to raise her. I can't imagine her not being here and the fact that I gave her life is probably all I can give her. She's a good kid, very happy and energetic and I probably feel worse that she has a mother who doesn't enjoy what she is doing but I do love my daughter. I really don't want to feel this way but from the women who do enjoy motherhood, I feel emptiness, I feel disconnect, I feel lonliness and sadness, I truly can't imagine relating to this feeling of bliss. I don't want anymore kids and constantly consider having my tubes tied and while I am in my early 30's, I'm still considered young to have such a surgery . I realize the judgement of others is truly what causes this issue to be so "taboo" but it also perpetuates the negative feelings because we have no outlet to voice our frustrations, thoughts, feelings. I think it's unfair for others to judge and make statements that you should have never had sex or shouldn't decided to become a mom if you don't enjoy it, but while I never really looked forward to kids, I didn't think I would dislike it this much. Didn't think it would cause such a loss of desire, loss of myself and maybe it is selfishness but if I had to do it over again I wouldn't and vow not to repeat going down that road again.

Don't know if this post helps or is more intense that what most ladies had previously posted but knowing that I'm not alone adds a little peace to my day."

"I am 42 years old with 3 children. Now aged 6, 3 and 21 months. The first 2 years my first child was born were really great. She was an amazing baby who slept through the night....but then 2 hit and so did the "monsters" from then on until she was 6, I was up with her 4 or 5 times a night because of "monsters". Put that together with having a second child who suffers from repeated night terrors almost on a nightly basis and a 21 month old who has never slept more than a couple of hours consequetively and you have one CRANKY MOMMY!!

I am miserable. I hate my life. I love my children to the ends of the earth and beyond. Would gladly be consumed by alive by a grizzly bear to protect them but if I had it all to do over again, would I? Not likely. I love being a mom but I hate the "job". Sibling rivarly drives me up the wall, the lack of sleep makes me a zombie. My house is disgusting, my laundry is in piles on the floor. My 21 month old clings to me like I am a life preserver he can't let go of. I feel like I am trapped under water and no one will let me up for a breath of air.

I resent the fairtytale that was fed to us about motherhood and how you dare not admit that it is far less than perfect. I have received flack for standing up and saying...this is NOT my ideal life!

I am hearing people say it gets worse not better. I'm saying it can't possibly get any worse than it already is. If it does they will have lock me up in a padded cell..........come to think of it, that sounds pretty nice....padded walls, silence, chance to be alone...where do I sign up?"

"I am so glad I found this post. I have been feeling the same way since the birth of my son seven months ago and thought I must be the most terrible person in the world.

I used to the a student on the path to medical school and I had a job that I loved and dealt with everyday life while my husband was in Iraq. I thought I had it all figured out and was not worried about becoming a mom, thinking it would only enrich my life even more and provide that little puzzle that was missing - beign educated, having a loving husband, working and being a mom who adores her beautiful baby.

And then reality hit - I have not slept more than four hours straight for about a year and I am exhausted dealing with my son's constant crying, neediness, desire to play, cuddle, eat, poop, sleep. Of course, I love and adore him. He is all I could ask for, but I am so tired of living my life for him. I barely get enough time to take a shower because he constantly wants to be pampered. I work from home now, but I can only get things done when he takes a nap, so I do not even get a chance to take a break during the day. My husband barely helps around the house and has gotten used to me being the one taking care of all of the chores (at least I try to). I do talk to him about my frustration, but I don't think he understands the problem fully. I am simply drained and dissatisfied with who I have become.

I have plans to return to college when my child is a bit older and we have a little more stability in our lives. However, I still doubt whether this will happen. At this point, I feel that I am becoming more tired, exhausted and stupid every second. I have no stimulating interaction and the constant noise of toys and whining and baby sounds has driven me to the point where I can barely concentrate on anything. I am simply too tired.

I hope it gets better, but I hear people say it will only get worse. Although it sounds harsh, I feel that I have ruined my life and what I had going for me and am now doomed to stay locked up in the house with a kid all day until he becomes a teenager and does not need me around anymore - and by that time all of my chances of becoming something or someone I would want to be are done and I will feel utterly useless.

Whew, it feels good to let this out :)

"I so understand you all. I love my kids... and it makes me really, really sad that they have me for a mother. I had a really good life going before I had the kids. I had finally finished my degree and had started my career. I played sports and had a lot of fun. But I hit my 30's and started panicking about the kid thing. I never really wanted them but like a prev commenter, I was scared I would miss the boat and then realize I wanted them.

If I could go back in time... I so wouldn't have them. I try... I really do... but the husband is barely ever home and it had been a really, really stupid mistake to marry him anyway. He rarely helps out but then criticizes if I need a minute to myself or a hand with the kids.

But my biggest problem is that my son drives me insane. My daughter is so laid back... her and I can hang out all day and I love being her mom... it's fun and I feel like a compitent mom with her. But as soon as my son gets home from preschool, it's bedlam again. He's so hyper (my daughter picks up on this and joins in). He is constantly moving and barely sleeps and annoying. That boy is so freakin' annoying! He's like Stewy, "Mom, mom, mom, mommy, momomom..." He's always got to be fighting with his sister or constantly asking 10,000 questions (most he just asked two seconds ago). And I feel incredibly guilty because I grew up with my mom showing way more love and affection for my brother than me... and I'm so scared I"m going to do that to my son because... I just don't want to be around him anymore. I don't have the energy or the patience. I truly believe he could be a great kid for a different type of mom. One who wants to be a mom.

I keep seeing job positions in my field that are over seas or have 70% travel and my fingers actually itch with the desire to email them my resume."

"Hubby and I couldn't have kids for 10 years then I got pregnant and was 36. Have had 2 kids and now pushing 40. We are a practicing Catholic family. I quit an amazing job and we were living overseas having a great life when I became pregnant. I became a stay-at-home mom, had natural births (one at home), use cloth diapers, attachment parenting techniques, breastfeeding, looking at homeschooling, etc. Did everything I thought I was supposed to do. I had a terrible childhood and didn't want this for my children. Been at this for almost 3 years now. Guess what.....I HATE IT!! Tried praying till I am blue in the face, took anti-depressents, tried "mommy" groups, took up hobbies.... I am still miserable. I want the terrific life a i had!! I worked my whole life so hard to earn that life and lost it overnight! God forgive me. I wish I loved mothering and building a home but I can't fake it! I am physically breaking down under the stress and so is my husband. We love our children but it has ruined our lives. I feel so incredibly guilty evening thinking this. I can't just "cut and run" however. Couldn't even stand the thought of turning the kids over to someone else.......but I can't seem to shake these feelings. Do they ever go away? My life is just passing me buy...there must be some joy soon......"

"...The best thing we can do for each other as women and parents is to share our feelings. I'm quite honest these days with other moms and you know what? They are all stresed out, exhausted, pissed, resentful, etc...They all spill the beans eventually. Just some more than others. I'm in a multiples group and it's the best becasue we all bitch about what we have to deal with and laugh at the same time. When you can vent with out being judged it helps so much. Of course, we all have those deliriously happy perfecto moms we all hate. But guess what? Behind closed doors they are crying and stressed out too. And...thru the group and by friending them on FB, I found out that are the ones that drink the most. So, some people show their unhappiness, other wait until they get home to drown it. Don't compare yorself to other moms too much. It's just their brave face they've got on. I've got one too. I can't go around with a scowl on my face, although, it would be much easier. Nope, I have to try for my kids and some days I get through it ok. Mostly, I'm emotionally shut off in order to cope."

"I'M SO HAPPY I'M NOT ALONE. I love my kids and my husband is great, but i had dreams, a life, a personality they came along. i feel like my life is over, i don't even know who i am anymore. I have three kids 8months, 2yrs and 7yrs. I'm a stay at home mom and its driving me crazy. I don't sleep, idon't get any time to myself, my husband works all day by the time he gets home the kids are either sleep or going to sleep, so he gets the fun part of parenting and i get the worst...... my life is not suppose to be like this..... i'm just so angry"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Grocery bill high? It could be worse.

How much money does your household spend on groceries in a month?  Probably a whole lot less than someone who has kids.

I was out with my friend Sara on Saturday.  She's a mom of 2 young boys, so her household has 4 people total.  We were talking about money and how expensive everything is these days.  She lamented that her $800/month grocery budget makes it almost impossible to keep her family fed for an entire month.  I almost choked.

I thought I was hearing incorrectly, so I repeated back the figure she told me to make sure I heard right.  Yep,  I heard right. $800 a month.  For groceries.

When she saw how shocked I was, she clarified that the $800 figure includes things like paper products and cleaning supplies.  I guess she thought that hearing that might make my eyes recede back into their sockets.  I was still shocked.

You see, hubby and I spend about $200-$300 a month to keep ourselves and our three cats fed, and that seems like a LOT to us.  So you can see why I almost fell off my chair when Sara told me she spends $800/month and can barely get by on that.

$800 JUST for groceries.  That's $9,600 a year!  For ONE expense.  Now on top of that, add on the other household expenses like mortgage, taxes, utilities, cars, insurance, clothing and the list goes on and on.  And factor in that my friend is a stay-at-home-mom, so she and her hubby are living off one salary.  Yikes.

I should mention that Sara is a not a spendthrift.  She's a frugal shopper, carries piles of coupons with her everywhere she goes, and strategizes her shopping trips to get the most for her money.  Yet she is struggling to feed her family on $800/month.

Hubby and I often complain about our expenses - about how so much of our take home pay is eaten up by bills and how so little is left for the fun stuff.  Well, I think we need to adjust our perspective and remind ourselves how easy we have it, comparatively speaking.  I realize that no matter how financially stretched we fell, we would probably be on the verge of financial collapse if we had children.

UPDATE:  12/7/11

I had lunch with another friend today, Samantha.  Samantha also has a family of 4 - a husband, a 10 year old daughter and a teenaged son.  She is a prudent woman who is good with money (in fact, she is an accountant by trade).   We were talking about money issues and about how prices have been shooting up for everything. I asked her to estimate what she spends on groceries for her family in one month.  She paused and gave it some thought, and then answered that if she "is really careful" - i.e. shops the sales, and is strategic in her buying - she can "keep it at around $1,200/month".


She said a lot of the grocery bill is due to having a teenaged son who eats whole boxes of cereal in one sitting, and drinks 2 gallons of milk per week on his own.

And now, she is struggling to figure out how to help him with college.  He's applying to engineering schools - his choice school having tuition in the area of $45,000 per year.  Although he has been awarded scholarships in the amount of of $20,000 per year, that leaves my friend and her husband with a tuition bill of $25,000/year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Meals - Just Say No

Question of the day: Who is responsible for the obesity epidemic among children?

My answer: Parents

The food police would like to blame McDonald's and other fast food establishments, as evidenced by recent legislation in San Fransisco that bans fast food restaurants from giving away free toys with their meals.  But let's get real.  It is the PARENTS that purchase said meals.  It is the PARENTS who use televisions and computers as babysitters for their kids and let their kids be seduced by McDonald's commercials all day long.  It is the PARENTS that give in when their kids stomp their feet and demand Happy Meals.  No parent has a gun to her head forcing her to feed her kid fattening, low-nutrition, fast food.

Yet in our culture of overly-permissive parenting, where kids rule the roost and dictate what they will eat and how little they will exercise, the blame gets shifted to everyone except the people who are ultimately responsible - the parents.

Yes, McDonald's gives away toys with its kiddie meals.  They've been doing that since I was a kid, yet there was no obesity epidemic when I was young.  Why?  Because kids of my generation were - at our parents' insistence - outside playing.  We were riding bikes, running around, playing kickball, climbing trees, creating obstacle courses and burning lots of calories in the process.  Food was fuel for our growing bodies.  We weren't locked in our rooms, sitting on our butts with our faces in front of a screen.   We ate dinner seated at the kitchen table every night, and there were vegetables served with every meal.  We weren't shoveling down mass-produced slop in the back of a mini-van.  Meals at McDonald's were a once-in-a-while treat, not a 3 times/week savior for parents who are too busy or preoccupied to cook a well-balanced meal.  And it would not even occur to us to insist on ANYTHING.  Our parents made the rules, not us, and if they said "no Happy Meal", that was the end of it.

It's different today.  Apparently, parents have no control over what - or how much - their kids eat, and they are unwilling to say NO.  They don't know how to control or discipline their kids, so they cajole and bribe them with junk food - a reward for using the potty, a reward for not having a meltdown, a reward for a good grade, a reward for breathing.  Consequently, children develop an unhealty, emotional, addictive relationship with food, instead of a healthy one where food is treated as sustenance.

McDonald's - and other corporate entitites that profit from sales to children -are of course manipulative, crafty, and creative and they probably have a team of highly-paid consultants advising them on the most effective way to brainwash little minds into intense desire for their "food". They're in business to make a profit, after all - that's their job.  But no matter how much the government tries to spread the blame around and legislate healthy eating, the buck stops with the parent.  Parenting is their job.  And if the parent can't erect enough of a spine to say no when his kid screams for a Happy Meal, then he has no business being a parent in the first place.