68 answers

Feeling like an Inadequate SAHM.

Lately, I have been having some hard days where I feel like I am not being the mom that I should be. I don't feel like I am interacting enough with the children. I stay home with the kids during the week and I only work on weekends. But some days, I feel like they would learn more if they were in daycare. My husband does not really support me staying home, but tolerates it (it was an agreement when we got married that I would not work when we had kids).
My kids are 3 and 1 1/2 and some days it is all I can do to stay sane. I feel like I let the TV babysit the kids.
I do feel like I am a good mom most days. My kids are well behaved (except for normal toddler behavior), I feed them healthy food, we go out and socialize with other moms and children, they are loving towards each other and are overall wonderful children.
Plus, there is the whole fact that I was born genetically deficient of the housekeeping gene. I struggle with that issue also!!
Is these feelings of inadequacy normal? How do you deal with them? How do you cope with the daily monotony of being a SAHM?

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow, what a wonderful and heart warming response!! You guys are great. There were so many great ideas in those reponses.
I think that I am getting cabin fever from all of the snow!! We are going to an indoor water park today for a few days. I am really looking forward to that.
As far as the housework goes, I feel that I compare myself to to other moms when we go over to play at thier house. But who knows, maybe they cleaned for 8 hours so that we could come over!!
I did go to Hobby Lobby last week and bought some stuff for craft time with my son, and that has been great. We made sock puppets out of dads old socks. And he glued things onto paper with way too much glue!! :)

It is just easy to start doubting yourself, your life and your choices. But I know that I will never regret the staying home with the children. I look at them everyday and marvel at how wonderful and perfect they are (they they go and color on the walls or something!! LOL).
Thanks for all of the support and helping me to realize that I am not crazy, and that there are other not-perfect moms out there!!

Featured Answers

I can also relate. I think that all of us with very young kids struggle with the monotony. We all have days when the TV is the babysitter. We all have days where we feel like we don't know how much longer we can do this. The only things that help me are 1)concentrating on how much I love my husband & kids and looking at what I do for them as service rather than a chore and 2)scheduling time for a night out with my husband or girlfriends - just having some time away ocassionally to regroup & refocus. The other thing that has helped me out with the housekeeping (like you, I lack that gene) is that I hired a reliable teenager in my neighborhood to come clean my house once every week or two. You can pay them half of what you would pay even the least expensive of professional housecleaning services & it is still a great-paying job for a teenager. They come in and clean my floors, bathrooms & kitchedn. If you have just a little extra in the budget, I highly recommend it. It's just one less thing to drive myself crazy about!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, L., I can relate! I'm in the process of finding a college girl to come to the house one morning a week to help me clean, or play with the kids while I do it. I think I'll feel better if the house isn't such a mess, plus it will free me up to spend quality time with the kids. Good luck - I really feel for you!
L.

Date night.

I try to accomplish ONE thing per day, and if I met that goal, I'm doing a good job. don't look at the list of stuff that didn't get done. Everything you clean as a SAHM will get messed up quickly. That list will never stop. So instead of looking at what's not done, only look at what you accomplished.

Sometimes it's just vacuuming or having dinner on time.

When I'm feeling down, I get hugs from my kids. They think I'm a good mom, and that makes me happy.

More Answers

L.,

I saw that another mom already mentioned this site, but www.flylady.net is a great place to learn how to take control of your house, routines, and yourself. We always put ourselves last and find that we run out of energy first. Also, if you decide to try FlyLady give her control journal a try too. It just may give your husband an idea of how much you really do at home. Right now he may just think you get to play with the kids all day and make dinner in the evenings. By seeing your control journal out and the lists of things you have checked off and how your routines are slowly coming together, he may have a better idea of how much work running a house and teaching the kids can be. Just remember to start slow with baby steps. Let us know how this works out for you!

Also, here are a few great sites for homeschooling:
Crayola Crafts: http://www.crayola.com/crafts/

DK Kids:
http://www.kiddk.com/static/html/parentteacher/parentstea...

AtoZ Teach School: http://store.atozteacherstuff.com/
(free printables)

Preschool print-ables: http://www.kinderprintables.com/dailyprintables.htm
(free printables)

2 moms found this helpful

Oh thank God for this post!!! I definitely feel like everyone else here!!! I've been thinking lately, what is wrong w/ me, I am not the mom or wife I imagined myself to be!!!!! It's nice to know that I'm not the only one struggling!! I know i definitely get the winter blues, so that does'nt help!! I think I need to start focusing on the most important things which are the relationships with my family!!! The kids definitely don't care if the house is messy, but they do care how much time i spend w/ them!!! I also have been doing flylady, although not to the T, but it has helped some!! I also know the summer will be better, but right now i need to find some fun winter activities!! I do attend a playgroup once a month and try to do a Mom's Night Out and also visit my sis-in-law & her kids a couple times a week. I think I realize that I'm not "perfect", but i'm determined to accomplish what matters!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I know this is a little late, and hope it is not too redundant (I have a 2 yr old & enough time to read only the first few responses you already got.)

Are your feelings of inadequacy normal? Absolutely. I'd be more worried if you thought you were perfect!

how do you deal w/ those feelings? Having a good support network is crucial for those days that you don't feel good enough. Family, friends, online pals, mamasource, MOPS groups, etc.

How to cope w/ daily monotony? Personally, I need to get out of the house at least every other day, even if it is just for a doctor's appointment. I go to MOPS group every 2 weeks. I have a special hobby or project that I work on whenever my son naps (at least on those days I don't need a nap myself!)

As for housecleaning, join the club- literally! I joined Flylady.net about a year ago, and it has made a huge difference. It is a free email service with tips and cleaning missions to get you motivated. You never have to buy anything ever. you can sign up for their emails or you can just visit their website often to get a lot of the same ideas w/o the millions of emails cluttering up your inbox. (They also have a Daily digest version of their email service).

If you are bored and your house is a mess, I can think of no better way to combat both issues than by visiting or joining flylady.net.

(I'm just a member of Flylady.net. I won't get any points or rewards or anything if you sign up, so please don't feel like this is a plug for a money-eating service - like I said, nobody is required to buy anything ever. I just know that joining flylady really did change my outlook on things, helped tremendously with my housekeeping problem, and even helped my self esteem and marriage! Sorry for sounding like an infomercial... I just love it that much!)

Good luck with everything. I know you already know that feeling inadequate is a temporary (if reoccurring) hazard of motherhood- but on down days, remember, everybody here at mamasource is here for you!
Jen

1 mom found this helpful

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels this way! I thought when I became a SAHM that my house would always be spotless (it isn't), I'd spend a lot of time teaching the kids to read, etc (neither can read yet) and that I'd make fabulous meals (sometimes it's frozen pizza). I've learned that I am not SuperMom, nor do I want to be. I ask myself these questions: Is my house liveable? Are my kids happy? Is my husband happy? Am I happy? If the answer is yes, and it definitely is a yes, then that's all that matters.

I think someone else said this, but I find that if I can accomplish at least one or two things a day, than that's good enough for me, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, make a great meal, or having a fun-filled day with the kids without worrying about the house. I had a friend who used to schedule a chore each day of the week: Mondays: vacuum and mop, Tuesday: laundry, Wed: bathrooms, etc. and she always had a clean house (not spotless) and never felt like she spent all day, every day cleaning.

I know you said you get out and socialize, but if you're not already a member of a mothers group, I would highly recommend it. There are two that I know of: Momsclub.com and mops.org
Also, since your son is almost three, have you looked into preschool? My son started at 3 and he loves it (plus I get a small break).

You're children will only be little for such a short time, and when you look back, you won't remember that your house was dirty or the laundry wasn't done, you'll just have wonderful memories of watching your children grow, and be thankful that you were able to be there and didn't miss a thing!

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

Oh honey, you are not alone with the feelings you're having!

I believe every mom has feelings like this for some period of staying at home. Some for all, some for a hard period, and some for several periods throughout the entire time @ home. Thank you for stepping forward and admitting your feelings to all us moms out here reading your story.

Right now is a very tough time to be at home....it's cold outside, you aren't getting your daily intake of the sun, you're stuck for unreasonable amounts of time inside, you are at home without any type of help for the majority of the day, etc. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

You mentioned you get out with and interact with other people and socialize. Are you part of a structured group and making friends (or acquaintances), or are you just meeting to get out of the house for a little bit? Have you checked out your local MOPS (mothers of preschoolers ~ www.mops.org)? It's a non-denominational group that gets together 2X/mo as a structured group and the kids are in a wonderful program all by themselves so you get a break. While we are there, you are nutured as a mom, wife, and woman. MOPS has been my lifeline for the past 3 years. I made wonderful friends at a group in WI before moving to Fargo in April. I jumped right into another group here and have made some more awesome friends!

You are a fantastic mom and the TV does babysit the kids sometimes. It just happens! The housework? Do you expect to stay on top of things with a near 3 yr old and a 1 1/2 yr old? You don't feel you interact with the kids enough? Join the club! What you don't realize is what your children are taking in that you don't even realize. You are showing them it's ok to stay at home as they will meet kids that wish their mom would've done that for them. They are seeing your love, your attention, your kitchen skills all being passed down to both of them. AND you still get time out of the house on the weekends to take care of others! What a wonderful sacrifice you don't even realize you've taken.

I pray this boosts your spirits as you realize you are not the only out there feeling like you do right now.

If you are interested in MOPS or other mom groups, check their websites (if avail) or send me a private message and I can tell you more!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

It gets better! As the kiddos get older, the housework becomes easier since they can clean up after themselves and help out with chores.

Several have suggested flylady, and I wholeheartedly agree. What Flylady does that is so awesome is encourage you to have a schedule, just as any working person does.

When my first son was young I remember having a conversation with a friend where I confessed my feelings of inadequecy to another mom. She laughed at me and I'll never forget her words, "M., you can be whatever kind of mom you want to be. If you want to be the mom that takes the your son for a walk and goes to the park and libraries and museums, then be that mom." It was like a lightbulb went off in my brain. Oh, you mean I have control over my own life and my kids education?! I sat down that evening and actually wrote down what I thought "good moms" did. It was something like this.

Good Moms:
1. Have kids with good manners
2. Take their kids to the library
3. Have playgroups
4. Play with playdough with their kids
5. Go to the park
6. Fingerpaint
7. Limit how much TV their kids watch
8. Are silly sometimes
.
.
.

Anyway you get the idea. It sounds like you're already doing a lot of those things. The healthy food and socializing is so important! Don't discount the things you're already doing that make you a good mom. Just visualize what type of mom you want to be, THEN BE THAT MOM. (Not screaming at you, I just really want to emphasize each word.)

Good luck! I'll be thinking about you.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

I can also relate. I think that all of us with very young kids struggle with the monotony. We all have days when the TV is the babysitter. We all have days where we feel like we don't know how much longer we can do this. The only things that help me are 1)concentrating on how much I love my husband & kids and looking at what I do for them as service rather than a chore and 2)scheduling time for a night out with my husband or girlfriends - just having some time away ocassionally to regroup & refocus. The other thing that has helped me out with the housekeeping (like you, I lack that gene) is that I hired a reliable teenager in my neighborhood to come clean my house once every week or two. You can pay them half of what you would pay even the least expensive of professional housecleaning services & it is still a great-paying job for a teenager. They come in and clean my floors, bathrooms & kitchedn. If you have just a little extra in the budget, I highly recommend it. It's just one less thing to drive myself crazy about!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear L.,

I think your situation is quite normal for most mothers that stay at home with their kids. I am a single mom and managed to pull through the toddler years with staying home with Taylor during the day. Trust me it is very challenging and there were many times I felt inadequate, frustrated and depressed. Not knowing if I was making the right decision or not. But, what I knew was that I was the only person in the world that would love and care for my child better than anybody else. That's would pulled me through the hard times. They need you as much as you need them, and if you put them in daycare your life would probably be more miserable. You would then feel guilty, and instead of having the tv babysit your kids you have a bunch of uneducated girls caring for them. You need to stay strong, get involved in a playgroup, set a schedule and plan activities everyday to create structure. I understand that you struggle with the upkeeping of your home. Well, as reading your message I thought to myself; Wow..I know exactly what this woman is going through. I can help you...ALOT! I help families like yours by providing professional cleaning services to them. I don't want this message to come off as a selling tool, but I needed tell you who I am and how I can help. I have lived in Oconomowoc for 28 years and am very active in my community. Maybe I can come to your home once a week for a couple of hours and help you with some of your chores or do full clean job on your home. That will free you up to constantly keep up with the pressures of all that. I have a family that I do the same for, and she tells me that I have saved her marriage. Sometimes; our pride takes over, and we need to learn to ask for help. I am here to help you if you interested. You can make a new friend, family helper, make your life a little more manageable, and less stressful, and free up more time to spend with your precious babies. Please call me if you are interested and we will take the next steps to transforming your life. You will be surprised how much this will help your family. God bless you and your family and if we never meet always find time for yourself, take deep breathes, and stay strong.

Sincerely,

C. Rossey
____@____.com
cell# ###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful

Of course you feel overwhelmed, inadequate and all of the rest that goes with having 2 toddlers. Just hang on. Life will get better. So what if housekeeping isn't your best offering at present. It, too will improve as time passes. Pour yourself a big glass of lemonade or whatever, hold your little ones close and just be thankful every day you have thi precious time with them at the HARDEST TIME of your life. It will get better, and reach out to your husband so he knows he's still in the picture and thank him every day that you get to be with your little ones. Can the budget handle a sitter one afternoon a week? If not, find another SAHM to trade off with. Your 3-year old is still a bit young but if someone is close, trading an hour or two is wonderful. Things will get better, and you will never regret this time when it seems you never talk with adults, never get to do anything just for you. Been there, did that, no regrets, despite the tight budget from staying home with the kids.
I have 14 great grandchildren, 23 granchildren - the youngest 6 months, so despite being 72 years old, I still am in the looop. Just spent a day helping out so my daughter in law could just take a nap while I held the baby, folded clothes and played dolls with the 4-year old. Because I live 20 miles away and have to use public transportation at present I can't do it often, but my daughter-in-law sure has my respect for choosing to have 4 children (3 adopted and the newest, homegrown after 11 1/2 years of marriage) Trust me, give yourself 100 extra brownie points for just acknowledging it is a very challenging thing to be a SAHM in any generation and keep on keepin' on. Grandma H - from Salt Lake

1 mom found this helpful

I am a SAHM also and was dealing with some of the same issues. On the housekeeping front - I decided to dedicate a day to the kitchen, bathrooms and so on - so that way I didn't feel overwelmed. Then I leared about Flylady.net and that is helping me to get and keep my house clean. I do feel bad that my son watches tv, but it's always on and most of the time he is in the room that I am in. My son and I lived with my mom for the first year of his life while my husband way deployed - and she ran a in-home daycare - and the kids watched tv some, and played some. So I try to play with my son, but since he is only 17months it's harder, we are looking forward to this summer, I will have a new baby and my step-son will be here - but then the weather will be nice enough to go outside and get away from the t.v.. I think that you are doing things right - it just takes a little motivation to get us up and get moving. (Fly lady has helped me with that) But I think that it's great that you and the kids get out and interact with other kids. We just moved into our home in late Nov. in a new area - so we are just getting out and meeting people and I think that is important to keep us all from going crazy - that little time with some adult interaction and the kids can play with other kids.
I think you are doing great - it's just tough when we get into a hump like that and I am just getting out of mine. You will get out of yours soon! I have faith!! Give Flylady a try- it has helped me out alot and I am only on day 5!

Those feelings are totally normal! I stay at home and often feel like I'm not giving all that I could be. We live in an apartment and only have one car which my husband takes to work so we don't get out much and I don't like taking them outside much (I mean it's a parking lot and the "playground" is on a fenceless steep hill leading to a drainage ditch!). The tv is on much of the day and I don't always have the energy or ideas to entertain in other ways. I am 23 wks pregnant with our third and last and I get Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Cannot give to my family. I too suffer from the lack of a routine cleaning or organizational gene, and I long to have a house and yard. I often feel like I am not good enough but then every once in awhile I get a compliment from other mothers at church who teach my children in Sunday School on their manners, or intelligence, or sweet nature, participation etc. and I know in my heart that I'm doing the best I can and the best for them.
Houses get messy, so what, a sterile home does not equal a happy home. Your kids interact with other kids, you're a loving caring mother or you wouldn't feel guilty. If you have a bit of free time and energy fit in an extra craft, read an extra book, pick up an extra toy, but I assure you, you are a good mom.
I cope by looking at the positive things I did each day, instead of a "to do" list I'll have a "got done" list. I cope by hearing those compliments or the unbidden "Mom, I love you". I cope by praying for what I lack and working each day on those things. I cope by knowing I can do more, but not stressing that I need to do everything.

From my experience your feelings are perfectly normal. My girls are now 9 & 10, but they were only 16 months apart. There were about 3 years where it was hard to do anything and my husband was working 80+ hours/week.

My husband bought me the book called the 'Sidetracked Home Executive', it is hilarious and full of great tips to use or not. It really helped me feel more organized just to set up a weekly schedule which put me in charge of my time. And getting the kids on a daily schedule made sure that we did things together. When possible involve them in the housekeeping chores that you have planned. Then plan time for something together like a game or reading. Especially reading --even now we still read together as a family almost every night. And we have two girls that love to read. The other thing we did was relocate the TV to a separate room, so that it wasn't in the main living space and that cut down on spontaneous TV time. Not having cable helped, too. When faced with easily accessible toys, crafts, paper and books they were more inclined to play rather than watch TV.

Hi L.,
It is nice to know others feel this way. I struggle with the same feelings every day. I have a 2 1/2 year old, plus I work full time at home AND work on the accounting & advertising for a business that my husband & I own. I worry most about her not socializing with other children enough. I was almost going to enroll her in a local daycare, which came recommeded by some friends, but I was disppointed & decided against it when I took her there one day to let her interact with the teachers & other kids, then watched & she wandered off a long ways & none of the teachers even noticed. (I was way off on the side, out of sight.) I finally ran & scooped her up & took her home, never giving daycare another thought. My mom has since agreed to watch her a few hours each day so I can work a bit. I am stressed out big-time most days, but I make time for my daughter somehow & at least I know she is safe. I am going to start her in pre-k in the fall. The thing that stresses me out the most is my husband not having a clue or appreciating how much I juggle every day. One of the best things I have done for myself was hire a cleaning crew. I am domestically challenged as well & I absolutely HATE cleaning. It's worth the money to me & it makes me feel like I am rewarding myself. I also started exercising again & although I hate that too, it makes me feel so good & I know I won't be so afraid to put on a swim suit in the summer. Again, it is something I am doing for ME. One thing to remember is that it won't always be this way. Your kids will grow up & they will be more self-sufficient & then you will have some time for yourself. Good luck & hang in there!!

I feel the same way 98% of the time. I thought maybe it was post partom or something. But I don't know. I thhink part of it is that you think you have more time then you do. My house never seems clean enough to me but I am in it all day and have time to notice everything. When my friends of family come over they say I am down right nerotic about how clean my house is and all I see is the stuff that I haven't gotten done. As far as the children they do benifit from daycare socialy but a mother's love is what will get them through life. I am thinking when my son turns two or so I may start him in a daycare a few hours a couple days a week. As far as your husband I don't know, My husband is very supportive in fact it was mostly his idea. Why would I work just to make enough money to pay a baby sitter. Also, he knows that I do all the house work and bill, and doctor appts. etc. hope this helps to know your not alone...

Please don't give up on yourself! Life is hard right now and it's all about the kdis. Look for a mom's group you could join. Mom to Mom or Mothers of Preschoolers. That will surely help you. This time is so crucial to be with them and no one can replace you. Preschool is going to start very soon for the kids. You could start doing mini school days at home now if you want. Check out library programs or bookstores that offer story time. That's an important skill - knowing how to sit still and quiet. Go to parents.com or pbs.org to get crafts and coloring pages. All things that school will be doing. Stick with it - for the sake of your children! Sometimes the tv can save your sanity. Just don't let it overtake the house.

Your letter reminded me a lot of myself -- other than the fact that I DO have the housekeeper gene!! I too sometimes feel like a "bad" SAHM ... I have an almost-three-year-old and a 16-month old and they can drive me bonkers. They do watch PBS Sprout quite a bit which, to me, is a lifesaver for moms (and dads). Whoever said that tv is bad for kids doesn't have two toddlers. So, don't worry. Other moms often feel the same way. I suggest talking to family and friends and getting some exercise. You are not alone -- I bet you are a great mom! Keep your chin up!

Hi L.! Thanks for asking this question...I think it is more common than we realize! I am in the exact same situation. We try to be the best possible parent, playmate, spouse, housekeeper, etc and it leaves us feeling extraordinarily lacking. I have felt (and still feel from time to time) the exact same way. Why can't I do it all?! The advice I keep getting is to prioritize...will the kids remember a sink full of dirty dishes, or will they remember playing games with you? It's also hard in the middle of winter...can there be some snow play, get everyone out of the house for a bit? It's also really important to have set times for yourself rather than just work, home, work, home. I was feeling very depressed about the monotony until I started going back to my dance class, something I enjoyed before baby #2. It gives me some "me" time (not at all selfish...how can you give to others if your energy is tapped?) and something to look forward to every week. I don't miss it no matter what, and as an added perk it just so happens to be exercise, which in itself feels good and works off those lingering baby pounds. :) It increases my energy and boosts my self-esteem...your kids will also know then that they have a happy mom. Find what works for you, if you can work it into your schedule with your spouse. A good balance will keep everyone happier in the long run. Hope this helps, and keep up the great work!!

Hi L.:

This is very normal......I struggled for a long time with this myself. What I found to work for me was to get passionate about something. I started taking guitar lessons, which helped for awhile. Then, my oldest daughter and I began studying Tae Kwon Do together and now I'm a 1st degree Black Belt and instructor at YMCA one night a week.
This might not be your passion, you need to find what works for you. Ex. running, volunteering for March of Dimes, writing, painting etc.

As for cleaning, I do dusting on Tuesday, vacuuming on Wed., and so on. With cleaning, get really good cleaning products and they do most of the job for you, and play music that gives you energy.

~K.

You are SO normal! At least I hope so, because if you aren't then neither am I :)

I also am home five out of seven days of the week, by choice. There are definitely days when I think my kids would be better off being taken care of by someone else. This time of year is especially hard with the weather being so miserable. Dark, gray, too cold to even play in the snow.

Also, I am severly lacking any creativity gene so I worry that my kids aren't being exposed to as much as they could.

I think, as moms, we have a tendency to beat ourselves up because we aren't "perfect".

My husband has to remind me that our kids are so great (like yours), because I AM home with them. That sometimes helps to keep things in perspective when I'm feeling less than adequate as a mom.

Remember, your kids don't want to be with anyone else but you. We may not be perfect (and yes, we may even get bored being at home), but our kids love us no matter what.

Hugs,
H.

Hi L.,
This is a very normal feeling. I think a lot of moms feel like this.
It's easy to get into a rut, especially when you are at home all the time.
Getting outside for some fresh air whenever the weather is good can be a great way to break up the day.
I don't have a lot of structured playtime for my children. I just let the kids guide that. The only thing I try to do, is make sure they have some variety in what they are doing during the day.
My three year old will do everything from watch a little tv, read, color or paint to going online (like Sesame Street).
Once in a while we do something different, like build a fort, or play "dodgeball" with a small teddy bear.
You can involve your oldest child in the household chores as well. They love to feel like they are helping out.
Real Simple magazine has great tips on cleaning and organizing and keeping your house picked up. There is also a website.... I think it's called Flylady or something like that.
Don't worry too much about your children "learning more" if they were in daycare. There will be plenty of time for structured learning in their near futures.
Make sure to take some time for yourself, even if it's many tiny breaks throughout the day.
My husband is gone from the house many hours a day as well. That can make it feel like you are doing it all yourself.
On those hard days, just worry about the basics like washing cups.
I keep magnetic photo frames up on my fridge of fun times and the kids playing just to remind me on those tough days that things aren't always that hard.
You are doing a great job!
Blessings,
D.

Wow, L., I can relate! I'm in the process of finding a college girl to come to the house one morning a week to help me clean, or play with the kids while I do it. I think I'll feel better if the house isn't such a mess, plus it will free me up to spend quality time with the kids. Good luck - I really feel for you!
L.

Why don't you try taking them to a co-op preschool, it would give you something to do during the week, as at a co-op all the parents have to take turns working there, and the kids would get the stimulation that you seem to be worried that they aren't getting.

Hi, L.!

I think what you're feeling is pretty normal and it may be related to the awful weather we've been having. I have stayed home since my first child was born (now 4). I also have a two-year-old. My son is in preschool two days a week, so that helps break up the everyday routine. Some days I feel like we've had a great day and I've done my job of helping them learn. Other days, I feel like I've been busy all day and they've entertained themselves most of the day. We don't watch tv during the day, so that helps. At least when I'm not entertaining them, they are being creative. You may want to try not letting them watch it and see what happens. But I think the weather right now is the ultimate factor. During the summer, we are outside nearly all day (except for naps). We are all beginning to get cabin fever and my son is about bouncing off the walls. We do go to activities (swimming, tae kwon do, etc.) I think being a SAHM has its ups and downs. It's no different than any other job. Think of it this way - does your husband come home every day and say he loves his job? Probably not. Yours is no different. Some days you love it. Some days you don't. That doesn't mean you don't love your children - it just means you had a bad day. I think once spring hits, you'll feel better. Remember - staying home with your kids is the most difficult and most rewarding job you can do:)

L.

I have trouble coping often, also. I finally found some relief when I joined the gym. They have child watch there and it's 1-2 hours that I have "me" time. I take an hour class, then shower at the gym. I never thought I would find so much comfort in showering away from home, but knowing that I didn't have to rush has been awesome. There are also other women to talk to and that gives me some social interaction. It's been great for my health and the days where I miss the gym, I get extremely grumpy.

That reenergization helps me play with them better when we're home, too.

In the most recent issue of Good Housekeeping, there was an article on tackling tasks. Set small goals - 5 minutes, for example. It's been good advice for trying to accomplish tasks. "I will dust for 5 minutes right now before I sit back at the computer or on the couch." Sometimes getting started is half the battle and if you just commit to only 5 minutes, you'll find that it's not unbearable... and you may end up doing it longer and not even realize it!

Hang in there.

Are you sure you didn't just write that whole paragraph about ME? I have kids the same ages and I feel EXACTLY like you do. I have been reading a book called "I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids" by Ashworth / Nobile. It has made me feel a lot more "normal". I highly recomend it. The other thing that has helped me be a better mom is to take "me time"--going out to dinner with a friend, take a walk alone, etc. I know this is hard to do (I don't get to do it as often as I'd like), especially if you don't get much time with your husband, but it really helps your sanity...

As far as doing things for/ with the kids, I try to do at least one fun thing a day, even if it's as simple as letting them do my hair (who knew you could get 200 barretts in there??) or making playdough. A lot of days, we don't do much else. Unfortunately, I have let my kids watch a lot of TV, too. I know that it is frowned upon, but sometimes I can't get a shower if I don't put in a movie!!

I am also a lousy housekeeper--I HATE cleaning more than almost anything. The problem is, if I neglect it for even one day, it gets away from me...Our house frequently looks like a toy bomb went off in here. Luckily, we have one room designated as a play room, so sometimes I just throw everything in there and close the door--out of sight, out of mind! I have been trying to get my kids, at least my 3 year old, to help clean. She's pretty agreeable about cleaning up, and does a surprisingly good job. I bet your older child could help you out--just give him small jobs, like putting his clothes away after they are folded, or picking up toys, or helping unload the dishwasher. My daughter does all these things now, and seems to enjoy them.

Try not to put so much pressure on yourself. Being a mom is a HARD JOB. No one tells you that until you are already there.
Feel free to email me if you need to vent or need support--I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU!!!!!

How about hiring someone to clean the house once a week. It will cost you around $50 but I think it would be worth it. Also, you should contact your local public library and see when they have children's activites. Our library has activities several days a week and gives kids the opportunity to do something educational and fun and I can just sit back and watch.
Feel good about all you do. It is SO hard to be a mom so don't get down on yourself. They would not learn more in daycare. There are 25 other kids there all needing attention from the 4 people working :(
Another thing I have tried (but don't do often enough) is craft day. We picked one day a week where we do a few crafts. One day we mad puppets out of brown paper lunch bags and did a puppet show. I find the more attention I give my kids, the better they act and the better I feel. It's hard, though. Hang in there.

Ugh. You just explained my feelings/life to a T. I'm in the same boat, only I don't have 2 babies. My daughter is just barely 2 and for the past year & a half my husband and I have battled this issue. To top off my known inadequacies (which is bad enough being self-aware and wanting to fix it) he comes at me saying that when he's around or with her, he takes care of her and gets the house clean. He's a gem in these moments *rolls eyes*. I do try hard to do as much as I can and think of ways I can manage our day better, but I'm so easily discouraged with his criticism. It's a cycle, but when you figure out how to make it work, please share! I've considered going back to work a lot because of this, but then I cant stomach the thought of not being w/ my daughter.

It sounds like you're doing a good job of caring for your kids. The things that you'd mentioned, not having much time w/your husband, struggling to keep a clean house...can both really impact your level of stress, as well as your marriage. Is it possible for you to do a date night once per week so that you and your husband have a few hours to spend together...talking about things other than the children/house/jobs, and remembering why it was that you fell in love in the first place? If you can get your marriage back on track the rest may fall into place as well. Do you have family or friends close by? Can you ask someone to come over once or twice per week to help you with the housework? You've got your hands full with two little ones and it would be a reasonable request to make. Believe it or not, there are people in this world who love to clean and organize. I am not one of them, but I do have a couple of friends who are delighted to come help me. :) A lot of times people love to be asked to help. Hang in there. This time of the year seems to be the hardest to get through. It's nearly spring. Things should start to get better. Love your husband. Show him how much you appreciate him when he comes home from work. It sounds like he works quite a few hours so that you can stay home and take care of the children and he's probably exhausted when he comes through that door at night. Don't expect for him to jump right in on housework, etc... If you show him that you're glad to see him (not just because he's an extra pair of hands), he will likely start to reciprocate and start volunteering more with helping you. You're doing a great job of being a mom. Look at the children...they're well behaved, you provide nutritious food for them, you make sure that they get to interact w/others. You are also there to see every milestone, to kiss every "owie" and to receive every hug and kiss from them. Enjoy this time. They grow up SO fast.

Dear L. K.

I am a little late to respond but have been thinking about your request over the week-end and feel I should write. It sounds as though you've have had a lot of encouraging replies and so perhaps mine will be redundant.

I just want to add to the "you're not alone" reassurance group. I have 5 children, and would have thought by now that I would feel up to the task but frequently struggle with feeling inadequate as well. Mothering is the hardest thing I have ever done. It requires me to give and serve constantly, and I don't always feel like it. And I don't always feel like I even know where to start with tackling some parenting issues, especially as my children get older (they are almost 2 to almost 10).

I also want to add my voice to the "stay at home with them as much as you can" camp. It is the best gift you can give them. There are wonderful daycares out there, and it is not always possible to stay at home, but if you can, do it. You are their mom, and the best person to comfort them when they're sad, help them deal appropriately with their frustration or unwillingness to share or be kind, to teach them to be content and play alone for short times, to praise their accomplishments, to laugh at their sillies. You are the best person for them to learn from, as you teach them what is important to your family.

Don't feel pressure for them to be learning academics at this point, in these early years, they just need to learn that they are loved and secure, and to be pointed in the direction you want to them to go as little human beings. Make it a goal to read a couple of books of day to them, and they will learn security, receive loving touch and attention, develop their language, and begin to recognize letters. It's okay for them to learn from the occasional preschool TV show as well, or video. And they learn as they manipulate everything in their world, as they touch and handle, and role play. There is plenty of time for academics in the years ahead. There is way too much pressure for kids to push ahead these days anyways.

Something that has been helpful for me, and I learned it from a book, was to train my kids to learn to be alone for short periods. You can start them as infants or toddlers, with a few books or toys in a playpen or a crib, somewhere they can't see you, but you can see or hear them. It's best to do it when they are fed and not tired, so after breakfast was a good time for us. You can start out w/ just a few minutes and then increase it. With your older child, you can use their bedroom or a play area, or even just designate an area with a blanket. Explain what is okay to play w/ and what is off limits, and what the consequences will be if they don't honor the boundaries you set. Start off w/ short times, especially if you haven't asked them of it before. It is excellent to teach contentment, obedience, and self control. And it transfers into other areas of life, where toys are short, or playing quietly is necessary, like waiting rooms, or concerts, or church. And it gives you a few moments to yourself (altho it does require some monitoring when you are starting out, and teaching them to be content within those boundaries).

Are you able to talk to your husband about his reluctance to have you stay home? Is it financial pressures? Does he miss the week-end time with you? Can you flex your hours once in a while to a couple of week-days, or week-day evenings? Is there a daycare you would trust on a prn basis? Does he know how much you appreciate his following through on his agreement for you to stay at home, albeit reluctantly?

The house-keeping. Oh, I so struggle in this area as well. And that can add to the feelings of inadequacy. Settle it with yourself that you will never have all your ducks in a row, mothering, housekeeping, or otherwise. You are not perfect. That said, what is a reasonable expectation? What small goal can you set for yourself today? Can you spend 15 minutes in an area that you have long-dreaded, or just plain hate to do? What about cleaning one bathroom today? You will get a lot of satisfaction from just 15 minutes of hard work. Do you have a friend who is good at cleaning? What can you learn from her? Can you help a friend clean her house and then do yours together? My friend and I used to do that once in a while. Agree upon a time period, like 2 hours at yours, and next week 2 hours at mine. What you get done, you get done.

Also, I have been blessed to be able to have someone come in twice a month, for 1-1/2 hours at a time, to vacuum several rooms and clean the bathrooms. That has made a huge difference for us. Is there anyone you could have do even 1-2 hours a month, or someone who could watch the kids afterschool one day a week so you could do some of the cleaning yourself?

It also seems that you could benefit from an older woman's encouragement. I was glad to see that some older moms wrote in. They have the benefit of seeing a bigger piece of the mothering puzzle and perspective. Is there someone you admire with whom you could share some of your fears and frustrations? Is there a Mom's group like MOPS in your area? Take a risk, and ask for advice and encouragement.

Well, I hope some of this helps. Be encouraged. You love your kids and you are seeking what's best for them. Some of it requires just slugging away each day and doing what you know is right, whether you feel good at it or not. Don't forget to love your husband as well, and ask him for encouragement. Let him know that you don't always feel adequate and that you need him to be your cheerleader. And find out where he needs encouragement and cheering on! You'll be a better team for it.

Hi L.,
I just read through all of your responses so far. Its good to know that we're not alone, isn't it? :) I am staying at home with our 13 mo old daughter. I enjoy it in some ways, but I'm disappointed that I don't do a better job than what I am doing. Since I work in a competitive technical field, I expected I'd be a sort of alpha-mom, but its all beyond me. In the last several months I have gotten a lot out of making an effort to start taking care of myself again. At the gym I can work out and get two hours of daycare each day. I have dropped a pant size, my balance is improving, and I feel stronger and safer with the baby. But the most important part is just getting my head back in the game. I get some me time, I chat with other adults, and I take a long shower alone. The house still not exciting but at least I am feeling less overwhelmed when we get home. This sounds silly, but I've also found a great online radio station: www.radioparadise.com. I put this on and leave the TV off a bit more. We dance a bit more and the baby gets to hear more than just Raffi.
Take care L.! Remember that Mommy-hood is about managing 20 minute increments...20 minutes to do the dishes....20 minutes to finger paint.......20 minutes to do the floors.....20 minutes to read email......etc...etc...Take 20 minutes to turn off the TV and dance and enjoy your kids. Then take 20 minutes for your household....then 20 minutes for yourself! :)
Stay warm this winter!

I think this is a normal feeling that every mom has. I also stay home with 3 children...4 and 21 month old twins. There are times when I just have to turn the TV on to give myself a break and I feel this is okay. We also do a lot of crafts and reading, which seem to pass the time. I think winter is hard when staying at home, but I also feel that there will never be a better care taker than a mommy! You are the best for your children and a day-care cannot possibly give them the same love that you do and make them feel as special.

There are days when I feel like I just want to go back to working outside the home, but then I remember how important it is to be a mommy and give my children the attention they deserve.

Please know that you are doing the job that is most important. Try and find new activities to occupy your time with the children and read, read, read!!!

L., ir sounds like you are describing me! I have had all of the feelings that you describe. (Including the gene defficiency)I think it is normal to feel this way. What usually helps me is writing down what is really bothering me (i.e. " I am feeling badly this week because I feel that I have let my daughter watch too much TV") And then, the following week (or the next day) I make changes to correct the problem. Parenting is a learning experience. Nobody is perfect. Another thing I have found helpful is to talk to my Mom. When she opens up and tells me something that she (still) feels badly about some 20 years later, and I realize that I turned out just fine even though my Mother thinks she has made mistakes, it makes me realize that my daughter will be just fine as well. I don't know why we feel such guilt as Mothers. I hope this helps a little.

I hear ya! Lately, I just don't have the energy to do anything. I can hardly deal with the kids, let alone do housework. I'm thinking it might be a seasonal thing - winter blues,cabin fever. I've been apologizing to my husband lately because the house isn't too clean, I'm behind on laundry, etc. He has been wonderful, never complains, even told me to stop complaining about my "inadequacies". I usually feel like a crappy mom too. Not sure what to do, other than force myself to get the house in order (and get a reward!), and spend some more time with my kids (it's own reward).

Hello L.,
My girls are now 22 and 20 years old. They have both grown up to be lovely and loving young women. I say that because right now you probably can't see the time you can say the same, but it will get here before you know it.

I don't know if I have the answer for you other than to tell you that your feelings are shared by so many of us. I've gotten better over the years to say each day, I'll do my best and enjoy this day. What doesn't happen or get done is OK. I am also a nurse and when my children were little I always worked part time and for many years did pool nursing so I could get some shifts in with little time away. My husband never let me do the weekend program.
Sometimes especially if we love what we do outside the home we can feel like we are not doing something as useful as what we used to do. I remember days crying feeling like I wasn't being a good enough person to anyone.
But trust me, I look back now and see so many little things I had done that never showed up on my radar screen at the time that were seeds for something bigger or lasting. At the time I was not good at relaxing and being kind to myself to savor this time, but perhaps my story can help you tell yourself you're doing fine!

One concrete suggestion is to set up date night with your husband. Especially with your time situation, it is so important to stay connected and give yourselves time together. Many churches are recognizing the importance of this in marriages and are having date nights where there is sometimes a short program etc, and the kids have child care provided and mom and dad go out to dinner or whatever for an hour or two.

Hope this helps and hasn't been too rambling. You sound like a good, loving person.
M.

Would you be interested in work from home job that involves and benefits your children? Shoot me an e-mail and I can give you all the details. I would love to show you what I do!

C.

Wow, I feel like I could have written that! Except for the non-supportive hubby part. The housekeeping part sure hits home though. I don't really know what advice to provide. I also go to playgroups. I do swim lessons once per week with him also. He is gong to be 2 on the 21st and he is very independent. Plays on his own very well. I am PG right now and have a hard time being motivated to do much. Although I am not sure that is a side effect of being PG as much as an excuse! lol Not everyone is a great housekeeper, and as a SAHM I can realte to being frustrated some days over "normal" toddler behavior. Don't beat yourself up. I am trying to take one thing per day and make sure it is DONE. It makes me feel better, and I am hoping that I can add another and another until I feel as if my world is not in shambles by the end of the week!

Good luck!

Thank God for all these responses. I think any SAHM needs to hear she's not crazy and she SHOULDN'T FEEL GUILTY because she has these feelings sometimes. Everything my husband tells me, but I won't listen to him. :) Take care everyone !

Oh my gosh. I can totally relate to you, kind of scary. I am in the same situation as you. I have always worked a full time job, as well as going to school to become a nurse. I had emergency surgery due to a torsion of my ovary, and between my husband and I, we decided that I would stay home with the children,and he would be our source of income. I have two children as well, a 1 1/2 year old son, and a 3 year old daughter. I only work part time on the weekends as a waitress, and my husband is gone quite a bit due to him employment as a truck driver. I am so not good at keeping the house clean, and boy do I hear about it. I try to get things done around the house, but I have way to many "calgon take me away moments". I love my children, a true blessing, but sometimes, it's all I can do to not lose my mind. Every time I clean, theres another disaster waiting for me. My children are wonderful, but they watch quite a bit of t.v too, I can't take the credit for my daughter learning spanish, vamanos mammie! I can't help you, cuz were in the same boat, but I can relate, boy can I relate. I just wanted to let you know, your not alone. My homemaker skills, or lack therof drives my husband insane, but I suppose he has to be a little insane in order to be part of my world, hehe.
Good Luck
C.

I'm wondering if the fact that your husband doesn't really support you is what is making you feel bad about your situation... I imagine it's difficult to keep going day after day when you have no encouragement and aren't receiving credit for the hard work you do. As for learning more in daycare... I have yet to see a daycare that really has a structured education program. If you want to encourage learning, set up daily projects for the kids, like coloring, finger painting, etc. Have a dress up and pretend day. Make your own movie. Have a musical instrument and dancing day. I know that when my daughter is at home with me (instead of enrolled in daycare), she is so much better behaved, and she rarely gets sick (I don't miss sick from daycare days at all!) As for household chores... I hate them too. Get the kids involved and make it a game (maybe see how fast "we" all can clean before daddy gets home!) Everyone is different... Are you feeling pressured by your husband to work and put the kids in daycare? Or are you longing for work days instead of mommy days? Either way, you know what is right for your family! :) Good luck!

I had the same problem when mine were little. I found that I needed to work more outside the home. My kids were happier, I was happier and everyone did well. Only you can make the decision to work more, but you might find that increasing your hours may be helpful. I hate to clean, so I have a cleaning service. There are some things that are just worth it.

You can also try daycare part time to see how it goes first, before you commit to a job. Then if things go well, you can make your choice then.

BTW...you are a good mom whatever your choice is.

L. :)

It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job as a Mom. Not inadequate just wanting what's best. I have the same feelings at times because I'm a little the opposite. I clean "all the time"! I know that the kids won't remember if the dishes were done, floor mopped, etc. but I'm anal about it. My husband tries to get us out of the house on the weekends to keep us all sane :-) During the week, I do have my pool night and bowling night which I love! I have a master's degree and have not "worked" for about five years now. Glad to hear you're able to have your career also. I think the feelings of inadequacy hit us all at times but we are so blessed to be able to stay home with our children. The time goes way too fast!

A Little About Me:

SAHM with a 3 year old son and two daughters ages 6 and 9. They seem to fight a lot, which I'm currently taking a parenting class to try to help with this issue because this will drive me crazy! Overall, they love each other very much.

Hi L.,
First of all my dear, do not put yourself down so much!! You are doing a difficult job and one that you AND your husband agreed to. He needs to lay off any criticsm and you don't need to invent criticsm for yourself. You are lucky that you have two kids close in age (yes!). They will be the best of friends when older. I was the same with my brother and he now has two kids very close in age that are very close. Your son can be an example to his sister and a protector as he gets older. They love being "helpers" at his age.
It sounds like you are taking it as a reflection of you if they are not perfect. It isn't! It also sounds like you are a good mom already. You will have days that are trying, so have that great husband of yours give you some "mom" time and get out of the house, even if it's to just walk in the mall. Most of all, be thankful for those two little miracles you have! I was blessed with one, who is now in college. The time goes fast, enjoy!
p.s.Don't fret about the house...it's just the way it is for the next coupel of years. Do what you can and have your husband help!!!

I applaud you for staying home with your kids. I know it's hard at times (I, too, stayed home until my kids were in school), but let this be your mantra: at the end of your life, you'll never wish you had spent less time with the kids.

Oh sweetheart I can definitely relate. I am stay at home mommy of two little boys Daniel 21 months and Matthew 5 months. My husband works full time and goes to school full time and he is NEVER home. I feel most days like a single parent without the worry of bills and going out to work. He does help as much as possible but I know he is under A LOT of stress so I try my best not to ask more of him. He does spend time with the kids for a little bit before they go to bed but that is our family time so I don't want to leave. So I spoke with my pediatrician about my concerns and feelings of depression and inadequacy to be a good mom because I have the same feelings your having. She recommended I ask four different people to help once a month and that way I can leave once a week for a few hours to get away from the kids. So that way I have been doing this for like two weeks and I can't believe the difference it is making. We ALL need time to ourselves and maybe that would help you to get away from your kids and your work and just have some time to yourself. Also my Grandmother just gave me the best advice the other day. She said that she wishes she has not spent so much time cleaning the house and more time with the kids. No matter how often you clean your house it will always end up dirty again. However your children will not always be little so cherish your moments with your babies while you can and do what you can around the house. Most people understand that anyone with little kids most likely wont have a clean house and don't mind the mess. And hey if they do I guess they can either offer some help and clean it themselves or not come over. That is how I feel about it. I have let my house go and spending more time with the kids and allowing my little one to help me with dinner (he usually ends up playing in the sink with the water and plastic dishes while I cook either way he feels like he is helping and I can still get dinner ready. I try to gather all the dirty clothes at night and throw them in the laundry room in their separate piles and I quit vacuuming 3-4 times a day to only once at night after supper time because my kid just gets food all over and I was sick of cleaning up all day I was missing out on time with my kids. But also if you try to stay on top of just simply picking up after yourself as you go your children will model what they see maybe not right away but as they get older they will catch on and it may not be as hard to get them motivated. I think as long as you read A LOT to them see you reading. I only allow my son to watch TV at certain times now because it was getting out of control. He usually starts throwing a fit when I shut it off but I have told him all the whining and crying in the world is NOT going to change the fact that the tv is staying off and he needs to find something else to do he has plenty of toys and books and crayons etc... and he wants to continue to whine he can go in his room because I dont want to hear it. Sometimes he goes in his room sometimes he stops. Also just simply talking about my feelings with those that I trust and love has helped as well. You don't want to keep those feelings bottled up. Anyhow I hope that some of my story is helpful and let us know how things end up. And remember that you are obviously teaching your kids something they are good kids so they are learning that from someone...:)...anyhow let us know how things go.

L., it's so hard to be 'on' all day every day, isn't it? My kiddos go to daycare 2 days a week and some weeks I cant wait for those days so I can go to work and feel like I 'do' something other than mommy stuff! Two things that make life 'boring' sometimes are naptime schedules and this weather...I go stircrazy and get bored out of my mind. Some days it seems like we don't do anything but stay in and watch TV, even though we do LOTS of other activities. I have noticed since having my 3rd (one is WAY older) that my life came to a halt a lot more than it did with the 2nd. I already had a teen at the time and it really wasn't a big deal to pack up a baby and do everything I used to. Well, then the 3rd came along and it is SO much harder to pack up and go, that sometimes we just dont. I think that spring and summer will make a huge difference (at least that is what I keep hoping). Keep your head up...this is an exhausting job...we are supposed to be supermoms as well as keep a marriage fire burning and stay sane on top of it all!

You'll be okay and your kiddos will have such wonderful memories of you being home with them. But don't feel guilty about finding a daycare to take them to once in a while! You all need a change of scenery now and then!

~L.

Date night.

I try to accomplish ONE thing per day, and if I met that goal, I'm doing a good job. don't look at the list of stuff that didn't get done. Everything you clean as a SAHM will get messed up quickly. That list will never stop. So instead of looking at what's not done, only look at what you accomplished.

Sometimes it's just vacuuming or having dinner on time.

When I'm feeling down, I get hugs from my kids. They think I'm a good mom, and that makes me happy.

If I had to stay home I would go crazy. I love my daughter and know I am a better mom because I work. If I stayed home with her (she is 11 now) I would have been depressed and not who I truly am as a person. I agree that daycare isn't the best choice for some. Everyone is different and I give Kudos to those who can be stay at home Moms or Dads. Kids know what they experience, so if you work they don't know what its like if you don't. Perhaps working 1 night or day during the week would benefit everyone. Feeling good will eminate from you, so search your heart and do what's the best for everyone.

L.,all you need is www.flylady.net.

It is free and if you will do like she says in the 15 minute increments, in a month you will have your house cleaned, all the laundry done, spent more time with your kids and feel so good about yourself.

It is free and she teaches you that you can be in control.

Please, if this works for you, add the What happened portion to this request.

thx. Marciab

Sounds like you are a normal stay-at-home mom! I think we all have those feelings of inadequacy from time to time, partly because the choice we make to stay home doesn't always feel valued by others. While it is tough to keep a tidy, organized home when you're in it 24-7 (and feel like everything you do is undone immediately!), here's some things that have worked for me.
1. Limit TV time by making in part of their routine (eg. 30 minutes after naptime, or one video per day); this makes it is easier to keep the limits you set. I have found using videos the easiest way to do this, as then you have a specific time period and when it's over, it's over.
2. If you feel you don't spend enough quality time with them, set aside a half hour, or hour, each morning for "preschool" time. This can include coloring and craft projects, puzzles, playdough, story/song time, or anything else you want to do. But again, by making it part of a routine, it is easier to stick with it. Your kids will look forward to that each day!
3. Realize that a daycare setting is not "normal life;" your little ones will learn just as much if you can involve them in daily activities, such as helping with meal prep. (healthy eating), setting the table (counting and sequencing), learning to put away toys (organization skills), putting away their laundry (putting things into categories), etc. You would be amazed at what these little ones can do, and if you make it fun, you will be giving them the gift of learning to do "work" with a positive attitude. This is the perfect age to start this training, as this is when they really want to "help."
Most of all, you probably need to give yourself a big pat on the back, as it sounds like you are already doing a great job! My only other thought is that you could probably use some more alone time with your husband, so that you feel more connected, and feel more like a team. Above all, always remember that what you are doing is the most important job in the world! It seems thankless at times, but know that the reward will come later, and your kids will thank you for the sacrifices you make now.

Its normal. I hold a full time job now, but I used to be a housewife.

It sounds like you ARE a good mom- you take care of your kids' needs and you are teaching them how to interact socially rather well.

Give yourself a pat on the back! Make sure that you do something for you too. You could be just bored and wanting some kind of accomplishment to feel like you are doing something valuable with your time. I used to paint & sew.

My biggest lack of motivation (leading to me feeling inadequate) was boredom.

I've recently gone back to work, but I too was a SAHM with a 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old. One thing I found that helped energize me was trading babysitting days with a friend. Every Tuesday I would watch her 2 year old from 9:00 - 1:00 so she could have some time to herself. And then every Thursday she would watch my two. Even if all I did was go back home and read a book, it was wonderful to have some time to myself. I do have a strong housekeeping gene as you say -- but it is really difficult to keep a clean house with a 3 year old and 1 1/2 year old. Whether you're good about housekeeping or not --so don't be so hard on yourself.

Every SAHM has those days. Trust me. But if u ever feel like that u are overwhamled or depressed check with ur doctor. U may need something to help. I am on anixety pills and when I dont take them I am a different mom to my kids. I dont tend to yell at them as much, Keep track of it. Does it feel this way when u dont eat urself or have enough sleep. Just keep a log. Good luck

I think every mom wants to know if they are doing the right thing. I am a mom that works outside the home and sometimes wonder if my child would be better with a full time mom. I was off work for two months recently and flipped on my feelings. I was worried she was not getting enough interaction time with other children. Was I stimulating her enough? Why was I so bored with baby games?

I think a good mom will always worry she is doing the right thing. If you are worried, you are doing fine.

If you are still worried, hit the middle road. Put your children in day care one day a week. They will get additional social interaction and you will get one day for relaxing (or catching up on that stupid housework).

First of all, I think all moms feel inadequate sometimes. I feel that way too. It sounds like maybe you're a little down about your lack of time with your husband. My husband travels for work, so sometimes I'll be parenting on my own for 5 days in a row. I've noticed that the times I get overwhelmed are the times he's not coming home to "relieve" me.

It's too easy to plop the kids in front of the TV. I think your first issue to tackle is turning off that TV. Get the kids outside. Being a stay at home mom does get monotonous, but you have to shake it up. Whenever I'm feeling lethargic, fresh air does wonders (for me and my daughter). Also, if your local gym or YMCA offers childcare you should go do some exercise. It has done wonders for my outlook on life. Check the YMCA for open swim times and take the kids swimming. Do fingerpainting or let the kids help you cook and clean.

I hate cleaning too, so I feel your pain, but it's just something you have to do if you're home. You can choose 1 room everyday or every other day - that way it's not so daunting. Personally, I hired a cleaning lady to come every other week so I only have to do the "upkeep" in between.

About your job. Is there anyway you could change up your schedule? If you're part-time, then maybe you could work one or two days during the week and let the kids go to daycare (if cost isn't an issue). I think as moms we need outside contact and we need our husbands in our lives. I think having at least one weekend day as a family would do alot for your morale. Maybe you could make family movie night on Friday night when your husband gets home (I don't know how late the kids stay up).

Anyways, these are my words of "wisdom". Just a combination of what advice I've gotten from other people and my own experiences. Hope maybe something helped.

L.,
You're not a sham. It's not easy being a full-time mom. It's not easy maintaining a house all the time. I have a 4 year old, a 3 year old, and a 1 year old. Do your best and you'll see positive results. People around you may tell you you're not doing enough; they're wrong. Your children know you love them. They love each other. They look out for each other. They protect each other. I've had the same thoughts. Write to me privately and tell me what your "normal" day looks like and I'll share with you my experiences and what has helped me not feel like a sham. You've made a GREAT choice for you, your children, and your entire family when you decided to be a full-time at-home mom. You chose the most difficult, most rewarding, most challenging, most important "job" out there. :-)

--C.

Dear L.-
I know how you feel. I have up days and down and sometimes I think my kids have too much TV. I don't have a lot of good advice for you, but one thing I can say is that you are wrong about daycare. I taught daycare for 6 months. I did the very best I could and am extremely patient and there is no possible way that a teacher can love their students the way a mother loves her children. They may feed and entertain your babies, but there is no replacement for the love you have. They won't be little for long, and you will miss these days.

Yes - you are totally normal. I just read the new book by Amanda Dickson that talks about finding joy and happiness in the little (even monotonous)things each day. I'm still working on it - and I've been a sahm for 7 years now, but I am learning to find joy in each load of laundry that I get all the way from wash to put away:) Look for the joy. You are doing the VERY most important thing in the world right now. Your kids need YOU more than anything. "The world" would have you think that a daycare can teach your child more than you. NOT EVEN! Children need their mothers. No one can take your place. STAY HOME and love your babies.

Dear L.,

I seriously had to scroll to the bottom of your comment to see that I hadn't written it myself. Our lives are so identical it's amazing!

I too am a SAHM with 2 children ages 1 1/2 and 3 1/2. I am also a nurse who works on the weekend--when my husband can handle watching the kids. I went from working 60-70 hours/week to just weekends after my first child was born. After the second child came along, I'm lucky to get to work my minimum of 16 hours/month.

I also struggle with the thought that I'm not doing a good enough job and that if I had sent them to daycare they'd learn more and have more fun. Sometimes, as a last resort, I turn the tv and let them watch just so I can get something accomplished. I try to do fun things with them and have their own time to spend alone with me while the other is sleeping.

We are in a few groups and that helps quite a bit to keep your sanity. Wed are pajamas day unless we have to go for a doctor appointment or something. Every day fills up quickly and before you know it the week is over.

I think we all have the feelings you described. Some days are more crazy than others but you make it through. Just hearing my little girl say to me "I love you mommy!" makes my whole week.

Sounds like you are doing a great job and just try to treasure all the special little moments you have with them. I try to write their weight, height, and other little events in their lives at different milestones cause I know I will forget and they are so precious. Just looking at that brings back wonderful memories that I would have forgotten or never would've had if I wasn't there with them.

Feel free to email back. Sounds like our lives are very similar and it feels nice to know there is someone else out there that feels like they are in the same boat. I'm here for you if you need to chat. = )

Hi L.,
I understand completly. Some days I feel like I'm not the greatist mom. It's so hard to juggle all the a SAHM has to do. I wish that the house would clean itself. Our house is clean but sometimes not as clean as it should be but I would rather spend the day with my kids playing and let the house keep for another day. It REALLY used to stress me out. I would be so concerned about making sure all the laundry was done and the bathrooms are spotless but then it hit me one day, if all the laundry doesn't get done today, who cares? One thing that I do with the boys is we have races on how fast we can clean up their toys. I was so sick of all the toys everywhere (and sick of the complaining when I asked them to clean it up) that the race helps make it fun. I usually reward them with something, usually it's little but they like it.

The weather is another reason why we get stir crazy. I see you're from GR. We are too. A lot of times we will rotate between the 3 malls so the kids can play and they don't get sick of the same thing. Another thing we do is go to the Childrens Museum. Have you been there? They are having a Bob the Builder exhibit right now and the kids love it. When I am having a bad day at home I get out of my house. It doesn't matter where we go it's nice for everyone to do SOMETHING.

I think the fact that you know you have bad days as a mom makes you a good mom. I am always leary of moms that think they are perfect because no one is. Hang in there, spring is coming and it will get better.

Chris

I think every mom at one point in staying home feels inadequate. I am a mother of four and I find myself saying "you need to do more with your kids" a few times a week. I find that spending a few minutes on the computer to find crafts or other activities to do with them helps. I feel like a great mom when I can put a craft or somthing like that once a day. It doesn't take that long just a few minutes on a weekday to plan a whole week of things to to. Hope this helps

I have been going through this recently myself. I found myself completely unmotivated after I had my third child. I wasn't interacting with my children like I wanted to and don't even ask about the housework. It's been 18 months and I am finally getting back on my feet. I realized I had some postpartum depression, but that wasn't all of it. I had stopped taking care of myself. I am not talking about grooming; I mean I wasn't exercising, eating right, or getting enough sleep. I just couldn't seem to make these things a priority. I started competition a month ago that made me have to sleep enough, eat right, and exercise at least an hour a day. I can't believe the difference it has made. My motivation is finally coming back. I still have a ways to go, but I am definitely on the mend. Also, make sure that you are using your "you" time well. I found that I was wasting a lot of time. The more time I wasted, my desire to not do anything productive increased.

As far as spending time with your children, start by scheduling some activity time. Maybe make sure you do a craft every day at 1:00 and read stories every day at 10:00 am. I know that can help me stay on track. Good luck and hang in there.

Hi, I my kids are both in school now, but I was also a sahm till my youngest was in school. I too felt the same way you did, and sadly so did my children, they know when your not doing well, it effects them too, I realized that I needed to do more things for myself, I joined a gym, went out occasionally with girlfriends and ofcourse my husband, and also joined in with playdates.
What do you do for yourself?? Take time for you, consider taking some shifts during the week and maybe work everyother weekend so you can have family time.
Now that my kids are older, I am so glad that I stayed home as much as possible. I now have a job that is just during school hours and days and have summers off.
I am thankful that my husband let's me do this, for now anyway. God luck and don't think that you are a bad mom, your not, just take that time for yourself, then things will be better for everyone, even dad!!

Totally normal and I do know how you feel. I don't always feel like I do enough with my daughter and I feel bad that I have resorted to the electronic babysitter.
Try asking your kids 2 or so times a week what they would like to do for the day. I recently told my dtr of errands that had to be done thru out the week but we marked it on her calendar in her room that we were going to the toy store on Friday. She woke every morning telling me how many days left. It made her excited and me feel better that she was happy. Take them to the library for special storytime. Make a fort with blankets and read books together. It's the small and simple stuff that will make all of you feel better.
I do not have the housekeeping gene either but I do have the pack rat gene! Oh yeah! Drives my hubs nuts. And I feel bad but life is too short and kids grow up fast. If I can ask my dtr if she had fun today and she can say yes then so what if a tornado hit the house. There is always tomorrow. heehee.
I feel bad because I have always worked in the past and it was just with getting preg with my now 6mth old that I haven't worked. I feel horrible, like I'm not contributing and hubs has to work so hard. Then I started babysitting after school time. But in my head that's not a real job either. My hubs would prefer I didn't work unless absolutely necessary so he's content but I am torn. I feel liek it's my family too so I should have a 9-5 too but I don't want to be away from my kids. In my head, nothing is good enough either way. I could have a 9-5 and feel like I never see my kids. I just try to get out with them more and tell myself it's worth it in the end.

I am in the same position as you are. I work nights 3 - 12 hour shifts a week and am home most of the time during the day. I have gotten that feeling lately as well. I feel that I could be spending more time with my son, teaching him and just playing. I am pregnant with our second child due in March and I was hoping that the lack of energy was the combo of working 3rd shift and the pregnancy. I plan to work only weekends once the next baby is born. I think I struggle with finding things to do with my son, it seems like the same activities day after day. I don't have a lot of friends that stay at home with kids so activities seem to be limited in that respect. I think that every mom faces guilty feelings no matter if a sahm or working mom. I'm sure there are plenty of other moms that feel the same way.

L.,
I totally relate to what you are going through. Many years ago, I stayed at home with a couple of children. I loved it but I never could keep a spotless house, so I felt better about myself when I worked outside the house. I don't think that my children benefitted from me working outside the home. I think if I could do it all again, I would spend more time with my children than I did.
Good luck, I think you are sooo lucky even if you put cleaning house on the back burner for now.

Sheila said almost eveything and had excellent advice. I think your children at the ages they are need to be home with mom, there is nothing they need to learn from daycare.

I do feel you may have the winter blues, but if at all you feel it is more--please see your Dr.

Being home in the winter is hard, you just need to be creative: I always tried to bring a bit of the outside in. If you have a basement set up toys down there like a slide, sand box, swing, let them ride their bikes. Blow bubbles, hit balloons around, dance with music and scarves. Be silly:) I miss it just thinking about it--my kids are too old now.

My kids also liked to do activities like paint, and w/your kids so young use pudding or cool whip instead of paint, play with play dough-they also have cool stuff to do with play dough now. Someone asked about activites on a post recently, you might want to check it out!

Hope this helps! GL:)

I have felt the same many times. I think it more of the winter blues! Get out to the library, a playgroup etc. You need to get out & do activities. You are the best teacher for your kids & you need to fulfill your own needs to be happy too!
Brekka

L. dear,
if you feel inadequate
then it probably means that you can still do something better.
I raised my boys at home, no daycare, it has huge positive sides. Do you PLAY with them together?
Legos is a good starter, build castles together, roads, race your cars together, let them win and sometimes beat them, too, have a lot of fun while playing, you need to become a kid yourself somehow.
Think what they CAN do already and start educating them SLOWLY:
blocks with numbers and letters,to pronounce letters, and find something in the room/house what starts with the same sound/letter, but make it FUN for them.
Actively engage them into all cleaning and dish washing and such things: when I needed to wash floors, we turned the house into a pirate ship, and spilled some water on the floor, as if the huge waves washed the deck over, and we took turns who is the captain and the captain gave out orders (not only yuou alone do it!) how to clean up the floor, how to wash, what corners were missed and what else can be done so that all is sparkling. The sailors, under the captains' guidance (you in some cases) can also have a word to POINT OUT TO ZTHE CAPTAIN what he missed while ordering around, and of course the captain must HELP the sailors, not only just being a chief commander, as if he does not help, he loses the authority of the sailors and they won't obey him...
when I needed to clean the room up, all the surfaces full of eee... whatever, you know, then I did it thuS: absolutely EVERYTHING from all over the room, goes into one huge pile in the middle of the room, on the carpet (floor): papers, toys, books, dishes, uneaten snacks, EVERYTHING. Everybody helped to do it, ans it was fun as you do not need to apply your brain into such cleaning, just all from everywhere goes into one pile. Be careful with liquids and chocolate/ketchup only, as you do not want it all wet or stained. Now, what do you see?
A clean room!!!!! One task is immediately accomplished. What else do you see? Now, the next part stARTS: THIS IS CALLED A "TREASURE HUNT": you can make it more fun if you take turns, and one at a time, you close your eyes, and pick ONE OBJECT from the pile of 'treasures', and decide (together or alone) where would be the best place for this object. garbage? Fine, run take it to the bin. Upper shelf? Great, climb up and put it there... and so on. If your 'crew' had a lot of energy, make then run all over the house to place things up one by one. If you all get tired, you can make smaller piles around in the circle: garbage pile; bedroom pile, kitchen pile, and once all sorted out, put all the bedroom pile into a plastic baggie, walk over there, and take thing one by one, placing them into places.
This way, your house is clean, you teach the kids to be caring, neat, happy, communicative, creative, and all are happy.
I would VERY STRONGLY recommend you to limit the TV time to no more than 1-2 hours per day, for some meaningful watching.
What do you fill in the time with?
1. discuss what they've seen, what they think of it, why the characters in the cartoon behaved so...
2. read them stories, and definitely then discuss the events in the story, what why how, what is the reason, how would they behave if they were that character, and what would happen if something in the story would happen differently: the bus came, for instance, and took kids to the kindergarten in the story. But, you say: the bus did not come. Mom and dad are at work. you guys waited for the bus but nothing happened. What do you do next...? And let them 'write' this story in their heads, and interrupt with unexpected situations: they'd say, well we'd go back home. You say: you started home, but here suddenly from behind the corner, here comes the GIRAFFE!!! what do you do? Present them very crazy funny unexpected situations, and go with their fantasy. Then, dad comes home, and you have a story for him to tell, you'll be amazed what you will 'write' together. You can really write it down, but even if you won't, it's a great exercise for the kids to start thinking, being responsible for their actions, and analyze WHY they do things like this (in their story)...
and so on...
they are absolutely creative, go with them!
they will lead you through, all it takes for you, is to start their game, and they pick it up and go to unknown directions making you SO HAPPY to participate in the world of their wonders.
Once you play with them long enough, they learn how to play on their own, but do not let the TV raise your kids, this is a crazy thing to watch without analyzing what is good and what is not there, it is a ¸TOOL for the system to raise obedient citizens, you know that, so keep it under control, if you want your kids to develop and open up all their natural potential creativity and genius.
I miss my boys being little, tremendously, that was my happiest time in life. they arfe 23 and 25 now, but we are great friends up until now, and they do very well in life.

L., You are blessed twice:
You have great kids, and_ you can stay at home to participate in their great life while they are growing. use the moment, do not spill a drop!!!
You can always write me @
____@____.com
if you feel like it. I have more ideas :)
and I also wrote some stories about my boys... I can share with you in attachment, if you wish.
Have a great gooDay, nicEve, and enJOY!!! M.

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