Hooray for Motherhood? Hardly, Toughest Job in the World, Thankless Too

Updated on June 23, 2010
M.M. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
26 answers

First of all, I feel awful writing this but it's true. I hear so many women out there proclaiming how much they "enjoy" and "love" motherhood. I love my son and would give my life to him without even blinking if need be but enjoy motherhood? hardly. And I am just being honest. Somewhere deep down yes I probably would enjoy it if I slept more than 3 hrs a night, my son still wakes up every 3 hrs at night on most nights and I have to rock him to sleep and sometimes I am not able to fall back to sleep until hrs later at which time he gets up again and i have to rock him again. I am a stay home mom. Then in the morning, with my 3 hr or so sleep, I have to be ready for the day, fixing his food, cleaning the house, my son although perfectly capable of eating on his own would eat sufficiently only if I feed him, he's so thin, my husband and i are both thin by nature so I don't want to do "tough love" and not feed him. He's thin as it is so I feed him if that's what it takes. I've tried everything but he's very very active and food is just not a priority for him, activity is. I should mention that my husband works all the time and not able to help me out at all even though he lives here with us. I am so depressed about my situation, where are all the joy i hear about about motherhood, wish i could feel that "joy". It's hard to experience "joy" when I have to function in 3 hrs sleep every night for awhile now. I've done some research into why he keeps getting up every 3 hrs, I just learned that there are kids who sleeps through the night after 1 wk of being born and there are kids who still wakes up at night up to when they are 6 yrs old. I ended up with the later. I should also mention my son is 2 1/2 yrs now and is great at memorization and labeling items but he is still only speaking one word at a time and not connecting words, he's in early intervention now for speech and working with him. I am frustrated and scared there's something wrong with him, why is he not connecting words by now? I work with him all the time on this, God knows where the energy comes from from 3 hrs of sleep at night, cleaning, feeding him, cooking, running errands the whole day and I am traumatized at night knowing just when I am about to sleep, he'll be getting up. I also notice, his behavior therapist (he's in early intervention for this too) said he's not engaging in enough "imaginative play" ie making believe cars are crashing into each other, or playing with the little people toys pretending they are farmers, etc. He does play with his lawn mower, vacuum, things that "move" is his favorite but imaginative play, not too much. I read to him all the time, he has his favorite books. God knows again where I find the energy to do to this with 3 hrs of sleep at night but I make sure I read plenty to him and he already memorized a lot of his books, his strenght for sure is his memory skills, he remembers a lot. Also, when I say, do you want pizza or food or juice, he'll answer what he likes but i can't get him to grasp or say the concept of answering "yes" or "no". So that's one of the thousand things I am working on him, He loves to play with sand, water and he does that alot. I am just worried he's not developing properly, I do my best despite the lack of the sleep, but feel that I am not on top of my game bec. of my exhaustion. Can you believe too he's my only child, but honestly it's like having at least kids with having to feed him since he is not "into" eating on his own. My husband has very little input in this and thinks I am just worrying too much. Pls don't be judgmental and get me wrong, I love my son so much but just being real and truthful, I am exhausted and having a hard ttime shouting hooray for motherhood like I always hear.it's just not what I expected, its the hardest job of all and no one thanks you at the end of the day. I wish I could be one of those "hooray for motherhood types" but I am not, I am exhausted. My son is a loveable affectionate boy and we have throughout the day our affection moments for each other, I love him dearly and I am blessed to have an affectionate boy just really tired from having to function on so little sleep .I should add here that when he wakes up at night and my husband tries to rock him, he won't go back to sleep unless it's me who rocks him, we're very close bec. we're together all day long and his daddy his home a couple of hrs a day so he's much more used to me than him, my husband works long hrs and works when he gets home too so my son's greatest comfort is me. Pls give your thought and advice.

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So What Happened?

THANK YOU everyone for all your kind words, support and advice!!! It means the world to me. I love this site because you get not only support but ideas on how to do things better. So far my son and I have been sleeping better for couple of nights, I've taken the advice of one briliant mom here who suggested a light healthy snack before bedtime. So far it has worked like a charm! My son sleeps much better and although he still stirs a couple of times during the night, he goes back to sleep with a little cooing (I cosleep with him), much better than before which was crying upon fully waking up and then I've had to rock him to sleep (which was a problem bec. it takes me time to go to sleep). As you can imagine everything else felt much better and easier with a night's rest of 6 to 7 hrs a night. My son's dr. told me a while back that my son is super healthy and sometimes there are just toddlers who are "good sleepers" and some are "bad sleepers". Makes sense since even as adults there are people who sleeps good and those who just don't. My son is possibly by nature not a good sleeper, only time will tell, I hope he outgrows this. Thanks again for reading my rambling vent "asking for support" questions, your support means a lot to me, thanks so much again and may God bless you all and your family.

More Answers


answers from Kansas City on

You need to sleep with him. This time will pass. No more rocking. Just sleep with him in your bed. If he cries because you aren't rocking, tough. Just sleep with him. In a short amount of time you'll both be sleeping most of the way through.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I remember being on the phone with my mom- and telling her that I knew I could handle this if I just wasn't so tired. At the time, I was holding a crying baby and dinner had just been fried in the oven. The house was a mess and my husband was on his last pair of clean underpants.

She told me to put the baby down in her crib, call for a pizza and ask my husband to throw in a load of laundry. Which he cheerfully did. By the time the pizza showed up, my daughter was sound asleep and we snarfed our dinner and folded laundry together. Even at my age, mom knew best and she was right.

You can't do it alone. Those cheerful, chipper moms have their bad days, too. They may never admit it, but we live in such a competitive age, it seems like everyone has to be the perfect parent. (When did parenting become a sport??) This is an exhausting job. Yes, I used the word JOB, because it is!

I know you said your son is in early intervention, but does your district have a Parents As Teachers program? This way, a developmental specialist can come to your house see him in his natural environment.

Also, when your husband gets home, find fifteen minutes to leave the house by yourself. Run to the store for a gallon of milk, or go walk. Just for fifteen minutes. Even a short time alone to gather your thoughts can help.

Finally, please know that this too, shall pass. The morning will come when you wake up in a panic and dash to his room only to find that he has slept through the night and so have you!

Hang in there, sweetie. You are going to get through this. Just realize that it's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to admit that you are tired and can't do it all!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

At 2 1/2, he should be sleeping through the night. I agree with the other mom that you should get out of the habit of rocking him to sleep. Develop a new night routine. Bath, pjs, snack, a book and a song then it's lights out. He's going to fight it, but be consistent and don't give in. He'll get it eventually when he knows you mean business.

My husband and I also split the weekend, like another mom did. My day was Saturday to sleep in and my husband would sleep in on Sunday. I liked it because my kids got to spend time with their father doing normal, daily things. They also had time to get used to one another. Again, you're going to get resistance with this too - stick to it and be consistent. Both father and son WILL survive.

Let your son feed himself - seriously, he will eat when he is hungry. Talk to his peditrician and see what he suggests. Maybe your son would like to graze more than eat 3 solid meals a day. My kids were like that.

Finally, give yourself a break. Don't try to implement all of these changes at once. Pick one, wait until it's been a habit for a month or two and then move on to the next. I would tackle the sleeping through the night thing first. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Hey, you've gotten some really good advice and I have none better to offer, I just wanted to say that it's really hard to like or love ANYTHING on three hours sleep. Don't feel guilty about that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My going-on-3 year old is also in speech therapy and working with an OT for his sensory issues. And when he wasn't sleeping through (until about 5 months ago) I was going looney. We, too, rocked him to sleep at nap and at night, and when he woke at night (2-3 times), we rocked him to sleep again. He's so tall that it wasn't even comfortable for us (or him, probably), to be hanging off the rocking chair, but we rocked him to sleep nonetheless. And because my husband has to function at a "paying" job 5 days a week, I did most of the middle of the night rocking, so I wasn't getting much sleep either.

And I started to resent it. And I started to resent my child. And I started to resent being a mom. And that scared me. It scared me a LOT.

I remembered what a good friend told me months earlier- "You can tell the difference when your child NEEDS to cry, vs. when WANTS to cry." You know, the difference between frightened howling and long drawn-out teary whining. And I decided it was time for him to cry it out at night and naps. It was a really tough choice - I was committed to not resorting to this method - I'd read Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution and I loved it. But it just wasn't working fast enough. I hated myself for being angry with my son - I had CHOSEN to rock him to sleep for 2+ years, after all, so I wasn't his fault that it was all he knew. But I couldn't keep silently cursing him as he thrashed around in my arms in the rocking chair in the dark, either.

So we told him we were going to have a new routine at bedtime. Daddy was going to read 3 books, then turn out the light, then sing "Lullaby", and then hum it. (This was generally the routine, altho we'd let him pick as many books as he wanted, which was sometimes 10 or 12 if he was stalling). And then it would be time for Evan to lie in his bed and go to sleep. (This was the new twist). And that he could turn on his (Fisher-Price) aquarium if he wanted to, while falling asleep. We took a deep breath, and went for it.

The first night, he cried for 5 minutes and then slept the rest of the night. We were stunned. The second night he cried for 10, and then was silent for 15 minutes. I snuck in the cover him up and what to do you know? He was still awake, lying in bed, listening to his quiet music! Of course, it all went to hell after that, but I manged to stay firm, hugged him, put him back in his crib and left. He cried hard for almost 20 minutes while I cried in the hallway. It was terrible for us. But then he finally fell asleep. The third night, he let out a wail when Dave left the room, and then was silent. We stared at each other - we couldn't believe it. Here it was 8 o'clock and we were both in the living room - neither of us was rocking him for the next hour! And that's been that.

We've had a few setbacks - vacations, overnights with family, when he was sick, and it takes a night or two of fussing (and it *is* fussing - not howling, choking, gagging cries - just teary complaining) before he's in the groove again.

And it's SO much nicer for ME. I have two hours or more of my day back. Because he puts himself to sleep at nap and at night, he usually can put himself back to sleep in the middle of the night, too. Once or twice week I go in and change him, and rock for a few minutes, and then whisper "It's time to sleep in your bed. Sweet dreams, I love you." and I lay him down and 19 times out of 20 he puts his head down and I go back to bed. I'm up 10 minutes at most when I used to be up for an hour. Rarely he'll pop up and howl - and then I make a decision: hold him til he sleeps, or hold him another minute or two and try it again. Sometimes I hold him until he's asleep, but I do it because I WANT to, not because I'm FORCED to.

I'm so much happier, and so is he. We are both sleeping better, interacting during the day better, and frankly I'm enjoying being his mom again.

I've been through tough times before when I was single and never "resorted" to happy pills - but I felt my attitude was affecting my relationship with my child, so I finally asked my doctor for help. She said that when a person is so tired for so long, your body can suppress the production of seratonin, and giving it a jump-start with an antidepressant will often get you back to where you need to be. So I'm taking a low dose if Prozac and I (usually!!) feel awesome. Some days I think I need to up the dose, and other days I think I could stop taking it, so... I'll keep on the low dose for a while longer.

This has been a long disjointed response to your long disjointed post. I know where you are because I've been right there myself. And it sucks. Please know that you'll come out on the other side of this storm sooner or later. Our method worked for us. I hope it might work for you.

Good luck! I'm pulling for you! ~ D.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Please don't feel guilty about your feelings....When you don't have enough sleep everything is off. It is difficult to find joy in anything. This is the problem that you have to work on solving. If I were you I would try sleeping with my son. That way when he wakes up you will be there to cuddle him. Be aware this may set up that you will have him in your bed for a long time but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

If you don't want to co-sleep then I would say to try the Ferber method-it seems to work for a lot of people. I would research it online so that you are armed with the most information on how to do this.

Oh-and please do not pay attention to that mean-girl previous poster telling you to be ashamed. There is no place on these boards for that kind of unsupportive talk. I would like to see her function on the limited sleep that you have for 2.5 years.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

You can look back at one of my previous questions...i think I asked a very similar question.

I was sleep deprived on call 24/7 had a husband working 12+ hour days with no break even on the weekends.

A few things that help...you getting some sleep will be the biggest help in making live seem bearable...so you have got to get that fixed.

I ended up totally child proofing my son's room and put up a gate at night turning his whole room into a giant crib. Then I told him he had to stay in his room from 7pm until 7am. Of course I checked on him and had a monitor...he learned that was the routine. It took three really hard nights of not going in to comfort him when he woke up...but let him learn to settle himself back down and go back to sleep.

Your son has learned the only way to go to sleep is with you rocking him...so when he awakens during his sleep cycle (as we all do during the night) he doesn't know how to just turn over, snuggle with his lovey and go back to sleep...he needs you to go back to sleep. You have to retrain him to go to sleep without you being there. Imagine if you woke up to turn over and adjust your pillow and your pillow was gone and so was your blanket. You would go "hey what happened here? where is my pillow and blanket?" you would wake completely up rather than just drifting back off to sleep again. He is waking up and you are gone and he can't get back to sleep until you are there for him to do it.

Richard Ferber wrote a book on sleep training...most people call it the cry it out method...but it isn't just letting your child cry...it is training your child to sleep. Please check it out of the library and read it...it will teach you how to teach your child to sleep. Then YOU can sleep and you will feel so much better.

I still nap most afternoons with my 3 year old...and my 5 year old watches a video. I need the extra sleep to function to be a happy mom while making dinner and giving bathes and getting kids to bed. Without a nap every couple of days...I am a frazzled grumpy mom making dinner, bathing kids and getting them to bed.

Also, if you have a hard time falling asleep melatonin (which you can find at a health food store) will help you get to sleep, but only stays in your system for an hour so if you need to wake up and help your child you are not all groggy.

If you have any questions just give me a private message...I have so been there...and now I am loving motherhood...it just took me a while to find out what I needed to make the job work for me.

Dr. Phil quotes a study that a SAHM works the equivalent of two full time jobs out of the home and if paid minimum wage would make $117,000 a year. Sending you a great big HUG!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You poor thing! I would not enjoy motherhood either!!! I think at this point I would be sleeping with him. I would not rock him anymore but crawl in with him. All my kids slept with us or in there beds. I got sleep and dad did, they did! It worked out well.
If you do not want to do that then you just need to stop rocking him. Let him start crying it out. It will take a week maybe less but it will be worth it to you in the end. If you can hold out and not go in and rock him.
You do need to do one or the other for you own health. You will not enjoy anything if you become ill. He will talk and put words together in time. Your doing everything right.
Finger food is great for this age, he will eat.....he will not starve. When he gets hungry enough he will pick it up! Go for it!
Once your rested you will enjoy him more. You will be a happy mom. So please take care of yourself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

HUGS from another sleep deprived mother (I'm sure there are MANY of us)! My son was born prematurely, with several health issues and developmental delays. He didn't sleep more than 40mins at a time (15mins was the average) until 20mos. Then I had to re-program him, since that was all he knew. I went to every seminar, sleep specialist, etc. I got help from his developmentalists. He's 25mos and its getting better. He's still up 3-5x/night, so still not enough for ME to sleep, but he's getting better.

Similar to your situation, my husband works many hours/late, I work nights/weekends - so, I'm on my own with no help. I do the best I can, start every day with the hope this will be the day it changes around. I know that this too will pass, just like everything else we've gone thru, just like every other phase/stage that children go thru. Go thru the other responses, some of which have great advice and book recommendations, selecting those that might work for you, and writing down the others in case you need more ideas.

Good luck!!!!!!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

I don't mean to laugh but HAHAHHAAAA

I too felt this way when my little girl was up to 4 months old. I woke up twice a night and it took me an hour to get her back to sleep. I know this seems like small potatoes for what you are going through but I also was going to college and working part-time. I was DYING for sleep. And those day time naps you are supposed to take? I couldn't ever fall asleep. It was like I was a walking zombie with no clue how to shut my eyes. I was upset, thought I was a bad mother, wondered why I wasn't 'overjoyed' with my new little baby and then...the silver lining.
SHE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. I've been normal ever sense.
So why I don't know why you your son doesn't sleep all ngiht yet I can tell you every SINGLE thing youa re feeling is because you are sleep deprived and IT DOES get better. My advice is to read some sleep training books and pick a method and stick with it.

We chose CIO (I know your son is to old for this now) and it worked and I never regretted it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I was told when I got pregnant to be prepared to run on half empty for the rest of my life. I wouldn't say it was the rest of my life but it sure was the first few years of their life. I would be concerned he is only sleeping 3 hours at a time at the age of 2 1/2. What does his doctor say? If they are blowing you off or not giving the the needed recommendations, you need to find another doctor. You have mentioned some major concerns and it sounds like you are getting the needed assistance for some of his developmental issues. What specialists are you seeing? Your husband isn't there to see or notice these issues. I would get him alone, no distractions, and talk to him frankly with a firm tone, no emotions, so he knows you mean business and tell him his current response is not an option. Those that are not around to be part of the day-to-day routines and 'problems', always find a way to brush it off. Tell him you have no reason to make this up and you don't WANT something to be wrong, that you are a smart person and have the ability identify when there is something to be looked into. If you are proven wrong - that is great.

I wish I could give you better advice. Your son is lucky you are willing to fight for him. You are doing great, even on little or no sleep. You may feel alone and confused, and of course tired, but keep on 'keeping on'. Keep reaching out and researching until you have the answers and solutions that fit your needs.

Peace & Blessings



answers from Pittsburgh on

A lot of people gave you good advice on sleep training for whatever route you decide to go (cosleeping, CIO, etc). While you decide how you want to handle this - do what you have to do to get some sleep! You can't think clearly to decide anything rationally when you are exhausted. Please - take your child to a "mom's day out" center, or enroll him in a 2-day a week half-day preschool, or get a neighborhood teen to watch him in the afternoon a few days a week. Then, please do NOT use that time to do chores or errands - use it to SLEEP. Once you get some sleep, everything else will be less overwhelming!

And, it will be good for your child to learn to interact and depend on someone besides you. Win-Win!

I really do sympathize with you. I wrote in with a sleep question myself a few weeks ago, and got the "get some sleep however you can" advice from another mom, and it is SO true.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I highly recommend Dr. Laura's latest book, "In Praise of Stay-at-home Moms." I struggled with a lot of these issues...and I still do...but her book helped me see myself and my children in a completely different light. A beautiful light. We are our children's heroes and these seemingly pointless and endless days are doing SO MUCH MORE for your son than you know right now. I really think you'd enjoy her book and that it would give you some great insight. I read it every few months to pick myself back up! Good luck!!


answers from Milwaukee on

well i'm going to be one of the mothers that say you should be ashamed of yourself to even write such a letter. no job is easy...and you should be thankful that you have a healthy child that wakes you up during the night. if you aren't happy being home with your child than do something about it and stop whining!!! put your child in day care and get a job then. i for one love being a mom. i cherish every moment with my child and even can honestly say i hate it when school starts.i love being home with my son. my son and i are very close. he was born with "floppy airways" and had to be trached at 1 1/2 months. he would wake me up during the night because he had to be suctioned. he was 10 days old before i was able to hold him for the first time. and now at the age of 8 he has chronic kidney diease!! so count your blessings and grow up!! it's mothers like you that give the good loving caring mothers a bad rep!!!!


answers from Savannah on

I understand completely, and I know you're venting a lot of stress and frustration.... I have TOTALLY been there. I mean, close to the edge, about to pull my hair out.... I get it. But several of the problems and frustrations you are facing are more or less by choice. Stay with me please! Don't quit reading yet!! I'm not one of the mean nazi moms!! But seriously...you don't really *have* to spoon feed him every bite, nor do you have to rock him to sleep every night, or allow him to get up in the middle of the night. Please don't get pissed, I am speaking from experience! I say this to you, because someone once said it to me, and it helped me see that I didn't HAVE to live the way I was living.

If its not working for you, change it. If you need more sleep, organize a schedule for that. Help teach him to feed himself. He WILL make a huge mess. But it will keep you from having your hands tied every time he's hungry.

Do you only have one child? If so, take advantage. Its so easy with one once you get him on YOUR schedule, not the other way around.

It just sounds like you are really, really over analyzing things.

It sounds awful, but its totally do-able. You need to dig your heels in, commit to household schedule that you can maintain, and go from there. Before you know it you guys will be sleeping until 8 am and going to bed before 10.

Hang in there!!!

----PS ----- I totally agree with Suzi! Pull him in the bed with you and sleep. Get your rest, or you won't be rested enough to keep up, and you will continue to have this anxiety and frustration, because your body hasn't had time to re-charge.

Also ---- think about child swapping with a close friend once a week. One afternoon you take her kid, another afternoon she takes yours. This will give you an entire afternoon to do whatever you want. AND it will give your baby a playmate on the other afternoon, which may sound stressful now, but trust me, playmates are LIFESAVERS when the kids are old enough to interact.

BEST OF LUCK - you can do it!!!



answers from Austin on

Not to sound disparaging but when I find myself exhausted and feeling sorry for myself I then feel guilty. Why? Well, our Mothers and their mothers before us have been doing this for centuries with less conveniences and to me far more struggles in there day. Can you imagine? No formula, no disposable diapers, no AC, no cars, no strollers, no grocery stores, no multiple bedroom houses, 3 or more children to feed and take care of (on average), no voting rights, no role other than wife and mother, etc, etc – it really does amaze me on how strong we women have been in the past and are today =)

There are many times that I remember the days when I was single with a somewhat carefree and easy life and then my daughter looks at me straight in the eyes says something amazing and I know that I wouldn't change where I am now for anything.



answers from Minneapolis on

I think if you could get him sleeping better and get more sleep yourself it would make a world of difference. I understand you probably don't have much time or energy for reading, but I highly recommend Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's book, "Sleepless in America" for sleep issues. She really helped me with my boys. Although all kids are different, he probably shouldn't be waking up every 3 hours at this age and needing you to rock him back to sleep. Mary also has a website: www.parentchildhelp.com. It might not be a bad idea to see a doctor or counselor for yourself to be evaluated for depression or even post-partum depression although your "baby" is older. He might have become dependent upon you feeding him and if left to his own devices will eventually feed himself (assuming this isn't part of the issues for which he's getting special help). Even though he's thin, missing one or two meals until he decides to feed himself won't hurt him. You might want to discuss that with his pediatrician or his therapists. Good luck--motherhood is very exhausting.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think you need to call your OB/GYN and say that you need to be evaluated for Post Partum Depression. PPD an show any time in the first year (or even beyond) and is often associated with a lack of sleep. Nobody enjoys motherhood all the time (or somedays, even most of of the time!) but you can feel better. I know, I've been there, and getting my PPD treated was the best thing I ever did. Get yourself help, because you deserve it, and studies show that kids of depressed moms have major consequences at the time, and later in life. Get help today!



answers from Providence on

Dont be so tough on yourself. You need some rest and a little YOU time. Try to get a break a friend , family member, even if its just for an hour a week.



answers from Pittsburgh on

While I cannot address your developmental concerns (have you spoken to the pediatrician about this?), I can relate to your feelings of depression. After my 1st child was born, I did go through a long period of depression. I found myself feeling bouts of anxiety attacks, and I couldn't relate to the "joy of motherhood." I even worked full time, which really was break time for me, and I found I dreaded going home. Eventually, I was able to work myself out of it. I now have 4 children, stay at home and I really do understand that phrase now. You need a friend, family member or doctor you can talk to. I waited too long to seek someone out to speak to.


answers from Pittsburgh on

HI MariaMao, You need some serious time-off and sleep!! Motherhood is a very stressfull job and there are some hard times, but you are so exhusted that you aren't enjoying some of the most precious times of your life!! It's great that your husband works so much, but he is missing out too! Ask your husband to take off of work for a weekend, pack him and your son up and send them away for a weekend! Sure, it will be hard for you to let go, it will be hard on your hubby to be the sole caretaker of his son for a couple of days....but your son & hubby need the time together and you need the time for yourself! Sleep, call old friends, take a bubble bath, get some pizza you love, watch a good movie, read a book, lay in the sun....recharge your batteries!!! After two full nights of sleep you'll be amazed how much better you will feel! Find a "mom's day out" program near your home where you can take your son for a few hours a week. Talk to your doctor about how you feel and what is going on with you at home! You need some support, understanding and some time! Reach out and get it ASAP!! To be a good parent you have to take care of yourself as well as your child!! You have taken the first step by reaching out here...don't stop!! Best wishes.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh, of course you are not enjoying motherhood, you are just too tired! Things will seem better when both of you are getting more sleep. You don't have to accept that "some kids just don't sleep." You don't have to rock him for hours on end. Unless he has some very unusual medical condition, he can sleep through the night most nights and you can too! He gets up at night because you have allowed him to. I'm not beating you up for it, we are all new at this the first time we have kids, so we learn as we go, and some times we need some help from other mamas! It's time for him to learn to sleep without you rocking him over and over. You have gotten some replies from co-sleeper advocates and some from the teach your son how to go to sleep on his own advocates. Choose which way seems better to you and stick with that. But you have to be decided in whatever approach you take. Personally I found the teach your child to go to sleep on their own works better. (I think you will sleep better if he is not in your bed and then also you don't have to go through this again when it is time to get him out of your bed). He is certainly old enough to understand "it's time to go to sleep," and he is old enough to understand that you are not abandoning him or disappearing, you are in the other room while he is sleeping. I also think that at 2.5 years develpoing indepence is such an important task, it's very developmentally appropriate to be teaching him to sleep independently. If you are up for reading, The Sleepeasy Solution was really the most readble, practical, comforting, non-guilt inducing, and flexible book on teaching your child to sleep. But as you are too tired to read probably, Diana and Maretta did a great job describing for you a good bedtime routine and nighttime approach. Additionally I would add to what they have said telling him the simple phrase, "It's time to sleep." "mommy and daddy are sleeping in their room, it's time for you to sleep." Then you go back to your room.
The phrase, "It's time to.." is such a great phrase in parenting toddlers and preschoolers. Your child isn't born knowing what's going on, we have to teach them by letting them know when it is time to do certain things. It's time to eat lunch, it's time to leave the park, it's time to go to the library, it's time to play, it's time to watch Elmo, it's not time to play, it's not time to run around, etc. It almost sounds like your son is becoming the one in charge, not you. And you probably didn't mean to do that, you are probably ending up there by accident because you are learning as you are going along, and you are so darned tired!
I would tackle the sleep first before moving on to any otehr issues, you can only do so much at once. But this principle of you being the one in charge applies to the eating too. You son is most likely playing games with you because he learned that you will play. (now it is possible that he has sensory issues relating to feeding, for example, he has problems with certain textures. If you think that might be an issue ask your pediatrician or develpmental therapist). He's trying to be in control and make you play his feeding "game", just like you play his rocking "game". Give him some foods that he normally enjoys and is capable of eating, crackers, banana, cheese slice, etc. (don't worry too much about a large variety of foods at this point--that may come later). If he eats, he eats, if he doesn't he doesn't. He will not waste away in a day. He will eat when he is hungry. As he shows some indepence you can praise him for what a big boy he is becoming.

Now you need some support for all this. Talk you your husband about having some daddy time-- that is so imporatnt. And yes you may need to leave the house at first. Riley did a good job on why daddy time is so important.

You also need some support of other mamas. It sounds as if maybe you are feeling isolated. If you don't already have a close network of friends or family members who will help you with this, please try going to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Look on their website to find a group near you, go, and ask for help just like you did here. You will be glad you did.




answers from Pittsburgh on

You know what. Any mom that says she loves motherhood 24/7 is lying to you and themselves.
It is a hard job hardest one you will ever find. But when you are without sleep and without help it is worse. Does he nap during the day? if so you need to lay down then as well and get some sleep. Someone mentioned CIO, I think it is a good idea that he does learn to do this it will help him in so many other ways as well.
From your post I get the idea that you do alot of things for him just so they get done...ie feeding him...do you also answer for him? if so that maybe one of the reasons why he doesnt talk much he just doesnt need to. I had this problem with my youngest..she didnt need to talk one of her 3 big brothers would talk for her. So we stopped that and now she wont stop talking..lol
I hope you find a way to get to the joy....having kids is a blast and one of the greatest things in life...but if you dont take care of you as well you will not find that out.


answers from Houston on

stop...............breathe..........and relax. This to shall pass. No mother is shiny and happy all the time, and the ones that are, are medicated. You have to start taking naps, personal time and be a little less demanding of yourself, and your baby. i bet you he it totally picking up on your frustration. Bottom line?, if you dont get some help, or hire some help in order to get adequate sleep you will go nuts. Have you tried sleeping with him?, have you tried picking an evening activity that requires a lot of exercise, then a meal made of complex carbs and milk? by the way there are items at health food stores that are for relaxation of children, he may needing as much sleep as you, but cant due to an overactive thyroid (common in thinner people), look up chamomile tea and valerian root mixes. a little herbal coersion is probably better than him falling asleep to the sound of his mom silently crying.



answers from Miami on

Dear Maria, Hang in there. Your little one is lucky to have you for a momma. I agree with the below good advice, so I won't repeat. i only want to ask you some questions:

-- even with 3 hours of sleep, can you find a few hours a week to yourself. Can you find a sitter to help you so you can take a mental health break? Things will seem better with more sleep and more "me" time.

-- also try "No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers' by Elizabeth Pantley. She also has a facebook page and accepts emails to her personal email with questions. Her email is listed on fb. She may be able to help.

HTH and Hang in There.



answers from Dallas on

Your problem is lack of sleep. You can not think, function or reason well at all without it. I really would suggest you seek some advice for your son's doctor about him not sleeping well. Could be a medical problem or just could be that you are not allowing him to learn some comfort skills by not letting him struggle through it and learn how to settle himself down and be hungry enough to eat on his own.

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