How to Have a Life and Still Parent to My Children

Updated on December 01, 2018
A.S. asks from Princeton, WV
10 answers

So I'm am looking for ways to have a life still be a parent to my lovely 3 kids. Seems like kaos around here most of the time. I have dedicated most of my time to all my kids since they've all been born. One is 10. So i had her when I was about 20 I'm 29 now. My other two are two boys I had in 2014 and 2015. Now I love them dearly but I am exhausted and honestly too exhausted to have any other fun at such a still some what young age. Though I would love to have a friend or two. I see so many moms who still have their best friends and anymore I have no friends. My husband is my only friend. And that's cool and all but sometimes I get lonely with out a friend that's a girl or something. I don't get to go out and have lunch. Grandparents aren't in the picture to take a minute to watch the kids so I been basically on my own since day 1. I see other moms with so much help here i am. Lol But now I'm almost 30 and I feel like alot of my life is gone. And I know we opt in to this the moment we decide to have kids so I'm not here for a lecture. But once in a while a break would be nice for anyone. My husband he gets his breaks but the kids don't come hounding him for anything. Its me 24-7 and I'm bout to bust. But he agrees I need some time to be happy. I've tried to go to the gym everyday but I cant because its so close with all the activities they are all in like sports and then I help with homework they like me too and of course miles and miles of laundry. A big family is hard sometimes and I don't think time management is all here like one of the biggest problems my husband works a hard job so he's really tired alot. So I end up doing all the running so there's no time left for me and I go to college. Most of it is online. So that helps. I ended up quitting my crossfit I started I really needed it but I'm just overwhelmed at home. I stay run down and constantly reactivating mono over and over again. A vacation would be nice. Whose with me? Haha. Im about to take another break from college though i just can't do it like others can. My nerves is gone. Like I said I love my kids and my family and wouldn't trade it for the world but I'm exhausted and wish to have a little bit of a social life and don't know if its ever possible again. Maybe some of it is my patience wearing thin and just can't think the same anymore. I feel like I have bad a.d. d because my brain can only handle so much at a time when the whole house is just fighting and can't seem to get a grip of things. Anyone else have a busy life like this? I'm sure there's others out there who don't complain lol I'm just overwhelmed I guess.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank everyone for the nice suggestions and the optimism. And yes to that one person who thought I looked like a teenager. I do get that alot. So nothing suspicious here. I'm part Italian, seems like my whole family has found the foutian of youth lol. Thanks for the response though. I also just started this profile, so im learning the "do's and don'ts" so to speak. But I will try some of those suggestions everyone has made and we'll see how it goes. We do have some family outtings. We've been out of town and had some really fun trips together. But i realize I need to take care of myself too and have the husband more involved as well as long as he's not being a big pouty butt haha. He works industrial. 4 am to 3:15pm but here lately 3 am to 7:30 pm that's why he's so tired. Seems like we just need to find a healthy balance of things and everything will be just fine.

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answers from New Orleans on

I feel you... I’m a little older than you (almost 33). I have 4 kids and can totally relate. My oldest(daughter) is 12 1/2, and talking about hormones! The youngest is 5 and is all over the place. Hard for him to pay attention with any school work. I dont have a lot of friends but talk to a few. Like you said, my husband is my best friend. If ever need anyone to talk I’ll be happy to chat with you. Just message me!! 😊

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answers from Boston on

The best gift you can give your children is to take care of their mother. Have you ever listened to the flight attendant safety speech? "Put the oxygen mask on yourself before taking care of those around you." So you need a break. And you need to make it happen, not just pine away for it when everyone else has their needs meant. That will never occur!

Why does your husband's exhaustion matter, and not yours? Why are you in charge of all the household tasks plus child care plus college? Your husband works, what? 40 hours? 50? 60? And you work about 120, if you're the average homemaker. So there's something wrong with the math.

Beyond that, you are - for heartfelt reasons - teaching your children that a woman's job is to get sick and wait on everyone. This is the lesson for your 10 year old daughter - "You, too, can aspire to be exhausted with no life and no friends." And your lesson to your sons is, "Here's how to treat a woman, boys."

None of you wants this. Here's what you have to get through your head. You are not a bad mom if you are also a person. You are not a bad wife if you are also a person. The kids need to be responsible for some of their own stuff - picking up their own clothes and getting them to the laundry, putting away what's folded, matching their own socks, etc. They can wipe down the bathroom counter and put everything but glass into the dishwasher. They can sort their own snacks, and clean out their own backpacks at the end of the school day. They can do the recycling and the trash. They can, and should, do their own homework. It's not your job to be sure they get As. It's their job to do what's assigned and stay in for recess or explain it to the teacher if they fail to do so. They need chore charts and checklists, not you verbally staying on them every second. This is how they learn life skills and independence.

You need to plan at least 2 days to yourself per month. That's what I did - I dropped my kid at preschool and took off for the day. My husband picked him up, gave him lunch, put him in for a nap, dealt with him when he got up. You can do this on weekends if your husband can't get the time off.

You also need to cut out at least 2 "must do" tasks that your family will survive without. Scale back your standards of what constitutes a "good job" and let something slide. Not every bed has to be made every day, you know?

You must go to the gym, or join a volunteer group, or something where you can meet your own needs for being restored and also meet some friends. Find someone who wants to go to a midday movie with you, or try the new Thai place, or go to a wine tasting, or check out the new exhibit at the art or science museum. Get free/discount passes at the area libraries.

Do not wait until everyone else says it's okay for you to be a full human. Make it happen. If you can't do this alone, get counseling or find a life coach short term to get your life on track.

Yes, you signed up to have kids. You did not sign up to be a slave. This was your choice - and you aren't stuck with it forever. I've returned outfits that don't fit, and I've bought a new model car when the old one wasn't right. Same for you and your lifestyle.

Good luck!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First stop looking at other moms thinking they have it more together than you do. They don't. Trust me on this they don't. Social media gives you the opportunity to put out in the world only what you want the world to see.

Right now its just physically hard for you. You have a 10, 4, and 3 yr old. Little kids take a lot of time and attention. There's no way around it. You have to do basically everything for them or direct them in everything. Its exhausting. Although your hubby works hard he needs to be more involved. He can cook, clean, help with homework, fold laundry, etc.

Pick a time that works and go to the gym. Don't worry about laundry or anything else. I'll be there when you get home. Just go. Take the kids to the library and hang out in the children's area with the other moms.

The problem you are having is you keep putting everyone ahead of you. Your education is probably more important than anything else in your household. Your hubby needs to support you to accomplish your goals which will then translate into more opportunities for your family. Instead of casting yourself in the long suffering wife/mom who does everything for her family you should think of yourself as someone who is a part of a team. Don't think for a minute that your hubby's needs are more important than yours. Stand up for yourself and ask for help.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Being in school while parenting young kids full-time is HARD. Cut yourself some slack. My daughter who is in college and my friends who are moms and students are always super-stressed this time of year, trying to balance studying for finals and writing papers with getting ready for the holidays on top of caring for their kids.

Would it help to know there is an end in sight? That always helps me when I feel worn down. Sit down and figure out your college plan through graduation. Online classes are great, but are you doing that through a local brick-and-mortar school in your area and if so, can you try to take some classes in person or meet up in real life with some of your online class mates? My mom friends who are in school and taking in-person classes really treasure that time out of the house and studying with classmates. They get a sitter and have a few hours truly dedicated to your education. If finishing your degree is important to your family, make sure you give it the priority that it deserves so that you can later work and hire childcare and get some balance in your life.

I can tell you that it's 100% possible to have children and a life, but it's hard when your kids are small and you don't have childcare. I have always worked full-time, so I had that "break" of being at work. I also made a nice group of friends in my town through my oldest son's school. I used to go to PTA meetings and several of us stayed and chatted after a meeting, and that turned into "we should get coffee" and that turned into one Friday a month out, and it's been going on for more than 10 years. Now that a lot of those friends have grown children (I still have some in high school and middle school), I see the great social lives that they have and try to join them when I can. Now that I'm divorced, I connected with other single moms in town and our friendships have really flourished over the past 3 years.

It gets much easier when you can leave the kids at home when they're older, but while they're young, connect with the other parents you see at activities. Instead of dropping off and picking up for a sports practice or dance class, stick around, put down your phone and chat. Those kinds of encounters might lead to friendships. Volunteering is great too - I taught Sunday school and was involved in the PTA and garden club and those were great ways to socialize. I would just let my husband know that I was busy on specific evenings and head out. Put more on him - working hard isn't a free pass to have your spouse take care of your kids 24/7, kwim? You should be able to go to the gym if that's important to you. He can watch the kids while you're there.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My husband suggested I find a hobby after I had our first child. It took me a while to find a good fit but eventually my hobby has led to me finding a whole new set of BFF’s, it fills much of my days, and I’m actually able to sell my work in a gallery and through private commissions (I’m a self taught glass artist without a background in art).

This was the best advice I was ever given! My hobby has added more joy and fulfillment to my life then I ever could have imagined.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The local gymnastics place and a childcare center both do a parents night out once a week. You pay for them to watch your children for one night. They have a dinner and an activity set up so parents can go out on a date, or frazzled single moms can get a break. it's a one night no strings attached babysitting service. Check in your area to see if there is something similar or hire a sitter for one night a week so you can recharge your batteries.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

this is such a prevalent question, and yes, you do need an occasional break.

i think letting college go for the time being is a wise choice. i'm all for you doing it, mind you, but right now you're overwhelmed, and when you do get a few minutes you need to do something more nurturing of yourself and less about yet another demand.

so instead of trying to get to the gym every day, how about 2 or 3 times a week?

go to and find a local mom group and get yourself and the two little ones to an occasional activity with other kids and moms while your older one is in school. this will be fun, and you'll have the opportunity to make a new friend or two. maybe even a kid swap down the road!

if your husband is too busy and tired to EVER take the kids (and however busy and tired he is, he needs to from time to time because you both need to parent and he deserves to experience his own children one on one) you need to squeeze the budget and pay for a babysitter now and then. if there's no one to have lunch with, take your favorite book and enjoy two lazy luxurious hours at your favorite cafe, all by yourself.

at least once a week shove the laundry to the back of the room and take your kids for a walk or to the park or on a hike. you need to get out of the house and do something fresh and active and fun.

when you're an empty nester you get SO nostalgic for the busy busy exhausting young family years. you'll hear from us old gals how this is the best time of your life and in many ways it is, as you clearly realize because you state how much you love your family and being with them. but your post reminds me of how overwhelming it can be.

i promise you'll be able to take a breath when they get a bit older.

for now you have to put yourself way up high on your list of priorities. it's so common for young moms to put themselves at the bottom, and you yourself can see how debilitating the burnout is.

your entire family will benefit hugely from you putting yourself first. not always. not even often, maybe. but sometimes.

hang in there, hon.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If you're overwhelmed - my suggestion would be to reach out and get help (sitter, etc.). Minimize stress, find something that reenergizes you (exercise), and an interest that rewards you. Usually you meet friends through work/school/interests/exercise groups - or through your kids' activities.

Good luck

Mamazita - I did the grocery night too ... lol

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm trying to help by addressing specific issues: You have three children, ages 10 and 4 and 3, and you mention stress over "homework" and "laundry" and "activities".

Homework: Only the 10-year-old should have homework right now. And if the homework is not something that your 10-year-old can do alone, you might want to speak to the school about developing homework techniques. 5th grade homework is supposed to prepare students for the more rigorous homework of middle school and high school, so now is a good time to work on that.

Laundry: Everyone should be helping with laundry. Even the 3-year-old can separate out white clothing into baskets and stuff like that. The 10-year-old should be learning how to use the washing machine and dryer and should practice doing loads of his/her own laundry from start to finish.

Activities: Those are always optional. If it is overwhelming for you and your husband to drive your children to sports, maybe your children should just enjoy playing basketball at home for a few years and stuff like that.

You should stick with college, don't drop out. But if you want to make more mom friends when you are not busy with college, try volunteering at your childrens' schools.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Everyone needs a break sometimes. This is completely understandable. I know that kids' activities in the evening can really keep you running, especially for a 10 year old. I assume he's in school while the other 2 are at home with you during the day. I would suggest that you look for a local church or daycare that offers part-time preschool. In my area, some churches run a preschool 3 days per week for 3 hours each day. It's not a lot of time so it's not as expensive as full time care. The moms I know that use it say it's great because although it's not long, it's enough time to go to the gym or have coffee with a neighbor or even just take a nap!

PS - for online safety, please don't put pictures of your kids on your profile :)

3 moms found this helpful
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