I Don't Know How Much Longer I Can Go on like This

Updated on January 23, 2009
E.M. asks from Long Beach, CA
12 answers

I don't really know if I have a request here, or if I just need some moral support from other moms.

I have two kids, one son that is 3 and a daughter that is 1. I am a full-time work at home mom, I've managed to keep my job as a marketing professional full time since my son was born, and transitioned to a home-office (just going into the office 2 days a week for 4 hours).

I know that I should feel lucky given the current economy that I have kept my job and salary (which we really do need) giving me an opportunity to contribute financially to my family's financial well-being. But I'm burn't out.

Because I work from home with my kids (I don't have a nanny...actually I should say I don't want a nanny) I do most of my work while they are napping and at night after they go to bed. Hence, I am tired. Actually, not tired, I am bleary-eyed, stumbling, making bad-choices tired. For example, I realized last week after taking my kids to the park, only 3 blocks from my house, that when I got home and took them out of their car seats I FORGOT to snap in my daughter!!!! OMG, you can imagine my horror...she was positioned in her seat correctly, but I didn't snap in the restraint system, and honestly, I couldn't even remember putting her in the car.

My dilema is this: I've been doing this now for 3 years since the birth of my oldest, and everyone in my life just "assumes" that this is a no-brainer for me...largely because I've tried to come off that way because I'm not the type of person that wants people to feel bad for me, or think I'm weak. Also, I worked so hard to deserve this arrangement with my company, and if I let it go...chances are I will be replaced and would have to start over at a new firm. Finally, and this is really the worst part of the problem, my husband doesn't seem to think that I should be as burned out as I am. He goes to bed every night at 9:00 and wakes up at 4:30 for work, so he doesn't seem me up until 3:30 every night working (though I've told him this is the case obviously) and then my daughter wants to nurse at like 5:00 and then my kids wake up for the day at 6:30 or 7. There just isn't much room for sleep.

I don't really expect anyone to come up with a "solution" for me - I think I'm just overwhelmed right now and need some support from other tired, run-down moms that can relate.

What can I do next?

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answers from San Diego on

Work-at-home moms unite! We should start a union! I've been working from home for about 5-years now (our children are about the same age too), with seeing clients in their office about twice a week. Burn-out is huge! Here are some coping mechanisms that may help . . .

1. I know work is important, but your health is more-so. Get some sleep. If this means it takes you longer to complete projects, then so be-it. As you've been home for a couple years now, your employer and presumable clients, are aware of your situation. Adjust your time-lines accordingly. The average person needs a minimum of 6-hours of sleep a night to stave off sleep deprivation - I need 7, plus a nap on the weekend to play catch-up.

2. Get some in-house help. This is not a nanny, this is a mother's helper. I hired a gal from our church and she came in once to 3 times a week. Her tasks were varied and she truly was a helper. Sometimes she cleaned, watched the children so I could nap or complete a project, did office filing or data entry, ran errands (bank, post-office, return things, dry cleaner, etc.). 75% of the time, I was home with her - so she wasn't 'raising my children', she was helping me get things done.

3. Go on-line to do your shopping. I set-up a standard grocery list and ordered it every 2-weeks, this cut out a 2-hour task (1/2 hour to shuttle kids each way and 1-hour shopping). Wal-mart offers on-line shopping and some items are free site to store (your helper could go pick p for you).

4. Write down and organize your household duties. What needs to be done and how often. As both you and your husband are working full-time, you may need to divide and conquer the list. Your 5-year-old can pick some items too. I also have lots of pre-made forms (designed for our family, but can be adjusted to yours) that I would be happy to share, just email me.

Good luck, I hope something helps!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi EM:
You've recieved some good responses from other mothers here. Heather sounds like she's been there, done that. You sound alot like me. I was raised in a large family,where we all learned to be quite self sufficient. Well maybe some of my insistance of doing things on my own,was just my determination,and my stubborn Irish pride. lol. I can be a very compassionate individual,however,I've never thought whimpering and whining were very attractive traits,thus I keep most of my disapointments of others or personal failures to myself. I've become this individual,that would much prefer doing things herself,than having to ask for help. Part of the reason for this, is because It angers me,when I have to plead for help. Its like....If you were standing there with a full bag of groceries in each hand,and a friend was standing there and never offered to help. I'd prefer doing it myself,than ask her to do what comes natural to me. (be courteous) Yeah, I get a bit peeved,bite my lip,but you won't hear me complain. My point here EM, is that I've learned after all these years of doing all by myself,that I was only making life harder on myself. Just because I ask for help,doesn't mean I (CAN'T) do it myself. It simply makes life easier for me. You know what else I discovered? Believe it or not,it makes others feel good, just knowing you need them. Keep in mind, that your children will follow by example. You certainly will want them to be strong and independent individuals,but you don't want them to feel hesitant in asking for help when they need it. You can hire someone a few hours for a couple days a week,and not only will it lighten your load a little, but your children would most likely look forward to company those days and some special times.I wish you and your darlin toddlers the very best.J. M

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I worked from home when I had three kids and the only way I was able to survive was to have a nanny come in 2-3 times a week for a few hours. I got so much work done when she was there and since I was home I didn't have to worry about leaving my kids. I even took a nap when she came a few times because I was just exhausted and beeded a break for myself. Good luck at whatever choice you make!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I love Heather's advice!! I'm pretty sure it's okay to admit you might need a little extra help...I don't work from home, but when I did go back to work I put my son in daycare and went into I can do it all mode. When you finally crash and burn, it's awful and painful!! I finally had to take a step back and think about how I could better 'outsource' my daily home tasks, and I asked for help.

If work is really important to you and keeping up that position wiht your company, then you've got to do what you have to, in order to maintain a healthy life for you and your family!

Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

We are NOT all "Martha Stewart." Repeat, "We are not all Martha Stewart." (and remember, even SHE has helpers...) :)

Now, you are great as is.. but you need to get a "helper" in your house to do things for you. It is not being 'weak' it is being SMART. A SMART capable woman like yourself, must know how to 'delegate." Right? Just go for it. Don't feel bad.

Next, where and how is Hubby helping? He MUST help, too. ANYBODY who lives in the same house must help... these are his kids too, and his house too, and his wife too, right?
My gawd, you work and have 2 kids who are at an active age! HE HAS TO BE responsible too... for this. A couple is a 'team.' A wife is not a 'maid.' You are pulling your weight, your Hubby has to too.

If possible, I would show your posting to him... and together... talk about it. Doesn't he want his wife to be happy? I would think so. A Man has to take care of his wife too... that is what marriage is, and that is what a Dad is too. Right now, he does NOT seem to be in the picture... are you a single parent? Hmmm. What are his responsibilities... just coming home after work, sitting on the sofa and watching TV, having a beer, eating dinner, reading the paper, lolling about eating bon-bons then going to bed? What a cruising-relaxing life for him, huh? Egad.

The thing is: A man has a responsibility IN THE HOUSE-HOLD too. Is he a participant or a 'spectator?'
For me, I have a "Daddy-Do List" and on it, I write down what my Hubby is responsible for. His 'chores' and what not. He's fine with that... as he can't remember everything. So this helps. And it's FAIR.

NOw, if your children are old enough, they can also start to learn how to help, or be responsible for little things around the house too.

You seem to be doing everything... no wonder you are overwhelmed. I don't blame you. Next, be pro-active, delegate and get everyone on board. Get a housecleaner/helper/Nanny or what ever you want to call it. But I think it would be very wise to do this. Children can feel stress from a Mom... they "know" if she is not happy. Believe me. On days when I am frazzled... my daughter will actually tell me "How come you don't look happy Mommy" and sometimes I hear her even commenting to my Husband about it.. and like a 'little-Mommy' she will tell my Husband "I think Mommy needs help Papa..." Now, that is a real reality check, right?
And remember... everything you feel and do, is an "example" for your kids too....

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think anyone can fully understand your situation unless they are in it. I have been working from home for the 1st time this year (I work form home 2x a week and go in 3 days). Everyone assumes this is so easy but to be honest I think it is much harder working from home than if you go into work.

I find myself staying up late to finish work, waking up the crack of dawn to to work. Neglecting my son to finish work etc. I just felt that I was not giving my son 100% or my job 100%.

Somedays - I would be in my PJs pretty much all day since any free time I was devoting to work. When I finally went down to bed - I would realize that I forgot to brush my hair, wash my face, brush my teeth etc.

It was horrible!

It definitely helps to have someone come in to help. My husband works close by so he would come by during lunch and give me a break - do to work, run errands or just sleep. This helped a lot.

I can't offer any solutions just support.

hang in there.


answers from Los Angeles on

Omg I am so sorry to hear of your dilemma. I remember when my kids were 3 and 1 and it was a nightmare as well but you have got to get some help soon or else you may start to develop medical problems in addition to doing something that may harm your children. I remember being that tired and nothing good came out of feeling that way. Thank God nothing bad happened to myself or my kids but you have got to give something. I know that as a mom with a new baby you may not want to pay someone to watch your babies but you need time to rest. I understand it's hard to find someone who is trustworthy to do that but currently I am just going to school (thankfully i've had the option to go to school and not struggle financially) and I don't know where you live but i'd be willing to watch your children while you rest for a few hours in your home.

Like I said before, it sounds far fetched and there is nothing I can say or do that will convince you to trust me or anyone else who responds but for your sake and your childrens sake, you need help. As mothers, we need to stick together so if ever you are open to that option, I am always available and willing to go through the necessary steps to ensure that at the end of the day, you are well rested, your children are safe, and your marriage is in tact.

Or if you have a family member who you would be willing to extend the offer to, ask them to come over and watch the kids while you work and rest.



answers from San Diego on

I was in a situation like yours,however not at home. Full time employment and kids just don't mix well. Women of small children were not ment to work. Todays world, most of us don't have a choice. Women who are satisfied with your situation aren't really enjoying motherhood like they should. I feel women who work with kids need support from Dad. Why should everything be the responsibility of mom. After all the kids belong to him too. He should be helping tou with not only taking care of the kids, but housework, cooking, shopping. Some men are more than happy to help out if asked. He will be happy with how his help will give you more energy and be in a better mood for him. If he isn't willing to help out, then tell him you are going to take on a part-time job until you are comfortable working again.



answers from Los Angeles on

Oh my sweet friend, I know how you feel. I am not a work at home mom however I work full time, am going thru a divorce and the only care giver for my VERY active 17 month old son. I find myself so tired some days that I seem to just coast thru on luck as I am just beyond myself with exhaustion. I have just recently started to ask for help, if it is even just an hour to clean the house. Please do ask for help or take some time for yourself before you get too far where you are now. I too tried very hard to put up the front that I could do everything myself but no one can, well not without being completely exhausted and losing their sanity. Ask for help as that is what our family and friends are there for. If we never ask, we'll never know what type of help there is out there. You are a strong determined mommy and I applaud you for that. Remember that everyday, you need to take time for yourself, even if it is just taking 20 minutes to relax in hot tub or paint your nails. Don't neglect yourself!! You need to be taken care of as well. From one tired mommy to another, hang in there and ASK FOR HELP!!!! :)



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi E.M.
One of the most difficult things in life is making changes even when your current situation is unbearable. It seems you are afraid to try anything new, but you are miserable with your current schedule. We all have periods of time like this and it is no picnic, especially the sleep deprivation! Most importantly, you need to be able to enjoy your blessings and exhaustion does not allow for that. My suggestion is to make changes gradually: each week add one small change that could make your life run more smoothly. You know what areas need help but some examples could be having groceries delivered, asking your husband to take one evening a week so you can go to bed early, or even enforcing a day where you commit to only working your home office job until 10:00 PM instead of 3:00 AM. Sometimes we feel we must not let anything go or we will fail. I think you will find that as you allow yourself some forgiveness, you will be happier and more functional. Your children are lucky to have such a conscientious mom; go ahead and take pleasure in them too!
Best wishes, Janet



answers from Las Vegas on

lol...my husband doesn't understand my being tired either. Only when he is in trouble does he stop to tell me he does appreciate me and that is only because he might find his sock & undies drawer EMPTY! I totally understand your situation, as I work a full time job, have a small business on the side, and play mommy to a 3 YO & the hubby. Life can get crazy.

If you can swing it, stop working and if not, hire a little help to do the extra cleaning so you can breath.

Personally, I would rather not stop working because I do enjoy keeping busy. I just don't appreciate the laundry, dirty dishes, mopping, etc.



answers from Los Angeles on

I understand your exhaustion. I too work at home. I pretty much agree with Heather. Just some thoughts:

-- Hire someone part time for a few hours a day to come play with your kids while you work and/or stay with them so you can get things done.
-- Hire someone 1x every other week (or 1x a week if you can afford it) to clean your house
-- Look into a part time pre-school program for your 3 yr old
-- Don't ditch your job. It sounds like you have a dream set up, you just need to figure out the areas where you can use the most help, where it would make the most impact.

If you can get in a routine with some helpers, I would bet you'll start to feel better soon!

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