I Feel like a Horrible Mother

Updated on June 13, 2010
M.C. asks from Holmen, WI
28 answers

I feel like such a bad mom. My son and I spend all day every day together. My husband works about 55-60 hours a week and we only have one car, so it's really just me and my son. We have no family or friends close to us. We can't join a mommy group because we don't have access to another car, so my son doesn't play with other kids too often. Taking my husband to work won't work either. His shifts are always either start or end when my son is sleeping. Buying another car isn't feasible either. We can't afford another car payment or the insurance on it. So, my question is........is it normal for me to get bored with my son? I don't really want to play with him, but he likes almost constant attention. I feel bad if I try to read a magazine or something that I want to do. He's constantly wanting me to play with him. I feel like I'm ignoring him if I don't play with him. Does anyone else feel this way?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the help so far. My son is 2 by the way. We do get out for walks every day that it's not raining. While we go on our walks, we usually stop at the park and play for a little while. There's usually no one else at the park, so it's hard to meet other SAHM. We've tried going at different times during the day. It's almost always the same. I've also tried watching the neighbors to see if anyone is a SAHM, but it looks like all of them go to work everyday. I haven't tried a mommy group because of the car situation and also because my husband usually gets transferred once a year and it could be at any minute now. I didn't want to get involved in a group and then have to move. I appreciate all the advice though.

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answers from Eugene on

I have a car but really there isn't too many places I like to take my 2 yo. We stay home a lot and it is hard to fill the day. When make an effort to with art, education, and exercise. When we have those I feel much better mother. I let her play by herself.



answers from Dallas on

How about a bike with a kid trailer? That way you could go a little farther, maybe a park with a little more action? It is tough - you're not alone, and you're not a horrible mom. You just need some adult time.


answers from Provo on

I know EXACTLY how you feel. The only difference between you and I are that I'm a single mom without a car that I can take my infant in, and my friends live close, but all have moved on. They are now married or moving. It's normal I think. Often times I have to just put my son in a safe spot and and walk away because I'm just so bored and tired of his whining that I'm not holding him (he's a VERY clingy baby)
If you need to just walk into another room, do it. It's not a big deal. I think we all would prefer ignoring for a couple minutes than you snapping.

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answers from Detroit on

It's very normal to get bored with your kids. If I were you, I would call up your local city and ask if they have a community transportation system available to pick up and drop off. My mom was an immigrant and never learned to drive. We lived in the city and we would walk 2 miles to the main road to get to the bus stop. We traveled twice a week somewhere. If we didn't take the bus, we walked. Sometimes we'd walk five miles, summer or winter. I have many fond memories of the times my mom and I spent together walking places. It's great exercise and it strengthens the bond. As I got older, I learned how to entertain myself and never got bored. Children need to learn to keep themselves occupied sometimes.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Read a magazine, do what feels good to you--it's important. When you're doing something with your son, only do what you WANT to do with him, so it feels pure and loving. I know this sounds weird to some people, but just think how much more loved he will feel when you really get into having fun with him. And it's important for him to learn to entertain himself too. You can be nearby to make sure he's safe, and at the same time be getting your own stuff done. Find a way to let him know when it's his do-it-yourself time and when it's his Mommy-time.

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answers from Orlando on

I didn't read the other responses, so sorry if I repeat any advice

I lived for well over a year with one car. I had an infant, and a toddler who got car sick often. Still, AT LEAST once a week (usually more often), I would put the half asleep kids in the car at 5AM and take my husband to work so I could have the car for the day. We lived too far away from where he worked for him to get a ride home, so we'd go back and get him at whatever time he'd call and say he was ready. Sometimes, in early morning traffic on the highway after I'd drop off my husband, my toddler would get car sick-- I'd freak out/he'd freak out, I'd pull over and clean him up.... But all of that nightmare was wayyyyyy better than being trapped in the house alone all day every day with no adult interaction. On the days when I'd have the car, one of the things I'd go to was story time at the library. It's free, the kids LOVED it, and some of the same families go every week so you can "meet" people for both you and your son to talk with. Some of the moms and kids would stay after story time and hang out (they had puzzles and a coloring table at our local library), and if you become friendly enough with a mom or 2, you can ask if they want to go play at McDonalds, where you can have lunch or get ice cream and you and your son could extend your play time/adult interaction. I personally don't think it's healthy for either one of you to be so isolated. That same year that I had no car, I joined a mommy group and seriously had moms who would pick us up-- that's me AND two car seats we'd have to shove into their cars-- none of these awesome women had a minivan back then and they were more than happy to squeeze in our car seats because they know how awful it is to be home alone all day. I see in your update that you don't want to join a mommy group, but I think that's silly. Join one! Find out which day of the week they meet the most and get the car that day!! No excuses!! (Also, you can see about taking the city bus to the local library)

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answers from Las Vegas on

You two definitely need to get out of the house. Can you walk to a park with him? If not, plan a play date and on that day, you rough it. You take your husband to work and keep the car, then pick him up. It doesn't matter that your child sleeps in the car. Find a way.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Can you get a babysitter just for a few hours a week so you could take a walk? Or even a 12 year old could play with him after school for a few hours so you could read a book or take a nap?

Also, maybe it would be worth disrupting his sleep schedule one day per week so you could have the car. He'd probably fall asleep in the car again.

I also have a 2 year old so can relate! You're not a bad mom....just totally normal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Can your Husband take the bus?
We have only 1 vehicle (which I use)... and my Husband car-pools to work and catches the bus home.

Otherwise, we would be stranded. There is no bus-stop near where we live. And then I would not be able to take my daughter to school or pick her up, nor take my kids to their appointments nor mine.

Or, put your son in a stroller and walk around... and go places that way.

Sure, its normal for a SAHM to get 'bored' being home and with her child. We are not an 'entertainment center' and we need stimulation too, socially. And boys are active.. they need to run around and you are his play-mate.

have a daily routine with him... go outside, play with a ball, jump around, play hide and seek, play in the tub, finger paint etc.
Having a DAILY routine, helps. Then that way you are not just hanging. ALSO have a daily nap time... then that way you get a break. And babies/kids STILL DO NEED naps. Or they get fussy/needier/ and not happy.

And, incorporate him INTO YOUR daily chores/routines. That's what I do. My son, who I am home with, KNOWS "my" routines and necessary things I need to do everyday just in the household. He will play while I do that or he 'helps' me... and I teach him that way. I also tell my son "Mommy needs to do some things, you can play by yourself for now, okay?" And he understands.
Its okay to not be CONSTANTLY playing with your child.
My son knows that Mommy does chores and 'work' too... and that I always tell him, what "we" will do next.

I have even on occasion, just told my kids that "Mommy doesn't feel like doing anything right now... I'm tired. Give me a moment. Then we'll do something..." Its okay. My kids understand... my daughter will even tell me "Mommy its okay, you played with us a lot today..."

Or invite people to YOUR home.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

1.Well you could join a playgroup but explain that you don't have a car and would like to host it twice a month at your house.
2.Take more walks together. No matter where you live its easy to go outside and get some fresh air.
3. Do you belong to a church or community outreach group. They might have some suggestions.
4. Join storytime at your library. Most libraries have story time on Saturday.
5. Introduce yourself to some neighbors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

You should not feel bad because you don't want to play with your son 24/7 or when he isn't sleeping. You didn't say how old your son was but a certain amount of time playing with a parent is great, but he should learn how to entertain himself. Try to get involved with other parents in your neighborhood and set up play dates where he can socialize with children his own age. Going for a walk in the afternoon may give you both the opportunity to meet other individuals who may be in your own situtation. To adjust your child to play on his own I used the timer method. I would set a time for 45 minutes and it would be "our" time to play together but once the timer went off then it was time for him/her to play by themselves. You may have to encourage this and show him things he can do by himself to start but he should catch on leaving you to have some time to yourself. I would definitley encourage this so that you don't have a clinging vine for a lot of years to come.

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answers from Kansas City on

omg you are SO not a bad mom! any mom (i believe) would get sick of their kiddos, no matter how much she loves them (and we all do!), if she never got a break. don't let anyone tell you otherwise! my suggestion is do what you have to (hubby working all those hours has to be for something) to get a cheap car, or get to a place where dad is home more so you can have some "me" time. both you AND your son will get bored. and it's really not good for him to be alone with only you for company so much, either. you are SO not a bad mom! i feel that way sometimes after a weekend (and i work full time!) lol! hang in there mom. you sound like a great mama. (not to mention, if there was ever an emergency what would you do without a car?)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

Do you live close enough to town to ride a bike? If so, check with the library for story time or YMCA/community center for activities you can sign him up for (swimming lessons, dance, etc.) or just taking him to the park. Do you know anyone with kids around his age that you could set up play dates? Maybe they can come to your house.



answers from Minneapolis on

What you are feeling sounds totally normal. Every mom feels that way sometimes, and you are trapped at home with no social interactions and no breaks, so of course you feel bored and frustrated. I think it is really important for you to figure out how to get out of the house.

Can your husband carpool with someone, even once a week, so you can have the car?

Are you on a bus line?

Can you buy a used bike and a Burley (bike trailer) so you and your son can bike places?

Can you find a playgroup in your area where you can walk, bike, or bus?

Good luck!


answers from Detroit on

i understand how you feel but i had to learn that sometimes we just need me time! no you are not a bad mother, you are a normal mother! if would be different of you were at work all day and didn't get to see him that much but being that you are home with him all day and you interact with him then you are in alrights( i feel). I know sometimes you wish he had friends but sometimes we just have to work with what we got. so i think you are normal and that you should take a least an hour for yourself. good luck.



answers from Omaha on

You are not a horrible mother. You are quite normal. You didn't say how old your son is but kids need to learn to entertain themselves at least part of the time. It is good to develop a balance. Do some activities with him but take time to do your household chores and also some time for you to relax. Sometimes you can give him attention while doing chores. When my kids were young, (a long time ago) I used to do the ironing and still play house with the kids with a running commentary on my part. You can also involve him with cooking or setting the table if he is old enough. We also used to play a pick-up game just before Dad was to get home. Who could pick up ten (or twenty) things the quickest? You could play this with him. Don't feel bad if you get bored with kid play and need some adult time. You deserve it especially with hubby working so many hours. Good luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

I know this might not work now if you will be moving soon, but maybe in your new location, you could babysit a child your son's age in your home. That way they could play together and you wouldn't have to be a constant playmate. It would also mean some extra money for for you that you could perhaps put towards a car/insurance/gas/repairs. Then you would have the means to go places, do things and join activities to develop friendships with other moms and kids in your community.



answers from Nashville on

totally normal for you to feel bored playing with him! but before i answer this further, how old is he?



answers from Houston on

I'm home all the time with my 2 1/2 year old and now for the summer have my 6 and 8 year olds too. We have a car and walking access to pools, parks, library, etc. and I still feel like if at any time I say no to playing with them I am a terrible mother. I can spend all morning at the pool with them and as soon as we walk in the door they start with Mommy will you play this with me, Mommy will you play that with me. I understand not wanting to do it all the time!

How old is your son? It's ok for him to play alone for a little while each day. My 2 1/2 year old whom I am at home with throughout the school year is actually very good at playing alone. Unlike my first two, he had to wait for my attention because he was the 3rd child. I couldn't run to him and play with him at all times because I had to do things with the other two. As a result he learned to play by himself sometimes and now is quite good at it.

Just make sure your time with him is quality time. Give him your full attention and be fully engaged with him when it's his time, but then allow some time for yourself where he plays by himself.

Maybe just once a week you could take your husband to work so that you and your son can go do some other activities? Even if you have to get your son out of bed to take him to work, it would be worth it for one day of "other" activities.

Also, any chance your husband could carpool to work so that when it's not his turn to drive you have the car?

Good luck,



answers from Minneapolis on

Maybe your hubby could take the bus to work a few days a week or you and your son could take the bus somewhere. Check out your local MOMS club (momsclub.com) and explain to the person that gets back to you from your club that you don't have a car and see what they can do. Alot of moms I bet would be willing to pick you up.
Don't feel bad about not wanting to play with him all the time, that is totally normal.



answers from Minneapolis on

He should have interaction with other kids. Are you near a bus route or could you ride a bike or walk to a park? It is wonderful that you are staying at home with him but he should still be stimulated socially and athletically. I am also home with my girls during the day and I often feel the "pressure" to keep them busy/happy all the time. I think this is a very common feeling most stay at home moms have. I try to go somewhere most days but sometimes we just take a walk around the block or just play t-ball in the back yard. Life can't be exciting every single day.... sometimes we have to do the laundry. :)



answers from San Francisco on

Yes, it's normal not to want to play with a little kid, unless you're a pedophile. :)

Those kids who need constant attention are hard. I had one of those.

Give him a reasonable amount of attention and play time, and then find something for him to do or let him watch tv and read your magazine.



answers from Houston on

You are not a bad mom. You need to teach your son how to amuse himself and that way you can get a break. Giving him constant attentions is not good for either of you. You didn't say how old he is so you will just have to be the judge of how much time he would be able to spend playing by himself. Just make sure he has age appropriate toys or activities and you read your magazine and don't feel guilty. We all need mom time! If you don't take at least 30 minutes a week for yourself you will definitely be too stressed and that isn't good for anyone around lol!

There have got to be mommy groups near you, maybe you can even carpool with someone. Are there any parks within walking distance? Even if you just go outside for a walk that is at least getting out of the house!

What about a bike with a child seat or carriage that tows behind the bike?

Hang in there, it won't last forever!



answers from San Francisco on

I don't think you are doing anything wrong by trying to have some balance in the time you spend. You didn't say how old your son is, but he should try to learn to play by himself sometimes, and it's good for him to see you take some time for you. What about taking the bus?



answers from Oklahoma City on

You are not a horrible mother and I'm sure every SAHM at one moment has had similar feelings. I know you stated in your post that your husbands shift starts and ends when your son is sleeping. Do you mean like nap time or early mornings? If he goes to work like at 3am I could understand, but since you stay at home and he isn't school age could you adjust his sleep schedule so you could have access to the car? I agree you son does need to learn to entertain himself. I don't know about where you live but we don't have any kind of public transportation system, if you don't have a car or a bike you are out of luck!



answers from Atlanta on

try joining a church sometimes they have a church van or bus that picks up people who dont have a car. They also have nursery so ur child could go there while you go with the adults then u could meet some other women there and maybe set up play dates and they can help u with a ride. Alot of churches are very active so they have outings and church parties or dinners something to keep u busy with other adults and your son can meet friends in the nursery. Hope this helps out some.


answers from Tulsa on

Everyone needs some alone time, so don't feel bad! I work and still want some alone time on the weekend away from my son. Luckily my son has become pretty independent, so he wants to play by himself a lot. Whenever we are at home and he gets really clingy and I need a break, I try one of three things. I either tell him it's quiet time to read a book (looking at pictures for him), I put on a movie, or it's shower time. I put him in the shower and sit in the bathroom and read while he plays for a while. I don't know how old your son is, so those might not be an option. Hope you get some good ideas. Believe me, you are not alone!



answers from Jacksonville on

Have you tried hiring a babysitter with a car maybe once or so a day to take him out for a couple hours with other groups of kids. Taking the bus might be another option if there is one close by.

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