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Losing myself after having children...

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Old 02-10-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
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Default Losing myself after having children...

I've debated posting this because I don't want to sound selfish. I love my children more than life itself. I have no regrets and don't want anyone to ever think that.

BUT. Ever since I've had children, I feel like I've lost a part of myself. I breastfed my first son for a year and he wouldn't take a bottle so we were together almost all of the time (except a few quick runs to the store, etc). When he was two, hubby and I had our 2nd child. He had allergies and colic and was exclusively breastfed for 1 1/2 years with no solids for the first year and no bottle, so that was another 1 1/2 years of no time.

My life since having children has been completely centered around my children. Play, clean, cook, read to kids, evenings I make lunches, clean, etc.

My youngest son went to kindergarten sept 2010 and I found myself completely lost for the 2 1/2 hours he was in school for. I sat around at home watching the clock waiting to go pick the kids up from school. I also started having panic attacks at that time and absolutely hated being at home by myself. Last september he started grade 1 so I now have 6 hours 5 days a week to myself and I am going stir crazy. I am on meds for anxiety now, so thankfully not going through those horrid attacks all the time. But I have no idea what I enjoy. We are on a budget so I can't go join a bunch of classes. I've tried knitting and crocheting, but it hurts my arthritic fingers. I miss my kids so much when they are gone and I know it contributes to the depression. But I don't know what I enjoy anymore. I have a hard time defining myself as anything but a mother and a wife.

Can anyone relate?
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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You sound like a wonderful mom! I think it's easy to lose yourself when you have kids and I can relate to some of what you've experienced. What I did to keep myself from going crazy was to join playgroups with other moms. I made an effort to befriend the moms and we would meet at the park, etc. and talk while the kids played. Then I moved and had to start over. In our new neighborhood, my kids were in school so I befriended the moms of the kids that became friends with my kids. I would go for walks with them, meet them for coffee, etc.

I recommend volunteering at the school. You can get as involved as you'd like and offer to help out with administrative duties as well if you'd rather not do something child centered. You could also volunteer at a hospital, etc. Think of the things you liked to do before you had kids and see if you can try those again.

I hope you figure things out and things get better. I"m glad your anxiety is under control too.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:39 PM   #3
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Would getting a part time job be an option? I stayed at home until my youngest at the time was 3 1/2. Then, I got a part time job in a photography studio. That was the best decision I ever made. The pay wasn't great and there weren't any monetary perks but the experience was priceless. I'm a person that loves to go to work and have something to do. After that job I ended up working at a credit union. I really loved that job until I was laid off. I made friends there that I'm still friends with 3 years later. Now I'm going to college and I have made a few friends there. Some are 10+ years younger than me but I think it helps keep me somewhat young.

I can completely related to what you are going through. Going into the work force was the scariest thing but it was the best thing for me. It is really refreshing having grown up time with only adults to talk to. I was a much better mother when I was working. We had to be super structured to make sure everything was done. That happened to work a lot better for our family than just playing it by ear when I'm not working.
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:47 PM   #4
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I do work as a casual nurses aide but can only work on hubby's days off and time is slow right now.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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I'm a SAHM and I know the cabin fever feeling well. It comes with the territory.

Get a check up if you haven't recently. Just to know that you are ok in that dept and don't need to spend the time working on health things. I nursed for a long time too and I needed more vitamins -- got low. While at it -- have them check on the anxiety thing.

When kid was baby/toddlerish, we joined a local online parenting group and play school and I met other SAHM's there. That helped through the early years.

We also joined a church we liked after church shopping a bit. Volunteering there helped also and I met more people. The volunteering at the church thrift store was fun -- hanging with older women and listening to their crazy stories while helping out was meaningful to me and gave my days some shape. I started volunteering elsewhere too.

I've actually been winding down my volunteering this past while because of my dad's eldercare needs but now that he's stable again I've been with a lot of time on my hands that I'm not used to.

I'm not in a rush to fill it up, because the whole health drama wore me out. I'd like some down time to process all that.

But I know when I'm ready I'll start looking for more volunteer work or think about paid PT work.

If you are lonely -- try making some new friends. I haven't volunteered at kid's school yet but I think about it.

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Old 02-11-2012, 09:22 PM   #6
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I'm a single mom that works full-time so yes I relate. It sucks when all of my friends go out on the weekend and I sit at home...but it is what it is. I get out once in a while (very limited babysitter options) but when I do have some freedom I feel guilty??

My son is 9 so it's much easier now than it was when he was a baby, back then I felt totally insane and lonely. I missed my freedom of just walking out of the house whenever I wanted. I had a baby attached to my hip 24/7 and I looked a hot mess from zero sleep. It wasn't rainbows and picket fences like I had envisioned.

I love him to death, I'm a good mom, but I don't feel I am "a natural" with kids. On that same token kids weren't meant to be raised alone so I would probably have a totally different opinion about the whole experience had I chosen a REAL husband, and not a useless tool. Best money I ever spent divorcing him.

I got an IUD so shop is closed. I'm done. lol

Just being totally honest, you're not alone. It's very hard raising children.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:09 AM   #7
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I could not handle being a single mother. Hugs to the poster before me.

It is HARD being a mom of small children. I would recommend like another poster mentioned volunteering at the child's school. Take up a hobby. Reading or soapmaking. Make your house insanely clean or take up gardening. Get a degree. Use this time to make YOU a better person. Blessings to you and your kids.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:05 AM   #8
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My husband lives in Japan so I'm a single mom at the moment.

I would KILL for 6 child free hours a day! Use that time to do something for YOU!

My youngest goes to preschool on MWF for 4 hours and I use those days to go to college classes, run errands, go to the gym. It's ME time and I use the heck out of it!

Goodness, don't sit at home at watch the clock, there is so much to do!
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #9
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As a homeschooler with a bunch of little ones, who leaves the house maaaaybe twice a week, max (church and bible study), I understand the busyness that you get used to with kids and their care. When I get spare moments I do crafts like knitting, or hobbies like reading, piano, belly dancing, you name it. Find something that interests you or you want to try and pick it up! Use that block of time for lessons, or even just a cup of tea, some nice music, and whatever peaceful activity you want to enjoy. If you're mor outgoing or want to be out of the house, I have to highly recommend adult dance classes and instrument lessons. It keeps your brain sharp and gives you a goal to achieve AND enrichment. Good stuff
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:47 AM   #10
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What do you do for exercise? Aerobic activity is supposed to help with depression. I've done some great workout videos over the years, and my newest fun thing is a mini-trampoline. I have to wake up 3 hours before leaving for work just to have alone time to use it (I have 3 kids!) but it's fun and it's aerobic. I set it up in front of the TV. Sometimes I mute the TV and use closed-captioning while I listen to my iPod.

As far as hobbies, have you tried loom knitting? I love my looms. I use looms because I am a sloppy knitter but they are supposed to be great for arthritis too. Here is a link to a bunch of patterns you can try. Basically any knitting pattern can be translated into a loom pattern:

http://www.knittingpatterncentral.co...m_knitting.php

It's really easy. I taught myself just reading stuff online. You can buy a set of round looms at a craft store or Wal-Mart or even online for about $25. A brand to look for is Knifty Knitter.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:11 PM   #11
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I was a WAHM mom for awhile and it really got to me. I definitely had this feeling during that time because my whole life was either being with my daughter or working when she was sleeping.

A lot has changed since then (and that also happened to coincide with my highest weight... not so much a coincidence). I started allocating time to workout (DH and I plan it ahead of time so it's clear when it's going to happen). When he's traveling I either incorporate my daughter in the workout or at least do some body weight exercises at night.

I've realized that I can and DO have limits. I've found activities that I can do with my daughter that allow me to relax more or ones that we both enjoy together (not just something that she likes and I don't).

I've also picked up some hobbies. I have my blog now that keeps me sane, I've reached out locally to more people to have friends besides work and I've started to pick up some of my old hobbies (drawing, music etc). Many of those I can do with my daughter and she enjoys so it works well for both of us.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:41 PM   #12
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By the way, I noticed you mentioned not having much money to join classes - still consider doing something through a community facility like the Y or a small family studio - the cost comes down to very little per month for most group dance and exercise classes. I'm sorry things like knitting hurt your fingers, have you considered quilting, scrap booking, or anything like that?
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