Posted in Infant, Parenting

What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?

Because that’s how I’m feeling right now.

I don’t know how to go about writing this.  I don’t want this post to seem like I’m wallowing in self-pity, but something needs to come out and this is one of the only ways I know how.

I just got off the phone with my partner who announced that he’d be home around 7.  I wasn’t even able to finish the conversation in a civilized manner; I hung up quickly and burst into tears.  I don’t remember ever being so emotional, but these past few days (or weeks, or months – honestly, I don’t know) have been trying.

I feel as though I can’t catch a break.  When my son was a newborn, I was nursing for hours at a time, then he hit a growth spurt, then we started having problems with gas, after that we entered the “wonderful” world of wonder weeks.  Then came sleep deprivation due to prop dependency (where I was getting up 10+ times a night for a month just to put the pacifier back in) followed by sleep training, a tendonitis for me, teething, a growth spurt/wonder week combo and now, teething again.

I feel like all I do all day is try to function.  My son has taken to screaming at different moments; I never know when it’s going to happen.  Sometimes it’ll be for naps, or at bedtime or when he wakes up in the middle of the night.  Other times it’ll be when I sit him down on the floor or when I change his diaper.  It’s maddening because it just goes on and on and on.  And then, I have people around me asking me how are things.  All I can say is “good” (that *is* the correct answer, right?).  What do you want me to say?  I have no idea what an easy baby and what a difficult baby are like.

I’ve never had so many headaches in my life.  I’ve never cried so much in so few days.  My home is a mess – even by my standards – and I feel so alone – and feel guilty about it.

I’m lucky enough to be on paid maternity leave, I gave birth in November and am only going back to work in August.  My partner tries to help with a lot of things, but I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with how to manage work (he’s been having to put in extra hours), house chores, and this little human that’s taking up so much room in our lives.  I go out because otherwise I’d go crazy, but while I’m going out, I’m not taking care of the house and I’m not resting.  I love my son to death and I wouldn’t go back to my pre-baby life; he brings too much joy in my life.  But sometimes, like right now, I just feel like I’m losing it.

How do you stay at home moms/dads do it?  How do you working moms/dads do it?  How do you single parents do it?  Please tell me that I am not the only one.

I never thought that becoming would be easy.  But I also never thought that 6 months in, I would become an emotional mess at times.

There.  I said it.  I feel somewhat better.  I think.

Author:

Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

21 thoughts on “What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?

  1. You are definitely not alone! I felt this way with Joshua and Samuel, at different times. Maggie was easy – she just was, so I naively thought that’s how all babies are. Not so…
    I was a wreck from all the crying and waking at night with Joshua, and then with Samuel I was trying to homeschool while trying to re-learn baby stuff! O_O Because I co-slept with Sam, I was more rested than with Josh, even when he would wake multiple times, because I’d quickly fall back to sleep during/after nursing(of course, I still don’t have him sleep-trained even now at 20 months because of it – lol), but to me it was worth it during those early months.
    Teething and developmental stuff is hard!! *hugs*!
    My advice would be to let the house go where it may! Do the bare minimum and catch up when your partner (or someone else) can help keep your son occupied for a long stretch. If you need to be out and about so you feel well emotionally, then do it! Also, is there any way you can go to bed any earlier than you have been? I was UNHAPPILY going to bed at about 9:30 every night when Sam was little because it just wasn’t worth it to stay up.
    You have my support!! You’re doing awesome, mommy! ❤

    1. Thanks Valerie. I actually did end up accidentally co-sleeping at one point because I was so tired and would bring my son in the bed in the spare bedroom to nurse and would end up falling asleep, however, I couldn’t see myself keeping this up in the long run and so, I stopped nursing him lying down at one point.
      I am definitely following your advice about the house. As for bedtime, I’m already going down at 9:30, but because of a mix of insomnia and over-tiredness, I’m generally still awake (or have been asleep for a short time) when my son wakes up for the first time of the night around 11… I would go to bed earlier, but the would mean forsaking some quality time with my partner.

      1. No, I don’t guess you can go to bed any earlier than you are! Do you ever try cat naps during the day if/when he takes a nap? I have always found that a 15-20 min “power” nap does wonders for me, whereas a 30min-hour nap makes me feel worse! As long as I stay on the couch, I can take a quick nap, but if I go to my bed I’m guaranteed to zonk out. 😉

  2. Your experience with your little man is very similar to my struggles with my little girl. It’s been TOUGH. I now know how freaking EASY my son was… just about as easy as a baby can be!!! Didn’t spit up, no food allergies/sensitives, played well independently, barely a sleep issue, etc. This sweet girl of mine has made me feel like a first time mom because I really have not had to deal with any of these issues!
    I swear I don’t remember ANY of my son’s growth spurts changing is mood at all… so much so that i don’t remember being aware of growth spurts other than him outgrowing an outfit! And wonder weeks? Nope… didn’t seem to go through any of those in an obvious manner.
    It seems like we have text book babies – the ones that LET YOU KNOW every damn stage they are going through!
    It is maddening… I consider that I have been sleep deprived for the entire last 6 months. Even when she happens to sleep for 6-9 hours straight (which didn’t happen until past 4 months old), I don’t because I’m still trained to be on “mommy alert” and I’ll wake up after 3-4 hrs and then it feels like I just kind of snooze – expecting her to wake at any moment…very unrestful.
    My hubby does his best to help out when he gets home, but inevitably he’s watching her so I can do things like cook, dishes, pack my son’s lunch, feed the cats, take a shower (still can’t accomplish this unless there is another adult in the house)… really fun stuff. I get ZERO me time. Even my showers are rushed – other than just THREE times, she is screaming her head off for me when I get out of the shower (my hubby has no patience and she’s in her worst mood at night when he’s home and he’s too tired to be creative to entertain her).
    I never had much of a social life before this baby as we’re in a newer city and I only know my sister here, but I did appreciate my “alone time” (blogging, going for a walk, sewing and even just chilling mindlessly watching TV or a movie). I’m barely finding a moment to squeeze in typing this comment!! Luckily my hubby has her and is getting our son to sleep…
    I’m just getting through… day by day… hour by hour… it’s all you can do. I try to make the best of it, try to enjoy what sleep I can get (and usually get a decent nap on Saturdays while hubby is home) and just keep hoping things will get better.
    Thank goodness for the occasional baby smile and giggle… that does wonders.

    1. Haha, yeah, they let us know very clearly (and vocally!) whenever they are going through a stage. I totally understand about the sleep. My son used to give me some 6h stretches, but now, I’m lucky if I get 4. But when he does sleep for longer, my internal clock wakes me up as well.
      I can luckily get some decent showers in when my partner is around on weekends, so that is something that I appreciate, but it’s rare I can get more than 1.5h of me time because, though my partner is very willing to help with our son, he just doesn’t know how to entertain him past an hour and generally ends up misinterpreting his “I’m bored” cries as “I’m tired cries” – which leads to a screaming baby – fun…
      And yes, it is such a relief to get a smile or giggle. I appreciate every one of them.
      Thanks for stopping by :).

      1. “generally ends up misinterpreting his “I’m bored” cries as “I’m tired cries” – which leads to a screaming baby” – omg my hubby does this just about every night! Why don’t they grasp that baby is NOT tired and just wants to switch things up???
        This is why there is usually crying going on after my PM shower. I come downstairs, pick her up and then sit on the couch and put Baby Einstein on my laptop and she’s happy! (most of the time) And I know this frustrates hubby that it appears only I know what to do with her. To add insult to injury, when she gets mad with him she now starts saying “mmm mama! ma ma,,, mama!” She has really associated me as momma in the last few days…not sure I can call that a first word until she manages to say it when she’s NOT upset!! 🙂

      2. Yeah, I don’t know why they mix up the signals. Oh well, in time they’ll likely get better at it. And I think you can totally count mama as her first word! It must be so awesome to hear it even if she only says it when upset ;).

  3. You are not alone! This is the hardest job in the world!! Unfortunately, it is a thankless job too. The hardest for me is getting up all night long. Lack of sleep will start to break you. I have cried my eyes out at 3am with my 6 month old in one arm and my 5 year old in my other arm, my husband snoring away in the other room. I had never felt so alone in my entire life. It does get better. What I do when I am feeling sad or alone is dance with my kids. Even if its 3am and I am swaying in the kitchen with the baby. I do not know if that would work for you, but you need to find your special thing.

    1. I agree that lack of sleep is the worst. I think that more than anything else, that is what is getting to me. Mix that with some insomnia in my case, and well…yeah – breakdown time! My partner is starting to get up at night to help with night wakings, but it usually ends up with my son screaming his head off until it’s time for him to nurse again and so, though I am still in bed, I am definitely not sleeping. At least, though, he is not screaming directly in my ear, so that is a plus.
      I think it’s great that you’ve found a way to cope with your sadness and feelings of loneliness by dancing. I think I really do need to find something that works for me. Thanks!

  4. I have no brilliant advice to give you but want you to know you are DEFINITELY not alone here. We have all been through the “perfect storm” of motherhood: sleep deprivation, hormone imbalance and physical exhaustion. I’ve had 3 babies and each time it surprises me how much I forgot how bad it can be. Like the others have commented, just know that it gets better, you ARE totally normal and justified in your emotions and reactions and I promise your mind will allow you to forget this. Or at least lock it in the part of your brain where you put old heartbreak feelings and forgotten passwords. Stay strong mama!

    1. Thank you. Just letting it out and knowing that I am not alone helps. I think, everyone has a tendency to put on their “happy mask” and because of that, it’s easy to feel isolated or feel as though everyone around you is perfect.
      Looking forward to the day where I can read this blog and say “really? I don’t remember things being this bad”. But for now, I’m going at it the only way I can: one day at a time.

  5. A wonderfully honest post and, as most have said, you are not alone! I have found tht parenting seems to go in waves – you have weeks where things just seem to flow and then weeks where it all seems too much. The phone call from your husband is something I can relate to – on bad days I watch that clock, counting down the hours till my husband walks through the door. He doesn’t get that even 5 mins past my expectation can on certain days tip me!!!! All I can say is hang in there – as you know from previous ‘phases’ it will pass and the sun will shine again!! Never doubt yourself – we all feel it and the ones that don’t are lying 😉

  6. Oops entered too early! As for how to do it – we get out! Things don’t seem half as bad outside of the four walls. My kids are always happier out and about with different distractions and I get my patience backs! We do things like take our lunch to park just to change the view otherwise we all sit at home getting grumpier and grumpier with each other. A long, lone shower when hubby gets home also does wonders for my mood.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I really should get out more when my son is driving me nuts. Going out to buy a raincoat today so that I can still get out of the house when the whether is grey like it has been this past week :). And yes, it does indeed come in waves. I just have to keep appreciating the sunny moments and grind through the rainy days.

  7. You are definitely NOT alone! My youngest is the one that makes me cry the most. I had a moment like this this week because I have been teaching art at a day camp and he is there being watched by one of the younger counselors and he has been AWFUL. It’s mostly because she doesn’t know how to handle him and all of his boundless energy, but sometimes he’s just a pain. My other two were never like him so I feel like I’m a first time parent learning all over again. I’m being reminded of that overwhelming feeling of helplessness that you described so I feel for you! No one tells you about these times while you’re pregnant so they’re unexpected. Sometimes it feels like the best thing ever to be a parent and other days, it is dreadful and you feel like a complete failure as a parent – all totally normal! Sometimes you just need to have a good cry and get it over with (and get out on your own if you can – I rarely get that opportunity so I know it is easier said than done). Hang in there! Life would be so much easier if all kids were programmed to be lovely 24-7 but then I guess life would be less interesting too. 🙂

    1. Nope, no one does tell you about these times while pregnant. However, I suspect that you can only truly understand them when you live through them. For instance, I knew intellectually that having a child would change my life forever. But now that I have him, I *know* that my life is changed (make sense?).
      It is frustrating for me sometimes, but I can imagine that it must be horribly frustrating when you’ve BTDT with other children and a new one comes along to make you feel like a complete novice.
      The bright side, though, is that no two days are alike 😀

      1. so true. Everyone can tell you a million times how your life will change but there is no way you will actually get it until you have to go through it (especially the sleep deprivation – I know why they use this as torture in some countries!). But as awful as some days can be, there is also nothing like the little snuggles or hugs and kisses from your baby! I try to remember this when I feel like choking one of mine! 🙂

  8. I haven’t even finished reading and I am in tears. I am going through this right now and I feel like I am drowning. I feel resentful and simply out of my league. Yesterday my daughter had her vaccinations and for some reason, they make me sick. I got fever, chills, upset tummy. And I had to power through & support her. I don’t know how I am going to get through this. I start to cry every time I think about. UGH

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