Late Night Ramblings of an Upset Parent

October 18, 2009

I’ve realized a couple of times lately (but haven’t said anything to anyone), I am now older than my mom. Sound weird? My mom committed suicide when she was 5 months past her 28th birthday. She will never be older than that, but I will continue to age, hopefull WELL past there. I am now 28 and a half. The last 2 years or so I’ve lived with a completely irrational fear that something would happen to me while I was 28 where I would commit suicide too. There’s no evidence that would make me think that, hence ‘irrational’ fear. I just thought it would happen because it happened to my mom. I know some of you who read this will be able to understand why I would think that, just as some would be ready to call the police thinking I am suicidal. I’m not. I don’t want to end my life, I haven’t thought about it, haven’t dreamt of doing it. There is absolutely no reason in my life to want to.

But thinking about my mom, that fear creeps in. And when I realize my mom just didn’t have those maternal instincts, I start to wonder if I’m not the same as her in other ways too. See, my mom realized when I was quite young that she just didn’t have it in her to be a mom. Or not a full time mom anyway. She knew, somewhere inside her. So after letting my dad have custody of me, she got pregnant again when I was 6. Rather than deluding herself, she knew right off the bat that she was going to give my sister up for adoption. Long story short, my sister’s aunt and uncle adopted her and we’re still in contact now. But knowing that she couldn’t be, or didn’t want to be a mom, makes me wonder now.

I’ve always wanted children. Way back when I was 17, I wanted a baby SO bad. I wasn’t stupid enough to get knocked up, but I wanted one. I’ve always thought I’m meant to be a mom – both in physical aspects and mentally. So how is it that one little 20 pounder with the cutest little vampire teeth and most infectious smile can make me doubt myself, doubt what I’ve wanted for so long?

In the last month we’ve been having such horrible sleep problems. Just when I think I’ve figured something out, Penny switches up how she’s screwing with her sleep patterns. Whatever. She has sleep problems. And I’m trying to fix everything. But missing even one nap throws us into this painful spiral of tears and frustration. I can’t stay cooped up at home all day, every day in fear of missing one of her naps! But I’ll tell you, I can’t go on with life the way it is at the moment either. Something’s gotta give, and I don’t know what.

This isn’t the ramblings of a sleep deprived parent. I’m frustrated beyond belief. Between Penny going for half hour ‘naps’, being awake for 5 or 6 hours at a time, back arching, refusing to be held yet screaming when you put her down, constant nipple pain from breastfeeding, a desire to see my family, a wish that I had a backbone to tell my family to stuff it, and an utter lack of sex (sorry if that’s TMI for you. It’s a fact, and it plays into my frustration too) I’m really starting to wonder if I’m cut out to be a mom.

Just when I think we’ve put Penny down for the night successfully, half an hour later she’s crying and standing up in her crib. Half an hour is enough to keep her going for another 4 hours. When she’s standing it means she’s awake. It’s not as simple as putting her soother back in to get her back to sleep. She won’t let me cradle her to rock and walk her, she won’t lay down, carrying her upright facing me just makes her straight-arm away from me. She throws herself backwards, she arches her back. She cries and whines and grumps, and spits out her soother. And it all makes me want to run away, as far as I can and as fast as I can. Court has moved beyond patience with a hint of annoyance, so full blown frustration as well. And I can’t be bothered to soothe him anymore. When he gets upset, I just get this feeling of ‘about time you had to deal with her’ and an overwhelming urge to leave the house and just make him figure it out.

Penny wakes up happy in the morning, and when she’s happy Court and I just look at each other and say “she’s so cute!” Then she gets tired and my entire day just goes downhill from there. I can’t deal with these sleep problems. I can’t deal with Court’s frustration – I’m trying to get a handle on my own. I can’t deal with the criticism advice that’s dished out to us. I can’t tell anymore when Penny’s teething, or if she’s just tired. I can’t snuggle her, but I can’t get away from her.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I no longer feel like a proud parent. I’m sick of rocking and shushing. I want to give up on breastfeeding because I can’t deal with the pain anymore. I just want to give up on all of it and walk away.



  1. I get it hun, I really do. C went through that, but only for a few nights (so far). There are some days DH comes home from work where I hand C over and say I can’t do this right now, I need to go out for a walk. Doesn’t help that DH works 12 hour days and I am home alone with no vehicle and not much around me for amusement.

    All in all, we both have great kids, and we know it. When they are good and happy, they are the most wonderful and precious thing we have. But every parent wonders what happened when their happy child turns into a screaming non-sleeping mess.

    You’re strong enough to get through this, and we are all here to support you in any and every decision you make. Penny’s old enough now that if you want to stop breastfeeding, you can. There’s nothing wrong with that; I managed to make it through cracked nipples and mastitis in both breasts at once when C was one month old, but if I hadn’t healed, I don’t know how long I could have held on.

    Penny will grow out of this stage; just take it day by day, and soon enough it will all be a distant memory.

  2. *HUGS* You are a great mom! Being a parent is hard and no one tells you that! You are figuring things out and actually trying to make your daughter’s life better (which will make yours better in the process). Don’t worry love, you are NOT like your mom.

  3. I so feel your pain. We are going through the exact same thing right now. Parker gets maybe 2 hours of nap time during the day (obviously that’s not enough) and at night he wakes almost every 2 hours. Sometimes he goes right back to sleep but other nights he’ll be up for 2 hours before I’m able to get him back down. He has some food sensitivities so I always think it’s that or teething. I don’t know how to figure out if he’s in pain or just overtired or what it is. Aargh!

    I’m exhausted and frustrated and I fear that sometimes I may take it out on my husband and my son. It’s so hard to be all loving and kind when you just want some time alone & some much needed sleep. If you figure out something that works make sure to share it with me & I’ll do the same.

    take care & good luck. Nap when she naps, that’s the only advice I can give.

  4. It’s temporary, no matter how horrible. I’m 34 and I am not sure I would have seen it that way 6 years ago. I am exhausted too and your TMI comment is familiar as well. Right now I do whatever it takes to get him to sleep, even if it means driving all over town, while Joe naps in the car. Penny will be with you for at least 18 years and I am sure she will be sleeping through the night before she goes to college or even preschool, no matter what you do.

    My main problem right now, is that I forgot how to sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s not just for when you have a newborn.

    A life saver for me is my friend Lauren (MommyIsRockNRoll). Having an IRL friend who is also online makes me feel much more connected. We found each other online, but live within a few miles of one another.

    My best advice is connect with others in real life (playgroups, etc) and go back to sleeping when the baby sleeps. Of course I need to take my own advice because right now I am trapped under a napping baby afraid to move but need a nap badly myself.

  5. I have no great solutions. In fact, I don’t know if there are any. A few things have helped me, though. Co-sleeping, and taking naps with the baby can help. That way the baby usually sleeps better, too. At least mine does. The other thing I do is ignore the clock at night. When I’m keeping track of what time it is, or how many times I’ve been awake, it just makes me more frustrated. And the final thing that’s helped me is to let go of my expectations. If I don’t expect things to be a certain way, I’m less upset when they don’t play out that way.

    None of those are magic bullets, though. I can understand why you’d feel the way you do. Babies are frustrating and difficult and they can make us question ourselves in huge ways. I can tell you that this doesn’t last forever. It will get better. You will get your life back. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it will happen.

    Go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. So is Penny, as irritating as it is. That’s enough, I promise you. Kids don’t need perfection, they really only need us to mostly show up and care. That’s all you’ve got to do to be a good mom, and you’re doing that in spades.

  6. You are not alone when you have the running away thoughts. I can honestly say the other day I really thought to myself, “Ok I’m done baby sitting, you can go back to your parents now, I’m finished” I question my parenting abilities all the time. I’m not sure if everyone does, but I do. I worry that I’m not cut out for this, that were I given a test at the beginning I would have failed and they never would have let me have my girls. Sometimes I honestly do wait until Jason walks in the door watching the clock counting the minutes, even seconds and then when he gets there, I hand off the little one and nod at the big one say “they’re all yours!” and then hide in the office. With the door closed… or the bed room with my book and the tv and I’m good… Or walk. that one also helps. You’re breast feeding which is great, you can stop anytime you need to, and she’s nearly at the age when I’m sure your dr will say that you can start introducing some whole milk anyway (not sure how that works when you breast feed but with formula it was around 9 monthsish we started with 1/4 milk and 3/4 formula) and maybe that will help with the sleeping thing too. It’s all a hit and miss, they always do that, where you think you have them figured out and then they change the game plan… I haven’t figured out how to figure them out yet.

    I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone in the doubts and the desire to run away, but that doesn’t make you a bad mom. You love her and you’re there for her when she needs you, but you also need to be happy your self, so maybe you have to force your self to make a time for you. Even if it’s a bath while court does daddy duty.. (ok bad example… in the new house) but you know what I mean.. or if you need I can come meet you for coffee or a walk or something and then you can just get a way for an hour or two.. you’ll be fine.. you’re a great mom.. and she’s lucky to have you…

  7. I completely sympathize with you. I mentioned this on the last post but my son was a horrible sleeper. And it killed me. It made it so I hated being a mom. Although I never admitted that because I didn’t want to say it out loud – but it really started to make me feel crazy. I started to think I wasn’t cut out to be a mom. I know many people don’t agree with what I did but as I said I bought every sleep book I could find and tried so many different methods. It was frustrating. I became consumed. I was always on edge. I wanted to run away. Getting K to sleep properly helped. I know the method I ended up using isn’t popular but in the end I couldn’t take the crazy no nap/up in the night sleep schedule he had going and I ended up using a modified Ferber method where I checked on him every 5-10 min. It worked. I understand if you don’t want to do that though. As I said it’s not a popular method but I had reached a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. Getting out of the house every day also helped me with the stay-at-home-mom crazies. Good luck.

  8. Hi there,

    I could have written your post almost word for word. Boy can I sympathize! Both my girls are now 6 & 3 but we had some challenging times. It didn’t help that I was anxiously trying to get them to sleep all the time, especially my first born. I knew she was tired but couldn’t stand to hear her cry so didn’t try the ‘cry it out’ method until she was about a year old and then only a modified version. She hated being held while she settled for sleep and would cry because she was tired. She also napped very sparadically, I could never count on 1-2 hours every afternoon like some mom’s. It was frusterating and yes, there were times when I also wanted to leave / take a break. I remember with my oldest I finally learned to ask my husband to take a ‘shift’ so I could sleep some. He was working so I’d sleep from 9-11pm, was up from 11pm to 1am (the whole time baby was awake) and then I’d get to sleep from 1am to 5 or 6 am. Sleep depravation makes you feel hopeless and anxious – and I ended up with PPD with my first because I was trying to do everything myself. With my second baby, I learned to ask for help, I co-slept, I had lower expectations of having the perfect schedule, my mantra was “I’ll sleep later” and “do whatever works.” I’d ask my mom, husband, friend to watch the baby so I could catch a nap on the days I was really exhausted. With both girls I made mommy friends at the park, at the YWCA and in the neighborhood, it helps to have a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. I hope you figure out what’s best for you.

  9. Sleep, how sweet it would be to actually get some. I’ve been where you are to a degree. As far as the naps – E *never* napped twice, well he did but he took like 15-20 minute cat naps until he was around age 1. Now he will nap once a day for 1-2 hours.
    Bed time I never dealt with a crib, that is just my way. I lay down in bed with him and nurse him to sleep and once he’s asleep I’ll get up if I want – usually I don’t. He doesn’t sleep through the night, not even close. If he only wakes 3 times to nurse it’s been a good night.
    I know that what you are going through is beyond hard. I have felt like I was literally teetering on the verge of insanity over lack of sleep. And I get the way you feel about DH when he is starting to lose patience. I have felt the same thing with my DH – now you see what I have to go through, ect.
    I can promise you this will pass. Hopefully you can figure out a way to help her but even if you don’t she will eventually sleep. In the meantime it’s all about survival. Do what you have to do to get through. If that means napping when the baby sleeps or in my case it was letting him nap in the swing. Just gotta do what you can to get through it.
    Sometimes sleep problems can be due to teething, growth spurts and trying to master a new skill. I think w/E the milestone thing was a big one – he was constantly doing something new.
    I have no other great advice but if you ever just want to vent – you know where to find me. *hugs*

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