When I was younger I remember thinking when I have a child I will do ‘X, Y, Z’, I can’t remember what I thought I would do differently except to be more openly affectionate. I also remember that I wanted to be a parent so that I had something that was mine, that had never been anyone else’s and was a part of me.
I think like a lot of people I also expected when I was an adult and a parent then I would get respect from those younger than me, I would get respect from my children and they would do as I asked. This expectation has probably come from me respecting those around me and doing what I was told to do, and would never have answered my parents back.
Like a lot of parents, I chose to be one. I was married and had been for several years when we decided we wanted to try for a baby. Luckily it didn’t take us long to conceive AJ, although it was a slightly different story when it came to FJ and TJ, but all 3 were born healthily and to all concerned I had what I had always wanted, 3 children.
This journey started almost 11 years ago, and I guess over the years I have felt like I had a purpose, I was the one raising the children, I was the one carrying the child for 9 months. We both lived through the difficult months of trying to conceive, but I was the one ultimately responsible during the 9 months of ‘incubating’ the baby.
Now we are at the present day and 11 years on, I feel like that purpose has disappeared. We have finished having children, neither NJ or I want anymore, and the decision has been a mutual one. However I am now on unfamiliar ground, TJ is now 3 and when the other 2 were this age I was pregnant, thinking about the next child we were going to bring into the world, thinking about the things we needed and changing bedrooms round and generally preparing for the next chapter in our lives.
I do not have the respect from the children that I had expected, and I have no idea how to gain their respect. I struggle with all 3 children at different times, and all 3 are rebellious and do as they please much of the time. Apparently I have done well with bringing them up as they are very good when they are at school / playgroup and when they are with other people. Unfortunately that knowledge does not help when I am struggling to keep myself going, and deal with their constant demands and back chat.
I thought I wanted to be a parent, I thought I would enjoy being at home with them during the holidays, I thought seeing them grow up would be an enjoyment. Instead, none of this seems true, I struggle daily with their different moods, I struggle having them at home and having no ‘me’ time, I struggle as they grow, as their moods change, and so do their demands and I don’t ever seem to catch up with them.
It’s not that I dislike being a parent, it just isn’t what I thought it would be, I don’t get that warm glow thinking of the holidays, I don’t get that dread when they are going back to school (that’s when I get the warm glow!). This is when I want a time machine, to go back and see how I was before TJ was born and see how I was then, did I enjoy parenting then? Is it just the depression that has caused me to have a lack of enthusiasm and passion for my children?
This is where everything becomes a blur, I can’t work out what I want or what I enjoy, and I have no idea if it’s me, the depression or the medication? I know the medication has helped in recent months with some very bad anxiety, but it seems to be slowly be destroying me, it feels like the real me is gradually disappearing under a mountain of tablets. I know I did used to have passion and drive and I am sure at some point I used to enjoy playing with the kids, it’s just now everything seems like a distant memory and too long a journey to try and get it all back.
What was your idea of being a parent? Is it everything you thought it would be?