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End of my rope

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  • End of my rope

    Hi Dr Shari,

    I am in desperate need of advice. I feel as though everything in my life right now is getting out of control. I am currently seeing a counselor for an issue from my childhood, and should probably discuss this with her too, but I need some guidance.

    I have 2 boys 3yo and 7months and am married. My 3yo has started to throw massive tantrums, for example he was misbehaving not doing something I asked him to do which I know was well within his ability to do, so I took the DVD he was watching and told him once he did what he was told I would give it back.
    This prompted him to begin screaming to give it back over and over and over, for the duration of the tantrum, during which he also threw punches at me, and I put him is his room and shut the door then he began to throw himself against the door. This went on for about half an hour till he stopped chanting to give it back and demanded a cuddle (as he always does after a tantrum). Once I give him a cuddle it is as though nothing has happened, but he becomes withdrawn and quiet for some time afterwards.
    It feels as though he is losing respect for me also, as he always either say no to what I ask of him or ignores me completely.

    My 7month old wont sleep without being breastfed to sleep, and that is taking a toll too. He is always in the marital bed, and I have begun to feel unhappy breastfeeding, but I don't want to give him bottles. He is also I think starting to suffer badly from separation anxiety, which compounds the problem of him sleeping in our bed as he always has to be near me.

    This of course is taking a toll on my relationship with my husband, who doesn't really help much with our youngest because he says he has no boobs therefore nothing he wants. He does do most of the housework and also work full time and everything for our 3yo when he gets home, but is starting to resent having to do so much and work too. I try to tell him I work 24hrs a day 7 days a week, but he just says thats my choice.

    I am on the edge of breakdown, I am only just holding myself together. Please tell me what I can do for each individual problem, or if not, what can I do for myself????

  • #2
    Dear Mummy2LachlanandConnor
    Thank you for your post. Your cry for help is echoed by thousands, if not millions, of women around the world! Tantrums, sleep deprivation, sexual frustration and loss of a sense of self seem to be part of the job description. Motherhood must surely be the most under acknowledged, under paid and thankless job you can have - yet it is so wonderful isn't it?
    Without a proper examination it is hard to say - however, your three year old sounds pretty normal I'm not sure who came up with the myth of the terrible two's but it really gets most of us off guard for when the thrashing threes set in! He is learning about boundaries, about how to press your buttons, about what happens if he says no etc etc. These are all very important skills for when he becomes an adult - you would be heartbroken to discover your 23 yo son was being pushed around at work and underpaid because he couldn't say no. Although it is hard, try to avoid taking your son's behaviour personally. He is not meaning to disrespect you - quite the opposite, he is trying out his assertiveness with you because he trusts you. He knows that you will be there on the other side of the door with a big hug when he calms down, he knows that you love him no matter how bad he acts, he knows you and trusts you and feels safe experimenting with different behaviours when you are around.
    Re your restless 7mo (I have a 8mo doing the same thing....arrrgh!). Step 1 - check with your GP that there is no ear infection or other medical problem keeping him up at night. Step 2 - talk to your husband about the co-sleeping arrangement and how he feels about it has he got any ideas about how it could work? I always put our dd down in her own cot and then bring into our bed when/if necessary (ie when I've had enough of the up and down!). Step 3 - ask yourself why you don't want to use a bottle and whether this is a good enough reason for you to make yourself miserable breastfeeding when you don't really want to - but if like my dd your ds wont take anything but the boob at 3am learn a good relaxation or breathing technique to get through it and keep reminding yourself that this is just a phase and it will pass - eventually. Step 4 - find out from your child health nurse or midwife about a sleep clinic in your area. There are facilities for overnight stays or for a nurse to come and stay in your home to help you teach your baby to sleep. Step 5 - explore natural therapies for teething, separation anxiety etc, homeopathy has worked a treat for us.
    Re your husband - get a good baby sitter and go out together, maybe a relative who could stay overnight (anyone can get through one night of screaming - it's only one for them) and get a hotel room. Thank each other for the great job that you are doing together - remember that you are a team and need each other (besides, none of this would be happening if you didn't love each other very much in the first place!!!) - if the two of you stick together, stay on the same team and appreciate each other you can get through anything.
    take care
    ps. find a good massage therapist and use them as often as you can afford - often you can find someone who works from home for about $50 60-90 minutes - ask around. This will not only help you feel good physically, and help with breast feeding but will also help you to feel nurtured and refill you so you have something left to offer your family.
    And if you really do feel as though you are on the verge of a break down tell your therapist asap and ask them to help bring you back from this - this could potentially be a crisis and needs to be addressed now.