I don't exist anymore.

I’ve been a full time mommy for 11 years now, which is what I wanted, but somewhere down the line I lost myself.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, but I guess they’ve come to expect certain things from me because I’ve always been here to do them, I know it’s my fault, but I just did all the things that I felt a full time mom should be doing.

I was class mother for 3 years in a row for both of them, I’ve baked more goodies then I ever thought possible, I’ve hand made very fancy Halloween costumes every year and I was the president for fundraising purposes for my son’s youth group for two and a half years. The fundraising became very stressful and this year I grew some balls and finally said they needed to find someone else to do it, however I’m still expected to do a lot of the work because the woman who took over doesn’t fully understand the job yet.

This fall, I registered to take some classes at the college. I was so happy, but as the time to start got closer, my mommy duties began to interfere. I dropped the classes.

I got really upset last night. I took my daughter to sign up for girl scouts and was asked to become an assistant leader. I didn’t want to do it, but my daughter became very excited about the whole thing and I couldn’t say no. I did it for my son’s group, how could I say no for my daughter’s ?

My husband works long, crazy hours, six days a week. He does what he can to help out around the house, but his job doesn’t allow him to be around at any regular times. We don’t have family nearby and things being what they are, we can’t afford a sitter.

I knew being a mommy was going to be hard work, but I didn’t realize that i would lose myself.

oh dear! Does anyone run assertiveness classes for Dragons? Yes, I could see why it would be hard to say no, really, but… you will melt away!


I hear you, hon. You’re the center of the galaxy at your house, which would be sort of nice, if people didn’t just expect the sun to BE there all the time, you know? If you didn’t do what has become your current job in life, things would go to hell, but sometimes carrying on with that job is not overly rewarding.

You feel lost. It’s time to find yourself again, and it’s going to take work and a willingness to–sit down, this will be hard–to put yourself FIRST sometimes. Yup, ahead of the kids, ahead of the husband, ahead of the house and Girl Scouts and all the other things you feel you must do.

Tell your husband you need help. Part of his job in your family is to help you do your job, just as you help him by keeping the kids and house in order so that he can work, right? Well, you can’t DO your job well or efficiently or joyfully if you never have an hour or two off! See if you can carve out some time–even an hour or two a week to start–when he can take care of the house responsibilities and you can get the heck out and do something for YOU. If he won’t participate, start making some calls to your neighbors, friends, local library, anywhere you might be able to leave the kids for an hour or so each week.

If you don’t want to be a Scout assistant, don’t. Your daughter can still participate, and you can even volunteer at times, but you won’t be expected to handle all the details that an assistant would. There is absolutely nothing wrong with NOT doing something like that, even if you did it before for another child.

I’m asking you to do some difficult chores here, I know. But you must take care of yourself and your needs, or you will not be able to take care of your family. Being a mom is hard work, especially when you’re doing it without a lot of help from anyone else, and with no real support system in sight. Your husband needs to come through for you here; can you count on him to do it?

What happened with the classes, exactly? What sort of mom stuff interfered? Maybe we can help you figure out some ways to overcome those hurdles when you are ready to try again.

Hang in there. It does get better. Email or im me anytime, okay?


I learned a while back that a happy Mommy is a better Mommy. I take a little time for myself each week. Whether it be to take a long, hot bath and read a book or head to the grocery store by myself. You NEED time for yourself. You can’t be everything to everybody and still stay sane.

How do you do this? Enlist help from those around you. Get hubby more involved as time permits. Make friends with some stay at home moms in your neighborhood and see if you guys could swap a few hours here and there watching the other’s kids.

Is there a Mother’s Day Out program at a local church you might be able to afford? Usually these programs are maybe 2 days a week for a few hours and not that expensive.

Don’t be afraid to ask for some help. You will be so much happier in the long run.

I’m sorry you’re losing your identity, but this is something you CAN control. Other kids’ parents aren’t giving up their identity and their kids are coming out just fine. Maybe its time you just said NO. In the long run, your kids will thank you. No one wants a one-dimensional mom.

Do for yourself and you’ll be doing them a favor. Some other mom can get up off her ass and participate. Do for yourself! Go to those classes! Just because your kids want something doesn’t mean you have to provide it all the time. Be good to yourself! Treating yourself like a worthy human being doesn’t make you a bad mom. Honest.

I am not a parent (but Honey my hat is off to anyone who’s that brave), but it seems to me like Aries28 is right. I mean, think about your own kids, 20 years from now. What would you tell your (adult) daughter if she came to you with the same problem? What would you want her to have learned from her observation of you as a mother?

My own mother was, in my opinion, a damn good one, but I think that she sometimes neglected her own needs, and it showed. What did I learn from it? That having kids is a giant pain in the ass that I don’t want.

Well, OK, not really. But she’s always said that if she had it to do all over again, she wouldn’t get married and have kids. So in my opinion, she shouldn’t be so surprised that I don’t particularly want kids (yet she is)!

Similarly, my brother told my parents when he was 13 years old that he was never getting married, because he didn’t want anyone to treat him the way my mother treated my father! :eek:

So yeah, what Aries said. Happy Mommy = Better Mommy.

I knowwhatcha mean. Dh says “You are the center of this family” and “We couldn’t get by without you”, but he doesn’t really know the intrinsic joy of being responsible for providing clean underwear for all. Doing one the the most important jobs available (kid rearing) has a value that is often indefinable and lacking tangible or physical reward.

I truly hate hearing stuff like"well, you home all day (implied “doing nothing”), can you mow grandma’s lawn? Every week." Um, no. Ask her children. I also hate that DH will not recognize that I occasionally have bad days and need a break.

Also, when you volunteer for one job, say, room mom, because you are there, they ask if you can do this other thing, which leads to that other thing, and onto another thing. I suspect that some of the super volunteers are just responding to the need to do something more important feeling. (I’m not dissing the super volunteers. They are greatly needed.)

The thing that saved my sanity is that I actually had a job that I was good at and enjoyed and was important (nursing) BC (before children). Now I work once a week. I love my nursing job- I get to talk to grownups, use my brain in a higher level way, and make a difference to someone else. Plus I get paid well and supplement the family income. Another good part about working once a week is that I don’t get involved in the office politics.

Lots of the SAHM’s here have hobbies like scrapbooking, needlepoint, ceramics, etc. I don’t find these activities fulfilling myself, so my job fills that need.

So I agree with the other posters that it is necessary to find something just for you. I think it is important to have something to do that you like and enjoy just for yourself. I also think is is setting a good example to the kids.

Like the Fly Lady says- take “baby steps”. Maybe the class taking was too big a step now, but keep that in mind for the future. It may be that you are so out of practice taking care of yourself that you need to start smaller.

And watch out for the GS’s- they are the neediest group ever!

Kids are more astute than one might think. Sit down with each of them and explain how you feel. Ask for their advice and input. Let them know your love hasn’t changed, but they are developing lives of their own, and you need some outside activity. Rethink the classes, but maybe the kids could help you choose one class, so they will have a propriatory interest in your “Me Time”

Let me expand my response…I re-read it and I hope it didn’t come off as condescending. It’s easy to tell someone what they should do but actually getting there is HARD! :wink:

I had my first child just after I turned 21. I hadn’t lived much yet. I gave up what should have been the most fun years in my life to become a mommy/wife. The wife thing only lasted till Baby was 16 months old. After that, I was the person raising him. I would have gone nuts if I hadn’t had my mother and father close by to help me out. I was extremely lucky.

I am now 28 and have a 7 year old, an 18 month old and 3 step-children. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for my oldest son. He is and always will be one of my greatest accomplishments but that part of my life should have waited.

I completely get the losing yourself thing. I was so there! I gave up finishing college and fulfilling dreams I had, but you know what? I made new dreams and so far things have turned out so much better than I ever could have imagined.

Enjoy being a Mommy. But don’t forget who you are, what you wish for and things that will fulfill you OUTSIDE of your kids.

I really do feel for you and hope you can get yourself back!

Much love and good wishes!


dragongirl being a mom is the TOUGHEST JOB on the planet.

Go away with your husband for a weekend (alone) and have some fun. Let the mommy duties rest for the weekend.

I was in your shoes once upon a time, dragongirl, feeling like I was drowning in the mom stuff. And I finally realized that I was hiding in all that stuff to avoid having to deal with myself.

So I set myself some rules.

First rule: Only volunteer for things I want to do. See, I learned somewhere along the way that if I say yes to something I really don’t want to do, I end up doing a half-assed job. And often there’s someone else who would be far better at doing that job than I am. Better I should save my efforts for things I do enjoy doing. Then I don’t feel like I’m being pressured into things I hate.

Second rule: Enlist my kids to help me. By the time my daughter was in 4th grade, she was doing ALL the baking when we’d volunteer to take cookies or cupcakes or something to school. Her teachers were shocked that she was doing it from scratch all by herself, but she loved it, and I loved it, too, knowing that I had some help.

Third rule: Find a Mother’s Day Out or join a babysitting coop. If there’s not a babysitting coop in your area, start one. It’s SO easy – you use tickets, where 1 ticket = 1 hour babysitting for 1 child. Everyone starts off with six tickets, and then they have to take their turn sitting if they want to get their kids sat for. Best part of it: zero cost! A Mother’s Day Out can also give you a break from the little one while the bigger one(s) are in school. Even one morning a week makes a HUGE difference. I was a truly single mom from the time my son was 2 months old – his dad was military and sent overseas for a year at that point – and so I found a Mother’s Day Out for him for one morning a week by the time he was six months old. Saved my sanity!

Fourth rule: Ask your husband to help out a BIT. Granted, if he’s like mine was then, he’ll look at the carpet half an inch thick with dust and a foot deep with toys and say, “What do you want me to do?” And then it will take all your willpower not to KILL him. But ask him to take on one or two small chores that are things you really get sick and tired of doing ALL the time. Like doing the dishes occasionally.

Fifth rule: Teach your children to cook, early and often! An 11-year-old is perfectly capable of cooking simple foods – spaghetti (with some help at draining the pasta), macaroni and cheese – and giving you a break. A family I knew with five kids had a mom who by the time each child reached age 12 assigned that child dinner duty one night a week. Mom was SO much happier as a result, and the kids learned to be quite decent cooks.

Sixth rule: Teach your children to do laundry. In this day of wash-and-wear, even a five- six-year-old can help fold and put away laundry. It’s not like when I was a kid and had to press my dad’s cotton dress shirts with starch and no creases in the sleeves. (!!) This will help your kids learn to take care of themselves, too, and in later years they will thank you for teaching them useful life skills before they go out on their own and don’t have a clue.

Seventh rule: Do something for yourself, BY yourself, at least two hours a week! It could be just go to the library and curl up in the corner with a book; it could be shopping; it could be taking a class; it could be going to a movie. But if you don’t take care of yourself, ultimately you won’t be able to take care of everyone else!

IANAParent but it you have gotten some sound advice.

I suggest you follow it before you end up in the looney bin.

And remember you still exist. Being a mother is a big part of you. Now make sure the rest of you gets equal time.

Hang in there kid.

dragongirl, how old are your kids? Surely the older one should be able to understand mommies have needs, too?

Hmm, some very excellent advice in here which I will echo. Live your own life. Heck, sit your kids down (how old are they?) and tell them the whole story, chances are they’ll understand and maybe even try to help you. In fact, if they are old enough to see that mommy is her own person, it should be pretty easy. If things aren’t right with you first then you can’t make things right in general. Live a little and be happy, let your kids fend for themselves a little, it’ll probably help them grow.