Parenting frustration

"This job of parenting can get so frustrating that I feel like tossing my baby out the back door! (Of course I wouldn't.) I don't want him to sense my frustration. I want him to sense a loving mom who is there to help him through all the tough times. I'd like to hear about ideas and resources to help me deal with my frustration. Thanks."

"I, too, have had a hard time dealing with frustration. Three babies later, I finally decided that once a week, I need to spend a few hours away from home. It's the best thing I've ever done! I'm ten times the mother when I come home. When things get tough early in the week, I remind myself that `Mom's Day' is right around the corner. I also try to turn small moments of silence into complete therapy. Be careful of this though. Last time I walked outside to get some fresh air and grab the evening paper, my twenty month old locked me out. His eight month old sister was in the house with him screaming and I had to break a window to get in!"

"I have been through many frustrating nights with a screaming baby and what always seemed to work for me was taking the baby outside for a brief stroll. Just a simple walk down the driveway or around the house would help. The change of scenery and fresh air was good for both of us."

"I think it's so important to take time to exercise by yourself (or with a friend). It boosts your self esteem, your energy level and charges you up for another `round' with baby."

"Realize that your child isn't being difficult on purpose. Look your baby in the eye, smile and say `I love you,' and you'll feel better. Go for a walk with your child, or call a friend (when time permits) who can lend an ear. And take a nap when your baby does. You'd be amazed how a little rest will make your day much more pleasant!"

"One of the most loving things a mom (or dad) can do for a child is to be a good role model in showing how to respectfully show feelings, including anger and frustration. Of course, your child will know you are frustrated at times - you're human! He needs to learn from watching you deal with your frustrations that his frustrations are acceptable and he can express them, too. It helps me to make amends (say I'm sorry) when I feel I haven't been respectful."

"What worked best for me was spending time with other mothers with children the same or similar ages as my own. We spent time in little groups at each others' houses once a week for coffee, etc. We all had the same frustrations and for me, talking about it and laughing over things sometimes really helped."

"I find when I am most frustrated the thing that helps is to have time all by myself - just to go away and leave it all for just an hour. I find I'm actually glad to see the kids and be with them once I've taken care of my need to be a person all by myself. Arrange for a neighborhood sitter to come in and look forward to a walk alone or have lunch alone or with a friend."

"I don't think yo should try to hide all of your frustrated feelings. Children need to learn that it's all right to have and show their emotions. And you are the example by which your child learns. With that in mind, in order to limit your frustrations, make time for yourself to get away from your child occasionally. You need your own time to do what you want in order to give your child what he/she needs when you're with him or her."

"After a feeding, get in the stroller and get outside. A little fresh air and sunshine will rejuvenate you. Your baby will enjoy as much as you do. Walking outside clears the mind."

"Two things helped me when I felt like throwing my baby out the door. First, I made sure I had at least one hour to myself each day. I joined the YMCA and started swimming and left the baby at their baby sitting service. Secondly, I treated myself like a queen whenever I could. I bought myself little treats (books, apples, fresh bagels, etc.). I found I was better able to cope with the constant demands of parenthood and be a calmer mother when I took care of myself."

"Take time-outs to get away from the situation for 5 or 10 minutes and clear your head. Explain your frustration to your child if he or she is old enough. Show that you are human and sometimes enough is enough - we all have limits and that's OK."

"It really helps to talk with other moms! My baby was colicky for 2 1/2 months (it seemed like years!) and when I could get away for even 15 minutes it was heavenly. I called friends who had similar experiences. Just knowing I wasn't alone made it easier to cope. You must realize that even Moms and dads need time-outs."

"Remember to take a deep breath and count to 10. If you still feel like screaming - take one more look at your child and remember how lucky we are to have them. Many couples out there are dying to have a baby - and God gave us one. Such a precious gift! And there are times when we, as parents, need a break. Just remember your children probably will like the time away as much as you do!"

"I can identify with this question. I've recently had my 3rd child, and my oldest is 4 1/2. The youngest is a very demanding of my time, more so than the others were. Dealing with my frustrations and impatience and even loss of control have been a large part of my being a parent, especially now. What helps me is to remember that I'm not perfect and not a perfect parent. Frustrations and anger do come out and don't feel that this is always bad, depending on how i deal with it. Sometimes I say, `I feel frustrated and angry right now and I don't feel like talking.' This helps me to pull myself together without snapping at the kids. We then talk about it after I've calmed down. This hopefully gives the kids an example of how to identify and deal with an emotion. I try to keep things in perspective. One way is to talk about the kids. Usually in the evening, my husband and I will talk over the day and the kids after they are in bed. We act as sounding boards to each other. We offer each other support and reinforce our parenting skills or talk about changes we'd like to make in how we parent. If I can pinpoint times when I know I'll be more tired and irritable, I'll try to prepare myself to not over react to the kids. For example, if I get to bed late, I realize that the next morning could be tough so I think about waking up relaxed, and tell myself not react negatively (yell). I try to read from a child care/child development book or other positive articles about being a parent. It helps me to keep things in perspective and remember that a lot of my kids' behavior is normal for their age. I try to keep working at being a positive parent, this is something that needs constant learning and work. I know I can't be there with my child for every tough time, but by being a loving parent (even with mistakes), this helps my kids deal with the world from a secure base."

"First, we would say pray! Where your patience ends, God and patience can take over. He has infinite patience, so he can spare as much as you need. Second try to identify other areas in your life that are causing stress and work on reducing those and you'll find it easier to cope (and enjoy your son) if you're less stressed in other areas."

"Go to the library and read up on his age group. This has helped me tremendously with my son, who is now 5 1/2. You get to see things from their point of view and it becomes much easier to interact with him. The most important thing to remember is that these times will pass and there will be great times and those will be the times that you remember."

"Since I've been parenting for 20 years, I've learned some very important things. One is that we mom's tend to strive to be perfect from the first day home from the hospital. No other important job expects this of a person. When you're well rested and in control, examine what work needs to be done and (just as importantly) what you desire for your relationship with your baby. Stick to your decision of where you want to spend your time. Children are very understanding. Forgive yourself of these feelings (bravo for not acting on them) and enjoy mothering."

"What I find works best is to put my baby into his play pen and do some of the breathing techniques I learned in Lamaze class. I find when I try to force my loving - we both get more upset. I also remind myself that babies will cry - just relax and enjoy your baby."

"I know just how you feel! One thing that helps me is to do the cleansing breaths I learned in birthing class. It helps when she's being especially fussy. Cleansing breaths (breathe in slowly through the nose and then blow out slowly through the mouth) help to increase the oxygen in the blood which helps your muscles relax. Also, it gives you something to do besides tensing up and freaking out. "

"When I'm at the end of my rope I try to get out of the house, it's too small when I'm frustrated. I take both my babies (3 mo. & 19 mo.) for a walk. Even if the little one cries, it's easier on my nerves to be outside - where everything doesn't echo! I think it would also help to join a play group and talk with other moms, they are usually feeling the same frustrations. I try to remember that I can take anything for a few hours."

"Don't totally deny your anger. Kids need to see parents exercise healthy ways to deal with anger or they won't know what to do with their own angry feelings."

"My lifeline is my telephone. I have my support system of other moms who have children the same ages as mine. It feels so good to hear, `You feel that way too!' - or - `Your child does that too!' I try to make one phone call to a friend every day to help keep my spirits up."

"We all feel like that sometimes, and constantly worry about being perfect parents. My suggestions are to give yourself a time-out if you need it and don't add to the guilt that's inherent in parenting. Dot the best you can, be consistent and let your kids know you love them. they don't expect perfection either, and they need realistic role models, not perfect ones."

"When you comment, `I don't want him to sense my frustration,' perhaps what you don't want him to sense is your inability to deal with your frustration. children should see that parenting is hard work and sometimes inescapably frustrating. You need to `role model' positive ways of dealing with it. Get outside for a walk or rough-n-tumble play. Offer your child a safe and attractive activity, then remove yourself to another room to do what makes you feel good. Tell your child how you are feeling and why, and then suggest what would make you feel better. Although you may not be fully understood, verbalizing yourself helps diffuse the situation."

"Seek out local community or school support groups. They are a great source of support, advice and fun activities with your children."

"I felt the same way when I started staying home full time with my children. What helped me tremendously was getting involved with a child/parent support group. They are offered through the school district and other community service programs. I had time each week to spend half the class with my child, and the other half with other parents (led by a parent facilitator) discussing all kinds of parent concerns. It really helped me to deal more constructively with my frustrations."

"A supportive spouse or partner, or other family member that can give you a break, and/or will listen in an understanding way to your frustrations can be a life saver! Just the fact that you ask the question shows you are a caring loving parent!"

"Give yourself a time-out. I tell my kids that I'm frustrated and need to be by myself for a few minutes. I set the same timer I set for them and go into my room until it goes off. they think this is funny and miraculously they haven't misbehaved while I'm gone."

"Remember that this stage won't last forever. Get a good night's sleep by `teaching' your child to sleep through the night and go to bed early yourself. Also, eat well, continue your pre-natal vitamin (the B's are important), and get some exercise, even if it's only pushing a stroller."

"Parenthood seems to be constant testing of patience. having another adult around to give me a break helps when I feel at my `wits end.' A change in routine sometimes helps me feel refreshed. When I feel like I'm losing it I focus on all the fun times I have with my son and remind myself how temporary childhood really is. I imagine my child as an adult reflecting on how he'll remember his childhood and his parents. this helps me enjoy the moment and structure the memories I want us to have."

"I'm a mother of three (ages 2, 4 & 6) and until recently have been a full-timer at home raising my children seemingly single-handedly because my husband works full-time and doesn't think he should have to sacrifice any free time for the care of his children. If I could do it over again I would insist on him devoting a certain amount of his `home time' to the care and concerns of his children. That in itself would lessen a great deal of my own parenting frustrations."

"Taking time for yourself is very important. Support groups are helpful. It is OK for him to occasionally see your frustration because this is how it is. As he gets older he will sense it anyway."

"Just try to remember that you cannot live these days over. They grow up so fast, try to enjoy every day and see the funny side of things. It's not always easy but if you keep your mind focused on these ideas you'll relax a little more and be more at ease. Also, if you don't now, fit in a little exercise for yourself! You'll feel less tense."

"Sometimes I feel the same, but all I can say is taking a nap with my baby helps me unwind until the next frustrating time."

"Being happy, sad, mad, scared or frustrated are all very normal feelings for adults and children. I try to teach my children by my example. Take these opportunities to show your child how to properly deal with your feelings and that it's OK to show them. Everyone laughs when they're happy, cries when they're sad, and yells when they're mad. Show your child that this is OK."

"The biggest help that I can offer is that thoughts of violence and destruction are normal. Humor is your greatest tool against child abuse. Repeat four times a day that `There is no such thing as the sweet, quiet Gerber baby,' and `There is no such thing as constant loving parents.' Survive one day at a time and chant `One more day that I did not do violence.'"

"When both my boys were infants I would be so emotionally exhausted by late afternoon. when my husband got home, he'd take over for a while so I could shower, go to the bathroom (alone!) or just nap. Just that little break would help. Neighbors and older relatives could also lend a hand during these times. It might help the baby to be with someone else for 15 minutes. Often they can sense your frustrations so pamper yourself with a bath or whatever. It works wonders. Also, taking a bath with the baby can be relaxing."

"Try going away with your children to see other moms, or to the park, etc., a few times per week. Tell your child that you are frustrated and work out ideas together. Hiding your feelings from your child is not helping him. A good book to read is DON'T SHOOT THE DOG. It's very humorous but helpful. Finally, have your husband take care of the kids while you take a nap, read or whatever calms you down."

( What advice would you most like to give about experiencing life with a new baby?"
Send your advice via E-mail to: Editor - BABY EXPERIENCE ADVICE )

Questions and Answers Index.