Why are we here?

by Katrina on March 8, 2010

“How do you do it all?”

I used to get that a lot. From other moms at my son’s preschool. From parents at the Y where my daughter took swim lessons. From coworkers at the web consulting agency where I managed a team of designers. From the editor at the publishing company that offered me a contract to write a design book. Even from my husband.

I was a 37-year-old mother of three* and somehow, my kids, my marriage, and my career were all thriving.

Then, one Saturday afternoon in the spring of 2009, while driving to Target to buy diapers, I broke down. Not my car. Me.

photo by Natasha Mileshina

I pulled over to the side of the road, my hands shaking, barely able to breathe. I called my husband and sobbed, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Thus ended my career, and thus began a journey into crippling depression, anxiety, and insomnia; medication, meditation, and therapy. As I learned to heal my body and my mind, I searched for answers to one question: What the hell happened to me?

At first, I thought there was something wrong with me. After all, I had a loving husband, a supportive boss, healthy kids, a good income. If I couldn’t manage a career and a family then how were other women doing it, women who didn’t have all those advantages?

I started talking to my friends, my relatives, my housekeeper, my doctor, my babysitter. I wanted to know how were they managing it. Guess what? They weren’t. They suffered from panic attacks and depression, heart palpitations and hives, migraines and mysterious coughs that won’t go away. Some of them took anti-depressants. Others took anti-anxiety medications. Most of them fantasized about quitting their jobs. They were barely getting by. I had no idea. Like me, they had been putting a brave face on their suffering. Like me, they all assumed there was something wrong with them.

There are dozens of self-help books telling women they can do it all—succeed in demanding careers and still be good parents, good partners, and even happy, fulfilled people. But my experience and that of the women I know tells a different story.

I decided to start this blog as a place where I could organize my thoughts and connect with others who are thinking deeply about this issue. And so, dear reader, we find ourselves here, on an auspicious day, International Women’s Day, at the beginning of what I hope will be a fruitful conversation about why raising kids in the U.S. is so ridiculously, head-achingly, heart-breakingly hard, and what we can do about it.

If you have a story about raising kids and working or watching other people do it, I want to hear about it. If you’re a researcher or a policy maker and care about this issue, let’s talk. If you have a wild or brilliant idea for how to make this better, I want to hear about that, too.

Leave your comment here, or email me privately at katrina@workingmomsbreak.com.

*NOTE: I have two kids of my own and a stepdaughter on the weekends. I never know if I should say I have two kids or three. I usually say three because there are three children I love and care for on a regular basis.

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Kirsten

I’m debating cutting my hours back from 35/week as an Employment Counsellor to casual work as an Education Assistant. My husband has kindly pointed out that we just got my dental in order and began our daughters 2nd phase of braces. So now the guilt comes. Yes it would be a cut in hours , by about $600/ month but I’m exhausted. We have 2 teenage boys- one graduating and one 15 year old boy with ADHD and that’s challenging enough. Now a prepubescent 11 year old girl and a husband who isn’t able to show compassion for anyone, especially his wife. I wake up, wake the kids, make the lunches, deal with the dogs and the rabbit, maybe do a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, drive kids to school, get myself to work 5 minutes late and then go home, clean up after the kids, the dogs, the rabbit, do laundry, make dinner, etc. All while my husband- who has a ‘real’ job and a serious one at that, lays down, chats on his cell, sits in the bathroom, falls asleep etc. I’m done. Why do I feel guilty? What is this need to have to accomplish everything and aren’t I doing enough already? I don’t feel efficient at all and I wonder if I too have ADHD. Im sadand im tired and I’m lonely. Weekends blow by and we do nothing. Hunting season is 9 months of the years and that’s great now because sometimes I crave the space but I can’t even think about having a hobby. I’m just so done. It’s nice to know that there are other women who feel the same. I’m not crazy or lazy or less ambitious than most.

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Amanda

Hello Kirsten,
I want to help you with your work side of it Kirsten. I can hear you fully. Would we be able to chat somewhere sometime? My name is Amanda, and I want to help mothers like you, because my mother is just the same except 7 kids…yes 7!!! Bipolar husband and very unwell herself. Mothers like you need some breathing space some time, an a way to make there money that isn’t so time consuming. Please, even if you come around to my place. I have the perfect thing to offer you.
Please either email me on: mandi.r.dowell1995@gmail.com or ring me on 0418853068

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Nadine

I am in a similar situation. I have been working all my life. Part time since 17 yrs since having children. My daughter is 8 My son 17. when my son was 4 i worked part time 22 hours, studied at university and looked after him. There was lots of energy. Due to part time my career didn t progress and it was somehow frustrating. The last two yrs i did an mba and started working fulltime this january. Last friday i resigned as i couldn t cope with being 50 hours per week in an office. I have a complete burnout from all these yrs as a working mom. I am done with it. i am also done with having a boss.

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Amanda

Nadine my friend,

Can I offer you an opportunity to earn the needed money but you being the business owner? It’s something that is allowing people like you to stop having to work your butts off leaving no time for anything else. Financially free and time scheduled your way. It’s almost unheard of in this day an age but I promise you. If your interested and if you contact me I’m free to give you the same freedom I’ve got.

Email: mandi.r.dowell1995@gmail.com
Ph#: 0418853068

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Angie R.

I can 100% agree with you on this. My hubby is the same way as yours. I am a nurse full time and at home I do it all. I often cry out of frustration because it gets very overwhelming. I feel lonely too because I do not feel the support from my spouse. We have to kids and I am the one that gets them ready, checks homework, makes sure they shower. Then there is the laundry and cleaning. I have no time to myself and have been depressed for a very long time now. I have spoken with my partner on the issue of helping out more but all I say goes in one ear and out the other. I too feel at times like so many moms have it all together so what am I doing wrong?

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Brenda

I’ve been supporting my family for the past 3 years from paying the house, vehicle insurances, car payment, groceries, entertainment expenses, and more after my husband lost his full time job. I am a RN and I often cry every night because I’m tired of just working and my husband working part time. He’s currently going to school full time but it’s extremely hard when I’m the only one working full time and still have to attend to the house duties. It’s taking a toll on me mentally and physically. I told him I need him to work full time or decide what he wants to major in. He started off for computer science and now changed it and wants to go into the medical field. I feel like I’m dying slowly because of all the stress. I want to be a mother and take a break… but how will that ever happen?

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TDub

32 yo momma here, I have 7 kiddos, and lord do I feel you on the husband thing. I’m ready to just divorce. At least then I’d have a break every other weekend… At this point in my life, I need a break, not a room mate. I just get all the things…

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Michelle

So, I am have small boys (6 and 2) and house that I myself clean, laundry, grocery shopping, assist with homework, do my own homework (I am taking some online classes to get ready for nursing school), work full time and I come home to my husband saying “I’m stressed.” Seriously!? I have read all of these articles on how to help your husband with stress at work, but most of them urge you to take on MORE duties! I am seriously already doing EVERYTHING and I am barley holding on for the ride. I get to work this morning after already feeling like I have run a marathon with getting myself and two kids ready and get everyone where they are supposed to be, to an email from my husband saying that he slept like crap last night. I mean, I could really do without his complaining. I don’t complain. I just put a smile on, take a deep breath, and keep going so why can’t he just suck it up and do the same? I love my husband and I am supportive of him, but sometimes I feel like he forgets what all I do. I mean, when he actually does help around the house (which is hardly ever), I always make it a point to tell him thank you. I mean, positive reinforcement, right? Well, it doesn’t work on my husband. And do I ever get a thank you for washing those pants he wants to wear the next day or cleaning three bathrooms after three disgusting boys (note: we are still potty training my youngest, so you could imagine the mess). At church, my women’s Sunday school class talks about how we should be thankful and look to the Word for answers. I am thankful and I am looking to the Word for answers and I am not finding any answers. Someone help!

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Christine

Hi Michelle,
I’ve been there and am there right now. I finished nursing school, second career after teaching, after having my first daughter that I had become unexpectedly pregnant with. After completion, I went through a divorce. Then I had to move in with my parents at 30, devastating, and was finding my way. I met a wonderful man and we were dating again. I was told I couldn’t get pregnant again due to endometriosis and was on the pill. Well surprise, I was pregnant, unmarried and caring for my three year old. I didn’t want to get married but at eight months pregnant I decided it was probably best. My husband is wonderful man, hard working, kind, but is old school. After my second girl I went back to work and school and completed my BSN. I worked for three years at a job I loved, case managing in hospice. For about a month I was exhausted, emotional and thought peri menopause was happening. Nope, at 37 I was pregnant again! I continued working and applying for NP programs since my husbands company had been experiencing lay offs. I do everything. I am the sole care taker for the kids, I take care of the house, finances, etc. My beautiful son was born and my mother helped me when he was young but now he is 20 months old. He’s to much for my parents to handle, oh did I mention I had to remodel my home with an addition so they could move in because they no longer could afford to live and had to sell their home? So I quit my job I loved, stayed prn, and am doing my courses one class at a time. I placed my son in preschool that has an aftercare in case I need more time to study or have an activity with the girls since my parents can only help with them for about two hours. My husband has been trying to help more with kids, after I have had numerous talks with him…this has taken five years. My suggestion to you is to find what is best for you in the long run. Finishing nursing school will be challenging now but the pay off will be higher pay and a guaranteed job (may not be the position you want but there is always a job). Nursing is hard. Some days I would come home after caring for others all day and then be angry when I had to take care of every little detail of kids, house, husband, etc at home. But they are the ones that matter. I never wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to be a physician but knew the NP route would be a better choice for me as I wanted a family and was starting all this at an age that wasn’t 21…I went to grad school at 25 for MS in neurobiology and should have just applied to med schools. But I have gained insight and patience. Empathy is something that comes with time. You can do it. It won’t be easy. Just talk to your family and let them know what getting through school will do for your family. If you can stop working then do it. You can do it all for a short amount of time, but then it takes it toll on you. Your priorities should be your family and education. There is always a job. See if you can take out a loan for school or maybe a family member may help. Can you have a garage sale? I made some cash to pay for kids activities that way. I also pray, a lot! I cannot do this without the help of something bigger then myself. I know this was long winded, but I wanted to emphasize you are not alone. This is a short amount of time and then it will get easier. I hope that helped.

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Erika

Same boat, but we only have 2 boys. Really wish I could work part time or partially from home, but cannot find a job that would then still allow us to pay our bills. Yeah, you do seem to take on most of the housework and childcare. Then my husband would say but he mows the lawn, feeds the dogs and does all the driving. Plus he gets the man flu and all kinds of aches or pains. 😛

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Sherri Mills

I know the feeling with a 13 and 7 year old …and a baby on the way..I work 45 hrs a week and my 7 yr old has gymnastics 3 nights a week….I’m scared and nervous but luckily a supportive husband…I just feel like something is missing…and with a new unsympathetic boss at work…its been stressful. I work sun up to sun down and then some. I feel so much responsibility on me and any minute I will lose it. I can’t find the basic happiness I feel like I should have…when did it start slipping away??

A vacation that we can’t afford would be nice..just me and him…but who am I kidding…and with our 3rd on the way.
I can relate to the comments and appreciate all of them…glad I’m not alone
..keep our heads up ladies….that’s what I’m trying to do…trying. Thanks to all who shared.

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Tanya

It’s nice to read these stories. It’s a little easier when you know you aren’t alone. I spent 10 yrs in the military as a single and loving it. Met my husband and soon after was unwillingly medically discharged. I was left confused and scared because this was never the plan. Decided to go back to school. I started in the spring of 2013. I’ve taken two different semesters off to have our 2 daughters. They are now 2 and 3 yrs old. My major is petroleum engineering and I’m in my junior year. I’m so tired and burnt out from never stopping and getting 4 hrs of sleep every night. My husband is wonderful but he works 12 hr shifts and a lot of overtime to keep us afloat. I don’t want to quit but I at times find myself up at 1am wondering what the hell im doing. I don’t want to let my beautiful little family down, they are the reason I keep going. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m just tired.

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DSK

It’s a Sunday afternoon. I’ve just spent £350 on food shopping and other bits in Sainsburys. Who paid for it? Me.

Who drove me and myself there? Me. He ain’t working. “Self employed” but I don’t see the money.

Do I get a “sit down darling let me make you a cup of tea or thank for the shopping”??

No instead I get him sitting down on how phone instead of helping me unpack the groceries.

Honestly what is actually wrong with men?

You ask them to help and they say your nagging. You ignore them and they say you are moody. You tell them what’s wrong and they say your dramatic.

Sometimes I think okay let’s all sit down and stay on our phones.

Then I think of my daughter and son who I want to enjoy a nice meal and clean house.

I honestly truly believe things wouldn’t be half as hard or tiring for us women if women stepped up and actually pulled their weight as much as we do.

Why does the saying “better half” even exist?

Gosh I feel so much better after venting. Hahahaha

First time posting here but love reading all your stories.

Love this group. Thanks for sharing everyone. We are this together.

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DSK

A lot of mis type errors in the above but am basically talking about my husband. Lol

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Jessica

So glad I stumbled across this site. I’m 31 and I run my own (very) small business from home while taking care of my super active 18 month old and babysitting 15 hours a week – I take her with me. I do all of the cooking cleaning laundry shopping chores etc. Husband works and is in school so he is never home not even on the weekends. I feel like a single mom. I try and find support but I’m a work-from-home-stay-at-home-work-outside the home mom who’s totally exhausted and trying to keep my head above water. I’m with you women. It helps to read others stories.

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Satya

Hi,I am satya.i have 2kids of 8 and 5 std.i am computer graduate and even worked as a teacher .managing both works is
really like a nonstop running marathon .i dont say my husband is not coperative but he strongly belives that a person should be free to take care of all and at the same time must not wotk to the full energy .he cares very much and keep educating me to just take care of ur health and us.but i feel that i am not independently earning for myself i evrn tried for part time jobs where i can work 4hrs without any issues but it didnt work.
I have seen quotes of so many so felt like sharing mine
I am a women of today irrespective of my responsibilties
Hats off to all the women who work hard to maintain both home and work equal

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Maisie

Hi Kirsten,
I have 2 young children and I work part time as an RN in a very busy and stressful unit. My travel time to work is sometimes 2 hours due to traffic and I have my 2 kids with me whom I drop off at daycare and pick up after work.
I am exhausted, I have no family support as although my husbands family live near they are elderly and my mum lives on another continent and I miss her terribly.
We moved after I had my first child to a more affordable area- consequently now long journey to work and also I am now far away from my close friends. Life feels overwhelming at the moment.
My husband doesn’t have a regular income- he is a builder trying to start his own business and we aren’t homeowners yet. The only way we will probably be able to get a mortgage is if I go back to work full- time.
Recently I have missed a lot of work due to my younger child starting childcare and getting sick regularly and I have been run down also. So I have got into trouble at work for this which is yet another stress.
Sometimes I feel at breaking point.

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Leslee Martin

It is so nice to see I am not the only one. I have a daughter who is 12, a step daughter that is 4 and her mother is a terrible narcissist that dangles her as a bargaining tool, and I also have a 8 month old baby. I work 45 hours a week and my husband works an hour away which put him home late and never home on the weekends. So this leaves me to care for all 3 alone while trying to keep my house clean and cook. My ex husband is not paying child support and can be verbally and emotionally abusive to my 12 yr old daughter, whom I have in therapy. My husband is a wonderful guy but just doesn’t seem to understand how streched thin I am rught now. I am currently takeng 75mg of Effexor and Xanax .25 3x a day. Some days I literally cry becaue I am so overwhelmed. My house is a constant mess, I never have a moment alone, I never sleep through the night because my baby doesnt sleep well. Recently my step daughter asked if I could be her real mom she doesnt like her mom bcuz she is mean. My husband makes remarks how we never get alone time which I understand is important but how? When? Then he continuously talks about how messy out house is, not dirty just clean clothes in a million baskets. And the kids’ junk all over. All he has to do is go to work and come home and on his days off he doesnt have the kids but my only days off I ALWAYS have all 3 kids. I am starting to feel extremely resentful and like I am being taken advantage of honestly. I just want to make him see how hard this is but he always plays victim himself. Regarding work and being tired and sore. Any suggestions?

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Diana

I would say before tackling anything else. Date nights, your ex husband, your lazy current husband (not judging I have the same), your kids.

Tackle that house. I have come to learn a big lesson in this.

I am one woman who I can say loves a plan and a perfect life. But there is no such thing as perfect. However after looking for perfection I have come to a dead end with a huge sign saying “step by step”

So first step I would recommend the house work.

Let that despite anything else be your focus for the next one or two weeks depending on how much you have to organise or tidy.

Declutter declutter declutter.

Start with clothes and start putting away any clothes that you know you will use for you and kids and hubby, but not for next few months. Put away in labelled boxes or bags.

Then organise the draws and wardrobes so that all that is in there is usable and something that each person is happy to wear not just a decoration for the wardrobe. Throw away and give away everything else.

I have more tips for the organisation side of things if you need them.

But once your house becomes easier to tidy up because you have gotten rid of a lot of things you don’t need or cause more trouble than they are worth. Then you will begin to think more clearly.

Then the next thing you need to tackle is setting aside time for yourself. Whether it’s to watch your favourite programmes, go to your favourite coffee shop, read or even go to the gym. Set that time aside when hubby is at work, kids are at school and baby is having a nap or she can be with you if you are fully prepared with her milk.

So house decluttered, so you know where everything is, then time for yourself.

Put everything off for a couple of weeks and work on those two things. In the mean time you will get the answers to the other questions you have.

Ps: when I say everything I mean all the problems you feel your facing and need to tackle. Deal with one thing at a time.

I know the feeling of being overwhelmed and feeling like you have the whole world on your shoulders.

But you are in control!!!! You got this.

Make you happy and everyone else will be.

Good luck and we are here for you xx

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Marissa

I’m in a similar situation. I’m a 28 year old single mom of a beautiful six year old girl and I work part time barely making anything and I go to school full time, I barely get by plus I don’t have any help. I’ve been experiencing panic attacks for the first time and I’ve reached a new level of unhealthy mentally. I can’t handle it all any more and I don’t know what to do. There is still so much schooling I have to go through before I get my degree and I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m not working at a place that fits me and who I am and that brings me down. I’m not nurturing myself and I feel so isolated and neglected. I keep telling myself that once I get my degree it will be ok, everything will be fixed but that’s not the answers so it seems. I guess it’s that moto, “if it’s not one thing it’s another.” Nurturing myself and my daughter is my world and what ever I end up doing those need to be put first. But how; In this busy world we live in where priorities are broken and drama and worry seem to seep through the cracks where ever you go? I’m learning how to nurture myself and I hope that once I teach myself how, with guidance, I will be able to see more clearly what I need to do! If anyone has any tips I would love to here!!
M. M. T.

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Laura

I have 4 children ranging from 2 through to 13, I work full time in a demanding job, my husband works away with the mines being away weeks at a time and I just found out I’m pregnant…. I’m not coping with this surprise and lack of help/ support from family and friends/ husband! This baby was a “suprise” and I have been struggling ever since, bouncing from moments of delight to moments of sheer horror at the thought! I just don’t feel like I can keep this up, I’m struggling worse than I ever have with morning sickness and tiredness, I just want to bury my head in the sand, I have bitten off way more than I can chew!!

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Working Mom in NC

I have always been driven and good at sales. When I was single I was a beast. As soon as I had kids I started to sacrafice and let my husband fast track his career. I was just an account manager but there was potential to grow. Then we moved and I transferred closer to home. Then we had our our first daughter. My husband traveled a lot and I was basically a single mom. It was tough and I managed because I left my thriving and perfectly built up NYC accounts to start my scratch in Stamford CT. I grew my territory again and exceeded goal but the following year they gave me a ridiculous quota and even with daycare and then I was pregnant and my husband had the opportunity to move out of state and got a great salary deal. We moved to South FL. He was again working and I’m upper management. My company transferred me to another Dept basically to the first tier of b2b so it was love and leave them. It was also an open territory so it was very competitive and cut throat. I had my son and made goal and then my boss pushed for me to get a higher level position but even though I was seasoned in the company and successful in my old department, I was new and unknown and was passed over. It was heart wrenching because I felt like I gave so much and then I was pretty much bitter and checked out. Again my husband got the opportunity to advance but we had to relocate. I was in between jobs and toyed with being s stay at home mom but I couldn’t. I just had to work. So I focused on the move and when we relocated I focused on finding a good job. I was with other company for 8 years and had not really been out in the market. After 8 intense interviews I got a really great account management position with a higher ed pub company. Again it was starting over but I successfully made goal with a few hiccups like having to cancel last minute do to my sick kids. Even with daycare they still get sick and because I’m a working at home and have always been in a home office it fell on me. I am into it and working hard to stay on top but the life balance with a 3 year old and 5 year old is so hard. My priorities have changed but the inner winner and drive to succeed in me is not gone. Again my husband is now grounded in a 8 to 5 job in corporate but still has me staying home with the kids when sick. I literally lost it today. I couldn’t keep up. I had both kids at home ( not to mention out with the flu the week prior) and I just want to cry every time my email pinged or phone rang because I had to take care of my kids. It made me feel like super frustrated. Now fast forward my husbands the new guy and getting passed over and miserable. He wants to leave and take on a start up as s sales director. Again the money better than me. I have a 2 state territory so I travel a bit and we manage but I am sick of having to manage it all. I can’t. I need help. My husband is like well plan our travels. Ideally it sounds good but life can’t be planned. I said we need a nanny and his attitude is why the kids are easy. Every time he had to watch them there’s never an issue but I can’t do it and balance it. Am I being to dramatic or is my husband taking advantage of me. How do double income traveling dales couples and especially working moms keep it together. I need advice.

Sorry to vent but I feel like I want to punch my husband so hard sometimes and scream I want to work and not be the go to care taker. I want you to acknowledge that I take on a lot and if I’m upset or depressed don’t treat me like a fabarge egg talk to me. Help me. Ok. I’m done but any advice is welcome. I am new to the area and can’t really confide in anyone and my 2 sisters have their own issues. Soooo. Ok. That’s my story.

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Lisa

I never really believed in any of these things but when I was losing Jackson, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly. so i ordered a LOVE SPELL. 2 days later, my phone rang. Jackson was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to how much I loved and needed him. Spell Casting isn’t brainwashing, but Dr. Todd opened his eyes to how much we have to share together. I recommend anyone who is in my old situation to try it by contacting his email at manifest spell cast@gmail.com. It will bring you a wonderful surprises as well as your lover back to you. The way things were meant to be.” contact Dr. Todd he’s very nice and great. ….. Lisa

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John

“Dr. Todd” hahahahahaah

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Melissa

I feel like running away but I would miss my kids to much. I work full time and take care of my two.kids when not at the office. My husband w9rks day amd night but when he’s home does absolutely nothing. I mean Nothing! I tell him all the time to help and it’s like talking to a wall. I don’t have friends outside of work amd fell like I have nobody to talk to.

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Dottie

I don’t have kids at home unless you count a 60 year old husband. I work anywhere from 50 t0 60 hours a week, have a 45 minute commute one way. In the past year I have gone through colon cancer surger and chemo and stilled work 50 plus hours. My husband might work 30 hours per week and doesn’t help at all. All he does is play on the computer, his phone or play his guitar or keyboard…oh yes amd.drinks every night. My house is dirty, my yard is overgrown, laundry piled up and I just don’t careven anymore. I am to the point I give up. I have no friends, no me time. I can’t even go to the store without him calling me to see where I am because he is lonely. When I am home he is looking around Facebook on his phone. I sometimes wonderror why God is punishing me. I go on and on….thanks for listening.

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Amanda

Hello Katrina,

I would really love to help you. I have a mother that struggles just like you. A husband this just like you explained. She’s very unwell. And 7 children.

What I have to offer you is a network market that is built up just by meeting friends. With such little effort I never realised or believed it possible to get such a reliable wage supplements that is life long‎.  Not only that, there is no set hours or anything, and you’ll have much more family time to spend with your children and husband/partner.

I’d love to make a time with you that suits, and we can talk it over and I’ll explain it more in detail. Please just let me know what time suits you and we can have a chat. 🙂

Looking forward to hearing from you and love to catch up

Amanda

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Leah

I love this article – I’m so tired of hearing how working mom teach their children anything – I’m a kick ass working mom and I out source everything so I don’t get fired- this means my children learn what it means to be a good person from my nanny all because if I don’t work Iwe’d be in debt right now.

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Nikki

Remcently I have become overwhelmed with my responsibilities and am having difficulty emotionally dealing with the fact that there is no viable alternative to just not doing what needs to be done. It is not an option to eliminate these duties and feeling option-less and without choices is causing me to panic quite frequently and be depressed more so than usual. I am a (newly) single mother of 4 children–10, 11, 13 & 17 years old– two of whom have special needs and demand even more attention than my other children. They all attend school with the exception of the eldest who has completed school (I homeschooled that child since age 11) & she’s about to start nursing school. I am a Social Worker working my regular 35 hours plus an additional 15 hours overtime out of necessity (case overload requires it) on weekdays. I am enrolled in graduate school in a masters degree program with one year left until completion, at which point I will have obtained my MSW which I greatly need. Occasionally I do side work on the weekend such as cleaning rental houses and vacation properties to generate some additional income. I do not have any family at all let alone anyone that is able to help in any with anything. I know it is my responsibility to work full-time and part-time as well in order to provide for the kids….so that cannot be eliminated. All the housework and maintenance is my responsibility and that cannot be skipped either bc its my duty to provide a clean, safe home for my children at all times. The kids have chores but 90% still falls on me. I can’t eliminate graduate school bc I need the advanced degree to move up in rank and hopefully earn more money as my income versus bills are extremely tight.
Lately I find it difficult to comcentrate on all of it. At work I think of home and when I’m home I think of work. There isn’t money in the budget to outsource of it…not the housework or childcare or maintenace, and reducing my hours is not an option at all. Ideally, I need to work about 20 hours more to earn the income I need to support the 5 of us properly but the thought of taking on another responsibility leaves me literally frozen in a state of panic.
Looking for suggestions on how to do it all and do it better. Thank you for listening to my very long rant.

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Brittany

Here lately I have been feeling alot of different emotions. I was born with a severe heart defect, so there for being a working person, i have never been able to be, but i am a mother to 2 precious children, and a wife to an amazing husband. We have dealt with many many things during our 10 years of marriage, my open heart surgery, deaths in the family, etc etc, but here lately I have been feeling like I myself am not good enough, I am not able to work, although i would absolutely love to, so that puts my husband as the only one working bringing in an income, he is a truck driver so therefore he is gone 2 to 3 weeks at a time, and we absoutely hate that he has to leave me and the children for so long, but in this day and time, and with all the medical bills, and other bills that come with life, that is the only way he can make ends meet, yes i get ssi but they base it off his income and last month i got $3.52 for the month, that wouldnt even buy a gallon of milk! I feel so bad that i cant help him out to where he doesnt have to stay gone all the time, and when he is home, he is only home for 2 or 3 days and then he has to leave right back out, we barely make it now, we never get ahead, it seems like when we start getting ahead something comes up and knocks us right back to the week to week, I would love to be able to take an outing with the kids, take the to an amusement park, or to the zoo, but thats just not in our budget. I went back to school and got my ged and i want to go back to college, although i am told not to work, cause it would put to much stress on my heart, but there has got to be something more. I feel like i am not enough, i feel helpless and hopeless. Just trying to find my reason in this world. I now see, i am not the only one out there that feels this type of way, and there are many others like me. I thought something was wrong with me. I hope everyone has a blessed and great day! And hope you all are close to finding your calling for this life.

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L

I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t fight the “I am not enough” feeling, heart issue or no heart issue. You are doing a whole job–taking care of the kids, yourself, and the house, and your husband when he’s home. If you worked you would have to pay for childcare and everything’s else that goes along with working. Our society has upside-down priorities and that is why women feel “I am not enough.” So don’t blame yourself. We are all in the same boat, doing more than enough and getting no financial security in return.

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Mandi

Im a 35 year old mother of three one girl 7, two boys, 5 and 1, i work a d full time job from 8 to 5, i wake up at 5am everyday to cook lunch, breakfast and prepare school snacks for my children, bathe them, prepare them for school, then prepare myself for work, drop them off at school. Dinner in the evening, help them with homework. I live my family but i am so totally and completely exhausted. That i dont know where to turn. I feel as though im in some kind of a daze, movjng in slow motion. No one helps me. I need a break

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Meemee

Hi there I’m in a similar position single parent 3 boys work full time in a very stressful job. I too do everything with no support. Pay for everything . I try get mine in bed early try be super organised. I cook and freeze. Meals so when I get in from work it doesn’t take for ever to prepare meals. Sometimes it’s about accepting the choices we make. It takes strength and resilience. Sometimes I take a day off when kids are in school daycare just for a little break for mummy

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Chrissy

I am a single mother to a 3 and 10 yr old. My 3 yr old is out of control. He doesnt listen to me at all he has picked up cursing from the kids outside. We live in a duplex with shared backyards with aboit 20 kids outside ages 1 to 12. My daughter 10 is ok as long as you dont ask her to bathe clean up after hersf do any chores well basically do anything other than play. I work from 4pm til2 am on weekdays and weekends i work 8pm to 8am as a server. My feet hurt all the time. Anyways when i get home on the weekdays i am avle to sleep a couple hoursvut on weekends i dont sleep at all. By the time i get home the kids are awake and ready to go. My 3 year old will not let me more than 3 ft away from him. I feel like all i do is work sleep and clean up while listening to my kids cry and scream unless i do everything they say. Its exhausting. Its to the point that i dont feel like taking a shower i have no energy to clean my house i am miserable. I do not date i do not have frie ds. My mom commited suicide 2 months ago my dad was killed 8 years ago. They were only children so no aunts uncles or any family to speak of. I just feel so alone Nd lost. I dont know how oyher women do it all i feel so inadequate

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Dee Otero

I have two jobs 3 disabled kids and disabled husband. On my first job I felt like I was doing good recently I started having heart attack sinsations I was so scared I called my doctor and I had 3 appointments they found nothing but a small infection. This all started as I was looking for another job so that I wouldn’t have to work two jobs. I’m scared because everything is on my shoulders. I have no clue what to do

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SA

Hi there. I’m a bloke so understand I’m coming from this stance. It is my opinion that in the last 40-50 years or so there has been an increase in the mental health problems of women today. I believe that the role of women today has been subjected to many challenges. To name a few. Women are expected to be a mother to their children as they were before this period and in addition are asked or expected to be a “bread winner”. Part of this role a man can not simply biological do (i.e. feed the child natural milk etc…) This additional stress on women can’t be good for mental health.
In addition, the role and self identity of both men and women today has been completely blurred. Women are commonly taking on roles/ responsibility in the family that formerly were not. They are expected to do the same things as men and there has been arise in the so called “equal” rights movement. This all contributing to a blurring of identities. Women are expected to be ‘like men’. Part of this problem is due to men also releasing those responsibilities (perhaps due to immaturity) that formerly they were undertaking or simply that some women feel compelled. Some men today have no sense of being a men and consequently are self indulgent and irresponsible. However to be fair, some women are extremely controlling and contribute to men’s laziness is some way and vice versa. I understand this is a “hot topic” so I apologies for any unjustified offence that I have caused.
The other day I was driving in my car and saw one man who had his hat on back to front in a hotted up car and a woman sitting looking infatuated with him. I first noticed him as he disrespectful was ‘tail gating’ me. Shortly after, his patience got the better of him and he speed around me only to reach the red lights where we both met. It really does make me wonder that both the sexes here are to blame. Firstly, how is the men going to be a father, responsible and ready to set a good example to his children?? Secondly if he is so bent on doing his own thing driving in such a dangerous way how will he become a selfless husband? Will he sacrifice his wages to put for on the table? In addition to this, why do some women permit this and find men like this attractive? Surely the two are to blame here. It seems in my observations that these types of couples are far too common. More can be said about the rise of the feminist movement and what demand economically their movement has placed on family costs but haven’t got time to explore that.

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Shy

Okay I have a part time job, 20 hrs a week, I feel incredibly guilty and overwhelmed at the same time. But I feel like if I tell my husband I can’t do it, then I’ll be letting him down. But I honestly receive no help from him (he works 50+ hrs a week) even though understandable it’s taking its toll on me. Idk what to do, and then on top of all that I am the go to for all my friends and family for their problems and I feel overwhelmed.

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Charlotte

I found this article because all day i have felt massive ice pick stabbing pains in my head, my arm is tingling, my neck is stiff, I have cried to my family THREE times that i want to be left utterly alone. They don’t care, they wont stop. I will die early from the stress, I know it. And they wont give a single fuck.

Everyday i wake up at 7 am and get the kids to school by 8:30. Then i go to work until 5:30. The second i walk in the door everyone whines they are hungry and thirsty and they expect me to do it because i have a vagina. My youngest is 12. By this age i should NOT be asked every fucking day to pour him a drink when he can CHOOSE something out of the fridge for himself. I listen to my 50 year old roommate whine how he wants me to cook like his fucking arms are broken and cant do it himself.

I have a mound of dishes to tackle, rooms to clean, laundry to do – no one cares. They see me pissed and dont help. They see my crying that i need alone time and watch me walk away because they wont stop hanging on me. I go to my room and shut the door and they will knock on it a dozen times asking me for shit.

They will bother me until i am literally screaming to leave me alone and my blood pressure is shooting through the roof. And then i feel guilty it got to me screaming. But they will NOT hear me UNLESS i scream.

I have no doubt i will have a heart attack or anyureism soon. And none of them will give a single fuck. They know already what its doing, they dont care, they are too busy feeling sorry for themselves that i am not their on demand clown and slave.

I wanted to be a mom growing up. Now i want nothing more than to spend my days in blissful fucking silence under a bridge where i never have to hear from another selfish asshole asking me to do for them what they can do for themselves or begging me to entertain them when its clear im literally getting ILL from being bothered so much….

The stress is making me hate motherhood. I can not work full time and come home to another full time job. If i make it another 6 years at least my job will be done and when i go to the grave at least no one can bother me to service them anymore. When death is the ONLY way you can have peace: you KNOW working motherhood is fucking bullshit.

No woman should have children in an economy like this. Its suicide.

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Sarah

Charlotte you aren’t alone… Try telling them to get their own drinks, ours are the same I feel like I’m running a hotel where I’m the only member of staff doing every thing after working all day in a stressful job, then when I’ve met their every demand and finally get to eat the sad sandwich I’ve made for my tea cooking being Pointless as the husband never comes home before ten will they let me eat it well hell no. Then finally get them to sleep then the whole charade begins again in the morning. Husband gone to work of course so I have to clean feed and dress two kids then back to the full time stressful job. I dread going home.

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Jessy

Wow! You said it! I agree. This economy and culture is making women go crazy. I sometimes just want to die instead of going to work or doing all the housework Asian.

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Raquel

I cant tell you how awfull i feel lately. I work full time plus over time. My job is demanding in yhe medical field and i just cant cope with being a Mom to 4 kids ages 10,9,7 and 6 months old, married to someone in the military, working so many hours. Its5slowly killing me. Thw older kids all they do is fight fight fight all day long 24/7. Sometimes i just want to give them away becauee i cant handle them. They dont listen no matter what i say or do. Spankings, time outs, dont matter dont work. I see all these parents enjoying their kids and i dont at all. They dont bring me joy at all. My precious baby is so happy and im scared they are stealing my happiness to give to the baby. My husband helps when he is home i cant complain in that. He is a good husband and father. Sometimes i rather just be poor and quit my job and not stress it anymore. Idk what to do ladies. Please help

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Meemee

Get rid do you you really want someone who doesn’t want to see his child in your life

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Shell

I’m a single parent with two boys. A full time, very demanding job which includes travel and overtime. I have no maid, I can’t afford it. I am so exhausted. I spend all week looking forward to the weekend. My Boys went to Dad for the weekend, where as usual their always seems to be fun fun fun, and i have just spent almost all of it trying to clean My house and do chores. I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel. Their Dad asked Me to meet them a bit closer to help Him because He’s opted to move further away, I end up feeling torn between wanting to slap Him and feeling guilty, because I didn’t help (actually I did, but not at a time that suited Him)So so so so very tired! Just cried buckets of exhausted tears. Trying to get “My Face” on before the boys arrive home.

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Cara

My heart pains and I’m trying to catch my breath as I can so relate to so many super stressed mom’s on here. We can’t find balance and men don’t understand, or like me we are a single mom with little help, no time to ourselves and feeling insurmountable financial pressure. No wonder children of this generation suffer with mental health or behavioral issues as mom’s are not anything like those of the past generations! We are forced to work full time or school and still take care of the children and household as we always did, the mom’s suffer which affects our kids. This system is failing us, mom’s must have options to stay at home and not be forced into poverty, we should have a choice and ill ban with others to change this for future!

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Laura

Very well said Cara. The system IS failing us, and I am frightened our children will be in this same situation where it’s impossible to stay afloat. How do we make change for the future I wonder??

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Tara

Hi Laura – I made a change about a year ago – and now work 4 days a week, admittedly its still not easy but I have managed to claw back the energy to do the chores, cook dinner, pick-up, drop-off etc. Work is still incredibly hard and I’m constantly plagued with guilt and self doubt.

But…I get through the weeks without the wheels falling off. And believe me the wheels fell off a lot working 5 days – I’m still scared that I might have another panic attack, I used to get them frequently at night when I worked 5 days – stressing that I couldn’t sleep. Countless times I went to work with no sleep at all.

I know its not possible for everyone to go to 4 days – but thought I’d share in case there is any hope for you to reduce your hours.

Agreed the system is failing us – flexible working will need to be more accepted in the future and I’m not just talking hours, there needs to be more acceptance of working from home, options for car pooling, childcare etc. I believe the better employers are already thinking along these lines and I hope this trend will continue. Sleep well to you all 🙂

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Renee

I’m a single mother of two kids. 5&7. I currently decided to take a night shift job 11-7 so that I can take my kids to school and pick them up in the afternoons. And also do the cooking and cleaning and transport them to and from practice in the evenings. It seem as if everyone is turning their back on me. All I want to do is go to school and make sure my kids are well taken care of. The person I thought that would support me the most decided he wanted to leave. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s bad enough I do it all by myself everyday.

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Kayla

Hello!

Thank you for sharing your story. I feel where you are coming from.. I am going through a similar situation and wondering every day how I will make it thrpufh the rest of 2017. I work full time at a 911 emergency dispatch center, which I love, but I am on steady midnight all year.. then when I get off work at 7am I go home to my angel 3yr old daughter.. I say up with her all day until her daddy gets home at 430pm.. by the time I am in bed and falling asleep its 530pm, and the alarm goes off at 945pm for another midnight shift. I am having such a hard time every day. I am stressed beyond belief, and on top of every thing else, I am the one who does all the house cleaning and chores. I am crying as I am writing this and just don’t know what to do. I feel as if I am going to have a mental break down every day. I am just so tired .. Mentally, physically, and emotionally..

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Kat

The theme that I keep seeing over and over again reading these is: men not pulling their weight in the house. I’ve heard it before: the “unpaid labor” that women still mostly handle after work. I’ve experienced it too: I had a boyfriend who worked part time: I was working 30 hours, in 3 classes, taking care of the kids and the house, and I was paying for basically everything. He didn’t pitch in really at all. I had this moment where I realized how messed up that was and I told him to help or get out. I kicked him out.
But why do men do this? Why do they just sit on the couch and play video games for the rest of the night when there’s laundry, floors, dishes, and kids that need to be taken care of? I swear to god if I can’t be with someone who respects me and our property enough to take care of it I will stay single.

We can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t have to.

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Teresa

I am so glad I am reading this post. I am so down and depressed. Feeling overwhelmed. Last year I left my abusive partner of 18 year. Started my own business, my parents moved in with me and my 16 year old son. I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything this year. Financial pressures, the natural demands of a teenager and my son old parents who don’t drive. I also had a partial hysterectomy in April this year. I need to really concentrate on my business and I can’t. I am already taking anti anxiety pills. Don’t know what to do

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Erica H.

Wow!! I am at work sobbing at my desk. I have four children. And I am probably about to lose my job.. I have a 2 year old with Autism (Newly Diagnoses). A 10 year old with a really bad attitude because mommy is so tired she can’t move from working 40 hours and getting up at 4, going to bed at 12. A 12 year old who thinks I don’t understand her at all. A 4 year old who gets left out because the 2 year old is banging his head and Mommy has to focus on him. I work for dfcs so I get to take care of everyone who can’t afford to eat or pay for medical bills. And they need help. I was recently diagnosed with a minor illness. And I have been taking off of work here and there to get everyone to the doctor. Mainly my Autistic son. I am losing it. I am so tired, over worked. And my then there’s my husband who has a very bad attitude because his wife is not his wife anymore. I am the person who shares bills and a home. Like a roomate. I am exhausted, worn out and very depressed. I am barely keeping it together. My love for my children is the only thing holding that glue together. I have no family. But I know I am tired and spent. Thank you for your honesty…

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Diane

Perhaps you could try to get a job helping at an autistic school or daycare. You would learn so much and your child could go there too. I’ve seen job postings for this in the past and always thought it would be very rewarding. Just a thought. Best of luck to you!

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Celeste

I don’t know where to start. I was pregnant at the age of 18 I ignored everyone who told me that the guy I was with won’t work out and I ignored them and they were right. He locked me in rooms, pushed me , told me to shut up because I was scared when he locked me in a room n put his hand over my mouth and told me to be quiet all because he thought I cheated on him when I’m actually loyal. We we’re fighting and I asked to go home n he told me no and made me go to the park so he can yell at me and I couldn’t dare talk back or fight for myself. He was going to make me go to the park again one day and I jumped out of his car in sandals in the middle of the street and ran and he sped his car to catch me n got off and ran and grabbed me really tight and I took off my sandals so I can run and I stepped on glass while he grabbed me and yelled at me. I am now a working mom, I use to stay at home but. We had no income and the guy I was with would just spend it all on weed instead of our son and his daughter. I decided to go back to school to get a job and education he found out and enrolled himself in it too. Now I have a job and making income but not enough to make ends meet, he has a job too but “doesn’t get paid” I’ve been working for almost 3 months and I hate it. I just wanted to stay home with my baby but I hired my aunt to babysit but they eat so unhealthy my baby is on the verge to being overweight ,I took him to his pediatrician and she told me. I don’t want my child to be unhealthy , I’ve tried to talk to my aunt so many times about this but she doesn’t care and there isn’t anyone else that can babysit because I can’t afford other babysitters! They make me feel stupid at work all because I’m a “student” when I’m not I already graduated long time ago. They know there paying me a low wage and they wouldn’t let me negotiate my pay. I get paid the lowest their at the company, everyone has shiny cars and lunch and they seem so happy but I’m miserable. I could barely afford rent for myself and my baby , I can’t afford food cuz my snaps cancelled because I couldn’t renew it on time and the guy I was with isnt letting me start my own case for me and my son, he gets mad if I bring it up and I can’t renew anything because he won’t. Give me any of his information to fill out the form but stresses me out and blames me that I haven’t filled out the form!!!he’s so dumb!!! My co-workers get stressed because they get there hours cut in half at time so they make a huge deal about it! I cry because I am barely able to afford the ROOM, I’ll say it again ROOM I am renting so me and my child can have a roof over our heads. I only have less than 100 dollars each two weeks for groceries and I have to pay 500 for rent and 100 for babysitting and my loan from stupid school. I get yelled at everyday and lectured by my supervisor because I didn’t use a stupid caplock when I type on the computer. I get yelled at by my supervisor because I am wearing the wrong shade of lipstick for my color of skin? For the clothes I wear? I try to buy good clothes but I can’t afford it so I go to Kmart or the thrift and she gets mad because I can’t afford Nordstrom or fancy stuff. Everyone is so Snoopy and asks too many personnel questions about my life and it makes me cry. I asked them I’m not comfortable with it but they keep asking. I am scared and depressed about going in to work. All my supervisor does is judge me and yell at me for dumb reasons, I can’t even show her all the things I can do because she’ll just tell me it’s wrong but I go to a co-worker and ask her about it and she says it’s fine and nothing wrong, I just wanted to have a part time but now I can’t I have nothing to support me and my baby but. Myself

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john doe

Hi All,

Stop complaining.

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Valerie P Brown

In tears and sobbing I came across this post in this same crisis, desperate to know if I was the only one out there struggling with this. This does not work, this new role for women. I have to do something ANYTHING to make a change for women like us.

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Jody Middleton

Hello I’m married and have 4 kids and I have a full time job I’m a CNA and I have a homecare job on the side my problem is my husband works full time and so does my oldest son who is 18 and neither one of them will help me pay the bills. I’ve told them both they need to. I’m done being taken advantage of. What do i do?

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Tina

I am a woman in my late forties. I work 2 jobs get up and leave at 230 am go to work get home by 10 am shower go to second job at 11 am get home at 7 pm. I only have one of my 3 kids left at home he is 24. I am ready to break down. My husband always wants sex and I can’t stand it I just want left alone. I only have one day off and husband is so clingy I want to SCREAM!

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MamaV

America’s treatment of women is no better than that of 100 years ago. It’s sickening to absorb the pressures of motherhood, wifedom, professional careers oh and when you have time, mental/emotional health.

I am ashamed to be a woman in this country. And FMLA is Pure. Hot. Garbage.

If you aren’t in the celebrity or top 1% earning category, then you are shouldering more pressures & responsibilities than are possible for one human to functionally live with.

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Razi

I’m 34 and I am a single mom for the last 7 years .. I escaped from an abusive marriage that lasted 3 years only but left a deep scar .I used to be successful doctor and I worked full time job but for the last 3 years I lost the battle of depression. I’m constantly at my room doing nothing but lying on my bed and I gained alot of weight (20 kg ) and stopped working .
My family is helping me out with my son who will turn 10 years this September.
I hate my life and my mind weakness but I can do nothing any more ..I feel that I’m lost and I feel no joy in life nor hope.
I tried couple of antidepressants among the years but nothing helped.
I’m not if it depression or the loneliness or the lack of work .

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Michelle Cooper

Thank you so much for this. I’m 37 with two little ones, a loving & supportive husband, a successful career. But over the last few weeks, I have stopped sleeping. I can’t seem to find joy in my daily life. And I’m wondering if I’m going crazy. What’s missing?

I love my kids but even the short amount of time we have with them (weekends and week nights) since they are in daycare and school and we both work, sometimes I just feel like I’m the last one hanging on to the last shred of me. Does that make sense? They are 2 1/2 and 6. I don’t expect them to do a check in on my mental well being. But when one intentionally spills water on the floor And the other one is whing because her brother got more water than her, I look in the mirror and can’t see a piece of who I feel like I once was.

Work has been extremely stressful with a recent merger. All eyes are on the sales team. I’m the only working mother with kids who are young enough to live with them. So I come across as the flakey “working mom” who should have taken time off to stay at home with her kids.

But that’s just it. I don’t WANT to stay at home. I have a ton of friends who do and my own mother stayed at home with me. But I enjoy having something that I can put my energy into that is just mine, allows me some adult time, and helps me contribute financially to my family.

But I’m NOT doing it all. I’m barely holding on my a thread. And when I break down and cry, I can’t even articulate to my husband what’s going on.

So I pose this question. What have others done to help themselves? What have others done to either get out of this funk or help them start to enjoy things more, enjoy moments??

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Valerie

(((dr_mack@yahoo. com))).. restored my relationship and my boyfriend came back to me…

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