Is My Health Ruining My Kids’ Childhood?

Kel Family, Well-being 4 Comments

*** I wrote this post three weeks ago. In doing so, I was spurred on to make some changes. I’m tackling my weight issue and I’m hoping that once that is under control, the lethargy and poor sleep might be helped too. I was too ashamed to even hit ‘publish’ after I’d written it, but now I’m feeling in a better place already. ***

I’m feeling like such a crap mum. I’m hiding upstairs from my kids while they argue with each other and systematically destroy the house. There are toys everywhere. Ripped magazines and chewed up toast adorn the sofa thanks to Small. There are plates, cups, bowls and spoons left on every available surface courtesy of Big.

I know they are bored. It’s the half-term holidays and, thanks to Small being under-the-weather and having a dodgy-looking rash, we’ve barely left the house. Every morning, Big asks, “what are we going to do today?” and, almost every day, I’ve replied, “not a lot, sorry.” I see friends’ social media pictures of their holidays abroad, or even here at home, days out doing fun, adventurous, family things and I can’t help feeling jealous, sad and incredibly guilty.

Once upon a time, it would have been me posting those pictures. “Look at us, doing family things and making memories!” But now, every time a holiday comes around, I start off feeling determined to make it memorable, then quickly lose all enthusiasm and we end up doing very little. And it’s not as if we just enjoy being at home, playing in the garden, doing craft activities, playing games. No, the kids will watch TV or play on the computer or tablet and I’ll sit with my laptop or phone when I’m not pottering about doing housework (because that doesn’t stop needing to be done just because it’s the holidays, does it?!)

[bctt tweet=”The truth is, I have no energy. I am very overweight and I sleep badly.” username=”@schoolrunshop”]

The truth is, I have no energy. I am very overweight and I sleep badly. I’m exhausted before I even get out of bed and it only gets worse throughout the day (a little afternoon doze is not unheard of lately!). Of course, I console myself about how crap I am and how dreadful I feel by eating – chocolate, biscuits, crisps… and the cycle goes round again. I know what I need to do, but I don’t have the energy to do it!

The other big issue I have is anxiety. When I had just one child, I had no problem taking him out on my own to places or entertaining him. Even with two, when Small was still, er, small, I’d manage and we’d have fun. However, as they’ve both aged, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find something that suits everyone. They both have an opinion about what they do and don’t want to do (and it’s often the opposite!). Small is autistic, and this brings its own set of challenges. One of the biggest is that she has no sense of danger and will run away, or put herself in dangerous situations in the blink of an eye. I have to watch her like a hawk. Then there’s the potential for sensory overload and even meltdowns – not pleasant, especially in public. Big also has some issues with his temper and being told ‘no’, which can lead to embarrassing behaviour too.

This anxiety over what might happen means that it’s just easier not to. Not to go out. Not to put ourselves at risk of a bad day. Not to put Small at risk of sensory overload and meltdowns. Not to put Big in a position to be embarrassed by Small. Not to put myself in a position to be embarrassed by Big…

The trouble is, we’re missing out. They are missing out because of my anxiety and my lethargy. And I’m feeling like the worst mum in the world.

I'm ruining my kids' childhood and I don't know how to stop

Read more about my struggles with sleep in this post.

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Emma TJulie ClarkeBec @IshMotherBecMiriam Recent comment authors

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Emma T

Sorry to hear you’re/were struggling. I have the same weight issues, and need to get back on my diet. But I don’t suffer the rest of your problems (I’m the opposite in going out – I much rather go out than stay in). Hopefully by sorting out one area will help.

Good luck with the weight loss.

Julie Clarke

Stop being so hard on yourself my lovely. You are taking steps to change things and that takes time. You are an amazing parent xxxx

Bec @IshMotherBec

Well done for being brave enough to publish this. I also avoid trips out with my kids unless my husband is around to help – my eldest (5) is very challenging behaviourally and chasing after her with a 1 year old in tow is too much for me to face. I actually don’t think there’s any shame in saying, “that’s too much for me.” I think a lot of us feel that way, you just don’t see that side because, well, we’re not posting on social media about our days at home!! We have little outings to the park or… Read more »


This is me too! With two with autism getting them into the car is hard enough some days! You are doing better than you think…and so many will relate to this! Massive hugs and respect!