I am so very glad you wrote. The time to get help is when problems like this start. You’re right to be concerned about the effect of your mood on your boys. They need you to be as stable and loving as you can be.
I am concerned about you. It’s possible that you are experiencing some postpartum depression. Your younger child is only 8 months old. Although it used to be thought that postpartum depression showed up in the first weeks after a baby is born, recent research opens the window for developing it to 6 months to a year. Pediatricians often don’t recognize it because they are focused on the health of the baby and because the mothers feel so bad about their irritability they often don’t report it. Please go back to your OB-GYN for an honest talk about how you’ve been feeling.
On the other hand, you may have a huge case of what my grandmother used to call “cabin fever.” During long winters in the old days, people were stuck in their homes/cabins for months at a time. Close quarters, boredom, and the usual everyday conflicts of life would get to people and they’d end up fighting and brawling and generally feeling terrible. You may not be brawling, but you sure do feel boxed in.
As much as we love our kids, the conversation with little ones is, shall we say, kind of limited. As much as we care for them, they can’t be expected to take care of us. It’s a one-way street for quite awhile. Smiles and coos and childhood play are all wonderful but they’re not the same as someone bringing us a cup of tea and saying, “So — how are you?” and really wanting to listen.
The best cure for what ails you is other parents. There’s nothing quite so relieving as talking to other moms who have kids who are at the same age and stage. Please look into your local churches and human service organizations to see if there is a parent drop-in center or parent support group where you and the kids can go at least once a week. The 2-year-old needs to begin learning how to have friends. And it sounds like you could use a friend or two yourself. Your pediatrician may know where you could find a parent group.
You and your boyfriend also should be talking about how to give you a “mom’s night out” so that you can join a club or go to a gym or just visit with a girlfriend. You need the break. He would benefit too because it would give him personal time with his boys. When men do at least some caregiving for their young children, the kids become more attached to their dads and the dads get more enjoyment from their relationships with their kids.
Please follow up on these suggestions. If you are happier, you and your whole family will benefit.
I wish you well.