2 minute read
Q. I don’t like the home I share with my husband and toddler. Mostly, it is the location and aesthetics. I try to avoid comparing on social media, but I feel like our house is not matching up to the life I want to lead. I feel as though I can’t identify with it, and the location offers convenience but none of the values I hold dear, such as the opportunity to go on rural walks.
Everything feels oppressive. My husband thinks I’m overreacting. We talk about moving in a few years but I’m feeling trapped. How can I cope with this? Name supplied
A. I wonder if this is a more general anxiety, which is attaching itself to your home because that’s where you spend a lot of time. The other factors I hear within your letter are that you are at home with a toddler, a lot of your social connection is online, and your husband may be the only person who knows how you are truly feeling. There is research to show that social media is more useful if it’s used as a ‘way station’ – for example, as a way to make arrangements and meet up with people – rather than a destination.
I return again and again to a quote by songwriter Joan Baez: ‘Action is the antidote to despair.’ What is the smallest action you can take towards the life you want to lead? It might be a part-time job (60 per cent of mothers of two-year-olds also work), it may be learning a new skill, or joining a community group to create green spaces near you. If taking the smallest step still feels too hard, then please talk to your GP to rule out depression.
You’re not imagining it is tough – we’re not designed to be isolated at home all day with a small child. You’re just a tiny human connection away from feeling a lot better.
Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.