Struggling dad, please help.

hello All and hope you’re all well. I need some guidance, advice, words of wisdom from dads/ parents with MS please! i live with my wife and toddler. I have bad legs and cant get about fast or easily, using a stick etc. my wife is great with our child. I am finding things very difficult to cope with. He is 3, tantrums, cries a lot etc etc. he is extremely demanding. I have tried to explain my limitations but it has no impact on his demands. my problem is that over the last 3 years (since his birth), my health has got much worse, 3 years ago i didnt need a stick, mobility scooter etc. Now i do. I find him very stressful, the whole situation very stressful and it is just making my health worse. I have no respite, i cant go out and escape as i have bad fatigue and when i’m not dealing with him i’m sleeping. I feel like if i was out of this situation i would improve my health. i am mad with myself for getting into this situation and worsening my health. what do i do? leave and go back to live with my parents? I could cope with seeing him once a week but have to sacrifice my marriage. needless to say that me and my wife have enough to deal with with me and this stupid disbility let alone this additional stress. I am not coping and feel i am ready to leave and walk out. has anyone been / is in this situation and can offer me some help please? any comments grateful.

I can’t comment on what you should do for you as I’m not living your life, but I can say that 3yrs is one of the most stressful times and it WILL get better soon! I have a 5 and 3 year old. The 5 year old is now at school so obviously that gives me a lot more free time, but he’s very understanding when I’m not feeling my best. He has become very independent since starting school so is happy to entertain himself a lot. My 3 year old (now just over 3.5) is FINALLY calming down - he has a very different personality to his brother and has been more of a tantrumer and much harder work. I’ve seen a massive improvement in the last couple of months. Today, in fact, he was happy playing on his own for most of the day while I got on and did stuff around the house. All children are different, but from my experience I would say that it’s fairly usual for the ‘terrible twos’ to last until 3.5yrs and things get easier and easier. Yes, they’ll have bad days, but they can be reasoned with when they’re a bit older (or bribed in an emergency!). Could you start him at nursery or extend his hours to give you more of a break and to wear him out? Hope this helps. Hang in there!

My advice, stick in there!. Your son needs you and he will be off to pre-school next year which should take some of his energy away. At his age he will have no concept of your illness so tough it out if you can. I have 3 teenage sons and know first hand how important a father is. I try to concentrate on what I can do rather than what I cant. I appreciate that it can be overwhelming and I wish you luck. Peter

Hi Anon

I read your post and felt for you. They say stress worsens the symptoms and you seem to have more than your fair share. I’m lucky, just diagnosed with daughter of 15. I am a single parent and remember her pushing me to my limits at that age. I had to get her into a routine and be really hard and strict about it, she was and still is very strong willed.

I would definitely consider taking Emma’s advice about nursery or a playgroup. Think seriously before considering ending your marriage. Breakup is very hard, that would affect all of you. Can your family not help taking your tot for a few days too, just to let you rest and spend quality time with your wife?

I hope you find a solution, remember that they grow up and a bit of discipline never did us any harm. Don’t get me wrong I’m not talking about abuse but rules and the naughty step. They were my saviour. Take care.


I also have a 3 year old and it’s tough. Can you put him into nursery part time? That time is a life saver for me. I know you feel incredibly stressed but your little one needs their dad around. Maybe try staying with your parents for a few days for a rest? Or see if they can have him and give you and your wife a rest? Best of luck x

I have a nearly four year old and I am in agreement with all of the above. He is so much easier in the last few months. I took a decline at the beginning of this year and he understands more now … He knows mummy has a daft left leg and I can’t pick him up so much now to carry him, not that he needs that really but any excuse not to walk sometimes. I would say that the hardest years in terms of tantrums are nearly over with. My charlie is a cheeky boy but really is not hard work. I remember when he had all those tantrums and seriously they only stopped in the last six months. Don’t rush into anything. Think about the advice above. You don’t want to do anything you will regret. And open up to your wife. It’ll make you feel better and hopefully bring you closer. Please let us know how you get on xxxx

what does your wife want you to do?


I am an oldie who went through it all a long time ago. It seems never ending at the time and will push you to the limits but it does get better.

You’ve had some very good advice already. I would reiterate that he is too young to understand but the age of reason is not too far away.

I read your post to imply that you look after your 3 year old during the day. Is there some help available through your health visitor/GP e.g. a nursery placement?

It doesn’t last forever, I wouldn’t rush into any hasty decisions.

Good Luck!



contact your education authority to find out about nursery placement. if you have a social worker ask them for help finding a nursery.

my 2 boys were born 12 months apart. the eldest was such an easy smily baby but the youngest nearly sent me out of my mind.

they are 24 and 25 now and i’m so glad to have them still at home.

hang on in there, it won’t last forever.

carole x

hi All,a very big thankyou to all of you who replied. I feel i am not alone and it has reasured me. The over-riding message is stick at it as it will get better and doesnt last forever. That is what i intend to do. I really appreciate your support, thanks again x

Children are hard healthy or if your unhealthy either way is just to stay and plod on with then instead of missing your moments with them .you can’t expect children to understand best thing to do keeping smiling

Mind over matter not matter over mind positivity

Hi, have had this sodding illness since the day my son is born and he is now 17 and I couldn’t be prouder of him. Thing is he is just as proud of me. We made the whole disability thing into a long game and as I was in a a wheelchair and buggy I always involved him and it didn’t take him long to realise dad needed a rest now and again. Of course there were occasions when I could have gratifyingly throttled him but he was just being a young kid and good on him for that. I suppose what I am saying is stick at it. The long term rewards far outweigh the short term problems and angst. Gary

My daughter is3 and 8months…like u my mobility is crap, as she got faster I got slower, she wouldnt stop and thought it was funny to run away from me, she still throws tantrums but nothing like she did 2 mths ago, my husband who hasntms found it as hard if not harder than me…impossible to have control over a toddler…they are good craic despite wanting to choke them sometimes…it really doesn’t matter if u have most not it is a hard couple of years but well worth all the unconditional love…please don’t give up just before. It eases.x

All i can suggest is HOMESTART, i got their number through my daughters health visitor, said how i wanted to be able tto take my daughter out etc but didn’t dare in case she ran to a road etc, they ‘paired’ me up with a wonderful lady who comes once a week for 3hrs, we go out etc, means i can do things with my daughter, they are great and i wish i had been told about them before. Hope this helps.

Hi, my kids are 11 and 14. When the yougest was born I relapsed. After all the help that I had been with the eldest it felt doubly bad that my wife was looking after me as well as a new born as well as a 3 year old. It led to a huge feeling of guilt and also anger at the ms and my body. Whilst I agree with all that has been said I would add 2 other suggestions. Fistly, admit to yourself what it is that is frustrating you the most. My guess is that you are both exhausted and stress is building up which leads to worse symptoms and more fatigue etc. This means that you have to actively seek “respite” that others are mentioning. Secondly, talk to your wife. Tell her what it is that you are feeling and listen in return. You may both be protecting each other from those things that you fear but together you will deal with them successfully. Do this every week at a time that works for you both. My wife and I have been doing this for 7 years. We started when I wanted to leave “to make it easier for everyone”. Your post could have been written by me at that time.

HIya, again a big big thanks to all those who have helped me here, your reassurance, advice and guidance have helped me see things differently. I hope to take on board all of this to help myself. life would be easier in all aspects without this disability but i’m not the first disabled dad and guess i wont be the last. thank you all.