I'm looking for an idiom or expression that would mean "all one's efforts wasted".
I have found "to have one's cake dough". Can I use it for "all my efforts wasted" too? ( A non-native friend told me it is used for saying " all 'my plans' failed", not 'my efforts'.)
I want to use it in:
John spared no efforts to provide his son with anything he needed for going to a medical college, but his son disappointed him by going to an art college. John accepted his son's choice but was really upset and felt ----(=all those efforts were wasted).
In Persian we say "one's yarns changed back into cotton".
(You know that cotton is changed into yarn by spinning, using a spindle, that takes a long time and efforts, so "all my yarns changed back into cotton" means "all my efforts wasted".)