I just don't enjoy my children.

(17 Posts)
Peggotty Thu 20-Dec-12 19:41:00

I feel awful about this. I'm going to try and be honest in this post and it will probably make me sound awful. I don't cope well with stress and I'm a very introverted person. I find being a mother pretty overwhelming and find my dc pretty irritating most of the time sad. I think this sometimes comes across to them. I love them, very much and want them to be happy. I have a dd and a ds (7 and 4) and they bicker and fight constantly it seems. I have recently gone back to university and am still struggling to adapt to that change, so am extra stressed atm. My dd in particular I find difficult - she's very like me and, horribly, I think it makes me harder on her. She is very sensitive and doesn't cope well with change - she's struggled with me not being around and has not taken well to moving into ks2 in school. I try to be sympathetic and helpful but the truth is I have hardly any reserves of energy to give her.

I constantly beat myself up for being a bad parent and blame myself for every bad bit of their behaviour. They argue = my fault for not giving them enough attention. My dd struggles to cope and doesn't want to tell me her worries = my fault because she's not only inherited my personality but she senses I don't know how to make things better for her. My dd has adopted a horrible hectoring disdainful tone when she talks to her little brother and I feel so ashamed because I think she's heard it from me.

I don't know what to do, I feel my relationship with my dc is damaged.

stella1w Thu 20-Dec-12 19:49:27

No wise words... Empathy.. I feel similarly.

poachedeggs Thu 20-Dec-12 19:54:55

I feel this way sometimes.

Currently sitting in the dark in their room, seething because they're refusing to settle to sleep. I'm exhausted. It's always worse when I'm tired.

Spending time with them individually helps a lot. Especially time set aside especially for them so I'm not impatiently trying to get anything done.

Sympathies though. It's rubbish that something other people appear to relish is such hard work for us.

sunshine401 Thu 20-Dec-12 19:57:25

Do you have a DP/H Op?

Peggotty Thu 20-Dec-12 20:06:26

Thanks for the empathy.
Yes I have a dh. I don't feel I can admit the full extent of how I feel to him to be honest.

tenlittlebuns Thu 20-Dec-12 20:17:44

Pegotty, I feel this way sometimes too. I have three DC in primary school and am, like you, very introverted. My inability to enjoy the children, and my desire not to be with them, comes about, I think, from the fact that my own needs are not being met - for some space! I can't say I have really solved this one, but I enjoy them much more now that I work much longer hours (in a very quiet environment) and have more of my own world.

I agree with poached eggs - going out to a cafe or something with just one of them can make you feel tons more positive about them. Maybe as an introvert, it is easier to relate to them one on one. If you are not able to go out with them individually, you could get one of them, for example, to help you cook the dinner, telling the other that it is their turn next time around. It might be less overwhelming for you to relate to them this way.

At the end of the day, you need to be gentle with yourself. You are the way you are, and you need to work with that. Your children probably have your positive traits as well, but you just can't see that. Like you I am quite hard on my eldest, who is the most like me, and I know that I am being critical with her about the things I am critical with myself about. I have to keep telling myself to give her a break, and to back off. Actually, if I was kinder on myself, I would be kinder on the children, and things would be much better. I'm sure that there are ways for you to improve your relationship with your children - but they may start with accepting yourself and working out what you need - and then working your family life to incorporate that.

Not sure if any of that makes sense - but I do feel for you and don't want you to feel hopeless about the situation.

Peggotty Thu 20-Dec-12 20:36:54

Tenlittlebuns - thank you, that makes perfect sense, and you sound very similar to me. I'm sure my own needs for solitude aren't met properly and on the days when I have time alone (like today) it never feels like enough. I lost it with them today when I picked them up from after school club as the second they got in the car they started arguing, and shamefully, I told them I don't enjoy spending time with them.

I feel like I'm stuck in a horrible vicious cycle of being horrible to them, feeling guilty, then getting annoyed when their behaviour reflects how I treat them. I just feel harangued by them and it makes me retreat. I feel I don't talk to them enough or even cuddle them enough as I'm not a hugely 'touchy-feely' person (although I do cuddle them at least every day and tell them I love them every day at bedtime, sometimes more often).

I really need to get a more positive relationship going with them as at the moment, it's just so negative. I feel so jealous of spontaneously affectionate parents who seem relaxed and natural with their dc.

QTPie Thu 20-Dec-12 21:03:45

You are not a bad parent - you know that something isn't right and want to change it: that must make you a good parent smile

Never dwell on the past: you cannot change what has happened, but you do have a hek of a lot of power over what happens today and tomorrow. You may have problems and Certain personality that make you less than perfect (don't we all? ;) ), BUT I firmly believe that you also have the ability to change how you behave and to have the ability to out a more positive influence on your DCs.

Practically:
- I don't know how much your partner knows, but I think that you should tell him a bit more (assuming that you have a good relationship).
- think that is a brilliant idea to spend more "one-on-one" time with each of the kids - so you see them more as individuals and enjoy them more.
- personally I think that you need to take some pressure off of yourself. Is your university course full-time? Part-time? Can you decrease your commitments? Sounds like you are spread too thinly...
- do you get any "you time" (to swim, go for a walk, wander around the shops, anything by yourself?)? That is important for your sanity.
- are you getting enough sleep? All of us get much more impatient when we are tired. If you are going through a rough patch, then you really need to prioritise sleep: it will help.

So start trying to behave the way that you know that you should: it is never too late to turnover a new leaf and it is never too late to have a positive influence in a child's life. Take it one day at a time: forgive the occasional slips, but give yourself a good talking to and try extra hard to not make the same mistake the next day or the day after that.

Not only do you want to set a good examplemformyour kids, but you also wantbto build a good solid relationship with them as they grow up. If you don't then there isn't good chance that once they have grown up, that they will want very little to do with you and that would be very sad. If you build a good relationship with them now - and you do try to make time spent together enjoyable - then hopefully they will continue to want to enjoy time with you even after they have grown-up.

Good luck.

JustFabulous Thu 20-Dec-12 21:04:22

Mine are 7, 9 and 11 and I feel the same atm. I am exhausted, the youngest two have been off school since Friday lunch time and I haven't had a minutes peace since then. Oh, except for 1 hour this morning at 7.40am when I went to the quickest food shop ever as I needed to be back so DH could leave. DS2 too poorly to go out. I shouted at them today and I don't like the nag/shouter person I have become. I am so tired I could cry but have no energy and when I told my eldest they were rude and badly behaved he told me I had brought him up that way...

tenlittlebuns Thu 20-Dec-12 21:10:33

Maybe you need some boundaries with them so that they can start respecting your need not to be harangued all the time, and you can respect their need for some undivided attention from you.

I always say to the children that when I am driving the car I just need to concentrate on driving and I will not talk with them. But really, driving is my time of solitude, of being alone in my own mind! If they talk to me, I just remind them that I am driving and need to concentrate. Now they respect that, and just talk to one another or sit quietly. This is a mini revelation for me, because in this case I have taught the children to respect my need for them to sometimes leave me alone, and I have done it without snapping at them, losing it with them. It's better for me to explain to them 'this is my time; please be quiet/leave me alone' than to just get increasingly annoyed with them.

The same goes for when we get home from school. They now know not to start asking for snacks, drinks, toys, or for me to listen to long tales of what happened at school, the moment we walk in the door and before we have taken a breath. I have just explained to them that I can't manage demands the moment I walk in. Now they often go straight upstairs for a short while. Ten minutes later, they will probably come down, we will have a drink and snack together and I will listen to whatever they want to say.

Would it be helpful if you could explain your needs to them a bit? If you were able to do this you might find yourself getting less annoyed with them, and they won't feel they are being pushed away. If the children understand WHY you need some 'apartness' from them they won't feel rejected, but if you feel overwhelmed but continue to try to cope, you will just break and then they will probably act negatively or insecurely.

What happens in the evenings and at weekends? Could your DH take the strain then?

Meglet Thu 20-Dec-12 21:15:59

I feel like this a lot of the time. I've even locked myself in my room for a cup of tea when things have been really bad blush.

Peggotty Thu 20-Dec-12 21:41:07

Thanks all. I hear what you're saying about setting boundaries TenLittle, but I think I'll find it hard as I know my dd will feel rejected if I do that.I

QTPie - it's my worst fear that my dc will not feel close to me and just drift away as adults. However, dd says she's never leaving home!

I think I do need to try my very best to be more proactive about it all. Spending a bit of time alone with both of them should be doable over the christmas hols and after this weekend I will no longer be working at weekends (had part time job as well as uni course) which dd hated me doing. This means I will be around more and should be able to fit in time alone and time with dc. I will try and be more open with dh about my feelings about dc. He sees even less of them and tends to be 'fun parent' although this doesn't last when he's spending longer periods of time with them hmm.

Sorry to hear of others similarly struggling with being mothers....

poachedeggs Thu 20-Dec-12 22:05:48

I took DS out to the cinema a couple of months back. We had popcorn and a giggle, and chatted in the car, and when we got home he told me it had been 'wonderful' smile and I felt really great about it too. It does help.

I think I'll do it again over Christmas actually. It felt so gratifying to made him happy and see him enjoy spending time with me.

leontomas Sun 21-Sep-14 09:00:51

I no what you mean..im a single mum to a 3 year old..who nows how to push every button ..even him talking makes me snap and want to tell him to shh and I cant wait to get him to bed..my neice has just started babysitting and havin him for a few hours but I feel guilty And a bad parent if I call on that favour every other day or so , otherwise I have him 24/7 with no break , its making me think whats wrong with me to not enjoy him or not want to :/ xx

missmayup Thu 16-Jun-16 12:49:50

I watched a video on YouTube which was Jada Smith talking about how hard it is to be a wife and a mother, and the importance of looking after yourself too. It really really struck a chord with me, made me cry to watch it! I will have a hunt for the link and post it up ❤️

missmayup Thu 16-Jun-16 12:51:25

youtu.be/FQK9Ufr4yrY

Ladies, please watch this, and love yourselves like your babies love you! You are all amazing. ❤️

brookeberry Thu 16-Jun-16 14:15:27

Thanks for posting the video missmayup

Very, very wise words and I completely agree with this. I'm a very new mum and this is my philosophy. We all need our space to nurture who we are as individuals to be the best mothers we can be. I need my time alone here and there every day (if possible) to be the most giving and loving to those around me.

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