I think I have always know this but today it has really hit home. Help me change please.

(96 Posts)
MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 11:19:19

I have three children and stay at home to look after them, the pets and the house. I do most things but DH does all he can when here too.

They have become my whole life and I don't do a lot other than look after them and all that entails plus tonnes of extras that I don't need to do but I like baking so do it. I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning meals and cooking them. Most of the time I am fine with this.

This morning my 10 year old was rude so wasn't able to do what she wanted on the computer and stomped off saying Okay with attitude but then was fine. My 8 year old was full of attitude and rudeness and was pretty relentless for about 45 minutes until I sent him into school. Apparently I don't help him or do much for him hmm.

I do far too much for them and spend a lot of time cooking and baking nice things for them to eat and somehow the meaner they are to me the more I seem to bake and make ice cream, etc but my reason for this is probably ridiculous and obvious. Having driven back to school to take a forgotten piece of kit I had decided not to do all the lovely little extras for them and just feed them normally and do their washing and see if they notice. I know they won't. So why I have I half prepared a mango and banana sorbet for them to have tomorrow and then started looking for something yummy to make? It is almost like I don't know what else to do with myself and feel if I don't do it I am being mean. Once dinner was served then fruit then nothing else and it was like I had not fed them anything other than bread and butter.

I feel I show love through cooking but tbh I am warn down by the relentless bickering between them and rudeness to me but seems completely wrong to stop the lovely things I make hmm.

If you are still with me - winecake.

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 11:19:50

known in the title, no know.

PeterParkerSays Mon 30-Sep-13 11:24:57

Stop doing things for them, and start doing things either with them, or to contribute to the family as a whole, so you get to eat the nice stuff as well.

It will mean a conversation around how they also have to contribute to the family, so helping with washing etc.

Oh, and if you have to take anything to school again, they miss out on something at home, biscuits etc, which you couldn't make because you had to go to school with the trainers.

bundaberg Mon 30-Sep-13 11:25:39

you sound like a great mum! i think that we don't do all these things for our kids in return for good behaviour, we do them because they're nice things to do! children are inevitably underwhelmed and ,quite frankly, unaware a lot of the time of how much we do

i don't think you need to link your love of baking and making nice things with the kids behaviour. you can discipline them but still make them cake and sorbet smile

Hopemore Mon 30-Sep-13 11:29:51

I agree with posters above but I would be tempted to go a few days doing the basic of the basics and treating myself instead of them to see how they notice it.

You sound great!
Want to be my mum?

mummyxtwo Mon 30-Sep-13 11:33:59

Parenting is fab but tbh kids and gratitude don't often go hand in hand. Looking back, I was dreadfully ungrateful when I was growing up. Kids notice everything you don't do or when you get it wrong, but don't pay attention to all the things that you make extra effort to do. Or worse, they just think that that is Mum's job. I think you have to look at your motivation for all the lovely cooking and baking that you do. If you enjoy it and it is a way of allowing you to relax and have some 'you' time in the kitchen, then fine. The kids need a bit of a reminder that they are lucky to get such yummy fare, if you ask me, but cooking well for them remains a good thing and not something you should feel you have to 'withold' for poor behaviour. I think perhaps other penalties or removal of treats not related to food are suitable for behaving badly. If you feel like you never have a moment to yourself to just have a break, then I think you should ease up on the yummy baking. If you feel mean not providing homemade puddings (and you shouldn't), you can always do a traybake that lasts a few days and they can have a slice of that after their main meal. And there's nothing wrong with shop bought chocolate mousse. When you spend so much time looking after small people, it is easy to feel like you've lost 'you' somewhere along the way, and genuinely don't know what to do with yourself if you have free time. Go shopping (not food shopping!), buy a book and sit in Starbucks for the afternoon, get your hair done, meet a friend for coffee, go for a swim.

alwaysneedaholiday Mon 30-Sep-13 11:35:32

It's lovely that yout do all that for your family, but long term they do need to learn how to contribute. I would start small...make beds and draw curtains each morning, plus one weekly job each. Then build up from there.

And stop taking stuff to school for them!

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 11:47:00

I think I probably do link baking=love as I know I wasn't loved as a child or fed particularly well so want to make sure my children do feel loved and are fed confused.

They always say thank you after a meal but it does hurt when your 8 year old is having a tantrum saying I never do anything for him when actually I won't help him do his tie because he is shouting at me. He conveniently forgets -doesn't realise - all the stuff I have done that meant he has clean uniform and a full tummy.

hopemore - I tried that last week with the 12 year old and explained I hadn't washed his clothes for 2 days because of his moaning about putting them away and he just said "I hadn't noticed." If I did just do the basics and cook a meal and then serve fruit they would say I don't care that they will be hungry later.

It isn't their fault they have learnt to expect such lovely things as I have always done it and as the 12 year old said the other month they are spoilt because that is how I have brought them up.

I am almost stressed out when I can't cookhmm and just don't know what to do with my time. I am not good at doing things for myself.

DH said he wouldn't have taken the kit for him!

Flicktheswitch Mon 30-Sep-13 11:54:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundaberg Mon 30-Sep-13 13:16:50

Making puddings and cakes does not make them spoilt! My mum always did this for us and I honestly don't see what the problem is with it.

Them helping around the house and learning to appreciate what you do is an entirely separate issue.
Why don't you have a rota showing what chores you expect them to help with? They need to know what's expected of them otherwise they won't do it.

melliebobs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:21:51

You sound like a fantastic mum n your kids are very lucky to have a mum who has the time and enjoys doing all this stuff. Maybe a week of reality won't hurt? You want cake? You make it! No clean clothes? Put a load on. Even if they are younger they can help sort loads n carry it down smile and if they don't notice or whatever I'll help eat that sorbet. Sounds lush !

gnittinggnome Mon 30-Sep-13 13:24:25

Can you sit them down and talk to them about their behaviour? And maybe agree on a set range of responses to their bad behaviour / attitude? Eg being rude means less computer time or docked pocket money, pocket money being earned by helping around the house, etc.

You may feel that removing your lovingly prepared baking or household chores from them will teach them a lesson, but it doesn't look like it is. So what might make an impact? And how can you help them understand that actions have consequences? Would that be not taking kit to school for them? Or maybe baking for them, because you love it, but not picking up after them and asking them to pick up after themselves?

Also, who else can you bake for? If baking is good for you, and you love it, don't just bake for your children, you could bake for other people too - maybe a charity, or local shop (my knitting group meets in a garden centre that sells amazing home made cakes - it'll never be a money spinner, but I'm sure it pays for itself a few times over)? Or step out and try something a little different - there are lots of crafts that will engage the same kind of skills and focus that you can try, which can also break the idea that loving your children means filling them with treats. Or volunteer somewhere - perhaps you could teach people to bake? A local WI taught women in a refuge how to cook good, inexpensive meals and it was really important for the women. But to echo mummyxtwo above, do something for yourself as well.

Forester Mon 30-Sep-13 13:32:54

You obviously enjoy baking so stopping doing it will probably bother you more than your DC. Is there another worthy outlet for your bakes e.g. elderly neighbours. You can still do stuff for your family but you shouldn't need to do it everyday and if they particularly want something at a time when you don't feel like it then insisting that they help is reasonable. And as long as they are forewarned that there's "only" fruit for pudding then they can make sure they eat a bit more mains.

Hopemore Mon 30-Sep-13 13:38:45

Do you leave close to me?
I promised 2 cakes to the church, and I can actually see myself going to Sainsburys to get them.....

JohnnyUtah Mon 30-Sep-13 13:39:41

This is all your DC have ever known, you can't expect them to notice it. Or appreciate it, until they're older, tbh. You need to do some stuff for yourself. Start running and get your nails done. Maybe learn something - French? Touch typing?

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 13:40:02

We used to have a rota but they really did not want to help.
We tried so much pocket money per day if they did their job but they would opt to go without or pay their sibling to do it sometimes. We then agreed they would get a set amount each week but had to do what we asked without fuss. They agreed. DS1 did not stick to this.

I really wanted to write a big poster and stick it on the window for them to read when they came in (after a very difficult morning and blush at PIL when they were rude, silly and disrespectful) but did not know where to start.

I tried to make baguettes earlier (fill them up!) but there was an insect on the outside of the flour bag so it all went in the bin. I have hoovered instead hmm.

I have noticed them getting fussy about what they will and won't eat and I think they don't eat enough main and then want stuff later on like cereal or toast. What they don't realise if their tea goes in the bin and they then eat something else later they are eating tomorrow's breakfast etc. Last week they were told to stop being so fussy and would have to eat whatever they were given as there was no money for a food shop and they had days of being okay with it and days of saying they wouldn't eat X if I made it. I can't keep up with what they like and don't like and it all gets too much sometimes.

BarberryRicePud Mon 30-Sep-13 19:56:05

I'm going to be really honest here and say you sound very like my dear departed MIL (whom i loved and miss greatly). BUT, DH was and is dreadfully spoilt. Not in the number of things he had but in how he was looked after. She was still travelling to do washing at uni and still did his ironing long after we were married.

My point is, he never learnt to do the basics of household care himself and has always assumed they just get done. Presumably by the fairies. Many a battle has had to be waged.

I heard a great piece of parenting advice once, never do anything for a child that they can do for themselves.

At 12 i was looking after our home as parents had split and my mother has MH issues. Not to be recommended of course but hey could do so much more.

I personally think you're doing them a disservice by being the live in servant. And why wouldn't they expect it? Why would they be grateful? It's just normal for them. But spare a thought for your future DIL and SIL and whip them in to share OP!

This: They have become my whole life and I don't do a lot other than look after them is your problem.

You need a life outside of your family and stop baking etc for them. It doesn't equate love. You can do it as a treat.

How about spending time with them instead of running after them? So go out as a family, have fun together, as opposed to playing servant.

mysticminstrel Mon 30-Sep-13 20:15:11

I think you need to turn your focus outside of the home, tbh.

You obviously enjoy baking - could you go on a course to learn to do fancy decorating or something? Think about starting up a baking business?

They are taking you for granted because you are inviting them to.

I'm also worried about the food = love equation you have going on. Sure, they might get hungry later on - tell them to help themselves to cereal.

My DC only get a pudding on a Friday and if they get hungry before bedtime they get weetabix.

It sounds a bit like your DC would prefer it if you did something With them rather than for them.

But honestly, you must have some interests or hobbies you can do to fill the time that they're at school?

mysticminstrel Mon 30-Sep-13 20:16:32

spooky x-post with creatureretorts (I got interrupted while writing it!)

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 20:17:12

I do do stuff with them.

WipsGlitter Mon 30-Sep-13 20:17:22

There's a few things jumping out. You seem a bit lost, it's all about your children and food. Who are you? What did you do before you were a sahm? I agree you need to find a life for yourself.

Also, insect on the flour bag and it goes in the bin? That seems a bit OTT.

It seems like you give, give, hinge but don't get anything back so you give some more.

meditrina Mon 30-Sep-13 20:22:07

I agree with the previous posters who say that you need to rediscover you.

As your DC grow, you don't need to do such close care as you do with very little ones. And soon they'll be fully grown and gone.

Start thinking now about what else you might like to bring into your life. If you're not used to thinking of you, this might take a little while. But with some new occupations, that take your focus beyond your family, then your view of the irritations of family life will change too.

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 20:40:45

I find this many children a lot and it still feels very full on as my youngest is only 8.

I do all the baking and housework etc while they are at school as much a possible but often 6pm finds me ironing uniform so they are off doing their own stuff then.

BettyandDon Mon 30-Sep-13 20:44:07

Could you apply for Come Dine with Me? You sound like a fabulous mum.

I am sorry you are not more appreciated.

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