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.

beingsuper Tue 01-Oct-13 21:49:53

that's really interesting you mentioned PMT re my temper strawberry. Have been relieved I don't suffer from it but I did get my period this evening. Hmmmm. But then again my DS2 was being really annoying! It usually is several weeks between outbursts but I always thought that was because I realised what I was doing and made an effort. Maybe its hormonal, will have to try and track. Thankfully its not focused at the children, its the inanimate objects that get it. I occasionally stamp and throw like a toddler. Not a great example for my dramatic DS2. DS1, bless him, tries very hard to suppress a snigger.

Loving the emphasis on your food choices!! Glad you sound so much better. It can grind you down sometimes.

mysticminstrel Tue 01-Oct-13 23:16:00

Do you live far from school, strawberry? Is it unavoidable that you drive them home? Perhaps walking home would allow some independence?

Pitmountainpony Wed 02-Oct-13 04:39:35

You sound lovely but I have to say that my mum spent ages in the kitchen making every thing from scratch and I remember wishing she would sit and do something with me. Consequently I felt resentful of the pies and puddings gone in minutes but they consumed all her spare time.i longed to spend a Saturday with my less sweet aunts who seved me a vege burger and mash but spent time doing quizzes and spelling tests and telling me stories. It may be that in their world that the home cooked food means less to them that to you. I was also very ungrateful to my martyr mother who never seemed to do anything other than cook.she was kind but I looked up to my aunts ...because she gave herself to me. Just my perspective as an ungrateful child with a slave to the stove mother. Even now I cook quick so profound was my irritation at the three hour evening meal prep process.

Roshbegosh Wed 02-Oct-13 04:55:45

You sound like you are doing a terrific job, well beyond the call of duty. I just think you might be happier to develop some life of your own beyond the children. They will grow up and lead their own lives and what will you have then? I would work on friendships, interests and other activities. I think if you were more fulfilled outside the home you might have a better sense of perspective. I agree with other posters that children will take things or granted and only comment on anything wrong. Maybe if they saw mummy as a separate person with her own life they might relate to you as a fab mum who has plenty of backbone. I hate to use the Stepford term but don't get like them.

Gerbilectomy Wed 02-Oct-13 04:56:31

I have half an hour every day for me reading my book while I sit on the car park waiting for the kids to come out of school.

Don't be a martyr OP. My mum martyred herself for her family. Let's just say it didn't make us love her any more.

Blu Wed 02-Oct-13 05:53:01

MissStrawberry, firstly I am really sorry you had such a terrible childhood, I can't begin to think what it means for a child to have to grow up without being loved.

There is a thread on MN for survivors of abuse and neglect - the 'stately home' thread. You may find people there who understand very deeply the way you have threaded love and food so tightly together .

Some facts. Your children behave as they do because they are normal children. Countless MN threads detail kids who are rude, ungrateful, shouty and careless with 'stuff'. It's normal, and they are not behaving like it because they do not love you or they feel unloved.

You cannot bribe children to love you by cooking. Children will love a loving parent no matter how bad the cooking (I can prove this wink ) it is truly lovely that your family have such well prepared food, but they would love you even if you fed them basic stuff and ready meals.

It sounds as if you are trying to bake them a paradise you never had, but they don't know that, they are just bring kids and it isn't their role to sort out your childhood by presenting an idyllic vision.

Sorry if I have all this wrong . The bottom line is the kids are doing great, you are a fab parent , the parent that your own never were. Your kids are cared for and fed and loved. You were not. The person to look after now is YOU.

Lavenderhoney Wed 02-Oct-13 06:04:16

I do think you sound lovely, but your dc won't be grateful as its not something they have to do them selves anyway, its become your job.

Fine when they were little and you had to do it, but you will help them by encouraging them to do it- not because they are ungrateful and you will go back to doing it for them when they see how hard it is, but because they should be encouraged to take responsibility and some things should just be part of their normal life. It shouldn't come across as a punishment.

I asked ds (6) if he would like to Hoover his room now. He was very excited to do so, which lasted about 2 times before he said he would rather watch tv . Plus hearing him shout at his dsis for dropping crumbs was quite funnysmile I said once a week, he has to do his room, ill help, but he must be there and help. He grumbled, but its good he is learning, and learning to make time. He likes a tidy room, which helps!

I also bake and cook, and the dc join in if they want. I don't allow any rudeness, and I say things like, can you help me with the washing? We all live here together, and we are all responsible.

Does your dh help you at all? Do they see you both clearing and tidying?

SatinSandals Wed 02-Oct-13 06:21:58

I think that it is time to make changes. Household chores is the first thing, they are old enough. My mother's favourite saying was 'this is not a hotel' as a family they should all be taking a share. You also need hobbies for yourself. Join an evening class, a group and go out. Go out with your DH and get a baby sitter. Other people can cope with your children for an evening. If you haven't got a sitter then advertise for one.
Parenting is the one job that you gradually make yourself redundant, you give them roots and you give them wings and hopefully come back because they want to and not through a sense of duty because you are needy.
My mother's other favourite saying was 'what did your last servant die of?'
Time for changes ; find interests for you and give them more responsibility.

mummytime Wed 02-Oct-13 06:30:36

If your eldest is 12 and your youngest is 8, you do need to start to do something for you. Either turn your cooking into a business, do some voluntary work or something. Your children also need to start doing the basics for themselves eg. Sorting washing, loading dishwashers and cleaning their rooms. They definitely need to see you doing housework, it not all happening when they are at school.
If not they have no idea how much you do, and it's not just magic.

Occasionally telling them how unappreciated you feel helps. Children aren't great at being grateful, but can improve. I feel I'm getting there when the thank yous and sorries are unprompted and closer to the event.

If you think your childhood is still affecting you so much, then maybe you need some counselling.

If the only way you show love is food, then this can cause eating disorders in your children; and actually shows an unhealthy way of thinking about food in yourself.

I'm sure you are a fabulous Mum. But let yourself be a fabulous person too.

randomAXEofkindness Wed 02-Oct-13 07:15:39

You could do this: Bake some of your best slices (brownies, bakewell's, millionaire shortbread all keep well). Wrap them like little gifts in nice brown parchment paper with twine, and put them snugly in a box. Wrap this too. Put a nicely written note in offering your services and deliver them to all your local tea shops, cafes, play centers etc.

1. One 1 minute telephone call to HMRC to register as self employed.
2. One extremely simple 25 quid health & hygiene multiple choice online course: a couple of hours.
3. One 1 minute telephone call to local council to ask someone to come round and check your kitchen is safe/clean.
4. 1 day of scrubbing your kitchen clean for the environmental health officer from the kitchen. 5 mins having a cup of tea and smiling nicely at said officer while he gives you your '5' rating (much easier for a home kitchen than a professional one)

Voi la!

We were super skint once and I made gourmet brownies etc for our local car boot sale. Made a hundred quid profit each time. More importantly though, I stopped making our lot fatter and sicker with sugar and white flour, and was finally appreciated for my baking talents. After being invisible at home for years with the kids it's really bloody nice to get 50 strangers a day tell you that you are brilliant at something! The owner of a local tea room tasted one and asked me to bake for her, so I gave up the car boot and did that. Somebody tasted one at her cafe and asked me to bake for them... all in the space of a month or two. I gave it up shortly after because I had 3, 3 and under and hubby couldn't handle them while I baked. But if they had been in school I can see how it could have been quite satisfying (and despite what you'll find on the web, fairly profitable as well - 1 sold my slices for a pound each and made them in batches of 48. Took off half for ingredients, thats 24 pounds for maybe 30 minutes work and 30 minutes cook time)

Also, I think that I got it all out of my system, and I'm happy to rarely ever bake now (I think that was a combo of the above and going gluten free - gluten free baking is so expensive!). I understand how food can =love, I felt the same way (I was one of the poorly fed too - maybe we should start a thread for the underfed smile), but I realised that the world didn't end when I stopped baking for dh &the dc's. I was actually neglecting them while I soothed myself with food/baking. They honestly don't care whether their french fancies come from hours of me slaving in the kitchen or Mr Kipling.

Hope you feel better op!

claraschu Wed 02-Oct-13 07:26:30

You sound great. Your children sound great. From what you have said, you spend lots of time doing things with them, they eat a very healthy diet, and they are learning lots of life skills from you.

I agree that you need to feel more confident, and it might help to find more of a life for yourself away from your home and family, though I get the feeling you aren't quite ready for that.

All children are "ungrateful", in that they take their parents for granted, which is how it should be when they are little. Growing up is about becoming aware of your function and place in the world, and part of that is learning to appreciate everyone around you. Your children don't sound spoiled to me; everyone has moments like you were having this morning, which give us a reminder to nudge our children towards being more grown up.

I think all the things we do for our children become part of who they are, and that is how they are "appreciated". When I see that my children think that books are wonderful, I see that they appreciated all those readings of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, even though they probably never thanked me for all the hours of reading aloud.

randomAXEofkindness Wed 02-Oct-13 07:29:23

the council, not the kitchen

Polpotsbabyteeth Wed 02-Oct-13 07:36:01

OP you sound lovely but what you are trying to do is really really obvious. You are trying to fill a hole in your children that isn't there...the hole is in yourself.

They aren't lacking in love. All this food isn't going to make THEM feel more loved, they are already fine.

I think your DS has noticed how hard you are trying to fill a non-existent hole and that's why he said "you do nothing for me".
Older kids can be really cruel with their words. He was trying to hurt you and what do you know? It worked.

How about trying to fill that sad empty hole in yourself? Your kids are absolutely fine.

babySophieRose Wed 02-Oct-13 09:20:17

If you do this every day its taken as normal, do it once a week and it will be appreciated. Although kids do not really appreciate good food and care until they are older.

plum100 Wed 02-Oct-13 09:33:35

You sound like a great mum , it does sound like you should spend a bit more time on yourself, especially now they are a bot older.

I always feel a bit guilty when i do something for myself like go to the gym but do u know you are worth it - you are worthsometime to your self xxx

Almostfifty Wed 02-Oct-13 12:59:15

I volunteered in school as I was going stir crazy at home doing too much 'stuff' for my children. Just a couple of hours of being treated like 'me' instead of 'Mum'.

We started our children off with housework by getting them to clear up after dinner. They always put their dishes in the dishwasher no matter what meal they've had, they empty and fill the dishwasher every night and wash any other dishes, dry them and wipe down the kitchen.

As has been said upthread, all children comment that their parents are useless at some time or another. You're obviously not, and they know that really.

CressidaMontgomery Wed 02-Oct-13 13:07:12

Your kids have been rude to you for years now, judging by previous threads.

Only you have the power to clamp down on them

MissStrawberry Wed 02-Oct-13 13:13:23

HeadKnot - their problems are physical but no, it doesn't stop them doing anything and the ones with the problems are the ones that help more. DS1 is a PITA about helping. Says he does everything!

DS2 was poorly and lost a lot of weight but to be honest I have always cooked loads of different things so can't say that is why though I will be happier when he puts a bit more weight on. I think he is just going tall and thin like his brother. It was just a shock to see him loose so much so quickly.

mystic - school is 8 miles away so definitely too far to walk! And they are only 8 and 10. Next September the older one will be getting the bus to and from school with her 12 (will then be 11 and 13) year old brother.

Gerbile - I think that is unfair though I can see how it comes across. I am happy with my half an hour. Any longer and I wouldn't get in the car park!

I just want to say I probably wouldn't write my OP again as I feel by talking things through I feel differently now and realise that the world won't stop if I give the kids fish fingers and a banana. I realise it is my problem that I feel the need to cook and bake so often and of course the kids take it for granted. Why wouldn't they, this their normality and not their fault that it wasn't mine. I am the type of mum I am because I am and that is where I am.

I have been having the kids doing more (with varying levels of success and attitude) and will also change how I feel about me.

Thanks all.

(Just fish pie today with peaches and yogurt for pudding.)

Kids loved the baguette!

MerryMarigold Wed 02-Oct-13 15:04:14

Miss Strawberry, one lovely thing I make is chapatis when we have curry. Dd (4) loves to roll them out! We made breakfast bran muffins this morning too, so agree not all home baking has to be pudding based. Also, home made tuna pizza (again, dd does the rolling and the kneading). I think 'cooking' time together gives a good chance for a chat, and sometimes when doing something together it is easier to talk about hard stuff like if there are problems with relationships in school or whatever.

(PS. Is it tinned peaches or cooked or fresh? If cooked, how did you cook them?)

MissStrawberry Wed 02-Oct-13 16:50:33

Fresh peaches today.

I have cooked them before. Just roasted in the oven with a bit of honey on would be nice I think.

MerryMarigold Wed 02-Oct-13 20:44:12

Thanks...

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