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I'm so uptight and I don't know how to "chill out".

(22 Posts)
Cabawill Mon 29-Jun-15 21:32:23

I really need some advice on how I can stop being so uptight about everything to do with the kids. It's starting to creep into my other relationships too and I have been told by more than one person to "relax and enjoy it" over the past few weeks.

DD(4) and DS(5) were placed with us in January. We knew before we went into the match they would be hard work. Their profile said they were "wild, especially when introduced to new people and need very firm boundaries and consistent parenting. They cannot be left unsupervised at any point at present. They are ready for a forever family and will be extremely rewarding".

Looking at it from outside 6 months down the line they are amazing. They have impeccable manners and behave so well in public. They are chatty and so cute- adults LOVES them. They both struggle socially as they don't understand personal space and are still quite rough so some children are wary of them. DS will also completely ignore friends that say hello to him blush

But it's hard now for me to relax around them because I've spent months watching and reminding and suggesting and stopping fights whilst encouraging them to say please and thank you and play nicely. I can't stop! And if I do stop are they going to fall back into their terrible habits of before? It surely is frustrating them- it is my husband and it's frustrating me too.

I have tried to let DH do a school morning run whilst I stay upstairs out the way. I just cannot do it! What if he forgets the homework/sun cream/drink of water/PE Kit/doesn't get them in the car seat properly.

I'm very tactile with them and they're so very loving. We have lots of laughs and cuddles but I'm always making sure they don't get to the tipping point of beyond silly- but kids need to be silly sometimes don't they?

It's certainly been a massive shock to the system but I want to get my happy, constantly laughing self back.

slkk Mon 29-Jun-15 23:46:24

Oh I feel your pain! Unfortunately people outside your immediate family will probably never understand how hard it is, how far your children have come, and how easily they could slip back.I hear a lot of 'oh that sounds like my ds' or 'all 4 year olds are controlling/hard work/excitable/destructive'. My dsis thinks (thought) we are way too vigilant and strict with ds, then she took him for a walk while I was having a medical thing and she came back ashen! I also find myself watching other families and feeling envious of how relaxed they are. I guess I just smile at people who try and be helpful or who say relax and enjoy it. You know your children and you know they still really need you to help them regulate. Yes kids need to be silly sometimes, but again, you know their tipping point and need to help them avoid it. We recognise a certain laugh as a warning sign and it would be lovely to let him enjoy his crazy moment, but I know he is no longer in control with this laugh.
Do try to hand over to dh more though. Could you write a list to help him in the morning? And maybe stay out of earshot? Have a bath or go for a walk? What if he forgets pe kit? Will it really matter? Have you had a night out with friends yet?
Maybe it will also help to remind yourself how far they've come. Six months is not long and I bet you're a lot more relaxed than you were a few months ago. Just think how much more self control they will have in another six months. Hopefully you will learn to relax as you feel you can trust them to self regulate. Good luck, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job.

Cabawill Tue 30-Jun-15 00:06:18

Oh slkk you don't know how much it means for someone to actually GET what I'm saying.

We also have "the laugh" and "the squeal" which means I have to bring them back to reality quickly.

My mum really upset me as she said I'm too strict with DD and that other people might think we're horrible to her sad She is so manipulative she wraps them round her little finger and when they only see her for short periods of time they don't understand and if I'm hovering in the house somewhere she does curb the worst of her behaviour. We left them with my mum to go to a wedding reception for a few hours and when we got back my mum actually admitted that she had run her ragged. Felt so good even if it shouldn't have!

My friend has two the same ages and I thought it would be fabulous and she'd be so supportive and the kids would love each other. But it's not turned out that way as her boys are very emotionally mature for their age and extremely good socially. DS tried to give her eldest DS a kiss and a cuddle and he recoiled and looked shocked and muttered something about being "gay" which I was a bit hmm about. I just explained that some people don't like to be kissed and hugged or have their hair or faces stroked. She also can't help with the stealth boasts about reading bands and spellings and sports day prizes. It's exhausting and I find myself avoiding her which is really sad. If I say they're exhausting or their behaviour has been terrible etc she does say "oh XX has been having a bad week for me too".

DH is so good and I'm sure he can do it. He wants me to take a breather and offers to do everything and anything to help. I've just got to take that first step I guess.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 30-Jun-15 00:33:21

I know this is not what you were asking but I just wanted to share my thoughts.

You refer to your sisters stealth boasts when she tells you of her dcs achievements. Obviously you know her best, this maybe exactly what she's doing but equally she may just be sharing what's her highlights are.

My dd is disabled, I know the bittersweet feeling when other peoples kids learn to walk, come out of nappies etc

I want my friends to feel like they can share their proud moments with me, even though it stings somewhat.

Try to be pleased and proud of the niece and nephew, there is no relevance in comparing your own dc with them.

Share your triumphs too with them, tell them that you learnt to recognise the specific tone of laugh that means all hell is about to break loose, be open about the challenges you face and share the moments of overcoming.

6 months is not so long as it feels abd it sounds like your doing a brilliant job, you will start to relax gradually, you probably won't notice it's happening until it has.

Definitely do more handing over to dh, he needs to learn to manage even if that means screwing up sometimes, same goes for mum abd sis when you are ready.

Italiangreyhound Tue 30-Jun-15 00:44:06

Cabawill I am a year in and my son is driving me mad! Honestly. we also have a birth dd who is 10 and she is driving me mad too!

Here is my best advise, take or leave it but know you are in good company!

Re - I have tried to let DH do a school morning run whilst I stay upstairs out the way. I just cannot do it! What if he forgets the homework/sun cream/drink of water/PE Kit/doesn't get them in the car seat properly.

What you are saying is you do not trust your hubby to strap the kids in properly! Because that is the only thing that majority matters!

Once you have reassured yourself he can do that, and had a few attempts at letting him and them pack their own bag, you can give it a go.

Start easy, set the stuff they need on the table. Then if the sun block if still on the table at 8.45 you know he has forgotten something and can drop it into the school later!

My son is 4, almost 5 and is learning to pack his own school bag. He is adopted and NT, my dd is a birth child and may be on the autistic spectrum and is very dyslexic and can't even remember her coat most days!

Give them a little room to remember and praise them when they do, same for hubby!

Now, you will not ever stop all the fights so although you can be vigilant most of the time, allow a little room for them to start to learn to pull bck from a fight - to see it brewing and choose not to. Just a tiny bit of room for it, then PRAISE then PRAISE them PRAISE them! They will make mistakes but hopefully they will learn.

Lastly, in the next 6 months book yourself a spa day and in the next year maybe even a spa over nighter. Find time for friends and socilaise a little.

I had my first spa weekend when ds had been home a year and we went out for a meal with a babysitter (a well loved and trusted family friend) few weeks later.

Include yourself in the rewards and praise.

It is all part of it, some things will be the same as the other kids, some different, if people don't get what you mean do a Penguins of Madagascar, smile and wave

And your friend who keeps telling you how great her kids are. You have 4 choices.
1) put up with it, join her in praising her kids when they do well and remember real good friends are hard to find.
2) If she is not such a real good friend then ditch her when the kids are around and keep her for nights out for wine or Sunday or Saturday trips to Costa coffee with out kids - explain, no children talk, mummy time!
3) Drop her entirely, just stop inviting her round. This is not my preferred option for me ever, as I am a people pleaser, but if it works for you, go for it.
4) Tell her, tell her how it feels to suddenly be a mum to two very challenging kids and then to have your friend tell you how great her kids are. If she listens, great, if not.... do as you please. I have two friends who have always gone on and on about having three kids. I only had one, before we adopted ds. I found their constant comments about how hard it was having THREE kids very annoying. I found their advice not to have any more after we adopted ds very strange. But I realised that I valued their friendship more than I hated their comments and I just tuned them out. They still say it, and I realise it is about them. As my kid are currently doing my head in I do not want three so can genuinely sympathise with them, and have realise is is there need to say it but I do not need to listen, I just smile and wave!

Italiangreyhound Tue 30-Jun-15 00:47:42

I meant we left the kids with a babysitter not we took the babysitter out for a meal, of course!

Cabawill Tue 30-Jun-15 07:26:10

Thank you for the great advice. Well currently they are all downstairs chatting away eating breakfast- and I'm still in bed! Well kind of- I've just been and put all their clothes out, packed their bags and laid out all the vitamins and medications.

I think just getting out the frustration on here and having people actually know what I mean has been the help I needed. Thank you all flowers

Kewcumber Tue 30-Jun-15 08:32:20

I wouldn't call a 5 year old that calls being kissed by another 5 year old "gay" "emotionally mature"!

I'm not at all convinced that what needs to change is your behaviour. If your children need more structures and boundaries to thrive then they need it. Perhaps you might need to reassess your feelings about it though.

You sound very wound up, defensive, quick to believe that everyone elses child is more "normal"/doing better than your children.

I deal with the stealth boasts (whether they are actually that or just paretns being proud) by saying "How lovely for you" and shutting up.

I've had family members comments openly in front of DS when he was about 3.5 and he was going through a phase of saying "I love you" repetitively "How odd, thats really odd isn't it, Hey Fred don't you think its really odd that KewJnr keeps saying that". It stings. They have no understanding of your life with the DC's only what is "normal"

Well hell it might not be their normal but it's my kinda normal and I'm very happy with it.

Take a deep breath, do what you think you need to do and try not to worry about what other people think. And vent on here when you need to.

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Velvet1973 Tue 30-Jun-15 09:58:57

Loads of good advice here already but just wanted to add don't forget you're a new parent too! There are literally thousands of mums of 6 month old babies who would feel just as uptight and unable to hand over as you do without the added complications of parenting order adopted children as well. I think it does get easier with time when you find your feet a bit more. I started with "letting" dh sort our lo out on Saturday mornings so I could have a lay in or a bath or time on iPad etc. I was still there in case of any issues and it got him into the swing of it. Now a couple of months later he likes to get him up and take him out in the car for his morning nap then do something together afterwards and come home for lunch.
I'm not saying that would work for you but certainly staying out the way 1 morning a week is good practice for you and dh, weekends are good girl this because you don't have to fret about the school stuff etc.
I'm sure you're doing a fab job and will soon feel more confident and relaxed.

Devora Tue 30-Jun-15 10:07:37

Cabawill, it sounds like you have done an amazing job with your children. To go from 'wild' to where they are now in just a few short months is really impressive. You sound really thoughtful, dedicated and skilled in your parenting.

You absolutely must learn to shrug off people who have no idea of what it means to parent your children. You have been thrown in the deep end and come up with a gold medal, in my book. Your children probably will always need a different kind of parenting from the norm around you, and you will need to be resilient to others' views on that.

But. You need to take care of yourself too, as you're clearly aware. Is your style of parenting sustainable over the longer term without complete burnout? How are you going to keep yourself fuelled? How are you going to let your dh be an equal parent? This seems like a good time to start addressing that.

Cabawill Tue 30-Jun-15 12:26:31

You're all very kind. Today went really well and DH did the drop of too. I enjoyed some crap catch up TV and am just setting up the paddling pool for when they get back.

I'm wondering if I am being sensitive about my friends little boys doing so well. Thinking back, she has always let me know milestones in the boys lives as their Godmother we have always been close and I've spent loads and loads of time with them. I am so happy he's doing great and my DS is doing amazing for HIM. And I'm so very very proud.

ConfusedInBath Tue 30-Jun-15 13:47:21

Ah it's good to read this.l

I'm two weeks in. Special guardians of our 3 year old GS and although we are related it almost feels like what it must be like to adopt a child that isn't a blood relative as we've had limited contact.

I have older dc but they are in their 20's, 15 and 8 so it's like going back to square one.

It's hard and I won't deny that everyday I feel close to tears at some point. GS is a lovely little boy who has been through so much and on the whole is coping, he is very strong willed and very loud! I agree that you are vigilant re them getting too giddy.
8 year old DS is finding it the hardest, he asked DH if he loved GS more than him the other night and admitted that he feels jealous even though we are tying ourselves in knots trying to make sure everyone is happy!

Glad you've had a few good days OP, long may they last smile

Kewcumber Tue 30-Jun-15 15:20:44

Oh my Confused two weeks in! Of course he feels jealous. If I were you I would be so proud of your 8 year old that he can discuss this with his dad.

Cabawill it sounds promising - you don't need to not care that your friend appears to have the perfect child - you just need to pretend not to care.
If ever I feel peeved about others telling me all about their apparently perfect children I just think about DS and how he is about a million times more funny and interesting than just about any other child on the planet (I might allow Devora's children a look in because he likes them) and he tries so very hard to do the right thing then I realise that I wouldn't swap him for all the perfect children in the world.

slkk Tue 30-Jun-15 17:55:42

Well done for handing over to dh today! I admit I was also secretly pleased ds was such a nightmare for my sister as it proved it wasn't all in my mind and showed that we really are doing what he needs by giving him really firm boundaries. I guess therapeutic parenting comes in many forms and it's about respond in to your child's needs which you are doing. It's hard to protect them from peers who seem more advanced (ds gets teased for liking girlie things - he doesn't care, he doesn't even really know if he is a boy or girl some of the time). But at this age they care more about what you think so a bit of reassurance from you will make it all ok! Good luck trying to worry less about worrying too much!

JamHoneyMarmite Tue 30-Jun-15 18:19:18

I was massively uptight (aka scared) at six months in. I wasn't sure I could always "read" LO right, I knew how epic the meltdowns and self harming could be (LO was three) and that it took me hours to resolve them, and I was also pretty demented from very broken nights.

This is still really really new and early days for you. The feeling of being able to loosen the grip a bit does come in time, but it will be based on YOUR instincts about the right time, not anyone else's. Extended family told me LO would be fine if I would "just relax". I smiled, nodded and said "I'll bear that in mind". Because I don't want to share LO's early history with them, or explain her behaviour challenges - and so for the sake of her privacy, I choose to let others think I'm uptight. The people very closest to me get it, and back me up, and I am very lucky they trust me to do what I think's best.

Go gently on yourself. It's a bloody long road and you're doing brilliantly. By the way, in terms of engaging with them and staying close, but maybe doing a bit less "telling", descriptive commenting works very well for us and helps me stay focused on describing the positives of what LO is doing.

WereJamming Tue 30-Jun-15 20:03:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

motherearth1990 Wed 01-Jul-15 10:08:08

You've had some great advice and support here and sound like you're doing a fantastic job of being Mum already.

Re the mornings - something which has really worked for a friend of mine experiencing similar is using visual checklists for the children (same age as yours) They know to go to their checklist in the morning, they can see a picture of a toothbrush, shoes etc and they have SO much fun ticking the "jobs" off, it gives my friend a bit less stress and the children feel very pleased with themselves. It isn't fancy, they chose some pictures out of an Argos magazine to symbolise their "to do" tasks.

Pack their bags the night before, take yourself out of earshot, or even an early morning walk. It is SO hard not to interfere and feel uptight, I know, I am the worlds worst for this... But the more you let him and TRUST him, the better he will get at it and you will all benefit.

My husband and I have very different and equally special relationships with our AC and BC, they get different things from both of us. Yes I have been called "boring mummy" but you know someone has to do this stuff. It can't all be fun. You will find your balance. Enjoy the cuddles x

motherearth1990 Wed 01-Jul-15 10:16:11

Ps the other thing which helps in our house is races.. Who can get dressed first? (Suggest they compete against you rather than each other!) Who is the "dinner winner"? To try and lighten up the constant nagging. My 5 year old falls for it every time!

And we definitely have a morning routine, so we all know what's coming next, usually interspersed with a cartoon or something, so I say "let's all go and clean our teeth, then you can watch Octonaughts, then after that we need to put your sun cream on (etc). Can anyone remember what we need to do next? Etc.

Once you've established some routines which work for you, stick with them and you'll find you're on autopilot in the mornings.

Anyway you are probably doing these kinds of things already hang in there x

slkk Wed 01-Jul-15 15:31:34

Oh competitions a no no here. Big meltdown if he's not first. But it might work for others!

ConfusedInBath Wed 01-Jul-15 16:42:38

Gs is very competitive about everything so we have no races either. It's draining tbh and we are trying but failing to help him out of this.

Cabawill Wed 01-Jul-15 21:17:54

mother I love some of the ideas in your post- thank you. We do have races here- it's the only way to get them anywhere on time. They're both pretty equal over all the different "races" so doesn't cause too much bad feeling.

marmite and jam thank you for putting that little bit of perspective out there about new mothers of 6 month olds still being scared and unsure. It has helped me to think of it in those terms.

All has actually been fabulous with the weather like this. We've been playing in the paddling pool straight after school until bath time with tea eaten on the picnic blanket outside. They've loved it and so have I. My DD said tonight as I cuddled her in the pool "I love this wet smiley mummy every day" which caused a little ping in my heart.

ConfusedInBath Thu 02-Jul-15 07:00:49

' I love this wet smiley mummy every day '

Just lovely smile

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