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please help me snap out of feeling rubbish(22 Posts)
Hi, I posted this is chat but was advised to repost here.
I'm sorry for the pity post. I am so fed up. My DH and I have two children aged 5 and 7. They are adopted and had a difficult start in life, they have lived with us three years. At the moment I am feeling so unloved and unappreciated.
My children as soon as they get up they want their dad, who works long hours. When they are upset or sad they sit and cry for their dad. My youngest is still getting used to school and is tired all the time, she is often woken up by her older sister who can't sleep later than 6 in the morning. She shouts all the time and is generally horrid to people unless they are doing what she wants. I am tired of being shouted at for asking simple questions or not carrying out her unreasonable demands. Tonight she wants to go round to someone's house to play and won't believe me that we can't just turn up (we don't know them ) and she doesn't want me to invite them to play here.
My eldest has anxiety issues and likes to argue to assert control. She does things deliberately to see if I'll get cross. She becomes giddy and silly really easily and at the moment has taken to lying about lots of little things all the time.
A years and a half ago my DH wanted to go and work himself. Before this we shared childcare as I had to start work really early so I took a year off work so he could establish his business and I could look after the children. He earns so much more than me and I was only bringing home a tiny amount of income once childcare was covered that it has not made a huge difference financially. When it came back to me returning to work we agreed that there was little benefit from it and the household was generally less stressful when I was at home. This is true and the children are happier and I don't really want the stress of going to work and doing quite an emotionally demanding job!
However he now does nothing around the house except mutter that he can't find anything. Or huff and puff if I ask him to do anything.
I haven't found parenting easy. I think I'm rubbish at it. I get irritable too easily and I'm not really very good at playing it being silly. My children never want me despite the fact I do everything for them. They often won't eat the food I cook and I'm sure it's not that bad. I think at least when I was at work I had something I thought I could do well. I tried to talk to my DH and he said he gets it but nothing has really changed.
Sorry this is so long, would appreciate from any thoughts from outside my family.
Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. I am not approved for adoption yet but one of the things I am learning fast and thick, is that if you need help, ask for it sooner rather than later. I think this may be the case for you. I hope someone with experience can come and give you more advice.
You sound like you need some 'me' time. Your DH needs to get that your being at home with the kids is still hard work (which is why people pay for childcare), only most people don't work 24/7 for no pay. It's time you used some annual leave! Let the kids have their dad for a day/weekend, let them eat the food that he cooks, let him deal with their ways, while you go on a little break e.g. Spa. Let them all miss you and appreciate everything you do for them while you enjoy yourself!
I'm going to come back to this later... bedtime intervenes...
but before I run off...
I haven't found parenting easy. - nope me neither
I think I'm rubbish at it. - me too sometimes when things are tough and then I think that I'm probably as good as anyone else would be dealing with the same issues
I get irritable too easily yes - I have however learnt to channel my inner actress and it helps when I've had some time to myself completely alone - going for a walk, to the gym whatever
I'm not really very good at playing it being silly. I don;t think I was even very good at this when I was a child. However I have managed to find a few things I quite like doing that DS likes - currently it's "Conkers Bad Fur day" on the Xbox
My children never want me despite the fact I do everything for them. well they wouldn't would they - they get plenty of you, it's your DH's attention they are craving.
A big hug. I felt like this and my children are not adopted (although one has ASD). It is difficult when one partner works long hours and comes home expecting to be looked after, and everything shipshape, when you feel like all day you've just been in the middle of a raging tornado trying to keep your wig on! When the kids came home from school it felt like they pelted me with all the pent up emotions of holding it together at school. I remember once hiding in the corner of the living room, just to get away from them all (there were three)
My little girl also hated all the food I cooked, and regularily melted down at meals (I think she had a lot of sensory issues) Sometimes I gave her a little meal by herself so she could calm down, and to make meals less of a big deal/compliance issue.
They are all grown up now (terrible teens), and looking back I think I should have concentrated on making after school very calm and fun too, nothing special just a regular routine, with a regular few fun things, watching telly together, making pancakes, hot chocolate a game of snap, a long long bath where they could splash a lot. Nothing too stimulating just a daily framework that they could predict. And most importantly I should have done things I enjoyed. The best times was when it rained outside and I felt I could just give up and be in a cosy put your feet up setting with them, sit on the sofa and cuddle them and watch a film with them or read a story, and not be bustling about. Winter is terribly depressing, I still find the long afternoons after school in the dark hard with my three.
What helps too is now reduce clutter, (but not get hung up on it, untidy doesn;t matter really) make everything simple, ask for little compliance, and go for habits instead (lay the table, put toys away in a big box) Get out for fresh air in the day somehow (you) even if it is just a walk to the postbox for the sake of it. And a friend to meet up with for coffee.
PS. my son (who has some SNs) used to ask to go to other people's houses to play a lot. It was heartbreaking - I felt so upset on his behalf and so frustrated that he didn;t get he wasn;t invited. He liked seeing other people's houses and didn't particularily want them in his own territory. Gradually we worked something out, and invited people over, and he got a few invites back. It will come.
I bet you are a very good mother. Asking for their Dad is something my children used to do a lot; I think it is because the absent parent becomes a bit of a mythological figure/hero. But whenever I did go away, the children used to ask for ME constantly and were very unsettled, so I think you will find you are the rock they depend on.
Thank you everyone. We are getting help for my eldest which has been good for her but does make her more anxious. The therapist has given us lots of ways to manage the girls, which I do try and follow. I just struggle not to take things personally. I'm a bit of a perfectionist too so it upsets me that I can't deal with the children without getting emotional.
My DH keeps suggesting I go away to a friends for the night, maybe I should. I don't really feel like socialising. If quite like to have a night to myself in a hotel somewhere but that seems really indulgent!!!
Thank you again for replying.
[] of course you take it personally!! You are their mother, mothers feel things v deeply, every dig every failure, every joy. That's why professionals can be so helpful and
and so annoying
I think I'm rubbish at it too. It makes me feel pretty scummy some days. But I think you do need some space for yourself - is it possible to carve some out during school time maybe, taking a few regular hours to do something that would restore the "you" that can so easily get lost in the exhaustion of therapeutic parenting? It sound like maybe you need some rest first, but afterwards re-connecting with a friend could be good too.
It's good that your DD is getting some additional emotional support, but perhaps you need some too? What you're doing is brilliant, but very intense and draining. Helping a child learn to manage and contain anxiety on its own is bloody hard, even without the additional context.
Re the emotional reactions to things, I think that's OK - we are human. I'd say on my better days what I try and do is narrate those emotions, to try and give LO a language for their feelings too. So I might say "OK, I am starting to feel a bit hot and a bit cross, and I need to sit down for a minute and calm down." Where possible, I try and turn angry into silly, pretending to be a stompy monster or something ("silly" doesn't come naturally to me either!). I don't always pull off either of these approaches, but they are a start. I make plenty of mistakes, and try and repair and restore things afterwards, being honest about what went wrong. So much so that LO often pipes up with "Don't worry mummy, everyone makes mistakes sometimes; we just have to try again!" Which is kind of sweet and annoying at the same time...
I just struggle not to take things personally - I'm not sure it helps but I learnt something in the process of this parenting lark which might seem obvious to everyone else but it was a revelation to me and changed my thinking on DS's reactions.
Be very wary of interpreting childrens responses in the same way as you would the same thing said by an adult.
An extreme example:
Adult "I hate you!" = "I hate you at the moment and I really want to hurt you by making sure you know it"
Child "I hate you!" = "I'm scared and I don't know how to handle it and it's making me really anxious and I need you to help me"
Child with early life trauma "I hate you!" = "I'm scared and I don't know how to handle it and it's making me really anxious and I need you to help me but I'm scared and I'm a bit scared that by telling you that you'll run away from me but I'm too scared to hold it in"
Your children have very little concept at their age that your feelings might be hurt in the same way an adult would who might actually be saying things in order to hurt you. Children think adults are all-powerful and don;t possess such things as feelings!
Which is a long winded way of saying - yes you need to take it less personally because it really isn't.
Thanks everyone, you've no idea how much better I feel after reading your replies. And it's given me a lot to think about. I do expect too much from them I think. And I need to look after myself a bit better!
I'm not a naturally playful parent I don't think which is why I'm going to invest in a copy of Playful Parenting. Maybe we can have a little book club here
Practically what nice low key things do you have for them to occupy themselves with? My dcs love our craft cupboard - stickers, those grown up colouring books, junk modelling, clay, glitter/paint (if you're feeling brave) etc and I find if we sit together at the table doing something like that we can talk without it all being about the talk iyswim?
Someone wise here once advised singing when you're cross in a silly voice. I do a lot of high operatic 'Nobody is listening to me! I feel I'm being ignored.' type singing which makes them laugh and then maybe listen.
Sod spending hours cooking when you feel like this. Can they help you cook? Or just eat sausages/bagels/boiled eggs for a week. No one will die of a week of easy food.
You say the DC ask for their dad and that he used to do childcare and now he doesn't. How much does he see of them? New business and long hours notwithstanding, it sounds like they really do miss him. Is there scope for him to do more whilst simultaneously giving you a break? Could he get up and do breakfast with them? Or get home in time to do dinner time or bed time?
With food, I found it greatly improved my humour to make them no-effort food (oven food or pasta pesto) and then let them get on with it. I hover, of course, but I don't try to sit with them. I clear up/load dishwasher/do laundry just so I don't have to watch the faces they pull. Which means I'm a lot to less irritable by the time we're into bedtime routine.
* Chickenpie* I am so sorry it is tough. I feel like that sometimes. My kids fight a lot. I have an 11 year old birth dd and a five year old son who joined our family by adoption - and they are so fussy about food and so bloody moany.
We are getting help for ds from post adoption support, glad you are getting some help too. Please do ask for it for both kids if you need it.
YES YES YES to me time, you need it, a meal out, a night in with the girls away from kids, spa weekend. maybe the kids will really miss you, but even if they do not, or do not say it, take your time away, enjoy and come back fresher to deal with their shenanigans!
I am crap at play, truly crap at play. Try doing things that you quite like, we sometimes do painting, find things you can handle and do what you can, not what you can't.
Good luck. And get your husband to pull his weight, ...he now does nothing around the house except mutter that he can't find anything. Or huff and puff if I ask him to do anything. - sit down together and try and work together to come up with a plan that will allow you both some 'me' time to unwind etc.
PS my birth dd went through a phase of always wanting daddy, she grew out of it. My son always wants me, he is slowly learning daddy is good fun too. It can be tough either way but try and keep it in perspective, they are young and still learning, maybe, just maybe your need for perfection or their perceived understanding of your need for perfection drives them away a little, maybe they fear letting you down.
Perhaps look into love bombing, and also try and relax and not be a perfectionist around them (you can be in other ways, you can do some things just how you like) but with them just maybe let things be relaxed. i am not a perfectionist but I am a control freak, no one does things like I would BUT sometimes it is just nice when others do stuff for us. I noticed I always criticised dh on his shopping/cooking etc and I'm now making a real effort to stop, because I really do not want to end up doing all the cooking and shopping, and that is the way it will go if I keep on fault finding!
Thank you everyone. Am going to check out those links and books. It's great to hear there are times everyone feels like this. We came to parenthood later than most of my friends and I don't seem to get that sort of message from my friends. Just that they miss there children being this young!!!
I didn't think anyone would reply to such a moany thread so thank you. Am feeling better today and am going to email a friend about a night out and then do something for me!! I may not even wash the breakfast things first!!!
Hope everyone has a good day
Just in case it helps - I started this thread about 2 weeks ago www.mumsnet.com/Talk/adoptions/2548985-So-how-many-of-us-wonder-if-were-really-good-enough?watched=1&msgid=59061268#59061268
As you can see you're certainly not alone in feeling inadequate. I've come to conclusion that you have to be in the game and trying in order to feel inadequate so you're already ahead of the pack.
I haven't read this entire thread yet, but Chickenpie you sound a lot like me. DH works away, DS now 6 home almost 3 years at times will favour DH. It used to be unbearable. As in wouldn't come near me. Things improved but he can still slip into this anxiety state when DH is home (sometimes), and feel he has to cling to him in favour of me. Sometimes I am able to just let it slide / don't really notice it, other times it really really gets to me, and I am left feeling really unappreciated, that feeling of 'WHY isn't what I do enough for you....' sort of thing. Que getting irritable and snappy. Like you I feel like I do a crappy job a lot of the time, but I'm sure that isn't really the case.
For us, it seemed to be stemmed from DS own anxieties of perhaps 'feeling pushed out' - DH working away, suddenly home, changes in the house dynamics, that 'survival mode of' well I must favour one of these people in order to still get the attention (attachment) I need. It took years of 'family cuddles' and explaining of love equally across Mum, Dad, Son, Family no matter who else is around Mum. Now he is older, he is more able to describe his feelings as being 'jealous' - as a result now he can explain it, things have calmed down a little and he is better able to manage mine and DHs relationship without it causing him extreme anxiety.
That's just our situation - but could it be that you're the person who is steady as a rock for them, that they feel more comfortable to 'push' you away, to see if in fact you will stay, and how you will react.
Admittedly here - Dad is probably more fun! As in less 'nagging' less of the monotonous routine, rough and tumble, funnier sillyness.. I am able to accept that now, and do things with him I am good at, and not try to 'be like Dad' so to speak.
Me time absolutely helps, do something just for you, and speak with DH about the house if it is getting you down. It can be tiring and draining being the one at home / school runs etc with the kids. Sometimes work is actually a good getaway from it all.
One more thing to think about - kids from the backgrounds based in trauma and loss are bloody good at self sabotage. You are their constant - so they push and push and push you away instinctively to test those boundaries and because being abandoned/alone/scared is a default state for them. They don't consciously do it, but the brain has been wired "differently" as a result of their experiences. You mentioned controlling behaviour and that's another classic behaviour in children with a traumatic start.
I would strongly recommend you ask for additional support - theraplay or safebase for your children. But you absolutely need to have time for yourself - these behaviours are relentless and don't just stop. You can't keep absorbing their leaking emotions indefinitely without cracking. I would definitely recommend you carve out space to recharge - and it sounds like your husband needs to give you that time and space. He isn't being faced with the constant need to parent therapeutically so won't necessarily see the strain you are under.
My final advice - don't listen to any parent who tells you that all children do that/ are the same or compare to how others parent. You are in a totally different situation and your children respond differently to other children. It's comparing apples and oranges.
Hey Chickenpie (love the username by the way!)
My DS (6) and DD (4) have been placed a year now and what a year it has been! I wrote a post in the summer where I was so close to breaking point. Looking back now, I can't believe we got through it. I went back to work in September but like you decided that things are so much easier if I'm at home and available for the children. To be honest, it's been both the best and worst thing I've done as I feel I miss out on the adult company but the benefits for the children are huge and behaviour and attachment has increased making a much happier home.
I often feel like I get no "me" time anymore, even though I'm in the house on my own whilst the children are at school. There's always something to be done though and pottering does not make me feel like I've had time to myself. We've started to address this so every fortnight we have a proper "date night" and I make sure I make plans with a friend or my mum (who's amazing) at least once a week in the daytime. I've also started reading again and taken up mindfulness colouring which I try to do for an hour a few times a week.
The turning point for me was reading Dr Amber Elliott's book "why can't my child behave". It really helped my DD and I bond more as I felt she hated me and she would make my life a living hell every day. She still has her moments!
I haven't found parenting easy- Me either
I think I'm rubbish at it- Yep! I'm certainly not the kind of mother I thought I'd be. It does make me quite sad sometimes.
I get irritable too easily - I am the same. It helps if you can have a couple of good days as I find I'm a lot more tolerant.
Go away with your friends- the thought of getting packed and setting out always makes me anxious but once you're there I'm sure you'll enjoy it and actually have the chance to miss them and they'll have the chance to miss you a bit too.
Thanks for your comments guys. I have arranged to go visit my friend in London for a weekend and am getting my head sorted. I had a better night last night with the girls and will have a good chat with my husband tonight. I really appreciate all your support and sharing of your experiences it really has helped me feel better and get some perspective
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