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to feel upset and let down by "mother's help" leaving abruptly? (long,sorry)

(96 Posts)
wellieboots Thu 11-Jul-13 06:45:55

I have an 8 month old DD and am living in Sydney, Australia. I have found the transition to parenthood with a lack of any practical family support difficult (My ILs live close by but I have posted before about falling out with them and now DH sees them occasionally but that's it). DD had bad reflux (now settling thank God) and I ended up with quite bad pnd by the time she was about 4 months.

When she was about 3 months, I realised I needed some help around the house - DD was barely sleeping in the daytime, and when she was, she was upright on me, she couldn't be put down on the floor to play or anything as she was too unsettled due to reflux. Nothing wsa getting done and it was just a nightmare. My DM suggested that I needed to get a "mother's help" - somebody to come in and help me get some housework done, play with DD, take her for walks so that I could get some tidying done or just some space, little bit of everything really.

Anyway, I got a young (she turned 20 while she was with us) girl who was working as a cleaner two days a week and doing before and after school nannying the other 3 days. She had loads of experience of babysitting and nannying different age groups including babies, lots of kids in her family, and was more than happy to do cleaning, hoovering etc for me as she had cleaning jobs too. Let's call her M.

She came two days a week, for 3 hours each day, and it seemed to work really well. What she did week to week depended on what was happening on the particular day, sometimes she mostly entertained DD, other times DD slept most of the time. It just depended and M seemed happy. DD adored M and she often made references to the future, helping to look after DD if we ever have DC2, etc. We invited her to DD's christening, bought her a birthday pressie, and really thought that she planned to be with us for a while. I was diagnosed with pnd and was very open with her about that and she often took DD out for a walk in the pram to give me some space. I also had a counsellor coming to the house for my pnd and I scheduled those appts for M's work hours so that she could look after DD, take her to the park etc.

It all went wrong 2 weeks ago. We were all unwell with a cold type thing and the first day I suggested that M probably didn't want to come because of that. She agreed and asked me to let her know how I was and whether she should come the next day. So the next morning I said I still had a bit of a sniffle but was feeling much better. I thought that M would then come, tbh we really needed her as the house was a bit of a state because we'd all been ill and doing the absolute bare minimum to get through. M then texted 20 mins before she's supposed to come, saying she was going to stay away in case she caught anything and passed it to other children. I was quite pissed off as it was really late notice and it's not as though the rest of us can avoid going to work in case we catch a cold! I made up my mind to talk to her the following week just to chat about could she give us more notice next time as we rely on her coming, could she let us know for future what her "red lines" were in terms of understanding if she would never consider coming if anyone in the house was ill, etc.

Anyway, last week M came and unfortunately DD was quite unsettled and grumpy due to a tooth coming through. So she didn't have her usual morning nap. I was hoping that she would have been asleep when M arrived so that I could get the chat out of the way. But it wasn't happening. I was also feeling quite low from a pnd perspective and that didn't help eihter. DD was grumpy and I got more and more stressed that I wasn't going to get the chance to have the chat about the previous week. Then M started saying DD was tired (she'd only been up an hour so I wouldn't normally have put her back to bed for another while). I felt under pressure so I spent the next 25 minutes in the bedroom trying to settle DD and it didn't work. I realised at this point I still havdn't had breakfast, it was 11.30 and I really needed to eat so I put DD in the lounge and went into the kitchen, explaining to M that I had tried to settle her and was now feeling woozy as I hasn't eaten, so I needed to eat before I did anything else. She made a comment about DD not going to sleep and laughed. I didn't understand the comment and asked her what she meant and why she was laughing. I then saw red and said something along the lines of - for goodness sake I tried my best, she didn't want to go to sleep, I was making myself ill, I have to eat! I didn't speak to her after that because I realised then that I was feeling very down and not coping so I called DH and he came home and I went to bed for an hour. He chatted to M about the events of the previous week before she left, she said that illness wasn't normally a problem but she had wanted to go to a family party that weekend so hadn't wanted to be sick or make anyone there sick. She also offered to do extra hours for us.

She tried to text me that evening but it didn't come through as the text was too long, then she didn't turn up the next day. I texted when she was about 20 mins late then again later in the day to say I was really worried about her and could she let me know she was OK. She then resnet the text from the previous evening which basically said - after today I can't work with you any more, I have never been anything other than supportive, compassionate and understanding, how could you possibly think I could question your parenting, I have done so much for you, I bough Abigail a present, I bought you flowers. You have no right to speak to me like that. I am sorry I let you down last week.

So then when I hadn't replied to the text (becasue I hadn't received it) she just didn't turn up. I took a couple of days to reply as I was really upset. The fact that I had snapped at her on Thursday was because I was exhausted and hadn't eaten, had raging pnd, and a baby who was desperately trying to sleep and cut teeth and was very grumpy about the world! It wasn't because I was mad with her about the previous week! I asked her if she was prepared to come and discuss it with me and allow me to apologise in person. I did apologise for snapping at her and explained that it was because I was feeling down and I had always been honest with her about my pnd. She eventually replied a week later, accepted the apology but said she was now looking for corporate jobs and that it wouldn't be fair to us confused to come back and then leave again.

I've accepted that she's not coming back but AIBU to feel hurt and upset that I"ve invited someone into my home and my family at a vulnerable time and that they've let me down (no notice, has been paid for hours she hasn't done, making it sound as though I was just nasty to her because of the previous week) and are now treating me like an idiot - it wouldn't be fair to you to come back, offering extra hours and then suddenly she's decided to change career and can't possibly ever come back. DD adores her and I can't believe that she just was literally here one day and gone the next and has refused even to come over and talk to me about it. I now don't want to get someone else because I'm not sure I could trust someone in case the same thing happened. For making a big deal in the original message about buying DD a christening gift and buying me flowers when I had an exam and how supportive she's been blah blah, she's now showing herself to be completely unsupportive by just disappearing!I know I am emotional about this and A very possibly BU, but is this normal?!

Dilidali Thu 11-Jul-13 06:54:32

Hmmm, look, talk to your counsellor about it. It might help. It is now M's decision. Perhaps look into finding someone else?
A big hug to you. PND doesn't last forever and it looks like you already know what you need. Keep us posted how you get on.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Thu 11-Jul-13 07:02:55

Definitely talk to your counsellor

I can see why you are upset but I can see why perhaps she felt things weren't working out.

One thing that did stick out to me is that it is entirely up to you when DD goes to sleep etc. if you get another mother's help, then hopefully you won't have a similar situation as you can tell them nicely that DD us fine. Please don't feel you have to stay in the bedroom doing something you know wint work and getting frustrated.

Really hope you're feeling better soon.

Bonsoir Thu 11-Jul-13 07:04:52

You are way too involved. You need more people in you life.

Eyesunderarock Thu 11-Jul-13 07:06:56

She's young, as you said, just turned 20.
Sometimes when people that age have a difficult situation to deal with, and it goes badly, they choose to walk away rather than work at rebuilding a damaged relationship. They have the freedom to be able to do that, especially if they know that something less emotionally involved and complex is available. She felt unappreciated, pointed out the things she had done over and above the requirements of the job and is probably inexperienced in dealing with someone who has severe pnd. Involving your husband to talk to her might also have seemed a bit heavy-handed in her opinion.
The relationship has stopped being a positive experience for her, she may feel that she's done her best and it wasn't good enough, not responding to her text may have emphasised that to her.
Do you think she's cried over the sequence of events here?
I think she's made a wise decision to leave before the situation deteriorated further.

Is being a mother's help a career, or is it more like being an au pair?
Perhaps try to find another helper who is older and more experienced.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:10:48

Oh dear- I do feel for you, with PND, a new baby, being on the other side of the world, without support- but you are really expecting too much of a very young woman. Your mother's help was over stretched with other jobs and found herself out if her depth and outside her experience. She just took on what seemed a very simple job and found it wasn't.
Of course you can feel hurt and upset but you were placing too much emotional dependence on her. You will have to write it off to experience.
Hopefully you still have the counsellor coming around- if so it is something to discuss with them- if not I would go back to your GP. I don't know what is available in Australia but in UK you could do with a Homestart volunteer, maybe you have similar. You need the help of a more mature person.
Try to move on from it. I'm sure that it was nothing more than M being completely out of her depth and she did, what anyone her age would do, left. Do look into other help.

Redlocks30 Thu 11-Jul-13 07:16:00

Dear me! She worked for you for two days a week, for 3 hours-it was hardly a career. If you treat people like that, they will not want to work for you.

You need go and see your GP.

Oscalito Thu 11-Jul-13 07:16:54

As someone who babysat a lot at that age I can assure you she would have had no clue about how much you depended on her. I sometimes cancelled on my babysitter at short notice, never knowing (as I do now) how much you look forward to and rely on a bit of breathing space with a small child.

It's still early days for you and your baby so just hang in there and look for other sources of support. By the way do you have "Baby Love" by Robin Barker. If you're in australia she gives very good advice for local services as well as coping in the early days with a baby, beating PND etc. I would really recommend getting hold of her book - she was a lifesaver to me in the beginning.

shewhowines Thu 11-Jul-13 07:22:00

It seems like six of one and half a dozen of another. There were misunderstandings on both sides. If you do get another one, perhaps formalise it a bit more, and cover what is expected in in this type of situation.

I wouldn't worry about it. She was young and was never really likely to be around forever. She only did 6 hours. She was hardly going to fit her life around your needs. She was a bigger and more important part of your world than you were hers. Perhaps she was thinking about entering the corporate world anyway and this just pushed her.

Let it go, it was just one of those things. Mistakes were made by both if you. Good luck finding more help. Don't let this experience put you off. Don't invest so much emotion into the next one. It's just someone helping you out for a few hours.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Jul-13 07:28:13

OP you sound isolated. Are you getting out and about at all? Meeting other Mothers in groups? Do you and DH go out anywhere? Have a hug from me...I know what it is like living in OZ away from your family.

verytellytubby Thu 11-Jul-13 07:28:16

You sound a bit ott. It was 6 hours casual work for a young girl not a career.

I think you need to put it down to experience and move on.

verytellytubby Thu 11-Jul-13 07:29:26

Also start going to baby groups and building up a network.

ImagineJL Thu 11-Jul-13 07:37:06

I feel for you as you're obviously struggling, but I also think you were very harsh with her. She's only young, and no amount of babysitting experience can teach someone to understand the stresses of parenting sufficiently to comprehend your agitated state.

For her it was a very part-time job, casual labour, she's at the beginning of her working career, lots of opportunities lie ahead - she hasn't invested a huge amount in this post, and therefore why should she stick around if she's getting such a hard time?

I also think it was OTT to want to "talk" to her about her sickness record and work ethic after one day of being off sick, when you had already said just 24 hours beforehand that you were all infectious.

I think the level of support you need can't be met by a young mothers help to be honest, I think maybe you need a nanny or at least an au pair. Could your mum come and stay for a while, as I think you need some more support.

I hope you feel better soon.

RoxyFox211 Thu 11-Jul-13 07:37:12

I think the turning point may have been you snapping at her, tbf I can understand how that would be intimidating for a young girl. It's the sort of job where, as you are in someone else's personal space, you need to feel very comfortable. Understand how tough you're finding it though, sounds like a very difficult & lonely situation. No wonder you're feeling very sensitive & hurt. Have you tried going to baby groups and classes? Sometimes they can give support and advice which is invaluable and help to get you out the house. Can you afford nursery maybe one afternoon a week or something just to have some space?

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 11-Jul-13 07:38:39

I agree with others - you do sound awfully intense. This poor girl was helping you out 6 hours a week not running IBM and she was probably freaked by the seriousness of it all. A 'chat' for instance - I think I'd have listened to that and never returned too! It's all too much for a young person who has no idea of what being a mother is all about. I also agree that you really need to get out there and meet other mums and dads - is that at all possible?

tigerlilygrr Thu 11-Jul-13 07:39:24

For the next one you need to agree proper notice on both sides ... You can't cancel on her at short notice and then expect her not to do the same. If you set better boundaries you'll have a better experience next time.

It's a tough time for you though, I hope you feel better soon.

wellieboots Thu 11-Jul-13 07:44:16

Thanks. I don't think I will get someone else as I am (generally) feeling much better these days and while it is useful to have an extra pair of hands, DD is more settled and I get more time to do stuff around the house than I did, so it isn't essential.

It's interesting to get different views - I wondered if because she was young she thought it was OK to just leave a job by not turning up - I wouldn't expect to get away with that! But some views here seem to think that's OK, I guess this is the 21st century and she is young and maybe that's just the way things happen now...(OMG, I sound old, I'm only early 30s) smile

Agreed gobbolino that DD should go to bed when I say so and not someone else - I need to have more confidence, I know. Usually it's not a big deal but DD was all over the place that day and I just wasn't sure of myself.

bonsoir I can assure you that I do have people in my life, but I just needed an extra pair of hands, and she was paid to do that, and she disappeared. I was just asking if anyone thought that was odd. It is hard to adjust to being a new parent on the other side of the world with no support other than some friends who have their own kids and mostly work full time, and DH. So I chose to pay for some extra help. It isn't a crime.

eyes I do not have severe pnd and she was not a carer. I have explained in the OP what a "mother's help" is. Agreed that she felt it wasn't working out, I just thought that maybe she could have said that and given some notice and finished in a couple of weeks time or something. Not sure what you mean about the situation deteriorating further? We worked really well together up until last week. I entirely agree that DH talking to her was probably a mistake, I think she's thought from that that the reason I snapped at her was connected to the previous week and that I was angry with her which wasn't the case. DH was trying to help because I was shattered and we felt it was important to have the conversation and get everyone on the same page and then move on, rather than leaving it to the next day. But on reflection I think that was probably the wrong call. And as for not responding to her text, she has been slow to respond to mine too and the only one I haven't responded to the same day was the final one about accepting my apology but changing career. So I hardly think she has the right to be offended by me not jumping on her texts when she took 3 days to respond to me.

It's interesting to hear the comments about emotional dependence as I really wouldn't have said that was the case. Maybe I'm wrong there. She basically did housework and played with DD and yes, we did talk about stuff that was going on in our lives if we were working together on big jobs in the house while DD was sleeping. I guess I've never been in this situation before and didn't know what was normal. She chatted about family problems and stuff, I occasionally shared my frustration about the ILs situation but other than making her aware that I had been diagnosed with pnd (which I felt was only fair) I have not had big deep conversations with her about it or anything. I thought the dependence was more practical in the sense that there were sheets in the washing machine waiting for her which I then couldn't put out on the line when she didn't turn up, so a bit of a hassle but not exactly a big deal.

I posted mostly to find out if it was normal for young people to just ditch a job with no notice and text and refuse to talk about it, and it seems that it is! So that answers my main question - thanks mn

CloudsAndTrees Thu 11-Jul-13 07:49:48

Perhaps there were other things that made her not entirely happy with the job, and this was the last straw for her, especially when she was thinking about going in a different direction anyway.

The fact that so much communication was done by text probably doesn't help, because it's easy for misunderstandings to occur.

It might be worth speaking to your GP if you feel really ill from not having breakfast.

I agree you have probably invested too much emotionally in someone who you are paying to be around for just six hours a week.

Eyesunderarock Thu 11-Jul-13 07:49:50

'Is being a mother's help a career, or is it more like being an au pair?'

Please check the spelling I used. I did not say or imply that she was your carer but that you expected far too much from someone for the job.
It wasn't a CAREER it was a part-time job with a difficult woman.

shewhowines Thu 11-Jul-13 07:52:31

I think under normal circumstances, it would be very rude to leave with no notice. I think that in this case, you were hurt, she was hurt. It was a casual 6 hours - not a proper job. I think it is more understandable that she didn't want a big chat, when she had already made up her mind to leave. She thinks that she already tried, by sending you the text. She sees you as the rude one. As I said misunderstandings on both sides. Move on and don't worry about it.

ExcuseTypos Thu 11-Jul-13 07:53:01

Yes I think it is quite normal for a 20 year old to walk out of a job they are unhappy in. My DDs are 19 and 22. Both have friends who have walked out if they have felt they can't work there anymore.

I ready think you need to talk it all is over with your counsellor. You sound very upset about this and it would be good to talk about it with a professional smile

ExcuseTypos Thu 11-Jul-13 07:54:45

I would add that your mothers help did try to text you, so she was trying to have a conversation about the situation. It was just bad luck that it didn't come through. If it had you may have both been able ot sort it out.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:55:05

Someone that age is quite likely to ditch a part time job with no discussion. She wasn't up to telling you that you were too intense and investing too much emotionally in her. It was an easy, very part time job for her - it was much more for you. She found it wasn't easy- she left.

Eyesunderarock Thu 11-Jul-13 07:59:09

You snapped at her, then withdrew, called your husband home to deal and went to bed. fair enough if that's what you needed to do to cope.

'after today I can't work with you any more, I have never been anything other than supportive, compassionate and understanding, how could you possibly think I could question your parenting, I have done so much for you, I bought Abigail a present, I bought you flowers. You have no right to speak to me like that. I am sorry I let you down last week. '

Seems very clear to me.

orangepudding Thu 11-Jul-13 08:03:06

I'm mid thirties and if someone snapped at me in a job like that I would also quit. She was only doing 6 hours per week, when you snapped it probably really upset her and she probably felt that it would just be too awkward to come back.
I understand you feel upset but would have done the same as her.

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