...To be fed up with people saying 'you're doing brilliantly/a great job/amazingly well' etc...(43 Posts)
This is going to initially sound massively ungrateful, I'm not being, I promise, people mean well, I get that, but I find it weirdly unsupportive when people tell me this about my parenting.
Some may see what I mean, some may KNOW what I mean, and some may just rollock me for being ungrateful. That's fair enough.
I guess I just wish someone would just for once, for once, ask me how I'm doing, instead of just telling me how I'm doing.
Ironically when you just tell a single mum: "Oh you're doing brilliantly!" that's not helpful. We're not doing brilliantly, we are barely surviving, we feel awful a lot of the time, we're not having any support, we're lonely and you've no idea what my mothering is like when you're not around.
Yes I happen to have been blessed with a lovely child. That doesn't mean I'm doing brilliantly. I'm pouring my heart into her and I am but a husk as a result. And sometimes a rubbish mother.
And before you say it, I have lovely friends but for some reason, they still don't ask, not in that way.
When someone tells you "You're doing brilliantly" it sort of closes any conversational avenues into how much you're struggling or asking for help. They've told you you're doing well, all is wonderful, it's a fact, no problem, next topic please.
I would just love, - no, need - , just for once for someone to ask, "How are you actually getting on Kate? How are things really? Do you need anything?"
All of these well meaning platitudes are really not helpful, they make me feel awful and are just not true. I'm sinking and I need a cuddle.
Next time you feel yourself about to TELL a mother "You're doing brilliantly!!" Stop yourself and ask, sincerely, "Are you doing okay?"
Believe me it will make the world a better place.
YANBU to want someone to ask you rather than tell you
YABU to extrapolate and assume what other single parents (or other parents) might want / prefer
So Kate, how are you doing?
I saw a friend this evening, I think I made her cry because I asked her that and I said that it was ok to be crap...
yy to being a 'husk'. A husk on a never ending bloody treadmill of exhaustion and stress.
Well, it's good to cry and your friend probably needed it! Well done for being a good friend fatman, your mate will feel better for being listened to.
And yeh I'm feeling better after getting on my soap box, thanks! You?
Who would say you are doing brilliantly just cos someone is a single mum? How would they know?
It's not anyone else's responsibility to make you feel better about yourself
I'm a practice nurse and I always try and make a second to ask how the parents are doing, I don't have children so don't know how hard it is to parent, but it looks bloody hard! Hope you're ok x
I totally get what you mean. I don't hear this about my parenting (maybe people don't think I'm parenting brilliantly!) but about something else major in life I'm coping with at the moment.
Like you, I know people mean well, but it does shut down conversation and it's not as if I have much choice in what I'm having to do so it's not the compliment people seem to think it is.
Your post doesn't sound ungrateful. I totally hear you. I'm sorry life is tough for you at the moment. I think so often in this culture there is a real fear around saying anything that might illicit a response that's not entirely positive. Your post made me think.
You have the wrong friends.
I have shoulders to cry on. If you don't then you need to reevaluate your friendships I think.
YANBU, but most people will look at your happy, healthy children and conclude that, as they appear to have all they need, you are doing a fantastic job.
The fact that you are doing a pretty good impression of a swan (gliding serenely on the surface, paddling like fuck underneath where no-one can see) doesn't register.
Well I happen to think it is everyone's responsibility to look after, and out for, each other. That's how society was founded, and the reason why human beings survived.
I'm not asking for someone to make me 'feel better about myself', just saying it's depressing that society seems so broken now that no one asks or is massively supportive to mums. I wish I hadn't said 'single' now as all mums struggle to varying degrees. I just happen to be a single mum so I don't have a partner to see that I'm not doing well. Hence needing someone else to ask.
You can be fed up with it if you like. It doesn't make you any more or less unreasonable than those of us that appreciate being told that we are doing a good job when we feel like we are failing.
However it probably makes you unhappier than us. But it's your prerogative so crack on.
YANBU. I'm not a single mum but I really relate to everything in your OP. YADDDDDNBU.
I told a friend recently, who is a single mum, how amazing she is. She told me that she spends a lot of time crying when she's alone. If they're close friends, then it's fine to say "actually, I'm struggling".
I always offer help to my friend when I can, but we live quite far apart, so it's not as easy as I'd like it to be.
I'm sorry that you're feeling like this. There is no harm in asking for help. Maybe your friends see a really together person, who copes so we'll that she doesn't need help. I'm sure people would help if they knew...maybe they're struggling too..
Wow! Thank you I totally agree OP, you have verbalised what I've been feeling. People always say this to me; the reality for me is it feels overwhelming sometimes and very lonely not having anyone to make important decisions with or share the good and bad times of being a parent.
Your friends should ask, as I ask my friends. But I do know what you mean. I apparently have an air of confidence and when Ive told friends I'm struggling, they deny it and say I'm doing great. Even if I said I sat in my car crying, they would say But you're fine now! you're obviously fine. This was frustrating.
I think sometimes people don't ask with a willingness to hear a truthful answer because they worry that they won't be able to help. Or that they'll be asked to help in a way they aren't comfortable with. Also with parenting, it's something that most people do and just have to get on with, so they can't go around being properly supportive to every parent who feels like they're struggling a bit or they'd never get anything else done.
Single mum here too and I get you EXACTLY too. In every sense. It shuts down conversation and I find it quite a patronising assumption (I don't go around to other mothers telling them how brilliantly they are doing). And when you're feeling exhausted and hopeless.. This doesn't help at all.
I do get that people find it difficult to offer support. Again I think it's a shame that society has become like this. Even though I'm struggling I still try to support people as I just think it's an essential part of being human. Just seems some people have lost that along the way and I find it really sad. People may not be able to help physically but even just allowing someone to talk about what's going on is a big help.
I have a lot of mum friends and often ask how they are actually doing and BOY does it open the flood gates.
If someone doesn't want to talk, they can just say 'fine thank you!' And change the subject. No one is forcing them.
I do honestly have really lovely friends, that's almost the point, they are so lovely that they just think it's a nice thing to tell me I'm doing so well all the time and it wouldn't occur to them that I'm sometimes rubbish at this mothering malarkey.
I know I should be more brave and speak out a bit more but being a mum has done something to me. Stripped me of my confidence and made me feel like I'm not allowed to 'complain' and should be grateful for my lot and just get on with it.
Thank god for mumsnet where you can say how you really feel ey?!
i can sympathise with that (am struggling LP also!)...but even if they don't ask you have every right to tell them how hard it is, have a good moan or just offload a bit. You don't need to be prompted to say "it's been a hard day / week / month etc" and explain why. You can just also say that you don't mean to go on and on about it, that it's just good to let it out sometimes! They will understand, especially if they are your friends.
Also don't be afraid to ask for help, although I also know how hard that is too. It also feels like no-one will really help and that you are burdening them but there might be little things they can do, especially if you have let them know things are difficult.
How old are your kid/s? If currently just very young hang in there as it does get easier! If older then I have little experience beyond the age of 2.5 (which is miles easier than a baby), but hope it does get easier for you.
I was in a supermarket once, there was a lady with a baby in a trolley and it was screaming the roof off, she was trying to get on with her shopping. All of a sudden an older woman came storming past me and muttered loudly at me 'she is just letting that child scream!' clearly meant for the mum's ears, I replied 'yes! Sometimes it's the best way!' And I carried on up the aisle, meaning to say something to the mum but in the end I didn't know what to say so said nothing, as I passed the Mum she muttered something, I thought to her children but it wasn't until after I passed her that I realised she had just said 'thank you'.
I had carried on not realising she had spoken to me and by the time I realised, I was too embarrassed to go back to her. I really wish I had just stopped, gave her a smile and said 'you're doing a great job.' Because she was and I really wish I had offered her that back up because I suspect the old biddy had said something before I got there.
People can get it wrong, I didn't realise the Mum had thanked me but also I didn't know what, if anything, to say to her.
Sometimes people get it wrong but they don't intend to be unkind, they just don't know what to say or, in my case, if they should say anything.
This is what platitudes are for.
Btw, I doubt you are rubbish at this motherhood malarkey so why would anyone say otherwise?
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