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Dc the sole focus of your life

(12 Posts)
Barnum Sat 23-Apr-16 17:57:35

We have 5 dc aged 28, 22,16,13 & 10, all boys except youngest. They all live with us except the eldest. I work with someone who has 2 ds both at uni - 22 & 20 I think. These boys are the sole focus of her (and to a great extent, her dh) life. Everything revolves around them, she is beyond happy when she sees them (I mean deliriously happy) and if they are doing anything out of the ordinary eg going on holiday etc that is all her conversation focuses on. My issue is not with her, it is with me. I don't feel the same about my own dc and can't help wondering if IBU, or not behaving in a typical 'motherly fashion'? I just can't seem to summon up the same depth of feeling that my friend does about her boys. I don't know why. DH thinks I'm just very unfeeling - he could be right, and yet I love them, do all I can to help/support them. However I do feel that I'm not important to them, not in a real sense. And I don't feel they'd miss me if I was not around sad They don't remember things like birthdays or get me Christmas presents - at least nothing very much ( 3 of them are now working). I once had the DVD Salmon fishing in the Yemen for a birthday present which apparently they had fished out of Tesco's bargain tub with their father (this is not long ago so not just little kids choosing randomly) - it still remains in the wrapper today......most of the time I don't get anything, a card if dh reminds them maybe.
I feel like a broken record in their lives tbh - saying the same things over again, giving advice they'll never follow (but would help them out a lot), trying to help them with school work etc. I do care about them but at the same time feel 'let down' by the whole process of motherhood. When I hear other friends talking about what their kids do for them, gifts they've received, help around the house, what their dcs have achieved at school/uni etc I feel totally at a loss to know what to say. They are not bad kids, but just don't seem to acknowledge my presence in their lives. Should I be as focussed on them as my friend is on her dc? What is wrong with me??
I'd just like to know if anyone else feels the same/similar, or if I'm just a bad mother.....confusedsad

Dragongirl10 Sat 23-Apr-16 18:10:13

It sounds like they need to be tought to appreciate you!

This does not come naturally, particularly to boys...when they were little did you DH encourage them to make you birthday ,xmas cards mothers day cards?

I insist my dcs 9and 8 make cards for Grandparents, Dh, and make my Dh ensure they do something for my birthday ie flowers picked from the garden , a toy wrapped etc, drawn card. I also make sure they hand write thank you cards for every gift received to teach the importance of showing your appreciation. We also discuss how important certain (boring for them) things are, like no TV when grandparents arrive, etc. For me its just good manners they have to learn.

Your Dh should make much more effort to insist, they sometimes spoil you! You deserve it. Perhaps you do too much for them ? Do they help you with chores, cooking etc.

antimatter Sat 23-Apr-16 18:14:46

I don't know what other parents love for their kids is like, whether is deeper than mine or not.

You yourself summarise it in one sentence: " I just can't seem to summon up the same depth of feeling that my friend does about her boys."

I can say I admire people who parent more kids than I have. I have girl and a boy who are teenager. It took a lot of my energy to be their mother. I wasn't always best mother I should have been and my ex als owasn't fothcoming with great gifts but he started the "toast for mother's day" tradition and hand made cards for me from them. Both I still expect, even thought they are teenagers they still make me hand made cards and now we joke about it but they like being our little thing.

Was anything like that happening when they were smaller?

Sleepybunny Sat 23-Apr-16 18:15:26

Maybe over enthusiastic mum's kids think she interfering and annoying?

Don't think you can win!

What's your own relationship like with your parents? Mine are generally loving, but quite shit at showing it. I don't have a particularly close relationship with them. My mum sings my praises a lot, and her description of our relationship might sound quite different to mine.

corythatwas Sat 23-Apr-16 18:32:55

it may indeed be that her children perceive enthusiastic mum as overbearing

or it may be that what she tells you is enhanced in the telling

or it may be that they treat her in the same casual way as yours do you but that she doesn't get upset about it because for some reason she feels more secure in their relationship
(we have a bit of a running joke about how ds has to be bullied into buying me something for Mother's day and never quite seems to know what it was he got for my birthday)

none of that really helps you

it is difficult to insist on more appreciation without getting upset and emotional: agree with PP that the right person to do this is your dh: birthday cards and small gifts are basic manners and someone should be making this clear

otoh there is one sense in which your depth of feeling should not be dependent on what you mean to them - do your worries of not being appreciated get in the way of showing your appreciation of them? what was it like when they were little?

Barnum Sat 23-Apr-16 18:41:46

Dragongirl10 - I think you have a point here - dc do need to be taught to appreciate people. Dh has perhaps been somewhat lax about this - he's not great at the making cards sort of thing and will do chores himself (ggrrrrr) rather than make them help out. Sometimes i feel like I'm a single parent as he leaves all the 'tough' stuff to me which I have found very difficult esp since they're boys! We have talked about this but he doesn't change.....I have pointed out that friends husbands take a hand with discipline/getting chores etc done but he just doesn't seem to get it. i find this all the more ironic given that his dad was a long distance lorry driver & was away all week so dh & his brother used to do a lot of house hold chores for their mum. Maybe it's a throwback to that???
Re my own parents/childhood yes, my parents were pretty crap at showing how much they loved me - never praised us up in public etc - although I know I was loved v much by them both....However, I have always made an effort not to be like that with my own dcs for that very reason.
I think I feel like I've been a mum all my adult life (started young at 19) and now I would like to see the 'fruits of my labours' I suppose. Does that sound wrong? Top expect 'something back' from your dcs?

corythatwas Sat 23-Apr-16 18:47:09

It may help you if you could think of it not as "expecting something back" (there are problems with that attitude) but as needing to feel that you and your dh have equipped dc with the skills they need to get on in life. And in that sense I think it perfectly ok to prod gently.

As for the actual presents, it does depend on the family: I would find a Tesco's DVD a normal Christmas present and not at all inadequate, but that does depend on e,g, what they give other people, what they get etc.

corythatwas Sat 23-Apr-16 18:48:57

I do think you should acknowledge, though, that some parts of your parenting- e.g. becoming a mum very young, was your decision and not something they had asked for, so it is not right to ask for extra consideration on that score. Ask for a normal amount of consideration and encourage your dh to prod them behind the scenes.

Barnum Sat 23-Apr-16 19:15:52

I'd love a dvd if it was something I actually wanted/was interested in and I'd have thought that with dh's guidance they could've come up with something better than what they did! Most of the time I simply get an "I haven't got any money" or "I did't know it was your birthday" . Someone once said to me that I should try that line when it's their birthday but I've never wanted to be that unkind.
In terms of expecting something back - I was meaning something along the lines of 'this is my mum and I think it's time I showed a bit of appreciation - eg listened to her, offered to help sometimes' etc. I'm not wanting to be showered with gifts or constantly asked for my opinion, as I have tried to raise independent young people, neither have I ever voiced that " you don't realise what I have missed out on having you" etc thought to them, not ever. But sometimes I would like to know they cared, or even thought about me in a way that wasn't connected to food, PE kits or money...

sonjadog Sat 23-Apr-16 19:24:30

How do you think your friend is going to react when her boys get older, get married and have their own children? She sounds like an MiL thread in the making. She doesn't sound like she is an great postion to me.

corythatwas Sat 23-Apr-16 19:46:44

Your expectations sound perfectly reasonable: "I didn't know it was your birthday" is a crap excuse for someone who has known you for the last .... what is it... 20 years? If that was the truth, at least they should grovel and pretend they had got the date wrong or whatever. Basic manners should take in mothers too. Get your dh on the case.

Dragongirl10 Sat 23-Apr-16 23:04:28

Op, Your Dh will not change now, but you could change the dynamic by setting out a schedule of chores and who is responsible and being utterly adamant it is adhered too.....lets face it if you are not doing everything then you will have more time to chase them!

Once your Dcs know how it feels to help out they will apreciate you more....my elderly mum whos 81, gave a firm lecture to my 8yo when he said that his pocket money was for him and how would he get me a gift for my birthday...she said it was his responsibility to either use a bit of his pocket money when out with Dh, or make something himself, and how would he feel if no one bothered for his birthday!!

First my response was 'l don't need anything' but she said it was the principal that mattered. He is now getting excited about Dhs birthday and planning what he is going to get...

It sounds like you are worn out emotionally from raising 5 kids...l cannot imagine how hard that is, l feel tired just thinking about it! but maybe it is time to be a little more selfish, they are definately old enough to do lots of the household chores, and why are the oldest three asking for money?...they should have weekend jobs if studying or be working.

It is not about being unloving but the exact opposite, they need to be prepared for living independantly, and how to treat a girlfriend! I would say tell your DH its time he started teaching his sons how to treat the women in their lives well or they will be alone...they can start with you...or if he really won't step up, then you can sit them down and say how selfish their behavior is and you expect at least a card or you will 'forget ' their birthdays too...oh and maybe Christmas could pass you by...
stick by your threat and things will soon change.

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