AIBU to be frustrated with friends constant advice OR am I subconsciously just bitter *back story*(39 Posts)
Warning - long post!
I'm a relatively new mum... I have a 2 year old DD who, while being the light of my life has never been a good sleeper which means she's a gremlin anytime sleeps involved..
She goes to bed around 630ish because she simply can't stay awake any longer as she will NOT nap during the day... (Yes I've tried it all) I'm losing my marbles.
My friend, former best friend (have fallen distant since DD was born) constantly offers me advice on anything to do with DD. Very blatantly obvious advice. Have you tried putting her to bed later, have you tried day time naps, Yada Yada... I'm a single first time mum so I'm far from knowing it all but I'm not completely without some knowledge of what my girl needs. My friend isn't a mother, and yet still comments on how 'easy it must be to stay home all day'....
Quick back story before I open up to being told I'm being a sook! On the day I told her I was pregnant, she burst into tears (of what I thought were happiness - wrong) and her first words were "I want to be happy for you but this is just devastating for me"... She'd divorced 2 years prior and has always wanted kids so I guess the idea that I was having a baby was upsetting to her... And I get that but I'll never get over those words.
So here's the question. AIBU because I'm a bitter cow who can't forget? Or is it generally just frustrating to be offered advice from someone repeatedly who hasn't been through what you are going through on a daily basis???
It's not advice if you aren't asking her for it!
What about replying with things like
im happy with my choice
im not looking for opinions on that
People who constantly offer their unsolicited opinion are really annoying.
You need some boundaries from her love, you sound resentful and bitter, and no doubt you are, as you have allowed her to emotionally trample on your pregnancy and now you are continuing to let her trample on your precious time with you baby. As you said, you know your baby best. I think your friend has her own issues and she is taking it out on you. Stand up for yourself and back off further or tell her to back off.
This is a tricky one - there are two things at play:
1) Her offering shitty obvious advice.
If she's trying to be helpful, you're being a teeny weeny bit unreasonable. When there IS no solution, any solution she offers will be a shitty one. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say she's really trying to support you (albeit a bit cackhandedly).
2) Her crying when you told her you were pregnant.
This is weird. I can not foresee a situation where I, or any of my friends would allow our disappointment in our own situation to impede our ability to be pleased for someone else's happiness. That does point at an 'all-about-me' attitude and I can see how that'd be hard to forgive.
Maybe put a bit of space between you, she's not making your life better at the moment (which sounds selfish, but as an exhausted mother, you need to conserve your energy for things that are worth it).
No, YANBU. She's no friend. I have no kids (by choice) and wouldn't dream of telling a SAHM they "have it easy" or repeatedly offer advice. Looking at friends and family, having a child is NOT a walk in the park.
I may suggest something I've read about or heard from someone else if it's relevant, and leave it at that. You know, in a "have you heard of this, I read/heard about that here, you may find it interesting/helpful".
"I want to be happy for you but this is just devastating for me"
She seems to make things about her. Of course it would be hard to see others pregnant if you struggle to get pregnant yourself, but that comment is shockingly selfish. A true friend would never say that.
Bit of both really
Being given advice that you don't need or want is annoying.
(Fwiw my 1 year and 3 year old go to bed at 6)
However yabu to hold what she said about being devastated against her.
She is offering advice to try to help not because she wants to be a mum to your baby.
Yanbu. She sounds bitter and condescending. Not much of a friend. I'd distance myself a bit and not bring DD up when you do talk.
"I guess the idea that I was having a baby was upsetting for her" - doesn't sound like you're all that empathetic to be honest. Think back to what it was like when you were pregnant, did you keep her in the loop a lot, talk about being pregnant and then send her photos of the baby and talk about being a mum and your baby etc? Because if you did all of those things whilst knowing that she's desperate to have a baby, then her condescending/staying at home must be eat/are you a moron type comments would make sense. Good old passive aggression.
I think I would try to forgive and forget her initial reaction to your pregnancy. It's an emotional roller coaster if you want kids and can't have them for whatever reason.
On the unwanted advice - is she just trying to be helpful, supportive and be part of things? I had no idea how hard and time consuming parenting until I became a parent and I'm sure I gave my friends some ridiculous suggestions. If you want her to understand how hard things are then explain it and show her by involving her more. If you don't then either don't talk to her about parenting problems or expect to hear more niave suggestions.
I really feel for you OP and I would also advise distancing yourself. I have a friend who doesn't have kids yet. She often asks me to help her out on my "days off" (we have a time consuming hobby in common). I have to say no sometimes or ask her to remind me lots because I'm flat out. Usually she hands me gems such as, "you need to organise your time better and prioritise."
DH recently went away for work and when he got back I was so exhausted I got quite unwell and it yet again shows me how incredible single parents are and I hope your DD is more settled as she gets older
I have to first reply to icy121 because you've completely misunderstood what I was saying - my mistake if I've worded it incorrectly.
What I was implying was that I understood that she would feel this way... I've felt similar before after miscarrying a child very far along & know what it's like to want something so badly that it hurts to see those close to you have it, before you get to experience it yourself. I tried to keep her in the loop as much as I could without upsetting her, I didn't want her to be upset by it and she would tell me when she was... Even so much as to tell me she didn't want to hear about it. I'm actually very empathetic to her situation, I just feel the way she handled things is what affected our friendship...
But thank you for your very snarky reply
To everyone else, I assume you are right. I'm sure I'm just overreacting based on passed events and the fact the she seems to think motherhood is a breeze.
I acknowledge that a lot of comments/advice come from a great place, it's just that I seem to get a few snarley ones especially when her sleep interferes with plans we might have had etc...
Thanks for your advice! I will try to just listen & realise it's coming from a place of help!
Just tell her u will get advice from MN from now and and won't need her assistance again?!
Not being able to have kids when you really want them is agony and while her response was a bit "Me, me, me" it may be that she just lost control of her emotions at that time so if I were you, I would try to be a little bit more forgiving.
The unsolicited advice on the other hand sounds very annoying. I would probably say, "Look, I know you're trying to help but I have literally tried EVERYTHING! The situation is what it is" and just leave it at that. And if she comments on how easy it is to be a SAHM, say "You would think that but it's actually all-consuming"
If she persists after that I would keep her at arms length.
Thank you Puppymouse
It's so much harder than I ever expected. To be honest, I think I had the same attitude pre baby... SAHMs have it made!!! But then it happens and yeah.... Reality sets in lol
I work too and those days feel like a day off!
But wouldn't change it for the world!
I only hope my friend is next in line!
She probably thinks she's being very helpful and (like others looking on, even parents themselves!) think if only they were in charge, they would deal with that toddler tantrum so much better, etc... Also from the reaction to your pregnancy, she is likely desperate for a DC herself. It's disappointing, but you are the one with the thing she wants so maybe try to overlook that.
BTW all my 3 DCs went to bed at 6.30pm at that age. If she doesn't want to nap, she doesn't want to nap! Can't make them (unfortunately, if you are looking forward to a break )
The reaction to your pregnancy, she i
Oh and no, you're not a bitter cow who can't forget re the reaction to your pregnancy. I remember some hurtful comments over a few things when I was pregnant. I don't dwell on them but I can't actually forget them.
Someone recently posted a very funny extract from a mum blogger with a non sleeper, maybe someone can link it for you. Try to accept her advice as well meant if useless. My mil used to ask me why my ds had tantrums and look as if I must surely know but simply hadn't bothered to figure it out .
Try to get over her initial response to your pregnancy unless this is one example of many mememe situations in which case you might be better making new friends. Having a 2 year old is a fab way of making new friends. .
TBH I'd be annoyed if my plans to do things with a friend kept being derailed by her DD's bad sleeping habits
I've forgiven, if that even makes sense... There's not really anything to forgive...
And it doesn't play on my mind daily. It's just an occasional niggle
Thank you for your advice everyone - I will do my best to zap it out of my system!
For the record though for the few that have said I'm insensitive etc, I just want to reiterate that I'm completely empathetic to her situation. I couldn't imagine wanting babies only to have your best mate who never even planned on them to fall pregnant unplanned... I was scared lifeless to tell her... I just wished it could have been worded differently but I get it now as someone posted, she would have been breaking down at that point... Her choice of words was probably the last thing on her mind!
Olennaswimple i do understand that but I'm a single mum with not a lot in the way of help... Childcare @ night, doesn't really happen & I'm not trusting of baby sitters with a 2 year old... Surely she should understand this is just life right?
"Just life" is when you cancel your plans because your child is sick, not because she won't settle to sleep (again)
She can empathize with you that you have it tough whilst also being annoyed at her plans being messed around, and it must be really hard not to comment if this is a recurring issue
You could excuse it once or twice with extreme tiredness but not nearly every time.
Life goes on.
It can be difficult keeping a high maintenance friendship going once one of you has a child - there has to be some flexibility or the friendship goes out with window IME. Having a young child plus being a single mum is shattering and all-consuming, no two ways about it.
IMO the pregnancy comment was selfish but an outburst can be forgiven in a good friendship. The unhelpful shitty stating-the-bloody-obvious advice is apparently part of being a mother, I've found. It sucks, doesn't it! But I don't think it's passive aggressive, just a bit inexperienced and silly.
I've felt similar before after miscarrying a child very far along & know what it's like to want something so badly that it hurts to see those close to you have it, before you get to experience it yourself.
I couldn't imagine wanting babies only to have your best mate who never even planned on them to fall pregnant unplanned
Sorry, I'm just a bit confused?
It sounds like the two of you need a bit of a break from each other. Having struggled unsuccessfully through 5 years of infertility, with many losses along the way, I can say from my own experience that I've cut ties with most of my friends who are mothers, as it is just too painful. I can't speak to them about my pain at not being a mother because it makes them feel uncomfortable (and often slightly aggressive / defensive); they also feel (as you do) that the focus should be on their happiness, their baby, their exhaustion from all the important struggles that parenthood brings.
That said, it's shitty of her to give unsolicited advice. But she probably finds it painful to hear about how difficult it is for you to be a mother when she will likely never be one. This may be her way of trying to say, 'if you can't handle hearing about what's difficult for me, I'm going to shut you down when you talk about what's difficult for you.' Not a nice thing to do, granted. But I'd imagine it comes from a place of great sadness, rather than a feeling you're not doing things right. You're not right for each other right now.
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