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To be fed up of my mother ...

(59 Posts)
MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 17:26:56

Single parent here. One child has additional needs. My mother does help if the children are unwell etc/if its an emergency. However, whenever I need help she nearly always reminds me how of old she is, how tired she gets, how hard it is, how no-one else her age would be looking after children etc. So I try not to ask her unless I absolutely have to. I totally appreciate looking after children gets harder as you get older, but does she need to tell me every single time - it gets wearing. I have tried to get her to commit once a week but she says she doesn't like committing so its very ad hoc and as I have said I try not to ask at all. So today, she helped by taking one child somewhere as another one sick. She phones to say that she will give the child lunch. No problem but no mention that she will have child in the afternoon as well. It gets later and later so I phone up to see what's happening. Yes, I should have phoned before to find out. Anyways, she brings child back later on but because I was a little sharp with one child (only so much screeching I can take), starts to have a go at me. She comes out with "I have had child for whole day so why aren't you more organised/more on the ball/more upbeat/more patient" spiel. If I had known she was having other child for whole day, I would have got on but as far as I knew it was just to take him somewhere/bring him back so didn't know I had a clear few hours. Also, I have spent whole day in tears due to being so burnt out. Its hard having child with additional needs even though he is so funny. But the minute I even try to say this she has yet another go. Her usual style is to then tell me how much is going on in her life. I am sure I will be shot down in flames here but I am at breaking point. I have no other support which complicates things. I haven't had a child free break - I mean even one morning off (except when working) for about a year. So I am sure that the associated exhaustion/burnt out feeling is clouding my judgement. Please please don't be harsh or shoot me down in flames. I really am at breaking point. Just some calm and objective comments would be great.

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 17:27:59

Oops - sorry - that was long! Didn't realise and it might not make sense. I am sleep deprived!!!

wobblywonderwoman Sat 26-Nov-16 17:30:22

My mother is similar so I don't ask - that said I am not on my own. She begrudges helping you.

Can you pay for help?

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sat 26-Nov-16 17:35:37

I'd just stop asking if I were you and use a babysitter.

Not everyone enjoys children, even their own grandchildren! I am not a big child fan, and though I love my own I struggle with nephews and nieces, for example.

bigredfireengine Sat 26-Nov-16 17:38:22

Can their father help at all?

There is no obligation on your mum to help , I know that you think that she doesn't do much but she isn't their parent.

That said she shouldn't criticise you or your parenting. You need to tell her how you feel.

littlesallyracket Sat 26-Nov-16 17:40:45

I fully appreciate that it's hard to be a single parent and that there are times when you will need help - but equally, the decision for you to have children was yours, not your mum's, and I'm not sure why she should have to provide childcare for you if she doesn't feel up to it. I certainly don't think she is being at all unreasonable in not wanting to commit to having them on a particular day every single week - she has a life of her own, after all.

It's clear you're absolutely exhausted and under a lot of stress (totally understandably) and I think perhaps your mum is bearing the brunt of that. I don't think your mum is really the problem here; I think you are, as you say, burnt out and projecting all that on to your relationship with your mum. I don't lack sympathy for you at all, but I don't think any of this is really your mum's fault (or anyone's fault at all).

Is there anywhere else your kids could go to give you a break now and again? Friends' houses, kids' clubs, playgroups? If your son has additional needs, is there a group for kids/parents in similar situations where you could get some help or talk to someone?

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 17:41:10

She does enjoy the children. Hard to explain how she is I guess. Often seems quick to judge me as I am not so perfectly patient as she thinks I should be!

I would love to use a babysitter. Difficulty is finding one that can manage my children - there are issues which complicate things. Did find lovely young person in summer but she couldn't manage both together.

Also its really costly!

NavyandWhite Sat 26-Nov-16 17:41:46

Sounds tough OP, I understand how draining it is having no support. How old is your mum?

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 17:44:00

My mum is mid 70s. I do know other grandparents who do childcare even at same age. But maybe I am being unreasonable to think its her rather than purely her age.

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 17:45:56

Sounds like you are having a really difficult time of it, but I think you may be being harsh on some of your mum's behaviour. If your children are too much for a babysitter then it shouldn't be too difficult to understand that your mum might struggle with them, and they are not her children at the end of the day. She isn't obliged to take them regularly, or at all. Obviously her tactlessness is another issue!

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 17:46:46

And she's in her mid 70s, OP. There may be other grandparents who do childcare but she is well past retirement age and you can't expect it.

Graphista Sat 26-Nov-16 17:46:54

Ask for help. If they're school age ask school for advice/recommendations if younger health visitor and possibly social services and as another pp said find an organisation related to the additional needs for support/empathy/advice.

Friends of mine have children with additional needs and they've found support groups (both real life and online) very helpful. Especially when it comes to venting/being understood.

NavyandWhite Sat 26-Nov-16 17:47:15

Mid seventies is pretty elderly. Is her health good? Although even if it is she may get tired quickly.

Iloveswears Sat 26-Nov-16 17:47:41

It sounds like you need other support. Whether or not your mum is being unreasonable is neither here nor there. If you're at breaking point, you need some respite. It doesn't sound like she is willing or able to help you in the way you need,so that needs to come from elsewhere.
As a previous poster said, are there support groups for families with your dc additional needs? Do you have any friends at all that you can level with and ask if you can do babysitting swaps?
I know it's hard, and it's not as easy as paying for childcare if you don't have the money, but you need to find some way to get some childfree time or you're going to go loopy.

Graphista Sat 26-Nov-16 17:48:53

Mid 70's is fairly elderly and she is likely to struggle at least physically. My mother is late 60's and I wouldn't expect her to cope with a regular childcare arrangement.

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 17:49:00

Its not about the childcare. That got lost in translation. I do NOT expect her to do childcare at all. Before I had children I was clear with her, this was not something I expected. Its her attitude all the time. In 4 years we haven't been asked to hers for dinner. To me that's a bit strange. And, yes being asked to dinner isn't a right. Its just very upsetting. She does however expect me to support her with her emotional stuff!

NavyandWhite Sat 26-Nov-16 17:50:41

But you said you tried to get her to commit to once a week. What was that for?

Graphista Sat 26-Nov-16 17:51:40

The emotional side - her expecting your support but not reciprocating, is that new or how she's always been?

Trifleorbust Sat 26-Nov-16 17:52:05

Maybe to her it feels like you expect it, especially if you are asking her to commit to a regular time? I'm sure you don't mean it to come across like that but maybe that is why she is pushing back about it.

Wishforsnow Sat 26-Nov-16 17:54:54

My mum would be shocked to hear mid seventies is considered elderly! I guess it depends on the person and how active they are. Your mum sounds hard work. Did she get no help bringing you up?

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 18:00:55

She always has to tell me how her Mum didn't live locally etc etc etc. But her Mum used to come and stay for weeks at a time, cook, hoover, iron etc!!!

I really don't expect child care. The commitment was because I thought it would work better for everyone. Would completely reduce the ad hoc stuff. But not because she has to.

The main reason for asking was not for me to have time. It was because the eldest is suffering not having any time with me. I was meaning an hour with the littlest so the eldest - and I did say to her - what about once a month as I knew once a week might be too much. So I was most defintely not expecting her to have both children together.

And, please don't think I expect it. Our life is very complicated. I was trying to think what I could do to help the children. The eldest desperately needs some time with me.

Blossomdeary Sat 26-Nov-16 18:01:30

Are you sure this is your Mum!!?? She does not sound very supportive. Not because she finds it physically hard at her age to look after young children, but because she is so critical of you.

Looking after little ones when you are older is undoubtedly a challenge, as we know only too well. But our children are very respectful of our limitations as regards child care. We do have a regular arrangement and it works well for all of us, as there is respect on both sides, and the expectations are very clear.

But in your case, asking for help seems to trigger criticisms of your abilities and lifestyle and that is not acceptable. You would be better off not using her for childcare, especially if your children hear her grumbles or you suspect that you are criticised behind your back.

We have an arrangement with our DC that usually we only look after one at a time and that works well.

Please do talk to HV about sources of support. Some areas still have a Home Start scheme on the go.

Underthemoonlight Sat 26-Nov-16 18:03:23

My Mam is 67 she really struggles to look after my DC tbh she has done really since she was 59 when DS was first born I don't ask her unless they are in bed but it's rare.I think she's telling you because your expecting her to commit once a week and due to her age she isn't fit enough to do it all the time, once a week is quite a lot to some people. You highlighted a babysitter struggled recently so imagine your Mam and her age struggling more so.

I do think you need to try and access some support groups maybe arrange contact with your DC father to give you a break?

MariamaMay Sat 26-Nov-16 18:03:51

It's clear you're absolutely exhausted and under a lot of stress (totally understandably) and I think perhaps your mum is bearing the brunt of that. I don't think your mum is really the problem here; I think you are, as you say, burnt out and projecting all that on to your relationship with your mum. I don't lack sympathy for you at all, but I don't think any of this is really your mum's fault (or anyone's fault at all).

No my Mum does NOT bear the brunt of it. I am at breaking point but I never tell her anything any more. I manage two very complicated children by myself. Totally by myself. And, I only ever ask her if its an emergency. Like when one of the children had to go to A and E. Or today, a vital thing one had to go to. I spend my life thinking of how NOT to ask her to help.

No its not her problem.

Underthemoonlight Sat 26-Nov-16 18:08:25

Your getting very defensive here op she is being honest with you,she can't cope with them due to her age on a regular basis. My DM is the same unfortunately I accept that because I love her and I recognise her limitations. I do think you need to maybe look at some support groups rest bite facilities via social services. Arranging contact with their DF.

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