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I feel like a terrible mother

(19 Posts)
Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 21:49:06

DD1 (8 years old) had a massive crying breakdown this morning and didn't want to go to school. DH is a key worker and so she and her sister are both going as key worker children, whilst DS is in Reception, so he's eligible to go in anyway. We'd decided to send them in because it felt important that they had some semi-normality - I was dx with leukaemia at the start of lockdown and have been in and out of hospital for treatment, so it's difficult to manage things purely from a logistical point of view.

She said she is terrified of us all getting the virus and dying and her being left on her own. She is worried that I am going to die anyway. And she doesn't like me not being well. She just wants everything to go back to normal.

She also said at school they've been doing lots of circle time and talking about how they feel about the virus every day and sharing their "worry" thoughts. She says she doesn't like doing it because it just makes the worries bigger in her head. She just wants normal school.

DH (teacher) is not keen on all the "sharing" stuff because he thinks it encourages the younger kids to feel that they should be worried and scared. He wants to talk to the school. But I just feel terrible because I honestly thought I was doing okay at building a sort of "normality" for the kids and I felt they were happy, or at least coping. And now it turns out DD has been bottling all this up and I didn't even realise.

How can I be a better parent? 😕

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AppleKatie Fri 12-Jun-20 21:51:58

Be kind to yourself.

It sounds like you are being a brilliant kind and loving parent. It’s natural and normal for your DD to feel as she does.

Let DH talk to the school about laying off the group sharing (it does sound like its making your DD feel put on the spot and that’s not good).

Keep channels of communication open but as normal as possible for your DC.

Hippofrog Fri 12-Jun-20 21:52:36

The fact you are posting here about your daughter and her feelings, whilst you are going through such a massive thing yourself makes you an amazing parent already xflowers

Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 22:02:42

Thank you, it's really sweet of you to respond... I know everyone is going through a lot. flowers

I'm wary of approaching the school about the circle time thing, but she's clearly finding it a bit intense (she said, "why can't we just do our maths and reading and topic like normal?!") and I do wonder if other kids actually feel the same. I'm afraid that DH will go in like a bull in a china shop ("teacher to teacher") though! wink

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bridgetreilly Fri 12-Jun-20 22:05:19

You are not a terrible mother. None of this is your fault.

I definitely think that it would help a lot of children if school were more normal and I would have a quiet word with the teacher to suggest that 'circle time' could be dialled back a bit and maybe the children encouraged to talk about other things, not just their worries.

AHF1975 Fri 12-Jun-20 22:24:30

I think I remember your post at the start of lockdown when you were diagnosedthanks
Please don't give yourself a hard time. Everyone is doing the best they can and quite frankly winging it for a lot of the time. And for most of us, that's without the additional strain of an ongoing medical condition. I think it would be reasonable for your DH to go to school though. A similar thing happened here- my DD7 is going back to school on Monday and they'd sent home a PowerPoint for them to watch explaining how lots of things were going to be different. It's actually really upset her and I think it would have been better for her just to go in and get on with it. Maybe in relation to anxiety in children, the best approach is for school to make it clear that it's normal to feel worried and they can talk to their teachers, but not to keep asking as this might make them feel like they SHOULD be worried or cause them to keep revisiting their worries. I feel really sorry for all our kids at the moment, it's just such a horrible time for them. Hope your poor DD is okay

IdblowJonSnow Fri 12-Jun-20 22:32:33

You're already an amazing mum. Incredible in fact.
I think it's fine to speak to school. Just say what your DD said, you're not telling them what to do, just how shes feeling. I think they should know.
I hope your treatment is going well. flowers

Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 22:36:08

Thank you! I don't know if I'm being over sensitive about the circle time so it is helpful to see other perspectives. DH says at his school they said at the outset that the kids can come and talk if they have scary feelings, but they're not kind of pushing the idea that they ought to be having scary feelings by having a dedicated session for it each day confused

DD is sharp and has cottoned onto the fact that the treatment had to be repeated an extra time. It's hard to tread the line between being open and not overwhelming her with too much info...

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bridgetreilly Fri 12-Jun-20 22:48:25

A dedicated session everyday really does sound like overkill.

purpleboy Fri 12-Jun-20 22:51:07

You sound like a great mum, your family is going through an awful lot.

I think you should speak to the school, your dd is already experiencing things beyond her control that are scaring her, school might be the only escape she has from the reality of your illness, she should be able to process and deal with that in her own way, not be forced to feel things other kids are feeling, especially if she doesn't have those same worries. It's a bit like projecting.

Really hope your treatment is going well.thanks

Rainallnight Fri 12-Jun-20 22:53:01

Oh my word, you’re not a terrible parent at all. You’re all dealing with incredibly challenging circumstances and it’s bound to make your DD feel anxious.

I think circle time at school sounds like a frankly rubbish idea. If you think your DD does need more emotional support, then you could explore that, but circle time clearly isn’t what she needs.

Just remember none of what is happening to your daughter is your fault. It’s horrible when our DC are having a tough time because you just what to make everything better for them, if you absolutely will be, and you mustn’t beat yourself up about any of this.

Here’s a poem I find comforting when something bad has happened to my kids:


My son aged three fell in the nettle bed.
‘Bed’ seemed a curious name for those green spears,
That regiment of spite behind the shed:
It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears
The boy came seeking comfort and I saw
White blisters beaded on his tender skin.
We soothed him till his pain was not so raw.
At last he offered us a watery grin,
And then I took my billhook, honed the blade
And went outside and slashed in fury with it
Till not a nettle in that fierce parade
Stood upright any more. And then I lit
A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead,
But in two weeks the busy sun and rain
Had called up tall recruits behind the shed:
My son would often feel sharp wounds again.

Vernon Scannell

Rainallnight Fri 12-Jun-20 22:54:50

Sorry typo...
you just what to make everything better for them, which you absolutely will be,

Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 23:04:23

I love the poem - thank you for sharing!

You're both right: it is horrible when our DC are having a rubbish time and the worst thing is that I feel that I am a big part of the problem. I know it is not something that's within my control, but I still feel guilty.

I go cold sometimes thinking about how nearly I put off seeking medical advice "till after the peak of the virus" and what might have happened if I had. It's just a scary thought!

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DamnYankee Fri 12-Jun-20 23:12:26

Yes, I'd say a polite word to the teacher.
DD can curl up in another part of the classroom and read a book or color or something.
I am sure you are not the only parent who thinks a daily circle is overkill!

VashtaNerada Fri 12-Jun-20 23:22:40

Please tell the teacher. I’m a teacher and I would really want to know. I also have an 8yo at school who is absolutely fine and it’s easy to forget that everyone is experiencing this differently. And if DH doesn’t manage it sensitively, so be it! We are more than used to parents not phrasing things in the best way possible, but we always do our best to support a child in distress.
(There is nothing wrong with your parenting by the way!)

Teletubbiebumbum Fri 12-Jun-20 23:33:02

You sound like a lovely mother who cares alot. Hope you n your DD feel better soon. Talk to the teacher it will help them better understand.

sleepingdragon Fri 12-Jun-20 23:39:47

You are doing a brilliant job, managing in an impossible situation. I think you should talk to the school- they want to be helping at this time, and if something they are doing is not helping I am sure they would change their approach if you give them the opportunity.

I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and found the information and Cancer Cloud Kits from The Fruitfly Collective really useful for me, and to help my son think about what was going on for me and for him due to my cancer treatment. Their website isnt working this evening but their facebook page is

School's aren't operating as normal at the moment, but is there anything more they could do to support your daughter perhaps? My son's school referred him for counselling, he was a bit young for it (reception age), but it was still really useful for him to have a space to talk to someone outside the family and it made a massive difference to his wellbeing.

Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 23:58:23

Thanks for the suggestion re the counselling - it is something I'd thought about but I'm cautious about adding to the probably already very overburdened system at the moment. And I was hoping it was something I'd be able to support the DC through, but what I hadn't quite appreciated was how much DD1 has been keeping to herself so as not to worry the adults. She kept saying today, "I shouldn't be telling you that I'm feeling sad when you're not well" and that made me feel awful! I told her that it's my job to know and help her if she feels sad or scared, but I'm not sure she was on board with it!

OP’s posts: |
Jourdain11 Fri 12-Jun-20 23:59:27

Thank you for the Fruitfly recommendation too, I will take a look in the morning when I'm a bit more with it than I am now!

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