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Wish I could turn back the clock, I'd have tried to do it differently.......

(18 Posts)
balanomorey Sun 17-Aug-08 11:42:29

Need to set the scene for why I feel like I do, so please bear with me.

My dd is nearly 3. For the best part of these 3 years I have felt a failure as a Mum and its left me feeling unfulfilled and very sad. She was a difficult baby - very cranky, cried a lot, wouldn't be put down easily during the day (although thank God I had good nights out of her from about 3 months), didn't much like being handled by others - used to go ballistic at her one nanny if she picked her up, hated being bathed, cried at every new toy and stimulus I tried on her - they were difficult times. Coupled with this, breastfeeding was a nightmare as she would suckle for hours and cry inconsoleably when I'd had enough and prised her off me. I wanted to give up breastfeeding as it was making me so unhappy, but my HV told me that if I switched to formula, I'd have to make it up on demand as a baby had died from being given stored formula. This put the fear of God into me - I felt making formula on demand was just not workable (how can you wait for it to cool down when you have a screaming baby waiting for milk) so I felt I had no choice but to continue bf which I did til she was 6 months old and it made me thoroughly miserable as I had sores on my boobs and seemed to spend the best part of the day on the sofa with a miserable child clamped to my chest.

She is still hard work - I appreciate we are in the terrible 2's and tantrums are part of the daily routine. But she is also demanding, stroppy, unco-operative and winds me up beyond belief a lot of the time. She keeps doing things she knows she's not supposed to - eg she keeps kicking the dog which makes me so mad. Potty training is also not happening as she just refuses to use the potty - I've tried all sorts, but nothing seems to work.

All this has left me feeling like I've failed - it must be my fault that her behaviour has always been difficult. I just don't seem to be able to mould her behaviour and she isn't the person I wanted her to be sad. I'm fed up with her showing me up in front of people with her tantrums and strops - as I feel I can't control her it leaves me feeling small - especially in front of my in-laws as my MIL is so fab with kids and brought up 3 model children.

I think a lot of the way I feel is my fault. I've always been really hard on myself. I was bullied as a kid and when you are told you are useless, ugly, no-one wants to be your friend it stays with you and I've always felt inferior and hopeless. I felt useless at every job I ever had - was passed over for numerous positions and had a disastrous typing job where the head secretary and her boss ganged up on me as I did sometimes make typing mistakes. FGS, I was only 17 but they cut me no slack. The more they ganged up, the worse my work got as I was so stressed and upset. Other stuff has happened too which I wont bore you with, that has also sapped my confidence and has made me the person I am today.

I always thought that if i was lucky enough one day to have children, I'd make a good mum. Everyone said I would, but I feel I've failed at that too. I'm so short tempered with my dd sometimes and shout, sometimes I smack and all this makes me feel like the worse mum in the world. I soemtimes think that it's because of my bad temperedness that her behaviour isn't good. I can't shake this feeling of failing and wish I could start all over again - not have got so stressed with the breastfeeding, not have got stressed over her crankiness and as she's gotten older, dealt more effectively with her bad behaviour - and generally, just been a bit happier. Every day, I wake up and instead of looking forward to the day, I just get on with it and am a bit indifferent, really.

I just feel like I've spoiled her early years and possibly my only opportunity to be mum to a baby and toddler. It's supposed to be enjoyable, but I haven't enjoyed it much and I know I won't get that time back again. It makes me think, what's the point.

Sorry it's long and rambly, but just really wanted to write it all down. Has eanyone else ever felt like this?
Thanks for listening. x.

JonahTakalua Sun 17-Aug-08 11:48:45

the early years are tough.
she sounds like a typical two year old.
you sound exhausted.

was her birth difficult?
have you considered cranial osteopathy for her?

i used to lie awake every morning, dreading the sounds of ds2 waking up.
i was suffering from undiagnosed PND.
i felt like i wasn't the kind of mother i thought i would be - he was a chore, not a delight.

now i know it was my illness, and the lack of a support network that had ground me down, and made me feel this way.

you need to talk to someone about how you are feeling - could you access some counselling via your GP?

keep posting here too - you are not alone. smile

JumpingDizzy Sun 17-Aug-08 12:20:46

Was just going to suggest Cranial osteopathy too. It worked brilliantly for ds2. He was a great baby as in easy, but nightmare toddler. CO totally changed his behaviour.

DS1 my firstborn was the same as your dd when he was a baby. He suckled all the time, was cranky, didn't like being held. As he got older he became so easy. He's extrememly bright but don't know if this is related?

Please stop feeling like this and get all the help you can. Be open about your feelings in RL. You're a great mum otherwise you wouldn't post.

Do people try to tell you how to raise her?

Momino Sun 17-Aug-08 12:45:45

Bal, my 2.5 year old sounds just like your toddler. She was always clingy, high maintenance, whingy, crying is her main form of communication. Now, she has a tantrum with hysterical screaming 80% of the day. I start off calm then go crazy by the end of the day and end up shutting her in a room (safely!) until she calms down - takes about 20 min). I blame myself too but so many people say alot of it is in her nature so please don't take the blame (I'll work on it if you work on it!). people do tell me this is typical and it will pass... i can't wait.

by the way, we did about 6 sessions of cranial osteopathy but then stopped as it got too expensive - am a bit unsure whether it's made a difference. you may want to try anyway, wouldn't hurt.

can you see a councellor? Or talk to someone, a friend going through similar? someone who can help sort out your feelings about yourself so you can see that you're actually a great mum who cares and just has a normal, yet challenging! toddler.

hugs to you, Jxx

catweazle Sun 17-Aug-08 13:06:55

My DD was like yours. Not so bad as a baby (she would sit quietly for hours on a doting grannies lap but scream blue murder for me) but once the tantrums started didn't I know it

My mum blamed her behaviour on the fact that I had DS1 when DD was 18 months, followed by DS2 2 years later and DS3 2 years after that ("she was only 5 with all those babies poor little thing") so in a way your post lightens my heart that she probably would have been the same as an only.

I smacked her, I screamed at her, I got no pleasure from being her mother, and how I'd longed for a little girl since I was a teen.

I went to my HV and told her exactly how I felt. She was surprisingly sympathetic. She referred me to social services (which frightened me silly) who paid for one full day of nursery a week to give me a break from DD.

DD is 22 now and seems unscathed by her early years. BUT she has always been more into friends than family and left home at 17 I don't have the relationship with her I expected to have. She feels more like a distant relative (a niece or a cousin) than my DD

I had DD2 at 43, so I'm getting another chance. This one is so much easier. It has got to be personality and not your failing as a mother. Tell someone professional how you feel- they can help you. (Oh and give up with the potty training. That's where most of our damage was done). She won't start school in a nappy.

balanomorey Sun 17-Aug-08 13:26:29

Thanks to all for your posts. They are uplifting and I don't mean it so sound as it does, but it is comforting to know others have experienced the same feelings. I did do cranial osteo with her when she was 3 mnths as she had a traumatic birth (forcepts, ventouse, distressed, cord round neck) and HV suggested misalignment of spine. I'm not sure it made too much difference really, but it made me feel better for having tried.

On reading back my post I feel I have concentrated a lot on the negatives - maybe that's just my nature - I feel guilty for not saying she isn't always a naughty girl. She is very bright for her age - at less that 2 you can converse with her really well & she does come out with some gems. She has a pretty broiderie anglais skirt on today so it is a bit holey round the hem as lace is. Her Grampy said 'You have holes in your skirt', she turned round and said to him 'But Grampy, those holes are meant to be there, they aren't naughty holes!' Just wanted to put in writing too how much I adore and love her, albeit she tries my patience and it has been hard work.

Maybe it would be good to chat through how I feel about myself, but really want to do it myself, not with councillors. I know deep down I am a good person with good quailites, but find it hard to express it to myself. I need to learn to love myself for my family's sake - how can I do that? I really want to try. I have so much to be thankful for - a beautiful dd, a loving husband and family, a mum that helps all she can, great friends who I know respect me...but I still find it hard to be happy with my lot, probably becuase I can't let go of my past. x.
Thanks again for listening. x

JumpingDizzy Sun 17-Aug-08 19:18:50

Ahhh balanomorey sounds like you have the female version of ds1. You're going to be so happy in a few months or so and you can kick me if I'm wrong grin Virtual kick of course wink He could have full conversations at that age too. The boredom factor is a big thing, they need a lot and I mean a lot of stimulation. Exhausting but worth it in the end.
Keep posting we're here for you x

catinthehat Sun 17-Aug-08 19:35:07

Balanomorey - I hope you told DD in front of her face (not discussed it behind her back) that was a pretty smart thing to say about the skirt. If she's a bright little thing she's going to get brighter & more confident if she's continually encouraged, especially by you,

balanomorey Mon 18-Aug-08 14:10:40

Hi
JumpingDizzy, I believe you are so right - because she is bright, she does get bored and that does add to the pressure and demads. I also know deep down you are right and it will all be worth it in the end and I'll be left with an angelic, clever and adoreable child whom it will be a joy to be around! I just wish I could have chilled out more and enjoyed it more from the start cos I can't get that time back. From this moment on that's how I want to be. Don't want to be a on a stressy downer any more. By the way, I meant to say she is conversing well at nearly 3, not nearly 2!! Her speech and development since 18 months has been phenominal (sp ?).

Catinthehat - we always say 'that was a clever thing to say' when she does come out with something good - I know I sometimes shout, but I do praise her a lot and am always smothering her with love....so, hopefully, she won't think I'm too bad a mummy smile

JumpingDizzy Mon 18-Aug-08 17:54:06

Does she like watching entertaining dvds or ones that teach? She may even like the computer? They can use a mouse at such an early age. Once you begin to relax and enjoy your unique dd you won't feel so worn out by her. smile

Notquitegrownup Mon 18-Aug-08 18:00:23

Just wanted to add some encouragement too, as you are describing my experience of early year parenting too. There were times when I felt very very down too, and such a failure. My health visitors were useless. MN saved my sanity.

My dcs are 5 and 8 now and although they are still high maintenance, they are wonderful to be with lots of the time. Hang on in there, and dooo keep posting. It gets better.

JumpingDizzy Thu 21-Aug-08 09:21:24

how you doing bala?

balanomorey Thu 21-Aug-08 13:58:23

Hiya
I'm good, thanks. Posting here was a bit like letting bad blood - I feel a lot better for just having done it and getting it off my chest. I gues there is some mileage in the old saying, 'a problem shared is a problem halved', so thanks to all for listening. It's been a typical week - some days better than others. I have my mum here with me today, so that's been nice and have had some time to myself this week as mum had her on Monday & she was at nursery Weds a.m.
i've come to realise the key to enjoying my dd and my life is to let go of the past & accpet the way it's gone, accept the present too as it won't be forever and accept myself as the person I am. I'm going to try my damndest to do that. Thanks for your supporting words. x. smile

JumpingDizzy Fri 22-Aug-08 13:39:05

that's great. To live in the now is the only way forward. You're doing a wonderful job and you'll be reaping the benefits soon smile x

raramum Sun 24-Aug-08 22:22:50

Your DD sounds like such a little gem. I think the fact that you are reflecting on how you parent and trying to improve means a lot. How many people never bother to do that?

The past can be hard to let go of and it can effect the present. I've gone to counselling now for a number of years and it is hard work but little by little because of counselling and what I discuss in there my life gets easier and I am freed of some of that god awful baggage.

I've spent years working with 'difficult' children. I think the three most important things in building a good relationship with a child is to love them no matter how they behave. When a child knows that even if they are silly or make a mistake they are still loved it gives them a good foundation for their self esteem. This doesn't mean accepting bad behaviour just always accepting the child IYKWIM e.g. 'I love you but I don't like hitting' etc Also I think encouraging them to talk about feelings by doing that yourself is really important so that they don't bottle things up. Lastly I think it's really important to say sorry if you make a mistake so that they know that no one is perfect but that you are trying to do your best by them. It also gives them the idea that sometimes relationships break down but they can get back on track.

Hope this makes sense! Good luck

blueshoes Sun 24-Aug-08 22:55:33

bala, your dd sounds like a bright little button and I do think it is related to her high maintenance behaviour.

Raising a difficult child can make us parents feel like a failure, when comparing with the easier garden variety.

It is hard hard on the parent, but very good for the child to have this personality. Your dd sounds like she will be independent-minded and resilient. She is learning by sparring against you. She will be so strong.

You will be the fantastic mum you always wanted to be. It is tough to see how at this stage. <hugs>

balanomorey Mon 25-Aug-08 10:47:59

Thanks raramum for your lovely post smile. I so agree with what you say about the past being hard to let go of & how it can affect the now in your life - silly to hang on to it as, what's the point? But it is sooo hard to let go of and accept the things that have happened as there is this huge resentment that they have been responsible for making life a misery & affecting your state of mind ever since - it's always there in the background being responsible for your downers....now it's time to move on. My new mantra is 'If you want a future, forget the past' (ooh-er, sounds a bit like a Spice Girls song blush) but it sums up how I feel. Time to kick the past into touch!! Am going to have a ceremonial getting rid by tying my 'crap past' to a helium balloon and releasing it - good riddance!!

Always give dd loads of love - I lover her so much, I could burst and do admit my mistakes - so agree with you on those points too.

Blueshoes your post also put a smile on my face - you are right, she is demanding cos of her intelligence. It's a 2 edged sword, you love the fact that she is so articulate and forward, but it is draining at the same time. She can argue and reason so well for a nearly 3 yr old. The other day we were off to Tescos & she wanted to wear her Belle dressy up dress. I said no as I can't get her into the carseat as the dress is so volumous with material. She thought for a second then said "Shall we put it in the front of the car then I can put it on when we get to Tescos" Then a tantrum followed when i said no!! Ah, well, all in a day's work!! grin
Thanks again for all posts. x.

JumpingDizzy Mon 25-Aug-08 10:55:37

Oh forgot to say there's a book 'how to raise a spirited child' I'd have sent you it as I did have it but have recently moved and ...well...no idea where it is grin

Might be worth a look and i bet your local library would get if for you x

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