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Feeling like a spare part in my own life.(24 Posts)
I feel invisible. I used to have a good job, active social life, friends I laughed with. Now thanks to the unexpected circumstances which resulted in me being lone parent, I haven't worked for yrs, have no social life as my family aren't local & can't or won't mind my children for a few hrs without a huge hoo-ha and point blank refuse overnight, I can't remember the last time I had a proper belly ache laugh with friends as lot fell off the radar when life became 'complicated' and those friends I do see once every few months its like a data exchange of what we've all been up to, not fun frivolous chat.
I'm normally accepting about it. I'd rather this life with my kids, than my old life without them, despite the amount of crap on my plate. Because they are everything to me & I am important to my children.
But not tonight.
Tonight on a late school pick up due to after school clubs, my kids know there's no time to waste. I picked them up & they were mucking about with friends whose mother has a husband at home prepping dinner & they live nr school. I get that they wouldn't have understand this. But when I could see the other mother was stopping for a chat with other parents and we needed to go I called my children over to go and they completely ignored me. Like not once but between them about 6-7 times. They only came then because the other mother gathered her kids (by calling them once natch). This continued all the walk we shared together, my kids walking near road edge I say move away from road they ignore til other mother asks, it was like this til we went our separate ways. There was no malice in my children behavior, they just completely ignored me & almost everything I said. My only purpose was carrying their bags & coats.
We got home 20 mins late which matters when you have to cook, hear 2 read etc. and you're already an hr behind after club. I felt like crying because it was all from my children ignoring me. Is it that they don't respect me? Or so used to me running around after them & putting their needs first I've taught them I don't matter?
Tonight feels extreme but things like this happen all the time, if I speak to ask stuff they ignore me, if I shout they respond but get upset. I try never to shout at them in front of their friends as I don't want to embarrass or humiliate them. Maybe they know this & are taking advantage out & about.
I shouted a lot back at home about how their behaviour towards me was rude & disrespectful, how I'd never have dared to treat my mum like that & how I deserve to be listened to, spoken back to & obeyed. My children are still infant school ffs, if they think I'm irrelevant now what hope have got for keeping them safe in the teenage yrs.
I don't know if this even makes sense to anyone else. It's not about my children, kids will be kids, its partly how utterly worthless I felt being ignored by them and done so publicly tonight. And partly what I've done or not done to make them think this is an OK way to treat me.
Times like this I really wish there was a loving father about to support their understanding of how we should treat each other & stick up for me when they treat me badly like this ignoring me. Just feel like my children view me as a joke tonight & they are my world so its a pretty crappy feeling.
It totally makes sense to me .
I get the sinking feeling of having to rush and miss chats because you have to single handedly feed / homework and bedtime the dc's. And mine generally ignore me until I bellow at them. It's all consuming and you don't have anyone to share stress with at the end of the day.
I do work p/t so the dc's do see that mummy has other responsibilities but they know they can break me and I will give in to demands when I'm shattered (all the time!).
We have a long 'sharing the burdens' thread on lp's whixh you are welcome to join as a sounding board. There's a lot of stuff that we all seem to assume are just our crap, when it actually happens to all of us.
they are small kids, infant school.
they surely didn't purposely disrespect and disobey you for fun... they've gone thru break up too... .
if after school clubs are too much then drop them for this term. they are infant school age - it wont matter too much.
or if you consider clubs are important and if it's worth while to them and you then plan for those days for easy quick dinners. foshfingers frozen peas and oven chips. done. dont bath them on club nights they will be fine!
dont shout at them at home if you dont out of home. what's the difference?
get some support, go on some positive parenting classes to validate the things you are doing right and you will see you are doing ok...
you can do this, you dont need someone else there. give yourself a break...when you feeling down it's easy to blame it on being single/alone etc... some self esteem and confidence building can help.
have some quick dinner plans up your sleeve on club days - eg let's all eat a cereal tonights/ quick freezer food/pasta and can sauce. cut teh reading to five minutes on club days. school wont know any different!
make a plan, seek out babysitter or mutual babysitting with another parent.
things will get better...
Sorry you've had such a crap day, OP. Sounds like you're being really hard on yourself.
Being a single parent is TOUGH. Keeping on top of routines, endless multitasking, tiredness making everything feel a lot worse...
It sounds like you're lonely too and that you need a good night out. Who do you have in RL to socialise with?
Hello, just place marking because I really want to write later when not on phone about this. Being ignored...feeling that you have no purpose or function beside that of a servant, when once you used to "be somebody". I totally get this. And I know all mothers get this to some extent, but it is so much harsher when you are the only one there to fetch any carry...
hi - others have talked about other stuff and i don't have long to post but can i make one suggestion? please don't carry their bags and coats.
make that the first step in respect for you and all taking their part. my son and i had a chat about this just the other day (he's now 8.5) - about how i'd basically never carried his school bag and how shocking it was seeing kids just shove their stuff at their mums as if they were donkeys there to carry their stuff without so much as a hello.
this was in the context of him being proud that he was managing to carry quite a heavy item home from the shops and us having a conversation about us being a team. i was making explicit to him that i wanted him to be able feel pride like that and that i believed pride and self esteem and confidence came from being able to do things for yourself and contribute to what life takes to work.
i do NOT want to give you the impression our life works that smoothly all the time or we're a little haven of bliss definitely not! it was just one of those golden moments. but i did deliberately choose not to be one of those mum's who allows the bags and coats to be shoved at me. you are NOT a donkey and you're children are not incapable of carrying their own stuff.
let it be the change that comes out of this scene and sticks.
honey I feel like a donkey on the school run. I suppose I'm so desperate to get to school without tantrums so I can get to work on time that I will carry the lot for some peace. I'll remember your wise words and try and change it .
Honey I completely agree with you! My DDs are 8, 6 and 3 and I have started refusing to carry the older two coats and bags on the walk to school from the car (so not exactly far or difficult!).
I hate feeling like their donkey, and as a very newly single parent I think the more they can do for themselves the better.
I'd never thought of it being linked to the child's self esteem but you are so right with this!
I echo the others on the not carrying kids bags. We talk about being a team when we're out and at home. To solve feeling pressured to get home and cook dinner - get more organised! We are rarely home before six and my kitchen buddies are the slow cooker and the freezer ... I batch cook and menu plan every week. It can be done -
Tea is generally on the table within 30 mins of opening the front door and on homework days I can help while its cooking. It's relentless so once a week we slob out and just have pizza and I chop up raw veg and fruit to nibble on while the ovens warming up. And as for socialising, invite friends round as much as possible. I have no family near who can babysit so a night out is a rarity. I pay it forward and invite DC's friends over for sleepovers whenever possible. I enjoy having a houseful of kids and their friends invite them to stay in return. And I socialise as much as possible as a family and occasionally I keep my kids up until they ask to go home
is a job a possibility? I didn't work for several years after I separated and ended up feeling like you are feeling. When I got a job, my life got busier and even more complicated but I have adult time with adult people saying adult things during the day now...I resent the need for strict routines in my life to get everything done, but the positives do outweigh the negatives in financial and social terms.
I have changed things somewhat with the carrying. We have a long walk nearly half hour to school so I don't mind carrying their things as it is far for them & their bags can be weighty with snack, drink carton, water btl and reading books. But if there is any bad behaviour (bickering with each other, ignoring me, complaining) en route I'm now immediately passing their bag back to them until they apologize & they must then ask nicely if they want me to carry again. To make the point I have a choice. It's helping. We have no family local but I have asked in the past about my parents having them overnight & was refused outright as they need their sleep apparently(!) plus one of my children has health considerations that mean I'm nervous about leaving her with others, so I haven't had a night out in years!
The after school club is not the problem, it just highlighted the problem.
two kids yes? so you just take turns. you carry one bag and the kids take turns carrying the other? eg. five mins carrying the bag, five mins with no bag etc.
lesson being sharing the load with mum and in learning to negotiate with each other and take turns, work as a team etc.
it may seem i'm obsessing about these bags but it's a twice a day easy way to switch mentality to teamwork and responsibility and being capable.
as for social life let's hope it improves with time re: the kids get older, make friends and get invited for sleepovers (especially if you're willing to offer first) and you can coordinate it so they're both out on the same night for a sleepover once a month.
the other thing to think about is whether where you are living is where you really want to be long term. is it serving you? when you imagine the changes you'd like to be able to make/see in your life are they achievable there, would they be easier elsewhere? if it turns out somewhere else would be better is there any long term plan you could make to be able to make it happen?
now is hard so thinking of the longer view and taking an active planning role in how to shape that longer term for the better can help. they won't be this young forever, they won't be this dependent on you forever, you will be able to return to work, move somewhere that works better for you if you want to enough, make new friends if you want to, find new support networks etc. it is all possible honestly even if here and now feels swamped, stuck and powerless you can gradually turn that around.
It is really crap isn't it not having a social life at all and so many of us single parents have to live so differently from the majority of people it really isn't fair. I have no family support and my ex lives over 100 miles away so I consequently NEVER socialise in the evenings. It is pants.
I am hoping by spring 2016 I will have money to socialise two evenings a month if I employ sitters.co.uk however it is all money and I am just not convinced I can attain that. The more pressing need is to achieve a foreign holiday - it is really crap not having had either for years and years on end! I can join a social group on meetup dot com.
I am strong on budgeting so I know it isn't that but I really don't feel I can put off having a social life any longer beyond next spring. I will just have to finetune the finances by then somehow!
flower I went out last December and I'm going out this December. Hard core hedonist me .
What I can't understand is how it doesn't occur to people that we have no social life. It is as if we don't merit one as we are single parents and aren't a conventional couple so therefore we do not deserve a friendship circle and a personal life.... Do they honestly think we enjoy sitting indoors alone night on night without an adult to talk to??!
Thank heavens for mumsnet eh!
OP, it could just be their enjoyment of being with others that made them take no notice. It wouldn't have been malicious.
With regard to having to rush to do things, do things differently and relax a bit. Whether you make one night a takeaway night or batch cook, it would help take the pressure off a bit, you could have something ready to shove in the oven as soon as you get in the door, or use a slow cooker and have tea ready and waiting to be served the instant you step through the door. Meal planning helps
Isolation wise, people don't seem to get it. My own friends don't even seem to realise that I don't see any of them
Batch cooking every fortnight helps.
I didn't think the earlier suggestion of fish fingers was very quick, forget to set buzzer, break up kids fight, burnt fish fingers.
trip my colleagues used to assume that my family had the kids for sleepovers so I could go out. Nope. Tbh they were so shocked I didn't get a break it kind of made me feel ok about slowly going loopy. I hate rainy school days because no one hangs around to chat and I get zero adult interaction.
Have look at mobile.gingerbread.org.uk/default.aspx
They are running groups for single parents all over country.
Would you consider going back to work?
You have to become your own person again, not just Mum or invisible Mum. How about getting a hobby or join a group during the day whilst they are at school?
Then work on finding a good babysitter - I pay a bit more for a trained nanny (first aid trained / 10 ph). I didn't trust anyone with DS for 6yrs due to his severe allergies, I asked for recommendations from friends etc. I don't know your budget, but try to set aside some money to get head space for yourself.
Yes to getting some head space and finding again who you are!
OP, I feel you and feel so much like this myself.
I love my DC's, but sometimes it feels like what is left of my identity is lost somehow.
I struggle to have a conversation with grown ups I'm spent from bellowing which I hate doing, but my DC's seemingly don't listen to me otherwise much of the time.
Equally, every cuddle makes the stars come out. Every smile makes the sun rise - well, not exactly. Yet on the worst days, it only takes a minute to be reminded that it's all worth it.
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