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When will everything stop being so shit

(12 Posts)
Jaffacakesaremyfave Tue 16-Aug-16 20:25:16

I apologise for the massive rant I am about to write but I've really had enough of my life right now.

I've been a single mum to 3 DS for as long as I can remember. I had them young to a useless horrible abusive ex husband and even when we were together he rarely helped with the children and made my life miserable so I feel like I've always been alone.

I've worked so hard all my adult life to get into my field of work which is hugely competitive. I've sacrificed so much and although I earn ok money, it barely covers our daily living expenses. The commute to work is horrendous and I rely completely on my mum for childcare. I miss every important event for the boys, my house is a shit hole and I spend the entire weekend alone with the DC. My parents occasionally babysit but I rarely have anyone to do anything with (friends all happily married). My mum also doesn't really do anything with them when she has them so they come back bored and at each other's throats after being stuck inside at her house all day while she does her own thing. I know I'm lucky to have anyone at all to look after them but it doesn't help the guilt of leaving them all day to have barely any supervision or adult interaction.

I found out in March their dad was emotionally and physically abusing them and had always done so on his contact days (used to be every weekend). The police were initially great but the case has been dragging on for months and I've not heard a thing from them for at least a month (the case was supposed to be submitted to CPS then but they wanted to review the video statements first). He is not allowed to contact them or me and it has been a relief not having to deal with his abuse anymore.

That said (and selfishly I know) I am really struggling with being so completely alone. My only respite used to be the weekends he had them but now that is gone, my life is literally nothing but work and childcare. I'm 31 and my life is passing me by and I'm so exhausted that I feel trapped to change it. It hurts knowing they will never experience the love of a father and no one else will ever love them in the same way I do.

The DC have behavioural problems, most likely because of the abuse and witnessing DV and me being a generally crap mum most of the time. CAHMS won't take a referral, school have been awful (had to move two DC to a different school), women's centre don't offer much for children and we had a family support worker who was basically useless (never met her once or updated on what she was actually doing with the DC at school).

I don't seem to be able to meet a half decent man. All I want it to have what it feels like everyone else seems to have, a family. Someone to talk to and help with discipline and share childcare and the ups and downs of life. The last guy I was dating made it pretty clear he didn't want anything to do with my children so I ended it. Online dating is depressing, the guys that want to 'talk' to me barely seem able to hold a conversation and either i or them lose interest pretty quick. Is this really all life has in store for me?

This has been my life for years and it just feels so unfair and hopeless. I have moments where I make an effort to get out more with the DC and make the best of it, try and reach out to friends etc but I usually end up right back here. Lonely, exhausted, scared. The burden of holding my shit together is getting too much and I could just run away forever

Thanks if you have read this far, it feels better just to get it down somewhere.

DollyBarton Tue 16-Aug-16 20:45:10

You are very trapped right now, I really feel for you. I have 3 very little ones, a husband, good family support and a fantastic nanny and find it hard so I can only imagine the stress you are under. It will pass but you need to make sure you come out the other end in tact. Also the most important thing in these years is to make sure your boys grow up to be good people, good to you and also so you don't have to worry too much about them. Do you think you fight the time you are with them? I don't know how to explain this well but sometimes I feel resentful of how intensely my life is focused on the kids and spend my time with them trying to escape or just get 10mins peace or just get another job done in the house without huge stress but actually I am stopping myself from just accepting that these years are about them and not me. With a family set up like yours it's critical that you have a good bedtime routine so that you can have your evenings in peace to recover and reboot for the next day. If you currently don't, I suggest you focus on fixing that. You don't have it easy and most days just need to survive but you do deserve some good fun days too. If you have bedtime cracked, spend a bit of time putting in place things to make the boys more manageable. Have craft boxes set up and ready to go so that you can haul one out when things are descending into chaos. Have a snack ready to go so again you can divert attention if things are going tits up. Have a movie and duvet ready to go so you can do downstairs movie hour as a treat, make it exciting and a treat with popcorn or something so they calm down for a while. Teach them that they need to sort it out themselves rather than constantly dragging you into their shit. When you are sitting with a cuppa under no circumstances get up and threaten anyone (and follow through) who acts disruptive lay in your quiet 10mins with being put out the door, they will quickly learn that mum sitting down with tea means back the hell off for 20mins.

You didn't say what age the boys are or what behaviour is like at home (or what is stressing you out) but hopefully the above is of some use to you. Good luck, it will end.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Tue 16-Aug-16 21:16:29

Thanks for replying Dolly and for your advice. They are 11, 10 and 7. I definitely don't have bedtimes sorted. If they are all asleep by 10pm then I'm lucky, at which point I've completely lost the ability to keep calm and end up screaming at them to sleep as I know I have to get up early for work the next day. I work full time (leave at 7am and get back at 7pm) so like to spend abit of time with them when I get home but they often push it too far and take advantage of the fact that I'm too tired to follow through on my threats.

The behaviour that bothers me is mainly the fighting. If they have spent too much time together (especially summer holidays) and not been out to run off any energy then it gets unbearable. They fight over anything and everything. Where to sit in the car, being in each other's bedroom, teasing about eldest being fat, 10 year old having dyslexia and refusing to read anything, play fights that turn into real punch ups. The latest insult to each other is that they are adopted which they say anywhere and everywhere.

My 10 year old I suspect has ADHD and isn't naughty as such but his constant jumping everywhere and fidgeting and noise and inability to do anything for himself like remember to brush his teeth or follow instructions is infuriating. He's such a sweet boy but I just don't have the patience for his silliness most days.

My 11 year old is a bully and teases his brothers relentlessly. Does nothing I ask, room is a tip, won't do chores, has no personal hygiene only interacts to ask for money or a new game for his Xbox. He refuses to join in any sport or activity and holds us all to ransom every weekend as he wont get dressed to go anywhere.

The youngest has violent outbursts (at home and school) and is far too old for his years. None of them enjoy calm activities like drawing unless I sit and do it with them so not much chance of alone time while they do that.

What I really need to do is make them more independent and do chores around the house. They don't respect their belongings or the house. Throw food packets where they are sitting, clothes on the floor, piss all over the bathroom, plates left on the table. I do absolutely everything and I'm sick of it!! I know this is my fault but it takes less energy to just do it for them which I know doesn't help. I get sick of hearing my own voice asking them to do anything.

I know this is their time and one day they will be all grown up but it's hard for me to not resent being a mum. I had such a bright future ahead of me and I saddled myself with a piece of crap for a husband at 18 and had my youngest at 19. My studying kept me sane even though it was hard. I always thought by now my life would be sorted, I would have remarried and happy.

Little did I know I was just going to get older, fatter, greyer and more disillusioned with it all.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what is stressing me because it's everything. Literally everything and I don't know where to begin fixing it.

DollyBarton Tue 16-Aug-16 22:12:36

Gosh OP, that sounds like hell on earth. You must be exhausted, frustrated and completely overwhelmed. Can you divide and conquer at all? Send two off to granny every Saturday and spend some time with one, working on their attitude, respect and behaviour while fitting in some nice memories for you? They are at an age that is very very hard to control but I suspect it will get worse as they get properly into their teens if not diverted now. Can you speak to their school and ask for support or is their behaviour good there?

Maybe another poster will have a better idea of how you can get some help, at least with an assessment for the 10yr old.

It's not about alone time always, as important and all as that is. Maybe in these years it's enough during daytime to just spend enjoyable time with them, so do try sitting down and guiding them through an activity like drawing. If they start to fight or disrespect each other put the initiator out of the room. And take that Xbox away as much as you need to in order to get through to them that bad behaviour won't be tolerated.
I hope some other people have some advice for you.

DollyBarton Tue 16-Aug-16 22:14:45

When they are all grown up you will still be young, don't forget that. Your 40th year doesn't need to be any different to how your 25th would have been if you hadn't had kids. But you have 3 boys who love you and will see all you have done for them once they are old enough to understand.

bleedingnora Tue 16-Aug-16 22:24:08

Bloody hell OP that sounds ridiculously hard work. I would crack in two with all that to deal with.

And it sounds like an endurance test not a life. No bloody wonder you are miserable and watching it all pass you by whilst you cling on with slipping fingers

Can I be honest? I don't think tiny tweaks are going to cut it here.

And I say this as a woman who loves her job, but it is the full time job and commute that are the big issue that could make the best impact.

You have no decent time at home. To see the kids, to actually have any impact on their behaviour or feelings or growth. You have no time to tidy or wash or manage so you live in mess which makes you feel more worn down.

And most of all you have zero time for yourself. To sleep or relax or exercise.

What can you do about the job?
Would you get some benefits if you went part time or gave up for a bit? I know you said you worked hard to get your career but it sounds like everything else is being sacrificed in order to keep it.

The kids need to heal and have a strong maternal input to make up for a wanker father.
You need the headspace to focus on them and you.

If you can downsize the material side to allow you to have a reduction in hours or career break then I would do it.

The career can be clawed back in later years but damaged kids can't be.

Jaffacakesaremyfave Wed 17-Aug-16 09:04:19

I hope I feel young enough at 40 to enjoy it, although I do feel if I don't meet someone now I never will.

I have thought about dropping two days at work only for a year. My boss has been incredibly supportive, however the department manager worried me as he said if they can't fill the two days I'm gone then they can take it back as cost saving (NHS role), preventing me from ever coming back full time without a fight. I need to work full time at some point as I'm in debt and want to save for a house deposit eventually.

School have been rubbish which is a post in itself. My youngest moved to a better school and to be with DS2 just before summer holidays as he was facing exclusion and they were threatening me with a PRU referral for a whole year, little did I know they can't even refer until year 3 so it was empty threats. They used to lock him in a box room to 'calm down' but would leave him in there until someone picked him up instead of allowing him to wait outside the heads office when calm. He would just lie on the floor for up to an hour. They knew all about the abuse but just labelled him a naughty boy and wanted to wash their hands of him.

Getting DS2 a diagnosis is again a whole other post too. Have been to CAHMS about 3 years ago when we lived in London. They said he was 'borderline' ADHD and was too young for formal diagnosis. Stuck me on a parenting course and washed their hands. I pushed his new school to do a referral and was passed from pillar to post between them and GP, neither of which felt it was their responsibility to refer. Managed to get him referred eventually through GP, CAHMS said we have to be referred by family support worker after her working with us. She really is awful at her job and I can't see us getting anywhere with that route.

Eldest starts high school in September and his lack of independence is a massive worry. Plus he's overweight because he won't do any physical activity and stinks because he won't wash. I literally have to throw him in the shower every few days and when I force him to brush teeth they bleed. Dentist is worried about the state of his teeth. He's 12 next month and acts like a baby, I just despair with him. He's extremely intelligent and completely plays and manipulates the fact that I'm exhausted. His head is very messed up from his dad though.

My mum works as a carer and works every evening and all weekend both days. She doesn't want to have them at weekend either because she helps so much during the week which I understand. My dad is rubbish though and won't have them unless I'm desperate and it's something quick like a dentist appointment. He's never offered to have them and has never taken any of them anywhere ever, not even the park for an hour.

My landlord has put our house up for sale and so I'm moving Saturday. Hired a man with a van but it still feels incredibly shit to have to yet again do it alone. I have a few people to help out for a couple of hours but it's not really the same as if I were moving with someone as they would be there to help over the next few weeks whilst unpacking.

I know I sound like I'm picking holes with all your advice but I really do value it. just hearing that anyone else would also find this hard is comforting. Sometimes I feel like I should just put up and shut up.

bleedingnora Wed 17-Aug-16 12:39:02

No don't put up and shut up

Because your kids and you deserve better.

You can't keep going this life because it sounds horrible frankly

I'd drop the hours.

If at some point you want to go back full time then who knows how the land will lie. The NHS is so in flux at the moment that I wouldn't bet on anything anyway
So live for the now.

Your kids need you at home more
They need stability and you fighting their corner and being around more than just shattered in the evenings
Your parents are doing the needed to be responsible adult when you aren't but not interacting and loving and guiding and helping your kids grow.

YOU need time too
To breathe and live and walk and think and create a home.

If you can afford to be part time do it.

You are way more likely to meet a partner if you are calmer and your kids are happier (imagine introducing someone new right now the way their behaviour is?- it could break them and the relationship) and that may shape your future differently anyway.

I honestly don't think you will look back years from now and be thrilled you got a house deposit if it is at the expense of your own and your kids mental health because you worked every hour and every holiday.

I do feel so sorry for the situation you are in.

But I also feel really sorry for your boys who sound desperately messed up and unhappy.

bleedingnora Thu 18-Aug-16 18:12:28

Any more thoughts OP?

toptoe Thu 18-Aug-16 18:32:54

Echo the thought to go part time - will give you time to build in an evening routine that begins after tea.

Routine is basically the thing that will get you through this and children love it (despite moaning about it!!). It's predictable and stabilising for everyone.

I'm not a lone parent anymore but the thing I found hardest was the 24/7 nature of it - knowing the buck stopped with me at all times. First thing I did was go from full time to part time. Then I made my routine and stuck to it, including little rituals that made my life easier (life hacks - have a look on the internet for some ideas).

Basically, I had everything organised from waking up to bed time and the routine never altered, unless I was going out and then it was a 'special' night with whoever was babysitter.

toptoe Thu 18-Aug-16 18:35:20

Weirdly, there are elements of lone parenting that I miss...having total control over how our lives were. I set the rules that no one shouts/hurts etc and led by example. Sometimes I messed up, but I'd explain why and apologise and we'd have a clean slate. Same as when dc were a bit difficult - it was all about forgiveness.

Emeralda Fri 19-Aug-16 07:49:22

You may want to throw your laptop at me and shout but I'm reading a book called Calmer Easier Happier Boys and I wonder if that would be of any help to you? It's very practical. I got in the library.
I agree about going part-time. Something has to change here and I think that would make the biggest difference. It's probably the last thing you want to change because you've worked so hard to get there. Is your boss flexible? Could you use annual leave to try different ways of reducing your hours before you commit?
Good luck flowers

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