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I think I have always know this but today it has really hit home. Help me change please.

(96 Posts)
MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 11:19:19

I have three children and stay at home to look after them, the pets and the house. I do most things but DH does all he can when here too.

They have become my whole life and I don't do a lot other than look after them and all that entails plus tonnes of extras that I don't need to do but I like baking so do it. I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning meals and cooking them. Most of the time I am fine with this.

This morning my 10 year old was rude so wasn't able to do what she wanted on the computer and stomped off saying Okay with attitude but then was fine. My 8 year old was full of attitude and rudeness and was pretty relentless for about 45 minutes until I sent him into school. Apparently I don't help him or do much for him hmm.

I do far too much for them and spend a lot of time cooking and baking nice things for them to eat and somehow the meaner they are to me the more I seem to bake and make ice cream, etc but my reason for this is probably ridiculous and obvious. Having driven back to school to take a forgotten piece of kit I had decided not to do all the lovely little extras for them and just feed them normally and do their washing and see if they notice. I know they won't. So why I have I half prepared a mango and banana sorbet for them to have tomorrow and then started looking for something yummy to make? It is almost like I don't know what else to do with myself and feel if I don't do it I am being mean. Once dinner was served then fruit then nothing else and it was like I had not fed them anything other than bread and butter.

I feel I show love through cooking but tbh I am warn down by the relentless bickering between them and rudeness to me but seems completely wrong to stop the lovely things I make hmm.

If you are still with me - winecake.

WipsGlitter Mon 30-Sep-13 20:52:17

How old are your children! 8, 10 and ?

I think you're in an ever increasing vicious circle where you do more and more for your children and they appreciate you less and less.

Cut back on the housework and baking and find yourself.

hardboiledpossum Mon 30-Sep-13 20:53:07

you sound like the kind if mum I always planned to be! I'm rubbish at baking though. I think children rarely appreciate what their parents do for them, but I am sure they will when they are older.

racmun Mon 30-Sep-13 20:54:26

You're Making them nice things to eat because you enjoy doing it but you can't expect them to be grateful as that is their norm. What ever circumstances children are born into is the norm for them so why would they be grateful.
Do you make a big deal of cooking and making them things and likewise a big deal out of not doing it? In all honestly I don't think kids would know if the ice cream is out of a tub or homemade. Also if its fruit for pudding its fruit for pudding- tough its healthier anyway.

The fact they're rude to you is a different issue and one that you need to address but I'd be very wary of using food as either a reward/punishment.

If you don't feel like making something then don't but don't link food amd love.

girliefriend Mon 30-Sep-13 20:54:33

I think you sound a bit bored and fed up, have you not considered looking for a p/t job - perhaps one that involves baking or cooking?!

I would not expect children to work out that they are being well fed if thats how they have always been fed iyswim, thats just normal to them. They also probably haven't worked out this is a way of you telling them how much you love them, kids wouldn't necessairly make this connection imo.

If the children are being rude then punish the behaviour but i wouldn't link that to how you feed them confused that seems a bit strange to me. What other consequences are there for when they are rude to you?

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 20:57:45

It is linked for me as I wasn't loved as a child, or fed.

My kids do prefer my cooking to anything shop bought and I am happy to make everything from scratch. I just felt a bit battered today.

mysticminstrel Mon 30-Sep-13 21:00:14

Can you volunteer somewhere where you can cook/care for people who ARE actually deprived of love and care?

CreatureRetorts Mon 30-Sep-13 21:01:57

But you talk about cooking and baking a lot. You say it is linked - however you can show your love in other ways.

I wonder if you've become background to them?

What exactly do you do with them? Just to get an idea.

girliefriend Mon 30-Sep-13 21:10:00

It is linked for you but not for them and its unfair to expect them to be grateful for something thats actually normal for them.

I can understand how if you had a crap childhood it must be sometimes very annoying to look at your kids and think 'bloody hell they don't know they are born' would some counselling help address your childhood issues?

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 21:13:03

I don't expect them to be grateful beyond a thank you. It just hurt this morning when DS2 said I do nothing for them when I clearly do.

ScrewtapesOppositeNumber Mon 30-Sep-13 21:17:23

Unfortunately I think it's inevitable that you will be taken for granted as you are always there, will do anything for them, and there don't seem to be any consequences for cheekiness (by which I mean, DS2 says you do nothing for them - did you call him on this?). I don't mean to criticise, you sound lovely, but unfortunately lovely people are often taken for granted while self-obsessed divas get everyone running round after them. Seems to be one of those things.

BUT - I'm sure they will appreciate it when they are older and looking back on their childhood. Can you wait that long?!

BarberryRicePud Mon 30-Sep-13 21:21:37

It's clear to you, and us, but not to them. Until they do the tasks themselves (meal planning, cooking, shopping, cleaning, hoovering, washing, ironing...) they will not appreciate you. They have no understanding of the effort involved. I'm afraid they never will unless you can make yourself do a bit less for them.

Would you consider a mums day off? Maybe at a weekend? Where everyone else in the family has to do the chores and cooking?

I had a superbly shit childhood, so I really understand wanting almost to make up for it with your own kids, but you can do too much. Our ultimate goal after all is to raise independent, happy, caring, useful members of society. It's not about the food. Bake all you like, but do it for you. Divide it in your mind from being a good mum. The ability to bake has zero to do with being a good mum.

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 21:29:09

Yes, I did pull him up on it.

I have tried to do less and today I had them sort through a pile of clothes and take their own. Obviously they missed some but they did it. usually I fold everything and put it in piles for them. DS2 did the dishwasher without fuss. DS1 pulled a face when I asked him to empty it as it went on twice.

lborolass Mon 30-Sep-13 21:30:22

I don't think you need to change anything.

My mum cooked lovely things all the time, would have taken anything forgotten to school and generally do anything she could for me and my siblings. I can't remember if I was grateful at the time but I certainly am now and I parent in the same way.

I know my DC take me for granted but I really don't mind as long as they feel loved and secure, I don't take it to heart if they aren't appreciative day to day as I'm sure underneath they are.

Maybe the difference is that I also work part time so have another life as well. Could you consider a job?

BarberryRicePud Mon 30-Sep-13 21:35:35

Good for you. I know it's harder sometimes to get them to do things. So much faster to do it yourself. But you're teaching them invaluable life skills.

You sound like a very caring mum. One day they will thank you, but probably not til they have kids of their own!

PyjamasNotBananas Mon 30-Sep-13 21:39:51

I've thought about this a lot lately. Not so much with cooking and baking (although I do all that but not as much as you by the sounds of it!) but just in terms of the attention and time that our two boys get with us, trips out swimming, museum visits, one on one time, movie nights, meals out etc. I think there's a lot of truth in what people have said, to them it's the norm, why would they even question it? It's not a treat to them, it's not something they even have to think about because we made it that way. It's hard. I sometimes feel utterly underappreciated (don't most mums though?!). BUT then I remember that when they are older they will look back and have happy memories with me and DH. They will remember trips with DH camping, walks with mummy to find leaves and sticking and glueing to make autumn pictures, collecting holly to help make the Christmas wreath, baking with me, making jam etc. They have a lot of time with us and get a lot of input. Could you try involving them in the baking and cooking a bit so they get that time with you and also appreciate the hard work that goes into all that.

Another thing I realise is that children don not have a clue how monotonous all the things we do are. Fore example, my DS1 is 6, he thinks it's amazing fun to mop the floors, spray the worktops and clean them, he would love to use the iron if I let him (which I don't!) but what I mean is, all the mundane tasks that pile up around us every day actually look quite fun to kids (hence all the toy hoover, kitchens and fake plastic irons etc.) They don't realise quite HOW hard it is and how by the time you're 30 with kids that those things aren't FUN and exciting! I swear DS1 thinks being a stay at home mum must be the most fun thing in the world. Playing with gadgets all day long, baking, sticking and colouring. He must wonder why the hell mummy and daddy are so bloody knackered by it all! He will get it one day, but not yet and that's fine by me.

At your children's ages, there's no reason why a little verbal reminder on quite how much you do wouldn't sink in. They need to know that Mum made this and it took all afternoon. They need to know that mum made it 'for them' otherwise it just fades into the background. The truth is, they are children and it's not in their nature to be eternally grateful and full of thanks for the things we do.

Sometimes my DS1 tries to ask for more time with me, more input, constant activities with me and these are the times when I sometimes remind him 'we spent all morning doing whatever with him and mummy needs to do this now.' There's no harm in not doing those things all the time. If you're not enjoying it or you need time away for yourself then take it.

I feel for you because the main reason I try to go into overdrive by doing so many things with our children is that I never got that in my childhood. I never felt valued or listened to. Never got attention or affection. I also never felt loved or safe and these are the things I want more than anything to convey to my boys that no matter what I am on their side and I would fight to the death for them. I never had that. Never had any one on one time. Never knew when the next beating or huge argument was going to blow up. It's hard trying to undo the past and give your children the exact opposite of what you had.

For what it's worth, you sound lovely. I wish you had been my mum!

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 21:42:38


I have myself to blame as it has been my choice to do so much but that was influenced by having a horrible childhood. I just went a bit ott blush.

PyjamasNotBananas Mon 30-Sep-13 21:46:02

Sorry just realised how long that was blush ^ ^ ^ Anyway, I hear what you're saying basically is what I was trying to say!

Balloonist Mon 30-Sep-13 21:51:04

You obviously do a lot for your children- you cook beautiful meals and cakes, you wash and iron their clothes. If you were doing this for an adult they would think you were the most amazing host ..... but

Children do not appreciate fine dining and fine clothes. It's normal for children to be fussy eaters and sometimes prefer fishfingers to anything else.

Children do liked to be played with, read to, talked to. I appreciate yours are a little older so getting down on the floor with them to play lego and wrestle might not be appropriate but maybe you should ask them what they would like to do with you. Picnic?, Cinema? Takeaway, long walk, night in playing scrabble etc.

My DC are a lot younger than yours. They hate me spending time in the kitchen where I can't see/talk/play with them. Consequently I have to compromise on cooking elaborate concoctions (which won't get eaten anyway) and cook a bit too much spagbol/easy dinners. I wish I had time for baking but I almost always have to do it with them around so it has to be messy and quick (and usually banana cake/fairy cakes/biscuits).

Have you tried involving your children with your cooking. Maybe they'd like to cook with you. It would be something you could share together and who knows they might start wanting to cook for you.

steppemum Mon 30-Sep-13 21:58:56

I think you really need to look at this from another angle.

When your children leave home at 18, to go and do college/work etc, what do you want them to be able to do?
feed themselves, including planning food and shopping
clean up after themselves
know how to do their washing without shrinking their clothes
know how to iron their clothes
know how to budget their money

and so on.

If your start from there, then you have to say, well in order to do that, what should a 10 year old be able to do now? Sort and put away a load of washing? Make a simple meal? do dishwasher etc?

I think you are in a cycle of love through food, and I sympathise with your background, it must be very hard to find a path for your self with no role model. But you really need to look at what your children need.

So, looking at the list above, maybe see how you can turn your gifts of planning and cooking into a plan for your children. Teach them to cook, work towards them cooking for the family once a month. Pass on your skills in that way. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for a child is to say no and not do something for them.

We have jobs that have to be done round the house. All screen time is dependent on jobs being done. Not doing them is not a option, we talk about how as part of the family we all work together and do our bit.

If you love cooking, what about baking for a local cafe? Selling your cakes? That way you could still use your gift, but it would give you a focus and an outlet.

MissStrawberry Mon 30-Sep-13 22:01:47

As I have already said, I do the baking and housework while they are at school. I am always there for them when they need/want me.

steppemum Mon 30-Sep-13 22:07:08

you sound lovely and I am sure you give them lots of time.

If it helps my 8 yo dd has spent a lot of time recently having temper tantrums and telling me how horrible I am and how no-one understands her and how no-one loves her and obviously I NEVER do anything for her.

I think it is a fairly normal stage, and remember, you are a safe person to express things too, which means frustration built up elsewhere comes out bleugh all over you, because you are the safe one to express it to.

Sometimes I am 'deaf' and ignore it, sometimes I am firm and say ''that is enough'' sometimes I give her a big hug (if she lets me) all depends on the situation.

Balloonist Mon 30-Sep-13 22:11:05

I realise that you don't cook etc whilst you are with them but what do they want you to do with them when they come back from school?

Or do they just want to sit in front of the TV when they get home?

It does seem normal for children to be ungrateful though. I do everything for my 5 year old (and I mean everything- some would say too much) and if I forget something or don't respond to her immediately she can be very rude to me and "I'm the worst mummy". Sounds like yours have never grown out of this stage unfortunately.

I guess like others have said, you need to step back and stop doing so much for them. It's something I need to learn too but I'm a control freak so find it hard to stop dressing/wiping bums.

steppemum Mon 30-Sep-13 22:56:11

balloonist - I disagree that the child ''has never grown out of it''

my ds went through this phase at around 8/9, he has settled down a lot now (aged 10) and now dd1 is going through this stage at the moment.

Both were fine for first few years of school. It certainly wasn't lack of independence etc.

It is a pre-teen thing, that comes up now, it can be a very volatile age. I think it is a stage of boundary testing and it is important to keep the boundaries clear. At the same time they are growing up and appreciate a bit more responsibility etc.

racingheart Mon 30-Sep-13 23:06:04

Sounds like you just want a bit more balance in your life. It's great to cook for them and show love in this way, but if you end up feeling resentful and they take it for granted, then that's a sign that maybe you should be including more stuff in your life that is fulfilling to you as a person not just as a mum.
I think it's quite important to raise children to appreciate what is done for them - that they both deserve it and can be grateful for it. Why don't you bake with them after school instead of doing fun stuff while they're not there and duller stuff when they are (although DS1 loves ironing, so maybe you could teach them how to handle an iron too!)

JohnnyUtah Tue 01-Oct-13 07:40:44

And remember we are all the worst mum in the world according to our kids at some time. They seem to grow out of that phase before they finish junior school, if we get unlucky they grow back into it again in the teenage years!

What would you like to do for you??

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