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How can I be more positive about the kids?

(48 Posts)
Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 14:27:10

I have 2 DCs, 7 and 4.
They are hard work at times, but in line with other kids with their behaviour. I'm just feeling quite relentlessly negative about parenting at the moment. It took along time to decide whether to have kids, and I think we probably made the wrong decision, but they are here to stay and I want to make the best of things. Obviously I wouldn't say any of this to the kids but I worry they will pick up on vibes. I don't want them to feel unwanted. But I feel miserable and trapped.
Anyone felt similarly and managed to turn it around?

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 17:07:32

Bump

Gizlotsmum Mon 04-Apr-16 17:09:23

No advice but mine are a similar age, they have their lovely moments but today has been hell... I end up shouting which I hate but all they do is bicker.. Sorry no help but lots of empathy

Gizlotsmum Mon 04-Apr-16 17:10:18

My saving grace is I work part time so get adult time and a break from them.

RandomMess Mon 04-Apr-16 17:12:03

How supportive is your partner, do they do their fair share around the house and with the dc?

Do you share your feelings with your partner, sometimes just verbalising how awful you feel can help you be more positive day to day.

What do you do for you on a regular basis?

RudeElf Mon 04-Apr-16 17:13:10

Are you having fun as a family? Are you doing things that you enjoy doing with the kids rather than just doing things they enjoy? Is there a new hobby you could take up as a family that you would enjoy? Do you get quality 1:1 time with each DC? I find it really helps to be reminded that they are people just like you with charming aspects of their personality that you might not always appreciate. What do you like about them? Are they (individually) great joke tellers or acrobats or artists or gamers or story tellers? What are they great at?

daisydalrymple Mon 04-Apr-16 17:24:45

In what way do you feel trapped?
Are they stopping you from working / progressing at work?
Is it more of a social thing and not being able up do what you want when you want?
Do you and your dp get equal time to have time out and time together?

Children can be hard work, especially if you don't have a lot of support around. I'm a SAHM, by choice, and I wouldn't change that, but I hadn't anticipated how relentless it is sometimes (dcs 9, 6, 17mo).

daisydalrymple Mon 04-Apr-16 17:26:42

I took ages to write that and random and rudeelf have written much more helpful posts than me in the meantime grin

plantsitter Mon 04-Apr-16 17:28:44

Are you at home with them and is it the Easter Holidays? If so, have a rethink in a week (or whenever the holidays are over). wink

RudeElf Mon 04-Apr-16 17:49:43

I agree, holidays are like a magnified X1000 version of all the annoying things kids do. Mine were back at school today and i feel ten times happier this evening than those stressful days they were off.

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 19:18:28

Thanks everyone, was just getting them off to bed.
I do work part time, and they aren't holding me back in my career, but it is hard to carve out any time for myself. Work is really full on and stressful so it doesn't give me much breathing space. If I ever get a couple of hours off then I feel so different, the joy of walking down the street at a normal pace rather than alternately running in a panic or going at snails pace, sitting in a calm and quiet house, it makes me miss it so much. DH and I are in the same boat, he works long hours and sometimes works away and puts in his fair share at the weekends and does pickups and bedtimes when I am at work, but there just isn't enough time for us both to have a reasonable break on a regular basis. I don't think it affects him as much though, I feel I need a quiet breathing space but he copes better with the relentlessness.
Eldest is going through a horrible whiny phase and youngest through a nightmare whingy crying phase (cries for an hour every morning because she doesn't like her tights, top, hair, etc etc; by the time we leave the house I am frazzled).
It will get easier when youngest starts school in September as I will have 2 school days off, but I feel bad that I am wishing the next few months away.
Rudeelf I think that is what I need to try and do; discover a fun way of spending time together. There is just never any headspace time to plan anything. And their interests are very different so it is hard to get something they both enjoy. DS spends far too much time on the computer which I feel really guilty about (but he loves it).

annandale Mon 04-Apr-16 19:22:32

'wishing the next few months away'

I have been guilty of this at times but the thing is that it will be DRAMATICALLY easier with the youngest at school, it really will. God, school is amazing.

Do you have any parents or siblings you could beg for a weekend, or even a sleepover? We all get our clockwork run down at times.

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 19:23:08

Gizlots mum that's what prompted me to post earlier; I ended up literally screaming at them in the car on the way to the childminders. It worked (they stopped crying and started laughing as they were so shocked/nervous) but it actually gave me a sore throat, I roared so loudly. Not a great moment.
However I have now had a break today and I feel quite a bit better, we spent an hour potting up some seeds together when they got home which everyone enjoyed. Now have 4 days on my own with them though; eeek,

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 19:26:12

DH's parents are great with them, and are happy to have them for a weekend, but they are so good, they make it look so effortless and you can tell they are actually enjoying playing for hours, that it makes me feel really worthless. Plus the kids are spoiled there and come back with even worse behaviour than before. And for some reason I feel guilty the whole time I am away from them, even though I know they are having a far better time with grandma and grandad then they do at home.
God, I wonder where the kids get their whining from (I sound just like them!)

MewlingQuim Mon 04-Apr-16 19:33:51

Don't feel bad, what you are feeling sounds pretty normal to me wine

I spent many years trying to conceive a child and finally succeeded. DD was well and truly wanted then and still is, but my god the whiny whiny whiny can be relentless and leave me hiding in a dark, silent room grin

LeaLeander Mon 04-Apr-16 19:37:12

Sounds grim. Maybe it will get better when both are in school and as they age and you all can do more interesting things as a family. The whining and crying over clothing selection, etc. would do me in. I'd be hard pressed not to deal harshly with such pointless disruption.

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 19:51:55

I had a couple of glasses of wine over easter weekend, when the kids were in bed, and told the grandparents that I had been much happier before the kids were here, and they just looked at me, they couldn't comprehend why anyone would feel that way about such angelic children (!!)
If you have any ideas for dealing with the disruption lealeander I would be very grateful!
DH and I are both pretty useless at discipline; I am fantastic at reading parenting books but am just as clueless at the end of it, can't seem to put it into practice. DH just goes with his instinct, and I like to watch and criticise even though I have no idea how to do it myself.
Having said that, I don't think I have ever rewarded a child for whining, I thought they were supposed to stop if you didn't give in. Not in my experience.
I think we are stuffed.

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 19:53:29

I love mumsnet, it is amazing how much better pouring it all out makes you feel! Plus knowing others feel the same.

LeaLeander Mon 04-Apr-16 20:02:07

My ideas wouldn't go down well here. smile

I just don't understand how they get to the point where they feel free to whine, cry, make a scene, defy direction etc. We did what we were told to do. My parents weren't abusive or mean, they were quite kind and rather quiet, reserved people -- and we turned out to be creative, non-traumatised, successful adults. It just didn't occur to kids back then to question every command or parental direction the way they do now.

"Here are your clothes for today; get yourselves washed and dressed and be down for breakfast in 15 minutes, so we aren't late for school." And we did it. "Come to dinner." We came. "Put your toys away." We did.

Maybe it's because we didn't get much screen time (there were no screens except one small black and white TV) so parents, teachers and neighbor adults were the only "talking heads" we heard from and they were to be obeyed. We didn't hear a constant stream of jabber from other sources, so perhaps the words of adults penetrated more? Just guessing.

I personally would remove all, and I mean, all screens from the children for at least three months and see what happens. Let them read or be read to, draw, do creative play with toys, talk to one another, sleep, run around outdoors, etc. We were read to each evening for at least half an hour, until we could read ourselves, and looked forward to the stories. So what if your son loves the computer? He'll learn to love other things. Have him plan and plant a little garden (in containers if necessary) to watch and nurture through the summer, or keep a diary or ??? I was writing plays for the class to perform when I was 7. Not good ones but it kept me occupied and the teacher liked it.

Mostly I think you just have to wait it out though.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Apr-16 20:12:38

It gets better. I felt exactly the same when DS was between 3 and 5. Six was better and seven is a dream in comparison but I'd imagine when you have two, the younger one is pulling the older one down to their level.

It is hard, it is thankless, you DON'T have to enjoy every second. The grandparents do because it's novel and because they don't get to have them all the time, and, yep, because they can shut them up with sweets, which as a parent you don't have the luxury of doing unless you want to deal with the fallout.

One day I struggled so much to get DS to the childminder that the next door neighbour, who was walking down the street in the opposite direction said "Hello, how are you?" innocently and I started sobbing on her blush poor woman! She was lovely, and completely understood, her boys being 1 and 3 years older than mine.

Just some things which helped me cope when I was struggling:

Every day try to think of one thing you've done with them which you enjoyed. Just one thing, not the whole day, not some enriching activity, just one thing even if it was a fleeting moment. For several weeks with DS my bit that I enjoyed was the same every day - kicking a conker together on the way home. I used to worry that it mattered that there was only one thing I liked doing with him. Some days, the bit I enjoyed was bedtime, which at the time made me feel shit. I couldn't even find one thing in the whole day to enjoy. But now when I look back I'm glad that I took the time to think of what I enjoyed, because I now have lovely memories of those bedtimes, the special cuddle routine he used to want to do, and honestly I don't remember the hard bits. I know that it was hard, I know that I struggled, I know that I seriously considered walking out and getting on a train to nowhere in particular, but what I remember is those small things that I took the time to focus on at the end of every day.

Looking at them through the lens of a camera can help. You can literally edit out the bad bits and make it perfect which is soothing (I found it so, anyway). This also reminds you that everyone else's photos on facebook where they are having a great time - also the pick of the bunch.

Stop feeling guilty about screen time. Screen time is fine. DC need computer literacy for the future. It's really okay to use it to give yourself a break, too. Not everything has to be enriching and educational all the time. You do need to look after your own needs before you can look after other people's. It's also perfectly fine for you to have a break, you deserve it!

Ask your GP to refer you for blood tests to check if you're deficient in anything and your thyroid is working properly. These things can become depleted after having children. If you really can't/don't want to, get a multivitamin, or some vitamin D.
(Also, read this)

Reading hilarious blogs where parents admit to being terrible, so it made me feel better: www.renegademothering.com/2011/05/15/wait-i%E2%80%99m-supposed-to-play-with-my-kids/

One last thing one of my friends said to me - set yourself up to win. Don't try to have perfect days all the time where you're trying new things and it's all going to go amazingly. Just stick to things which are tried and tested and you know they will go for without a fuss. Kind of the pared down version of grandparents bribing with sweets, just let things go if they aren't of high importance, especially as you know you'll find things easier in a few months when school starts. It's NOT that important that they eat a fully balanced and varied diet, it's important that you offer them something to eat. It's not that important that they spend all day doing educational activities or even have under X amount of screen time, it's important that they spend a decent proportion of the day not annoying you or each other. It's not that important to validate every wish and emotion and stray thought that they have if a straightforward behaviourist discipline plan with rewards and penalties (pasta jar?) is more effective (I fell down on this one!) If that all makes sense? Just go for the easy wins, even if it's not what you want or what you think a "good mother" does. When you're feeling less depleted, then you can make adjustments and changes, but it's really okay to operate on bare minimum especially when you're feeling strained.

flowers Hope things improve for you soon. The better weather should, also, help.

wonderwoo Mon 04-Apr-16 20:35:19

Thank you for that post Bertie. I needed to read that today. Love my kids (similar ages to yours OP) but I am not finding it easy at the moment. I need to make some changes, but it helps to know I am not alone, so thanks too to OP for your post.

Sagethyme Mon 04-Apr-16 20:43:58

lealeander you have a point. My dd (5) was so vial at onepoint we banned TV. Her behaviour has improved measurably and TV is now a rare treat, and is a film (of my choosing only). I think a lot of TV characters really do influence children, Peppa pig, Ben and Holly, Katie Morage all brats.
OP i whole heartedly agree, having children is relentless, and of course grandparents normally get the best from their grandchildren, also grandparents know when they are having their grandchildren, so they have time to enjoy their company. When smalls are at home, i find i get frustrated at the endless housework, meal making washing up etc, and constant interruptions, i dont think the endless rain helps either, my Dc are much better outside than indoors!
But i had no idea how challenging being a parent can be. i sometimes think the Victorians had the right idea about children being seen and not heard!!

Epictantrum Mon 04-Apr-16 21:05:40

Thanks bertie and lealander. flowers to wonderwoo

RudeElf Mon 04-Apr-16 21:09:59

Wrt the whining, not sure if its a tactic you have tried but when mine did it (they dont anymore- youngest one will try it now and again but gets short shrift) i would speak firmly saying "i cannot hear what you say when you whine, i can hear you when you calm down and talk properly" it works because more important to them than whining (unless exhausted beyond reason) is getting what they want and what they want is for me to listen and acknowledge what they are saying.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 04-Apr-16 21:18:27

ah Epic don't despair. My two are 6 and 10, only a few years older than yours and this Easter DH and I have been marvelling at all the stuff we can do now as a family. Dinners are a joy ( i.e. we eat food we all like together without a fuss), we have been for a long bike ride and today walked the cliff paths and had lunch at a cafe. All without any issues.

DH has also cleared the garden while the DC's entertain themselves. I am relaxed about computer time btw provided they get some exercise and don't get grumpy.

It really and honestly does get better in no time at all.

My only dread now is getting pregnant again and spoiling it all, hence DH is going for the snip very soon!

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