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Has anyone ever 'started again' as a parent ??

(14 Posts)
BBJ Sat 30-Aug-08 21:19:38

Hiya. I have 3 young kids (all under 6) and lately have really felt as though I'm not the parent I once was or set out to be. I seem to veer between a happy, 'Let's Go Out and Have Fun!' mum to (more often than not I'm afraid) a tired and stressed mum who does very little with her kids and let's them watch Cbeebies far more than I'd admit to at Toddler groups. I'm nowhere near as patient as I once was (it was so much easier when I just had one!!) Without going off-topic too much, over the last 3 yrs I've had problems with my marriage and I'm ashamed to say that my kids have witnessed a few nasty rows as a result of this - I'm not talking masses of violence and swearing - but certainly not very pleasant arguments. I worry about the effect this now has on them as they can be a little anxious sometimes and don't like my husband and I being alone together (fyi we've since had counselling and are sorting things out). I'm so sick though of feeling guilty as a mum - that I don't do enough with them and am always 'shoo'ing' them away to have time by myself (I do have genuine problems with fatigue and can't work out if that's just a motherhood thing!!)My question (long-winded I know!) is: have you ever started again and become a better parent and if so, how old were your kids? How did you do it? Do you have relapses? Did you feel your (old) behaviour / parenting style was starting to have an affect on your kids? I only say this because my eldest (aged 5) has gone from a very sweet little one to a child who gets angry easier than I think she ought to and who hits out at her siblings (we don't smack her but occasionally smack her siblings on the bottom - but pls can I not have the anti-smacking brigade on me because I know I shouldn't smack at all and it's smthg I don't feel great about)....sorry, long-winded rambling post from me again....if anyone can relate, I'd love to hear back. Sick of feeling like a crap mum and every day saying "right, tomorrow I'll be different" - and I never am. On the plus-side, they do get lots of cuddles and I love you's and are quick to do the same with us.

justaboutagrownup Sat 30-Aug-08 21:24:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AMumInScotland Sat 30-Aug-08 21:48:41

I think most of us can relate to the "I'm just not good enough" feelings - we'd all like to be more patient, have more energy, deal better with behaviour etc. It sounds like you've been through it lately, but well done on the counselling and continuing to work at your relationship. I don't know if you can change completely, because you're always still yourself and the past is always there. All you can do is take it one step at a time and not beat yourself up about it.

FWIW I don't think getting up one morning and saying "it's going to be different" works, because something will soon come along to rain on your parade (sorry, not meaning to be a downer, but life just keeps happening however much we say we're going to do things differently!)

But you can make changes, and try to do things "better" more often. And when you slip you just have to give yourself a shake and carry on.

Your children will get over the anxiousness of seeing the rows, now that they see you getting on well together. If you do have a bit of a disagrement, you can also let them see you sort it out, apologise to each other etc, so that they understand it is only one part of a relationship and doesn't mean there is a problem.

HTH

jvs Sat 30-Aug-08 21:59:20

Hello, bet your not crap parants!!!!!!
I had a period of about 3 months where I was working quite a bit,ds seemed to be endlessly ill,I was stressed as hell,fed up with every thing and on the days that we could have gone out ended up catching up on house work and washing whilst sticking ds in front of the tv..... he was grumpy I was grumpy and all we seemed to do was argue over everything!!! As much as I hate to say it (cant stand his father and would never give him credit for anything normally!!!) but ds went to his fathers for a week at the begginig of the summer .... it was hell,i hated every minute without him and worried like hell about him. But I also caught up on sleep,sterilised the house,ate well,went out a few times and generally had a break from everthing. Since he has come back it has been almost perfect, I am less stressed,he is less grumpy and on the whole it all some how seems much easier! Am not suggesting you post your kids off somewhere for a week but a bit of a break (even if it is just a day to get the house sorted) really made the difference for us!
Good luck to you!!!!! Think the fact the weather has been so awful all summer does not help!
XXXXX

serin Sat 30-Aug-08 22:26:05

((((((big hug)))))))

I had 3 under 5 and I agree its not easy, what worked for me was just taking one day at a time and not setting too many goals.

When I just had the one, everything had to be just perfect, (even used to make fish fingers from fresh!!) but with two tots and a baby it was enough to survive the day!

Am wondering if you are depressed at all? Do you have an understanding health visitor who could maybe arrange some extra help for you?
Hasn't the government spent millions on the Sure Start initiative to help families?? wink.

You don't sound like a bad mum to me, just an exhausted one.

PavlovtheCat Sat 30-Aug-08 22:28:45

Have you had your thyroid tested? can make you very tired...

Lio Sat 30-Aug-08 22:31:43

What a brilliant question! Sometimes when I think I am being a crap parent (too much TV, too many sweets etc. that give me a bit of a break, nasty shouting at them etc) I think to myself 'It's not too late, dh and I can make new rules at some point in the future', so yes, I hope it is possible. For an example, I think of people who've made TV limit rules, or got rid of their TV altogether. I hope I'm right, and I hope we both find inspiration on your thread from people who have managed to change their parenting.

Janni Sat 30-Aug-08 22:58:01

I find children are very in the moment and, unless they're hungry, tired or wired on sugar, are generally very amenable to a happy mum vibe. They won't hold anything against you, they'll be fine with you changing your approach as long as they sense that you are solid and confident.

One step at a time, one hour at a time.

Litchick Sun 31-Aug-08 08:40:23

Rule Number 1- don't beat yourself up about what's past.
I was a child care lawyer for ten years, so trust me, your parenting is far from poor.
I agree with the prvious poster who says you can't just change things wholesale. Today, the children will watch no TV, eat spinach and never be shouted at will be too much for you and your children in one go.
Make small changes that will make an appreciable difference.
Last Summer holidays seemed to be stressful so in an attempt to change things around I decided we would go out everyday - park, woods, a walk through the fields - whatever, so that we would all get some fresh air and a break from screens and an opportunity to chat.
It has worked a treat and we have all been ever so happy. Less screen time so less berating, no access to junk food. If the weather has been kind we have stretched these outings for upwards of six hours. As long as I have sarnies, apples and a few bags of crisps in the car we are good to go.

Litchick Sun 31-Aug-08 08:48:52

Another thing about screens - we instigated the Maddonna rule ie movies instead of telly.
We were finding that sky telly just runs and runs and hours can drift past in an americanised haze so I said they could chose a movie to watch.
This is finite and we can talk about it afterwards. This Summer has been very Star Wars. wink

cheesychips Sun 31-Aug-08 08:57:08

Agree with Lio, brilliant post! and much to ring bells with all of us (I also have 3 under 5)

Perhaps (and I don't know) the key is to change 1 thing at a time e,g, think about how much TV is ok with you and stick to it. However more important than TV by far is to be nice to yourself. There are no perfect mummies (Boden Mummy is a myth) and the fact that you care so much about getting it right makes you a damn good one in my eyes.

You NEED time alone and they wont suffer for it.

Sorry rambling like a mad woman now, but just wanted to add my thoughts as they came (in a mess grin)

justgotbfp Sun 31-Aug-08 09:19:51

I can relate to the way you describe you feel but not to your situation as I only have one ds (though that is going to change) He is what I have seen described on here as a sensitive, high needs child and boy does he do my head in. I feel daily that I am doing it all wrong. At night time I try to think of what I like the least about my parenting and then try to think of ways I could address it or tackle it differently iykwim. For example I didn't like the feeling of not giving ds enough time so I introduce mummy and ds time every day. It has to be at least 10 minutes at a time and at least for 30 minutes total during the day. If I do that I try not to feel too bad for the other 90 percent of the day that I am too busy, too tired etc to do what he wants. BTW off topic for original poster but re tv we have a weekday ban but can watch on weekends (we will usually tape things or get dvds) behaviour is definately affected by tv in this house which is why we limit it and it has made huge improvement but he does look more to me for his entertainment than he did hence the mummy and ds time.

justgotbfp Sun 31-Aug-08 09:23:30

I can relate to the way you describe you feel but not to your situation as I only have one ds (though that is going to change) He is what I have seen described on here as a sensitive, high needs child and boy does he do my head in. I feel daily that I am doing it all wrong. At night time I try to think of what I like the least about my parenting and then try to think of ways I could address it or tackle it differently iykwim. For example I didn't like the feeling of not giving ds enough time so I introduce mummy and ds time every day. It has to be at least 10 minutes at a time and at least for 30 minutes total during the day. If I do that I try not to feel too bad for the other 90 percent of the day that I am too busy, too tired etc to do what he wants. BTW off topic for original poster but re tv we have a weekday ban but can watch on weekends (we will usually tape things or get dvds) behaviour is definately affected by tv in this house which is why we limit it and it has made huge improvement but he does look more to me for his entertainment than he did hence the mummy and ds time.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 31-Aug-08 09:37:41

BBJ, I totally know where you are coming from. I have had a few very rough years due to depression after some pretty harrowing and difficult personal things going on, including two miscarriages and the death of both my parents. My DH and I have had a very tough start to our marriage and I feel my DS, 6, has seen far more stress and upset than a young lad should. He has gone from being a happy go lucky three year old to being reserved and sulky and very quick to get aggressive and have tantrums. I know a lot of it is to do with my parenting skills (or lack thereof blush) and I am very quick to lose my temper with him, which of course is mirrored straight back at us. I am trying to change, but with a 14mo old DD and another on the way, as well as the depression and dealing with them on my own as DH works away half the week, it isn't bloody easy.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that you're not alone in this and you really aren't a bad parent; just one who is finding things tough (repeats this mantra to herself)
I recently bought the book "how to talk...." which has had lots of mentions on here, and it is helping me pinpoint the flaws in the way I deal with DS and how to turn them around.

It is very difficult not to beat onesself up about it though, epsecially if, like me, you fnd yourself resorting to the way your parents brought you up which might not have been ideal. I certainly have days where I hate the person I've become as I'm so different from who I was a few years ago, and the kind of parent I thought I'd be when I first had DS.

My DH is great though (now we are over the stress and the arguments and try to keep our disagreements, such as they are, away from the children); he says that he knows the old "me" is in there. All I have to do now is find her sad

And there is also a lot of love in our family as well. I find focussing on the good times is a good way of getting over the humps smile

Take Care xx

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