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Just want to beat up on myself for a minute :(

(34 Posts)
Nic04 Tue 26-Apr-05 03:17:40

I have a ds who is 4.8 and I'm in my late thirties. Dh is mid-forties & he has a couple of adult children from first marriage, so basically ds is an only child. The problem is that even though I love ds very much (and tell him every day), I'm finding it harder to be tolerant, particularly if I'm tired. This is making me feel really down about myself at the moment as it's not ds' fault that he's nearly 5 and is obviously going to do things that 'bug' me sometimes, because that is what kids do. And the thing that really bothers me is I remember all too well that my mother used to snap at me when I was a child whenever she was in a bad mood. I remember the hurt it caused me when she would turn on me with a scowling face and berate me even when I'd done nothing wrong, and this led me to believe that she probably just didn't like me. I vowed I would not do this to my own child but my patience gets the better of me sometimes (no doubt my age is also a factor), and this morning I just sat down and cried because I told my son off for something that probably didn't warrant a 'telling off'.

He's been getting up in the morning on his own for quite a while now, he generally plays with his toys or watches tv and he has no problems changing his own clothes and getting himself food or drink. While I'm not a late riser, I struggle to get a good night's sleep most of the time (have had quite a bit of insomnia for the last few years) and for some unknown reason, the last few mornings ds has woken me up early just for the sake of it. To top it off, dh is away regularly with his job so I'm on my own with ds a lot. I went off at him this morning and gave him a lecture about not waking me up unnecessarily and then for the next hour I was cranky & impatient with him while I was trying to get him ready for pre-school. After I dropped him off I wondered exactly how bad I'm making him feel about himself. I try to praise him regularly and tell him every day that I love him, I know I do A LOT of good things for him as well but I'm just getting tired of my own intolerance. Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself but then perhaps I'm expecting too much of a four year old as well. BTW I do take something to help me sleep sometimes and I also try to take 'time out' to enjoy myself, but I just think I should be much more patient than I sometimes am. Please tell me I'm not alone

Chandra Tue 26-Apr-05 03:56:09

Definitively not alone. I think that most of us find out that we start to act just like our parents when we get our children, even when we said we would never do something like that. It's like a day to day battle against some kind of programming done to you as a child. It is a bit difficult sometimes, but is seems to me like you are trying your best and so is your DS, and IMO you are doing very well, you have a child that it is very independant.

In practical terms, I would speak to him and explain him that I am having some long nights lately so I may feel a bit tired and need some little peace and quiet early in the morning. It also helps if you don't wait until you are about to explode and snap, but let some steam off during the day. If you think you really are about to snap, get out of the room before you do so, get a shower, go for a walk, or sit in front of the TV even for a few minutes before going back to your child and explaining again why you are tired and feeling like that. Start saying something positive and then go inot the difficult stuff.


Nic04 Tue 26-Apr-05 11:31:10

Thanks Chandra. It's awful to see & hear yourself doing stuff that you always said you would never do, because your parents did it to you. The one thing I wanted my son to have was confidence and I don't want to affect how he feels about himself.

Because he IS fairly independent and headstrong, I think that is what gets me going sometimes. I get sick of telling him several times to do something and I feel like some things are a constant battle. But all in all he's a lovely child, and a lot of the things he does are normal. I just wish I was a better parent

Blu Tue 26-Apr-05 12:01:41

Hi Nic.
What time is he waking you, and how long does he look after himself for in the mornings? He may well be feeling a bit lonely, and it's flattering that he wants his Mummy to be with him.

I am really sympathising with the feelings you are having, and went through a lot of that myself - and then finally realised I had low-level depression. Do you think that could be affecting you? Disturbed sleep and the feelings you describe sound v familiar to me!

It sounds as if you are being hard on yourself- and also expecting a lot from him - just as you yourself describe. Could you come down with him and start your day slowly on the sofa half awake with a coffee while he watches TV?

Pinotmum Tue 26-Apr-05 12:02:20

Nico4, alot of what you have written could have come from me. I have a dd of the same age and she is head strong, independent, stubborn as well as bright, witty and gorgeous. I sometimes worry we will grow apart from all my nagging and all her refusing iyswim. I know I expect too much of her for her age. I just hope it's a phase we can work through and come out the other side without her resenting me.

gscrym Tue 26-Apr-05 12:05:51

That's what I do. Mine is a 2 yr 8 month ball of energy that never stops but I lie on the couch in my jammies until I can get myself going. Try to have some time for you when the little one's at school.
I get really cranky with ds sometimes which is made worse when he comes over and says 'oh, it's alright mummy, no shout, sit down, I love you'.

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 12:19:43

I wanted to start a thread like this today too! Have been in SUCH a foul mood with mine today and a couple of days a week for many months now-I snap at them for all the wrong things they do and feel so guilty about it-I think mine is stemming from a complete sense of disatisfaction with my life-I'm broke,fat,stuck in a Groundhog day movie of a life and have a general apathy about changing any of it!

dropinthe Tue 26-Apr-05 12:20:32

And my mother had depression most of her life so know how it feels like to be on receiving end!

majorstress Tue 26-Apr-05 12:31:15

you've probably already tried various things many times, but there is better and better advice for sleep problems for adults-I have really improved recently after years of problems-can you try your GP just on this issue?

You need to train yourself to sleep (never mind babies!)-do you want some tips? maybe I know some you haven't already tried.

EVERYONE has bad days, no matter who they are and what their circumstances-everyone loses it with their own kids, they are really hard work! and one feels so responsible for them, but too tired to cope some or most of the time.

majorstress Tue 26-Apr-05 12:35:00

my dd1 age 4.5 uses one of those silent rabbit alarm clocks-she isn't allowed to make noise or come out of her room (unless sick or needs toilet) until the ears go up and he wakes up -also has total blackout curtains and a nightlight next to him so she doesn't get the morning sun waking her. It works but he is set for 7 am though, we have to get up then anyway.

Fimbo Tue 26-Apr-05 13:12:46

Where did you get the clock Majorstress?

jamiesam Tue 26-Apr-05 13:21:58

Nic04. More small child stress here. Ds1 is 3.7 and can drive me up the wall. TBH I think he is getting over his 'terrible 3's' phase at the moment, but I know there will be another phase just round the corner. However, in the meantime, I know that I am far too shouty with him and have to use other coping/discipline strategies.

Never underestimate how much being tired will make it harder for you to cope. I know you will already know this, but I think you do need to give yourself permission to be a bit ratty - and explain to your ds when you are like that. I think my parents never really did much explanation along those lines, so that's my main resolve.

Also, don't underestimate those things that you do. You mention in passing that you tell your ds you love him every day. That is a BIG THING. I found myself telling my ds that I loved him the other day, and realised that I couldn't remember when I'd last said it like I really meant it. He'd been really lovely all day, and when I said 'night night I love you', I was genuinely sad that I'd perhaps been saying it but not really meaning it. Or perhaps not saying it all that often.

You are definitely not alone.

sommer2000 Tue 26-Apr-05 13:24:25

My DS(3) has a rabbit clocl too. got it from blooming marvellous price 19.99. He's only had it three days but definitely better.
Can see picture at http//\.(hope this works) I got mine from blooming marvellous as needed other things so got 10% off

sommer2000 Tue 26-Apr-05 13:28:28

sorry don't know how to get link to work

majorstress Wed 27-Apr-05 11:26:36

the clock was a gift but I think it came from a mail order place like the great little something-or-other company-oh I'm not sure. It has been discussed before on mumsnet, try a search? or a google search. It's is rather delicate and I quickly had to put it well out of reach-but minus one ear already and very touchy to set! Still it works for us quite well.

Maybe the ds needs to do the star chart thing and save up a few stars for a treat like a trip out with dad/gran/family friend (while you relax!) to zoo whatever at the weekend. Next time he gets cross or angry himself, you could take the opportunity to tell him to think about how bad he feels and that even grown-ups feel like that too, including his mum! He is old enough to start considering others feelings-it's not unreasonable to try with him.

bubble99 Wed 27-Apr-05 11:49:21

Nic04. I'm so pleased that you've started this thread. I feel exactly the same for too much of the time. Like you my mum was not exactly a ray of sunshine when I was growing up. As a result we've never had a particularly close relationship.
I now see and hear myself repeating her patterns of behaviour and I really worry that my boys will suffer. I know they love me, but for too much of the time I feel I am snappy and negative. We have been very recently bereaved and, while it has made me love and appreciate my family more, it has also made moody and intolerant. I can totally identify with the snapping for no good reason, I did just that yesterday afternoon to DS1 who is 7. I feel like crap as soon as I've done it and I always genuinely apologise but I worry that the drip, drip effect of my behaviour is damaging them.

Nic04 Wed 27-Apr-05 13:08:45

Thanks for the responses. It's awful isn't it bubble99, knowing what effect your own parents had on you and then for some unknown reason, repeating similar behaviour with your own kids.

The other thing I find hard is sitting down and doing activities with him (I know this is fairly common), but I do take him out often for outings and playdates. Dh and I have taken him on several holidays and we always try to do things together at weekends, but if we're at home (ds & I) I find it so hard to just sit and play with him, so he is quite used to entertaining himself. I think depression does come into this, as I generally find it hard to get motivated and I'm sure the sleeping problems are also related.

Don't get me wrong, ds and I do manage to have fun together quite often and I'm very conscious of his well-being, but I just wish I was better at the whole parenting thing - I'd love to be one of those mothers who spends lots of time doing different activities with their child every day, and mostly I would LOVE to be laid-back and calm about everything. Would love to also be much less introspective

majorstress Wed 27-Apr-05 13:44:07

I saw a little bit of a tv program once I think it was by that nice black chap with glasses called Alvin something-or-other, kind of a TV financial advise guy, he was trying to help a stressed out mum with no time. (just looked him up it was Alvin Hall. I probably was too tired to reach the remote to change the channel!!!)

Anyway something he said to her has stuck with me...something like "You are their mother. NOT their playmate. It is not your duty to play kid's games with them, but it is your job to make sure they make friends and can see OTHER CHILDREN, so that you can meanwhile do all the other essential duties and look after yourself too." This released some of my own guilt, for some reason it struck a chord. He's right you know.

If you do make some time to play, do something YOU need or enjoy-for example yesterday in my case dds age 2 and 4.5 went on a local nature walk (on the way somewhere else) collecting leaves and flowers with me (and talking about what we saw), they could stick them on paper or something while I got chores done later, since I can't be bothered with doing artwork with kids. But I still contributed to their fun A LOT. They were delighted. And I enjoyed it too, and got some much needed exercise and fresh air since we could have driven instead, that otherwise wouldn't have happened-very important for MY mental health and sleep patterns. A year ago I would have really worried that dinner would be late if we went for the walk, now I wonder why I cared? (Probably because the then one year old would have cried throughout because she was hungry!!! I just remembered)

wordsmith Wed 27-Apr-05 13:56:15

Hi Noc04, sorry you feel like this, but rest assured you are not alone. One of the things I've found hardest to deal with as a parent is the lack of 'me' time, and how your schedule always has to be planned around your child's waking and sleeping times. And I agree totally about doing activities with kids, I don't have the patience for it and find it majorly boring, and I feel really guilty about it - I have friends (SAHMs) who spend the whole day 'playing' with their toddlers and to me that is my idea of hell. Majorstress's comments about what Alvin Hall said are so right. Some of us just need more 'me' time or adult time than others.

Are you a SAHM? I work part-time and find it a lifesaver, even though I'm self employed and not earning much - if anything! - at the mo, just focussing on adult tasks is really refreshing. Also having the occasional night out, if possible without other mummies so you don't spend the whole time talking about your kids.

I love my kids to pieces and they are the best 'things' I have ever 'done', but I could no more spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focusing entirely on them than I could fly to the moon. I'm not cut out for it and neither are a lot of mums. This doesn't make us bad, or even worse parents than those who can!

vivie Wed 27-Apr-05 14:08:28

Majorstress, I'd love your sleeping tips please!
Nic04, I wake v early when I'm feeling anxious, and I get anxious about RIDICULOUS things - I think it's a depression thing. I always feel I can cope much better when I've had enough sleep, but when I haven't just about every little thing gets me down, which makes sleeping harder. You are not alone!

bubbly1973 Wed 27-Apr-05 19:44:44

nic, thanks for starting this thread, sometimes i feel similar to you...and i know im doing it, yet cant stop myself, but i am getting much better now....pointless post from me really, just to say that you are not alone with feeling like this

i think we all do it from time to time, we know we do it, we try to learn from it and be better parents, but we are human and we have emotions and sometimes we go for the nearest person to us to vent frustration out on, as it happens its the children that are nearest as we are looking after them.

you have realised you are doing this, that is a good thing surely, try to be a better person tomorrow, thats what i tell myself anyway, sometimes i am a brilliant mum, sometimes not such a brilliant mum, but all i know is that i love my ds and he knows this so at least im doing something right

hope you manage to get better sleep, perhaps a visit to the doctors is due?

look after yourself

Nic04 Wed 27-Apr-05 22:45:15

Majorstress, I meant to ask you for your sleeping tips too

Wordsmith I am a SAHM but I've been studying for the last three years which has kept me quite busy. Towards the end of last year, dh started up a business with another colleague (he still works at his main job) and they wanted me to do the admin & setting up of the company. It was quite busy to begin with so I thought I'd defer my studies for a year, to concentrate on helping out with the business. Unfortunately there have been several delays in getting it started and so I'm really not doing much at the moment, since I've now deferred my studies. I know I need to get involved in something again, either paid work or voluntary work, but am having trouble finding the right thing. Guess I'm in a bit of a rut.

I do make time for myself to get together with friends & other mums sometimes, so that hasn't really been the problem - I think it's more that I feel frustrated & down a lot of the time (not to mention tired) because perhaps I'm not really doing anything that's fulfilling me. I don't like the idea that I might be taking my own feelings out on ds and being harder on him than I should be when he does something I don't like. At least I'm conscious of it I suppose.. I'll just have to work harder at controlling it. Easier said than done though

Fran1 Wed 27-Apr-05 22:59:13

Sorry if i repeat anyone else, havn't read all the post, but just wanted to say

you're not alone!! i feel like this often, i juggle a parttime job working from home and various other things in my life. I have realised when i get to the stage you're now at of stress levels, i need to cross a few days in my diary for just me and dd. Stay in doors with exception of trip to park etc and devote my time to our relationship. I find it works wonderfully but i really have to make myself forget about everything else (which are the stress causes) and spend two or three days playing and "bonding" (at risk of sounding too cringy) with dd.

Willow2 Thu 28-Apr-05 00:14:44

This is exactly how I've been feeling recently too - I spend far too much time stressing about stuff and getting all snappy as a result - and nowhere near enough time just chilling out with ds. I feel like a total nag hag - but I wish I didn't.

Fran1 Thu 28-Apr-05 06:47:42

I've just read your next post about not v good at sitting and playing.

Neither am i when my brain is racing about what else i could/should be doing.
This is the reason for blanking the diary and forcing it upon myself and it works wonders. I try and get all housework and chores done in advance and then devote my time to activities with dd. If you know you havn't got anything better to be doing, it is far easier to enjoy time with your child and good couple of days like this can get you back on track to having a better relationship with your child.

Give it a go, get out the paints, glue, lego, cooking, gardening and make mess and fun with your son.

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