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I don't think I am a 'parent' these days.

(68 Posts)
OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 12:36:17

I don't think I am a parent any more. I am just someone who has the charge of some children. I feel as if I am bumbling along encountering problems and dealing with them as best I can. Being delighted when things go well but not feeling I can claim any credit.

There is so much stuff to deal with - practical, emotional, academic- as well as work and house crap, and then of course the relationship with DH which we need to keep healthy for the children's sake as much as our own.

When I only had two and they were little it felt as if I could control the minutiae, micromanage their diet, their activities, their behaviour. Now I have a 12yr old who seems to go his own sweet way, a 10yr old DD suffering from PMT (I suspect) and the most stubborn 6yr old I have ever known (most sutbborn human being for that matter). They do virtually no after-school stuff - poor DS#2 never has, at his age DS#1 was doing loads. I have arranged things in the past but after a while they lost interest and I've not done any more about it. They eat crap - I cook a good meal every day and I try to make sure they eat a reasonable breakfast and I give them a balanced lunch box but it still seems they eat too much junk. The house is a tip - the boys are cramped up in a room together. DD's room is tiny. Their hw gets done somehow - thank f* DD gets on with hers without nagging and DS#1 doesn't get too much atm or we'd be in real trouble hmm. I just realised they haven't been the to the dentist for over a year shock We usually get a reminder but didn't - no real excuse but I just forgot. I am always forgetting things that need to be done.

You know when you buy a shiny new freezer and it's working beautifully - And you label all the food properly and store it neatly and use things in the right rotation. You clean it out and defrost it regularly. And then 5 years down the line the poor thing hasn't been defrosted for ages, is full of loose peas and stray chips and some home-made soup that spilled on the inside of the drawer. Well that's my DC sad. They get by more by luck than judgement.

TheBalladofGayTony Wed 23-Sep-09 12:38:49

do you want to change?

my mum had 6 of us we didn't really do any 'activities' until we were old enough to sort it out ourselves. but the activity guilt these days is something else.

get a cleaner.

meal plan.

give yourself a break!

TheApprentice Wed 23-Sep-09 12:43:35

sorry you obviously feeling so down. But I think a lot of what you describe is what being a parent is! And I have only 2 tinies, but still feel a lot of the time that I'm just keeping my head above water rather than doing all the wonderful activities I imagined I would. Just being a Mum takes up so much time I think. I'm never on top of household chores etc, but I actually think thats quite normal!

You do need to give yourself a break, as long as your kids are (reasonably) happy then you are doing a good job! Loads of activities etc don't necessarily make for happier/more well rounded children.

BettyTurnip Wed 23-Sep-09 12:44:52

Oh God, so it doesn't get better then? I feel like we're bumbling along now with three dc age 5 and under, I'm always promising to do something with or for them, then it gets sort of sidelined with a vague "Erm, just a minute...I just need to...[insert as appropriate].

I suspect this is more common than you think. We're just made to feel inferior by the uber-mummies who make it all look so easy.

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 12:45:48

tony - I think a cleaner would run a mile ! House too cramped and crowded - we keep it quite clean, just cluttered and over-filled. We need a bigger house - end of!

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 12:48:05

apprentice - yes they are happy mostly. But I do get comments from DD along the lines of 'but we neved do anything' and as it chimes in with my worries, that bothers me more.

betty - I suspect it would be a lot better by now if DS#2 hasn't arrived, or if he has turned out to be a calm easy-going child like the others were - rather than a small and very adorable despot hmm

curlyredhead Wed 23-Sep-09 12:52:14

Do you know what would make things better? If you could wave a magic wand what would you change - job; tidiness; what the kids do after school? Can you change one thing that would improve things a little bit?

TheApprentice Wed 23-Sep-09 12:55:00

Well, if you are getting complaints from your children maybe you could manage 1 activity per child? Or if not perhaps occasionally do something of their choosing at the weekend. The older ones at 12 and 10 will soon be getting to the age when you can just drop them off at something I imagine.

The cramped state of the house does not matter! I know that it probably does to you, I sometimes long for a clean and clutter free living space, but it wont matter a jot to your children and certainly won't have any bearing on their future success/happiness.

Its a very cultural thing, this need to be doing stuff all the time I think. My sister in law is Mexican and has a refreshingly different approach to parenting her 2year old dd. She doesnt go to groups, is quite happy chilling out at home, and thinks all the target and milestones stuff is totally OTT. Now I need to go to toddler groups etc for my own sanity to chat to other Mums, but the point is that observing her I see that there are many different ways to parent, and mine is certainly not superior to hers.

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 12:55:52

curly - So many problems would be solved by moving to a bigger house - a garden that the DC could use (ours is tiny - each child having their own room and some more space - somewhere they can do their hw in peace - I'd be a calmer and happier person. But wishing isn't going to make that happen.

making DS#2 a different child hmm

I need to sort out my head - coming off citalopram atm and struggling - but things have been like this for a while.

TheApprentice Wed 23-Sep-09 12:56:22

Have to go now but hope you cheer up - you sound so down on yourself.

FernieB Wed 23-Sep-09 12:59:27

This post made me smile - you've described my life, pretty much. I feel as though I am the secretary/general dogsbody in a small company sometimes. Every Monday, I start with great intentions to be organised so there'll be time to do other things, but by Wednesday it's gone downhill.

I have managed to stop them eating crap, as I stopped buying it. Mine are also uninterested in activities, although they have joined a club after school this time. I also worry about this especially when I compare them to my sister's kids who are at a different activity nearly every night and also do 2 different things on Saturdays.

randomtask Wed 23-Sep-09 13:03:11

You sound like most of my 'rants' at DH!! I only have one DSS (aged 8) who is wonderfully behaved, does his homework with little nagging, etc but, the house is a tip, we often lose paperwork and although healthy meals do happen, it means DSS having a later night than we'd like as well heck it takes time!

When I'm having these moments I either read (and thus ignore the problem) or DH and I spend a few crazy hours tidying like nutters then decide we've done enough and stop.

How about you make sure you have 1 family day out a month? Doesn't have to be expensive, just so you are doing something. We're in the middle of doing up a house we just bought (not living there) and I'm feeling very guilty that DSS has spent the last month of weekends doing DIY or running about bored. I'm hoping to combine a trip to Ikea with a trip to the cinema this weekend and I'm already worried about the cost...

Oh and whilst I think of it, if you ask all but two of my friends (and anybody who doesn't know me) they'll tell you I'm super organised, my house is always tidy and I'm a great Mum. I feel nothing of these things, I've just learnt to fake it. wink

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 13:05:01

"they'll tell you I'm super organised, my house is always tidy and I'm a great Mum."

Well I am 100% certain that my friends wouldn't say 1 and 2 about me grin They might say 3 as I do have my good days.

curlyredhead Wed 23-Sep-09 13:07:21

No, you can't make the changes by wishing, but by working out what you would do with the wand you can see what's at the top of the list of things irking you and stopping you doing what you want. The house sounds like the top of your list at the moment - is there anything you can do to make it feel bigger? Can you declutter? Or reorganise the kids rooms so that there is less stuff and more homework space?

At 10 and 12 I'd definitely say that the kids could go to things by themselves (as in be at them alone, maybe even get there under their own steam). If they each had an activity one evening a week would that give the other one a definite homework slot in a slightly quieter house?

Reducing medication like citalopram is a trigger time, isn't it? Is it worth talking things over with your GP, is the reduction going too fast maybe?

randomtask Wed 23-Sep-09 13:12:14

Ah see the true friends (the few who know) realise that I'm quite good at blagging and, tidying up the bulk of mess quite quickly!!

In my new house (larger as we're wanting more children) there is a cupboard in the kitchen which is low down. We've already agreed it's the cupboard to shove washing in if people arrive. grin

I think that if you thought your life (and especially family) was going perfectly, there'd be something wrong with you. To be aware of any problems means you're striving to correct them or just improve your life. That to me means you're a good person. Plus, life without trying to improve is dull!

Tell your kids to clear out the mess and you'll take them bowling/cinema. DSS (8) is getting better at tidying as I told him he'd need room for new toys. It's amazing how much he clears out these days!!

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 13:13:53

Thanks curly. I am going to make an appointment to see GP soon as I have other concerns too.

DS#1 does go out independently - and he is the most contented child of the lot. DD is allowed to go to her friends independently but doesn't want to. I would willingly arrange some after-school activities for her but she has lost all enthusiasm - 18m ago she was doing plenty and wanting to do more. DS#1 - maybe. He just likes to play really.

We make the effort to do something each weekend - but last weekend it was just out for Sunday lunch, as so often happens, time tran out.

I know that decluttering would be the very best thing - but I can't even begin to contemplate it sad I know it would be down to me as no-one else could see the need. Perhaps I should tell DH that he has to sort it out to prevent me going crazy with a meat cleaver hmm

cyteen Wed 23-Sep-09 13:18:27

"But I do get comments from DD along the lines of 'but we neved do anything' and as it chimes in with my worries, that bothers me more. "

When she says this, do you ask her what she wants to do? It might be a good springboard to get her thinking about things, e.g What do you want to're interested in X, okay, why don't we go and find out some more about it and where there are some sessions (or whatever)....get her thinking about things realistically.

I only say this because I was full of high-faluting dreams about things I wanted to do, but with no grasp whatsoever of the practicalities: how much hard work was involved, how much commitment, what sort of things I might need to think about, and also what I might get out of doing whatever it was. I was pretty crap tbh grin but a bit of helpful guidance from my mum would have gone a long way.

Disclaimer: I only have one small and he can't even talk yet, so this advice isn't exactly coming from an expert.

Fennel Wed 23-Sep-09 13:19:15

It sounds quite normal to me. and I always think your family sounds lovely when you talk about them on here.

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 13:22:45

Thanks fennel - they are lovely. It's just me that isn't.

cyteen - I do ask her. Often she wants to go swimming which we do - our nearest pool has bee shut and the outdoor one that we like best has closed for the winter. She does go riding but only once a fortnight. What she really wants to do is 'work with animals' but there are no organisation that will take a volunteer at her age.

BirdyArms Wed 23-Sep-09 13:54:17

You sound like you're doing absolutely fine to me. You obviously love your children and that's all they really need. I often think that the mothers who organise loads of after school activities are doing it for their own benefit rather than the children's, they just love being very busy super-mums. Kids have been at school all day and really no reason why they should do anything other than chill out afterwards.

hambo Wed 23-Sep-09 14:00:23

OrmIrian - you have peeked in my freezer haven't you?

(Except you missed out the rogue tupperware box containing mystery items....)

cyteen Wed 23-Sep-09 14:06:10

Oh god I've just remembered the rogue tupperware containing 2 week old prawn stirfry, in my fridge... blush

randomtask Wed 23-Sep-09 14:09:38

Oh that's nothing.

This morning I moved a bag of spinach that didn't quite make it to the fridge and it covered my worktop in murky 'water'.

On Monday I took the milk out of the fridge and it had lumps in it-explains where the smell was coming from. I put it outside the back door as I was in a rush and let DH sort it later. grin

It sometimes bothers me that in my more busy moments I seem to waste food as well as energy by just rushing about too much to be organised.

curlyredhead Wed 23-Sep-09 14:10:04

Yes, I think you should tell your dh how you are feeling. About the house and about things more generally.

"they are lovely. It's just me that isn't. " really jumped out at me. You do sound really down on yourself.

Maybe you should do a list of all things you do do:
- your dd goes horse riding once a fortnight
- you go swimming as a family
- you work outside the house
- you feed three children and get them to school, and get them to do their homework...

That's just the list I can make, from skimming your posts on this thread. What can you add?

I know it's not very mn-y but I'm going to send you a ((hug)) (shh, whisper it).

Oh, wanted to say about your 6yo despot - so know how you feel! But I had mine first (she's nearly 5) and then got my two easy going ones afterwards (though they did come as a package deal grin ) - definitely recommend that as the way round, once you have got the hang of things with the tricky one then the easy ones are a walk in the park by comparison!

OrmIrian Wed 23-Sep-09 14:11:33

Our fridge has just died. It's a fridge freezer and the freezer bit seems OK still. But the fridge is now full of slightly warm bits of salad and clammy cheese.

Which isn't helping my mood TBH hmm

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