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Struggling with parenting - not surprised after what my mother told me today.

(29 Posts)
suiledonn Mon 05-Oct-09 15:07:16

I am finding parenting very difficult. I find it hard to say 'no' and hate seeing my children upset in any way even if it is for their own good.

I was having a chat with my mother on the phone today and just a general moan about my dd's awful bedtime/sleeping habits - a topic I usually avoid because she disagrees with co-sleeping and me breastfeeding 10 month old dd in the night. I am struggling at the moment though and was looking for a little support.

She told me I have to toughen up - just stop feeding the baby at night, put her in her own room and let her cry it out and that she would learn after a few nights.

As an example she said when I was 2 (I had 2 younger siblings before I was 24 months old, they aren't twins!) and the new baby came home I started playing up and was wetting the bed on purpose so one night she smacked me and put me back in the wet bed and I never did it again.

I have tears in my eyes all day for the 2 year old me.

PoisonToadstool Mon 05-Oct-09 15:09:22

that's terrible, suiledonn. What did you say to her when she told you that?

You're doing a wonderful thing for your DD.

suiledonn Mon 05-Oct-09 15:10:30

I said 'I could never do that' and she said she'd had a lot on her plate and had to be tough.

wasabipeanut Mon 05-Oct-09 15:13:23

Jesus, that's so sad

This exemplifies why I see red everytime I hear someone prat on about how awful parents are now and how great it all was in the 70's.

You stick to being kind. x

SpookyAlice Mon 05-Oct-09 15:15:52

Suiledonn sad i understand exactly how you feel. I recently found out some stuff about how my mother treated me as a child and it really affected me.
The only thing i can advise is that you accept it happened, and make a promise to yourself that you will be the best mother possible so that your DD won't ever have something so awful to find out IYSWIM?

I found it very difficult to talk to my mother for a while.

Hassled Mon 05-Oct-09 15:18:23

That's awful, and I can understand why you're upset. But don't necessarily confuse it with deliberate cruelty - parents were a hell of a lot tougher a generation ago, and to your mother that may well have seemed a completely acceptable way to behave. And don't forget she learned her parenting from her parents - do you know what they were like?

preciouslillywhite Mon 05-Oct-09 15:22:46

It maybe wasn't your mum's fault, though, suiledonn- that's the way they were told to do things then...

(eg my mum sitting in the living room crying all night while my 6mo sister wailed upstairs in her room, on her own)

...do you think it did you any lasting damage? If your relationship with your mum has been good for your adult life, I'd be inclined to just let it go. She was only doing what she thought she had to do...

stillstanding Mon 05-Oct-09 15:23:28

Good heavens that is terrible. Poor you, suiledonn. I can't imagine anyone doing that now although it does sound like your mum did have a lot on her plate.

I also find it hard saying no and seeing my DCs upset but it has got to the point now (DS is 2.5) when I can see that my not setting the boundaries is becoming very much a part of the problem so I am trying to be tougher.

Re co-sleeping/bf-ing at night, do you think that you will carry on for much longer? It may be worth thinking about whether you have got to the end of the road on that ... This is very rich coming from me as I bf DS in the night until he was about 18 months old (!) but I do think in retrospect that towards the end I was being a bit indulgent (and trying to give myself the easier road) which was not in either of our interests.

TheProvincialLady Mon 05-Oct-09 15:24:16

It is awful, BUT we don't do our children any favours by not saying no to them etc either. So it sounds like you do need to toughen up a bit for your own emotional well being. Not with regard to your 10m though obviously.

bibbitybobbityCAT Mon 05-Oct-09 15:50:21

Your mother obviously found parenting very tough sometimes too.

suiledonn Mon 05-Oct-09 15:58:52

Thanks for all the repies. A lot to think about here already. I'm going to have to come back to this later. Littles ones needing their dinner now.

Thanks everyone.

Stigaloid Mon 05-Oct-09 16:09:28

bumpsoon Mon 05-Oct-09 17:52:47

TBH i wouldnt dwell on this ,you and your mother have different ideas when it comes to how to parent .People generally were alot stricter when you were little ,thats just how things were ,times change and people try new ways ,sometimes we take a bit from the old and sometimes we ignore what was done in the past. As for not saying no and hating seeing your dd being upset ,thats all well and good ,but should it be at the detriment of your own well being ? What happens when she goes to nursery /school and people say no ? My dd was a year old when i gave up bfing and co-sleeping ,and i had to use a tough love approach and several bottles of wine ,for me not her obviously and your mum was right in that after a few horrendous nights ,she settled happily and my house became an oasis of calmwink. You will reach a stage when you are happy to put your dd in her own room ,until then ,it might be worth coming on here for a vent ,rather than talking to your mother .

PVish Mon 05-Oct-09 17:54:46

my mum tells a story of my db pooing in his pants when he was FIVE cos he was too idle
she made him tidy himself up one day and he never did it again

FABIsInTraining Mon 05-Oct-09 17:58:48

I understand exactly how you feel.

Thankfully I didn't live with my mother but she did tell me she hit me and used to throw me up and down the stairs.

I have brought up 3 kids who won't do as I ask because I have been too soft with them.

Currently the younger 2 are runing around annoying DS1 and my head is about to explode.

I cry for my younger self but won't acknowledge it was me.

ElectricElephant Mon 05-Oct-09 17:59:04



My mum was the same wrt crying it out. When we were all babies we went straight into our own cots in our own rooms and if we woke in the night we had water, from day one.

I tried to talk to my Mum when I had PND, and she changed the subject. She's constantly telling me I'm too soft on DS.

DS didn't sleep through until 16mo, so I was a wreck by then, all she could do was criticise me for my parenting skills.

I am very strict with DS in the ways I think matter, he's an amazing, secure, happy and well behaved little boy who is (finally) an amazing sleeper.

Don't let her opinions get her down. It sounds like you're doing an amazing job

...and to go against the MN opinion on such things ((hugs))

bumpsoon Mon 05-Oct-09 18:03:16

My mum pressed my finger against the hot oven ,because she got sick and tired of me trying to climb on it , i vividly remember it and i was only 2 at the time , she said 'no ,hot' and then my finger hurt . After that i gave the oven ,real fire etc a very wide berth smile

curlychloe Mon 05-Oct-09 19:29:12

When my twin and I were born, 1970 in Sweden, the hospital took the babies to a nursery every night and didn't let the mums in... This was normal practice to give the mums a rest. My mum continued this at home, and by 3 months we were sleeping through (for 8 hours at least apparently).

Both my twin and I don't resent this, but at the same time haven't done this with our kids.

You must do what you feel comfortable with, lots of people BF and co-sleep at 10 months. If you're happy with the arrangement most of the time don't worry about it. If not, have you tried the book 'The no-cry sleep solution'?

gottasmile Mon 05-Oct-09 22:22:34

My mum too is always telling me that I slept through the night at only a few months (she too had me taken away to the nursery in the hospital every night and was there for a week after my birth). So times definitely were different.

As for the bf in the night, I stopped bf my dd during the night at around 13 months and she only cried a little for a few nights and then slept through. Maybe you could take it slowly and first stop the night feeds (when YOU and dd are ready) and then work on the co sleeping issue, if it is a problem. All at once might be a little rough on both of you.

Good luck and listen to your heart, not your mother!!

congalikeyoumeanit Mon 05-Oct-09 22:34:03

suiledon - whilst I don't think I would ever do what your mother did, do you really think that that incident has affected how you parent your children? Not trying to provoke an argument, but just interested to see if you think it has really had a direct affect on you.

rachyh85 Mon 05-Oct-09 22:35:25

am i being really odd here by thinking that maybe that wasnt such a bad thing your mum did when you wet the bed? it wasnt detrimental to your health - for one night, and it meant you wouldnt do it again.
ok, i wouldnt do it to my own dd, but i dont think its anything worth crying over and chastising your mum for. isnt it a sensible punishment - like, you can tell a child that scissors are dangerous, but until they cut themselves they wont believe you, tell them not to pull the cats tail, but letting them continue when youve continously said no, then the cat turns round and bites/scratches them.
i think theyre useful things to learn from experience...

is it odd to think that?

suiledonn Mon 05-Oct-09 22:44:59

Sorry I haven't been back to this. Still not enough time to get to grips with all the replies.

Une thing I want to say though is I was 2 at the most, possible as young as 23 months old. How may kids are potty trained by that age now, let alone dry through the night?

When I wet the bed a few times (after the recent arrival of younger sibling no.2) my mother decided I did it 'on purpose' and punished me. It just doesn't sit well with me.

I realise maybe she was struggling like I am now but she and my dad chose to go on having more and more children. We left a 2 1/2 year gap between ours and are unlikely to have any more.

sad for bumps and FAB'S experience.

Will try to respond more later.

congalikeyoumeanit Mon 05-Oct-09 22:57:51

suiledon - I only ask because my parents were very much in favour of controlled crying (have told me many times...) but I really feel it has had no affect on me.
Other seriously traumatic events did, but really not the controlled crying, I don't give it a moments thought and I really wouldn't shed a tear for the 'baby me'.

jemart Mon 05-Oct-09 23:04:16

Co-sleeping is good! and not a new idea - quite the opposite in fact. According to my Grandmother baby would sleep in a moses basket or a temporary little bed made up in a drawer on the floor beside the bed, then when baby was a little bigger they would sleep between Mum and Dad, moving on to their own bedroom when older. This was in the 1950's and I'm sure was learned from earlier example.

pseudscorner Mon 05-Oct-09 23:04:42

TBH if your mum had 3 children under 3 and in the 1970s when running a house was a lot harder than it is now, then I don't blame her.
It probably wasn't as easy then to wash and dry soiled bedding, bearing in mind she was probably washing nappies as well. Not the best parenting but I imagine she was at her wits end and doing the best she could

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