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Struggling with DD growing up and parents growing old, does anyone else feel like this?

(21 Posts)
TwentyOneGuns Thu 19-Nov-15 08:17:48

Regular but name changed as I'm giving out a fair bit of personal info. Sorry this is long.

I've got just the one DD and at 13 she's growing up fast. We have a really good relationship but I'm really finding it hard to let her go. I respect her privacy while keeping an eye on what she's up to but I hate the thought that she no longer tells me things and shares her feelings with her boyfriend or mates (many of whom I don't even know) instead of me. I know I will never get back the closeness we had when she was younger and I wish I had made the most of those years, I would have cherished them more if I knew how quickly they'd go.

Tbh I'm also envious of her - how horrible is it to admit that about your own child? She's prettier and more popular than I was at that age (although no more confident in herself), already has several boys keen on her and like anyone that age has all her life ahead of her which to me seems so exciting.
My life in comparison seems so dull - a job I enjoy, a nice enough home and a kind but dull (if I'm totally honest) husband who I don't feel I've much in common with any more. The years ahead of me just seem so bleak with no excitement, just responsibility and the occasional bit of fun.

Which brings me on to parents - as DD is getting older and no longer seems to need me, my parents and MIL are needing us more. I do want to do the right thing by them but I have some resentment because mine, although well-meaning, haven't always been there for me - DM for example was busy with a new husband when I was DD's age, maybe why I am trying so hard to be around for DD now as my own Mum wasn't. I'd also prefer to be caring for and spending time with my DD but she doesn't need it and they do.

I just feel so trapped - I'm not sure of my marriage but don't want to jump ship because he is basically a good guy, just not sure he's right for me. Also don't want to repeat the patterns of the past - my parents divorced when I was younger, DM has used me as a bit of a crutch over the years - I don't want the same for DD.

I'm so confused, I feel like my useful years as a parent are over and I have to be a dutiful daughter and wife and settle for... I don't know what for the rest of my life. I want some fun which I think is why I envy DD - getting dressed up to meet friends or a boy, the excitement of first dates and will he/won't he call (I know that can be hell too).

Sure this is common and my age (42) and life stage but I don't know what to do. Surely there's more to life than living it vicariously through my DD?

Joysmum Thu 19-Nov-15 08:35:15

You're the same age as me with s daughter the same age and much of what you say rings true.

Unfortunately both my in laws died before DH was 40 and I cared for them.

Both my mum and dad have health issues and we are planing to move area once DD is through her A levels and can drive. I'm already wondering how I'll get my head around not being around for them, I've been head of my family for yonks now and the go to person in times of trouble. I don't trust my step siblings to be supportive enough.

My daughter is much like me with insecurities and has just started counseling. I cheer when she goes out and with each little thing showing she's growing up. I'm aiming to raise her to rely on herself and be self sufficient so as much as I miss some of the younger years, she's a lovely person and great company and these are our best days so far.

I think it's normal reevaluate our lives in our 40's. I've made changes myself. I'm train to go into another profession and DH and I have been very careful to use our freedoms from parenting to take time for ourselves and cement our relationship. So many couples I know are parents to the exclusion of all else and then their relationships fall apart when they have nothing else left in common and the kids fly the best.

Anyway, that's me. I sympathize and it sounds like you e got s lot of thinking and adjustments to do as well flowers

Imbroglio Thu 19-Nov-15 08:52:43

Yes this resonates with me, too. I'm a single parent with teens who need a lot from me but are busy with their own loves. Only one parent alive, but with advanced dementia.

Sadly I'm also effectively estranged from my brother and have no other family who are close to me.

I think life will get better when the weight of responsibility lifts a bit. When I get low I fantasise about what I'm going to do when I can choose my holidays and my treats entirely around what I want!

Imbroglio Thu 19-Nov-15 08:53:16

Loves? LIVES!

timelytess Thu 19-Nov-15 09:02:29

I'm a bit further along the road than you, OP, as my dd is 33 and my mum is dead, my dad is 83.

Yes, you are trapped. As all we lucky ones are. Trapped between layers of people we love and who love us - even if imperfectly.

Deep breaths, carry on. What is coming your way is the harvest of all your hard work - the beautiful adult daughter, maybe grandchildren, time to yourself to rediscover who you were and to explore who you are now. Its fabulous. And its coming.

Zippingupmyboots Thu 19-Nov-15 09:11:19

Tbh I don't feel like you.

I feel sadness at my parents becoming more elderly and infirm and I am aware that my time with them is limited but that makes it more precious in a way.

And as my dc grow up I enjoy watching them becoming independent and confident and encourage them to be sociable and busy. I don't feel jealousy whatsoever and I don't understand your feelings there. That's not a criticism of you, just that I can't identify with that.

As for the future, I am looking forward to having more freedom eg holidays, more flexible work, time to study. Start thinking about all those things you would love to do but haven't been able to because of your commitments.

IrianofWay Thu 19-Nov-15 10:07:56

I am at a similar stage. My parents have just moved nearer me for support. and much as I love them they are quite time consuming. My eldest DS has just got a job after a difficult few years and at a time I feel all my support for him is paying off, he's becoming just a lodger (admittedly a very affectionate one). Our marriage is calm and contented for the most part but there aren't many fireworks.

But it is all OK. That is the way life is and I love watching my children develop and change. I am so proud of them. I am pleased with the way my life has developed by and large.

I did go through a 'is this all there is' phase as few years back. I was in my early 40s and I had always had this vague feeling that at some point I was going to get it all RIGHT and life would be exciting and perfect every day. I got over that wink

What changed me was the realisation that I am not defined by other people, not my children, and not my DH. My life is my own and I can make what I want with what is left of it. That's the exciting part.

BCBG Thu 19-Nov-15 10:20:09

Oh how this resonates with me! My older DCs are at uni or beyond, but still need a lot of support, youngest DD (13) is having teen difficulties at school, my sister has had enough of caring for my elderly father so is moving at short notice to the other end of the country (yes, seriously confused ) leaving me to pick up the pieces and support him/manage his carers etc, my DH still works very long hours so I have everything to run at home to keep the family show on the road, I am a JP and I don't want to give that up because it keeps me sane and I'm supposed to be writing a novel hadebloodyha (long story which could out me). I'm 55 tomorrow and I Just. Want. To. Cry. In fact now I am.
OP, that's probably not a very helpful post, is it? What Irian says - it's your life - fill it with the stuff you want, otherwise people suck every bit of you that is available. I understand the envy, but its more of a sadness at recognising that time is flying by - that's good, because it means that you can choose to build new opportunities for your self. I took myself back to Uni (hence the novel opportunity) which has been great, although it doesn't seem to have stemmed the onslaught of people needing me, so don't worry, your DD will always want and need you too.

misscph1973 Thu 19-Nov-15 10:41:19

It's a difficult time, isn't it? I have similar thoughts as you, OP. I think this is a time to reflect and make changes.

Here's a quote for you:

"Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” – Carl Jung

I'm not normally a fan of Carl Jung, but I found that above very insightful - and it's a man! I got it from Sarah Gottfried, I recommend you look her up and perhaps read her book The Hormone Cure. If you can manage something a little wacky and dated, then Christiane Northrups The Wisdom of Menopause is excellent.

TwentyOneGuns Thu 19-Nov-15 21:07:21

Blimey, I made the mistake of reading these replies at work this lunchtime and had to disappear quietly for a few tears blush.

I know how lucky I am to be surrounded by people I love and who love me but I just feel my life is racing by and what am I going to do with the rest of it? I've ticked all the boxes - education, career, marriage, house, kid (s) - what do I do now? I'm desperate for a bit of excitement but my DH's idea of excitement is opening a second bottle of wine on a Friday night. He's stable and reliable (which is why I chose him) but God I long for something less predictable. I think that's why I envy DD even though I know teenage relationships usually end in heartbreak.

I just want something more but I'm aware that 'grass is always greener' can be a dangerous thing. I know I've got responsibilities to those around me and I'll fulfil those because that's what you do. But what can I do to stop myself feeling like this?

springydaffs Thu 19-Nov-15 21:35:35

I don't understand the closeness to your daughter tbh. I find that a bit challenging if I'm honest. I hold, held, my kids lightly, they were their own people and it was my job to facilitate their launch to the best of my ability. They were never mine. I was delighted at shoots that showed they were beginning to launch, really excited they were on their way.

Obvs not criticism. You say your relationship with your mum became symbiotic and I wonder if there's something of that in your relationship with your daughter. Bcs I don't think what you describe is quite right? I wouldn't eg be challenged my kids were confiding in other people, I'd be delighted - not a head thing, a heat thing.

So maybe there's a theme here that you feel your role is to complete other people. If so it would account for your current dissatisfaction.

springydaffs Thu 19-Nov-15 21:36:10


665TheNeighbourOfTheBeast Thu 19-Nov-15 21:50:53

you know when you made a list of things you wanted to do with your life 20 years ago and you'd find it a year later and half of it wasn’t done - and quite a lot of it seemed silly...?

Well have you tried it recently?
I just asked because I am astonished at the woman I am today
the problem solver - the person who can get from A to B faster, with less stress and with a ltd budget without breaking a sweat...and often carting other people along for the ride.
If you have successfully juggled you life to this point there is almost nothing you cant do.
You seem a lot more about "I don’t know what I want" than anything else
Where or what is your happy thing,
at what moments in your day / week / year are you really at your most happy?

You also seem to be missing being desired?
I think that this is not entirely uncommon amongst those women who have been beautiful - and hard to let go of - but its really about what you consider your self worth is..and how you derive it. You don’t seen entirely comfortable in even your own skin at the moment.

thesandwich Thu 19-Nov-15 22:03:41

Sounds like you need some time out to rediscover who you are. As others have said our job is to support and facilitate our Dc and let them go.
And 13 is not grown up- the next few years will require your support and presence, often more than younger.
Good luck

TwentyOneGuns Thu 19-Nov-15 22:16:58

springydaffs you make a lot of sense. I do think my relationship with my DM impacts on that with my DD although I do everything I can to make sure it doesn't. I'm not sure about 'completing' people but I do always seem to be the fixer - people turn to me, say I'm wise, strong, even though I feel like a right mess. It's not intentional but it seems to happen and maybe explains why I feel so excluded now DD no longer appears to need me.

665 it's not that I don't know what I want, just that doing anything other than ticking along, paying the bills, looking after the parents, being a good wife and mum with just the occasional bit of fun seems out of reach to me. I can't think of anything I can do that would be exciting but fit in with the demands of normal life. I recently studied something new and have progressed considerably in my career, good job really because my work seems like the only interesting thing in my life these days.

TwentyOneGuns Thu 19-Nov-15 22:21:10

Oh and missing being desired? God yes. I know DH finds me attractive but I'm just not feeling it, our relationship was never especially passionate and it sure isn't now but is anyone's after 10+ years of marriage when you're both past your best and weren't that great to start with?!

springydaffs Thu 19-Nov-15 22:38:55

You're doing that strong, go-to thing though. I assure you, it doesn't happen to me.

Therapy wouldn't be a bad idea at this juncture. You seem to have got lost - chronically lost? Were you ever found?

ciele Thu 19-Nov-15 22:44:09

Teenage years are rocky-
No point looking backwards
I think early 40s do make you think but I am pleased to leave kid stage behind and pleased that DDs are making their way in the world.
My mum is very ill and needs me and I had a big health crisis but...
Am now 50 and feeling much better and know I'm lucky to be the one in the middle and most importantly alive and more content than I was before.

M4blues Thu 19-Nov-15 23:05:18

I think you need to step back and work out what you want and where you'd like to be in 5yrs when your dd may well be off to university or moving in with a mate or a boyfriend. You cannot link your happiness to her attention as that's not how it works past about age 9. Your job is to make her need you less and less but still want you very much in her life. When she leaves home at 18, how do you see things moving on with you and your DH?

I'm older than you at nearly 46 but I still have 2 under 5. My eldest is the same age as your dd and I also have a 10yr old. I spend most of the day fantasising about when they are older and less exhausting. grin I think the crux of your issues is feeling the best has past and there's nothing left to look forward to. But you are only in your early 40s and potentially not even half way through your life. You have your career which is great as many women in your position also feel sad/bitter at not having that. If your marriage is unhappy you are plenty young enough to do something about that.
I can't help with parents as both mine and DH's are dead but your DH should be pulling his weight there and perhaps they don't yet need you as much as you think.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Thu 19-Nov-15 23:06:06

My dad is dead and i'm nc with my mother. I'm 40, separated, single and don't attract men. No one desires me.

My daughter is prettier than I have ever been. And so much more confident, self assured, happy and popular at school than I ever was.

I am in absolute awe of her. Nothing about her is familiar to me! She amazes and fascinates me.

I hope I never become envious of her. I can't imagine it though.

CocktailQueen Thu 19-Nov-15 23:12:02

OP, can you talk to your dh about how you're feeling? Maybe you could start doing something new together or apart - photography, ballroom dancing - whatever takes your fancy. Maybe he feels the same way as you! This could bring a sense of newness and freedom to your relationship.

Lots of hugs and flowers

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