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Crying in front of your children

(21 Posts)
celeryisnotasuperfood Wed 03-Aug-16 18:04:58

So I have a 3 year old and a 9 week old. Finding it hard mainly due to lack of sleep and the normal tribulations of 2 young children. I try to keep on top of it but sometimes it's just too much and I end up crying... e.g. today couldn't get us all ready on time so ended up missing out on an activity, got upset that I am not coping and that particularly the older one ended up missing out on the activity.
Naturally seeing me upset also upset my eldest. I explained that i'm very tired, finding things difficult but that they shouldn't worry and that we would do something else instead in the afternoon (which we did)
Am I damaging them by letting them see that i'm not always coping, that I cry and that mummy isn't always in control? It's not constant but probably once a week i'm either upset or a bit too short tempered with them?

pallasathena Wed 03-Aug-16 18:46:11

I'd try and keep it together if it was me and have a good cry later on in the day when they're in bed. Children are so sensitive. They may feel its their fault you're upset and that's a feeling that can stay with them into adult hood.

Amy214 Wed 03-Aug-16 18:51:39

I think its good for children to see their parents get upset/angry, imo it shows them that these behaviours are ok to have/feel. Its ok to feel like crap (your human) children have bad days too. Its how you make up for these 'bad days' (apologise, kiss and cuddle and tell them everythings ok) when i'm upset my dd gives me a kiss and a cuddle and tells me 'your alright' always makes me smile smile

coolaschmoola Wed 03-Aug-16 18:53:24

I cry in front of my dd. I'm human. We cried together today because her friend died. Crying is healthy and I think that by concealing our emotions we imply that they should be hidden.

Amy214 Wed 03-Aug-16 18:57:08

Your showing your children that its completely normal to have these kinds of emotions, i show every emotion that i feel in front of my dd because i want her to grow up knowing that its really ok to feel the way she feels (i don't want her to bottle it up or hide anything)

goodenoughmum88 Wed 03-Aug-16 19:03:51

Oh I could've written your post about 8 months ago! Three year old and newborn and on a mission to get out/just do stuff and not quite managing for one reason or another and getting so upset!!!
I cried, DS asked why and I told him. He was fine and gave me a cuddle and was also less of a bigger that day! He doesn't seem emotionally scarred!
"Everybody fed nobody dead" has never been more appropriate!
Oh, and it sort of gets easier, or you just get more used to it! Xxx

starsandstripes2016 Wed 03-Aug-16 19:08:08

Completely agree that children need to see a full range of emotions. You've made sense of the situation so your children know it's your issue not their's. There's too much pressure on mothers to be on their best behaviour all the time and that just isn't humanly possible. You're doing a grand job.

DelphiniumBlue Wed 03-Aug-16 19:12:06

No, I don't think it's OK to be crying in front of your children that frequently.
Mu Mum used to cry a lot ( and with good reason, which I understood at the time). It was horrible, miserable, and I'd feel useless because I couldn't make the problems better. I think it has had long term emotional effects on me.
We all have days when we don't cope as well, but crying for the most part could be done after they are in bed. I'm not talking about one-off events, eg death of a close friend, but general not coping and depression can make children feel very scared, makes them feel responsible for your emotions.

Newnew35 Wed 03-Aug-16 21:27:40

Agreed, Delphin.

Salmotrutta Wed 03-Aug-16 23:50:09

It isn't bad to cry in front of your children if it's a rare occurrence; for example if someone has died.

But it's really awful growing up with a parent who cries lots and is melancholy all the time. That was my DHs experience and he grew up to be a "people pleaser" because he tried to appease his crying parent.

The crying parent still uses tears to try to manipulate people. I don't generally bash ILs on here but I'm willing to do it this time - it is my MIL.

SystemAticcally Thu 04-Aug-16 00:19:02

It's not a problem, if this is all there is to it.

Children will grow and you will get more sleep soon.

celeryisnotasuperfood Thu 04-Aug-16 01:06:14

I guess it's knowing the balance - I don't think it's too often and i'm not generally a melancholy person but I suppose it struck me that about a week ago after another sleepless night my 3 year old was playing up and bedtime was a battle - wouldn't go upstairs, wouldn't brush teeth, wouldn't take clothes off etc. and I just snapped and was short tempered - said fine right let's not bother with anything. Her shock and that she started to cry caused me to cry. We both hugged and when both had stopped crying I made sure to tell her it wasn't her fault and that I was very tired and needed to go to sleep as much as she did.
I don't know how I can avoid the tears though when it gets too much. I don't have constant sleepless nights - so i'm not like this all the time but realistically I know that they will still happen in the short term but have no idea how to keep a lid on my emotions in front of them - particularly the older one.

WorzelsCornyBrows Thu 04-Aug-16 08:44:27

I think if it's an occasional thing then it's fine. My DH is incredibly emotionally repressed and it causes us all sorts of issues, his family are all the same. I personally believe that our normal emotions should be embraced and it's good to show children it's ok to cry. My DH tells DD not to cry, I always have to interject, because I don't want him to restrict her ability to deal with emotional responses.

That said, when DD2 was a baby I would try to keep a lid on it as I was crying a lot and that's not helpful either. It's a balance.

You've got young children, it's hard and getting out of the house can be a challenge. Stop beating yourself up.

Vixxfacee Thu 04-Aug-16 08:45:35

I would say it depends why you are crying. If someone has died or you have hurt yourself-ok.
If you are stressed or can't cope or angry - no.

Believeitornot Thu 04-Aug-16 08:53:07

Why not have a word with your GP because it does sound like a lot of crying. In some ways it could become emotional manipulative if you justify it by suggesting that letting your children see them cry means they see what they're doing to you. Actually you also need to teach them how to manage difficult emotions and how to stay calm. Once a week of tears in front of the kids seems a lot and I speak as someone who had two poor sleepers (low point was when baby dd was waking up every twenty mins and I had a 2 year old as well). Your 3 year old is still very little.

I've cried in front of the kids once when they've pushed my buttons - they talked about it for ages afterwards so clearly it moved them but I felt uncomfortable about it afterwards. You have to be careful that your oldest doesn't absorb this as being her fault despite what words you may say afterwards "actions speak louder" and all that.

I've cried with them for other reasons eg when we've moved house or some thing sad has happened. That's different to me and is fine as it wouldn't ever imply it was their fault.

celeryisnotasuperfood Thu 04-Aug-16 09:03:59

Vixx - it's the second scenario - so how do you not cry?
Also if I can keep a lid on the tears (somehow but not sure how so advice on this would be useful) is it really true that you can hide and conceal the emotions from children?
I worry that scenario is even worse - my mum used to be like that. I could feel the tension in the house but nothing was ever mentioned and there was an attempt for normal life to carry on. I had no idea if it was something i'd done or how to fix it that unmentionable atmosphere. Which is why I always try to acknowledge that it's mummy's problem that she's upset and make it clear that it's nothing to do with my child.
I just don't know - pretend everything is fine (but I think even at 3 she will know that it's a lie) or let her know things are not fine, not her fault but then i'm screwing her up because she grows up with a mum that doesn't always cope with sleep deprivation...

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Thu 04-Aug-16 09:07:48

Don't beat yourself up, you had a baby a few weeks ago, you're tired and probably hormonal. Things will get better. Try to be honest with your partner, mum, friend or HV when you feel you're not coping or feeling overwhelmed. Offloading on an adult will make it less likely your pent up emotions will spill out in front of your dc.

When my dad left home I was 3 yrs old and still remember my mum crying quite often. She would serve up our tea crying and the sight of it gave me such a lump in my throat I couldn't eat my dinner, neither could I understand what I felt. It can be very confusing for a young child.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Thu 04-Aug-16 09:18:21

I think you're handling things fairly well. Being honest with your dd that you cried because you're a bit tired seems fine to me as long as you minimise it and then move on.
You're only human. I think you need to accept that you can't be a perfect mum and you will doubt yourself and make mistakes as we all do.

Vixxfacee Thu 04-Aug-16 10:34:47

Celery I wouldn't say you beat yourself up over it. It's an emotion and can be hard to control. I would just say as a child who witnessed my mother crying due to stress it affected me. It is a weight put onto the childs shoulders. They can't make you feel better or take away the stress.
Might be judging from my own situation (haven't been in your shoes myself) but I would try not cry in front of mine.
But flowers anyway.

Believeitornot Thu 04-Aug-16 12:16:23

You can express emotions in different ways. It isn't one extreme or another

So if the children are winding you up, you can tell them in a non accusing way. Eh "I find it annoying when you do this".

But part of it is also managing your reactions. It is difficult but you can remain calm - however I think you might be taking on too much. I very quickly gave up organised activities with my oldest when I had a baby as it was too much stress. We still had fun just not organised activities! Easier all around.

eloelo Thu 04-Aug-16 13:08:04

It is ok to cry. Cry in the loo, not in front of them.
What do you do for self-care you sound at the end of your tether?

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