Why are people reluctant to beleive when your unwell?

(39 Posts)
Yesnoyesnoyesnoyes Sun 30-Aug-20 11:51:37

Just that really?

It completely baffles me. Mainly my own mother. Any comment of 'im feeling quite tired today' is followed by my mother saying 'thats life' & 'im tired too'. I do get it's inevitable im tired a lot as I'm solo parenting a toddler and school aged child by myself. So I maybe say it more than she would like to hear. I just feel irritated by the continued dismissal. I am not looking for glorified sympathy or an opinion. I think I don't realise I'm saying it mostly until her opinions follow. I then get 'you don't go to bed early enough' or 'you don't look after yourself'. This irritates me to the core because I am never without my children. I have them all of the time which yes I know that's being a parent. I don't have 1 day a week where someone else takes my kids for a break or any time for that matter, I know a lot of people don't.

However more recently I became unwell maybe a very bad cold or even the flu. I couldn't move as I was so dizzy and weak. She offered to take my toddler for the night which I was highly highly greatful for, although she collected him half an hour before he was due to go to bed and phoned me first thing in the morning to say she has stuff to do can she drop him off. Of course I said yes. I was still unwell for days after this and I feel guilty that my children are somewhat neglected while I was unwell as I just did not have the energy for much.

It got me thinking, if I were to be unwell with anything more serious or say covid! I would be terrified as to how I could look after my kids.

When I was unwell my mother would say things like 'im sure it's just a cold' 'people manage all the time with kids and being unwell' 'im sure it's not as bad as your saying' 'your a hypochondriac'

It makes me feel so flat, it would just be nice for her to say 'awch that's not nice your not feeling well, can I help out' even if she couldn't take the kids, come round for a couple of hours to mine to entertain them or make them food.

Am I being too sensitive? I know my kids are my responsibility but I just feel like as my mother she sees first hand how exhausted I am. I don't go out, I don't see friends (because I can't), everything I do is with my kids and for my kids, I don't pan them off on anyone else, she is the only one I ask to look after them on the odd occasion and this is always an issue. She doesn't work, my dad does, they are very comfortable in life, she's very fit and able and not old at all.

It would be nice sometimes for her to want to take her grandchildren. Like even be like, can I take them to the park?

Father isn't in the picture so she is my only support and I have no siblings.

What's your thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
TheSeedsOfADream Sun 30-Aug-20 11:55:28

It's a bit cry wolf tbf. If someone is always going on that they're tired, or have a cold or whatever, then no, I'm probably going to be less sympathetic as time goes on.
Your mother is also right. We all get tired. Old people get tired, kids get tired, working women get tired. Single parents get tired.

If you want her to have more of a relationship with them or babysit them more often then that's a different question to your initial one about being ill.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 30-Aug-20 11:59:30

How are your iron levels?

Are you going to bed at a decent time, eating well, looking after yourself? Why does she think you’re not taking care of yourself?

category12 Sun 30-Aug-20 12:00:31

It's inconvenient for her to believe you and she doesn't particularly want to help, so she is dismissive and makes sure that you don't lean on her.

It's not great, but it is what it is.

You sound like you could really do with a break.

crosser62 Sun 30-Aug-20 12:01:03

I get what you are saying op.
What does she say when you speak to her about this though?

ShitStain Sun 30-Aug-20 12:10:35

It’s probably best in this situation to make sure your diet/vitamins/minerals are all tip top to protect your immune system.

Perhaps don’t mention the smaller ailments like tiredness or being sore etc so people don’t get used to hearing it so when you really are feeling horrible they won’t dismiss it as one of the usual things.

MitziK Sun 30-Aug-20 12:56:55

Were you frequently looked after by your grandmother to give your mother a break? Or did she have to put up and shut up because her children weren't her mother's problem?


Yesnoyesnoyesnoyes Sun 30-Aug-20 12:58:26


Thank you. I do it's probably irritating when someone repeats themselves about something, although like I said I mostly don't realise I'm saying it until she reacts to it. I not long stopped breastfeeding and my toddler is still establishing a sleep pattern which I think the words 'im so tired' just rolls off my toungue. I am actually not looking for sympathy for that, I just also don't want the opinionated digs either. I think there is less wrong with me saying I'm tired than her reaction to it.

I am anemic and I do use iron supplements, I get my bloods done fairly regularly to check my levels. I do look after myself but as with most solo parents you are neglected because 'self care' isn't much of a thing with 24 hour shifts of kids, schools, studying at home with toddler. Sometimes I can only get assignments done when toddler does to sleep. I can't help that my toddler gives me broken sleep so the issue isn't really about me taking care of myself. These comments are just nonsensical from her as there isn't much else I can do to look after myself. I eat a balanced healthy diet, I exercise with the kids when I have the energy and I am not over weight. Anyway the issue isn't really about me explaining what I do to keep well.


You are right she is very dismissive, she is dismissive with mostly everything that she may feel like I'm hinting at help to be offered. So basically it's like I say nothing about myself and my own life (which would leave me saying not much because I am only ever with the kids) then that's an issue for me as I don't believe that's how anyone should live, not breathing for someone else's reaction.

Goodness I would love a break. I would love for her to want to have the kids once a fortnight so I knew I had that time of just me to look forward to or anything I wanted without having to explain to her what I'm doing or why so she can watch the kids if she approves of my plans.

I guess there is alot more to my post but it was amplified just with recent illness and knowing her lack of beleif or want to help out. I guess it's ironic as she is the biggest drama queen of all and everyone has to rally around to help her if she has a sore throat let alone actual illness. Like I have to take the kids to hers to visit, she doesn't visit us and If she does she sits with her coat on and says no to any offer of tea or coffee or anything (I'm a clean person btw my home is always of high standard of cleanliness so it can't be that).

OP’s posts: |
MitziK Sun 30-Aug-20 13:01:46

I would love for her to want to have the kids once a fortnight so I knew I had that time of just me to look forward to or anything I wanted without having to explain to her what I'm doing or why so she can watch the kids if she approves of my plans

That's the usual arrangements for contact with an absent parent, not a grandparent. And it rarely works like that with them, either.

TheStoic Sun 30-Aug-20 13:02:10

Don’t hint. Hinting is annoying. If you want her to take your kids, ask her directly. It doesn’t sound like she’s going to offer.

Yesnoyesnoyesnoyes Sun 30-Aug-20 13:02:29

@MitziK actually yes. I lived with my grandmother for 3 years from the age of 7 to the age of 10. Prior to this I spent most weekends at my grandmother's , I guess I always viewed my relationship with my grandmother quite special and loving so can't understand my mother being quite the opposite.

With this aside, my mother has had my father by her side also. I obviously don't have this as my children's father is no longer around.

I can see that maybe expecting your mother to help out occasionally is really against most people's views. I suppose I maybe think differently as I am quite a caring person and I would always want to help my children out.

We are all different and I suppose that's the joy of hearing all your opinions.

OP’s posts: |
Yesnoyesnoyesnoyes Sun 30-Aug-20 13:05:13

Really?? @MitziK just out of curiosity, do you have children?

Most of my friends with children have similar arrangements with grandparents, even helping them out taking them to and from nursery daily to help with early starts at work etc.

I have many friends with very hands on grandparents which is what initially highlighted a lot to me

OP’s posts: |
Yesnoyesnoyesnoyes Sun 30-Aug-20 13:07:44

@TheStoic I think I actually did say ... I don't hint! Because I actually don't.

I think it's ridiculous that saying 'im tired' is so ridiculously taking. Hence me writing the post on the first place. I didn't ask if I was being unreasonable because I know I am not. I don't ask her to look after them and I certainly do not hint. Being tired is literally just because I actually am most of the time. I'm sure I won't be so tired once the LO is in a sleep pattern and a little older. Until then... 'i am tired'

OP’s posts: |
Gilda152 Sun 30-Aug-20 13:08:39

Well if you a lot of the childhood with your mum it's probably reasonable though unpalatable to assume your mum isn't that big into childcare so your hopes are always going to be dashed, sadly. Your mum isn't interested in looking after children not her own by the sound of it, or yours. It's awful being a single parent I've been there. You just have to suck it up. The tiredness and weariness is the hardest part of the job you've been let down by your mum and continue to be so, please don't expect more, she's not capable.

wishywashywoowoo70 Sun 30-Aug-20 13:09:20

It's not usual at all fir grandparents not to help out.
Have you tried asking her why she's like this?

My parents are incredibly supportive and can get quite upset if they don't see DD for a while.

You definitely need a break.
What does your dad say?

isabellerossignol Sun 30-Aug-20 13:11:23

I don't think this is about 'people being reluctant to believe you're unwell' it's about you not being happy with the relationship with your mother.

You have said yourself that you say you're tired so often that you don't realise you're even saying it. People do react poorly to that because everyone knows what it's like to be tired, or to have a cold or flu. Everyone has to deal with those things when they have small children. I don't know anyone whose children regularly had overnight stays with grandparents, although it does get referred to a lot on Mumsnet so clearly it is the norm for many families. Maybe how you feel about your life depends on what you see around you; if your friends regularly have their children spend a night at granny's then you'll feel worse that you don't have that.

SoulofanAggron Sun 30-Aug-20 13:12:50

She shouldn't be calling you a hypochondriac, unless you're the sort of person who is always claiming there's something wrong with them, which you don't seem like. Even then, that's not a hypochondriac/ person with health anxiety, it's someone with psychosomatic mental health problems, or who is just manipulative.

SoulofanAggron Sun 30-Aug-20 13:14:31

I don't think this is about 'people being reluctant to believe you're unwell' it's about you not being happy with the relationship with your mother.

@isabellerossignol OP's mum did not believe she was unwell though. So it's accurate that she doesn't believe it, presumably.

TheStoic Sun 30-Aug-20 13:15:00

It makes me feel so flat, it would just be nice for her to say 'awch that's not nice your not feeling well, can I help out'

That’s a hint.

If you want her to help out, say ‘would you mind having the kids overnight once this week? I really need a break and I’d be so grateful’.

Don’t say ‘I’m so tired, I barely slept last night’.

ShaNaNaNaNa Sun 30-Aug-20 13:18:33

MN seems to have a majority attitude of ‘They're YOUR kids, don’t complain that you’re tired/ill/need a break!’... and don’t EVER commit the cardinal sin of ‘expecting help’. So entitled etc etc.

I don’t really subscribe to that.
I was brought up by a single mum, with lots of help from her mum (my granny). My mum helped out loads when my kids were small. This weekend, I’ve taken a good friend’s DC for a couple of nights as she is a single parent with a demanding job and absolutely no respite and needs a break.

We do/did these things - my gran, my mum, me - because we are caring and want to help those we love if they are feeling ill, tired, struggling or could just do with some help that we are able to give.

I personally don’t understand why healthy, fit relatives and friends wouldn’t offer a bit of respite to a tired, single parent. But if they aren’t offering freely, OP, you can and should ask. The worst that can happen is that your mum says ‘no’. I’d personally be asking for a regular slot - once a month even - for her to have your kids for a few hours so you can rest.

HollowTalk Sun 30-Aug-20 13:20:28

You haven't got the best of mums, have you? She sounds pretty selfish to me.

One thing that helped me when mine were young was going to bed at the same time as them twice a week - midweek and Friday. I didn't sleep that early but found I went to sleep earlier and slept better. I found the next morning I had a lot more energy. I don't know why it was more relaxing than sitting on the sofa, but it was!

MitziK Sun 30-Aug-20 13:22:11

Yes, I do. Grown up now.

They were looked after by their grandmother overnight once when I was in hospital. There was no way on earth that she would have been up for looking after them more than that one occasion if I even wanted her to - she was knackered after doing that for her first grandson when she was about 46, so wasn't going to be offering aged 60-70 to do that all again.

Her mother used to come round on Saturday nights to look after four children so they could go out as a couple. As soon as she was widowed, the babysitting stopped. Because the children needed their mother, not a babysitter who was related to them, apparently.

My ex SIL wanted the same system as you talk about for her five. I don't think I ever saw her look after all her children together at any time for the first ten years. Right up til the point that she divorced - and then, the same 'well, the children need YOU, not somebody else' attitude came into play.

Sometimes, we have different expectations of our parents to what they are able or prepared to offer. Maybe you were looked after so much because your mother couldn't cope or didn't enjoy looking after her own children that much. If that's the case, it's not surprising that demands to regular, prolonged or daily contact aren't forthcoming. Maybe, she just doesn't like them. Or she disapproves of mothers going out or sleeping.

Ultimately, they're yours and unfortunately, your mother isn't one of those who are desperate for your children to be with her regularly. Which is where childminders, babysitters and everything else comes into play. I was sad they didn't have a nice, cuddly grandma who wanted them near her. But I couldn't change that. So no point feeling hard done by, I did have to get on with it. Because there was nobody else.

isabellerossignol Sun 30-Aug-20 13:24:36

@isabellerossignol OP's mum did not believe she was unwell though. So it's accurate that she doesn't believe it, presumably.

She said she had a cold/flu/was feeling run down, and that she complains of being tired all the time. How is her mum meant to know that this time she felt more unwell than all the other times she said she was tired and run down?

I get it, I understand that it is tiring having small children, and I agree that the OP sounds like she needs a break. But from the title of the post I was expecting to read that she had been diagnosed with a serious illness and her mother refused to believe it. Not that she had a cold and her mother said that everyone gets that sometimes.

I have a relative who told me, and everyone else who would listen, every single day for 25 years that she had a headache, and that she had never had such a sore head in all her life. Needless to say, the day she actually took ill, no one bothered to call an ambulance because her behaviour was exactly the same as every other day of her life and we had no idea that this time she was actually unwell.

blackcat86 Sun 30-Aug-20 13:28:37

There are a few things to unpick here. Firstly it sounds like you would like more help and you had hoped your mum would be more involved but let's be honest, she doesn't sound keen does she. Stop flogging a dead horse. DPs have had my 2yr old overnight 3 times ever. They do a day a week of childcare whilst I work and usually she's back home before I'd even finished. If you want help you will likely need to pay for it or great creative like a babysitting circle with other local mums. Separate this from the being unwell thing because some people just can't acknowledge others are ill or more ill. Similiarly I have felt shit recently including some terrifying numbness in my limbds and other weird sensations which the GP things is viral following blood tests. I have had no sympathy and yeah that's disappointing and sucky. However, i just don't indulge them either now. My DPs decided it was 'just stress', DH decided he was more poorly with nothing and PIL just talked about some routine tests FIL is having. These people are not my tribe or support system even if they should be and nor is your mother. Who cares what she thinks? Why do you value her opinion so highly would be my question? Why are you sitting there waiting for her to notice that you need help rather than getting the help you need yourself?

DragonPie Sun 30-Aug-20 13:33:54

Well it sounds like she was quite a shit mum so it follows that she’s a shit grandmother too.

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