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By jasmineT On 02/02/04  

I really dislike motherhood. Especially mornings. Especially after spending an hour helping my 9y.o. with her homework only to have her freak out the entire time, crying and pulling her hair, the night before. Especially when the snow plow guy goes to Florida without telling me and leaves a snow drift waist deep in front of the garage that I have to shovel before leaving. Especially when I make my special mango oatmeal to have it thrown on the floor by my 3 yo telling me it's yucky.

oh, gods of parenthood, I beseech you to intervene on behalf of all of us mothers who choose to share their hardships here-



By looloo On 02/02/04  

JasmineT, I would not throw your Mango oatmeal (share, please)

When I have to get up in the middle of the night because my 3 year old wants to have a movie on or something to drink, only to be told (very rudely, mind you) in 3 year old language "go away, I want daddy"...that makes me want to re-evaluate my career choice...



By jasmineT On 02/02/04  

looloo- Mango oatmeal. (I usually just guestimate measures, adjust according to your taste) For 1 serving: 1/3 c. old fashioned oatmeal, 1/3 c. milk, 1/3 c. goya mango juice, sprinkle of cinnamon. Stir and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Cool for 1-2 minutes and serve with fresh mango chunks on top.

I made up this recipe a few years ago when I was desparate for breakfast ideas. It's pretty easy esp. if you have the mango cut up the night before.

ETA- I have an old microwave but my mom's will cook it in 1:30 minutes. So vary the time based on your machine.



By stargirley On 02/02/04  

When I'm getting my 5yo ready for school in the morning and she insist on picking something different to wear, so i tell her to pick something and she does, but then she won't put it on.

this morning she wanted different underwear - so i said fine go get some and she grabbed them then layed back on her bed staring at me while i repeatedly asked her to please get dressed now so mommy's not late for work, and she lay there staring at me like "what an idiot my mom is - she's sitting here begging her 5 yo to get dressed" I litterally said please at least 30 times. so i pulled off the ones she didn't want to wear and she would not give me her feet to put the other ones on. so I got mad and told her that i was no longer asking - that I was telling her to give me her feet right now. so she starts crying and screaming about how she is going to move in with her grandma and she doesn't want to stay with me anymore. I told her that we could discuss that option after she gets dressed for school. then she tells me that she would give them to me if i asked nice. so I broke down and had a major pregnant moment and started crying. but i told her If she wasn't going to be nice to me then there was no need for me to ask her nicely and she finally gave me her feet and we got out of the house just in time for me to be a 1/2 hour late to work. Lovely. She pulls something at least once every morning. I have been fired from jobs because of my inability to get her to cooperate in the morning. No matter how early i get up to get her ready she manages to make me late.



By SmudgyCat On 02/02/04  

I'm not a mom, so please feel free to ignore me.

If she won't get dressed in normal clothing, why not put her clothes in a bag and send her to school in her pajamas? I remember a mom of one of my classmates did that. I think he managed to get dressed in time for school after that. I don't know if the school would get mad at you or not, but doing that once or twice would probably be very effective.

Also, is she getting enough mom time when you aren't stressed and on a deadline? If she's not, maybe she's willing to deal with pissed off mom attention instead of no attention at all?



By looloo On 02/02/04  

I think no mom attention would be a little better...when a five year old sees that she has upset you then she knows she won! (by the way, I had one of those break down pregnancy cries with my 3 year old recently, over guess what? getting dressed)



By luci_mama On 02/02/04  

Yikes, you guys, sounds like you're all having a pretty rough time of it right now.

Not that I don't have my rough times, too, but at the moment, life is going pretty well for LuciMama.

One thing I've found ENORMOUSLY helpful is a tool called NonViolent Communications (NVC). There are some parenting-specific articles about it at http://cnvc.org/ and parenting stuff at http://cnvc.org/parents.htm

(Be sure to read "Hearing the 'Yes' in 'No'" -- it's a GREAT one to offer a different perspective.)

It's hard work, parenting. I think it's the hardest work on the planet. Especially GOOD parenting! And I'm no saint, either. My husband tells me something we practice NVVC: Not Very Violent Communication, with our boys.
If anybody wants to talk more about NVC, or wants more links to read about it, I'll be happy to share them.

And in the meantime, be compassionate with yourselves as well as your kids! Life isn't a battle to win!

L



By stargirley On 02/03/04  

I had it even worse once i got her home from the sitter last night. I needed to go to the store but asked if she needed to go to the bathroom before we left so i wouldn't have to stop in the middle of shopping. so we went home quickly to use the restroom and I could not get her to put her jacket back on and it was pouring rain outside. so finally i told her she didn't have to wear one right now, but we could bring it with us, than she starts crying and screaming at me telling me I don't care about her and i want her to go out in the rain and get sick and that she was goingto run away. so I had to hold her hand the whole way down to the driveway and she was really trying to get away from me and yelling the whole way. so i get her to the car and she won't get in. so i try to put her in and she keeps putting her foot out the door so i can't close it. finally i just took her back in the house and sat there and told her to go in her room, because what she did was not ok. so she freaked again i tried to ask her why she was acting that way and she said her cousin told her to be bad every day. (not buying it) then she said her grandma told her she has a devil in her head and that's why she's bad (beleive me I'm gonna talk to grandma about this), then she said it was the new kittens fault. So i finally just left her alone. My fiance called and i told him what was going on so when he got home about 2 hours later I finally got to go to the store. When i came back there were no toys in her room at all. He took all of her toys out of the room and told her that after a week of being good she could start earning her toys back one per day. She has to report her behavior to my fiance and he will give her back a toy at a time. If she has an outburst they all go back again, not just one. I thought this was a pretty good idea since his first idea was to spank her and just make her afraid of him so i can use the old "wait till ---- get's home" line. Now she has to earn her toys which i think will make her more appreciative of them and she will think before she acts out. hopefully it will work. If not at least her room is clean now---JK.

I give her plenty of one on one attention. We spend at least an hour at bedtime and we do our own thing every day after i pick her up from the babysitter. My fiance doesn't get home for at least and hour or 2 after we do, then we cook dinner and watch TV for a little while and then i put her to bed. and on wednesdays we have dinner alone since my fiance takes his kids to dinner. so she has a routine. I just really don't think she is very stable mentally. there's no short of tempers and depression in my family and her father's. So I'm keeping an eye on her.

Sorry to hijack your thread with my personal issue, just needed to vent. and maybe get some feed back. Sorry the post is so long too.



By SmudgyCat On 02/03/04  

That's a pretty good idea your Fiance came up with. I was picturing my little cousin's room, devoid of toys, and it made me chuckle. Her parents house would be so different looking w/o 3 billion toys hiding everywhere.



By luci_mama On 02/03/04  

Stargirley, you sound really frustrated, angry, and exhausted. It also sounds like you tried really hard to be calm and reasonable (telling her she didn't have to wear her coat) ... and I wonder if you also felt hurt (when she yelled that you don't care about her).

I remember being pregnant and having to care for my older child: it sucked, alot of the time. I'm sorry it's hard for you, too. Motherhood is tough when you're NOT fighting hormones and fatigue, and pregnancy makes it at least doubly so.

I wonder if I might be able to help by suggesting a few things that MIGHT be going on from your daughter's perspective. I could be altogether wrong about all of this, but maybe if I hit on something, you'll see a new possibility for interacting with your daughter that feels better for your whole family. The way I understand it, all communication is really about trying to get our needs met ... so I'm gonna suggest some possible needs that might be underlying your daughter's actions.

First, frankly, I can understand her not wanting to go back out into the rain once she'd gotten home, especially after being at the babysitters for what seemed to her to be a long long time. I can imagine she might want to stay home to fulfill her need for rest, comfort, playtime with you. I know ^I^ don't want to go back out once I get home from a long day, if I can avoid it. (Please understand that I'm not saying you were wrong to take her home to go potty, but just that maybe this could be part of what was working against you last night.)

And I don't think a five-year-old has the concept yet of weighing the importance of things that don't have direct impact on her: did you need things from the store that prevented you from making her anything to eat for dinner? If you didn't, then I can COMPLETELY see that she wouldn't see your need to go out as more important than her desire/need to stay in, or even relevant. And even if you did have to delay making dinner, I'm not sure that's important enough to her -- she probably knew there was something in the house so she wouldn't starve. And maybe she wasn't even hungry, anyway. So what needs of hers could have been met by going to the grocery? I can't think of any offhand, and I can think of several reasons she'd want to stay home.

Maybe she thought that if you stayed home, she'd have even more fun with you ... does she have any fun when you go to the grocery, or is she crabby in the cart, like my boys sometimes are? Do you have any grocery games to play?

Once I get into battle mode with my kid, it's hard as hell to shift out of it, for either of us. I wonder if it's the same for you? And my boy has the benefit of stubborn genes from both of his parents, as it sounds like maybe yours does, too. Plus the influence of your fiance in her life.

I wonder, is your daughter maybe feeling like she's being displaced from the center of your life, what with a new step-dad AND a new baby? Sibling rivalry is tough. I remember how I felt growing up with my little brother (and I can reconstruct my feelings based on looking at lots of pictures of me -- I was only three when he was born): I would have liked to kill him! And blended families are challenging, as you know, even for adults with lots more psychological, emotional, and mental resources and experiences than a kid has.

Anyway, even if you're giving her what YOU see as "plenty of one-on-one attention," I wonder if she feels that it's plenty, and/or if she knows that it's decreasing or about to be decreasing? Think about it: when you're five, you're really REALLY present-time-oriented. The whole of your remembered life consists of just a few months, really -- so being separate from the person you love most even for a few hours seems HUGE, not to be mended by an hour or two at a time.

Would you consider, when you're not in the midst of a struggle with her, asking her how she feels about her time with you? Would you consider asking her how you can have better times together instead of feeling tired and crabby with each other so much? When you say "we do our own thing after the babysitter," you might want to consider whether going to the store is "our" thing or just yours, and she sometimes/usually goes along with it but really has no fun.

And maybe the tired part is a big key here: is she really really tired after being at the sitters? (And we know you're tired after work, that's a given, right?)

Do you know the old HALT thing? When you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, you need to be especially attentive to being gentle with yourself and those around you ... and attend to those physical needs ASAP! The same would be true for your daughter. (My boys are BEARS when they're hungry and tired! Me, too, frankly. And add hormonal to the bunch, and WATCH OUT!)

Please PLEASE hear that I'm not blaming you or trying to make you feel wrong in any way. I'm just offering you a possible view into your daughter's world. I may be off-base, but I think maybe I've got some good possibilities for you to think about.

And I'm not suggesting that your daughter's needs are more important than yours (even if SHE appears to think so!). What I'm suggesting is, as fully as you can recognize her feelings and needs, it will help you work WITH her to find ways to meet both your needs. You'd be amazed at the ideas even little kids can come up with to meet both your needs.

Now I'm gonna tread on REALLY thin ice here, but I feel I need to say it. I'm really glad you didn't let your fiance do the "wait til he comes home" thing. But I'm not sure that she sees taking all her toys away as a reasonable alternative. Remember that, at that age, play is their work. Boredom will not create better behavior. Maybe she can still play with her toys when she's in the room with you, or something ... but if she really has nothing to play with, that's gonna make more trouble, in my opinion. And if she feels punished for actions that, in her mind, are perfectly reasonable attempts to get her needs met, then that's got to be confusing and difficult for her.
Now speaking of kids' needs, I've gotta turn off the computer and attend to my own boys. I'd apologize for my wordiness, but as you can see, this is a topic that feels really important to me. And because I don't practice this NVC all that well, when I type out suggestions to others, it helps ME, maybe even more than you.

Thanks for reading this far.

Luci



By jane_bond On 02/03/04  

I don't have anything to add, except my sympathies. I have a 10mo, so all I have to do is not lose my mind getting him away from the vcr for the millionth time (we are starting to crawl here - yikes!).

I did want to say that I think it's really great that we can come here and vent honestly AND that we can get great, well-thought out advice in our times of need.

Good work mamas - I admire you all.



By luci_mama On 02/04/04  

Hey jane_bond ... one trick I picked up from a neighbor about VCRs....

You know those cheap photo frames that are just pieces of bent acrylic? Depending on the shape and configuration of your VCR, you may be able to get one of those frames (maybe the "panoramic" version, or maybe upright 4x6) and put it in front of the part(-s) of your VCR that he's getting to. Tuck the bottom stand-piece of the frame under the VCR and the VCR's weight will hold it in place, creating a transparent shield for buttons or whatever. Easy enough for you to remove as needed, but a good shield against baby fingers.

It doesn't work on ALL VCRs, sadly, but at a few bucks, it's worth a shot.



By jasmineT On 02/04/04  

wow.I'm so glad others others have shared their frustration and strategies for dealing with it. UPDATE: The oatmeal on the floor was a precursor to CHICKENPOX! So now we're going through that but I'm glad she got them before the mandatory vaccination for kindergarten.

stargirley- she sounds like a tough customer but just realize it's a stage and she'll grow out of it. My older daughter had a lot of anxiety right before her dad and I got married. Perhaps she's acting out because she doesn't have the depth to express how she's feeling? It might not help get the undies or coat on but could help in the long run.

lucimama- "not very violent communication" I like that. Our school just did a parent workshop on NVC. Even though I thought I was dealing with things okay, it was definately worth going to.

STAY STRONG MOMMAS!



By looloo On 02/04/04  

Oh my goodness Lucimama! I think you about covered everything!

I also love it that I can come here and say that sometimes being a mama is not much fun!

(one baby has tonsilitus, the other got knocked in the eye by her cousin and looks like little georgette forman! **and the one in my belly is doing somersaults and asking for fried food!)



By stargirley On 02/04/04  

Thank you for your replies. I understand that sometimes she doesn't really want to do the stuff that i need to do, occaionally there's no avoiding some errands. She is so unpredictable about whether or not she is going to want to go do something.So it's really hard to judge. I try to make anything we do fun. We try to read labels at the store, and we sing songs and drive crazy in the shopping cart. I let her pick her school snacks and her juice flavors, etc... After school we sing and play cards, read and do puzzles, we watch disney movies together,and feed the cats. I let her dressup in my clothes and i do her hair up and let her wear my (fake) diamonds. and her antique bracelet from my great great grandma. We do tons of stuff.
I realize she may have issues still with my fiance. Although we have all lived together for over a year. He has children that come on the weekends. and they get along as well as i can possibly expect. She doesn't know yet that i'm pregnant so she can't be jealous of that yet. I just think this toy idea is actually a good one and may work.
for those of you that worried about her not having any toys: She still has all of her books and plenty of paper and crayons left in her room. Which seemed to do fine entertaining her yesterday anyway. She doesn't take out her toys everyday anyway. she mostly draws and writes and colors when she's alone. It's more like she just thinks she needs her toys back so she's being extra good.

Sorry about hijacking your thread. but i'm glad we can all let out pretty much any frustrations in these rooms and get help or at least know someone is listening - or reading.

I hope all the sick babies mentioned here feel better soon. Forehead kisses to all the young'uns. Thanks for listening. I feel much better now.



By Melynn On 02/21/04  

I saw a show on this once, and I almost felt guilty about watching it and feeling for the women on there.
But there are really times when things seem like they are going so bad, you just want to pick up your keys and walk out of the house. I have never gone that far, I do know a woman who did. She was very sorry for it. But what people don't realize about stay-at-home moms and working moms, it is incredibly hard sometimes.
I look at it like this, most jobs you get a set time that you get a break to sit and relax or sit and eat. Moms-eat a bite here, eat a bite there. For the most part, at work, you get to at least have a stall all to yourself, at home as soon as you sit down you have company. Sleep, you never know if you are going to get a whole night, or none.
And for working mothers I do think it is a bit harder, especially after a bad day at work, you still have to go home and start in on your regular job. There is still that constant worry of 'am I spending enough time with them?' Its a hard job no matter how you look at it. Of course you can still flip to the stay at home mom's job, of like never ever having a break. I think the hardest was when I was a single stay at home mom. My ex moved and I didn't even get a break when they would go to visit him, because he didn't want to see them.
Good days can be very good and bad days can be enough to break any sane person.
My dad was a stay at home dad while my mom worked and he still says he would choose manual labor over staying home with kids.
My second son goes through fazes on how he dresses, sometimes he has to dress like a cowboy for a month, then he has to wear basketball jerseys. I don't know exactly why.
My daughter she is very much her own person, I have a great deal of respect for her to step out and already be like that at 9.
My youngest, I battle the most with him, he has the most annoying thing that he does, he loves movies, we don't let them touch the DVD player. So I have to switch the movies for him. He will watch the first 5 minutes of a DVD, then switch. He has to do that so many times in the morning, then he usually chills out and watches a little more then he plays. Everything has to be just so so. Sometimes I have wondered if he didn't have OCD the way he acts. But I remember the other 2 doing it too.
Melinda



By looloo On 02/23/04  

I have been known to respond to the question "where are you going" with a mumbled "I am running away from home" to which I hear "what?" and I say "to do laundry..."

I can understand what Melynm was saying about the sahm's that don't get a break, I was one for a while, now it is my husband who is the stay at home parent...I am wondering, do men just have more patience? he always seems to find ways to take "breaks! And then when we go shopping, I am always the one that seems to be about to explode because of the girls behavior!



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