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I am interested in advice from experienced parents. - Page 2

post #21 of 28
This will probably be rambling too...

First, it sounds to me like she's not meeting your needs. You don't seem to need to talk to someone about your parenting as you do about your anxiety. Now part of your anxiety is related to your parenting, but if you weren't a parent, I guarantee it'd be about something else (guess how I know?).

A family therapist is going to look to change family dynamics. She might not be comfortable doing personal stuff. Is she the right therapist for you right now? You need your therapist to be a good fit. A perfectly competent therapist who's not addressing your needs isn't a good one for you now.

Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I am super-insecure about being a parent. I feel sometimes that any mistake I make will screw up my kids for ever. Dramatic, I know, but a real, deep emotion within. My logical mind knows that I am too hard on myself, that I didn't go to parenting school but I have yet to incorporate that into my being. It is also late at night and I think I've quit making any sense at all. I appreciate anything!
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I have this deep fear that any one thing I do may be THE thing that screws my kid up for life, makes him/her/both into evil over-lords seeking to destroy the earth as it was destroyed for him/her/them. Perhaps I just watch too many bad movies....
You've said this twice, so I can tell it's a really big fear of yours.

A couple of thoughts about this. First, humans are designed to be resilient. We're actually designed to learn a lot by trial and error. We do not imprint like geese. Thus, any one mistake you make is unlikely to be remembered by your child, let alone turn them into Sauron.

Second, my kids are 6 and 9 now, and I've made far more mistakes than I care to admit. I've lost my temper and spanked both of them at times. I'm truly ashamed of that. We went through a brief period with both kids where we tried the "lock them in the room" kind of time out. (It failed miserably and I felt horrible about it, so we abandoned it pretty quickly - we still do 'go to your room and cool off' time outs, but it's different.)

I still yell more than I like. I'm sometimes just too tired to give dd the attention she needs. Last night, for example, she wanted to play Clue Jr. 10 minutes before bed. I was too tired to do that with her and we didn't have time. Poor child, she sobbed madly. (We eventually compromised on reading a book.)

Despite all of my failures, my kids think that I'm a good mom. They love me, they're attached to me and they forgive me.

Third, mistakes give you an opportunity to model for your children how you recover from making a mistake or being wrong. Some of the most anxious people I know are people whose parents were never 'wrong' and who never tolerated mistakes. Learning that the world does not end, even when you screw up royally, is a powerful message that your children can take into the future with them. Learning that you deserve an apology when someone else, especially someone more powerful than you, screws up, will give your children a great sense of their own worth. Learning that you can make amends when you screw up will give your children power over the mistakes, rather than learning to be controlled by them.

Two anecdotes to illustrate my point:
Last night, dd was dancing around (literally) instead of taking stuff out of the bathroom so we could wash the floor during chore time. After the 2nd or 3rd reminder for her to stay on task, I lost it and yelled at her. Her response? "You shouldn't yell at me! That scared me!" I apologized. I could never have stuck up for myself with my parents like she did with me. I'm amazed at the strength of spirit she has (she was born with this), and pleased that my parenting has at least allowed her to feel comfortable defending herself. I'm by no means a perfect parent, but she can deal with this.

Second anecdote: Several months ago, I ran into a pedestrian while turning left. There were lots of mitigating factors (an unfamiliar neighborhood, a left turn signal that didn't go on), but the truth of the matter was: I screwed up. Luckily I was going about 5 mph and didn't hurt her badly (though I knocked her down). I felt terrible. Horrible. Awful. I had to explain to dd what had happened (she wasn't in the car, but I had to have dh come pick her up from daycare because I was in no shape to do so).

We talked about the consequences of what I did - I hurt someone, and I got a ticket, and that I felt really bad. Dd learned that even this really big mistake was not too big to talk about. She learned that the consequences of this really big mistake weren't too awful.

Dd, bless her, did everything she could to help me feel better. She gave me a big hug on the day it happened. When we were talking about it the next day, she said "Well, at least you didn't ruin 3 cars like Aunt M did with her accident!" (My sister, when first learning to drive, drove into a line of parked cars and totaled them.) My screwing up allowed my daughter to demonstrate and employ her skills in empathy. If I were a perfect parent, she'd never be able to do that.

Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I think I must go in cycles (maybe hormonal? ) because I'll have a few weeks where I feel pretty confident in my parenting, the kids and I are on the same page and everything is peachy. Then it goes downhill. This whole week has been....not awesome.
I would recommend the book "Women's Moods" - it's a really good description of how our moods can be influenced by hormones. It's also got a nice plan for self-care that you can implement when you know that you're coming up on a hard time.

Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
I think this is why I sought a therapist's input in the first place. I cannot understand why I am like this (anger being the first and sometimes only response). I cannot understand why there is no consistency in my daily life - I'm on a routine, pretty strict about the timing of meals and sleep, same errands on the same days, etc. I guess my kids are just not consistent because they are 3 and 1 - I overestimate their abilities sometimes.

I have no idea where this post is going. I think I've had a little too much chocolate and not enough exercise today.
I know that cycle well!

One thing that I know makes a huge difference to my parenting is self care. When I'm worn down, I do not have the reserves to deal with needy kids. The last 2-3 weeks have been really hard at our house because we've all been super busy. It's the end of the school year, we're all busy, we're down to a single car, we're out of sync with schedules, the kids are growing like weeds (seriously, dd has grown 1 1/2" in 3 weeks, ds has gone up 2 shoe sizes about an 1" in a month), and parenting has been hard. Not so much because my kids are any 'worse' than usual (they're really good kids), but because my reserves are so low.

Thus, I do think that the idea of a Moms Day Out or a playgroup or something is a good idea. Not so much to socialize your kids, but because moms need socialization. Remember, much of human civilization evolved in small nomadic bands and later villages. We were not designed to raise 2.5 kids with one parent. We were designed, as humans, to live in a group and have the full resources of a community to rely on.

I think your idea of becoming a LLL Leader is a great one. If it's something you love and think you can do, what better way to get out a bit, socialize and take care of some of your needs!

Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
ETA: I just went in to check on the 'napping' children. My son pulled his nap diaper off, peed on his pillow and put his diaper back on. Exactly how do I deal with that in a rational manner? I am so livid right now, I called my husband to come home so I can leave the house, which will take about 30 minutes.
Sounds to me like you handled it well and rationally. You're overwhelmed you need a break. good for you for calling for help.

Time for potty training? It sounds like he didn't want to feel wet? Can you make lemonade out of this lemon?

I conclude my novel here by saying that your kids are at the ages I found very difficult. I know some people love babies and toddlers, but give me older kids any day of the week! They're at an age where you have to be constantly vigilant, they have little or no impulse control and iffy to no ability to articulate what they're thinking.

You sound like you're a loving, caring parent who's doing the best she can. The fact that you're looking to improve your skills and understanding bodes well for the future.
post #22 of 28
Sorry, I didn't have time to read all of the posts...

It doesn't sound like your therapist is on the same page as you re. parenting, and so I don't think she is someone you should be asking for advice on that front.

You mentioned in a later post that time-outs are no longer working with your 3 yr old. I suggest posting in the Gentle Discipline forum here. There is such a wealth of knowledge and ideas that can be gleaned from the mamas who post there. And I'm sure you would be able to get tons of good book suggestions if that would interest you. A lot of mamas here do time-outs and a lot don't. There is no right answer, but there are a lot of creative ideas floating out there that you might not have come across yet (I can't begin to number all of the amazing ideas I've gained from my years on MDC).

As for nursing... well, it sounds like nursing is working well for you guys. You dd is still very young, and the amount she is nursing is not in the least abnormal. I repeat: her needing to nurse for naps, nighttime, etc, etc is perfectly normal. Please don't take breastfeeding advice from your therapist as it sounds like on this she has very different ideals from you (I'm assuming since you mention wanting to become a LLL leader).

Playgroups... those can be a lifesaver. Like another pp mentioned it is surprising how relaxing it can be having a group of other kids for yours to play with while you sit and chat with other moms. Alternately you can always see if a friend wants to organize babysitting exchanges with you. As for the socialization aspect I wouldn't worry too much about that. Your kids get "socialization" every time they leave the house and interact with other humans - be it at the playground, the store, the library, the dr's office etc. It's not necessary for young toddlers and preschoolers to be in formal daycare, IMO. (But of course if this is something you're interested in pursuing there's no harm in it either).
post #23 of 28
I don't think time outs work well for preschoolers. I don't really think punishment works well in the long run. I think you have more misbehavior because the relationship becomes adversarial. Also it gives more attention to misbehavior. So when the child wants attention they misbehave. I do like using time ins. The difference is you have your DC come be with you instead of sitting in a naughty chair or corner. It can be a simple as 'you're not playing safe with xyz, come help me make soup/do laundry ....etc.

Is your DS using the potty or toilet at all? Little kids often pee in weird places when learning to go without diapers. Your 3 year old DS isn't rational yet. His higher level reasoning skills aren't in place because of his neurological development. He probably just didn't want to wear a wet diaper. The consequences are the pillow has to be washed and maybe your DS should try to pee before his nap if he doesn't want to wear a wet diaper. The thing with little kids is they change often, so if something works this week it might not next week. One thing that helps is to remember that most really annoying behavior is just a phase and will go away with maturity and patience. Anger is probably your first response because you don't understand why the misbehavior is happening and you are overwhelmed with two LOs.

I really do think you would find The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland helpful, also Kids, Parents and Power Struggles would probably be useful too. The more you know about normal behavior and development the less annoyed you will be when age appropriate annoying behavior happens. And both books have practical discipline strategies. The first book goes more into why misbehavior happens.
post #24 of 28
I wanted to come back and post again because I was just struck by the title of your thread. You are looking for advice from experienced parents, but realize that YOU are an experienced parent too! Trust yourself mama, trust your instinct, trust your experience, trust that you are a wonderful mama to your kids. By all means look for advice from other mamas (most of us here on MDC look for advice at one time or another, that's a big reason why this forum exists!), but don't forget that you can trust you gut - you're doing a good job!
post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I feel like crying now, you are all such wonderful, sweet, caring moms.

RE: Toilet Training/Peeing on the pillow - he is toilet trained as much as a 3 year old can be (he actually won't be 3 until the 26th but I find it more descriptive to his stage than saying he's 2, you know?). He wears underwear at all times except nap and night. He still wears a nap diaper because I haven't been able to convince him that getting out of bed to pee will not be the end of the world. In the past month, he has gotten out of bed to poop on his potty - this is the biggest step forward for toilet training yet for us! He does so well otherwise and usually only has accidents now in the car if he waits too long to tell us so we can pull over. I think this incident was on purpose to get an explosive reaction out of me - he took his pillow, put it on his sister's bed(!) and then peed on it. So he managed to get out of bed for that pee but he is unwilling to get out to use the potty when he just needs to pee.

I talked to my husband when he came home just a while ago. He thinks G is seeking a big, explosive, emotional reaction. With me, it is anger; with my husband, it is laughter. G will work and work and work on my husband until he gets a huge burst of laughter but my son's actions get more and more aggressive or exuberant as he tries harder and harder. I guess with me, he works hard at breaking as many rules as he can, getting as many time-outs as he can until I am so worn down, he gets the big, explosive anger response out of me. My husband's theory is that it gives him control. He feels in control because he caused the reaction. It doesn't matter to him what type of reaction it is or what he has to do to get it as long as in the end, he controls the fact that he got a big response. Make sense? Is this normal/something every other toddler/preschooler does?

Sometimes I think my husband is the best therapist ever - he is so calm and rational about everything. Irritating sometimes but also exactly what I need - the water to my fire, so to speak.

I will be heading out to the library to check out the book recommendations. I will keep searching until I find the techniques that work for us and that I am comfortable using. New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.
post #26 of 28
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.
post #27 of 28
Originally Posted by ariatrance View Post
New mantra: I am only human and so are my kids.
Love it!
post #28 of 28
I think it's great that you're seeing someone and that this person has helped in some areas. That probably means you have a fairly strong relationship with each other. As such it is not only appropriate but also responsible to call her out on her "agenda". that should not be the role of a therapist in my opinion. the therapist should help you work though whatever is going on so that YOU can create the list of options and make the decision that best fits you and your family. the therapist role is to support that in spite of personal beliefs. if the therapists beliefs prevent them from supporting the client in this way, the thherapist needs to seek guidance themselves.

i would want to know that this is how you feel--bring it into the session even if you just print your original post. all relationships have struggles; is it possible that this conflict can be reconciled in a way that you both can learn from? i hope so...being able to resolve a tricky/touchy subject without running away or being passive aggressive is very healthy. and very difficult. but it can also be very rewarding and lead to immense growth. it's a risk but also an opportunity. therapists are human too, and make mistakes and sometimes need others help to see them.

also, there is no way that therapists know what's right for you better than you. when you can be real with your therapist, and speak from a voice that is all you no matter how weak, that act knocks at the wall of insecurity. that seems to me to be where the real work is, in the relationship, not in the problem solving of bf or sleep or socialization.

i say don't give up. Speak your truth and if it isn't heard then decide whether to walk away. it will be difficult, but there's nothing to lose and a ton to gain.

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