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Recently got custody back. Staying at home & resentful.

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hey mamas. I am having a very rough time over here with my 4 year old. I just got custody back of my daughter 7 weeks ago. She was living with her Auntie and Uncle and their relationship is being maintained, very close, and the transition home went rather smoothly. 
I am a single mom and we are together all day every day. I am having such difficulty with patience. In the deep, I don't like being a mom and it has been like this since day 1.  I have a hard time tapping into sweetness. It feels forced. I love her to pieces of course, and I take a lot of care with the influences around her, what she eats, manners, and ethics. I just know that my tone of voice is not always gentle, and the insincerity constantly glares through. I switch from sweet to short in a matter of seconds, and back again. 
I am constantly holding myself back from being too forceful with her. Today she said all these things: "You're scaring me" or "you're hurting me". She says things like "I don't like you, I like my Auntie", "You are a mean lady", and "Puppy likes to cuddle with Auntie in comfyland not mommy", and "I like the smell of my Auntie not you". It's not painful that she loves her dearly, I am so happy for that. 
Clearly my style isn't working for me because we both feel frustrated. Compared with her Auntie I am more strict, less flexible, less gentle, more emotionally detached, and less sweet and it is what it is. My daughter doesn't like me.  I am not so terribly mean as she makes it sound. I don't yell at her but I give her tough consequences for not complying. She is 4 . I don't always want to be flexible. But this rigidity isn't working for me :( Theoretically, as a single stay at home mom with one child, I have all the time in the world to help her work through what she wants (going back into the house to let her get her toy instead of me, re-buckle her so as to let her unbuckle her seatbelt instead of me, etc. etc.). But what kind of life is this? Letting her control everything seems very unsettling. And where is my freedom? I am like this child's servant; it's outrageous. 
I feel like I am swinging between crafting our home in a Waldorf style and gentle parenting. Other times I am very behavioristic. 
So she was away for 18 months (we saw each other all the time), she's home again, and I just can't get into it though I constantly try. I feel resentful basically all the time. It turns out lots of moms don't like being moms. But this fact doesn't help me, because a servant is where I am for the long haul. I could use some positive self talk right about now. 
I'm looking for someone who can relate or any encouraging words or advice. Thanks : )
post #2 of 28
what was your job before you became a mom. do you want to work? i think lots of people do better with working and the kiddo being in daycare. you'll contribute to your social security, retirement, bring home extra cash and get to spend quality time with your daughter while not constantly feeling like a servant.

i have somewhat adjusted to feeling like a servant, but it will never feel normal to me. i know these days i do better at home rather than trying to work for multiple reasons (the biggest being that i do not have the capacity to Do It All, but that's my downfall) but i do need some time away to do my own thing and get more done around the house without the little one being underfoot all the time.

if working doesnt appeal to you, how about a preschool program part-time? you will get some down time (being a single mom, working or not, is very trying. you have to be ON all the time!), and she will get interaction with other adults and children.
post #3 of 28

What were the circumstances of the loss of custody?  Do you have a history of mental illness?

post #4 of 28
Having a child is minimum of 18 year commitment to that child. Maybe a job for you and preschool for her would be better.
post #5 of 28

Sending love!  I used to feel like I didn't "know" what others know about being with children; how to be on the floor playing with them without thinking about something else, and talking in a little sweet voice.  I think that two things have helped:  #1 that if speaking in a "talking to little kids voice" doesn't come naturally to you, that means it's just not part of you and let it go because to try is fake.  #2 Learning to find my own joy that doesn't depend on circumstance.  That's a big journey, but totally worth it.  It helps to be outside connecting with nature.  It has to do with accepting who you are and who your child is without the stories of shoulds and wants.


I think it has also been helpful to me to admit to my child when I've handled something badly, say I'm sorry and that I will do better.  Sometimes just a short pause before I say something harsh to "deal" with a situation adds enough space for me to soften my demeanor.  And telling my children that I'm greatful for them is medicine for the whole family.


Good luck to you

post #6 of 28

I've had moments of feeling like a servant, but I always try to mentally reframe it as what it is: caring for someone else, someone who is too little to do it themselves. It's not as though she's a fully capable, grown woman who just doesn't feel like doing stuff for herself -- she's a little girl who just is at the developmental stage of needing help. With everything. All day long. It can definitely get tiresome, and it's normal to feel resentful sometimes. I'm sorry you're struggling -- I hope the transition gets easier for both of you. It's okay to put her in preschool or something so you can get a couple of breaks throughout the week. 

post #7 of 28

If you do not like being a mom, why did you remove you child from loving home?



Lower your expectations. The kids is only 4 and there is a lot of thing she needs help with. And sweetness. Discipline does not exclude sweetness.



You do not need to stay at home 24/7 with a 4 yo. Not everyone is made to be a SAHM. Get a job and find a nice preschool for your child.


Above all, go to family therapy with her ASAP!


Good luck!

post #8 of 28

I'm sorry it feels so rough right now.  


I was also thinking that maybe you should consider not being a sahm.  I think sahm'ing is pretty rough sometimes.  I thought I had unlimited patience and sweetness, but sah can really just suck it right out of you.  There's nothing wrong with working and sending her to a good preschool.  Also, if you do really want to sahm with her, I'd recommend a rich and busy social life.  That will give you each a buffer from the other and I think that having some adult interaction would probably help a lot in terms of patience.  And, for some reason it's easier for me to be patient with my kids when it's not just me and them.  For me staying home (or even going out w just my kids) day after day is a recipe for disaster and I'm much more likely to get harsh and frustrated with them.  


Does she still see her aunt a fair amount?  And is her aunt available to take her now and then?  Could you lean on her to get some time to recharge?


Also, I'm wondering if you just have a hard time with little ones.  Maybe you'll find that 12 year olds are a blast.  I hope!  

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
geekgolightly: I have done a lot of different jobs before being a mom, but no actual career. I became pregnant in my 3rd year of college and dropped out. I'm taking classes online now to finish the B.A. This year I was a managed/did sales for an organic vegetable farm. I really liked it and need to start planning for next season. I have a garage full of things from my father's estate I need to start liquidating on Ebay and Craigslist. 
We just got a call that there is room in a preschool program we looked at. So she is set to start Monday. 
blessedwithboys: The circumstances of loss were my substance dependency. I was overtaking medications that were causing me to sleep too heavily and I couldn't wake up. I was found unfit and charged with neglect. I've been clean for 18 months. (The process of returning home takes so long to play out once you're in the system.) 
Veslemore: I have apologized to her for raising my voice. The first time it caught her off guard when I asked if she would accept my apology. But it felt really good. I will remember that and keep coming back to that humbling place if I don't feel good about my attitude.  I like what you said about #1, the "talking to kids in [a certain] voice". I will pay attention to that and see how I can relax more naturally. I just wish I could be more playful (I noticed it helps the atmosphere soo much). #2, "finding your own joy that doesn't depend on circumstance". For me this is daily meditation & yoga which I have been practicing on and off for 8 years. I haven't been fighting to get it in more than a few times per week, even though I know daily practice is crucial. 
The other piece is work satisfaction. I am on social security disability (yes I have a history of mental illness) so I can't make very much money in order to keep that income. Which is crucial for me because I have periods where I am unable to work. So - Like you mentioned, outside connecting with nature. What this looks like for me is working on the vegetable farm, outside (in all kinds of weather) digging in the earth, layers of clothes off and on again, child exploring nearby, and Saturday my flow materializes into green energy (money) at the farmer's market. 
rubidoux: great post. A rich and busy social life has really helped. It's true that it's easier to tap into patience when there are others around. I was feeling a lot more connected to my community the first month after she returned home. This was a result of some of the momentum I'd built from having so much time to self-nurture when I didn't have her full time. Perhaps this is just an excuse. But right now I'm feeling pretty blue and really embracing the isolation. I am feeling constricted, not meditating, and even considering a return to marijuana (some nights, and after she's asleep of course). tl;dr: I don't feel social because I'm sad. 
I think work satisfaction and focusing on next year's project is going to be a big predictor of the amount of joy I can uncover in 2013. 
post #10 of 28

I think your first priority should be, 100%, what is best for your daughter. I can tell you love her, but is your judgement clouded about what is best for her?


Maybe you both would be happiest if she lived with the aunt and uncle and you were as involved as possible in her life, with primary care remaining with the aunt and uncle. 

post #11 of 28
you sound so clear and are doing everything you can think of to care for yourself and your daughter. be proud. i definitely disagree with the above poster and am really impressed with your ability to face feelings that might not be pleasant in order to provide a good home for your daughter. you also seem to be unafraid of change in order to make things better for both of you.
post #12 of 28
I have such mixed feelings about this. It's probably harder starting with a 4-year-old, who is still very young but speaks almost as well as an adult, who is full of desire of autonomy and who creates lots of power struggles, than it is to deal with it every day and night all along from babyhood. They're so much easier at 4 than they are at 3, or 2, or 1, that you would be glad she was so able to do much of anything for herself and you would feel like you were finally not so much of a slave. But since you're starting here, it makes sense that it feels like a huge responsibility has been dumped on you.

I also wonder if the separation has caused problems in your attachment with her. I think the first thing I'd do is relax on behavior (as your perspective might be a bit skewed due to having this responsibility be new) and focus on the attachment. I would try to spend as much time just focusing on being with her without judgement and in a relaxed manner, and I would include as much physical touching as possible as that helps a lot with the attachment.

I think that things can very likely be improved without sending her back to your aunt and uncle, and sending her back could give her a sense of abandonment. I personally would work through it and just really try to build that attachment. I would very much focus on that and not behavior. If the two of you build a strong attachment, she will want to please you and her behavior will improve somewhat just through that attachment. Her attachment to you and desire to please you are the best motivators for her to behave well. Without them, you only have punishment, which will not help build your delicate attachment. There will be time to focus more on her behavior after your relationship is more established and secure.

Best wishes to the two of you! I'm sure you can manage this! I actually think it's best that you aren't working now because you can really focus your time on building your attachment and relationshp, but that will really have to take the front seat.

Without any chance of building an attachment, I would agree with those who say that maybe she'd be better off living with her aunt and uncle, with whom she probably does have an attachment. Or maybe at a full time preschool with you at work so the time you're with her is more enjoyable for you, but I would work on that attachment first. That's something to consider, though, long term. If it feels like it will be 18 years of misery, you might find that having time with other adults and being able to focus on her and enjoy her for a shorter amount of time might help improve the relationship. The key is that she has to know and feel that you cherish and adore her, and it doesn't sound like that's where you are right now. You can get there though and if you focus on it I bet it won't take too long.
post #13 of 28
part time daycare can give you breather and also can give you time to get chores and errands done, so that your time with her is like what mamazee described; a time to just be with her and focus on finding ways to connect. she has a really good point that right now, if you don't need to work, don't. you have enough on your plate and spending time just exploring the world with your daughter as well as just being there for her will build attachment, which will improve things for both of you.
post #14 of 28

Goodness, it's only been a couple of months.  They were separated for 18 months, the OP isn't going to hit the ground running with a 4 y.o. immediately. 4 y.o.'s are tough even without personal challenges. I don't think it's time to give up on motherhood and send her daughter back to the aunt and uncle.  I think that would be very destructive.  OP and her dd aren't going to reconnect and grow some affection for each other without being in each other's presence and doing the usual mom/child things.   


OP, I can completely relate.  I didn't have the rehab experience, so I imagine my experience wasn't to the degree your is.  But I hated motherhood. I faked a lot of it, because I couldn't admit to anyone that I hated it. I've got my own mental issues. My fuse is about an inch long, less when I'm hormonal, so I also go from ok to furious in seconds flat. I take 3 medications to help me not be the screaming, spanking mom I was when my youngest was 3 years old. He's 13 y.o. now.  


Was your dd about 2 1/2 y.o. when you two separated?  I realize you were in a different state of mind before your rehab, but how did you feel about your dd, and about being a mother before you separated?  Were you over-medicating to escape? 


She said 'you're hurting me', what were the circumstances? Otherwise I think you and your dd's reactions to each other are completely predictable and under your circumstances, normal.  Not pleasant for sure!  Also, some of this is part of her 4 y.o. developmental stage.  4 and 5 y.o.s are sometimes like little teenagers. Or maybe more accurate, teens sometimes regress and act like preschoolers. Self centered.  They push the boundaries of authority.  Who knows, maybe she'd do some of the same stuff with her aunt and uncle, too, if she was still with them.


Ds was in a Parent Participation Preschool.  He went three days a week, and I came and helped out 1 day a week. A bunch of moms helping kids with play time, painting, growing bean sprouts in paper cups, helping them serve themselves lunch, playing dress up. Sounds like you'd rather get a root canal? orngbiggrin.gif  It was a fantastic learning experience for me. If there's anything like that available to you I suggest you look into it.  


This is going to be tough, no doubt.  But you'll make progress, in fits and starts. In a year you're going to notice you and dd have a pretty good groove that you didn't have when you first reunited. 

post #15 of 28

I don't really have a lot of advice, but I do want to say I relate.  Being a mom is tough, being a mom to this age group is tough, and being a mom with a short temper for whatever reason is super hard.

Edited by tiqa - 12/11/12 at 1:14pm
post #16 of 28
Originally Posted by RawMilkMama View Post

I think your first priority should be, 100%, what is best for your daughter. I can tell you love her, but is your judgement clouded about what is best for her?


Maybe you both would be happiest if she lived with the aunt and uncle and you were as involved as possible in her life, with primary care remaining with the aunt and uncle. 



I have to agree with this, I'm seeing serious red flags with your needing to use MJ to relax and being too rough with her and scaring her. It sounds like your not ready for motherhood, not everyone is and thats ok but you need to think whats best for HER not you and it sounds like her aunt might be a better option at this point. Not raising your own child doesn't mean your a bad mother, it means you realized there was a better option for your child when you can't for whatever reason be the mother that child needs.

post #17 of 28

I just want to state a personal wish.  If someone goes on a forum looking for help and support, let's assume that we're hearing all the bad stuff and not a life story including all the good and mundane stuff.


And then:  Let's only reply if you have help and/or support to offer.


Satori- why did your mind make up the asinine story that she's using pot to relax?  Why are people going on this forum not to help, but to tell a mama to give her baby away?


I know that I wish that I never yelled at my kids, but it has happened.  Every mom I know has yelled at their kid at some point.  Should we all give our kids away?

post #18 of 28

Veslemor, the OP said she was considering mj in post #9.  She also said her daughter said, "You are hurting me".  Those are both legitimate concerns. 


OP, did we scare you away?  smile.gif

post #19 of 28
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

Veslemor, the OP said she was considering mj in post #9.  She also said her daughter said, "You are hurting me".  Those are both legitimate concerns. 


OP, did we scare you away?  smile.gif

 Thank you, yes the OP did state those things. With the OP's stated history of mental illness and drug use the fact that she's "thinking" of using MJ again is a red flag.

post #20 of 28

I'm not saying that should or shouldn't do a certain thing, but I don't think it is bad for her to let the little girl live with her aunt and uncle.  I'm not saying she isn't capable of handling motherhood, but some people don't choose the parenting route.  I know my mom wasn't super motherly and there were times I lived with my grandmother who was very motherly.  I am grateful for my grandmother and the time I spent with her.  I always felt like my mother was more like an aunt and I really feel like that was all my mother was really capable of, which is just how it was and again I grateful for a loving, motherly grandmother.

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