What would you say to this mother? ( LONG!) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-10-2013, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Ladies. I have a dear friend who I have known literally since grade school. She is a wonderful person. Shes very creative, smart, beautiful, funny and very loving and giving. Her and I are alot alike and have very similar lives..except for a few things, that really worries me.

 

Her and I both have children close in age. I have 2 children: A 7 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. She has a 6 year old daughter and a 3 year old son. We are both artist and have very similar intrest and she means alot to me. I really havent 'hung out' with her very much since high school, but about 2 months ago her and I started an art project together and started spending alot more time together and I learnt some things about her that worries me. Pleas, give me some advice on what you think can be going on with her and what I should say/how I should confront her- or am I being overly dramatic?

 

* She sleeps ALL DAY : After she puts her daughter on the bus ( she is in kindergarten) she goes back to sleep and sleeps until 10:30-1:00pm while her son plays alone in his room until she wakes up. She told me that she doesnt always do this but she 'likes her sleep' and she says he plays fine in his room with his toys until she wakes up at whatever time.

 

* Shes very controlling/nagging: I understand not all parents parent the same way, and Im ok with that. But when ever im with her and her children, all she does is nag nag nag. She gives orders, do this or do that and tells them if they dont then she will spank them or take away toys ect. From what I have seen and how she speaks, she really loves her children. And in other areas shes a great mom. She reads to them every night, feeds them healthy meals, explains things to them beautifully/lovingly- but she just seems to nag SO MUCH. Her husband and my husband work at the same plant, on the same shift as well- so during the day she is alone with her children and her husband doesnt come home until 7:00 at night, which is when our children are normally in bed. She seems wound up very tight and its super hard for her to relax. She and I both have issues with anxiety, I am takingt medication, she chooses not to do so.

 

* She has told me before that she 'loves but doesnt like her children': Kids can be hard, and can make you damn near pull your hair out- I understand. And a part of me understands what she means. Both her children and my children are quite the hand full. Her daughter has issues with anger, and get into trouble with hitting/biting alot in school and he son simply doesnt listen. My daughter has AS and OCD and is very 'wired', talks constantly and is very bossy and speaks unkindly to her brother- but never hits. My son is alot like hers- he doesnt listen to anything and has issues with controlling his behaviour and hits/hurts animals and can be very disrespectful. He is ODD and is very much a handful, but he is also a loving sweet guy. My point is, my children are 3 times the handful that her children are, and I have never said anything like that before. Also, i would like to add that she says that she spanks when she 'needs too'- but I have never seen her do this so far, only threaten to.

 

* Both of her children, like my two, where unplanned- I like to think of mine as a suprise. Shes very fast to tell you that she never wanted children that she had other plans with her life and how much she missed out on. I can undestand fully and Ive tried to talk with her about this a few times, just to help her feel that she has suppot. We both got pregnant with our first child when we where in out teens and really 'no ready' for the responsiblity- but we steeped up to the plate. Its very depressing how she talks about this. I dont think that shes ever said anything like this infront of her children, but I cant know for sure. It seems that I have healed from my rather 'traumatic' teens/ motherhood, and she has not. She doesnt try to move on at all. Im not sure how to help her.

 

I do know that she went to a therapist all last year and she informed me that shes talked about all of this but I didnt help her. She was put on antidepression meds for awhile, but made her heart do 'funny' things and she discovered that she has some type of heat issue ( I cannot remember what she said ). So she doesnt take the meds anymore. It seems like she wants better and wants to change. She has stopped smoking, started doing yoga and eating a little healtier, but shes not seeing the results that she needs. I can see that she loves her kids very much. There is no shortage of hugs and I love you's- but I dont agree with her parenting choices.

 

What should I say to her to make her relise some of her choices are having negative effects on her childrens well being? Ive hinted at this a few times, but she just blows it off and says something like " Kids are tough, theyll grow up just fine".. Yes kids are tough, but I really disagree with alot of what is going on.

 

I have no idea what to say to her or how to help/support her. She means alot to me and she really is an amazing person and a wonderful friend. Any advice/ thoughts on her situation?


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#2 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 01:23 AM
 
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It sounds like she is working on things, with the quitting smoking, yoga, etc. I think that being a supportive friend and offering advice or tips when she asks is all you can do. I don't think that saying that she loves but doesn't like her kids is necessarily bad, unless she is telling them that, whole other story! I actually find that refreshing. Not all parent's LIKE their children all the time, and that is okay. I mean, most of us don't like our teens behavior, lol, and even toddlers can be challenging. Do I like it when a 2yo has a tantrum? No, but of course I love him. It is a dangerous myth, IMO, that we as mothers paint this picture of always enjoying every aspect of parenting, it sets us all up for unrealistic expectations.

 

She sounds like a good parent who is struggling with losing her sense of self. If her dh is gone all day, and she is alone at home, that can be depressing if she doesn't have any outlets or passions. She is just...home. For some, they get intrinsic rewards from homemaking and SAHM, but for others, it isn't the same and they need something for them. Some people need to paint, or make music, or dance, or run, whatever fuels them. It sounds like she needs to find something, no matter how small, to fuel her. Helping her find that would be awesome! Once she feels more like herself, and happy, she will be a better parent. HTH.


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#3 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 03:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your reoly! She seems to be doing alit better since her and I.have been spending more time together. I think its good for both of us to have each others company and just sit down with a glass of wine when the children are in bed and just let out and talk openly about how crappy it can be at time. :-)

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#4 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 03:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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*sorry for the mistakes. Im using my phone to reply while trying to get DD ready for school.

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#5 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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Antidepressants are kind of a crap shoot. If she's tried one that made her heart do funny things (which they can), then trying different meds in different classes might eventually find one that is effective without scary side effects. (I'd call funny heart stuff "scary" as opposed to annoyances like constipation or cotton mouth.) Working with a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner or physicians assistant rather than a general practice health care provider might be a good idea, though not everyone has that option.

 

What you describe isn't ideal, and in my opinion, a 3-year-old needs to have a sober, conscious adult present at all times for his physical safety. A lot of the behavior that you describe could be depression talking (the nagging/dissatisfaction, extreme reactions, lack of filter). And talk therapy probably won't be helpful if it's just the tell-your-story, get-support variety -- the cognitive work that helps people with depression is work and takes a good therapist challenging and supporting the client.

 

I feel for her -- those were the toughest years of parenting for me, personally. And I feel for you, because it's very difficult to watch someone else parent in ways that aren't great for kids. I've done this dance with my exhusband practically since I met him over 20 years ago (it's not him, it's the situation, nothing will ever work, everyone is out to get him) and I can recognize now that times when I've been depressed I've been that way too.
 

Sorry -- I didn't answer your question. I don't know what I'd say, because I don't know what would be helpful to her. Sometimes other people's words don't do much -- it just has to feel bad enough for someone to want change and be motivated for it.

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#6 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 07:53 PM
 
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Like sparklefairy, I'm very worried about the unsupervised little one. She needs to have someone there for him or put him in care. If she leaves him alone too long... something is bound to happen. Kids are clever monkeys and they need supervision.


I honestly would talk to her hubby or call CPS on her. These kids deserve better.
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#7 of 12 Old 03-11-2013, 09:38 PM
 
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they are are her kids and she gets to raise them how she wants right or wrong. She obviously needs medication of some kind. I also think the unsupervised thing is not ok.
 

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#8 of 12 Old 03-12-2013, 01:32 AM
 
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I don't think that napping while a 3yo plays is necessarily bad, depending on the 3yo and the child proofing. I worked nights when ds1 was young, and I would get up with him in the mornings, eat with him, hang a little, then nap on the couch while he watched a movie. For me, it wasn't a full on sleep, I was aware, if that makes sense. It's easy to judge from here, and it may be a potentially dangerous situation, and if so, I'd bring it up, but as it was stated in the OP it didn't sound CPS worthy.


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#9 of 12 Old 03-12-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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i think your friendship is the best thing for her.

 

Enjoy her kids, and maybe you will be the adult that helps give them the props they need to mitigate some of her negativity.

 

Medication is a crapshoot, and in my experience did more harm than good. If she is open to a holistic path, i'd encourage her to have her hormones tested and to ONLY accept bio-identical hormones as treatment to balance what is out of whack. Depression, day sleeping, anxiety are all hormone related. The book SEX LIES AND MENOPAUSE was very helpful to me in introducing me to natural hormone replacement. I realize you both are many years away from menopause, but this book will still have great info, in fact most of the book was about the damage we do to ourselves during the childbearing years that compound the problems of aging.

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#10 of 12 Old 03-12-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ive talked with her today and expressed my concerns about her LO being alone for many hours. She didnt like it, but she did listen. She plans to go back to therapy & get medication because little did i know, she had a major break down last night. Luckily her DH was thete. She had tried to call me several times, but my phone was off. That made me feel terrible.

She will be bringing her DS to me when she does to therapy and I offered to keep her children a few days and sometimes on weekends so that she can take a break and recover. She was very thankful. Everyone please send her good vibes. She needs them right now.

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#11 of 12 Old 03-12-2013, 09:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntressMother View Post

Ive talked with her today and expressed my concerns about her LO being alone for many hours. She didnt like it, but she did listen. She plans to go back to therapy & get medication because little did i know, she had a major break down last night. Luckily her DH was thete. She had tried to call me several times, but my phone was off. That made me feel terrible.

She will be bringing her DS to me when she does to therapy and I offered to keep her children a few days and sometimes on weekends so that she can take a break and recover. She was very thankful. Everyone please send her good vibes. She needs them right now.

 

Like you said earlier, and from what you've posted, it sounds like she does want things to be better, but is having a tough go of it. It's really great that you are there for her, and offering to help, watch her LO while she goes to therapy, watch the kids so she can have some recoup time, etc. I've been there before, the only difference I didn't have any friends there to help me. It's really great you are there for her. smile.gif

 

Sending her good vibes.


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#12 of 12 Old 03-13-2013, 09:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by grisandole View Post

I don't think that napping while a 3yo plays is necessarily bad, depending on the 3yo and the child proofing. I worked nights when ds1 was young, and I would get up with him in the mornings, eat with him, hang a little, then nap on the couch while he watched a movie. For me, it wasn't a full on sleep, I was aware, if that makes sense. It's easy to judge from here, and it may be a potentially dangerous situation, and if so, I'd bring it up, but as it was stated in the OP it didn't sound CPS worthy.


That sounds very different to me than sleeping for several hours in a different room. When I was expecting my 2nd and my 1st was under 2, I dozed on the couch with her touching me in front of the tv many times. Kids that age are unpredictable and curious. Yes, I do judge that sleeping for several hours while a 3 year old plays in another room is a potentially dangerous situation. That 3 year old is not being supervised for hours at a time. I don't judge the value or character or morality of the mom. It sounds like she is barely surviving and doing the best that she can and does not have ill intent toward her children.

 

I'm so glad that she is confiding further and that OP is able to help her. I hope that she blossoms into abundant health and feels good very soon. I think that I personally would have to help her explore options for getting her needs met that were not dependent upon me taking her kids in addition to being willing to help with her kids, because I know myself and I know that I would come to feel resentful and because I don't think that a few days' break is going to turn this around completely. I think it's going to take time.

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