How did you keep and maintain your sanity? How did you keep your bond with your children? How did you maintain looking like you were in charge in front of your kid?
Okay, maybe this sounds silly to some... but those that know my background... maybe not.
I have no choice but to live with my parents right now. There is no way in hell I can afford a place on my own, or even with room mates at the moment. I make too much too qualify for section 8 or any other type of aide.
At my parents I'm basically staying rent free and they buy food. I do have to start paying them some money a month now that my Mom is watching DS in the mornings and I'm getting a "break" in daycare costs.
But... my parents are where I learned all the fuzzy dysfunctionality of emotional abuse. Don't get me wrong. My parents do a lot for me... and I am very grateful to have a roof over my head right now, and a wicked comfy bed to sleep on!! (they bought me one since ex took ours and I was on a VERY uncomfy futon, and they took major pity on me after I had to have a c-section with DS)
But! They treat me like I'm 12 on most days. They put down my parenting in front of DD, they tell me what to do in front of DD... if I go to go on the computer for like 10 minutes while I'm feeding DS or something, I get yelled at about how I need to be paying more attention to my kids. My Dad puts me down pretty much daily telling me about how I need to excercise and how I'm immature and stupid for creating all the problems I have now.
I have always tried to put DD to bed around 8 o'clock. Now my parents always want to do something with DD at 8 and they give me this big attitude in front of DD and make me wait... so often she isn't getting to bed until 8:30, 9:00, which misses her window, and then she is overly tired, and she is screaming, and then DS is screaming because he eats around 8:30 (another reason I like to have her in bed before then)... and this is my nightly routine. :( I HATE it!
And now... DD sometimes won't even come to me... she only wants my parents. She woke up early over the weekend and freaked out on me and just kept yelling for my Dad. Some nights she won't even let me put her to bed because she only wants my Dad to put her to bed.
I don't know what to do... I feel like I have lost some of my bond with my baby girl. I'm scared I'm not really a good Mom. I'm afraid of what's going to happen when I can finally move out one day... and if she is going to be devestated about leaving my parents... and if her and I can get our relationship back on track?
I've tried talking to my parents about all of this... it does no amount of good. If I object to a certain snack or ask them to please stop feeding DD junk all day so she has a chance of eating her meals, then my Dad tells her "oh, I can't feed you this because your Mommy is a meanie."
Yes, I've asked him not to do this... but talking to my Father is like talking to a toddler. He pouts and then gets all angsty whenever I ask him not to do something and he's like, "well if you disagree with our parenting so much, why are you here?" something along those line... or they will say how ungrateful I am and spoiled, etc...
So yeah... I know... it's all my fault again. I have no where else to go.
My Mom LOVES to add un-needed stress to me. She will go on and on about what ex may be doing to DD and DS while they are with him (yelling at them, etc)... even though she KNOWS I can't do anything to change them going with him. I've told her to drop it and that it stresses me out, and I can't do anything about it so why dwell on it? She picks and picks and gets in my head.
I hear myself lashing out all the time at home whenever I've had to interact with my parents... and I HATE it. I try to stop myself... but they keep pushing and pushing.
My counselor told me to keep the "free rent" mantra in my head... but now that I have to start paying something... that basically nullifies that.
Does anyone else have to deal with some of this? What do you do?
Has anyone else gone through it? How were your kids? Were you able to break all the "bad" habits once you got out?
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
Your parents sound a lot like my parents. I had to live with them for a few months after my divorce. Believe me, if there was any other way, I wouldn't have chosen them. But when you have two young children you can't support, your list of friends with money and space to take you in grows thin. What is really frustrating is hearing people say, "You are so fortunate to have family who can help!". I understand this, but beyond providing for our physical needs, there was nothing to be grateful for. :(
I disagree with my parents' religious beliefs, but I found myself letting them take my kids to church since that ended up being my only time alone. I did a lot of screaming into pillows every Sunday morning, often making myself hoarse trying to de-stress until they came back. I also used that time to relax in their oversized bath tub rather than just taking a shower - something they never figured out I was doing. That short time alone did help me maintain my sanity.
In the long run, I think it hurt me more than it hurt my kids to have been back in my parents house. I did worry about them, but I think they have turned out to be far more flexible and adaptable than I am. They have been in several different households between our married household, mine, their dad's, and my parents. They have learned to recognize early that different people have very different lifestyles, and see themselves as having more choices than what I saw in my "world" growing up.
Even their experience going to church with their grandparents has helped them both see different religions as options people choose (I know that may not be your issue, it was mine). I grew up seeing my parents' way as the "one and only way". My parents equate making choices with "rebellion", but my kids see making choices as living your own life. They see me living one way, my parents living another way, their dad living another way, and its all good with them.
I've been divorced for 7 years now and have literally been on my own most of that time. The time we spent living with my parents was horrible for me, but very short in comparison with the time I have supported them alone in my own house.
I don't have a good relationship with my parents and I don't see them as a good influence. But I have been surprised to find over the years that my kids are quite resilient. They weren't raised in my parents authoritarian household, and they haven't been damaged by my parents' attitudes in the way that I have.
And yes, we also see therapists (we have for years). I see a different therapist than the kids, but we all go to one fairly regularly. It helps to have outsiders who can see things more objectively, and who can help me work through my issues so I can be the best parent I can be. The kids see their own therapist without me, someone they can sound off to and sometimes open up to in a way that they can't with me. She has helped me be able to explain some issues to the kids in a way that they will understand, and advised me when an issue isn't something they can handle now.
Well, I have already been here for over 9 months... and I'm expecting to be here for another year... :( So it's not really a short lived thing... and I'm so afraid of what DD is picking up in the meantime. She sees my Dad put me and my Mom down on a near daily basis. She sees everyone yelling.
My Dad is still trying to teach her racial slurs even though I went OFF on him to never ever do it again, even though he kept threatening to kick me out because I went against his "teachings" about how he raised me. *rolls eyes*
As my counselor said... she isn't sure if I lept from the pan to the fire, or from the pan to another pan... but in any event... I'm still in a horrible living environment for my children. :(
As soon as I'm home, I'm responsible for everything to do with the kids. Even if they give DD a snack and she makes a mess, they will be yelling at me to clean it up. This drives me INSANE!!! Like, really, why can't they follow through on cleaning up since they are the ones that gave her the snack? I've already been screamed at because I didn't find all of DD's cups around the house... the ones THEY gave her so I didn't know she had them or that I should be looking for them!
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
My only suggestion is to limit your time together, which I'm sure is easier said than done. I'm so glad my parents had a sunroom that's pretty separate from the rest of the house. We used it as a playroom, and DS and I would close ourselves in there in the evenings.
As soon as the weather is warm enough, I would be locating every free place (parks, playgrounds, library, mall, airport, train station) within a reasonable distance and would stay away from the house (with the kids along, obviously) as much as possible. Take long walks with the kiddos if you're in a walkable area.
Mama to DS (5)
Phoenix Mama your parents home sounds like an emotionally abusive unstable place to be. IMHO I would be looking for other housing options ASAP.
If you re-read your messages on this thread replacing all mentions of either of your parents with DH. Would you except this treatment from a partner? Would you expect your children to from their future partners?
Keep looking while trying to make the best of the situation while you hunt.
Have you tried looking for another single mother (or two) to share a home with?
Its worth speaking to Section 8 office again making sure to describe the home situation. It sounds to me like you are always at of one "wrong" comment on an off day from causing you to become homeless anyway. You and your children deserve so much better.
I don't have any advice but I'm going through something similar with my mom. I don't live with her but she lives next door and watches my daughter while I work so I see her every day. Every day when I walk through the door to pick DD up after work she groans at me and half the time has a fit when she realizes we're leaving and won't be back till tomorrow. She cries and begs to see Grandma when she doesn't get her way. In time outs, she calls to her from the window. Every morning she asks me fifty times before we leave if she can go already. I hate that she'd much rather be with my mom than with me. My mom is also no help outside of watching DD. Anytime I try and tell her how frustrated I am with the ex or whatever I get comments like, "I don't know why you married him," or some other equally sarcastic remark. Nothing helpful. And she's been divorced three times, and has three kids. I don't understand why she's not more sympathetic.