Feeling Like a Bad Mommy....? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone:

I don't mean to sound all "feel sorry for me please", but the other day I was at my friend's house visiting her while our dds played...

I mentioned that I was planning to homeschool my children and my friend looked at me like I was growing a fungus on my face. Well, I don't really care what people think about that - I feel very confident that it's the right thing for us to do.

But she did go on and on about how her dd does something every single day outside the home. Would it be best for my dd to have her doing some sort of social activity every day? She told me that her dd goes to Kindermusik on Mondays, Mother's Day out on Tuesdays, Swimming Lessons on Wednesdays, Mother's Day Out on Thursdays and Li'l Gym on Fridays. So she's doing something outside the home every single day. And she kept mentioning it the whole time I was there. Made me feel like I am not providing enough outside social activity for my dd.

It's not like we sit on the couch and watch soaps all day. The entire day is full of some sort of activity (puzzles, playground across the street, working on numbers, alphabet, playing with toys, coloring, playing with stickers, etc.) so it's not as if we aren't doing ANYthing constructive. She does go to the mother's day out that's two blocks away at the church twice a week for some social interaction and she really loves that.

I try to come up with imaginative play for her at home, too. The other day I went to the local hobby store and bought a bag of those little poofy pom-pom balls for her to play in, and some of that shredded paper that is used to stuff gift bags...dd is supervised while playing with this stuff, of course. She had a blast!

I dunno, I guess I'm just feeling a little down on myself (probably hormone related).
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#2 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 12:10 PM
 
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Your DD is not even two?? And someone tells you that garbage?? :

Your daughter will have YEARS ahead of her to do things like that. There is a limited amount of years it can be just you and her. Enjoy that and remember at this age, she is learning how to be a human being...a person. Not a musician, or a gymnast, or a dancer. People don't appreciate how precious little time they have with their babies (and two is still a baby).

I think even for my older kids, an activity every day is way too much. Besides school, they have church group Wednesday nights and the older two have swimming (DS) and girl scouts (DD).

The social outlet is good (especially for moms I think moreso than the kids)...but you are doing more than enough. My 16 month old goes to a weekly "coffee" get together in my neighborhood. That is it. And he is well-adjusted and social.

Blech. Don't listen to anyone else. Follow your instincts!! You sound like a better mom than one who has to pay someone to entertain her own child!

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#3 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And of course, I know you're right...I should just go with what my gut tells me...why does society continue to try to prevent moms from doing what they believe is right?

I should write a book - "Go with your Gut", except that I don't really believe in alot of these baby books that are available (except for Dr. Sears!). No book can tell a mom what the "right" thing is for her and her children, but it's so hard not to second-guess yourself when there are people shoving their philosophies down your throat. And my "friend" does this frequently. Don't get me wrong - she is a nice person and I like her alot, but I don't agree with alot of her parenting advice. When she urged me to let my dd "cry it out", I knew that was wrong, and I was shocked that she did it, and I'll tell you, it shows in her dd's behavior sometimes So, honestly, I don't know why I even questioned myself since I should have considered the source! What is it with these pregnancy hormones? They make me so stupid!

Ok, I will listen to my heart and continue to do what I know is right for us. Thanks so much for the comment - the encouragement is always so great here.
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#4 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 01:00 PM
 
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ITA!

When I started reading I was thing she was doing things like a playgroup or going to the zoo or kid's museums which I would think kids would love and you can incorporate the activity into school learning. Plus you could get some adult interaction which my mom swears all parents need to stay sane.

And no offense to your friend but it sounds like she's gotten sucked into that trap that you need to do all this stuff to be a good parent and make it possible for her kids to have the best in life.

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#5 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 01:18 PM
 
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I was homeschooled until 7th grade, and one of my big complaints about the experience was that there weren't enough outside activities, but every single day sounds too disruptive. My mother and I have gone back and forth for years over what would have been appropriate, and her thinking was that I would ask to do an activity if I really wanted to do it. But it never occurred to me to ask because I wasn't aware that I had options besides what my mother dictated (i.e. staying home and playing quietly, hehe). So I think it's important to try things, either as a family or individually, and then let the child express a preference towards a certain thing. But at pre-school age, yeah, whatever. I think that's overscheduling (at least what your friend is describing).
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#6 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline248

The social outlet is good (especially for moms I think moreso than the kids)...
There you go. I was like your "friend" when I only had one dd - I really needed to be out and about and we did many activities, even when I had my two dds we were probably out of the house 4 out of 5 week days - only when I had my third did I become more at peace with being a "homebody" and I think that's b/c then my dd1 had started PS, I was still working PT and I just wanted to be home and enjoy them rather than rushing here and there and everywhere

Your friend just sounds like one of those "one way from A to B" people (my folks are like this) and like you said, it's not that she's awful, she just sounds like a person who has to rationalize her own parenting by talking others into it. It's probably hard for to accept that something different might work as well (or better?) for others.

I really congratulate you b/c it can be difficult to deal with this and remain confident in your own decisions for your own family. My best friend homeschools her 6 kids. I send my dd1 to a private school, as I will with my other children. We both do things differently and both things work out equally well for our different families. We support one another and rarely ever "one up/one down" each other.

But it can be hard to do that when you have a mindset like it sounds like your friend has. Also, I think it's harder to do when you only have one or two children. Not that having more makes you "smarter" - I just find IME it makes you more "humble" and able to accept that there are different approaches in life and parenting and just b/c a good friend chooses to do something different doesn't make either one of your choices "bad" or even better or worse in any way. Does that make sense? I know myself, I was a lot more judgmental and "set in my ways" ironically when I had 1 kid as opposed to now working on #4!!

I just thought your second post was great! It's so great to be able to have that balance and be able to listen to and be friends with people like your "friend" (I have one just like her!) without either a) slipping into their trap by defending your choices vehemently OR trying to talk her into your choices and/or b) just dropping the friendship all together. It sounds like there is value to your friendship and I think it's wonderful that you can be confident in your own decisions without bashing hers or her approach Good for you mama

WOHM married to SAHD, living the dream w/our: 3 girls (14,12,10) and 3 boys (7,5,3) and tie-breaker due Jan 2014

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#7 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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I also plan to homeschool our kids, which draws us a lot of flak from dh's parents because FIL is a retired prinicipal and MIL a retired school teacher. So, I can understand how you get the "don't get enough social interaction" argument from someone like your friend.

Maybe you should point out to her all the recent television stories (Dateline, 20/20, etc.) and articles on how kids are TOO overscheduled and doing TOO MANY activities.

It is possible to have a friendship where you have a major difference of beliefs. I have a friend IRL who is AP, SAHM, homeschooler, etc., but she is liberal and I am a religious conservative. Go figure.
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#8 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 02:29 PM
 
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I think it sounds like you are an AWESOME mama! I have days too when I wonder if ds and I are "doing enough." But really, I kno win my heart that him just being with me is enough. Add a set of fingerpaints nr a bag of pom poms...and there ya go.

I honestly feel sorry for people who always feel that they have to be "doing" or "going" or "learning," etc. There has to come a point where you can just "be." And that point is hard to find sometimes (Okay, my zen moment for the day sorry). But really, my god, I think my ds would be bonkers if I had him doing that much stuff. And overstimulation is a major problem in children nowadays..imo. Babies NEED to be with their mamas. End of story.

Okay, off the soapbox - but must add, when I talk about homeschooling (still on the fence, leaning more and more towards hs) I get alot of the "what about their socialization" "they will be bored," etc etc. I gotta tell you, I have heard more aweful things about public schools than I care to think about. Most times, I don't even try to defend, different strokes, for different folks...for sure.

Hugs, mama!

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#9 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StacyL
I also plan to homeschool our kids, which draws us a lot of flak from dh's parents because FIL is a retired prinicipal and MIL a retired school teacher. So, I can understand how you get the "don't get enough social interaction" argument from someone like your friend.

Maybe you should point out to her all the recent television stories (Dateline, 20/20, etc.) and articles on how kids are TOO overscheduled and doing TOO MANY activities.

It is possible to have a friendship where you have a major difference of beliefs. I have a friend IRL who is AP, SAHM, homeschooler, etc., but she is liberal and I am a religious conservative. Go figure.
Stacy - We did see the 20/20 story recently (about how bad the schools have become across the nation) and that was the straw that broke the camel's back for us with regard to homeschooling. It's no secret that the schools in our area are pretty bad for many reasons, and what's interesting is that my nephews, who are in the "gifted and talented" program at their grade school, seem to be learning what most "normal" classrooms teach at their grade level. I think that the label "gifted and talented" is sort of giving them a false sense of "smartness" (which has made them both quite arrogant), and unfortunately, their parents drive it into them every chance they get (when they aren't putting them down). I'm all for telling my kids that they're smart kids, but not to show off for other parents. I'm worried that my nephews will get into situations where they think that they're much more brilliant than they are and end up alienating people, if that makes any sense.

I'm sure that there are public schools out there somewhere that are adequate, but we are not fortunate to have one near us.

Sorry for the change of subject! Thanks again for all the great responses!
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#10 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 02:53 PM
 
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I have mixed feeling about homeschooling - but I'm glad you realize that since your daughter is NOT EVEN 2 yet, "socialization" and outside activities are good in moderation if at all. Actually, everything I studie in child psych and early childhood education basically concluded that until age 3, a child's main social needs should be met by the family. I love going to play group & hanging out w/ other moms...but realistically I know it is more socialization for ME than for my dd
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#11 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsun
but must add, when I talk about homeschooling (still on the fence, leaning more and more towards hs) I get alot of the "what about their socialization" "they will be bored," etc etc. I gotta tell you, I have heard more aweful things about public schools than I care to think about. Most times, I don't even try to defend, different strokes, for different folks...for sure.
I hear you! I am not worried at all about dd's socialization as I have a couple of other friends who homeschool, and I know that there will be more people for us to meet once we get started. One of the friends who is planning to hs told me that they usually get together several times a month to do fieldtrips or coffee/play dates and things like that. Plus, if there is a mom who doesn't feel confident enough in a certain subject, her kids can go to another mom's house for that subject or vice versa. This friend has homeschooled two kids before - those kids are young adults now and are the most amazing young people I've ever met. They are very smart, articulate, funny, talented and VERY social!

And I agree about the "overstimulation" thing. I like that me and dd can just "be", as you said. I like that zen stuff!
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#12 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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ITA with everyone else, too!

I had a "moment" about 6 months ago when I was at my parents house and 2 other friends were visiting with their kids...we were all goign to a shower the next day and my parents house played "hotel" (mom and dad were in heaven with 3 kids under 2 there... )

So anyway, DS wasn't really "playing" with my friend's dd much, who is 6 months younger than him - she goes to daycare and is used to being around lots of kids all the time (not saying there's anything wrong with daycare, just it's not something we're doing) so she kept approaching him to try to play with him, but he kind of seemed like he didn't know what he was supposed to do....

....so anyway, enter my mom, saying something about 'maybe I should get him into some kind of activities so he knows how to interact with kids', and me thinking she was right and starting to worry...which is ironic considering she was a SAHM with me and I was an only child, and I never did any 'activities' until preschool....

fast forward 2 months later, I'm visiting at another friends' parents' house with her boy/girl twins that are 6 weeks younger than DS. Um, yeah - he TOTALLY played and interacted with them, it was a blast for 2 days.

So, I say fooey on early socialization for the kid's sake. As others have said, great for mom's sanity sometimes, but not "necessary" for a small child's development. Besides, DS is gonna get PLENTY of socialization in the next year before he goes to preschool or Kgarten with his new sibling around!

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#13 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mcimom
There you go. I was like your "friend" when I only had one dd - I really needed to be out and about and we did many activities, even when I had my two dds we were probably out of the house 4 out of 5 week days - only when I had my third did I become more at peace with being a "homebody" and I think that's b/c then my dd1 had started PS, I was still working PT and I just wanted to be home and enjoy them rather than rushing here and there and everywhere

I took it as her friend was doing all these "structured" activities. I do tons with my kids outside the house..it is the classes at two years old I think are a bit much! Free play in a playgroup type setting teaches so much to the kids I think....I loved my playgroup when my girls were younger!!

~C~
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#14 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Funny thing...just mentioned to my friend that I took dd to the library this morning for storytime...her response: "Oh good, I'm so glad to see you getting out with her"...and now I realize there is a fine line between intuition and paranoia!

In my heart, I know what feels right for Lex and me and I’m going to follow my gut on that, but when I hear statements like my friend's (a statement that to me infers that I don’t get out with my child enough), I end up second-guessing myself. From the statements she’s made and the looks she’s given me when I tell her about homeschooling and other things that aren’t what she would choose for her daughter, I’m thinking that I have a pretty good idea what she thinks about how I am raising my daughter, but do I really? Is my intuition serving me correctly or am I just being paranoid? How do I know the difference?


Does any of this make sense or do I need to be on meds?

And thanks so much for the encouragement, ladies!
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#15 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 07:00 PM
 
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My daughter is a very social little person, however I've noticed she's happiest just playing at a friend's house about one day a week. I tired getting out more and after a week she started begging to go home! I was shocked, but kids really do well just being home most of the time (with activities of course, which you're doing). We do a little home pre-school everyday and she loves that, she is ahead of the cirriulums taught for her age group in pre-schools anyway. So I figure if I send her to public school kidergarden when the time comes she'll be really bored (maybe even lose her love for learning) because she will have already mastered everything they're teaching. Just follow your gut. Too many kids have parents who way over schedule them, it isn't healthy or natural!

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#16 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 05:54 AM
 
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I have to admit.... there are days where we don't even make it outside. And then we are usually just out to run errands. My kids have had no "socialization" since we left wisconsin (in August) and they really aren't suffering. Owen could care less about other kids (except his sister), he just wants to eat, dance, chase his dog, and nurse. Amelia is starting to talk more about friends and kids, but she is getting more to that age. We are moving this spring, so I will line her up at that time to be involved in things that will get her with other kids (and by that I mean maybe 1 activity a week plus playing at a park where others might be there). I am not really even concerned about Owen yet.... and he is just a few months younger than your daughter. I really wouldn't worry! You are doing fine!
We had a great day today... we put on the radio and danced for awhile and dug out the playdough. That was our day and it was fun. I wouldn't want my kids to have to go to classes everysingle day, we wouldn't be able to have as much relaxed playtime together.... of course, that is just me.
There are so many choices you can make and I don't think any of them are really wrong at this point. If you guys are happy as can be hanging out with eachother, then do that. Kids remember happiness more than the actual activities they did, know what I mean?

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#17 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 10:30 AM
 
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ITA w/pp's.

I think too many children are waaaaay overscheduled & overstimulated. I've found DS doing some really cool creative free play with his dumptruck & whatever objects I have on hand...they NEED relaxed playtime.

Some of it also depends on your child's temperment, too. Some kids can deal with a lot of activities, some can NOT. My DS had a period when we couldn't get out of the house at ALL without a MAJOR 30-60 minute struggle every day - not even to do errands! Now he's 3, a bit more mellow, & didn't seem interested in taking his music class again, so we have no scheduled activities at all. He's quite happy now. My friend's been able to keep her son in some sort of scheduled activity or two for over a year now, but her son is much more of a "team player" & likes group activities much more than my "staunch individualist".

As it is, we have playdates, go to the parks, the playground, the zoo, museums, the library, LLL, etc. He also gets to play with/around other children at the childcare when I go to the gym. He's plenty social - when HE wants to be.

Personally, I remember the pleasant times w/my mom from when I was 3...not what we did or where we went.

As for paranoia vs. intuition...well...*I* can't really answer that for you, but I usually vote for intuition...hasn't led me wrong yet!
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#18 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You have all been so helpful!

I've pretty much decided that we're doing just fine. I agree with the overscheduling thing - it wouldn't work for us. I think we are much too "mellow" to busy ourselves with too many outside activities. I'm happy with it just being us until #2 arrives. We will do what a pp suggested and just "be".
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#19 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Juliwan
... We will do what a pp suggested and just "be".
That just reminds me, whenever I've had an existential/career crisis in the past 10 yrs (which was quite often, actually), I always remembered the question "What did you want to be when you grow up?" ('cos all the career counseling books tell you to ask yourself that... ). Since I could never make my mind up, I always just wanted to "be" me.

I ask DS what he wants to be when he grows up...his answer..."I wanna be me". Which I think is pretty cool.
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#20 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That just reminds me, whenever I've had an existential/career crisis in the past 10 yrs (which was quite often, actually), I always remembered the question "What did you want to be when you grow up?" ('cos all the career counseling books tell you to ask yourself that... ). Since I could never make my mind up, I always just wanted to "be" me.

I ask DS what he wants to be when he grows up...his answer..."I wanna be me". Which I think is pretty cool.
That's really cool - I've gone through the same kind of thing...was a nurse for several years (in L&D even) and after I had dd, just couldn't even fathom going back to that. I occasionally go through a career crisis, and then remember that I've decided to stay home and raise my kids, which is a career in itself!

That's a smart little ds you have! I hope my dd feels the same way when she is asked that question!
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#21 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 03:18 PM
 
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I’m thinking that I have a pretty good idea what she thinks about how I am raising my daughter, but do I really?
Just remember, your dd chose you for her mother, there is no one else in the entire world that can do a better job (my mom told me that once).

This whole conversation reminds me of a time when a pretty good friend told me that it was best to have kids in daycare by the time they are 1 so they "learn how to be with other kids." And honestly (again, NOTHING against daycare, or anything else) I think this was her way of rationalizing to herself that it was OK for her son to be in daycare. Who the heck wants a one year old who knows "how to act around others." Yes, my ds is kinda shy around other kids, but I personally think this is perfectly normal and healthy.
He is a crazy-head around family and close friends......complete extrovert and just a riot, and when we do go out to the playground or whatever, he is such an observer, it's like he drinks itin, and I love that! I think it is SO COOL!

Actually I have had several people tell me so many reasons pro-daycare, socialization, etc. and agian, I usually nod and shake my head It's tough being a mama. Im glad my son is having a true, happy, free childhood.

Quote:
Does any of this make sense or do I need to be on meds?
I ask myself this several times a week! It's just hard going against what the "norm" is I think, people are programmed into thinking these things. Im glad we don't, and glad we have Mothering as a place for support and comfort.

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