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The Background:

I have two kids, a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I'm pretty much a SAHM (I work whenever I can on a part-time basis, which isn't much in my rural area). My dh travels a bit for work, and whenever he travels, the kids and I often take off in the van on a mini-trip of our own to see family or friends, as we live 4-9 hours from our geographically closest friends/family.

My best friend lives one state over, about 4-5 hours away. The kids and I go over there a few times a year, and she comes to our house once or twice a year. She has three kids and works part-time, so it works out well for us that I usually travel over there.

Her kids are 6, 3, and 9 months. She just completed a renovation on her farmhouse which effectively doubled her mortgage payment, putting her in the position of having to work (she would secretly rather be at home). Her job is awful at present, and her husband is the absolute least-involved person I've ever seen in a marriage or as a parent. He's the silent guy who comes home, grunts at his wife and barely speaks to the kids as he makes his way to the couch. He comes when called to dinner, eats, then clears his own plate and goes back to the couch until bedtime (his). He makes zero attempt to interact with the family unless one of the kids is doing something completely egregious directly in front of him. He spends weekends at "his land" (a parcel about 3 miles from their home) fixing an old tractor & bulldozer, and his 6 year old son let it slip this weekend that daddy likes to take naps in the camper when he goes to his land. My friend was not previously aware of this, and the look on her face was so sad. Her marriage makes her sad, but she'll never divorce. She grew up on a farm with a big, loving, happy family and desperately wants that for her family.

She has had PPD and complicated nursing issues, though she continues to try and supplement (she makes perhaps 18 oz/day for her 9 month old). She has longstanding thyroid issues and has taken meds while not nursing, though she won't (can't, I think?) take Synthroid while nursing...so her levels are actually zero right now and she is a MESS.

She's gone from 2 to 3 kids, she's depressed, her hormones are nuts, and her husband is, for all practical purposes, absent.

So.

The Situation:

The kids and I went over there this weekend. I knew she was tense, but I figured a weekend would cheer her up. My kids have been over there a dozen times, and there were always the usual issues (colicky infants, fussy babies, highly attached children...oh, and they sleep horribly. Want us to come to your house?
) but we laugh about it and she hugs them anyway and we always have a great time. We parent very differently (me = AP, her = spank and scream), and we've had some spirited discussions, but we've always made it through it and still love each other. Her kids are lovely and play great with mine.

The first day was great. Her 6 year old and my 4 year old spent the afternoon outside on the farm building stuff and moving snow around. Our 3 year old daughters played side by side. I rocked the baby while she cooked for us all. Very happy.

The second day was horrible.
She was tense anyway, and it started at breakfast. My son grabbed his sister's hand for coming close to his milk, and claimed he wanted to bite her. I didn't see any of this (not in the room), but I came back in as my friend was grabbing my son and yelling at him, and he was crying. I took over and calmed him and sat next to him through breakfast while simultaneously reminding him in a dire voice that he is absolutely not allowed to bite. anyone. ever.

It ended, though, and we went outside to sled. They have 20 acres with some fantastic hills, and we were all excited. At one point, my son slid down the backside of the hill, away from the rest of us. He didn't respond when she called him, and since I was downhill with my daughter, I didn't know he was down there. She sent her 6yo son to go see why he wasn't coming back up when she called. It became a huge deal because HER kids know that when she whistles, it means that they need to come IMMEDIATELY, but my son has never been whistled for in his whole life and it didn't even faze him. She called his name, and apparently he didn't come then, either.

So, her son went down and I met him coming halfway back up, when I asked him what was up with my son - why wasn't he coming up? Her son replied that my son said "My foot tangled in the rope of the sled. I'm just resting now." I shrugged and kept walking to get him. He said the same thing to me, and I reminded him that when someone calls his name, he needs to answer them. He said okay. We went back up the hill, and I told my friend all of the above. She didn't say much, but she was hot -- and then I heard her asking her son if that was what *really* happened to mine. I was embarrassed -- she was checking to see if my son was lying. Her son confirmed the story, but she was still mad.

A little while later, I was walking up the hill myself and I saw my kids about 15 feet away. Their sleds are identical except for a towing rope, and I saw my daughter climb into her brother's. No big deal, but he immediately tried to dump her out. I yelled his name and started up the hill a little faster, but my friend ran past me and picked him up before I reached him. She started screaming: "I am sick and tired of you being mean to your sister! You are DONE SLEDDING! You need to sit right there!" and she dropped him into the cargo basket of their four-wheeler.

I was steps behind her, and immediately picked him up and started walking away from the group with him, toward the house (about 0.25 mile). I scolded him for not listening/trying to dump his sister, but by the time we got to the house, he was just sobbing and scared. We stopped and I hugged him and calmed him down and listened to what he had to say. I reminded him that he had to be nice to his sister and listen to adults and all, but mostly I just hugged him and tried to calm both of us down.

When the group arrived back at the house, my son and I had spent time in a room by ourselves, calming and talking. He met my friend at the door and apologized for not listening to her. She met us and said "I need to apologize, too. I know you don't yell at your children."

What?? That wasn't an apology. It was a backhanded insult.

At any rate, I apologized by saying "I'm sorry my kids are misbehaving at your house."

The evening was frosty, and she stomped around and I rocked her baby while the kids played (they were all fine by this point). We were expecting a third friend of ours to come the next day with her kids, and she called to see what time she should come. My friend took the phone in the bathroom (10 feet away) and didn't shut the door while she ranted and vented about my children: she told the stories about Adam, and ended by yelling "How do you tell your friend YOU can come to my house, but NOT YOUR KIDS! ARGH!"

I was so embarrassed and humiliated, and she walked out of the bathroom to find me off the phone, realizing I heard every word of hers. She gave the kids dessert and they skipped off while we put the baby in the bath.

While I was handing her soap and such, she point-blank asked me "Do you think your kids would be good at your house?" I was stunned and couldn't say anything but I think I murmured something like 'who knows' -- I mean, how do you respond to that?

She spent the entire next day with our friend over describing how we just need a Mom's Weekend Away next year, without the kids. I knew she meant mine.
I felt shamed.

The kids played just fine the rest of the weekend and were sad to leave, mostly because they love her kids' toys and land. They are already asking to go back.

I spent the nights and the last few days just sick over it, and my friend called like nothing had happened and chatted just as pleasantly as could be. I was outside playing with my son when she called, and he was laughing, and she was really pleasant: "I just love his laugh!" I felt like she was extending an olive branch, but I wasn't sure.

I am trying to take everything into consideration ---- if I felt no grace in my life (work, husband, young children, mortgage...), I would hardly be able to extend it to other people, like my friends' kids when they misbehave. So I am trying to see this through her eyes with compassion and love and trying to believe the best and trying to be compassionate about all of the extenuating circumstances that led her to react the way she did to, frankly, what is not abnormal behavior at my house. My kids are 4 and 3 and they aren't perfect listeners, and they do sometimes fight. It's better than it used to be, but they aren't perfectly behaved all the time. Heck, if she thought that was bad, she should be at my house at 5pm while I'm trying to cook dinner! I'll show her ill behavior.
Anyway, I'm trying to be compassionate about it.

However, I still feel humiliated and embarrassed at her reaction to me and my son.

I read an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh tonight, and I'm trying so hard to extend compassion to her in frankly, what is a difficult time for her. I don't work (much), my husband is wonderful, our finances are in order, and my hormones are fine. I feel like I can give her this grace.

But I'm still wary of taking the kids over there anytime soon.

Thoughts?

And love to you
if you have read this far.
 

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Wow. First of all, you have much compassion for her, and you can see that she's overwhelmed and you've had to sidestep or deal with issues in the past regarding your very different takes on parenting. I think she was rude, and while there might be a host of reasons for her being in a bad place right now, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking my kids back to her turf, expecting her not to have input and expecting the kids to be cool with such a much different situation. If you want to salvage the friendship, I would suggest that you talk to her, because you're just going to have built up resentment and eggshell behavior every time you and your kids are around. Such a hard situation, I'm so sorry.
 

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My first reaction is shock. Do you have an agreement that you may discipline each other's children? I would never, in a million years, yell an another's child, even if I were the yelling type. And so much drama over sibling squables (that are normal) and not coming when called (by someone not his parent)? Really rather over the top, IMHO.

I would probably decide that its not worth taking my kids there for a while. Before going back, I would have a frank conversation about expectations and boundaries. Or invite her to your house but have the same conversation. Maybe over the phone suggest she get some help with the PPD and hormonal issues, if you are that close.
 

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I don't think anything your children was so terrible. She screamed at your children, she manhandled your son.

I think there is a large difference between "NOT YELLING EVER NO YELLING" and yelling for every tiny thing. I wouldn't be comfortable with her disciplining my children.

I can tell you love your friend but I would probably tell her she needs to seek some sort of help for this. She does probably need you right now, but it is not fair to your son to be treated like that.
 

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If she has been a kind, understanding friend in the past I think trying to see things through her eyes is about the kindest thing you can do in this situation. She sounds pulled thin and like she might not have been at her best for having house guests. She might have been just on the edge and adding three more people to the mix just put her over. Sure, if she knew she wasn't up to company she should have said but maybe she didn't know, maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time, maybe she didn't know how to say come another time or take back an invitation she'd extended.

I don't think there's any reason for you to feel embarrassed, it sounds like your kids are just kids and normally your friend knows that but right now she's not at her normal.
 

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I have to agree that nothing that you've said your kids have done sounds that bad to me...sounds like normal kid things. Heck, saying you're going to bite someone isn't the same as biting someone! But whatever, that is not relevant, if you are present, you are the one to discipline your kids, not your friend. Especially since they were "fighting" with each other and not her kids!

It does sound like your friend has a really bad situation. But it sounds like visiting her with your kids is not a good option. I think you need to tell her that she is not to discipline your kids...period...when you are present. That doesn't mean just no yelling...but if you are there, she does not need to direct them at all. If she has a problem with how they are behaving, then she should talk to you about it. Would you feel comfortable disciplining her kids?

I feel sorry for your friend, but that doesn't give her the right to take it out on your kids. And perhaps her "complaining" about them is just an indication of trying to find some "superiority" for herself. It sounds like your family is much more the type of happy family she'd rather have...

As far as the whistling for her kids, you made me think of The Sound of Music where the kids were just expected to be little soldiers. I'm a little dubious about how she could've grown up in a big happy family ... don't all kids fight? I've never ever known siblings to not fight.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
The Background:

I have two kids, a 4 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I'm pretty much a SAHM (I work whenever I can on a part-time basis, which isn't much in my rural area). My dh travels a bit for work, and whenever he travels, the kids and I often take off in the van on a mini-trip of our own to see family or friends, as we live 4-9 hours from our geographically closest friends/family.

My best friend lives one state over, about 4-5 hours away. The kids and I go over there a few times a year, and she comes to our house once or twice a year. She has three kids and works part-time, so it works out well for us that I usually travel over there.

Her kids are 6, 3, and 9 months. She just completed a renovation on her farmhouse which effectively doubled her mortgage payment, putting her in the position of having to work (she would secretly rather be at home). Her job is awful at present, and her husband is the absolute least-involved person I've ever seen in a marriage or as a parent. He's the silent guy who comes home, grunts at his wife and barely speaks to the kids as he makes his way to the couch. He comes when called to dinner, eats, then clears his own plate and goes back to the couch until bedtime (his). He makes zero attempt to interact with the family unless one of the kids is doing something completely egregious directly in front of him. He spends weekends at "his land" (a parcel about 3 miles from their home) fixing an old tractor & bulldozer, and his 6 year old son let it slip this weekend that daddy likes to take naps in the camper when he goes to his land. My friend was not previously aware of this, and the look on her face was so sad. Her marriage makes her sad, but she'll never divorce. She grew up on a farm with a big, loving, happy family and desperately wants that for her family.

She has had PPD and complicated nursing issues, though she continues to try and supplement (she makes perhaps 18 oz/day for her 9 month old). She has longstanding thyroid issues and has taken meds while not nursing, though she won't (can't, I think?) take Synthroid while nursing...so her levels are actually zero right now and she is a MESS.

She's gone from 2 to 3 kids, she's depressed, her hormones are nuts, and her husband is, for all practical purposes, absent.

So.

The Situation:

The kids and I went over there this weekend. I knew she was tense, but I figured a weekend would cheer her up. My kids have been over there a dozen times, and there were always the usual issues (colicky infants, fussy babies, highly attached children...oh, and they sleep horribly. Want us to come to your house?
) but we laugh about it and she hugs them anyway and we always have a great time. We parent very differently (me = AP, her = spank and scream), and we've had some spirited discussions, but we've always made it through it and still love each other. Her kids are lovely and play great with mine.

The first day was great. Her 6 year old and my 4 year old spent the afternoon outside on the farm building stuff and moving snow around. Our 3 year old daughters played side by side. I rocked the baby while she cooked for us all. Very happy.

The second day was horrible.
She was tense anyway, and it started at breakfast. My son grabbed his sister's hand for coming close to his milk, and claimed he wanted to bite her. I didn't see any of this (not in the room), but I came back in as my friend was grabbing my son and yelling at him, and he was crying. I took over and calmed him and sat next to him through breakfast while simultaneously reminding him in a dire voice that he is absolutely not allowed to bite. anyone. ever.

It ended, though, and we went outside to sled. They have 20 acres with some fantastic hills, and we were all excited. At one point, my son slid down the backside of the hill, away from the rest of us. He didn't respond when she called him, and since I was downhill with my daughter, I didn't know he was down there. She sent her 6yo son to go see why he wasn't coming back up when she called. It became a huge deal because HER kids know that when she whistles, it means that they need to come IMMEDIATELY, but my son has never been whistled for in his whole life and it didn't even faze him. She called his name, and apparently he didn't come then, either.

So, her son went down and I met him coming halfway back up, when I asked him what was up with my son - why wasn't he coming up? Her son replied that my son said "My foot tangled in the rope of the sled. I'm just resting now." I shrugged and kept walking to get him. He said the same thing to me, and I reminded him that when someone calls his name, he needs to answer them. He said okay. We went back up the hill, and I told my friend all of the above. She didn't say much, but she was hot -- and then I heard her asking her son if that was what *really* happened to mine. I was embarrassed -- she was checking to see if my son was lying. Her son confirmed the story, but she was still mad.

A little while later, I was walking up the hill myself and I saw my kids about 15 feet away. Their sleds are identical except for a towing rope, and I saw my daughter climb into her brother's. No big deal, but he immediately tried to dump her out. I yelled his name and started up the hill a little faster, but my friend ran past me and picked him up before I reached him. She started screaming: "I am sick and tired of you being mean to your sister! You are DONE SLEDDING! You need to sit right there!" and she dropped him into the cargo basket of their four-wheeler.

I was steps behind her, and immediately picked him up and started walking away from the group with him, toward the house (about 0.25 mile). I scolded him for not listening/trying to dump his sister, but by the time we got to the house, he was just sobbing and scared. We stopped and I hugged him and calmed him down and listened to what he had to say. I reminded him that he had to be nice to his sister and listen to adults and all, but mostly I just hugged him and tried to calm both of us down.

When the group arrived back at the house, my son and I had spent time in a room by ourselves, calming and talking. He met my friend at the door and apologized for not listening to her. She met us and said "I need to apologize, too. I know you don't yell at your children."

What?? That wasn't an apology. It was a backhanded insult.

At any rate, I apologized by saying "I'm sorry my kids are misbehaving at your house."

The evening was frosty, and she stomped around and I rocked her baby while the kids played (they were all fine by this point). We were expecting a third friend of ours to come the next day with her kids, and she called to see what time she should come. My friend took the phone in the bathroom (10 feet away) and didn't shut the door while she ranted and vented about my children: she told the stories about Adam, and ended by yelling "How do you tell your friend YOU can come to my house, but NOT YOUR KIDS! ARGH!"

I was so embarrassed and humiliated, and she walked out of the bathroom to find me off the phone, realizing I heard every word of hers. She gave the kids dessert and they skipped off while we put the baby in the bath.

While I was handing her soap and such, she point-blank asked me "Do you think your kids would be good at your house?" I was stunned and couldn't say anything but I think I murmured something like 'who knows' -- I mean, how do you respond to that?

She spent the entire next day with our friend over describing how we just need a Mom's Weekend Away next year, without the kids. I knew she meant mine.
I felt shamed.

The kids played just fine the rest of the weekend and were sad to leave, mostly because they love her kids' toys and land. They are already asking to go back.

I spent the nights and the last few days just sick over it, and my friend called like nothing had happened and chatted just as pleasantly as could be. I was outside playing with my son when she called, and he was laughing, and she was really pleasant: "I just love his laugh!" I felt like she was extending an olive branch, but I wasn't sure.

I am trying to take everything into consideration ---- if I felt no grace in my life (work, husband, young children, mortgage...), I would hardly be able to extend it to other people, like my friends' kids when they misbehave. So I am trying to see this through her eyes with compassion and love and trying to believe the best and trying to be compassionate about all of the extenuating circumstances that led her to react the way she did to, frankly, what is not abnormal behavior at my house. My kids are 4 and 3 and they aren't perfect listeners, and they do sometimes fight. It's better than it used to be, but they aren't perfectly behaved all the time. Heck, if she thought that was bad, she should be at my house at 5pm while I'm trying to cook dinner! I'll show her ill behavior.
Anyway, I'm trying to be compassionate about it.

However, I still feel humiliated and embarrassed at her reaction to me and my son.

I read an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh tonight, and I'm trying so hard to extend compassion to her in frankly, what is a difficult time for her. I don't work (much), my husband is wonderful, our finances are in order, and my hormones are fine. I feel like I can give her this grace.

But I'm still wary of taking the kids over there anytime soon.

Thoughts?

And love to you
if you have read this far.

wow.

I just want to say that being down and out is no excuse for being a jerk to your friends. She was a jerk to you.

If I were you, I would just call her up and ask her what is up. Tell her basically what you told us. Tell her how you feel and that you understand she is going through a lot but you didn't deserve that.

I'm sorry it happened. Take Care
 

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I think you should tell your friend that you feel that her meanness towards your children was uncalled for and you will not have anything to do with her until she gets help for the PPD. If she feels that you are close enough for her to talk loudly enough for you to hear that she doesn't want your kids at the house and to question your ability to parent your children, then you are close enough friends for you to put down some very firm boundaries. Just because she has depression doesn't mean she has a free ticket to walk on you and put you down. This sounds like it is becoming a toxic relationship and you need to pull out rather than letting it go on.
 

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If I was in her situation, work stress, lack of support, PPD etc, having house guests would send me over the edge. No matter how well I knew them or how much I liked their children. Chances are she didn't want you there in the first place but felt she couldn't say no because you are such old friends, and probably she wanted to see YOU. I'm sure it would have been nice for her if it was just you, you could have helped her out a bit! As it was, you had to look after your own children and it sounds like she felt responsible for them too.

If you want to help her, try to arrange that girls weekend if it's at all possible. It sounds like she never gets a break and could really use one.
 

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I think in your shoes I would gently confront her. I would call her and say something like, "I think you should know that I accidentally heard your entire conversation with Friend C. I think we should talk about what you said to her-- because while I know we love each other a lot, maybe we need to take a break from visiting if my kids cause you too much stress." See where it goes from there. She does owe you a BIG apology. And frankly, your kids hardly sound like they misbehaved! It sounds like totally normal kid/sibling stuff. So please, don't be ashamed of your children or your parenting!

While it's true she has a lot going on right now, it's not your fault or your kids' fault that she didn't have the wisdom to call you and tell you it wasn't a good time for a visit. She also should have had the kindness to apologize for screaming at your child, and the kindness (once she realized you'd overheard her phone call) to bring the subject up directly with you. Since she can't do it, for whatever reason, I think you should.

You are coming from a place of such love and concern for her, I'm sure you'll find the right words so that the situation isn't aggravated. Good luck, mama.
 

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What adult hides in the bathroom to talk behind someones back when you can obviously hear through the door. it's not a sealed vault. Sounds very childish and she in no uncertain terms said she didn't want your kids back.

I am sad for your kids. I would have been mortified if someone shook my kid.

I just wanted to empathize. I would probably distance myself from this person.
 

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I'm hypothyroid. Not taking your replacement thyroxine (and you not only CAN take synthroid while BFing, you MUST or you lose most of your milk!) causes depression along with a whole host of other issues. Depending on how damaged her thyroid gland already is, a lack of thyroxine could actually induce a coma and death.

I think how she behaved was pretty appalling, unless you guys have agreed already that you might discipline one another's kids. I have a friend who we visit back and forth, she has 3 kids i have 1. Our rule is that in our own homes we are "in charge" but that only extends to requests unless the other mama isn't there. We are somewhat similar parents, which helps, but even if we were totally different i would never yell at her kids. I will tell one of them "no" if they are wrecking my stuff and i break up fights but gently.

I really think her medication/thyroid issues could be causing a lot of this. Is there any way you can talk to her about that? Before i got on medication i was short-tempered, depressed and unreasonable, as well as losing my milk supply.
 

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1. It sounds as if your kids are behaving totally normally. It sounds as if you feel bad about their behavior at your friend's house, but I don't think there is any need for that. Besides, they did nothing to her kids, so why on earth was your friend attempting to discipline them? Sorry you had to go through that. Sorry you had to hear your friend talk about your kids and you like that. That must have been so hurtful.


2. FWIW, PPD can totally mess with you. If it wasn't for that, she probably would never do and say those things. If she gets treatment, your friend will probably be back to her old self. If you feel up to it, please do support her through her PPD. She probably has no idea how inappropriate and hurtful she is being.
 

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I wouldn't toss a friendship over one bad visit. She was harsh with your son, but it doesn't sound like it's a recurring theme. People are allowed a bad day. I agree with a pp that she may not have wanted you there but felt obligated to say yes when you asked to visit.

Both PPD and thyroid problems can be very draining. Both affect sleep in tremendous ways, and if your children are bad sleepers and hers are good sleepers, that could explain some of her edginess in addition to her other problems.

One thing I noticed, though, was that you were not present in any of the incidents. She had the majority of the children. Is it possible she feels taken advantage of? I know of a couple of families who are that way. While I like their children, I don't always want 2 or 3 extra small children in my care, and sometimes I feel as if the other parents "check out" when their child is in the presence of another adult. I have lost it with my nephews before because though SIL and BIL are usually in the same house, they never seem to be around wherever their children are.

That does get frustrating, and while your children's behavior was normal, it may just exhaust her to have you guys over and feel she has to babysit & entertain unless you get angry and take over from her. That looks like the pattern from the 3 examples you gave.

Because you're there several times a year, I can tell you from experience that it gets draining to have other children all the time, especially when they are parented very differently from yours (from either side). I would take her saying repeatedly that she needs a weekend away for moms only as a serious *need* for her. She wants to get away with friends and not children, and that's perfectly okay. It's also a way for her to enjoy you without feeling overwhelmed by extra children, too.
 

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usually when people have intense reactions, it's really a reflection of what is happening inside of them.

perhaps she feels her life is out of control and so sees your children that way. projecting her feelings outside of herself is a good way to avoid what is really happening with her. maybe she feels ashamed of her life and her marriage and so is seeking (unconsciously) to shame you and your children.

the sad thing is, as long as she does nothing about her situation and her marriage, she is unlikely to change her focus when you are there with your kids. she expects people outside of herself to reflect whatever it is she is feeling and so she will always find that.

while i do think that compassion is a great way to deal with her, you do need to protect your children and your boundaries. let her know you believe that what is really happening has nothing to do with your children, and everything to do with her awful situation. tell her you are there for her when she is ready to talk about it and please can she come and visit you at your house next time. and then let her know, there is no screaming at children in your home.

projection is something that can happen in any relationship, no matter how close, and the worse thing is, there really isn't anything you can do about it, since it really is *all* about the other person.
 

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I'm sorry this happened to you. I think the yelling on her part was probably just her normal reaction to how she parents her kids. Not that she should be parenting your kids, but I think that in a close relationship, it does happen. I think you have the right perspective, that she is a mess and needs your grace. I know you feel sad about how she made you feel about your children (to a non-AP parent, our kids can sometimes seem out of control, because we/they trust themselves more and don't always jump when we snap our fingers (or whistle). This can be scary to a parent who relies on corporate punishment and expects children to obey immediately. Maybe she is right, you girls need a weekend by yourselves. Then maybe you can politely explain that she hurt your feelings and made you feel bad about your kids. If she feels like your children's independence and your parenting choices are threatening to her or her children, you might want to consider waiting until the children are older to visit. It also seems like her situation might warrant some one on one attention from another adult friend. I'm guessing she is really fed up with (her) children in general and another person's children just push her over the edge. I'm saying all of this from a place of giving grace. It is easy to just get mad and want to start a fight or never see her again. That's not what she needs, she is your friend. You guys can solve this, think of how you would advise your children to handle a difficult friend going through trouble at home.

I also want to add that being hypothyroid is a serious medical condition. No wonder she is mess, she needs medication or she can damage her health, not to mention treating others like crap. I agree with others who said that she was probably not in a place for having houseguests (esp children). Hypothryoid is so exhausting, depressing and humiliating. I think you shouldn't take her behavior personally, but you need to help her address her medical issues and the personal ones as well. It is hard to be a good friend, I know. But we can't just abandon our friends when they are in the pit. Wishing you well.
 

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Before I started taking my Synthroid I was an irritable, depressed, over sensitive mess. On the day after Christmas I tossed the entire tree (lights, some ornaments and the base) off the front porch.


This is not how I normally behave and my hubby told me I needed to see someone. Once I started on my thyroid meds it was like I was a new person. Thyroid replacement is absolutely fine while breastfeeding. I am taking 200 mcg daily and still nursing my toddler.

She was terribly rude to you, but having been in her shoes I have a lot of sympathy as well. I could not believe how I acted while my thyroid was not working.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by racheepoo View Post
If you want to salvage the friendship, I would suggest that you talk to her, because you're just going to have built up resentment and eggshell behavior every time you and your kids are around.
Racheepoo, you're right. I'm not a good conflict person and I'm terrible with "fights" and such. I feel like I do want to talk with her about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
Do you have an agreement that you may discipline each other's children? I would never, in a million years, yell an another's child, even if I were the yelling type. And so much drama over sibling squables (that are normal) and not coming when called (by someone not his parent)? Really rather over the top, IMHO.

I would probably decide that its not worth taking my kids there for a while. Before going back, I would have a frank conversation about expectations and boundaries. Or invite her to your house but have the same conversation. Maybe over the phone suggest she get some help with the PPD and hormonal issues, if you are that close.
We do actually feel quite comfortable redirecting each other's kids. It's sort of a communal parenting atmosphere when we're together, typically. If I see something that needs to be corrected with her kids, then I gently do so and vice versa. Our kids are comfortable with this, but it has never involved yelling and physical harshness before this visit. It's usually a friendly voice and a tussle on the head sort of correction, and if it needs any more than that then we've always gone to get the other parent to deal with it: "Hey, your son is trying to hang off the bathroom doorknob. He needs you, I think." and that sort of thing.

Her kids are very well accustomed to their mom's need for instant obedience and redirect very quickly. They are "easy" kids to me because I can gently remind them with a kiss on the head that they can't stand up in their chairs and throw cheese at a sibling, or whatever. I imagine when I'm not there, she's a little harsher with them.

She has always viewed my kids as "harder" because they don't have a lot of practice listening to other adults besides me. I'm the stereotypical rural SAHM who gets to go to playgroup once a week with the occasional playdate but other than that, it's all me/all the time for my kids. Sometimes I don't think my kids seem to hear other adults besides me. It's frustrating because they appear to be ignoring other adults -- and perhaps they are? I haven't figured this one out, but I'm working on it --but I think that when they're intentionally misbehaving or whathaveyou, they're simply listening for my voice. Either way, they don't have the fear of being spanked/hit with me and so obedience isn't always instant and wide-eyed, let's just say. I have had to remind/ask/redirect twice a lot around here lately.
 

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You're a good friend and person. I probably would have packed up and left before long. That said with my eyes, I think it's easy for me to see that she was probably seriously overwhelmed. She probably needs that control over her kids because it seems like her life is pretty out of control, but it's bizarre to expect it from yours.

We hosted a playdate at my place recently and usually the kids are allowed upstairs, but they were just monkeys so I told them all the come downstairs. One of the guys said NO! This is so weird to me, not that I rule with an iron fist, but with my 4 year old, if he doesn't want to do something, we discuss it, not just NO. Anyhow, it was a bit of a shock to be honest, and the way your kids weren't perfectly obeying her every word was probably a shock to her too, especially with her hormones behaving badly to boot! However unlike her, I explained to the little guy that everyone else was going downstairs and if he needed some quiet time, I'd find a place for him (his mom and I are very close). Bottom line, she handled your kids badly and she was rude to you.

I think it's very gracious of you to try and look at her situation and I think there is a lot to examine. Her PPD, the fact that she is overwhelmed, her DH not being very present at all. That said, you don't have to accept being treated poorly either. Maybe at some point you can arrange to go over there, without the little ones and have a talk about how your parenting techniques are conflicting and your expectations. Or alternatively, maybe you can host her? I think maybe for the interim, if you are interested in keeping the friendship, just being the support over the phone, until she is feeling a bit better.
 
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