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I apologize in advance because this will probably be long.. I just know if anyone will understand what I'm going through, it's the mamas here! At some point I will probably make several other posts elaborating on the specific aspects of all of this, but right now I just wanted to make a general post because I'm feeling SO overwhelmed!!

Long story short- EVERYONE in our life at some point or another (and many of them on a daily basis) criticize attachment parenting, gentle discipline, breastfeeding in general... just anything and everything that is 100% natural and my instincts tell me 100% i need to do. I realize everyone has different views on how to parent, and I TOTALLY respect that, but NO ONE can seem to respect that with me.

The people that do this the most would certainly be offended if i were to blurt out that spanking makes their kids do XYZ, or their baby wouldnt act that way if they'd just hold him a little more… I am never judgemental of others choices, so it makes me even more angry that people feel the need to "set me straight" about what I'm doing wrong with my kids….

I've already posted a semi-call-for-help in the finding your tribe section... but I feel like I am starting to isolate myself and my boys from EVERYONE in our daily life... I feel that its 100% necessary though…… I KNOW I'm not crazy for not wanting to spank my kids, or for cringing and feeling a little nauseous when others start yelling and barking orders at theirs and start rambling about "keeping them under control" I always bite my tongue, but still I'm constantly getting comments from EVERYONE about how I'm going wrong for NOT doing those things

The last few days have been especially hard… it seems like the criticism is coming more often all the time... I just bawled last night and all this morning thinking about the influences I've let in our life and how it's affected our family dynamics.

It doesn't help that I am a young single mom. those 2 factors right there always give people the idea that they have a right to chime in and direct me...... but I do struggle a lot... and I turn to my friends and family for support. But instead, I'm being told that I'm bringing the problems on myself and they will only get worse if I don't "straighten them (my children) up". My boys are "too clingy because theyre booby babies" and I "spoiled them by holding them all the time". The "you need to spank" comments are coming more and more, and EVERYONE's attitude is coming across more and more condescending rather than caring…

My ex and I together used to take on the world when it came to the decisions we'd made for raising our children. We always faced some opposition with stuff, but I at least had one person in my corner to back me up and to relate with…. But even he has turned some against me since moving out (no surprise there!). It's not like there is anything major going on here. I'm not saying I do everything right as a parent, but seriously--- DAILY I am condemned for cosleeping, not spanking, for breastfeeding as long as I did (I wont dare let anyone I know hear that I'm trying to relactate). EVERYTHING my children do is under scrutiny and EVERY time they do ANYTHING even remotely "out of line" (much of which is really no big deal) the finger is pointed at me and I'm looked down on. But I really do NOT have bad kids!!!

*I* am upset at how my boys' temperaments have changed, but I know it's directly related to the environment we live in and the types of people that they have daily interactions with.

It's not that I think my neighbors or family are bad people. They have all been there for me in SO many ways. I seriously would not have made it through the last couple of years without all of these people. BUT I am SO sick of them crossing the boundaries when it come to my kids. They always feel the need to step in and correct my boys or me. I bit my tongue initially, but apparently that's given them the impression that I think its ok. And when I do try to speak up, it always causes a LOT of tension. they are all REALLY offended like I am being judgemental of them, when really I'm just trying to say that Im fed up with them judging ME!

*****
I have so many LONG stories and examples of this… just from the last week alone. It seems the whole weekend I was with my family for easter I was looked down on for not spanking (I don't know how many times I heard my 4yo needed a good "butt whoopin"). I just stayed silent and kept me and my boys off in a room by ourselves most of the time...

I almost snapped last night, and I ended up just on the verge of tears in front of all my neighbors/friends. I swear my kids are NOT out of control. I'm constantly concerned about their behavior because it's SO different than it used to be, but compared to all the other kids around, they are great! They aren't better or worse, they just seem "normal"… But like I said, when the other kids around us act up- no one says anything because the parents "handle it". They see my GD techniques as letting my boys do whatever they want… they just cant respect that Im doing things differently. We spent a lot of time with our neighbors yesterday, and seriously I cannot count the times that something I do was criticized. Late last night I finally just said "LISTEN, I really just cannot handle any more criticism from anyone, I realize everyone has different ideas on how kids should be raised,…" that's when I started to tear up and I couldn't finish… one of them was nice enough to interrupt anyway and start lecturing me on why I should spank again. and how i shouldnt baby them... then I was seriously the brunt of everyones' laughing as someone (who is generally one of my best friends here) went on and on about why you shouldn't hold babies (using my DS2 and one of my daycare babies as the examples)

Needless to say I left very quickly after that… and just cried all night and all morning. These people are supposed to be my friends. I do think they sincerely care aobut me and my kids... i know they wish I would see the err in my ways... but they are all just to closed minded to see where i am coming from....

I'm sure they see my comment last night as someone who is stubborn and just doesn't want to hear it… which is true to a degree… but they always miss the part where I have researched everything (whether vax or bf or gd) and am confident with my decisions. I guess the problem is though, I've let their ideas linger in my home for WAY too long and they've made me TOTALLY second guess my instincts at times.

Sometimes I really am just completely overwhelmed and just looking for answers or solutions anywhere just to get some relief that second…. Mostly though I'm just looking to vent about my frustrations.... The problem is, the only sources of help that I have in my life have philosophies that are 100% different.

Some things like vax and circ are easy to ignore because they dont come up that often... when it comes to baby wearing and not wanting to leave my boys, and especially breastfeeding and cosleeping, i feel like those are topics that shouldnt ever come up (my youngest is the youngest in our circle...) but they ALWAYS do... and discipline and food choices are always obvious differences that are inevitably unavoidable...

I just feel really alone
and I just don't know what to do from here on out… im still working on another long post for the GD forum for help with the bad habits that my boys and I have picked up from the completely mainstream environment we live in… but just overall im completely exhausted with the people in my life and even though ive known for a while that many (if not all) of the relationships I have are counter productive to the way I want my family to grow, theyre the only support I have
not to mention my boys love all of their kids…. It's not possible to cut them out of my life, and I really don't want to do that, but its been two years and I still haven't found a way to keep these relationships without losing my sanity and second guessing myself and my babies constantly……

It DOES take a village to raise a child… we are just the outcasts in ours but we have no where else to turn
gah! I sound pitiful. I just really REALLY need a new circle of like minded families! Thank GOD for MDC!!!!!
 

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It sounds like you really need to stop hanging out with these friends. Your children are young enough to not really need the interaction that they get from your neighbors and you do not need to be around people who disrespect you so much as a human being that they ignore your tears and your comment and continue to use words that are clearly hurting you. You are a human being who deserves actual friends to be actual support, you are not your neighbors rug to walk on whenever they feel the need to put someone else down in order to feel good about what they are doing.

I know it is hard to not have people to talk to when you are overwhelmed, but it might help if you bring your kids to a park not in your neighborhood or just play with them outside when these neighbors aren't there. They will meet other kids if you bring them to different locations and you may meet other mothers with different parenting ideas, at the very least they will play and get some energy out while you recover some patience and reflect on things. I think you should stop letting these people into your house, tell them that you are no longer willing to be around violent people who hurt small children and close your door on them. You need to try to stand up for yourself. If that is to hard right now, be unavailable for play by being somewhere else, even if it is just for a walk down the street with your kids.

It may help to look for a mom's club or a La Leche League group in your area. You can often meet people who are a little gentler in their approach at groups like this. I realize that you don't want to stop seeing these people, but they are not treating you with anything close to kindness and respect and you need to model healthy relationships for your boys. Getting out away from these people and trying to meet other people may help you find what you are missing and it will definitely give you a break from the condescending treatment you are experiencing now.
 

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You sound like a wonderful mama with wonderful instincts -- it must be so hard to stick to your principles in the face of so much opposition -- good for you!!! I think you did the right thing posting in FYT -- I hope you find some like-minded mamas in your area. The other poster's suggestion of LLL meetings is a good one, too, or look for a babywearing group near you (I think they list them at www.thebabywearer.com).

Is the attitude of your friends and family representative of the majority of the people who live in your area? It sounds like you're really unhappy where you are, and uncomfortable with the ideas your boys are absorbing from their surroundings. I know this sounds drastic, but would you consider moving to a more tolerant area?

Good luck to you, mama -- I know we're not with you in person, but we're always here if you need to hear that you're instincts are right on!
 

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Seriously, get yourself some new friends if you are totally alone if your beliefs and getting it from all sides. The occasional remark that you need to spank could be laughed off with logic "sure, that'll teach him: 'we don't hit!' whack! hahaha." But near constant advice with no one just accepting what you do and respecting it? That's too much to bear. Even among the most conservative folks there are plenty who will respect full term breastfeeding, holding your young baby, and paying attention to their needs before you start in on discipline.
 

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I am sorry you are having a hard time.

Our family and friends don't agree with our parenting style either. Unfortunately, some of their negativity reached a point where we had to stop seeing and talking to some of them.

Don't let people speak to you that way. You are the mama and you are raising your children the best you can. You are doing a great job.
 
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