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DS is 2 yrs and 3 months old today, and.. i just can't shake myself out of my self-pity low in regards to my parenting..

it's just always been so so hard.
the difficulties when he was a baby were endless, him being classic high needs as well as having reflux. sleep difficulties (only sleeping while nursing, day or night), constant nursing, completely clingy, lots of big vomiting, daily bouts of crying.. the entire raft of issues, 24/7.

and as a toddler / child, the difficulties are different but continue. for instance, he's so easily upset and sensitive, intense, so incredibly impatient and short-fused, so very clingy and demanding of me, still nurses very frequently, still wakes at night for night nursing (nightweaning is impossible). classic high needs child.

add to that other things which make me feel like a failure mom - he hardly eats any food at all (and is at the bottom of the growth chart), won't brush his teeth at all, won't drink anything besides breastmilk or formula, won't drink from anything other than a baby bottle.

i could go on and on but i just feel so exhausted emotionally. i feel like such a failure as a parent... i keep looking at other mothers with several children and wondering what they have that i clearly don't.

i'm a wonderful mother in so many ways. i'm a big believer in AP and GD and natural learning.. i can be so supportive and compassionate to him. i love him so much, feel such delight in him, and revel in the joy and wonder of him.
and even when it was hard when he was a baby, i loved it so much that i dreamed of having a large brood of children. and i'm generally so patient with him...

but now that it's been 2 long years and still continuing, so often throughout a long day i just feel that i can't handle being with him. i get so tired and overwhelmed, and i collapse internally whenever he starts off. i just literally can't cope with the demands on my emotions and patience and strength.

i do try to positive self-talk, tell myself that - this is just how i am as a person and thus a mother - that i need harmony and calm, and a large amount of personal space.

i do get lots of time off as he goes to his grandmothers' quite often, for many hours - and while i get respite because of this, it totally confirms this feeling of failure and parental inadequacy. that the only way i can cope with life is to pretend he doesn't exist for full days at a time.

i don't know how to process this or move on from it.
i don't know if the problem rests largely on his high needs nature, or on my unsuitability as a parent; ie, is it him or me? or both?
 

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I had a high needs baby/ toddler/ preschooler. It turns out that he has sensory issues. I got him evaluated by an occupational therapist where he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and some related developmental disorders, and he started occupational therapy. Two years later, he's still in OT, and doing much better.

I'm not saying that your child has SPD. But, you may want to consider having your child evaluated to see if there are any underlying issues. The issues with my DS1 made me feel completely incompetent. And no one in my family seemed to understand that what I was going through wasn't actually typical for a first-time parent. They thought I was exaggerating and overreacting, and they minimalized my experiences. It really did a number on my self-esteem for a long time. Even with a diagnosis, I don't get the validation that I think I should - but at least I have a better idea of how to help my son get through each day more easily, and that makes my life much less complicated.

High-needs children really do wear you down and make you doubt everything you're doing and feeling. I'm sorry you're going through this. You are a good mother!
 

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Parenting an intense kid is hard work. My dd is 3.5 yo and I often ask myself the same questions as you are-- is it that she's tougher than other kids, or that I'm a lousy mom. Really, when I'm out of the "moment" I can look and say that it's both of us. She is the amazing individual, most awesome HER that she can be, and I'm doing the best that I can, with my own personal limitations. As hard as it can be, whenever I find myself subconsciously comparing myself to other moms, I have to remind myself of how many ways dd and I are the same and how lucky she is that I am her mom instead of someone else- because I try to understand her and am willing to be sensitive to her needs. I'm certain that some moms might muster more patience than I can on some days, maybe make it a bit longer without turning on the tv for a break, but I'm equally certain that there are parents out there who would try to "train" this wonderful spirit out of her-- and that would be a tragedy.

I don't know if you sah, but I do, and I have to add that it's helped my esteem tremendously to slowly get involved in doing some things on my own again. I'm currently taking a class in my field, one night a week, while dd has special time with dh (and yes, she protested at first, and it was hard for me to leave, but she now loves their time together) It just feels so good to be recognizing that other side of ME again- making friends and feeding an interest that has nothing to do with my role as a mother. It helpsmeto remember that being a mother is the most important , but not the only part of who I am. So if dd and I had a rough day, I can feel like I'm still learning and progressing in other work too- if I feel like a sub-par mom one afternoon I can better appreciate that it doesn't mean that I am a sub-par person. When I feel good about myself, it's easier to shrug off a mistake and try to do better.
 

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I also had a very high needs baby who turned out to have sensory issues (and did improve with OT and with time). I sympathize with the exhaustion. I had twins just before she turned 2, and then things got really crazy, especially since they had their own issues. But fastforward several years, and she's actually helpful now
I do find that having other kids somewhat takes the pressure off - others she can interact with. It's not just me all day long. (though of course if she needs to get out her frustrations, I'm first in the receiving line).

I'll tell you what my friend, with her own high-needs child, said to me: Your child is NOT your report card.

It's a long road. But they do grow eventually. No one tells you this, but you're doing a good job!! Sending hugs!!
 

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It's not you or your parenting - you have a high needs child and there is nothing you could have done "different" to change how he is.

Trust me, I know how you can start to doubt yourself. I had a near crisis around 2 years old when ds had a meltdown of epic proportions while on a train and I started to doubt if I needed to discipline differently, etc.

Ds was a high needs baby, late talker with sensory issues and now that he's in kindy, he's in all kinds of testing - they think he might have aspergers. My point is that ds is how he is because of sensory issues and things he has trouble dealing with every single day. Not because I've done something "wrong".



My best advise is to be gentle with yourself, and do things that recharge your batteries. Maybe a salon break for a nice haircut, a long walk alone - whatever you need to have time for yourself and just relax. It will make everything else so much easier to deal with.

Don't feel like a failure because he does not eat, etc. Ds lived off PediaSure until he was 5. No joke. He's still a picky eater, but not nearly as bad as he used to be.

Have you thought about having your child evaluated by an OT? Sounds like sensory issues could be playing a part in all of this - and OT can really, really help in that area.
 

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i couldn't read and not respond.



i believe that attachment parenting a high needs child is the hardest thing you can do. period.

i also believe that high needs kids are the ones MOST in need of strong attachment and gentle discipline.

it's hard work, mama. be gentle with yourself. know that you're not the only one, and that you are not a failure.

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jbie View Post
. i keep looking at other mothers with several children and wondering what they have that i clearly don't.
Honey, they have easier kids, and you don't. Don't be so hard on yourself. My son had very high-touch/nurse needs as an infant (and I remember feeling literally insane-resentful-guilty sometimes from the constant clinging and nursing). But as he's grown, he is, I am coming to realize as I see other kids, just an EASY kid - self-entertains, understands about (and complies with) gentle petting of animals and not drawing on the walls with marker, returns to us when we request it, will help clean up, submit to toothbrushing, etc. I guarantee you it is NOTHING that my DH or I did; it's just the way this child is.

Quote:
i'm a wonderful mother in so many ways. i'm a big believer in AP and GD and natural learning.. i can be so supportive and compassionate to him. i love him so much, feel such delight in him, and revel in the joy and wonder of him. and even when it was hard when he was a baby, i loved it so much that i dreamed of having a large brood of children. and i'm generally so patient with him...
You are doing everything you can do to be a good parent, and you have a really tough, challenging child. Heck, even laid back kids are draining, so having a really high needs toddler is enough to lay you flat by 3 p.m. I agree with PPs to give yourself a break.

Quote:
i do get lots of time off as he goes to his grandmothers' quite often, for many hours - and while i get respite because of this, it totally confirms this feeling of failure and parental inadequacy. that the only way i can cope with life is to pretend he doesn't exist for full days at a time.

i don't know how to process this or move on from it.
i don't know if the problem rests largely on his high needs nature, or on my unsuitability as a parent; ie, is it him or me? or both?
You are not unsuitable as a parent; you just have a hugely stressful situation with what sounds like not much support outside your mom. It's hard to be what my friend rather bitterly referred to as "the baby slave." Remind yourself of all the things you DO for him - would you do this for anyone else? Imagine if he were with somebody besides you - would he get the same kind of love and nurturance? I bet not.
 

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Oh, have I been where you are! DD's first year was so hard for me, I still shudder when I think about it. We knew from birth that she was different, very high needs, very opinionated, very demanding. We call her "the exception" because she has so far been the exception to every "baby rule" there is. One of the things that made it so hard was I had a friend who had a baby near when I did and this baby was super easy going. She was #4 and slept all the live-long day, hardly ever cried, had tons of that mysterious "active alert time" that dd never had. If dd was awake during her first 6 months we had to constantly bounce with her or she'd cry. She had to be held through every nap, and nearing 3.5 she still wakes as much as a newborn at night. My friend that I mentioned above just gave birth to #5, who, of course, is the perfect easy-going little sleeper that all of her other kids were. To be honest, it's hard for me emotionally because I feel that I put in more effort to meet dd's needs than it takes for this mom to meet all 5 of her kids' needs. I've just come to accept that dd is just super sensitive. She's also highly gifted (you might want to look into giftedness or check out the gifted board here as a possibility), and I've since read that most gifted children are high needs and just demand so much "more" of their parents. I totally understand where you're coming from--and I know it's hard. Just keep telling yourself that you are doing the best you can. Happiness is not the only emotion your child is allowed to feel. And there is hope--dd is much easier going than most 3-year-olds, suprisingly so! And I'd absolutely follow the suggestion of making sure you nurture your non-mom side. That has done wonders for me! And just know that you are not alone. There are lots of us other moms out there with high needs children who wonder how on earth anyone else has more than one!
 

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Amen...I have 3 high needs kids, ages 6,3, and 2. I also homeschool. Let me tell you, by the end of the day, I am soooooo done. My DH is currently working in architechture, and going to school to pursue aeronautical engineering, and on the off chance that he has free time, he is a fisherman. I have my BFF, who also has 2 high needs children, and she is one of my greatest sources of support. Her DD's are 3 and 4mos. My advice is simple. Everyday is a new day. What works one day in my house invariably will absolutely not work tomorrow. In a homeschooling home, it is impossible to get all of the housework done any how, so it helps to just let some stuff go. Pace yourself. But, most of all, be able to forgive yourself. Every parent will find a situation that they are at a loss with how to deal with. We will all find that we have a short coming somewhere. Sometimes it's as pure as knowing that each and everyday we try and try to do the very best we can. Some days we will reflect and say, "Well, gosh, I sure could have handled that differently." The sun will come up tomorrow, and we have another day to try something different. I also agree with time for yourself. We all do it differently. I prefer word searches, PC time, and some quiet to read or write. It is hard to balance this time with all of the things you couldn't get done throughout the day. I often spend my me time doing lesson planning and grading papers. But, even if just once a week, you can squeeze a bit in for you, it will help you feel refreshed. Think positive, honey. One day, you will look back at this time, and you will remember all of those special intimate momments with your little one, and it won't seem so daunting at all! Good luck to you!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mamarootoo View Post

i believe that attachment parenting a high needs child is the hardest thing you can do. period.

i also believe that high needs kids are the ones MOST in need of strong attachment and gentle discipline.

This is *so* true. Your ds is very, very lucky to have you as a mother.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jbie View Post
- that i need harmony and calm, and a large amount of personal space.

i do get lots of time off as he goes to his grandmothers' quite often, for many hours
what do you do on your time off? do you take a break or catch up with housework? what do you do for YOURSELF? just yourself, not your family, friends or anyone else. but just yourself.

v. v. v. v. v. important. even with sleep deprivation i made sure i got to do SOMETHING for myself. otherwise i would have gone stark raving crazy. the thing that was hardest for me to discover as a new parent was the loss of time for myself. just the loss of sitting down and silently spending half an hour with a cup of tea was really huge for me. the hardest was giving up reading, the loss of not being able to concentrate.

:

i have had mothers of multiple children tell me how much harder i have it compared to them. one thing they noticed was they DID get the personal space because their kids played with the other kids.

with your HN you are ALSO the playmate. not just mom.

in my personal case i have a HUUUUUGE motivation factor. my ex was HNs too. but his mom single with 4 other kids just could not give him the time he needed from her. even as a baby - his older bro took on the task of comforting him. Result he was a v. sad depressed 6 year old and as he grew older he became a dark, tormented adult (other factors affected him too) who sees nothing wrong in himself and refuses to take any medication. lots of anger issue. my xbil always tells me what a good job i have done with my happy, exuberant, independent happy child. he always says he cant believe how different she is from her dad.

i am also lucky i coparent with v. different coparenting style. and at 5 my dd would tell me how my way of parenting is so emotionally healing for her, while her dad's is v. frustrating and so she cant spend too much time with him, because she feels he does not respect her need for freedom. reading her journal that she shares with me, i can soooo see she has such a great need for freedom.

i wont promise you things get easier. i think once you become a parent, there is nothing easier.

but i will say trying to see the world through my dd's eyes has helped me sooo much deal with the hardships.

the HNs that makes things so challenging is all what makes them so unique. the things she notices, the insights that she has, the stories she tells... all of that just blows me away. and i am not hte only one who feels that way. others have told me the same thing about her.

one day you will look back and know that all your sacrifices were totally worth it.
 
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