Am I a Bad Mommy?

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby stsy_26 » Wed May 04, 2011 9:28 am

Halo mummies!

I hv 3 kids - 6 yrs, 3 yrs & 8 mths old. I am currently experiencing alot of issues with my 6 yr old gal, and am wondering whether I'm the only one!! I'm a SAHM, so I'm with the kids 24/7, which I'm sure all the other SAHMs will understand how difficult it can be sometimes to not hv a min of ur own personal time.

My problem now is I hv alot of negative feelings towards my older gal, and these feelings cause me a tremendous amount of guilt. Yes, which mother / parent does not get angry with our children? But right now, these feelings of anger and irritation seem to be constantly bubbling to the surface, and it even affects my willingness to hug her and hold her at times. THIS is where my worry and guilt comes... am I bad mother? Am I supp to feel this way?

My older gal's charac is very diff from my 2nd gal. She's very whiny, needs constant attention and company and emtionally very "unstable". By comparison, the 2nd one is very good natured and easy going. While we know, logically, that we should NOT compare our children as every kid is different, it is hard not to do so when I'm faced with a really difficult child vs a very easy-going child EVERYDAY!

I read alot of parenting books, and hv tried all sorts of tips and advice on how to deal with the probs I face, but to be honest, facing them everyday can wear you down. I know I hv to "re-set" my feelings and emotions after every episode so that I don't let my anger spill over to a different situation, and I DO stick to that practice, but many many many "re-sets" in a day will still cause me to explode and all the negative feelings come in again. To the point of my wishing I could just give up and send her away to someone else to look after, and let them deal with her.

To be fair, my gal is very lovable, bright and caring. She is a happy child, tho sometimes she displays a certain amt of shyness and lack of confidence. But by all measurements, she's a normal little gal. But her constant need for attention, whiny behaviour and mood swings (ultra loving sister to big bully who snatches away everything her younger sis touches) can really drive me up the wall.

Is this just a phase that she's going through, and hence my negative feelings towards her will slowly go away? I'm worried that these feelings will slowly manifest into something else if i let them stay with me for too long - who can tell when this phase of hers will be over? 1 yr? 2 yrs? That is way too long for me to hv such feelings abt her. I do not want that either. Do any of you mummies hv a similar experience?

I am thinking of getting some professional help. For MYSELF. I think I am the problem. I need to know how to handle my emotions and feelings. Children will be children - getting into trouble, making u angry etc.... I guess it's the adult that needs to know how to handle the situation, and the feelings that arise with it.

I'm sorry for such a long post, but I really hv so much bottled up that I need an outlet, and to have someone who really knows what i'm going through tell me it's ok. Which i'm sure there will be mummies here who can empathise with me cos we're all doing the same thing here... trying our darn best to bring up our children the best we know how! :pray:

stsy_26
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby MummyThreeStreams » Wed May 04, 2011 9:53 am

Hi stsy_26,

It's tough being a mummy, what more a SAHM to 3 kids! I have 3 kids myself and their age gap is about the same as yours. I find that some days I'm so grumpy and irritable that any little whine will set me off! I will try to be patient, telling myself I'm the adult, but then I can literally feel the anger boiling up within me, and one minute I'm nice mummy the next boom! I'll start to yell.

It makes me feel miserable, and I try to make it up at other times by hugging them and kissing them and telling them I love them. We are very close, but for my outbursts. DH says I'm usually such a mild mannered person and when I shared this with my best friend, she was very surprised as she never knew it was within me to raise my voice! Have you shared this with your husband? DH tries to help when he's home by taking over when he sees that I'm getting agitated. This really helps as it gives me time to cool off. I think parents need time out too! But of course, as a SAHM, this is a luxury that can only be enjoyed on week-ends or in the evenings. We still need to manage the other 5 days of the week.

I think the stresses of being a mum can overwhelm even the best of us. I really don't know how to help you, as I am no expert, and I am struggling too. I've also read books etc., but now, even though I know what I'm supposed to do, I still feel that rising tide of anger and sometimes I can't put myself in time-out fast enough! I'm also thinking maybe seeing a counsellor will help me understand why I'm stuck in this pattern of behaviour. I have a name of a family counsellor which I can PM you, if you want. (I haven't been to this counsellor, so I can't give feedback, but I got the contact for someone else who has another issue.)

Don't beat yourself up about it. I think the first step is to recognise there is a problem. Then slowly but surely figure out how we're going to get over it.

Chin up, ok?
:hugs:

MummyThreeStreams
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby stsy_26 » Wed May 04, 2011 3:30 pm

Thx MummyThreeStreams!

Ur experience has been a great help and comfort to me! It's nice knowing i'm not the only one who goes beserk when taking care of the kids!

My hubs does listen to my grouses, and is supportive, but his fuse is even shorter when it comes to the kids! So whenever he's ard, I become the Saint! :lol:

Understand when u say ur frens are surprised at how different u r with your children. I, too, am usually very calm and composed!

I'm just disturbed because my short fuse and anger is usually directed at only my older gal. Maybe it's bcos being older, they hv more needs and are getting wiser and know how to wear u down. Vs the younger ones who are still "blur"and easy to "bluff" and will listen more readily. I'm worried that my relationship with my older gal will suffer if this kind of situation persists too long. Hving to control this seething anger and annoyance can be emotionally n mentally very tiring too!

I just feel so hapless bcos I dun know how to get out of this pattern of behaviour, as u put it. And yes, pls PM me the contact of the family councellor. No harm finding out more. Like you said, at least we recognise our problem, and can get help!

Any other mummies (or daddies) have ideas on how I can reign in my negativity towards my child? Jus to let you guys know, i'm not dat bad towards her lah. I dun beat or torture her! hahaha! I dun even dare to use any negative words whenever i'm angry with her! Bad for the child's self esteem i read! Maybe due to all these 'restrictions', our anger is never properly released and hence continues to fester! How many a times i wish i could just yell out all those words i hv in my head!! :rant:

stsy_26
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby cnimed » Fri May 06, 2011 9:33 am

stsy_26,
my situation was reversed as it was my younger child that I felt very negative towards. He was the whiny, temperamental one with eczema and the entire family was worn out looking after him. At the same time, he is an extrovert and requires a lot of interaction, but I am an introvert, and need some time to myself. He is very expressive and when he is angry he can really scream, and he can have 2 hour standoffs. DH understands him more and always had a soft spot for him while I had to manage my negative feelings. I had shared before in a very old post, that I had a rude awakening one day when my mother told me that ds2 told her that I didn't like him. He was about 2 plus then, so it was pretty bad.

After the incident, I read up on parenting and personalities, and I also kept a photo of him looking very happy and innocent with me. Whenever I felt angry and frustrated by his whining, I would tell myself that even though he was whining and hard to pacify, he is still that same child in the photo that I love. Somehow my negative feelings would disappear and I was able to let go of my expectations of how he SHOULD be. After that, I was able to meet him at his own terms and things got much much better. When I did lose my temper and I felt I had been unfair, I would apologise to him afterwards. Our relationship is very good now.

There were times when I had difficulties with my elder son, but I never felt the same level of negativity. He was a very easy baby, but as he grows up, he can also be difficult and sometimes whiny, but because we are more alike, I can understand where he is coming from. DH has more difficulties understanding him and similarly, their relationship improved a lot more when DH let go of HIS expectations of how ds1 should be.

Personalities aside, if you think your child is excessively explosive and difficult, there is a book you can borrow from the library - The Explosive Child. It covers the most common reasons for a whiny, explosive child, including hidden learning disabilities, allergies and illnesses. Both my children have periods when they were very difficult and got better after we uncovered the underlying LD and addressed the health issues. My younger one has skin and growth issues and as they improved, he is still a strongheaded extrovert, but no longer crying through the day and night at everything. Recently one of my neighbours found out that her middle daughter - for whom she had taken to counsellors etc for explosive rages and very oppositional bahviour - is actually suffering from thyriod problem. Once the girl went on thyroid medication, her mood swings ceased.

So our negativity may be a reflection of clashing expectations and personalities, but your daughter's behaviour MAY be another set of symptons to look into. Just something to consider.
cnimed
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby Funz » Fri May 06, 2011 6:24 pm

DD is my 1st born and I too for a period was withdrawn and negative towards her. From birth, she was a high need kid. Sleeping very little and needing constant attention. There was a time when I wondered if she has ADD. She is whiny, super persistant, the words no or wait or later are keywords for her to start howling. She wakes up practically 2 hrs every night screaming and crying and it takes up to 45mins to settle her back to sleep. And that lasted until she was 4+yrs old. She basically drove me and DH ragged. And because of her constant demand of my attention, I could not handle DS and had to rely more on my helper to handle him. And oh boy did it hurt, and really hurt bad when he rejected me, preferring to go to my helper. I cried my heart out.

Given the way she was, I had to be very firm with her, for any sign of softness will encourage her to go on and on with her drama. When she came to me crying, I found myself actually physically shoving her away. Up to a point when she came to me crying cos she was hurt, I did not offer her any comfort, my first reaction was to shove her away. I realised that all the battles with her turned me into this uncaring mother, that my 1st reaction was not to make sure that she is fine but to demand that she reign in her emotions.

I guess one of the reasons why we were so tough on her was also because she is very verbal. But instead of talking, she chooses to cry first over everything that doesn't go her way. We started helping her cope with her emotions by reminding her to put them into words instead of crying and giving in to temper tantrums. We explained to her that when she cries, all we hear is noise and we still cannot figure out what she is crying about. And when we reject her requests, there will always be a reason, not that we want to make her unhappy. We keep telling her that when she is unhappy, all the people around her who loves her the most will be unhappy as well. Being a girl who is needs everyone to love her and like her it struck a note I guess. And over time she learned to cope better. She learned that tears will not get her what she wants, reasoning with us works better. And now, she is a skillful negotiator when it comes to things she wants.

These days, she is a confident and affectionate 8yr old. At times she will make comments like I am softer toward DS. I told her yes, because both of them are different and require different styles of communication. But that does not mean I love her any lesser.

Funz
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby stsy_26 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:51 pm

Dear deminc,
Thanks for your sharing! And yes, my gal oso suffers from eczema, so maybe her physical condition does contribute to her outbursts and behaviour. And she sleeps VERY badly at night. Her sleep is usually disturbed by her itching, and from birth till now (she's almost 6), she has not slept thru a single night. Which also means I've not had a proper night's sleep for 6 years!! :frustrated: And even when she's not itching, she will wake up in the middle of the nite and cry for me or my hubs if she doesn't find either of us next to her! So i feel like i'm being imprisoned by her.. that even during my own personal sleep time, which is the ONLY time that i can call my own, i am still "tied" to her. I feel so suffocated by her! This also contributes to my negativity towards her!

I am going to bring her to a sleep clinic to find out more abt why she can't sleep through the nite, and whether she has any medical issues we need to resolve.

Funz,
I have it slightly better than you in that my gal isn't a high need kid. She wasn't that clingy or whiny when young. It's only now when she gets older that I find her behavior really starting to annoy me. And i can totally relate to how you would shove her away when she comes crying to you! When my gals goes into one of her tantrums and cries herself into a rage, she totally loses control of herself and can't stop. I know she is trying, but she just isn't able to stop herself anymore. And the only way I know that can calm her down is to hold her and hug her. But it is SOOO difficult when you feel so much anger and rage within! So i hv to FORCE myself to hold her and hug her, even tho it's the last thing i feel like doing! And then i feel so bad abt it bcos i'm sure she can feel my ultra bad vibes when i'm hugging her unwillingly! sigh....

I know that kids 'feel' first, before they can verbalise their feelings, hence they will usually display their displeasure b4 they can tell us how they feel. So with this in mind, i keep trying to verbalise her feelings for her each time she reacts with crying or whining first. But i guess there will be days when i just snap and all hell breaks loose!

Sometimes, even simple things like the way she plays with her siblings annoy me... And these are the times when i feel that i'm being too unfair to her, as she is afterall a child, and children do play like dat.

stsy_26
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby MummyThreeStreams » Sat May 07, 2011 1:12 am

stsy_26, you hv PM!

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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby smurf » Sat May 07, 2011 9:18 am

Hi sty,

I don't have any advise for u as I'm also trapped in this kind of situation. But, what I can be sure of is, you need some time ALONE. Does ur parents or in laws help u? If dun have, then arrange for some play dates with friends. It really helps. Seek medical help for ur child first. Solve that now.

smurf
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby cnimed » Sat May 07, 2011 10:09 am

stsy_26 wrote:Dear deminc,
Thanks for your sharing! And yes, my gal oso suffers from eczema, so maybe her physical condition does contribute to her outbursts and behaviour. And she sleeps VERY badly at night. Her sleep is usually disturbed by her itching, and from birth till now (she's almost 6), she has not slept thru a single night. Which also means I've not had a proper night's sleep for 6 years!! :frustrated: And even when she's not itching, she will wake up in the middle of the nite and cry for me or my hubs if she doesn't find either of us next to her! So i feel like i'm being imprisoned by her.. that even during my own personal sleep time, which is the ONLY time that i can call my own, i am still "tied" to her. I feel so suffocated by her! This also contributes to my negativity towards her!


That's very tough. I can understand the level of frustration, especially if it has been building up for 6 years. I have met many mothers with allergic children, and all of them sleep poorly and are cranky. All our other children who are not allergic sleep well and are generally more easy going and reasonable. So I do think allergy-related conditions like eczema etc have a lot of impact on sleep and well-being, and in turn, temperament. When I finally found the right treatment plan for ds2, he slept 12 hours straight the very first night because he had been so so tired since birth. After a few nights of good sleep (we changed doctor) and some changes in diet, he transformed from a totally cranky child to quite a smiley one. That was my first inkling. When I read The Explosive Child later on (because of ds1), there was a chapter on sleep deprivation and illnesses and I realised that was ds2.

If your doctor is not helping with the eczema, I suggest changing doctors. We went to many doctors before finding one whose treatment plan worked for him. A good night sleep is worth everything. Other than eczema, you may want to check if she is breathing well at night when she is asleep (allergies may show up on both skin and airway, esp for dustmite allergy). If her airway is partially obstructed, she is not getting quality sleep and will still be tired after waking. Once you find her allergens, you can come up with a management plan to limit exposure and get a good night's sleep for everyone.

In the meantime, she is six and can understand if you explain to her that mummy is very tired and needs a break. If you can take a nap during the day with all your children, or at least the eldest and youngest, that may help you get through the nights.

Good luck!
cnimed
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Re: Am I a Bad Mommy?

Postby tamarind » Sat May 07, 2011 5:45 pm

Hi stsy_26,
My boy now P1, also suffers from eczema since he was about 2 years old. He also used to have problem sleeping at night. I managed to control his eczema by keeping his skin moisturized, using good cleansers and moisturizers shipped from USA. When he was 5 to 6 years old, his eczema was more or less under control.

I have attended a talk by medical specialists about eczema before, it is true that eczema will affect a child's emotional development. That is why I tried very hard to control my boy's eczema. According to the specialists, the only way to control eczema is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, and that work for my boy.

One important advise is, no matter which doctor you see, try not to take medicine that contains steroids. I have seen the horrible effects (on another boy) when steroids are taken for a long periods of time.

My boy is also very hard to teach because he has a very short attention span. He also does not have any compassion. In comparison to my older girl, he requires a lot more help, attention and patience. However, I do not have negative feelings towards him. I have to thank my mother and my maid for taking good care of him. I do not have to suffer much for him, other than occasionally bringing him to the hospital in the middle of the night.

I think that it is important for mommy to be happy and well rested, then we can be good mommies to our kids. So my advise is to take good care of ourselves first :wink:

tamarind
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