I don't like who I have become...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Yesterday, I went to the funeral of a woman from our church. We weren't close friends, but my son and her youngest son were friends and hung out together during high school. It was a lovely memorial service. Many of the grandchildren (teens to young adults) wrote wonderful letters that shared so many heartfelt memories, then letters from her three kids, and some of their spouses.

    Since having to hand over my grandparent status to become a real parent figure, I have become an angry woman. Who is this person I turned in to? What would my two granddaughters (now adopted daughters) write about me? Would they even be able to think of fun, warm, happy times?

    If I died tomorrow, they would probably be glad the nagging, grouchy lady is finally gone and isn't on their case any more...

    How do I find myself again? For almost 12 years I have lost myself, trying to be the best "parent" I could be. It was fun at first, we did so many things and had so much fun. But the last 5 years have been tough, oldest DGD became a handful when puberty hit. And younger DGD probably got ignored because J was the one acting out, demanding attention. Now it has caused younger to have her own issues.

    Other relationships have taken a backseat, my stepdaughter wasn't happy about her dad and I adopting our two granddaughters from my son. Plus, we were busy with two little girls, when her children were about middle school age. We tried to do things with her kids, but they were aging out of hanging with grandparents, and weren't involved in sports, music or things that we would have gone to, if we were invited. They didn't even go thru the graduation ceremony when high school was over, even though they did graduate.

    I stopped working full time, we stopped socializing as much, because all our friends were in the over 50 range, and we had little ones at home. Most our previous circle of friends mainly just ate out at restaurants. It was hard to find child care. So these girls became my life.

    I know things need to change. But it is hard... and not sure how to go from here...KSM
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    The fact that you are writing here and thinking of your situation is a move in another direction for you.
    There is always opportunity for change, you are addressing that you do not like what you have become. That is the first thing, recognizing it.
    So, small steps then.
    Time to focus a bit on you. "Me" time is important, time to breathe and release stress.
    I think it is also important for the girls to see that you have value and you matter too. It helps them, for you to model self care.
    Do you have any hobbies? Is there a Y close by?
    Where I live, the city has affordable activities at the parks and rec centers.
    Even a book club would be good, get out and socialize.
    I hope you are able to find something where you live, that you can enjoy.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well - I'm sort of in the same boat. All my peers are grandparents, and I'm still raising my own kids. Same socialization issues.

    What saved me was my not-as-challenging kid. The stresses of a highly-challenged older sibling became too much, and she started to fall apart. At that point, I knew drastic changes were required. In order to change the playing field for HER, we decided to risk not having a retirement, and enabled her to pursue a dream she had held onto for over a decade. It's $-intensive, and time-intensive. She wasn't old enough to drive, so it meant I was there with her all the time. And presto! She started developing friends who also had that interest, and I got a pool of other adults who are supporting their kids in pursuing that interest.

    My challenge is... hubby doesn't understand that *I* need that adult interaction. And it's hard, because it is one of the factors that cuts into "our" time. But I was headed for a break-down right alongside daughter, and this way, he has both of us - so he accepts it.

    Makes it easier that the highly-challenged kid is a boy, and hubby is having to be the heavy-weight on that end of the equation.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry that you had to give up the 'grandma' role & take on the 'parent' role primarily.. That is a hard thing too do, esp when it means you lose contact with your friends. Being a grandparent looks like a really wonderful thing and it is sad for both you and your kids & grands that the roles changed. The grands/daus are both lucky & blessed that you were willing to do this for them.
    I have a couple of book suggestions for you. First is "Parenting Your Kids With Love & Logic" by Fay & Cline. The book offers techniques to hep deall with difficult kids using natural & logical consequence They have versions aimed at the challenges of parenting teens etc.... You can learn more about their books & methods at www.loveandlogic.com. I have recommended this to many of my friends and most of us have had excellent results if we stuck too the methods. I just looked at their website and they have a book for grandparent specifically - "Grandparenting with Love & Logic".

    As for your anger, it is hard to deal with. Most of our culture and upbringing teaches us that it is not acceptable for women to be angry - we are supposed to be sugar and spice and everything nice... So we are not taught how to cope with anger. Their are more than a few books about women and anger on most bookstore shelves. The one I would suggest has a strong Christian slant, but some of my friends with other religious beliefs have found the book very helpful - they just ignore the parts with the more preachy tone. The book uses humor to help you understand your anger, how it manifests in your body, and how to handle it. It is "She's Gonna Blow! Real Help for Moms Dealing With Anger" by Julie Ann Barnhill. It is available on kindle or print at amazon (used starts at $0.01 + s&h, new is $14.99 and kindle for $9.99). It does not address your problem of having to go back to parenting after having become a grandparent, but you may find it helpful anyway.

    You may want to contact your local NAMI chapter also. In my area they offer support groups for grandparents who are raising their grandkids. You could find help, support & friends who "get it" at the same time. For other resources, I googled "books for grandparents raising grandchildren" and found a lot of resources - https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=books+for+grandparents+raising+grandchildren . I hope some of them are helpful!

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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  5. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Active Member

    KSM, I remember feeling the same way when Ferb was young. My relationship with him was so frustrating that I turned into a super angry mom. One day, after another hideous yelling match with young Ferb, I decided that it was up to me to turn the relationship around. I was the adult, and he was the child. If anyone was going to make a change, it would have to be me.

    For me, I had to figure out precisely what I was angry about in order to be able to let it go. I realized that my interactions with Ferb had an eerie resemblance to my relationship with my first husband. I resented the fact that Ferb was incorrigible, argumentative, and disrespectful - just like my ex, whom I left. I was really more angry with the ex than with this boy who didn't know how to behave. Once I recognized that he was a child and needed me to take the lead in restoring the calm in the house, it was easier for me to learn how to behave differently. Not exactly easy, mind you, but easier. Ferb still has times now where he tries to goad me into arguments, but I stop them much faster now.

    There definitely should be room in your life for YOU.
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