You know parenting difficult child's has taken it's toll when.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Alisonlg, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Alisonlg

    Alisonlg New Member

    So...I never shared, but back in May, over Memeorial Day weekend, my dear friend's daughter was seriously injured in a boating accident. Of course, right at the same time, M was readmitted to the psychiatric hospital. I was dealt quite the major blow.

    Anyway, the company that my friend and I both work for as employees and are independent consultants for (it's a party plan company) was holding a fund raiser for my friends family to offset all of the medical costs they have endured and will continue to endure (she still has lots of therapy ahead of her and reconstructive surgery, and both parents are out of work to care for her).

    The event was on a weeknight...2 hrs away...and I couldn't find anyone to come with me to help with the boys (my difficult child's). To top it off, it wasn't a school day for C, so I had him home all day before we left and he had already driven me up a wall.

    I was hesitant...Ok...VERY hesitant about going alone, but I couldn't miss this for the world...I really couldn't. It meant too much...the regret would have haunted me.

    I have a pristine reputation in my company...I am a top leader, a top salesperson, I am a corporate trainer, and I have an image to uphold. I feel like last night that I did myself a great disservice.

    Apparently my stress, my frustration, and my instability was written all over my face. Several people came up to me and made sarcastic comments about "how happy I looked about being a mommy tonight" and one friend/fellow trainer came up to me and very seriously told me "I'm home all day during the day....CALL ME."

    At one point someone even made the comment that my boys were "normal boys" and I thought, "well if they seem normal to everybody else, then what the heck is wrong with ME?"

    I could have dealt with M...he acted "normal" for the most part...I wanted to either leave C at home or bring someone else with me to help with him...it was C who was running EVERYWHERE, jumping on people and hurting them, opening the bathroom door on people while they're using the toilet, hitting people with pool cues, eating half eaten pizza off of tables, sticking his fingers into the fruit punch fountain that everybody is drinking out of, not listening to a word I'm saying, not holding my hand in the parking lot, chewing on his shirt every second of the entire 5 hours and then SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER because his shirt is wet, running on the dance floor/stage while they're trying to do a show, SHALL I GO ON? NORMAL? NORMAL? There were a DOZEN other children his age there and NOT ONE...that's right....NOT ONE of them were doing this!!!!! He was the only one! Then I have to be the bad mommy always say no, stop, C, C, C, C, C, C, C, no, stop, come here, sit down, stop that, no, My god give me a second to give you one freakin' positive word in edge wise!!!!! Where is the room for positive parenting when I have to spend every minute being negative. All the while M is chiming in with the things he wants to do that are not possibilities so I have to quickly tell him no, but before I can compromise and give HIM something positive he CAN do I have to tell C NO, STOP, and then they turn the music up too loud and M starts to plug his ears and get upset and then he says he can't hear me....

    OMG, it was awful, simply awful. I cried the whole way home. I can only imagine what has happened to my image at work. Forget the wonderful, upbeat, positive, inspiring, motivating person I have been for the past 5 years....now I'm that lady who can't handle her kids. :frown: I just want to disappear.
     
  2. Hey, lady! Here's a cyberhug. And here's my two cents:

    First, no one is the same at work as they are with their families and everyone knows this. Everyone also knows that everyone else has serious stuff going on with their families that no one really knows about.

    Second, your cubs are going to look more normal to others than to you. I hear it all the time. "They're all playing together nicely; you don't have to watch him like that." Then someone gets hurt and you know who did it. Then I say, That's why. But a difficult child can look like a normal, energetic, excitable, perhaps a little immature boy to someone who's only watching for a couple of hours. If they had to live with it for a weekend, they'd have a new tune. But, they don't need to be educated on this count.

    Third, you can control any image damage that occurred. First step is to draw the line. You do not have to explain the real situation to anyone. It's not their business. When someone says something about the cub's behavior, you can say something about, Yeah, it wasn't one of his better nights. Too much excitement going on and all. We're working on it. And then change the topic. When someone says, You looked stressed last night or The boys are perfectly normal, you just smile and say, There's a lot more to it than that. And then change the topic. Finish the informalities and then get back to work. If you continue to be professional at work, the Night of the Rambunctious Child will be of little consequence or interest to anyone.

    Bottom line is that you can handle your work. Whether you can handle your kids or not is irrelevant to your job. That's the perspective you need to hold when you interact with people at work.

    by the way - Ever hear of the 18-40-60 rule? When you're 18, you're worried about what everyone is thinking of you. When you're 40, you don't give a rip what anyone is thinking of you. When you're 60, you realize no one was thinking about you the whole time, anyway. My point is that most people are caught up in their own stuff and whatever happened last night is not nearly as important to them as it is to you. Just let it go and go to work. It'll be OK. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. I've got a few friends with those same shirts. Very successful people, too.

    Here's another cyberhug. Much love...
     
  3. lynnp

    lynnp New Member

    Oh I hate those experiences they are so mortifying! Alison is right though. I'm sure that not everyoe noticed as much as you think they did. And don't forget, there were definitely people there who were completely sympathetic to you but didn't want to say anything because they secretly live with an alien in their house too! (That would be me if I were there although I defnitely would have offered help.)

    I've tried SO hard to remain true to the committment I made years ago. I WILL NOT BE EMBARRASSED BY OR ASHAMED OF my difficult child. It's not always easy and there are times when I want to disappear but in my heart I know that he is who he is....
     
  4. Alisonlg

    Alisonlg New Member

    Well, I think the realization is that I can no longer handle it. I've reached my breaking point. At one point I had to quickly grab the kids and scoot off to a secluded room because I had tears of exhaustion and frustration welling up in my eyes and if I didn't escape to somewhere private I was going to have a public breakdown.

    Smiling and pretending to be fine just isn't cutting it anymore. I can't allow my therapist to pretend she's helping me. I am so sick of the ups and downs and feeling fine one minute and feeling on the verge of insanity the next. It's unacceptable. I have an appointment tomorrow and I am going to demand that she help me, which probably entails demanding she refer me to a psychiatrist for medications. I wish my appointment was today...I'm a mess today. My luck I'll be in fine spirits tomorrow and I'll have trouble demanding anything because I'll feel fine. I always feel fine during our appts.
     
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Oh sweetie...........my heart just aches for you. I SO remember this one company party where I was a top manager, being awarded an award..........I was standing up there, trying to smile, thinking the whole time - OMG where is my kid, and what on earth is he doing to the other kids? It was at this big park and it was night time and he was running everywhere and getting into all sorts of trouble. Being single, like it sounds like you were last night, what else are you gonna do? He was 6 at the time, so I couldn't just hold him while I was on stage. I remember the looks I got from other employees - my employees - as my kid is running awry. I mean what are they gonna say to their boss? Man your kid is a mess! What is wrong with you? I dreaded company functions.

    Please get help for yourself, and demand a referral for a psychiatrist. I never dealt with the stress of my personal life, until, too late, it had dramatically affected my work life. I opened a new store with 150 employees, and then moved and launched the companies website - meanwhile my son was having one psychiatric emergency after another.........and finally I broke, snapped at work one day in front of everyone - including my boss - who later deemed me unfit to be a manager after my "nervous breakdown". Oh, if I had it to do over again - I would have gotten SO much more help for me.

    Hang in there......you are NOT alone! But you ARE just as important as your kids.......so demand help for yourself, just as you would for them.

    I will be thinking of ya.
     
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Alison, I'm so sorry! I know exactly how you feel! {{{cyberhugs}}}
    You've gotten some good advice here. I love the 18-40-60 rule!

    I attended an event once--alone--and saw this kid climbing the walls and screaming, and I said to a friend standing next to me, "I am SO glad I left difficult child home with-husband." Then I got a better look and said, "OMG, that IS my difficult child!" Turned out that husband decided to attend the same event and bring difficult child along... and turn him loose. I was soooooooooo upset! (Looking back on it, it's kind of funny, but at the time, no way!)

    Yes, DO get yourself some help. medications are okay (and Tom Cruise can go jump in a lake!). I started on them a few mo's ago and it has really helped take the edge off. I still get cranky but do not get the uncontrollable meltdowns that you described. I knew I needed help when I took a trip to help my dad, who had dementia, and everything went very well, and on the flt home, I cried the entire way... I realized that I didn't want to go back home to my "normal" life with-my husband, easy child And difficult child. I knew I had to and that I needed help and new perspective.

    Go for it. Insist on medications. Some of them take a mo or 2 to get into your system so don't expect a miracle overnight.
    If your regular doctor won't do it, your OBGYN will... for PMS issues. They often overlap. That's who I get to prescribe my medications.
    Just wanted to offer that so if one doctor says no, you've got another route.

    Take care.
     
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    Alison,

    First of all I think you got some great advice from running to shelter about how to deal with it at work.

    But listen, your situation is not the run of the mill! I reread your sig--you've got a child that has been in the phsop 3 times? You've got really really difficult kids, and it is almost a guarantee that things will not go well in public. Please give yourself a break!

    If you had a colleague with a really physically ill child, the most you would expect of that colleague is that she would be able to comparmentalize--that she do her work at work, and leave all the drama for home, right? You're the same. That's all anyone should expect of you.

    If you want to say something to your colleagues, just tell them that your children have some major neurological issues that make parenting very difficult, and leave it at that. The poster who said she has to work hard not to let herself feel embarassed by her children said it all. There are times when we all want to have a little set of cards to hand it to strangers that say "my child is acting this way because he is mentally ill and I am doing the best I can, so stop looking at me that way and help!" or something to that effect.

    The stress of dealing with two difficult children and a high powered job is incredible. I know, got the t-shirt, ultimately it was too difficult an act to manage.

    Please talk to your child's therapist. And if the tools she is giving you aren't getting anywhere with your kids, look for someone who is experienced with dealing with serious mental illness issues. And a good psychiatrist wouldn't hurt either...

    From my experience is it really hard to be competent at work, and feel like a complete failure at home when your children don't/can't behave and you feel you aren't getting the competent help you need from the medical profession. Give yourself a break, you are in a really difficult situation. If you are managing to do well at your job with all that is going on, you are doing a superhuman effort.

    Anyway, I am not expressing myself very well, just want to tell you not to beat yourself up too badly. You are in it for the long haul.

    hugs. it will be better.
     
  8. --Eleanor--

    --Eleanor-- New Member

    Hi Alison:

    I can so totally relate to your experience--I've been there, too. Last year, when I was the chairman of a board of a professional group, I had the experience of taking my difficult child to a "family night" barbecue. Although I wasn't the hostess, I was expected to meet and greet everybody. My greetings were along the lines of "Hi how are ya gotta run my kid is playing with the jets on the gas stove bye!!!" I experienced some "wow your kid is a holy terror" looks, but also (after dashing madly around looking for him and finding him quietly playing Nintendo) some of the "what's wrong with you--your kid is perfectly normal but you're bonkers" looks, too.

    It really is not that I worry too much about what everybody thinks--either they understand or they don't--but it is exhausting! I must admit that I avoid those kinds of things whenever possible, now, while still trying to make sure that my son has a decent social life.

    Best wishes!
     
  9. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Gosh and I wonder why I have social anxiety!!! People just :censored2:!!! I am so sorry. Allison what you are doing is amazing.

    You do need to cut yourself some slack. It is really wierd how so many people have no clue what is going on, when you are seeing your child so close to an "episode" or falling apart, and someone is telling you "he's fine" and treating you like you are overreacting!!! It does make you stop and question yourself for a minute!!!

    Even if your kids are being angels you still can't relax, because when will the shoe drop? So people are still looking at you like why are you so nervous? Lighten up!!!
    They don't get it... they wont they can't.
    Noone would guess K had any issues, people think I am crazy, like I just want her have problems!!! SHe is really good, most times out in public. She has small little things in public, the anxiety etc.

    The point is all of us here have to deal with this cr@p in some way or another. I found/find it so hard to sociallize at times because of this. With both girls.

    I have a great doctor. The Zoloft helps, as well the Topamax. At this point I look at my mood and anxiety before I do anything public/social and if I am to stressed as well as the kids, I don't go. I just don't care anymore...

    Hang in there none of this is fair... I wish we were all normal!!! But then we wouldn't have each other and our wonderful personalities and our beautiful g'sfg!!!
     
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Alison,
    I'm so sorry sweetie. I can hear the exhaustion in your post. I think RFS gave some excellent advice. I like Pepperidge's idea too. I've had to leave work to go get difficult child from many suspensions. I know some people talk about it. I try to just ignore that because I work hard at my job and think I do it well. I know I get a lot of tough students because people say I handle them so well.

    A lot of people at my work know my son is mentally ill because they are people I trust that information with but not everybody knows.

    I'm glad you are seeing your therapist and hope she refers you to the psychiatrist. I'm hoping today has been better. Take care of you. Hugs.
     
  11. Kathrine

    Kathrine New Member

    Just remember, there are some parents who were there who were probably thinking "Thank God other peoples' kids are as bad as mine." At least that's what I'm always thinking when I see disruptive kids. I play the organ for church and whenever I hear a child causing a raucus it's really hard to keep from laughing because it's not my child that morning. I'm not sitting there thinking "Dang! Can't those people just spank their kid and shut them up!" Because I know it aint that easy!
     
  12. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

    ((((HUGS))))
     
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