It's Not Always the difficult children....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hound dog, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My easy child is an awesome woman to be sure. She found out she was pregnant with darrin a few weeks before her high school graduation. Gave up a full blown scholarship to John's Hopkins University and the medical have her baby around family. Listened when I told her to go ahead and find a new route to for fill her dreams, went on to the RN program at our community college (tough as nails program too) graduated....went to work full time and also continued going to school. One half quater from graduating that program heart issues with Conner's pregnancy forced her to stop burning the candle at both ends. Once her maternity leave was over she went back to work....but didn't start up with school again, decided to take a year off. Has since found 2 programs for the bachelor's that will just let her do the last quarter to which doesn't require additional clinical hours, which makes since due to her still working full time.

    Several weeks ago she landed her dream job as ICU nurse at a major dayton hospital. in my opinion one of the best hospitals in the area. Job happened to pop up just as the small town county hospital she's worked for got taken over by a corporation and things stopped being about patient care and all about budget. (when a nurse has to fight tooth and nail to justify a cardiac patient getting items such as oxygen tubing there is a real problem) And of course it pays MUCH better that the county hospital. This job change coincided with sister in law taking a new job as a airline mechanic only 20 miles from home as his co was already planning huge lay offs in spring due to the economy. Twenty miles vs the hour drive to cincy was enough to sell sister in law on the job.

    easy child decided to stay PRN (as needed) at the county hospital until she's sure it works out ok at the new hospital. So far working one day a week.

    So, this means easy child gets up at 4am to get to work by 7am to work until 7pm.......but if a patient goes bad that can be as late as 10pm and then an hour and a half drive home. Three days a week for city hospital, 1 day for county. sister in law now works 8 hrs a day 2nd shift 3-11pm mon through fri.

    Their sitter said no way was she watching kids 2nd shift. Daycares close at 6pm. So Nana is watching the boys until a new sitter can be found. I adore them, but in all honesty, it's exhausting. When they first arrive the 2 little ones go down for naps and of course darrin is still in school as it's 2pm. But from about 3:30 on.........I don't stop moving. Conner wakes up from nap, needs a bottle, then darrin arrives and is starving needs a snack, supper needs started, time for brandon to get up from his now herding all 3 while doing supper......usually right before our meal is done it's time to give Conner his baby food.....while attempting not to burn supper......then on to feed the rest of us while helping brandon get the food to his mouth (should see him with mashed potatoes omg he loves them and it's a riot!)......then clean the boys up......then on to darrin's homework which is math, reading, spelling packet, spelling words (this can take a while depending on how much he has).....usually with 2 little ones sitting on Nana's lap. By then it's about 7-7:30 pm.....the kids normal bedtime. But they can't go to sleep because Mommy won't arrive until 9pm-ish depending on traffic, accidents, or bad patients. If I let them go to sleep she'll never get them back to sleep. So by 8pm omg they all start falling apart. Not bad, but fussy and tears and well I'm sure you can guess.

    So.......easy child comes in and she is exhausted. (I can only imagine omg) And she's praying that the boys will go right to sleep when they get home as she should've already been in bed herself. :sigh:

    I'm worried. You've no idea how worried. She fell alseep on the way to work the other day. Friday evening she forgot to call and tell me she was on the way and I paced and fretted of course thinking the worst because I didn't hear from her.....until she walked in the door. I can not talk her home from work when I'm herding 3 little boys. Impossible.

    And then there is those 3 little boys. I understand she's not the stay at home mom type. I totally get that. But there are now 4 days out of 7 those boys don't see their mom. When they do see her......she's exhausted and cranky (to put it mildly).....and darrin is catching the brunt of it, poor kid being the oldest. At least with the little ones she bites her tongue.

    I love easy child's dedication. I love her work ethic. She's a brilliant girl and a d*mn fine nurse, one of the best. But.......from the outside looking's at the cost of her family and especially her children.

    When she came in tonight she exploded on darrin the moment she looked at him. I was so stunned I just sort of stood there gaping at her. She was yelling at him for wearing the same clothes he'd worn all weekend, 3 days in a row since he wore them to school today. He tried to explain that daddy told him to wear them.....and she cut him off that it is his responsibility to make sure, no matter what daddy says, to bathe and put on clean clothes for school. I put it much much kinder than she did. And even standing there gaping I'm thinking, girl he's 7 for one thing and you just told him to disobey his dad for the second! OMG at 7 I still had to tell her to take a bath every night and make sure she had clean clothes. wth? Sound to me like daddy dropped the ball and darrin is catching hades for it because he's available and daddy is at work. It is not the child's fault daddy isn't doing what daddy is supposed to be doing. omg He's a 7 yr old, not a teen! We had this happen last week too over the same issue but not as severe as tonight. Then there is the issue that sister in law doesn't bring the 2 little ones coats. Now once it was warm.....except it was freezing by the time easy child picked them up. But all the other times it's cold out regardless and still no coats. easy child is livid. Darrin isn't the only one wearing clothes for days on end either........2 little ones can wear the same blanket sleeper 4 days in row easy. Now I can go for 2 if they've not messed it but 4 is pushing it in a big way.

    I see the total lack of patience in darrin's homework too. Actually saw that many months ago, even last year. She tends to jump on him the same way over minor things. To the point where she did it in front of me one night and I had to jump in. I just calmly told her that just because school always came easy for her and she loved it doesn't mean her boys will be the same way and it's not fair to expect them to be. We did talk that time for a while and she did admit she does work hard not to lose it with him over his homework but she does much more than she'd like.

    I'm worried I'm going to get a dreaded phone call telling me my daughter fell asleep at the wheel.......... I'm worried for my grandkids who when they do get to see their mom she's still exhausted, stressed to the max, little patience and will really lose it with them. A mouth can do as much if not more damage and a hand sometimes.

    And to make it worse.........I physically hurts me to watch it because this is the environment in which I grew up. Not as severe, sure as there is no mental illness ect and no physical abuse ect. But this is exactly why I refused to work when my kids were small. Mom's don't get to do what dad's do. Even dad's that help, and sister in law does help a LOT more than most, get to come and sit and have a time to chill. Mom's are on duty 24/7 on top of any job outside the home no matter what. Just reality. I never wanted to come home so tired that I ripped my child a new one instead of greeting them with a hug and kiss and a smile. :(

    Money is no longer an issue for the kids. That extra school loan they got stuck with because they co-signed on it has been paid off with sister in law's retirement package from his last job. That took a huge financial burden off them. They moved back into their small house which cut their monthly bills probably by at least 1/3 if not 1/2. easy child pays me to watch the boys but I dunno if it's as much as she paid the sitter, it certainly is not what she'd pay a daycare. (omg)

    I think easy child has grown so used to burning the candle at both ends she doesn't know how to stop. She wants the big fancy well furnished home on the huge land with the nice cars ect.......but doesn't realize that those things usually take many many years to reach, instead of working yourself to death to get them before you're 30. It's like she has this drive to have it all, and to have it as fast as possible. Meanwhile, she's missing the vast majority of this very precious time period in her kids lives........and they're missing the mother they need. And if she works herself to will all be for nothing anyway.:sigh:

    I want to talk to her, but she's so sensitive I'm always afraid she'll take it the wrong way. I'm so very very proud of her. But that has nothing to do with this. She's a fantastic mom......unless she's stressed to the hilt and exhausted and sleep deprived. Heck, I couldn't be a fantastic mom under those circumstances either.......I'd probably be the exact same way. I don't think she's abusive or anything. But c'mon it's heck on a child who hasn't seen his mom all day to have her greet him by tearing him a new one the moment her eyes land on him. I don't care who the kid is and not changing his clothes was not an issue big enough for such reaming either. That's hard on a kid, I know. been there done that Lived it, not fun. Blows your self confidence, self esteem (and we know I don't coddle self esteem so.....yeah) and you start thinking you're not such a hot person..... I can just tell darrin not to do something and he dissolves into tears.....not faking tears, the boy's heart is in his eye like his mom's always were.... He's trying so hard to please everyone, but he can't win. ugh

    Had to vent it out. At this point I don't know if I'll speak up to her or not. I've tried before and it mostly fell on deaf ears and just gave her a bad case of hurt feelings. Which isn't the intention. I just want her to see if you're not the stay and home type there are alternatives that let you not work yourself to death and be the mom you'd like to be.
  2. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I remember being so exhausted all the time and losing it on easy child when I got to the sitter's. Don't even know what it was about. Probably cause he wasn't getting ready fast enough. I heard myself and I felt absolutely horrible. Doesn't mean it never happened again. I'm human. But, I was much more aware of it and tried that much harder to be patient when I had no patience left.

    I think you have to talk to her. Practice it first. Write it down for yourself. Edit it. But, she can't do this to her kids nor to herself.

    My oldest is 19 and my youngest just turned 16. I was a single mom; I had to work. But, I have so many regrets now. Those years go by so fast and I was so busy working and cleaning and trying to squeeze in a bit of my own life, that I missed out on a lot of opportunities to just be with my kids, Know what I mean?? I would give anything if I could go back and do it again - without being in such a hurry. I really would.
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I understand the desire to work and be successful; I'm definitely not the stay-at-home mom type either, and would have probably gone even nuttier if I'd done that. I agree with Heather, I think you need to talk to easy child about finding a balance between work and home.
  4. KFld

    KFld New Member

    That is a huge responsibility for you. No wonder you are exhausted. My easy child is a lot like that, totally impossible to talk to. She's a hard hard worker, doesn't get in any trouble, total opposite of her brother, but so defensive over everything. I usually feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I have to approach her about anything because she just bites your head off.

    Maybe you need to find a day when she's not running off to work that the two of you can have lunch or something and try and tell her your concerns.

    It's great that she is so driven, but she chose to have the kids, not you. They say the greatest part of being a grandparent, which thankfully I don't know yet :), is you get to visit and then send them home. You raised your children and if money isn't an issue and she has such a great job, then she needs to find a nanny to watch them at night. That is what my easy child does, she watches 2 little boys every night because both the parents work and don't get home until around 7:00. Maybe you can suggest that to her.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    HD - yeah, you're absolutely right. And even if she is sensitive... Maybe on one of her days off you could take her out for - say - ice cream - not a "meal" per se but something small, and tell her... I know you need sleep and you're stressed and this schedule is just killing you... (Hug) and I love you for trying so hard but it's realling hurting your family and YOU... I'm trying to help as much as I can, but there are a few things I've noticed...

    Honestly? I know how this feels, husband is working on trying to get his business going and I hate that the kids and I don't see much of him, and when we do, he's exhausted and grumpy. And I'm trying to do too much, so now I am exhausted and grumpy, too...
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hound, I was kinda there. I worked more than full time (about 50 to 70 hrs a week) sometimes overnights, went to school at least half time and sometimes more. I got a wake up call when husband was put in psychiatric hospital the first time, back off and slow down or your family will pay the price. I can identify with your easy child. She wants the best for her family, but sometimes by doing the best you cause more harm than good. Sometimes it is not about the money and the things.. don't know how to get her to realize that, I wish I had the magic answer. I guess I can sympathize with you both, and maybe she will see the light. Not sure if she would be receptive to you talking to her on her day off, I sure would not do it on a day she works. No reason she cannot work part time, just a day or two a week. With 3 little guys (sorry if Darrin needs daycare I consider him little) I don't see how she would make much money after paying for a sitter!
  7. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Do you think she is so driven because of necessity financially or because she can't see the forest for the trees?
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Fran I think it's because she can't see the forest through the trees. I know she wants nice things.......but she truly loves her family on a very deep level. If she's been off for a week or two the difference is so huge that there is no way not to notice it. So much so that sister in law told her he'd love for her to be a stay at home mom......and that he was willing to make the sacrifices necessary if she wanted to do that. This is how dramatic the change was from overstressed exhausted working mom to stay at home mom on maternity leave.

    It's like she can't see she has a lifetime to do and become all the things she dreams of..........that she's got to cram it all in as fast as possible.

    So, no, I don't think it's financially driven......although easy child will often make the excuse that it is. sister in law doesn't make what she does, but he makes good money by himself. They could've managed with her reducing hours even before getting out from under the extra loan and moving back to their small I know it's even more possible now.

    Some of it I also wonder.......if it has to do with husband and Katie. easy child has always been an over achiever. husband was always a severe under achiever.........and katie who is nearly identical to him in personality, is much more severe than husband ever was. easy child has always tried hard to be nothing like either of them. She's been doing this burn the candle at both ends thing pretty much since Katie was here the last time.

    I think she's just stuck in that groove for whatever reason.

    I won't lie. She grew up poor. She did without many things during her childhood, not necessities, but still, compared to friends she did without a lot of stuff. I know there is also the desire for her boys to have the things she couldn't have growing up. But then honestly? They don't have most of them still as their schedules don't allow for it. The boys are flooded in toys and clothes.........but it is nearly impossible to let darrin to like a sport or something because the schedules are so crazy. The boys are not spoiled rotten............darrin is just as happy with a 25 cent car I find him that he really wants at a yard sale as he'd be with a 20 dollar one in a store.......but there is so much more a child needs than stuff and she's lost sight of that along the line. I think she believes she's still giving it to them.......but when she really isn't to the degree she believes she is. Quality time isn't quality when it's spent snapping over every minor infraction.

    I've suggested the nanny. She sees the salary and nearly strokes. Since before she took this job I tried to explain to her that finding a 2nd shift sitter who is both really good with the kids and cheap is going to be impossible. She also wants them watched in her home. Now this one gets me because due to having to make them supper, even I won't watch them at her house. She's my child and I don't feel comfortable digging around in her kitchen to cook and serve them a meal. easy child did have one woman about my age willing to do it, but the woman wanted paid about 10 bucks an hour maybe a bit more. While it didn't surprise me in the least.......easy child couldn't believe it. This is where having family watch them most of her career has actually hurt her. As family we don't charge anywhere near what a normal daycare provider would charge. The last sitter she had.......only had the 2 little ones because darrin was in school, Nichole or I would watch them for the hour lay over time.......and often on even that didn't cost easy child as much as it should have.

    I wouldn't be surprised if she dropped down to 2 days a wk that it would help their budget instead of hurt it. It would dramatically reduce daycare cost and the cost of gas alone. (one of the many reasons I chose to be a stay at home mom.......daycare alone made it not worth me going to work)

    Just such a hard thing for a Mom to watch. She's in many ways just as miserable as the kids and her husband, even though she loves her job.

    I'll talk to her again...............but I'll take time to work out what to say and how to say it first and maybe that will help. UGH I think sometimes it's harder when they're pcs. I mean when I try to talk to her about this I feel like I'm saying honey you're being too good.........ya know?
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow...I was either going to suggest you watching them at her house for the second shift or hiring a second shift sitter at her house but if she thinks ten bucks an hour for 3 kids is high, well, I think she is mistaken. Especially if the person is making dinner, helping with homework, getting baths and getting the kids to bed at a normal bedtime. I wouldnt think that would be a bad deal actually. She really should think about that. Perhaps she could find a late teen who would do it for 8...maybe.
  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hound dog, I think you are right about going part time. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Isn't there more value to one of the boys seeing their mom at a little league baseball game smiling proudly?
    My boys were getting way too much because I grew up working poor and wanted their eyes to sparkle Christmas morning. By the time difficult child was 5 I saw what a horrible thing I was doing to my son's to make some need of mine their downfall. Is there nothing worse than an adult who doesn't work for something? Why would a kid work for something if he has everything. Christmas is limited to one large item and one small item. Anything else is gravy. They actually came to like it that way.
    Maybe the family should make her pay daycare fees. If she doesn't like them, she may realize that financially it's better to work part time. I know she loves her kids and we all want to give our kids the opportunities we didn't have but the wise thing to do is ask "who does it serve?' to over indulge the kids, or to work to the point being an absent parent.
    Being a stay at home mom is hard work and not everyone is cut out for it but I know no one is cut out to be a good mom if they are exhausted to the brink of collapse.
    I understand that she doesn't want the type of home where her kids see dad as unproductive and miserable but the kids see mom as being miserable and scary because she has this distorted idea of what the kids really need.
    Part time work, making her pay daycare rates and a calm conversation may help her to be a success in the mommy dept.
    She is being pushed by the demon of failure. She just has to identify what is failure to her? What is success? Maybe it will help her to reflect on what she is doing. No one burns the candle at both ends and will themselves to continue to do it. Not successes that's for sure.
    She has to find the balance between financial stability(which is important vs over indulging) and giving her children what they need. What memories are the kids going to have of growing up?
    It's always a worry to see one of our kids struggling especially easy child's. It always throws me for a loop when easy child seems out of whack.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Fran has a very good point.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you could approach it with reverse psychology. "easy child I know that you love me but I wonder what you would do or say if you found that I was not providing a healthy environment for your children. Would you ignore the problem or would you make yourself face the uncomfortable facts and point out that I was hurting the kids?

    Chances are that she would immediately think "omg, Mom is hurting my kids?" I'm sure the thought would shock and dismay her.

    That might allow you to transition into your real concerns.
    As much as you love the her and the kids you are tired. Even though she is a wonderful caring person you don't think she realizes that her children need her rested loving parenting during these most formative years. The kids are not having the chance to form that loving bond with their Mom because she has too few rested hours. Already you can see one grandchild showing signs of low self esteem because of her shortness with him. You admire her deligence in trying to get a better house etc....but...memories are formed inside a home filled with love and security not more square footage and larger lawns.

    Then...if she's listening and absorbing, ask her to make a list of temporary life changes she could make so she can enjoy the early years of parenting. Who knows if might make her rethink her priorities. Remember I have not had a life due to my dedication to grandchildren. It honestly is very sad to realize that I can not recapture those years. I'd hate for you to follow suit.Hugs DDD
  13. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    You can't make a stay at home mom out of a woman who doesn't have that in her soul. By the time each and every one of my 5 maternity leaves was over, I was so ready to be back at work. I was short and impatient with my children in ways I never was when I arrived home from work. I love my children and cherish my time with them but if my only option was to be a stay at home mom or a career woman, I would not have had children.

    I think the major concern here is how long this schedule is going to persist. If it's only for a short period of time, try to deal with it. Frankly, I'd tell her to sleep at the hospital if she's too tired to drive home. As for the dinners, perhaps you could get a slow cooker and put up meals before the babies arrive that will be ready when you're ready to eat. That would eliminate the cooking stress. Also, maybe you can work on changing the babies' nap times so that they fall asleep right before Darrin gets home rather than wake up at that time, which would give you alone time with him to get his HW done. As a last suggestion, if your daughter is not having financial issues, maybe she could spring for a HS girl to come in and help you out by playing with the little boys or bathing them...
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First of all, she isn't in touch with reality. Reality means that you get what you pay for and if you pay $10 per hour for 2nd shift daycare for 3 boys then you get really poor quality care. NO homework help, no hot meal (here they would expect the parent to have the meal packed for the kid or if they were in the kid's home then it would be something that could be nuked or was in a slow cooker ready to serve. You are blessed to find the latter - truly blessed.) You do NOT get a loving nana to care for them. Just doesn't happen.

    Is she going to be cutting back soon? As in within just a few weeks? If not then it is time for a talk with her.

    I don't think any of us are saying she should be a stay at home mom. But she should NOT be risking her life and the lives of her kids by driving so exhausted. Are you aware that tired drivers cause FAR more accidents than drunk drivers? Has she cared for any patients who were hit by drunk drivers? Is that what she wants for her kids? Maybe she should let you put the kids to bed and then crash at your house 2-3 nights a week. She can take the kids home when she wakes up or she can get them ready for school at your house.

    Letting her take those kids in her car when she is that tired is just as bad as letting her take them in the car when she is drunk. I know you well enough to know you would NOT do that. I know her well enough to know she would NEVER drive her kids somewhere after she has been drinking. This is a safety issue and is too big to let pass. in my opinion it is going to result in tragedy very soon.

    Ask her what her kids will remember after she falls asleep while driving and kills herself? I know you must approach her carefully, but this isn't a talk that you can wait much longer on. If she shows up and is slurring her words, stumbling, etc... because she is tired, PLEASE do not allow her to take those babies with her. She may hate it in the now, but she would hate an accident owrse.

    How will YOU feel if she is in an accident after she picks up the kids from your home?Can you live iwth that?

    As for the overworked mom who goes off on the kids? She is human, as you know. If you are seeing too much of this (and it sounds like you are - you do not say anything until it gets bad most of the time, esp about your adult easy child) then it is time to let her know you are concerned.

    You are right that if she worked fewer days she would likely have more money. Her expenses are likely far more than the $$ she is earning. Not paying the going rate for daycare is helping her to hide from this fact. You might ask her if her kids deserve good care or bad care - cause you have to PAY for good care and $10 an hour won't cut it. It jsut won't with 3 little kids.

    I am sure she has NO clue how she sounds to her kids. Record her as she picks up the kids for the next week or two. Then let her listen, and tell her honestly if she sounds like this most of the time. That way it will be HER telling her that she isn't giving the kids her best - or even her "good enough".

    I don't envy you. It isn't easy to discuss this stuff. But you are so right about the accident that is going to happen.

    You may want to call some daycares and sitters to see what the going rates for 3 boys in daycare and 3 boys at a private sitter are. Let her see what is expected if she wants full time daycare. then let her pay you that rate while youa re watching them. You and husband need the $$ and it is not right for her to not pay you the going rate, esp as you do SO MUCH above what any other sitter would do.

    Tell her if she watns to drop her hours down so she isn't exhausted then you will let her continue iwth the current rate until she finds a situation that works as far as babysitting. Cause right now she has NO reason to keep looking for another sitter. You are cheap and she is exhausted so her days off are not filled with looking for a new sitter.

    I would also tell her that if she is tired she can let you know and you will keep the boys all night rather than have her drive that tired. IF that is something you are willing to do.
  15. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I was "on my own" from the time I was 20. When I had my son, at 29, of course I went back to work after maternity leave. I was scared that the (now ex) wouldn't be able to take care of us, and I could.
    But I soon realized (the ex was doing a LOT of traveling for work, being gone 3 weeks at a time) that I couldn't do it all - give the job my all and my son my all. One of them had to give. In my case, it was the job.
    I did volunteer work during the years I was a stay at home mom to keep my hand in my profession. I also kept in contact with my past co-workers. Such that when the ex came home unemployed, I was actually back to work within 10 days - that was after being a stay at home mom for 8 years. By that time the kids were in 4th and K so it wasn't so hard to go back (although I missed the volunteering at school with the youngest that I did with the oldest).