Saturday, June 16, 2012

parenting fail

photo by sabin's friend - they dress up and do photoshoots of one another.
at least in that area i've succeeded.
creativity with the camera is never a bad thing.
i've had some frustrating parenting moments of late and it doesn't bode well for the coming teenage years. you see, i've been trying to do less waiting on my child hand and foot. i've done it far too much - i think it started because she was born ten weeks early and so we spoiled her. then it just became habit and it continued. at times, i'll admit, it's also easier and less messy to just do things myself, so there's that element in it as well.

but, i've grown weary of all the waiting on her all the time when she's a big girl and perfectly capable of making her own smoothie or popcorn. and it doesn't seem to be going that well.  very often, when i suggest that she do something herself, she elects not to do it at all. which leaves me feeling that all that i've done for her all the time isn't really that important to her. she'd rather not have a bun with nutella or a cup of tea if i don't get it for her. and i have to say that really pisses me off. and i'm not handling it very well.

instead of redirecting or trying to take a deep breath and be a bit rational about it, i end up being sarcastic to her about it - asking if the things i do for her are so unimportant that she'd rather not do them if i won't do them for her. rather like a martyr, which doesn't make me proud. but it provokes the hell out of me, it really does.

any thoughts on how to handle this differently?

32 comments:

Jim Doran said...

Make yourself a nutella and tea, and take it easy on yourself, Mom.

spudballoo said...

Goodness, how very very grown up she is and absolutely lovely. I don't think I have very helpful advice, as my boys are so much younger. But I will share your pain as I am pretty much sick of waiting on them hand and foot. I know they are young but there are things they can/should be doing for themselves, one of which is to take their dirty dishes to the kitchen after meals. They never, ever ever ever do it unless I remind them and I can't tell you how it bugs me. I can feel the frustration burning inside me ... the 'After everything I do for you you can't even do the one thing I ask of you' kind of thing.

You're doing the right thing though. S is old enough to be doing all kinds of things for herself and it's right to encourage independence. Her not fixing herself some tea etc is just laziness. I would ignore as best you can, make yourself some tea/tasty snack and let her sort herself out.

Grrr. Bliming children. x

Lost Star said...

Hmm, tough one. My mum used to wash up all the time as we never liked to do it. She didn't push it, but as I got older, I started to do it. Especially after I left for university; I turned into a neat freak!

I guess waiting for S to leave home might not be the answer though.

I would suggest letting her get on with it and try not to feel like what you have done previously was not important. Obviously, you have been her mum and the things you do are important.

BUT, maybe now she is growing up, it is time for new ideas of her partaking in the home. If she wants something bad enough, she will do it herself. Leave her laundry, snacks, lunch, whatever and let her learn if she wants something done, unless you are explicitly offering, she has to do it herself.

Finally, have you considered talking to her about it. She seems like she has a head on her shoulders and could probably understand why you are angry and why you want her to start doing things for herself!

Molly said...

I'm with Spud in that my kids are too young to truly know where you're at, but from my own memory of being a stinky teen I'd hazard a guess you're entering a phase in which a lot of her actions could feel hurtful to you - as she makes her own choices and moves in to an even more independent stage. Teens are so deep in their own heads that they do unthinking things.
Maybe the trick is to learn to shrug those feelings off (or at least seem as if you are)?
If she's hungry she'll make herself a snack, sarcasm will probably skim right off her and one can live in hope that one day she'll look back and see it from your perspective.
Whatever you do, don't diminish your role as her mum and no. 1 caregiver though, ironically she probably needs you now more than ever - just in different ways.
Parenting, the joys!

Molly said...

And obviously now I want a nutella bun. Would you make one for me?

Sandra said...

She is a pre-teen girl and destined to make you crazy. And it will get worse. Take ahold of your collar, give yourself a good jerk and stop with the martyr, they love the martyr, it gives them power. : )

If she doesn't want something if you don't do it for her, let her do without. It won't take her very long to figure it out. In reacting to her, she is still getting something from you. They are wily, these kids.

I am guessing she doesn't have chores. Maybe it's time to start having her do something that she must get done. Start small, but make it mandatory. She will need to go out into the world one day and you don't want to be picking up after her when she's 50.

All that said, she is a very well-mannered girl, I liked her very much when I met her. She's a kid and they will manipulate mom and dad whenever possible. It's natural. You simply need to stop feeding it. I know, not so easy, but you are the one with the more developed brain. : )

I am the mother of an only child, a son. It's hard when they have you all to themselves. Mine is now 38 and I still see the tell-tale signs of only child.

Kimberly said...

It sounds like you're taking the consequences of her inaction too personally. And since your reaction is all you really have control over I would say perhaps you can act as if it doesn't matter and just let her see you relax about it and maybe you'll see some changes in her attitude about doing for herself.
I'm no expert though, especially on preteen girls.
Good luck!

Bill said...

Living with Cornucopia Children ...

There's a meaningful correlation between a Cornucopia Child reaching puberty and your capacity to drink more wine.

Relax, at this point she's on cruise control and your main efforts will be to hopefully steer her from major pitfalls and blunders ... and to be a source of food and money.

Again, I suggest a nice red wine.

celkalee said...

Oh my dear, gird your loins, it is a bumpy ride, but not necessarily all difficult. My experience is quite different because I raised two boys. Girls are certainly a different challenge, but a great opportunity to sort of "turn the the tables" so to speak. Of course mother nature, the b---h, has our daughters entering hormone village while their mothers try to leave. cruel trick!

Anyway, I would play it a little different. "Darling S. Mother is feeling a bit off and would love a cup of tea, could you make one for me while I put my feet up?" On another occasion, "I have dinner ready but could you set the table and pour the water while I finish working on this important project." (which incidentally pays for your recreation) etc. I did that with my sons and felt it worked, at least 50% of the time. Worth a try. My DIL reminds me regularly about how thoughtful her husband is. And today is his 40th Birthday.

Just remember that we raise them to be independent and individuals, sometimes that is a conflict that the Mother can only resolve by crying, to herself, in the shower.

tidytipsy said...

Like everyone else said...she's a teenager. She'll do things just because she knows they'll get under your skin ;)
Also, it might have nothing to do with you personally at all. I know for myself that when someone orders me to do something (even completely reasonable) I'll be darned if they catch me doing it...completely silly but it hurts my pride to be told off and "admit" they were right by beeing seen doing the thing they asked. Sorry, looong sentence. Psychological reactance is a beautiful thing ;) Not really. But it might explain her behaviour and help you not to take it so personally.

poet said...

I think - and I speak as a non-parent, but with ample experience from a very attention-hungry childhood - what's important to her is not primarily the thing she gets - the smoothie or whatever - but that you get it for her - your expression of love and care and attention. That's not necessarily a bad thing, caring more about affection than about material stuff... Maybe you could do more stuff together for others and each other, or reverse the roles sometimes?

julochka said...

undoubtedly good advice, but I'm finding it so hard tondo at that moment.

julochka said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets angry about little things. I'm hoping writing about it will help me handle it better the next time.

julochka said...

lizzi, you're right, she is a good kid and I probably can talk to her about it. why didn't ibthink of that?

julochka said...

but she's only 11, why is this starting already?

julochka said...

for you, of course. :-)

julochka said...

oh, I do hate the martyr, but it just comes out. but she is basically a good kid, so I need to just relax and give her some chores. and make her pick the hooves of her horse herself. it would be a start

julochka said...

I am sure I'm taking it too personally! but knowing that strangely doesn't turn off the reaction. I fear the road ahead!

julochka said...

awesome advice, bill! wine and/or a nice g&t are always a good option!

julochka said...

oh, this made me laugh and feel much better. hormone village indeed. it just seems a bit early since she's only 11. but maybe it's my hormones that are really the problem. now I think I'll go shower...

julochka said...

very good point, I do the same, hate to be told what to do. why do we humans make things so hard for ourselves?

julochka said...

very good point - next time, I'll suggest we make popcorn together. I've benn so focused on my own inappropriate reaction, I haven't been able to see anything else. thank you for the perspective!

julochka said...

you guys are all awesome. I knew this was a stupid reaction on my part , but I somehow couldn't get it out of my head, thank you all for helping me think differently.

Michelle in Madison said...

Don't beat yourself up on having to write about it and "talk" it through!!! We have similar stuff and ours is almost 6 yrs old! Thanks also for the preview... if we don't stick to our guns about her "pulling her own weight" it will get even harder! I mean simple things like setting the cutlery on the table, and unloading the cutlerly from the dishwasher, and bringing her dirty dishes to the sink. Also, I've stopped snapping to attention when she says "Momma, can you get me a sweater?" I just suggest looking in the sweater drawer. I was shocked and frustrated and felt like her servant whent she repeatedly did this, but like all the advice above said - I just waited a little longer for her to feel a little colder and she got the sweater herself!

aargh - the plight of a thinking mom with a diva singleton!

Veronica Roth said...

Oh I know completely what you're talking about Julie. Still have a nasty habit of doing all for Chloe and only because I do it so much better, faster, righter, and it drives me crazy to see her doing something all wrong and then I build up all this frustration inside me. What’s even more amazingly frustrating and what I’ve been doing is walking away and letting her muddle thru with occasional corrections and re-doing of things after the event. What I’ve learned: there really is more than only one way to fit the dishes into the dishwasher and they do get clean in that position too!

DahnStarr said...

Perhaps I'm a bit late in this conversation but....How well I know your feelings. My daughter is also an only child and I was very shocked to learn how soon she and her friends were 'developing'. Way too soon in my mind. Not only her body but also the why she treated me. It was a power play for many years and still is at times. But as a friend told me "if they were wonderful all the time we would never let them leave home".

Spilling Ink said...

My own daughter in a nutshell! I do my best to look at it as a phase in the development of her own self and also as a sign of the fear she has of actually growing up. It feels nice when my mum cares for you, doesn't it? Being asked to take responsibility (if even just for making your own sandwich) can be daunting you know.

julochka said...

diva singleton indeed. at times, but she is pretty cool some of the time. I'm just dreading the teens...

julochka said...

hmm, maybe I should get her to help w/the dishwasher. tho' getting her to tidy her room is like pulling teeth.

julochka said...

I'm not quite ready to push her out of the nest. :-) I'd just really like her to make her own damn popcorn.

julochka said...

fear of growing up, I hadn't thought about it like that.

Sammi said...

Well, having skimmed the comments. My mum's answer to me not tidying my room (from the age of about 6 i'd go as early as) would be to bin all my toys. Not actually do it, but definitely bag them up and get rid of them, and confiscate my favourites.