Need Advice

United States
July 14, 2008 10:18am CST
I have a friend who is a stay at home mom of 3 kids. Her husband works out of town during the week, and when he's home, he's quite busy, so she gets little help. Her kids are all rather little, 8, 4, and 2. She doesn't really ever get away from the kids, she has no family nearby and the majority of her friends are online, like myself. She was telling me how frustrated she is, basically at life in general. She seems to not be able to get enough alone time, so sometimes she will "ignore" the children during the day to do what she wants. When I say ignore, I don't mean completely block them out and not see to their needs, she just doesn't spend quality time with them. She really has no desire to spend quality time with them. She loves them, and I know she's a good mom. Her kids are good for the most part. But she feels guilty sometimes about it, she thinks she's being selfish. She has said she sometimes secretly wishes she didn't have kids, but she does love them. She also feels guilty because she doesn't give her children enough affection. She says for some reason she can't, perhaps because she's always stressed over her situation. Her husband can't switch jobs, and they can't move. What she really needs is to learn how to appreciate her children, and be more open towards them. I don't really know what to say to her to help her, so I'm wondering if I can get some good advice here. I hope I've given enough information, if not, please ask any questions you need and I will answer them as best I can.
6 people like this
25 responses
@guss2000 (2234)
• United States
14 Jul 08
I dont really know what advice to offer--- but could you maybe offer to have a "girls day out" kind of thing? Maybe go out to a spa, or get a manicure, have lunch, see a movie? Maybe she would enjoy time apart away from her kids since it seems like she is mostly doing it alone since her husband isn't able to help too much with work. I often feel depressed when i feel like I'm constantly in my house with no outside/adult communication. It probably wont be a miracle cure, but it it might help her feel a little better and resent (I know resent is a harsh word) but, resent her children. Good luck in helping!
• United States
14 Jul 08
I do not live near her, other wise I would. She does not have any near by friends.
4 people like this
@guss2000 (2234)
• United States
14 Jul 08
My other idea then is to have her join a playgroup for her children where all of the moms get together and do fun stuff. That way she won't feel like she is taking care of the kids all of the time, and also getting out being with adults too! You can find playgroups on Cafemom.com, meetup.com and I'm sure there are more. Good luck!
3 people like this
• Ireland
14 Jul 08
well my mom brought me and my bro and sis without any financial support no help at home and no money she really works hard at her crap job. my father left us when I was 4 being the oldest at the time i understood he was a complete idiot. She always focused on my brother who has adhd because i always taught myself and sis new things she approached us with a good morale so we turned out fine and my advice to your friend is to organise herself as best she can its what helped my mom and shes a happy person now hope you read this!! Thanks for posting this topic!! :D
3 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
I am glad things worked out for your family.
3 people like this
@TessWhite (3147)
• United States
14 Jul 08
Your friend needs a break. Everyone does from time to time. If you aren't able to offer to babysit maybe you can suggest she hire a sitter for a couple of hours each week. During those two hours she gets to do whatever she wants. If she wants to go see a movie alone, great. If she wants to go shopping, out to lunch or whatever, fine. By taking a break from family it reinforces what she truely loves, which is her husband and children. By needing time alone she isn't being selfish, because we are important too. And she needs to be told this and helped to find a way to see to her basic needs as well as her children's.
3 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
I will tell her that, and hopefully she can find ways to take time to herself.
3 people like this
@kenzie45230 (3563)
• United States
14 Jul 08
We all need a break from kids from time to time. If there are other stay-at-home moms in the area, perhaps she can find some who want to do play dates together, where one mom can watch a group of kids while another gets some needed alone time. If there is a girl 11-12 around who it too young to really babysit, but could be a "mother's helper" that might work. I used a mother's helper when my son was little. She took him outside to play in the sandbox or wading pool in the afternoons, so I could have some quiet time to write or to work on my home business. I paid her, of course, but not as much as if she had been watching him without me around. When she was at the house, I could work, or I could take a long, leisurely bubble bath without worrying about my son. I needed that. :-)
3 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
She hasn't really been in her area long enough to know people that well. She is somewhat shy and has trouble reaching out to other people, especially to ask for help. But I like the idea of a helper... I may look into that myself.
3 people like this
@Sillychick (3282)
• United States
14 Jul 08
It sounds like what she needs is some time for herself. It is common for moms to resent their children and their husbands when they feel like they have lost themselves in the process of raising their children, in your friend's case, almost by herself. She needs to do two things. First, she needs to explain how she feels to her husband and get him to take care of the children for at least a few hours on the weekend while he is home. Sure, he's busy, but is what he's doing more important than what his wife needs to do? Plus, it will benefit him and the children as much as it will benefit her, since some quality time with Dad is important for children. Second, she needs to find a local mom's group or playgroup so her children and she can make some friends. She should try meetup.com, her local library or church, and find a group that meets regularly so she can have time with other adults, the children can play and socialize, plus she may find someone with whom she can trade babysitting and get some time to herself once in a while during the week, in exchange for doing the same for someone else. If she does these two things, she will feel better about herself, and appreciate the time she spends with her children more. It is counter productive to continue the way she has been and to berate herself with guilt.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
Thanks for understanding the situation. Her husband does help with the kids when he's home, but she is also concerned about spending time with him herself. She probably just doesn't get away from them enough, or have enough friends in her area to talk to. I think I'll help her find a mom's group and see if she's interested. She's a bit leary about leaving her little one with a sitter though, especially a person she hardly knows. I can't blame her there, I'm the same way with mine.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
I understand not wanting to leave the children with someone she barely knows, but if she meets some people through a mom's group, she can get to know them first and see how they interact with their own children and with hers before deciding to leave the children with them. Plus, if she finds someone she trusts, she could then go out with her husband once in a while so they can have some time alone. That is very important for a marriage.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
Yes it is. She hasn't been out with her husband in a long time, partially because they can't afford a sitter, also partially because they don't like leaving their children with someone. But I will help her look into this and see where it goes.
2 people like this
@gtdonna (1740)
15 Jul 08
Ok I understand she is feeling flustered...it's summer and I take it during school time the kids except for the 2 years old are in school...so since it is summer can't she find some Day camps for the big ones and a day care for the smaller one?
2 people like this
• United States
15 Jul 08
She was going to do the day camp thing, but couldn't afford to. Unfortunatly it's quite expensive.
1 person likes this
@gtdonna (1740)
15 Jul 08
Can't friends and concerned person chip in and help? What about churches? They usually have day camps and Vacation Bible schools.
1 person likes this
@acevivx (1566)
• Philippines
14 Jul 08
It's very sad if not tragic to hear about a parent and a mother at that saying she cannot give affection to her children especially such young children. It makes one wonder why she had children in the first place. I think in such situation, it is the children who you should be more concerned about. The mother may not have been quite honest with you when she says"ignores" them but does not totally block them out. Are you sure that what she is doing is not bordering on neglect?It is her responsibility to take care of her children and to tend to their needs. When she decided to have children she also took on such responsibility and she cannot now reneged on it just because her dreams have not come true or she is frustrated with her life. I know you asked for advice on how to help your friend. I suggest you ask the assistance of social services in her area to look in on her and her family and check if everything is alright. She might need professional help and her children too. In the meantime, you can try to give her a more positive outlook through your online communications with her and suggest she look for other interests or go out with her children to a park or on an outing.I think that's the best thing you can do to help her by giving her positive support and encouragement online and by asking someone to check on the family's wellbeing.
• United States
14 Jul 08
I do not believe the children are being neglected. I have spoken to her on the phone and can hear them in the background playing and asking her questions and things. She will answer them, and go tend their needs if need be. She isn't the one who said "ignores" I am just explaining her situation. She "ignores" them by not spending quality time with them. She is not mean to her kids. As I said, I think she is a good mom. She doesn't think so because she feels guilty.
2 people like this
@acevivx (1566)
• Philippines
14 Jul 08
Well, we all hope its nothing serious although I understand she is an online friend and you have not really seen the actual situation. Professional help or advice might be the best thing for her to help her get out of her depression. But she must have to first want to be helped to find a solution before anything can work. I wish her all the luck and the children especially.
2 people like this
@Wizzywig (7860)
14 Jul 08
Has she tried the local library or doctors practice to see if there are any 'parent & child' groups in her area. What age do children start school there? I guess its summer vacation now but perhaps she could enrol in some class herself for the next school year - maybe the local college could point her in the direction of reliable and affordable childcare? Does her 8 year old have friends whose mums might be prepared to make up a 'child-minding' circle? Even if they just all got together once a week including the children, - at the park or at someones house, it would give her some adult company & conversation. If her financial situation will allow for a session or two of childcare, it may be money well spent. I wish her well.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Jul 08
Her 2 olders are in school, not the little one... but as you said, it's summer vacation. She can't afford, nor does she trust the idea of sitters, especially for the little one. As far as kid's friends moms, she really isn't close enough to any of them to ask for help. She hasn't lived in her area that long, so she doesn't know many people all that well.
2 people like this
@coopstar (282)
• United States
15 Jul 08
Its hard to not have an adult conversation for weeks on end.She should join mylot for that.One thing I would tell her is its not always gonna be like this, theres a light at the end of the tunnel. As they get older they will need less of her time,and eventually not want to spend to much time at all with her ie: teenagers.More importantly she should try to switch roles with her husband,not so much as the provider but at home.Sometimes as men we dont see so well,and she is probly buiding resentment for him because of it.It takes alot to run a household,and its the most underpayed job in the world.You tend to not get any reward for along time.Quality time ;what is that,being there 24-7 how do you separate the times.She should not be so hard on herself, I found that bedtime became my favorate time of the day,the time for me.Ther will be a time in her life where she will wish she was back here watching her chidren grow and learn and have fun.You hear older parents say the house is empty without the kids,then there is plenty of time to consetrate on our lives. For right now try to provide as many happy memories as posiably,so in there own lives they have something to draw on in bad times.Hang in there because life changes so fast.Good luck
2 people like this
• Philippines
15 Jul 08
Let's read what the bible says, Proverbs 31:10,13-19, 21, 22, 24, 27 " A capable wife who can find? Her value is far more than that of corals. She has sought wool and linen, and she works at whatever is the delight of her hands. She has proved to be like the ships of a merchant. From far away she brings in her food. She also gets up while it is still night, and gives food to her household and the prescribed portion to her young woman. She has considered a field and proceeded to obtain it; from the fruitage of her hands she has planted a vineyard. She has girded his hips with strenght, and she invigorates her arms. She has sensed that her trading is good; her lamp does not go out at night. Her hands she has thrust out to the distaff, and her own hands take hold of the spindle. She does not fear for all her household are clothed with double garments. Coverlets she has made for herself. Her clothing is of linen and wool dyed reddish purple. She has made even undergarments and proceeded to sell them, and belts she given to tradesmen. She is watching over the goings on of her household and the bread of laziness she does not eat." This is what it should be for a loving wife....Diligence in Caring for Interests of Household. Calling all women.... Can we make It?
@juhi06 (1850)
• India
15 Jul 08
it is a rather difficult situation. kids can not grow overnight. and she cannot move out either to where her husband works. one alternative could be if they can manage any domestic help which may give her some relief. well financial position is something which has to be considered.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10551)
• United States
15 Jul 08
Why doesn't she take the kids and join some play groups, take them to the library for story time. There are other adults around that she could meet and maybe make some new friends. Get a sort of break from the kids and start feeling better. I found that when my son was little that most of the people I interacted with were related to him or one of his activities.
2 people like this
@rsa101 (13337)
• Philippines
15 Jul 08
Well having kids that many 8,4 and 2 definitely needs a lot of attention. I only have one and we can barely talk privately with my wife. Since he is demanding a lot of attention from us. I really cannot advice her about trying to value her children more than herself. When the time came that she became a mother, her time for herself has indeed ceased to exist. Well if I were her why not spend the time with her children anyway she is with them 24 hours a day enjoy their company and play with them. Be like them and forget that she is the mother for a short time. maybe that might work for her. Sometimes you child only needs you as a playmate not a mother to her.
• United States
15 Jul 08
She needs to find some quality childcare so that she can have some time to herself. She also needs to take her meds and talk with a family counselor (and, hopefully, get her husband there as well). I am hoping that she is taking all possible precautions against adding a fourth child to that situation.
@pillusch (1149)
• Mexico
15 Jul 08
I believe that there is a big difference between how we believe other people perceive us and feel about us, and what they really feel. And that goes for children too, of course. A lot of what we think or feel what 'they' think or feel is based on transference, where we put ourselves in their place and then believe that they experience the same what we 'would' experience. But there is usually a great gap between that and reality. If your friend would stop feeling guilty about the whole thing (and believe me, that's what the kids pick up, asking themselves what's the heck the matter, everything seemed okay and now she just feels 'weird', something's wrong, help, let's feel guilty too) everything would just be fine. I believe that we generally underestimate children. They might not be able to express themselves, but that doesn't mean that they don't understand. On an subconscious level okay, but so what, they get it.
2 people like this
• Philippines
15 Jul 08
Would it be possible for her to join a playgroup with her kids so she can go out to meet other moms and kids once a week? I sometimes get this feeling because I work from home and I take care of my own child and do all the chores at home. I can understand how frustrating it must be for her because she has to care for three kids. I only have one child but all my responsibilities can get overwhelming at times. Does she live near a park/ playground? Maybe she can take the kids out once in a while so she can also breath some fresh air and be able to get out of the house. Sometimes I just take my daughter out walking especially if I've been working all day and she's spent a great deal of time in front of the TV.
2 people like this
@paw999 (2)
• Canada
15 Jul 08
I was in a similar situation. I found that joining clubs for the kidsmeans that I could have a short time to myself, met other parent and got me out of the house. Clubs like swimming, gym, arty/ crafty. Some of my bestfriends are mothers of my childrens friends.
• United States
14 Jul 08
I am in the exact same boat. I don't have 3 kids (I don't know what I would do if I had 3). I am a full time stay at home mom with my 18 month old. My husband works long hours and is often on call. It can be very hard to not have alone time to relax, unwind. I always feel like I'm going, going, going. I also don't have many friends other than online. I feel like I am always cooped up. I don't trust strangers to watch my child and I have no family here other than my mother that works 2 jobs, so she's never available. And then when she is once in a blue moon, me and my husband go out and I feel guilty in leaving my son. Its crazy....lol....As far as your friend, I do know of a program called Mommy's day out. I don't know if it is available everywhere. Its one day a week and you leave your child or children just that 1 day to do whatever you want to do for yourself. I believe its free, but I'm not sure. You might want to tell her to look into that. She needs to take care of her needs also. I wish her lots of luck.
@excellence7 (3448)
• Mauritius
14 Jul 08
A child is a blessing and I think she must understand this. Everyone has some personal desires and needs but one must think which holds more weights- our own desires or the happiness of our children! You must explain her the value of a child. I understand she might be frustrated because she stays at home everyday. But she can find some activities to do which helps to socialize. Like, she may go out to a park with her children and spend some good time together, this will make her love her children even more and understand that her personal needs is in the bright future of her children. She can get up early for some morning work and do some exercises at home. In this way, she will remain fit. There are so many online jobs nowadays, she can undertake one of them on a partial basis. Some other ways is that she can go out with her children for shopping and to her friends' places and invite her friends to spend some good time together. In this way, she will not feel frustrated and will feel more open to convey her feelings and express herself. Thus, she will be very close to her children :)
2 people like this
@Winter08 (441)
• Canada
15 Jul 08
Well, this is the 3rd time I've tried to post to your discussion. If this one doesn't work, I'll take it as a sign (I don't know what kind of sign but ...). Anyhow: 1.) Play companion as posted above. A good idea. My sister did this with her extremely energetic oldest boy when he was 3 and 4 years old. Her son loved having his "older" friend over to play and it kept him occupied for an 1 or 2 in the afternoon while the baby was sleeping. That left my sister with a couple of hours to "catch up" on house work or to do not much of anything if she felt like it. And she was still in the house in case her son needed her. (The play companion was 9 or 10 years old and still interested in all the things little boys liked to do ... play cars, GI Joe, board games, etc.) 2.) Library reading programs. Although they are usually geared to specific ages, having even one of her children in a program would give her a bit of a break. And if she were fortunate enough to find that programs were running at the same time for all of her children, even better. She could check with the library to see if they require the parents to stay in the library during the program hour. If not, she could go to a shop or restaurant nearby for a quiet break. 3.) Vitamins. As stressed and tired as she sounds, she is probably too tired to have the energy to spend "quality" time with her children. It's very hard to do much of anything for anyone when you are tired and overtired. When I have been in that place, it was tough enough just getting up and functioning in the mornings. A good Vitamin B Complex Stress Formula might help her a bit. As for quality time, who's to judge what "quality time" is? Are the kids happy? If they are (for the most part), then they are probably getting quality time.
• United States
15 Jul 08
I hadn't thought of the vitamins, and you're actually the first to mention that. Thanks for the response and ideas.
2 people like this
@Winter08 (441)
• Canada
15 Jul 08
I learned the hard way that my energy is very dependent on my nutrition. Unfortunately, my body does not absorb enough nutrients through just the food I eat. And when I am under stress, my body uses up nutrients faster so I need to take supplements ... or I will start to feel really tired and depressed.
1 person likes this