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serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/15/2007 8:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Okay board,

Here's a somewhat embarrasing topic that's been buggin' me. My dh suggested I run by you all to see what you had to say.

I've been feeling like a really bad mommy lately because when my energy level drops lately, the thing that goes first is playing with my daughter. Not that she doesn't automatically get my attention first thing if she needs it. Obviously she does. But I mean the kind of playing where you're on the floor playing. I just can't seem to get up any energy for this kind of intense interaction lately.

When I'm manic, you'd think I'd have all this energy, but I'm just so itchy I just wanna run out of the house. All I wanna do at home is clean or do household projects. And then when that wears off I just crash. I don't wanna play or read stories 4 times in a row, you know? I don't want to build forts. I don't want to line up all the animals. And I feel so guilty and like such a grouch. I will play with her for a while, but after 30 minutes/45 minutes, I just want to run. I used to be able to do more, but now that she's older, she wants so much more attention, and it's so constant. She wants something new every 3 minutes and like I said, I just don't have all that attention to give her. So I feel like a crummy mom.

My husband has more patience lately, so he's been helping a lot, and now we have her in daycare. These things tremendously, but I'm still slogging around a huge bag of guilt. Did anyone else have trouble entertaining children when they were having episodes? Thanks.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare


nev
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 122
   Posted 12/15/2007 10:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't have bp, but I do have fibromyalgia. The extreme fatigue, pain, and muscle aches/spasms make it very difficult to to do that intense one on one time with my kids. When ill I feel like a zombie and can't imagine reading one let alone 4 kids books. Other times I feel better and can handle 3 or 4 stories in a row.

Anyway, I'm just saying you are in a tough spot-motherhood-it's rough. Kids don't just go away when we feel down or whatever were dealing with.

I am so proud of you and your husband figuring the whole daycare thing out. And what a guy to help out where he can. You are definately blessed to have both of these!

You are obviously a loving and caring mom who worries about her child. Enjoy the times when you can hang out on the floor with your child. I'm sure your kid knows you still love her even when your not there 100%. I actually talk about to my kids when we have a good moment together. I tell them I still love you when I'm sick, angry, crabby or whatever. Sometimes I even ask them if they know I still live them no matter what.

From what I've read from you lately, your child is loved and cared for and never left alone or put in danger. I don't apologize when I give you a big cyber pat on the back.

Hang in there and don't stop asking for help when you need it, you're important!

-nev

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/15/2007 11:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Serafena, You are dealing with the plight of EVERY mother on the planet....BP or not. But to put things in perspective for you, let me share this....With my oldest he was an only child for first 7 1/2 years of his life. He received a lot of wonderful attention. And, like your daughter, there was always the feeling like it was NEVER enough. So, one of us, either my husband or I, or a nanny, grandparent, pre-school...etc...kept him 100% supervised, loved, protected, interacted with....etc. He is now 14 and has NO capacity for alone time. WE BLEW IT! He NEVER really learned the skill of independent play. We did him a REAL disservice in this fact. We should have focused on even proportions of interaction time with independent time. Now....let's be clear, independent time does NOT mean unsupervised or unsafe. But...constant one on one interaction....NO, it is not good. Independent play, independent functions are a SKILL, and they are critical to have your child learn. The experts I know in the field of child development say that 30 minutes of floor time play with your child at a time is PLENTY! If you are up to more, or want to do it more than once a day…fine do so, but is you also want to clean, do house projects...fine, do that too. Have a basket that is your daughters; have it filled with toy "cleaning equipment", coloring books, blocks, toys...etc. so, she can go to whatever room you are in, help mommy clean – give her a corner of the room to start…or let her play….but she needs to independently play on the floor as you do your things. Then, she cleans it up by placing it back in her basket/wagon/giant blanket she can drag from room to room....whatever. This would be her "travel' playthings for your house. She may resist at first, but you keep redirecting her to doing her own thing, while you do yours. She will eventually adjust to this and begin to learn the balance of getting attention, and self stimulating activity time. Plus, if you have her as your helper, she will learn to clean up on her own eventually and not grow up a person who has no discipline for picking up after themselves. It will just seem normal to do it for her.

As an example of how this translates for kids, my oldest even to this day has a hard time doing his homework independently. He ALWAYS wants someone to be close by to sit with him, work on it with him, help him (and not because he can't do it....but because he feels LONELY and then has a harder time concentrating). This is a direct result of the fact at the appropriate age that we should have allowed him to develop some of these skills, somehow - with the best of intentions - we failed to do so. And by the time we realized it…it has been hard for him to develop it. He is doing better, but it IS hard for him. I have friends who have kids that were naturally independent and didn't NEED that level of attention...mine do. With the twins, we have had to insist they learn this skill starting at the appropriate age of about 2 and they now do so without issue. My daughter can go and play in her room, or play area and cook up all sorts of things in her play kitchen, or do art, or read. My younger son has imaginary battles in his Viking costume, or he’ll play Nintendo, or build cities with blocks or legos. The twins are now 6 1/2 and they not only will play together, but at times, independently from each other too. They are healthy in this way. Their personalities have developed the right balance.

The key is, does your child know they are loved, safe, and cared for. I assure you that your daughter does. I am not saying that every mother does not occasionally feel like a crappy mom. I certainly do. But, I don't think that is a BP thing. That is just a mom thing and that is simply part of the process of being a mom. I remember being told in my mommy & me class with my oldest, by the facilitator of the class, that through all the stages of growth that our children would go through, there will be stages our partners would take the lead and be the better parent in those moments. That we would actually trade off. And it has turned out to be true. Knowing this has helped with my guilt at times. I also remember her saying that don't be shocked or surprised if there are certain ages we didn't like parenting or really being around our own kids. She said her favorite stage was this and that, and she HATED being a mom during the "blank" year or two (I don't remember the specific stages she mentioned...but you get the point....I am sure it is different for all of us anyway). And this too has proven accurate.

So, in the end I say bravo to you for caring so much and wanting to do the job of mommy to the best of your abilities....BUT....give yourself a break...guilt serves nothing. You and your spouse are partners and doing a great job with your child. She is safe, provided for, loved, and nurtured at every turn....whether or not you read her 4 stories a night. Provider her with picture books she can look at and tell herself some stories for when you are not up to it, or for that matter...have her tell mommy a bedtime story by looking at the pictures and making it up if mommy is not having a good day. This is another way she will grow up and learn compassion and giving and taking - that it goes back and forth. Sometimes you get, sometimes you give.

Sorry for the length, but as you can see I have strong thoughts on this subject. Remember, parenting first and foremost is about LOVE....making sure our children know they are loved, no matter what. Every one of mine surely do…they know no matter what I am there for them 24/7 forever, and my love for them can never go away…it is strong and steadfast. Your daughter knows the same. You’re doing a good job. HUGS....LFW

sukay
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1432
   Posted 12/16/2007 12:56 AM (GMT -7)   

Wow.....well said LFW!

Serafena, being a mom of 3 that are now older, I want you to know that I think LFW's advice is right on!

Give yourself a break. It's not a bi-polar issue to me either.


~sukay~
Diagnosed Bipolar - August 2004
     Crohns disease - 1995 
 


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/16/2007 7:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much, all of you. I hear every single word and they bring me to tears. I know they're spot on. Thank you for the advice and the encouragement. I need them both so much. It's so hard being a mommy anyway, and being a sick mommy is extra hard. The guilt makes me so unsure of where I should draw the lines. We really do try to encourage independent play. My husband is better about this than I am, but she's far clingier with me than with him. And toss in my guilt and I just end up feeling all twisted up about how to best spend time with her.

You guys are awesome. Thank you again.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/16/2007 1:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Serafena, I don't have BP, but I do battle the nerve damage from the surgery last year, and I do have fibromyalgia as well. Believe me, I DO get it about mommy not feeling well, and the guilt that brings. But you know what....kids are smarter than you think, and they just want mommy to feel better because they love us. They learn compassion when they see us try our best, even if they can not have us for this moment and that. Do what you can, when you can, and just always tell her your love is steadfast and you will always keep her safe. Push yourself where you can, and step back when you must and let your partner take the lead. It always seems to work out that there is a ebb and flow that balances out. Keep up the good work. HUGS....LFW

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/16/2007 7:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you thank you thank you.

There's the larger question here you're mentioning here, which is one Nev brought up too, which is how to act when I don't feel well. You both have fibro, and can relate to a condition that doesn't go away or get better in a night or two. Mommy many not feel better for a few days or a few weeks. How do you explain that to a small child? What I'm reading is that the key is that your love is clear no matter what and it almost won't be ... well, it won't hurt them, anyway if you're unwell? I'm so afraid to hurt her with my illness.

She definitely gets love. I know you guys see that and it's unquestioned here too. She is one loved little girl. And she's so funny. If I'm crying, she goes for a tissue and comes back to wipe my eyes with it (which feels more like being poked) and says "wipe, wipe!" But the other night I got some bad news and I was crying really hard and I didn't want her to see me like that. My husband said later that hiding my emotions from her is more likely to frighten her then letting her see me cry. Whenever she has seen me cry, she always gets to see me afterwards too -- all better now. I could see his point, but I was really upset. Where do I draw the line? A little sad? Semi-hysterical? Anywhere?
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 12/16/2007 9:30 PM (GMT -7)   
The line is drawn when YOU are out of control with the emotion you are feeling. Tears, are just water, and as long as you are still in control of yourself, and you can explain to her afterwards what she saw in kid speak...i.e. - "mommy got a boo boo in her heart when she heard some bad news. You know how when you fall down and go boom on your knee and it hurts....and you cry....but then you are okay...well, that is the same for mommy, only my boo boo hurt my heart. But I cried, and you gave mommy one of your magical hugs, and now my boo boo feels a little better. I'm still sad, and may be for a while, but I am better....just keep giving mommy all that magic from your hugs. That makes mommy feel the best." This she will understand. The specifics she doesn't need at 2. But she is a sponge, and if you make emotions acceptable and natural to have...then she will allow herself that right as well and will be much more emotionally balanced as a result. It also helps for our kids to see us try our hardest and sometimes still fail, but then they see us pick ourselves up and keep going in spite of it, this is how they see that they can to. They need to always see us try our hardest to overcome the daily hardships of life for THEM, then they understand better when we are ill and need to stop and rest, what is happening. Serafena, life is a series of trying and succeeding, and trying and failing. NO ONE gets it right all the time, but we ALL must keep going and continue to ask the most of ourselves. THIS is what our children can learn from us. This is what your child can learn from you. The fact in her life is...mommy has BP....SO, okay, mommy has BP....but is she responsible about it? does she try her best at all times? does she ensure regardless of what is happening with her? am I safe and loved? As long as ALL those questions are yes, which they are, then she will always know your love and have respect for you. YOU won't fail her. You end up giving her the gift of what it means to be human and that perfect means there are some inperfections, and that is OKAY! .....HUGS, LFW

mommy.michele
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 12/17/2007 3:34 PM (GMT -7)   
All really good advice...and yes I too get manic where I want to clean everything around here...but find it much more tiring to sit and play Polly Pockets for more than about 30 minutes. Don't worry...it sounds like your husband is helping and I am sure daycare helps. I think it is ok for kids to see mommy sad. I try not to let them see too many real bad sad episodes...I tend to save those for private bath time :). But your daughter sounds well cared for, and that you are aware speaks volumes. It's ok to have thes days/weeks where you just cant enjoy it all.
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" ~ Maria Robinson


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 12/18/2007 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you everyone! You rock! I feel less pitiful (slightly) now. tongue
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Bipolar II
It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. -- William Shakespeare

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