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Why do I get so annoyed?

By June 3, 2010 - 6:26am
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I am a 29 year old stay at home mom with two beautiful girls,3 and 4. They are a handful. They laugh together one minute and fight a second later. I feel like I am always yelling at them. My husband is a greay guy who loves us dearly but it drives me crazy when he get's home from work or has a day off and I am still left to do everything. I understand he is tired, but so am I. With all of the laundry, cooking, and cleaning I am done by the end of the day. I even feel guilty when they want to read a book with me, or want me to lie down with them at night and read them a bed time story and I just don't want to. My girls do NOT sleep through the night so I am up with them in the morning and at night. Why does he just watch me do everything? There are times when I've had enough and I turn to him and say can you do it this time. I also get annoyed with my mom, sister, and brother for yelling at my girls when they are doing something wrong. Now I am all for family help and them correcting my girls when they are doing something wrong, but why do they have to yell. They are my girls and it is my job. I feel like the mother lion coming out of her den. Or if the girls are doing something wrong and I start to open my mouth to correct them and my sister, who has no kids (neither does my brother for that matter) cuts me off and starts doing it. I am there, back off and let me be the mom. We get into fights all the time and I am always telling her don't yell at my kids. She thinks it's so easy to raise children and I keep telling her you have no idea until you have your own. I used to swear up and down that when I had kids they were always going to listen to me and never talk back, that was a joke. So I guess I am wondering if anyone else has ever or is now going through the same thing. Thanks.

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Gosh. You have a lot going on. You're tired, you're extremely busy, you're feeling unappreciated and invisible at times. Am I right? It makes complete sense to me that you are annoyed or angry at times, even when you love your daughters and your life.

Let's talk about things one at a time.

First of all, your girls are 3 and 4. That means that you probably haven't had a great night's sleep in 4+ years, and you have two children who are extremely close in age and take an enormous amount of your love, time, attention and care. It's not like one is 8 and the other is 3, for instance. You have a very busy hands-on parenting job right now.

Second, it's normal that they have some sibling rivalry. They are competing for your attention, for their toys, for everything -- and they spend all their time with each other. My sister and brother were just 20 months apart, and my sister's two youngest kids are just 17 months apart, and in both cases the sibling love was extremely strong AND the sibling rivalry was extremely strong. It sounds par for the course, even though I know it doesn't help when you are feeling frazzled.

Third, you love your husband and say he is a great guy, but I feel some anger and resentment bubbling up about the fact that the home front seems to be all your responsibility. This is the case in so many households where one parent stays home with the children and the other parent works outside the home. The parent who works outside the home feels like home should be their break, their place to relax -- and the person who stays home with the kids feels like they NEVER get a break. Have the two of you talked about this? Have you told him how you feel? In the beginning, did the two of you ever talk about how the household would work?

And here's another question: do YOU assume you should be able to do it all? I know that moms often fall into that trap, and it's not a good place to be. If you're exhausted and overworked, you also probably are not taking care of yourself, either, right?

If your guy is great like you say, he doesn't want you to be tired, sad, angry and frustrated all the time. It feels to me like you need a lunch away from the kids on Saturday afternoon to really talk about this in earnest, for two reasons: 1, so you can get it all out and really share with him and listen to his side too, and 2, so the two of you can make a plan of action. Maybe he takes on some chores permanently. Maybe he takes responsibility for getting the kids to bed a certain number of nights in the week. Maybe you can hire a person to come and clean for you once a week. Maybe you get a babysitter to come spend the day with you once a week, playing with the girls, feeding them lunch and putting them down for their naps so you can get some things done. Would any of those be at all possible? Especially the talk? What would his reaction be?

And now, to your family. Honestly, I don't think it's EVER ok for your family members to yell at your daughters. OK, unless they are in danger -- getting too close to the street, or something. Other than that, NO. It is not all right. It wouldn't be any different if they did have children of their own, in my view. Correcting your children is your job and your husband's job. Period. If anyone else feels the need to correct them when you are there, they should come and tell you. The times when I have corrected my sister's children (she has four and I have none) are FEW and far between and generally happens when she has just told them something, then left the room and they do it again. And the correction always starts with something like, "Now, you knowyour mom just told you not to do that. Let's not get in trouble." Otherwise, my job is to be their loving and spoiling aunt, who adores them just because they are in the world. My job is not to raise them. My job is to enjoy them and to be a supportive adult in the world for them. That is your sister's and brother's job, too, and your mom is there to be their grandmother, not their mom.

I think that -- again, away from the kids -- you need to have a discussion with your mom, sister and brother and tell them that this is just not OK with you. Be strong, and compassionate -- if this has been a habit for a long time, it may be hard for them to break. And after that, if you are there and one of them yells at one of your daughters, immediately, in a calm voice, ask the person doing the yelling to come with you into another room, and be sure they know that that's just not OK with you. It's important that you not yell at the same time. Someone has to keep their cool, you know?

You are completely not alone. Many many many moms have gone through the same thing. But don't lump it all together into one big thing. It's a lot of things, and it's possible that you can address one or two of them individually and that it will start to have a domino effect on something else.

Please don't feel guilty that you don't feel like doing even MORE than you do. You are a good mom doing a tough job and you're tired. You need some help from your husband and a little less interference/criticism of your children by your family. Take one baby step -- any of these that I've written about, or another one that you think will help -- and when that is done, take another. Hang in there, and write back. This is what we're here for.

June 4, 2010 - 8:52am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Thanks Diane. Well first off my husband and I have said from the beginning we wanted me to stay home and raise our kids. Let me give you an example of what really get's under my skin. The other night my husband came home, I had already given the girls dinner, a bath, and got them in their pj's. I go to sit down next to him for a break when they call me "mommy, can you come here"? If I say no I just sat down they will nag and nag. Look to my husband and he doesn't move. So I go, annoyed, and come back to see that the toys and blocks are still sitting on the floor. I start to pick it up, than I get " mommy". I go and come back again and the blocks are STILL on the floor. Than they call me again and I have to look at my husband and say do you think you can get this one! I don't mind doing the cooking and cleaning, etc. while he is at work but I think when he comes home he needs to help with our kids, after all he did help in creating them. When he is off he doesn't want to do anything. He watches sports center, national geographic (not so bad), or CNN. I am home all the time, I don't want to sit in front of the tv and I am sick of our kids watching tv. So I say let's take them in the pool (we live in Florida), or try to think of something inexpensive we can do but it feels like I am pulling teeth. I'm not saying I am interacting all day every day with them as far as painting, or the pool but I try. I think I forgot to mention their sleeping habits. They don't take naps unless they are in the car and they don't sleep through the night. I get a zero break, which is why I am now finding myself cringing when they call for me. Sometimes I feel like a lazy or bad mom for feeling this way. I can't even go to the bathroom without one of them following me or calling me. My 4 year old goes to school 3 days a week but that doesn't give me much of abreak. Than I look around the house and it's a disaster all over again and I am tired of cleaning up after everyone. What also frustrates me is when I tell my mom I need a break and she doesn't say well let me take them for the day and you go do something. I mean she lives 10 minutes away! Here's the clincher. My birthday is on Tuesday which means we'll probably do something on Sunday. No one put forth any effort to plan anything until last night and it ended up being me and my sister doing the planning. I shouldn't have to plan my own day and I shouldn't have to have it planned around everyone else's schedule. And of course my last night when I told hubby what we decided he didn't like the plan and I lost it. I just told him I shouldn't be planning anything and they are all jerks for waiting until the last minute. I don't know. I know this is long, it just feels good to vent.

June 4, 2010 - 11:31am
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