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Feel like a bad parent

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Posted

I recently went from a mixed episode to a depressed one. One of my many ruminations is that I am a bad parent. My 4 yr old said today, "Mommy you never play with me." I have been crying all day because it is true. I lack the energy and motivation to play. Or cook or clean. Do much of anything.

Anyone else feel the same? I logically know I am not "bad" I am sick right now is how I look at it. I can only hope I come out of this current episode quickly.

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Posted (edited)

I know exactly what you mean. I have suffered through the same thing with my 3 children. I have found two things that helped: 1) talking VERY forcefully to my pdoc. I told him that if he didn't fix my depression that I would quit all my meds. That got him moving. 2) I took matters into my own hands and started taking medical marijuana. I'll tell you, that helped A LOT. I am a lot more engaged with my kids. It has been a Godsend.

Edited by bluechick

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Posted

Your 4 yo telling you that you don't play is like a "notice." Now you are aware of it. Talk to your kid about your MI in language he will understand. Don't make any promises you know you may not keep. So offer to do something else - like let the kid play in bed with you. Or watch the kid's favorite movie. Those are fairly effortless and what I do often with my 5 yo daughter.

db

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Posted

I have felt like that too. I try to watch a family movie or play mindless "go fish" kind of games. Is there any preschool or headstart your little one can attend? Head Start was great fro my two oldest- and if you don't quailify for free, they offer sliding scale fees based on your income. They took the kids for a few hours a day so I could have some peace. Or private preschool if you can afford it. Get a break, and you will have much more mental energy to focus on your little one when they are with you. Maybe some Gymboree lessons or swimming lessons- or something to cut up the time during the day so it doesn't seem like one LONG day, which it often felt like when mine were young. Relatives to babysit? Friends? Don't be afraid to ask for help, which was the cause of most of my meltdowns- if I would have just asked for help it would have made parenting little ones much easier.

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Posted

My parents both had mental illness (and alcoholism, in my dads case) and could be abusive at times (totally not what is happening in your case.) Their mistakes cost me a lot, but I love them both, I understand that they did the best that they could for me. I had other adults in my life to pick up the slack and I still remember the things my dad did with me, or the things my mum did for me, even if she was never the milk and cookies dream mother. If your kids feel you listen to them and they feel loved most of the time, you're doing okay. There is no such thing as perfection.

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Posted

I agree with db, now that you know your child is noticing things, you can alter your interactions with him for the better.

I wasn't diagnosed until my kids were 7 and 4. There were lots of times in which I simply laid on the couch and watched tv with my children. Or let them play on the floor by themselves instead of participating. I felt really bad about it at the time, because I didn't understand how I could love my children so much, but completely unable to interact with them. But once I had been diagnosed for awhile, I realized what was really going on during that time, and I eventually stopped guilting myself to death.

The big thing that happened was that I realized my relationship with my children has not suffered because of how I interacted (or didn't interact) with them when they were younger. They are 15 and 11 now, and my son still gives me a kiss every night and tells me he loves me. My daughter is a big more... sassy, but she still tells me she loves me every day. They are old enough to understand how my BP affects me and how my behavior at times is in no way a reflection on me as a parent or them as my children. It's simply a hurdle I have to tackle.

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Posted

This thread made me feel a lot better about myself. I have so much guilt from not being like other parents I see that take their kids  out on walks every day after daycare and play energetic games with them. I usually (not always, but usually) take my little girl home and allow her to play with my iPad. I sometimes play the games with her, and sometimes we play with her toys and her real life games, but on quite a lot of days, I just put on a kids' show that I find not too bad and let her watch that while I listen to music or something. 

And while I do tend to take her to the kitchen with me when I cook, I cook a lot more rarely than when I was well, which was basically every day. Now I'm down to once or twice a week with black bread sandwiches the rest of the time.

Before my MI returned, I felt like a picture perfect parent. Then I crashed, and now I wonder if she feels like she has lost something. But I guess she might understand if I tell her when she's old enough to understand.

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Posted

wow. your post jumped out at me. my daughter (also 4yrs) tells me the same thing. It really tugs at your heartstrings.  I am doing a hell a lot better than I was a year ago, I'm finally able to cook and prepare meals, basic housecleaning.. yet now I find myself using laundry or cleaning, or other tasks to not sit with the kids..besides the fact that folding a load of laundry, doing dishes and preparing breakfast just plain wipes me out! I know I'm selfish but its damn hard to pay attention to a 4yo and 2yo ALL DAY LONG. It burns me out. I lack patience.

 

Some days for me are better than others where I do tune in to the kids and get down on their level and play (think tea parties, coloring, finger painting, dress up dolls, toy trains) but this is not very often.

 

It makes me feel better, like I am not the only one who struggles. You've also given me motivation to schedule time to play with the kids tomorrow.  I am thinking I'll play this new game that "Santa" has brought them. Can't recall the name, but its a plastic lizard that talks, spins around, and catches plastic shaped "bugs" that you place in its mouth and spits back out at you when he becomes "full".

 

 

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Posted

Teacup,  You should put your kids to work!  Let them dust, sweep, sort socks (or just throw clothes in a basket.)  My kids loved to help me clean, and even if it ended up messier before it was a fun time spend together.  Have fun playing that lizard game.  There are also some easy crafts at the dollar store that my kiddos used to love.  Have fun! 

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Posted

Anyone else feel the same? I logically know I am not "bad" I am sick right now is how I look at it. I can only hope I come out of this current episode quickly.

 

For sure! (although I was constantly doubting myself as a parent even when well, for quite a while).  Don't be hard on yourself...it's very easy to catastrophise when your brain isn't functioning at it's best.  My little 'un is 3.5 and I've heard it said often that what they need is you. Just being there. Even if you can't play their games...just sit with them on the floor and watch TV while they play. Interact a little here and there. Tell them how much you love them often and let them know you are unwell and will be better soon.

 

Hope you're feeling better soon. You are not a bad parent, just an unwell one.

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Posted

I think there are a lot of parents without MI who aren't good at playing with their kids. Playing takes a LOT of energy, and let's face it, playing trucks is boring, even when you're at your best. I try to tell myself that some days will be winners, and some days I'll just get by as a parent. I try to communicate my love in all sorts of ways. When I'm really low energy, I ask my kiddo to go run and bring me books, and we read them together in bed or on the sofa. 

 

I read this the other day, and it made a lot of sense. 

 

http://rachelmariemartin.blogspot.com/2013/02/dear-mom-who-feels-like-she-wants-to.html

 

As for me, my irritability gets the better of me, and sometimes I yell. I'm working on that.

 

I was also raised by two parents with MI, and they yelled, or didn't play, or came out of nowhere with careless insults, or ... lots of things. I still call them when I have a success, or when I am thinking of one of them, or when I need advice. Because they did the best they could, and I love them. They're my mom and dad! 

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Posted

Thank you hoko_onchi for posting that reading. I really liked the part about accomplishing even just one thing to make yourself feel like a better mom.

I never got to playing that lizard game that day w kiddos, we got company, and when company left I got distracted and forgot. But the next day I played "pretend picnic" for 10 minutes. My kids had a blast and that is what mattered. That mommy was paying attention (no matter what the time frame).

Madeleine, you sound like a good mom. Your feelings are shared by many of us. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that. Take care of yourself so you can take care of those kids.

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Posted

Hugs all around. Right now my child won't nap and all I want to do is just take.an.effing.break.

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Posted

Oh, I totally feel your pain, and I know how you feel! I have been through the same thing! Just know that the fact you actually care, and you worry, means that you are an awesome parent!

I have my own little story, but I'll post it on my blog so as not to take up your post :)

Hugs

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