I am TIRED. At this point I am SICK & TIRED. I feel like all I do is look for the negative in EVERYTHING.
First of all - The Kids
Let me ask you ladies a question, please. Anyone. Is 5 years old OLD enough to KNOW NOT to pick up a baby?? I have told her OVER AND OVER AND OVER.. Do NOT pick up the baby... what does she do as SOOON as my back is turned?? Is 5 years old OLD enough to KNOW NOT to WRITE on furniture??? And why does her father feel like no dicipline in necessary when she does these things? Obviously TALKING to her does NO GOOD.
Is 7 years old OLD enough to KNOW NOT to repeat cuss words?? This child will repeat cuss words and LAUGH about it.. and get NO KIND of punishment. NONE. Not even a time out, NOTHING.
And my baby.. goodness-gracious where do I start with her? She is teething, and screams A LOT. My stomach is in knotts ALL THE TIME. I have an appointment today to check her ears, and I'm sure all they will tell me is that she is teething, but my fiance' thinks she should LIVE at the Pedi's office.
When do mommies get breaks? When is it going to be my turn to mess up just once and be rewarded for it? I can't even forget to put the wash in the washer without getting bitched at. I have this house to maintain PLUS all the kids PLUS dogs, and now my Grandma.. which I LOVE dearly, and I LOVE taking care of her.
Is it the season for feeling crappy? I feel so lost.
Is the girl picking her up because she just can't resist - out of a desire to hold the baby and love on the baby? I had a niece like that and it bothered me - I don't know why, now. Why did that bother me? Hm. I guess because I was afraid she'd drop the baby or she also would try to wake him up early from naps so she could play with him . . . now, in hindsight, I wish I'd let her hold him as much as she wanted. But I do get what you're saying.
Ignore cussing. The more power you give her with cussing, the more she'll do it. If she uses bad words in school she'll be in TROUBLE, at home, I think just maybe let it pass.
Can you hire a maid? I know, I know, you actually have to spend more time straightening the house before the maid comes, but at least you get the whole house clean and have a fresh start.
Are you exercising? Get out and walk if you aren't currently doing anything movement oriented (besides running yourself ragged!).
Oh Baby - I so understand where you are coming from. I DON'T think mommies get a break. It's not in the dictionary. We do everything and anything and we are exhausted. It's a terrible tragedy for us. Can you leave your daughter for one evening and just escape? Get your nails done, get a massage, anything to just have some YOU time?
As far as discipline with the little girls, I don't know what else to tell you. I feel like it's a never ending battle between you and your fiance. His inability to discipline his girls and you are the one who ends up having to pick up the pieces. I just think if you had some time off it wouldn't bother you as much. Because you are exhausted and overwhelmed it just adds fuel to your already brewing fire.
I truly hope you do get some help and some needed rest. My thoughts are with you.
I know it probably sounds silly, but my son is 5 and in kindergarten and they have this behavior wheel. Its a big circle with a big portion of it being green (good behavior), a yellow portion and a red portion. It is hung up on the wall and they each have a clothes pin. They start on green every day, and they get one warning while staying on green, their pin will get moved to the bottom of green, and then one more mess-up is yellow (a note sent home), and red (principals office, parents called in). I am sure your fiance and you could agree to what the punishment would be for a yellow or red (or you could make up all the colors of the rainbow on the wheel if you wanted, each to mean something (time out, room for 10 minutes, no friends over), and I think the kids get used to it and then they see what is going to happen. I dont know, just an idea.
Also, kids are fascinated with their brothers/sisters. If you have another one of your own, you may get frustrated that they always try to pick the baby up, but then you will appreciate because you will realize they are not trying to defy you, but more just loving on their sibling.
I have been wondering where you were and hoping you were doing okay.
I hope this helps a little.
And for fun, make a resposibility chart for you and your fiance, you could have pink star stickers and him green, make a row for laundry, dishes, diaper changes, dinner, etc....put your pink stickers for every time you do it and green for his...my guess is you will have a really pretty pink chart...not that you would really do it, but I think out stuff like that in my head and laugh at how bad it would make them look : )
No, mommies really don't get much of a break, if any at all. But....we all chose the path we wanted, and need to orchestrate things to make it as easy on ourselves as possible.
I'm not at all saying you can't vent...you need to! But after venting, look for solutions.
Be consistent with consequences. If she really wants to hold the baby, designate say, 2 or 3 times during the day when she can hold the baby with you right there. Explain clearly the "rules" to the entire family. If she picks up the baby when its not the right time, she gets a 5 minute time out in the naughty chair or corner. (I love Supernanny).
Its important for your fiance to understand the concept of consistency. If he won't cooperate...decide what you'll do to him, and do it.
Same with cuss words--they are not allowed, and the child will get "X" punishment for saying them.
Sounds like your whole family needs to get together, decide on what the rules are, write them down clearly on a poster board, and decide on the consequences. Your finace has to be on board. If he's not, then you have to decide if you want to spend your life this way, always being the disciplinarian and him having zero responsibilities towards shaping the children's lives.
And I'm dead serious. This is no small issue. If he's not working with you, he's working against you.
Peek, on the one hand you talk about coming together with the rules, and the basic problem is, they don't have an agreement on what the rules are. It's not like they both view problem behaviors but don't agree on consequences.
For example, a rule list for their home that they both agree on might include things like no biting, no hitting, no throwing things, no lying, etc., but the agreed on rules wouldn't have anything to do with don't hold the baby when I'm not right there, and don't cuss. Because he doesn't agree those should be rules.
He may in fact be very willing to shape the children's lives - I don't know him - but not at all in the direction that BH views appropriate.
This is doubly hard for her because these aren't her children, so in fact, she really has less "right" to decide what their rules are, although she is having to deal with their behaviors that she disagrees with.
This is hard. And it won't be solved with a family meeting, unless one or both changes philosophy about rules.
I don't think he doesn't think those are wrong, i just think he doesn't want to discipline. No parent in their right mind would think holding an infant unattended or swearing is okay, but I have seen plenty of lazy parents let things like that and far worse slide because they cannot be bothered with actually parenting their children. And why would he when he has yet another baby mama to do it for him? I wonder if this is really why the other women left, they got tired of doing his job and theirs. I am sorry, BH, but the more you talk about this guy the more a very clear picture of him emerges and I believe it is far from the image you see.
Peek knows how things run in my house. We have two poster boards posted on the wall and the consequences clearly outlined for each rule. We sat down as a family and made up the boards with input from the kids and the parents. Even my 4 year old wrapped his brain around it very quickly and will be the first to note if something violates the "rule sheet."
We use a corner for timeouts as well as removal of privileges as consequences. It took some time to find what works for our kids and it is constantly evolving. It is also different for each child.
When in doubt, check the board. In reality this started as way to keep my husband from doling out an outlandish punishment out of frustration rather than logic. Now he can check the board and find the consequence and it keeps us consistent. Our kids get this, they know what to expect from us and they actually behave really well.
On a side note, my 4 year old "loves" on CJ all the time, usually too hard. That has been a work in progress for almost 2 years. Constant reminders about "easy" hugs help. I cannot imagine completely restricting affection, but it requires constant supervision as do all kids at this age.
andi, I'm always so curious about other family's rules. When I used to have to fill out preschool and early elementary info sheets, there would always be a question about house rules and what punishments we use. We didn't have any clearly defined house rules - you can eat upstairs if you want, bedtime is "around" a certain time give or take, meals were served at an approximate time but if you were hungry earlier you can eat whatever you want (I don't buy a lot of junk - so fruit, crackers, a peanut butter apple, etc. were always available). When your room gets to be a mess it's time to clean it up . . . really very little actual structure. I never punished - I think each kid was probably grounded for about one week each, except my youngest who is more structured by far than I am. I'm not trying to say we're perfect, or my kids were golden, there was just no formal structure of "rules".
It was understood that no one hurts anyone else, and when I ask you to do something, do it. That would hardly make for a poster board system . . .
I don't have issues with junk food, they have full access to a bountiful garden in the summer and fall (which they love to harvest while playing) and access to healthy options inside. We do have more structure, breakfast is in the morning, snacks are between the two, lunch is around 11, snacks at quiet time, snack after school and supper is at 5:15 every night.
My kids thrive on a schedule as they get older and more developed intellectually, most do. Kids do not enjoy chaos as demonstrated on here. Consistency is key for kids.
And the rules on my sheet are rules that are easily followed and make sense. Discipline is rarely used as my kids know how to behave, but just as we have laws on the books here in our country, we have laws "on the books" in my house with expectations that they will be followed. Just as an adult will get a ticket for speeding should they break that rule, my children will also receive a reminder should they violate one of the rules here.
Our rules are founded on respect for one another, equal treatment, and consistency. But if you have found a way to pop a baby out with full knowledge of societal rules without ever having to discipline, you should market that technique as I would be very interested in those methods myself.
I feel my job as a mother is to raise children who will develop into good, solid citizens. These things are not instinctual. We have all learned nothing is cut and dry on here, what works for your kids may not work for mine and vice-versa.
BTW, my kids can eat in their room, go outside to play anytime they want from sun up to sundown, and get to take advantage of the sunshine and do homework before bed rather than before playing. I am not a tyrant, but my kids always know where things stand in this house. They are not perfect, but they are great kids just the same.
Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on every now and then.
Nope, these are not my kids... I DO love and care for them and I AM responsible for them when they are here alone with me, and even when their Dad IS here I still take care of them. I'm sure she just wants to love on Ava, but it IS the fear of her dropping Ava that scares the PI SS out of me. Even when she holds Ava attended she ends up halfway dropping her.
I do not like the idea of posters and reward systems myself. If they can comprehend what they need to do to "earn" a star, then they will eventually comprehend what they need to be doing to do whats responsible. We do not even want to go there with their ROOM. Talk about a disaster! I can clean & clean and they will destroy & destroy right behind me. They even brought up their "star system" at their mothers "give me a treat and I'll clean my room"... ummmmm Excuse me??? What are we teaching them in rewarding them for what they are SUPPOSED to be doing in the first place. I can understand that everyone has to learn and maybe that is the best place to start to get them into good habits. Maybe I'll try it. Rules don't work around here, their father will not allow them. If he feels like it is a day for a "free-for-all" then that's what it is. I guess I just need to roll over and show my belly and wait for a nice long pat.
I'm just not in my right mind these days. It's not only the kids and him, it's also my family and my church, and my entire life seems to be in one big jumbled mess. Why can't I gain control. I look for solutions Peek, I really do. It seems that I hit a brick wall at every turn.
You just plain need a break before you can tackle any discipline issues, schedules or the kids or anything else. There is a point where all moms get to that they need to just get out of the house, alone or with friends and not think about the kids and just relax and have fun. You need to tell the people in your life you need to do that--it is for everyone's benefit- a happy mom is a better mom to the kids. Once you've had a break, then start looking at routines, schedules and behavior/consequences. Kids pick up on your exhaustion and they will run with it because they know we are too tired to respond. If you can't get a break outside of the house, then tell everyone you have to schedule a time to just relax and have a bubble bath alone...it'll make you feel better and ready to revisit everything else.
Baby - you just sound completely overwhelmed with everything.
What can you not do anymore? What can you just drop? Maybe a break from church, buy paper plates instead of doing dishes, find some system like Stouffers (is it Swan? I forget) prepared dinners, you need to drop stuff from your to do list.
I can't comment on the kids part but I'm a little worried about you. I understand the "jumbled mess" feeling. See, even people without kids feel that way! Since you just had a baby, maybe your hormones are off a bit. Anyway, have you thought abt post-partum depression? I strongly urge you to see your doctor. Also, I think women need time to nurture themselves since we are always helping everyone one else. Maybe even finding a good therapist or social worker to talk too would help. If you decide on medication, know that it doesn't have to be forever, maybe just a little something to get you over the hump. Hope you feel better soon!
I think BH has done what she does best by her own admission, looks for the worst in everything.
Who on earth, again, believes it is okay for children to behave this way? We all learned the rules in our society through the expectations in our home. Living without rules is simply a way to skirt being a responsible adult without thought or concern for others.
Some teach in a more formal way, some are a little more relaxed about it. I know how I felt growing up and I know how my husband felt and drawing from both of those as well as my education and observation of other families, I have developed a system that works for my family.
We actually only employed the reward system for potty training which worked wonderfully when they were ready. As a society, we get paid for working. Some chose a profession they love and are passionate about, but they still expect a reward to performing said job (a paycheck) that is how our society works. Plain and simple.
Schools employ a rewards/consequences system as well by way of grades and behavior charts. Seems input from leading childhood experts and development professionals have put together a system that works well for millions of kids.
The point of these systems is to guide them into an understanding of the rules and consequences. Soon enough they become second nature, just like using a blinker, stopping at a red light, and paying for items rather than stealing them. I do not have to carry a book around that contains the laws of my county, I know them. Sure, there may be times where I go through a yellow light. They may be times when I go 5 miles over the posted speed limit, but I know full well what the consequence is.
Now my kids know the rules in my house. My son knows the rules in his classroom. The kids know how to behave in public.
BH- You have to decide if you want to live this way. You are not only showing his kids, but also your daughter that it is okay to be run over by men. That your needs and feelings mean nothing. Please consider what you are setting all of these young girls up for. You are obviously not doing well, I would hate for Ava to be on here in 25 years with these same feelings, wouldn't you?
ohh sweetie I can feel your pain, You do sound like you are so ready for a break!!! I am too and I only been mom to twins for 5 weeks.. Yikes!!!!!! get yourself in a routine.. try as hard as you can to keep things consistant and by all means you and the DH have to work together. as peek said if he is not working with you then he is working against you,,, good luck and come here to vent all you want. sometimes just having someone to listen to you and knowing that your NOT crazy but have good validation to your complaints make all the difference in the world.
I just uploaded a photo of the kids. Our 5 year old (yes I usually call her "our") is hold Ava in that picture... and YES I took that picture.. it was a great day. Look at how close to the edge of the bed she is, and I am the one who put Ava in her arms like that. I don't know what is my deal!! I have to admit that there are days I just feel like EVERYTHING is going wrong. Look at how sweetly she is holding her. They love Ava sooo much.
I have an appointment on the 24th to speak with a new doctor about PPD. After writing this thread and reading the gibberish I write, I realized that need to get some kind of help for myself. I love my family. I really do love them.
How is my fiance' allowing his daughters to express themselves at their own FREE WILL teaching them that "it is okay to be run over by men"? Seems what he is doing would teach them opposite. It seems to me it would teach THEM that they can do whatever THEY want to do and the man will submit. We do not discuss adult issues in front of the girls. I speak to them about what they are doing that is "wrong" like write on the furniture, picking up the baby, or flushing markers down the toilet... I then talk to him about what happened, if he is not around that is... if he is around, then he handles the situation from the get go. Our disagreements about proper punishment is done behind closed doors. He is just not a punisher.. he is a talker.
Anyway. I guess it'll all work itself out.
I really don't have the brain power to continue the debate. Ava has another Dr.s appointment this afternoon.
We have a chart at home. It reminds the kids of their assigned chores. They actually like it. They can do homework and tasks in any order but they need to be done before bedtime. If it isn't done they lose a priviledge for the niext day (tv time, friend time, computer time, etc)
They have also learned when they are frustrated to take their own timeout away from everyone and everything. It certainly hasn't solved all their fighting but it helps alot.
have 2 - a task chart is a good idea. I especially like that they can decide to do them in whatever order works for them - I think most kids will learn to do work first then play with that kind of system - and yet they can take breaks or push items around if they are tired or have made other plans.
It's also good that they take their own time outs. I think your system - (except for the fact that it's actually written, where mine isn't) is very similar to mine. In my opinion, if kids are given a LOT of freedom to structure their own time and lives - without the imposed structure put on them from above - they really do better. They fully understand the natural consequences of not doing your homework early - because you're too tired to do it later.
RR--Some children can handle unstructured time, others cannot. Clearly, something is broken in BH's household, and I'm not bashing her in the slightest.
BH's children sound like they have some idea of what the rules/expectations are in the house, but no one will discipline them consistently on a day to day or hour to hour basis. The children have easily learned what they can get away with. Many children will do exactly this.
BH, you have to look at what you are doing now. You say its not working. You yourself have identified a major reason why---lack of consistent consequences between you and the father.
In my opinion, that's the major thing that would logically need to be addressed first and foremost. And a rule chart or poster board would settle the arguements of "you NEVER told me that"....that children are so famous for.
Clear rules, clear and immediate consequences. I'm flabbergasted to read on here that there is no need to remind children who are, by BH's admission, defying the rules and thumbing their noses at the adults, of this idea. As if its unreasonable, in some way?
If her family wasn't struggling with this issue, she wouldn't have posted it. Venting is all well and good....but so is working WITH your fiancee to try to find a solution.
If he's not willing to and you continue on with things the way they are, I pity you the teenage years. You ain't seen nuthin' yet, as they say. Much, much easier to nip this in the bud now, than then.
BH- You really do not see it? By allowing you to shoulder everything, from discipline to child-rearing, to household tasks, to food prep, he is showing them that he can sit back and do nothing, expect you to do it all, and you will "roll over and show your belly." You are even willing to medicate yourself to cope with this because you have somehow been convinced that being upset about his lack of of parenting is a manifestation of PPD.
Without realizing it, these folks who claim to have little structure generally have more than they realize. Otherwise these "free" children would be roaming the streets at night, never doing homework, never doing chores. There is a sense of structure that exists and whether folks want to realize or admit it, their kids realize it is there and appreciate it.
I grew up in two very different households. One with no consistency or real boundaries, just oddly placed abuse with no real rhyme or reason behind it. The other house was structured, we had well defined rules and consequences. It is no surprise that while living at the house with rules I thrived, stayed out of trouble, and respected my parents. While at the other house as a child I was scared, insecure, the victim of abuse and when my dad and step-family moved when I was a teenager and I was forced back to the other house, I left at 14, got pregnant, slept on the streets, did drugs, drank, and took part in extremely dangerous activities for 3 years.
I only straightened back out when I moved in with my adopted mother who had a balance between the two houses. We had clear rules in her house and we also had a lot of freedom. Her real daughters did not benefit from all the freedom they had as younger children and the rules came too little too late, as adults they are extremely irresponsible and barely function in society. She is left holding the bag for all of it. Those types of freedoms should be earned as a teenager, not granted to a young child. They cannot be raised on auto-pilot. Children take attention and care. They need to know that someone cares enough to be involved in raising them.
Remember, I am raising a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and an almost 2 year old. My structure is very different from what one would have for 8 and 10 year old children, or even teenagers. My 6 year old has a lot of freedoms and responsibilities his 4 year old brother does not. I am guiding them to make decisions that will benefit them in life. I am giving them the tools to make the best decisions. Throwing them out into the world with no sense of consequence or sense of right and wrong will not benefit them.
It becomes a more complicated sort when these children are not hers. Yes, she says "ours" but in reality these girls are her step children. Being a step mother is a completely different animal. It's so much easier to discipline and stick to the rules when they are your children you are raising. When they leave they have a whole other family, where the rules are different there as well. So it takes a lot of patience and a lot of care to be able to handle a step parent role. Discipline them too hard and too much, you hear the mother complaining to the fiance about what you are doing. Discipline them barely and they run all over you and your household. Your fiance is the one who is the problem here. He has no structure, he has no rules. These girls have no guidance when they come to your house. He probably is like this because of guilt. So he let's them do whatever they want because he wants them to enjoy being there. Who wants to be the one disciplining? That's what he thinks. It's like a game, who's the best parent in the world. I'm sure his ex is doing the same at her house and therefore, these girls get no parenting at all anywhere. It is really difficult. My suggestion is to definitely take a break just for a breather and to think. Then my next suggestion is counseling. I'm doing it with my fiance, for other reasons that most here know. But what's good about it is that you listen to eachother, you communicate, you come together to talk about the issues so that they can be resolved. You are given coping mechanisms. It's very helpful. We do individual as well as couples and frankly, that gives me my hour to vent about him and vice versa. Then we come together to work on the issues we just vented about. You may not need medication, you may just need some common ground. I'm here if you ever need to talk privately....you know that already though.
Andi, I hate to keep derailing this thread, maybe I should start another somewhere else specifically on written and unwritten rules.
Yes. My house has a structure of unwritten but very well acknowledged expectations. It's not something I could even begin to "chart", and punish and reward, though, which is my whole question about your chart.
I guess I don't think in terms of charts and punishments and rewards - I think in terms of stopping behaviors when they crop up - right at that moment. I honestly can't imagine writing a list of rules - there would be thousands of them. Don't jump off the roof. Don't smash the TV. Don't drop food on the floor on purpose. Don't pee on the floor. Don't Prank call people other than your friends. Don't cut the couch. Don't spit on your teachers. And then a series of time outs or tv taken away for any various infraction. My kids know not to do any of this stuff, there is no written or spoken rule - and no specific expected consequence that involves removing a priviledge.
Do you see what I'm getting at? I'm really curious what's on your rule chart and what the consequences are, because I can't even think in those terms.
BH-I haven't read through everything. I simply don't have the time. But I read loud and clear that you are overwhelmed and on the edge. I think your plan to get help is a good one. I don't think your fiance adds much in a positive way, either.
I have a question, perhaps it has been asked before. Do the girls get praised when they are doing the right thing? I know they get in trouble for doing the wrong thing, as they should, but I notice that my youngest daughter acts out and becomes worse when she hasn't had enough praise and too much criticism.
Also, I do commend you for trying and loving your stepdaughters. I don't know what it's like to be a step parent, but I see Ben having struggles also, and I know that it is not easy! You need a break.
Have you done anything with your girlfriends recently? How about a date with your fiance? As mothers, we don't get a whole lot of breaks. But, I have learned from past experiences that I am a better mother, wife and friend when I have balance between all of those roles. There are times when I need to go out with my girlfriends for lunch and a shopping trip, even if it's just window shopping. There are times when I just need to spend time with my girls and leave Ben and Brody at home. Other times, I need to go have dinner or a movie with just Ben and I. Sometimes I just need to be alone. Are you making sure you are doing all of these things.
I am also a perfectionist and it has been very challenging to let some things go. I have to put my blinders up some days when there is a mess or a pile of laundry and tell myself that someday, our children will be adults and on their own. My house will be empty and void of those piles of laundry, those fingerprints on the wall and the loud noises that fill our home. Let some things go. You have to for your sanity. I feel for you, I know what it's like to feel scattered, hopeless and confused. I've been there.
Its harder for her because she is not the kids actual "mother", she acknowledges that, so she gets frustrated by all that comes with that...if they were her own children, it would be a lot easier to do the disciplining and also not get as angry, as it is just different with your own.
You aren't lost, you are a mom and a step-mom. Welcome to the club. I think with multiple children around, the work becomes exponential.
And...what? You DON'T live at your Ped's office???? :) I thought *all* moms with new babies lived there, I did! Still do, it seems sometimes.
Just kidding. Give yourself a break and then have a family meeting and ask the rest of the family to start helping more. Make specific actions that they can begin doing. Don't know if that will help or not, though, some step-kids can be stubborn (or so I've heard and recently seen).
Mostly, give yourself a break. Find time (if you can), make a plan to go out with either just yourself or with girlfriends or just with hubby. Or hide in the bathroom (I know that's a misnomer in my house now that the girls can open doors).
Yes, they are her stepchildren but she has taken responsibility for them and has every right to be involved with discipline and setting rules. I think she and her fiance need to sit down and figure out appropriate rules, boundaries and punishments. If they can't come to an agreement now things will only get worse. All kids are different maybe it would work to not have things written down but I know with my kids written is best. Especially my daughter she has ADD and needs to refer back to something that is written down and at 12 she is notorious for saying "you never told me that"
Rock, what she's doing now CLEARLY AND BY HER OWN WORDS, IS NOT WORKING.
So its time to do something else. She asked for suggestions, people gave ideas that might work.
You chose to passive aggressively make clear ideas of rules and consequences sound ridiculous. As May pointed, you don't make 10,000 separate rules.
Respect other people and their belongings.
No hitting or biting
No holding the baby without Mom or Dad's permission.
Keep your rooms clean
(or anything else that is a problem in their household)
Very, very simple rules. Consequenses could be:
time out in the naughty corner (1 minute per year of age)
losing a toy or privelege.
Just a couple of very simple, age appropriate consequences.
I can't believe you are making this sound so difficult and unworkable, and such a foreign concept. What she is doing, which is to simply wait for dad to discipline, is clearly not working.
Both parents need to be on the same page, or nothing will EVER work.
I know that she has taken responsibility for them, I am just saying that she doesnt feel she has the full authority and support of her fiance to discipline them like they are her own, in this case I dont think she has it, or at least she feels like she doesnt have it.
Trust me, I am a stepmom also and I know how hard it was in the beginning until
we worked through it, it is compounded more when you have your own children
and the "fairness" rules comes into play.
I really did not have a chance to read thru everything either. I also don't have the time. From what I was able to get was a few good ideas from everyone. I try to make the most of everyones comments most of the time, and season with salt those I find distasteful, if you will.
First, I am really sorry are having a rough time. It is not easy being a mom at all, in fact I often tell people it is more difficult, stressful, frustrating than any job I have ever had outside of the home..but it is also the most rewarding. I wish I could comment on your fiance's kids. But I can't. It must be so difficult to take on the responsibility of children from previous relationships. I can't imagine. I don't know what I would do if my husband was not on board with me as far as disciplining. Peek is right, it will never work if you are not in agreement and making it work together. Perhaps a written chart of rules is not for you. That's great that Andi found something that works for her family situation. I don't believe that would work in our home, our rules/consequences work fine coming from our mouths.I believe in rules and boundaries and consequences for stepping outside them, but we are not super structured, though our days are on a routine. If you think that may work in your case, try it. I think you are on track by talking to your Doc. about PPD. I am sure he/she will have some wonderful solutions and will find what works best for you, be it therapy/meds/etc. In my case, just talking to someone helped tremendously! Maybe that is what you need. I have really bad days too sometimes. I had a horrible day last week, I tried to talk with my mom about it and I can't just talk to her about having a bad day w/o her thinking I am going off the deep end and that I am going to hurt my children! It is very frustrating dealing with her sometimes. The point is, we have all been there, we all have 'venting' days. Next step, like Peek mentioned, is the solution. Hopefully you can find some nuggets of wisdom here that may help. It's true though, sometime you just have to suck it up, it goes with the territory of motherhood. I can't think of the last time I have had a break, It;s been non stop since My youngest was born last winter. It was hard for me at first. Quite an adjustment, I must say, that I was ill prepared for. Most days, I just have to suck it up. It's tough. I wish I could offer some better suggestions, but I think you have a good start here. Best of luck and I hope you are back on track and feeling like yourself again soon. ~Bops
Where did the chart and rewards things come from? My kids have a rule sheet. Don't hit, don't call names, don't throw in the house, etc. My kids are visual learners and this was something everyone in the house took part in and the kids feel a sense of ownership in their lives with this. They know the boundaries, they understand consequences to their actions, and things are consistent.
No chart, no rewards, no harsh punishment.
BTW, while I was out taking my 4 year old and 22 month old to the children's museum, I couldn't help but notice all the written rules for adults in society: no parking, no turn on red, no smoking, do not let your child run wild, etc. Seems like I am far from unique in my use of written rules.
it does all boil down to respect. i suspect Rockrose's methods worked in her family because along the way she taught her kids to respect her and her rules. Andi's rules and methods worked for her because along the way, her kids learned to respect her. You step children were never taught these valuable lessons. Any discipline policy you try to instill will not succeed unless they learn to respect you and their father. You cannot do this alone. You need your fiance on board. By not enforcing what you ask/say/do, he is pretty much giving them the green light to defy you. this cycle will not end until your fiance comes around. you cannot do this alone. he doesn't want to be the bad guy, but he doesn't realize that they are manipulating him as well.
while there may be some PPD involved, i can honestly say that in that position, i would feel extremely overwhelmed regardless of hormones and depression. medication may help you feel a bit more stable, but it will not change the way things are in your home. i am not trying to downplay the possibility of PPD- it may be very real and in need of attention. But i doubt that without depression you would simply not care about the 8 yr old cussing constantly in front of everyone, markers in the toilet, disrespect, etc... you are unappreciated. i don't juggle half of what you do- and i work full time and go to school along with raising my baby. parenting is a partnership and it sounds like you are left floundering on your own. your expectations of the girls are not reasonable.
i agree with many of the suggestions- first and foremost you need a break. go away for a weekend and let him deal with for one weekend what you deal with everyday. it may give him a better perspective. if i ever got b!tched at for forgetting to throw a load of laundry in, i would lose my sh!t. that needs to be addressed now. he either does not realize how much you do, or he does not care. i hope it's the first. i also agree that ground rules need to be established. in this situation, i would normally suggest something like what Andi suggested- a discussion of basic rules and consequences. however, if you feel that wouldn't work for your situation, there are other alternatives. you are right that the girls should not be bribed into cleaning up their own belongings. some kids do respond well to a reward system. sounds like the star system went wrong at their moms house. if you go that route i would do a more on-going system. ex: have a jars with marbles, teddy bear counters, anything... if they have a good morning, let them put one in the jar. for curse words, remove one. decide together what the goal is, and what the reward will be. make goals reasonable and attainable within a week. also, when rewarding behavior, break it down into reasonable segments. Doing just one at the end of the day misses opportunities to reward good behavior earlier on, especially if she makes one or 2 bad choices later on in the day. Since they are used to "prizes," this may work for them. honestly, when it came down to the situation with their room, i would institute a respect policy. if you show respect for your belongings by caring for them, you get to keep them. if not, they get confiscated. once confiscated, they can earn it back by showing they respect their other things. the same concept can be applied to most situations.
i didn't read ALL of the poster so i am sorry if some things come off being repeated or whatnot...
first off, rules are rules.. whether your dh let's HIS girls get away with everything...you don't and you need to put your foot down...time outs work wonders however need to be followed through EVERYTIME...say what you mean and mean what you say....now cuss words.. OMG...my mom did this to my and to this day i barely swear around her(and this is only a 2 yr recent development).. she pinned me down and let me taste the soap...being that she isn't your daughter it makes it harder...I love how the grandma in Georgia Rule did it...I don't know if I could make my son eat soap but I would either think soap or tobasco sauce(unless he ends up with a lil boy i know that begged for more...BACKFIRED LOL)
now being that there are more than one girl...sticker systems aren't always good...that's my personal view..what ends up happening is that after X amount of sticker a reward is given until a behaviour is extinguished...BUT the bad thing about rewards is kids love stickers...and then you end up with a sticker for you and none for you....which makes it difficult.. they are old enough to understand this...I am sure...Similarly there is the tokens...you can get monopoly money whatever and talk abotu things she wants.. give her money for not swearing etc.. just a thought...5$ after a week of no swears.. start small.. 1$ per 2 days no swears or something.. it will eventually be gone...but its hard...
oh BTW mommies never get a break...i'm a full time single mommy and i've never gotten a break.. mind you i wouldnt have it any other way..yes i do get a little frustrated at times but....i love being a mommy and i feel blessed.. plus now i don't get to be with my son for very long.. i get 2 hours with him after picking him up from daycare..enjoy it...even though its hard
I too will never forget the taste of yellow dial soap in my mouth when I was about 5y old after swearing at my grandpa...my mom marched me right up to the bathroom and washed my mouth out with Dial soap. We went back downstairs and I said it again and she dragged me right up there again and repeated the dial soap treatment. Needless to say I never did that again and I will never forget the taste of that soap (33y later!)!!
I think you are doing a great job with your beautiful little Ava!!! She is gorgeous and your whole family looks so in love with her. I am sorry you are feeling so overwhelmed - we all do at times. Try to get some rest...especially some good sleep. I know that when I am tired or exhausted is when things seem the worst and I am the most irrational. Take some time for yourself and remember to focus on what is really important...let the little things go. Try not to get resentful - it will only make things harder. Are you working now?? I never heard what happened about that...(and I know work can be an added stress.). Best of luck.
While I don't have a list of rules or chart or whatever (some days I think I need one!), I do think that tiredbuthappy hit the nail on the head with her comments:
"it does all boil down to respect. i suspect Rockrose's methods worked in her family because along the way she taught her kids to respect her and her rules. Andi's rules and methods worked for her because along the way, her kids learned to respect her. You step children were never taught these valuable lessons. Any discipline policy you try to instill will not succeed unless they learn to respect you and their father. You cannot do this alone. You need your fiance on board. By not enforcing what you ask/say/do, he is pretty much giving them the green light to defy you. this cycle will not end until your fiance comes around. you cannot do this alone. he doesn't want to be the bad guy, but he doesn't realize that they are manipulating him as well."
BH, you're between a rock and a hard place. I agree that you should have your hormones checked and talk to your doc, but I'd also seek counseling with your husband--find someone who can help you get on the same page and back each other on things...to work together as a team. If you don't see eye to eye on discipline, you need to come up with a compromise that works. And doing nothing or not being consistent with it isn't an option.
I really hope you figure something out to help your situation soon.
i couldnt read all the responses but i think tiredbuthappy made some great points. as a step mom i see you being placed in a position that is maybe more than you should have to deal with. now dont get upset but you are a fiance, not a legal step mom yet so to me he needs to deal with this and now. he needs to get on the same page with their mom if that is possible. really it sounds like there is some issues with the new baby, you and dad fighting, and who knows what else at their moms it has to be hard for them. however they do need to be responsible for their actions
my 5yr old niece will hold addison when im not looking, yes it is very scary but she isnt one to always respect adults. my son had better respect adults and never go against what rules they have stated. same in my house. he is a kid and will make mistakes of course, and as a family here we deal with it. meaning me and step dad and his dad.
recently you wrote about getting a job, then moving into your moms house, then his porn issues, i think id blow my top as well. do you both communicate? is he not responding to your need for help? you need to seriously think about these things before you continue down this path with him. i hate to say it but he irritates me i dont know how you do it.
now for the 5 yr old she needs to be punished for going against your rules, i guess if you choose to stay then you need to come up with a set of rules and stick to your guns. it needs to be handled each and every time tired or not. a 7 yr old cussing and laughing about it sounds like a cry for help maybe. maybe i am just comparing to my son but that is an age that is totally able to understand it is wrong .
im not an expert and every family is different, but i think at this point either counseling or leaving might be a thought. i only say leaving because as my dad once told my sister, why would he marry you or change, he has a live in maid and someone to give him sex whenever he wants it he is a smart guy. im not saying leave the house a mess or deny sex, im saying you need to think about what his intentions are and what your needs are. i believe at one time he said he wanted you home and not working. im sorry you are going through so much but this really is a mess.
a simple way to resolve your problems....
the rules at there moms house and at your house need to be the same.
my son goes back and forth between me and his father, we make sure all the rules are the exact same or else it would be a disaster.
i grew up being shuttled between my mom and dad, i know if they had doen what i am doing, that i wouldnt have been such a hellion!
gluck it really does work i swear!
hey, i understand that "stretched" feeling. sometimes when my kids are driving me nuts i have to sit back and wonder if they are REALLY being that bad or am i being grumpy. (i am not saying you are being grumpy, i'm saying you sound stretched to the limit)
anyway, 7 and 5 are old enough to have chores. Chores have gone a LONG way with my 7 year old. we don't have any rule charts but we do have a chore chart. he knows what his chores are and when i expect them to be done. he is a pretty laxidazy kid and i have to work with that...... as i am a very structured person.
delegating some of the little chores that have to be done can take some of your load away. + if the furniture writer had to clean some of that stuff on a regular basis she might be a little less inclined to do quite so much "artwork"
we also just recently sat down and worked out a new "big" chore plan. i am technically a SAHM but as most SAHM know that doesn't always mean you are "home". my schedule just doubled and so it is next to impossible for me to keep up with all the stuff i used to do and the new load too. so dh and i worked out a schedule. my dh works long hard hours and i know it is hard for him to help out but he tries to through 1 load of clothes in the wash every day or every other day and i do the same...... it has help tremendously for keeping up on the ever daunting task of laundry.
i don't know how old your baby is but this problem will pass with time. maybe try and let her know that if she wants to hold the baby she needs to sit on the floor, that way the baby doesn't have far to go, lol (i'm just kidding)
on an up note........ kudos to you for not having adult discussion in front of the kids...... i know way to many kids that have to witness that stuff all the time.
good luck to you.
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