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Thread: Advice to help a Temp Single Mom *long*

  1. #1

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    Default Advice to help a Temp Single Mom *long*

    I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes:

    I have this girlfriend. Her daughter is six months younger than dd, she turns one next week. We live in the same town and our husbands are great friends. I have not known her that long and only been "close" friends since last year October'ish.

    Atm her husband has to work out of country, because the manager there quit and he was the only one qualified to go. He did not make that choice, he did not offer ... he was orderd. That meant that she would be alone with dd for atleast two months until they found a replacement. It's been four months now and they only advertised the position last week, so it SEEMS like he would only be coming back in September of November.
    So that makes her a temp single parent. And I am afraid that she is not coping ... at all. She is to afraid to sleep alone in their house, so she has another friend that has been living with her. But this girl comes in late and leave early, she has her own life and things and she does help, but she is getting married and are busy planning her wedding.

    I think she was fine the first two weeks or so, but she is falling apart and what is worse ... she is not very nice to her daughter. Now I totaly get her frustration, her anger and her missing her husband. I'll be upset too, but I think it's taking it's toll on her daughter.

    Just a sample of what I mean: Monday we were over there, just to check on how she's doing and to offer to do stuff around the house for her. We were leaving and her dd were on her hip. So the dd leans in to "kiss" her on the cheek, but instead of kissing, she bit .. it did not even leave a red mark, but the mommy screamed: "F@#% it" in a very high pitched voice and the dd started crying. So she said: "that's right you should be crying for bitting me" We as family had such a fright, when she screamed like that. My dd was visibly shaken.

    She came for dinner last night and to sleep over (we invited) and NEVER, EVER again. I had the most AWFULL time. She got upset everytime her dd started to whine, she was yelling at her and just being so ... so ... irretated by her, she had NO patience. And she's a teacher that works with "special" kids, so I thought that patience was high on a list of personality traits one must have??? She is extreamly negative and are sighing the whole time and complaining and moaning and just not nice to be around with. Strangely enought I told DH earlier in the week that even though this guy is atm his best friend, I don't think me and her would ever get really close. We just don't have the same values, the same outlook on life and the same manner of doing things. After last night, I know I would never be really good friends with her, not that I think she is a bad person, just her way of handeling things turns me off.

    My dd was totally stunned by this woman yelling at her dd. DH was furious and so grumpy and had to get out of the house to keep him from saying something. And if the yelling was not enough, she would swear .. not directly at the child, but still swear. By the time me and DH got into bed I was totally drained.

    My heart goes out to that little girl. Yes, it must be terribly hard to raise a kid on your own and I can't imagine how she must be feeling, but does she really have to act like that, or am I being a judgemental b!tch??



    What can I do??? DH told me to stay out of it and just ignore it, it's not my child. I guess in a way he is right. It's not my right to tell her that I think she is wrong, it might just make it worse. So I thought about offering to take her dd for a Saturday morning and buy her a facial or something and just let her get some time alone. DH said no. I'm pg, have a 18 month old, have two jobs, have a house and a husband .. I'm stretched to the limit already. Her IL's live in town, but they do not get along that well.
    I just feel so sorry for her, so sorry for her dd. I'm scared that she can scar her child emotionally, is that possible?? at that age??

    I know this is a ramble and probably a moan, if some of you might just give me some tips on how you are coping, so that I can convey them to her when I chat to her again, that would be very, very helpfull. And if some of you think that I should just mind my own darn bussiness ... I would like hearing that too

  2. #2
    paradise lost Guest

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    Um, i'm a single parent and though i have my moments i certainly don't act like that around DD!

    THis is a tough one really hun. IKWYM about patience in her job, but parenting, as you know, is a 24/7 job and it can get on top of you so easily. Also, with her situation, i.e. not actually wanting DH away (some of us single mummies were much happier that way!) she's probably trying to "hang on" until he's back, rather than just changing things around to take into account him being gone.

    She sounds like a break would be the first order of the day. I know she doesn't get on with the IL's but would she let them look after her DD for a bit? Even one afternoon/overnight/whatever a week would let her have some "me" time and unwind a bit. Maybe a frank chat about it "You seem really stressed hunny, it's not like you to shout so much, i know you're missing DH, have you thought about ways to keep on top of everything while he's away?" - the fear-at-homething especially worries me - i sometimes lie awake and fret about "what-ifs" but she sounds like she's never feeling safe in her own home - is your local crime rate very high? Are her fears justified?

    I don't think it's good for her DD, and i don't think it should go on long term, and yes, ultimately it will damage the child and ESPECIALLY her relationship with the mother, but at this stage mother and babe are so closely intwined, relieving mum's pain/stress will be the best way to help the baby.

    HTH

    Bx

  3. #3

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    Hey Nadine

    That is just such a tough situation isn't it It makes me so upset to see parents acting like that to their children..it really makes me feel sick. I really feel for the child, and mother. I know we do all have different styles/ways of parenting, but to swear at a child like that really hits a nerve to me. Yes, it is damn hard when there is no husband or partner around to help and it can almost break you at times, but I could never imagine behaving like that to my daughter who is a similar age. NEVER.

    No, I definitely don't think you should mind your own business in this case. This poor mum needs support otherwise things are just going to get worse. I just wonder if there are any other support services in your town that might be able to help her out?..
    I know how busy you are, but I think it would be so fantastic if you could take her DD just for 2 hours or something so she could go have a coffee or something?
    You are very sweet for looking out for them I really hope her DH can come back soon

  4. #4

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    I was hoping you'd come in here

    I think she is trying her best to hang on, but atm her best is failing her. It's just so heartbreaking. Her IL's does take dd three days a week when she is at school, but she is not satisfied with the way they are handeling her (the dd - and truthfully they are overstepping in some ways) and her MIL is not a very healthy woman, so she does not want dd to overstay her welcome. I know her SIL would look after her dd in a heartbeat, but she is complaining about her also. The SIL don't have any kids of her own are still young (24 pffft) and does things differntly than her, so she is not comfy with leaving dd with her for long periods (anything over a quick trip to the shop) Which in my opion is her own fault, because she is not teaching her SIL how she would like her dd to be cared for. The SIL has a child-play-school (learn through play or something like that) so it's not like she is a stranger to young kids.

    Personally I think by talking to her directly it might help, just to have her "download" a bit on someone. And maybe help her tighten her "headreigns". Her head are all over the place, so nothing gets done, and that is adding to her problems. It's also not helping that in their house, her husband are in charge of the cash, so she has no clue as to what accounts has to be settled and stuff like that.

    About her fears .. unjustified imo. Our crimerate is not higher than any town in the area and she lives in the quite side of town. She lives in a security complex, atm there are only three houses, one of which is her IL's (this may also be the reason they don't get along .. to close for comfort) She has an up-to-date alarmsystem with armed reaction. We use the same security-company at the shop that does her house and they are TOP notch. So I can't see why she can be afraid. I don't know her past very well, so maybe something happend that just makes her this scared. But everytime I askes about why she is scared, she just says that she is being silly and have to try sleeping alone one time or other.

    See I feel that way too .. I'm thinking her dd is whiny and stressed, because she is stressed and they are picking up each others negative vibes and it's ruining them. I'm also picking up vibes that him being away for so long is hurting their mariage ... she went up there for the school vacation for two weeks (she just got back Monday) and they had a HUGE fight because he went hunting one NIGHT from 5pm till 6am. She was furious because they had so little time together and then he plans a hunting trip while she's there.

  5. #5

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    Lee

    I think I am going to offer a playdate for next Saturday (this weekend I'm smashing kitchen floor tiles, so not babysafe in my house) I'll have a chat with DH. He is working in the shop next Satur ... [email protected] it's her dd's birthday party next Saturday *idiot* almost forgot!! I'll offer to help with that. I think that is also adding to her frustration .. he is going to miss his daughter's first birthday party

    I have tried to convince her to put her dd in daycare for the whole day every other day she's not with her IL's, but she still goes and get her after school. I'm just out of ideas

    I'm wishing her DH back as I type here. I just wish that they get someone willing to MOVE out country and live there (it's in Zambia!!) and get that person ASAP.

  6. #6
    paradise lost Guest

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    Just the fact that you care will make a difference to her Nads, i really appreciate all my friends who call and say "just wanted to make sure you're ok" even when i'm totally fine. Talking to her is probably the best thing you can do at this stage - you could try the following leads:

    "You seem like you're really struggling being on your own. Want to talk about it, maybe if we brainstorm we can think of ways to make it easier?"

    "What are you doing tomorrow? I have to...*then list your planned tasks" - letting her see how YOU stay organised willhelp her to get herself organised, kwim?*

    "When DD was that age she often *insert biting or whatever most recently made her shout* but then i did some reading online/talked to mum/whatever and i realised it was so normal and she can't help it - i sure don't miss the shouting!" - a bit of in-your-shoes compassion can really make people feel not only understtod but that there is true hope for change. Pretty much every mother i know struggles with their temper at some time - it's the most trying job on earth - so hearing how others felt and resolved the feelings can make a huge difference. The hardest things about getting new coping skills is having to say "i'm not coping" to begin with.

    You might also try making comments that build her confidence, like "Wow, even though at times it must be really hard, you're making it work with DH having to be away really well!". I am the sort of person who is not afraid. Of anything. So i can only imagine the agony of being in what is effectively my situation (except that i have the help of my wonderful DP AND a lot from XP, but even at the start say, when neither were around as much) and on top having to learn a bunch of new skills and deal with unfamiliar situations. Rationally she should realise that in a situation where the security fails her DH would have made no difference - it's what i think when i'm scared at night. That or "thank god i only have ONE loved one in the house to protect!" LOL. SHe needs to find her inner lioness and realise that all the things she is scared of or can't do are just stuff she's not had the opportunity to face/learn yet. I can actually remember moving out of home and being afraid of having to pay bills etc. and now i don't even think about it!

    Hopefully the situation will resolve in the immediate sense soon, but really, there's no point in her living her whole life like this on the grounds that there will be someone else there. She needs to learn to feel confident in her abilities and know she CAN do it. Sometimes you have to cope alone, it's a fact of life.

    Bx

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the suggestions, Bec. I'll probably check in on her tomorrow for tea, so I'll chat to her then. I know what you mean by sometimes everyone loses their temper. I am no angel and has lost my temper also, so I'll try that in-your-shoe compassion. And try boosting her confidance too, THAT sounds like a great idea ... focus on what's good and not what's bad.

    Rationally she should realise that in a situation where the security fails her DH would have made no difference
    That is exactly what DH said I'll try and convey that to her in a more ... delicate manner than DH said it to me. She told us on Monday that she don't even know where the safe's key is and even if she did, she don't know how to use the weapon Now THAT, imo, is her DH's fault. He's suppose to make sure she can handle some kind of self-defence weapon, just in case

    I think what bothers me is that she comes off as a strong, resilliant woman ... and seeing her falling apart is just, well, shocking. She is a self-confessed drama-queen, so my evil-me is thinking that she might just be doing this whole "I'm not coping well" thing, just for the attention. BAD Nads *slaps wrist*

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    Hi.

    First of all....24? Too young?? hmf! LOL!! I wish sometimes that I was one of those 24 year olds. Only sometimes.

    Does she have any other friends??
    I've had my fair share of single parenting. DH has gone away for work alot. Usually I am more relaxed when he's not here. More because I can do what I want with the kids with out having to worry about him & what he might need the car for etc. And I get better sleep when I've got the bed & blankets to myself!
    If it is longer than the expected time it starts to get a bit much. I do have 3 kids though. When I was pg with DD2 he was away for a month & my main problem was lonliness. & boredom.
    These days it's lonliness & noone here every night to give me a break. But then I don't have anyone to take my kids over night close by either.
    Does she go to play group? Does she do anything on the nights her IL's have her DD? Maybe she needs something to do to take up some time & get her mind off things. Maybe the two of you could take your kids & go for coffee every few days. Just so she gets out of the house. I know coffee with kids that age isn't the easiest thing, but it might be good. Or just to the park.

    You are a really good friend. She's lucky to have you. Ask her about it. Ask if she thinks she's coping. Maybe she just needs to talk to someone.

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    I know what you mean ... I sometimes wish I was one of those 24 's also!!

    She has a lot of other friends ... with kids and husbands. I also think that maybe she's bored. She has told us that she NEVER brings schoolwork home for her, she always finish her next day's planning at school. So other than cooking (that without a husband is something that gets neglected) and looking after dd, she really does not have much to do. And she really does not have a demanding dd. I can remeber how jelous I was, when we came to visit and she told us that she had time to make mustard/rusks/tart/pie while her dd was playing on the kitchen floor

    Her dd does go to playgroup twice a week, but like I said, she always picks her up straight after school. And her dd has not had a sleepover at the IL's ... don't think she would be comfy with that.
    I would love taking her for coffee, but our workhours are clashing. She works schoolhours (7:30 - 14:00) and I work half-day (12:00 - 17:00), so afternoon tea is a no-no. I have thought about organizing a little park-time somewhere over a weekend, but this darn winter weather is KILLING me!! Excuses, Excuses, Excuses *hangs head in shame*

    I'll am just going to try and be there for her ... to chat and to lean on. Just to be there. There is not much I can do for the dd, but like Bec said, by helping the mommy, I'll help the dd.

    Thanks Skye!

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    Nadine, sounds like she's out there in not-coping-land. As a temp single mummy I understand all too well the aggravation that an absent partner causes (which I believe is quite different from just flying solo all the time). For starters, the uncertainty of her DH's return date is the sort of thing that can quite literally send you around the twist. Especially if she resents him going in the first place (it sounds as if the whole trip is an exercise in disempowerment for her. It's hard to understand how deeply that can affect you unless you've been there yourself). Add to that the stresses of managing the relationship with the absent DH and you've got multiple layers of stress on top of the rigours of suddenly finding herself a single parent.

    As to her fears at night, that sounds to me like she is having problems managing not only her stress but her anxiety levels as well. A feature of anxiety disorders is overreaction to threats that don't exist. I suspect she's wearing her "No I'm fine everything is ok" mask at work (where it would be especially difficult to admit to the problems she is having). I love your suggestion of just popping in and hanging out and being supportive, she probably needs this more than anything else. If the topic of her stress/anxiety/feeling overwhelmed comes up, maybe encourage her to get some counselling, so that she can find some strategies herself.

    I think you're lovely for looking out for her like that. The world needs more of this!

  11. #11

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    Thanks, hun We were over there on Sunday afternoon and she seems SOOOO much better. Her dd had two long sleeps on Saturday and again on Sunday, so she had lots and lots of rest. And I was right about her being bored.

    DH spoke to her husband last night. He is getting tired of hearing everything is going wrong over here. Which is understandable .. he can do buggeroll to help her from where he is, so what is the point of her telling him that the lawn has to be mowed?? Her complaining to him is making him aggitated, which in turn is putting strain on their relationship. *sigh* It must be sooo very tough.
    So in jumps my wonderfull DH (awww) he has offerd to get someone to do the lawn and tidy up around the yard, he is calling someone to come and check out the leaks in the garage and the mould-spot in her dd's room, and he is getting someone to come and get rid of the stray cats that has made her garage their playground and toilet. They have a new home, it was build last year and this was it's first real rainy-season, so there are lots and lots of little problems that keeps poping up. She is worried about that, so DH is going to sort it out. I told my DH by the sound of their conversation that is seems like she just want someone taking command.

    We'll be keeping a closer eye on her. And we will probably have her over this weekend ... what do they say ... never say never

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    Good on you guys! It's so good to hear she is feeling better! Her poor DH, I say things like that, just hoping for some reason that DH will come home sooner. Thinking that the un mown lawn is what he really wants to come home too!?!

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    He is getting tired of hearing everything is going wrong over here. Which is understandable .. he can do buggeroll to help her from where he is, so what is the point of her telling him that the lawn has to be mowed??
    Umm, speaking from personal experience, she probably just needs to hear him say "I'm so sorry sweetie that you have to deal with all of this because of me being away. It's not fair on you. Is there another way we can organise to get it done so it's not such a hassle for you." Seriously she probably just needs some recognition from him of the fact that he's off working having the biggest holiday of his life from family life and she's bearing the brunt of it all!!!

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    I agree with Marydean on this. Both of them need to be understanding and respectful of each others situation. She needs to understand that there is not much he can do whilst away. He needs to understand that it is hard for her and that he needs to be a sounding board for her at times.

    I found what helped me get through the times away was to look at the positives of it all. I could watch what I wanted on TV, not have to put up with his annoying channel surfing, eat what I wanted for dinner, not have the house clean that day if I needed a break etc.

    Good on you Nadine for looking out for her, hopefully she realises that she is not alone.

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    You know I think you're right. Could be that she is just seeking some recognition from him. Although I know she know's he works hard there, but still he gets time to go hunting and I think she feels it's unfair. I'll slip that into convo the next time Thanks!!

    Heard last night he is coming down for the weekend. Probably just to sort some things out and check on her. He might also be coming down much more, now that he needs to stay longer than his company first said. Lucky for them the company pays for the airplane tickets.

    Thanks for all the tips guys!!

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    ****!! HE took the job in Zambia and they are moving there for three to five years as soon as she is done working!! They offerd him the possition with a HUGE, HUGE salary and some awsome perks, including his old job back when his contract in Zambia is over AND he gets to keep the big salary WOW They are even paying HER salary when they come back!

    I'm glad for them that the end is in sight. I'm glad for her that there are now something to look forward too ... I'm just sad that we are "losing" our friends. Yes we'll visit and they'll come down sometimes (she will be getting some IVF treatment - the company is paying for her plane tickets, no matter how many times she needs to come down here) but it's not going to be the same.

    Anyway, I'm going to help her plan for the move, he has gone back up again, but is coming down for about three days before they ship the container with their stuff in. She needs to get a lot of goods before hand, like medical supplies and toiletries and cleaning stuff, so we will be going shopping on a regular basis So she is going to be very, very busy, but I'll try and help her as much as I can

    Thanks for all your advice

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