I love my children

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by footballmom, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. footballmom

    footballmom New Member


    I have four grown children and a grandchild. I love them all very much. The youngest is still in college, the next one just graduated from college. Both are still at home. The older two have moved out and have started their lives. Here's my dilema. My husband and I have a big house with a lot of land. It takes a lot of work to keep up the house. Back in the good old days before I had all my aches and pains I could do everything. i ran the kids all over the place did the outside work, inside work. 20 loads of laundry a week. We've always been "green" so we don't use air conditioning, I hang my laundry outside to dry. The garden has always been organic. You get the picture. I was super mom.

    Well it's summer time. The pool is open and my kids of course are always welcome to come home and swim, visit etc. but why can't they offer to help once in a while. They always seem to show up right at dinner time, which would be fine if I knew they were coming and i had made enough for dinner. They know ther're going swimming yet they don't bring towels. It doesn't occur to them that maybe they could sweep the pool once in a while or help clean up the dishes or maybe even bring something to make on the grill. Yesterday was fathers day, my husband and I sat around all day waiting for the kids to show up. No one called so by 4:00 my husband said, lets go out to eat. By darn as soon as we're ready to leave the kids start arriving. The first thing they ask is what's for supper. So I rush around and make dinner. No one helps, no one. They all left around 8:30. They decided they were going to go for ice cream. They didn't eved invite there dad and I do go along, which is probably ok because we would have had to pay for it but my feelings were really hurt. My husband is more mad at them for taking advantage of me when they know I'm sick.

    Thansk for letting me vent. I feel better now!

  2. landra

    landra New Member

    No more restaurant, and no more "laundry".

    Tell them it is now like going to a public pool - you bring everything you need, you clean up after yourself and you take everything with you that you brought. Sorry but no more maid service.

    I think if you make it humorous, they will "take it" OK.

    Anyone remember the book "Alice does not live here any more"? During Women's Lib - housewifes on strike. We need to find ways to communicate that we are on strike - actually not able.
  3. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    I know I should talk to them but if I do I know I'll cry. I hate that. I used to be so strong. I can see they're faces now. the eyes rolling thinking mom is just in a bad mood. She'll get over it. The thing is they see that I have trouble walking, peeling potatoes, washing dishes etc. I'm so stiff that when I stand up I can barely walk. It just doesn't seem to faze them.
  4. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Kids can be remarkably dense. I honestly don't think that they WANT to see that you are having a hard time. If you are the cook/laundress/housekeeper, etc. that they remember from before, they won't have to admit to themselves that you are not the super person that makes their lives safe -- that you will live forever, and so will they. The alternative is a very scary thing to contemplate, especially as they begin acknowledging your limitations.

    You know this -- that you treat people how to treat you. With your children being adults now, it's time to treat them like adults. When you're getting up from the table, don't *ask* for help -- assign. My mother was really, REALLY good at this. (She wanted something done, and she'd walk over with a broom and put it in my hand. "Here -- I'll take care of the breakfast dishes while you sweep the back porch." I LIKED knowing what she wanted from me. She wasn't so great at asking for emotional help, but she did a great job teaching me how to be helpful to her otherwise.

    I think this will be hard for you, because although it is what you need, it is a form of recognizing that you actually DO need help. For example, before we go to visit my mother-in-law, I call and ask her what she needs us to do for her over the weekend we're there. Inevitably, when we actually get there, she puts it off and puts it off and puts it off while running around cooking and catering to my husband's and son's every whim (she's got a very 'old country' streak!). Even if I bring up the list she requested, she wiggles out of it. Then we get home and get a blistering call from my sister-in-law who is half way across the country who only hears that we were there and sucked off my mother-in-law for the weekend. I've told her what happpens, so one time she called when we were actually still at my mother-in-law's, and instead of US getting the lecture, she gave her mom a talking to about putting things off when she had us there. (It only helped a little!)

    If you are going to have a tough time emotionally about this, then maybe take some time to practice with your husband what you might do or say in some circumstances. Then one time, when your energy is up and things are going fine, just slip into the 'new mode', instead of it being a big, emotional talk with you in the midst of a flare. If the recipient of the new role balks, have your husband back you up.

    It really isn't fair to expect your children to read your mind if you haven't asked for help or told them what you need in the past. It's time for a new approach -- if you spend a little time thinking about what you REALLY need and want from them, it will be easier for you to deal with it on the fly, which is how most life happens.

    [This Message was Edited on 06/16/2008]
  5. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    Thanks for the post. I agree. I should tell them what I need yet I wonder why they can't see some of this stuff ofr themselves. It's quite obvious that when your finished with dinner you have to clear the table and wash the dishes or put them in the dishwasher. You know your going to the pool, you brought the swimsuit yet not the towel. These aren't little children I'm talking about. they are adults with college educations. Professional people. I would be embarresed to go to my mom's and have to be told to help do the dishes or please pick up your kids toys before you leave because grandma can't bend over to do it. my kids lost all common sense when they went to college. They are bright, smart funny loveable adults with not a lick of common sense.
  6. marti_zavala

    marti_zavala Member

    Forget the illness aspect - just say that you both have retired and it is now your turn to be served by the kids.

    Your job is to spoil the grandkids, period.

    Time to set some boundaries. Check a book out at the library that would give you the words or better yet, send them all the same letter. Then you can keep your dignity and be free to get as firm as you would like in the letter.

    Good luck,
  7. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    They're not doing these things because you are. It's a shame to think you've got them to this grown up state, but that your parenting days aren't done.

    I'll leave you with some questions -- Why is it that YOU would have been embarrassed to do these things at your own mother's home? How would your mother have handled the situation? If you never saw her in that position, what did she do differently in order for that to be the case?

    Is it possible that she would have yanked you up short before that ever happened, and given you an earful while she was at it?

    And finally -- how are you now inspired by your mother?
  8. marti_zavala

    marti_zavala Member

    My aunt was the matriarch of our family. Everyone came to her house. THe men cooked (barbque of course). The women did some but mostly she did it all. And she could handle it and everyone felt loved and safe and happy.

    Then as she got older, she really slowed down. But people were still coming to her house expecting to be loved on. THey did love her too but wanted the old days back.

    When her kids tried to tell these folks (I come from a big family) they would say, "She loves to do this for us, it makes her feel needed", etc, etc.

    She would be so stiff and sore for a week after they left and would complain about them coming to visit.

    I don't think the extended family ever knew but I am sure they would have been mortified to realize how hard they were making her life.

    Whenever they visited, I would try to "drop by" with a pot of stew or something to take some of the load off.

    Also, thought of something else, you could proclaim that you and your husband are desiring to be "alone" (wink, wink) at that they should call first before dropping by - that would really freak them out. But it would get them to start seeing you as adults not mom and dad.

    I feel sorry for your husband to be hurt this way on Father's day and you for having to do all the work.

  9. Jayna

    Jayna New Member

    Kids are DENSE.

    Only when I was in a wheelchair did my kids finally figure out that I was not going to be there to handle the household for them... even though they had always had chores and supposedly knew what had to be done to look after the place. I didn't even have enough energy to yell at them to do their own chores, much less ask for help with mine. I had to break down what I wanted to say into really short instructions, the absolute minimum.

    If talking about all this with your kids is too much all at once, try picking one thing that is causing you the most work and changing that. Then work on the next one a few weeks later. By the end of summer, they could be re-trained (of course you'll have to give them a refresher course next year).

    Humour works better than big lectures, too.

    If it is the 'dropping over' part, simply put up a sign that says 'phone first if you don't want to catch me doing Tai Chi naked by the pool'. Then answer the door in a towel when they arrive unannounced. Their self-protection will kick in, believe me. No kid wants to see their parents' saggy butts in broad daylight. Or inflict it on their own kids.

    If it is the food thing, put off buying groceries and let them come when the fridge is empty. Then say 'oh, didn't you bring anything to eat with you? If you decide to order in, order enough for me and dad, too. We were going out for supper tonight.'

    It's really up to you how you handle it, but letting all the individual things build up until you end up screaming at them is not going to do anything for continued family harmony. And letting them keep abusing your hospitality is not going to do anything for your own quality of life.
  10. whoachief

    whoachief New Member

    They will come for dinner & bring their families but when dinner is over do they offer to help or even DO the dishes? No! We had the same problem with the swimming pool which is why we haven't opened it last year & so far this year - it's too much work for us! They are ALL complaining that we haven't opened it yet but they sure won't offer to do the work for us!!! I agree, although it is difficult, we need to TELL them what we expect or want & go from there. Although I would have NEVER dreamt of going to my parents or inlaws house for dinner without at least OFFERING to help with the dishes. Many times I DID the dishes since they made the meal & fed us!!! GO FIGURE!
  11. msbsgblue

    msbsgblue Member

    You sit down and tell them you are ill and older and if you cry you do, so what?

    Would you rather cry a few tears and do less work or not cry and make yourself worse?
  12. LuvQuilting

    LuvQuilting New Member

    I'm impressed with the advise here! I hope that you heed it and start communicating more with your family about what you need done. Kids are so self absorbed until they have kids of their own and realize how hard it is especially guys! I find the girls to be more helpful if you've taught them that all along. Although as much as some moms say they want help, they really still want all the control and don't think anyone else can do it as well as they can.
  13. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    Thanks everyone for the wonderful tips. I remember years ago when I first got sick my doctor thought that I was just really depressed and sent me for therapy. One of things that kept ocming up in my sessions was that I did too much for my children. I guess I did and still do. I will try and talk with them. Maybe start by telling them the obvious. Help me with the dishes. ;)

    Someone mentioned that I want to be in control. That may be partially true. I am used to being in control. I did do most things myself because no one else could do it as well as me. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks but I will work on it. I'm starting today. My boys that still live at home have the day off from work.they don't know it yet but They're going to help me clean the bathroom. I'll let you know how it turns out!
  14. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    with this advice! I really don't think you could have gotten better.

    It's not about telling them what they've been doing wrong. Don't tell them they've been dense or selfish. They've just been doing what they've always done. They probably either didn't think or thought you wanted to do what you were doing. Just tell them what the new rules are. And, as was stated so eloquently here, make it funny, light, loving and definite.

    I think you are all very wise!

    Peace out,
  15. cookie1960

    cookie1960 New Member

    Dear Football Mom,

    Make a list of YOUR rules and email to all of your kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors, the mailman etc.

    Make it funny and light hearted - but get to the point.

    For Example:

    Rule #1 Please call before your visit - your never know what your Dad and I might be up to! (wink-wink)

    Rule #2 If you plan on swimming, please bring your own towel and sunlotion. Dad & I are trying to get on Al Gore's good side and conserve water. Also, the pool needs to be cleaned once a week - there's a sign up sheet in the kitchen.

    Rule #3 If I cook you dinner - you clean the dishes.

    Rule #4 If you bring the dinner - you still clean the dishes.

    Rule #5 We are accepting applications for grass cutting and yard work. The pay is a home cooked meal followed by a trip to the ice cream parlor.


    Tell them all to grown up!

  16. footballmom

    footballmom New Member

    That sounded GREAT. I may use some of your list.
  17. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    That's the attitude! Looking forward to hearing how the first shot over the bow is received!
  18. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    We were posting at the same time.

    Well, the bathroom experience should be interesting for all of you. I would expect your boys will probably look totally confused and stand with their arms hanging by their sides for a bit. I have been there and seen that. I have also said: no, no, it's ok, I'll do it. There is a learning curve for everyone.

    Best of luck to you!


    PS Adult kids seem best able to clean when listening to music - their music.

  19. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Adult adults like music, too! I get more done to a CD of disco hits than anyone would believe...dating myself, aren't I!
  20. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    EVEN when they are all grown up.

    I like the rules Cookies came up with. Don't your kids realize you are sick and not feeling well? Of course if you are like me you don't do alot of complaining so I think sometimes they can take advantage.

    Whoops DH needs the puter sorry. Can't finish. However it is time for them all to grow up. I love those rules !! I can't believe they pop in without notice and don't bring their own towels or help out in any way. You need to speak up sweetie,



    [This Message was Edited on 06/17/2008]