imamommySeptember 3, 2011

I walked into my first stress management class last week. My therapist suggested I take it after her first session with me & signed me up. My first thought was that she's crazy, I don't need stress management, I just need advice on how to disengage COMPLETELY from SD & not let her presence (attitude/the tension when we are around each other) bother me. Of course, I thought if she would just go live with her mom, MY life would be peaceful again.

So I went to the class. I sat in a room full of strangers describing the things that stress people out.

Work... yeah, at least people that are stressed out over work have a job, right? Of course, I work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day plus some nights. It IS stressful but not a lot I can do about it. I am self employed & need to be there. Can't afford to hire more people...

Finances... well yeah, money is tight EVERYWHERE. My customers aren't spending much & trying to get more for less money all the time. At least once a day, I am asked if someone can have a discount or a deal... just because they want a nicer wedding on a shoestring budget. When my customers are so cash strapped, obviously my revenue goes down too... people are cutting back. But living expenses are the same & there is some resentment that stresses me out because BM does not support her daughter & we both work our fingers to the bone to provide for her ungratefulness... and she's getting more expensive as she gets older.

Family ~ Yep... ding ding ding. I knew this one was a big one for me. I hadn't thought of the last two issues as being very stressful to me but this one... first, we have SD & I what can I say that everyone hasn't heard (at least) ten times before? Then dealing with BM & Grandma. And the OTHER Grandma (MIL) and a husband that doesn't like confrontation unless it's with my adult kids... because THEY should be contributing more financially if they are still going to live at home. (I agree with him on that, BUT I also think he should be equally aggressive in going after BM for the money she owes.... and lately, he has) Then add in my adult son moving back home a couple of months ago because his roommate got involved with gang activity & brought it around him, so he moved back with us. And as much as I love DGS2, my whole life has been rearranged to be his "parent". I'm disappointed in both of his parents... his mom hardly sees him & his dad (my son) does not call often. They both have a lot of growing up to do. This month, it will be a year that I have been his legal guardian. I wonder if either one of them will ever pull it together to take over "parenting" so I can just be "grandma". The uncertainty of that situation is somewhat stressful too.

Health Problems ~ Hadn't given it much thought but I'm anemic, which makes me tire easily. I've got a thyroid disorder, which also causes fatigue. The long hours at work doesn't help the fatigue. I'm back drinking coffee to get going in the morning. And the reason I went to the doctor in the first place... that landed me in counseling... heartburn. Only, it isn't really heartburn. It was a debilitating pain in my gut that lasted for almost two weeks. Everyday, I would start to eat & the pain came on... I couldn't eat & nothing helped the pain. My therapist said it is from STRESS. It started the week before SD was to come back from Summer at her mom's.

So, I am trying to figure out how to manage the stress in my life. I did sign up for the full 8 week course but it doesn't start until October. DH & I are supposed to take a trip next weekend to a National Park. We'll be gone 3 days but even that has me stressed out because we are leaving my daughter in charge of the business by herself for the first time... and everyone getting married has decided that 9/10/11 is the date to marry this year... which makes it one of our busiest weekends. Any ideas? or Valium?

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--"DH & I are supposed to take a trip next weekend to a National Park. We'll be gone 3 days but even that has me stressed out because we are leaving my daughter in charge of the business by herself for the first time"--

You go, pretend nothing else matters right then right there and you shut down the homefront. Sure, DD may have a few tough moments, have to think fast on her feet...but you KNOW she can do this. She knows how important this business is to her mother, how much very one in her family depends on the family business...she is not going to let you down. You've taught her, she knows what to do and she will do fine. Sure, she may not do everything exactly the way you might do it if you were going to be there, but once you made the decisions to go and let her do this, let her do it. Leave it behind. You know deep down she can or you would not have entrusted your business to her.

One of the hardest things for myself to do is 'shut it down' and let other people help me. Actually I think I can be a bit of a perfectionist and I tend to do it all myself because I was long ago taught 'if it's worth doing it's worth doing right'...I have a problem at times letting others do what I deem in my head as my responsibility or must be a certain way. KWIM?

I've had to learn to let things 'roll off'. The world does not come to an end if I let someone make their own mistakes, not be too quick to jump in and 'fix-it' for them ect. As I've said many times here, I dig in the dirt. Seriously, I have found ways to release the tension and let loose of what I know deep down I don't have to actually be accountable for... or maybe I should say the only one who can and should be accountable for. If one of my kids screw up, I've had to realize that they will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on (and hopefully learn from it). I can't spare them from everything that might occur in their life and I can't sit and worry myself to pieces that they are being 'stupid' and making mistakes.

If your Dh has a problem with your adult children being around and not livingup to household expectations, work on that part. Put the little darlings to use. You don't have to do it all. If they live there they can help out with the household needs. My son (25) still lives at home (waiting for GF to finish school) and he is expected to be a part of this household for as long as he is here. Yes, he pays $100 a month rent. If I need somebody to run DD to school for me, yep, he can get up a bit earlier than normal and take her. If he's in town working he can pick up something for me and/or run an errand for me either before or after work. Was he thrilled to pieces at first of this? No. But he adjusted fast when told he could find somewhere else to live for $100 a month. He does not have to live here. He's welcome to, but if he does he has to act a part of the family.

There is not much you can do about the lack of parenting your SD's BM does. There is also not much you can do about how she 'mothers' in her own home. If and when she disappoints your SD, there really is little you can do (or that DH can do)...there is no magic wand to wave to shake sense into the BM. No magic words that can be told to her to make her wake up and realize the damage she inflicts upon the child. Accepting that is one of the biggest hurdles there may be. What you can do though is 'let it roll'. Yes, BM is nasty to you/DH. You can't fix that. Yes, BM is a deadbeat. You can't fix that. In other words, all you can 'fix' is how you/Dh reacts to it. How you/DH lets it affect you/him plays a major role in how much stress/tension you allow into your daily life.

I think the 'I will sit in my room and hide from Ima' needs to stop and stop instantly. It's something your Dh never should have allowed in the first place. The kid has to live there and as long as she does live there she needs to be expected to act like part of the family. No, she does not have to 'like' you, but she must be expected to respect you. You don't have to provide her the things her father can not afford this week or next (but you do)and she needs to be flat out told the extras will stop being provided if she continues to bit the hand that provides them. No, she may never appreciate what you do for her, but she can learn to respect you for it. You owe the kid nothing, she needs to learn that if she wants respect from you she must give respect in return.

Take out a big poster board and tape it to the back of the pantry door (or whatever works in your home) and write in sharpie the 'rules'. Be wordy. if she wants to play 'victim' be sure the rules actually say 'SD may go outside', 'SD may watch tv in whatever room she pleases'. Cut off the 'victim' route. There will be no question about 'I thought I had to stay in my room' if the rules actually say 'you do not have to stay in your room'.

I'd give her a chore list also. Not you, her father. Discuss with him what she can do beforehand to help out in the home as a family member. Then have Dh make the 'chore list' on the posterboard. Whatever seems fair and reasonable. Wash dishes? Clear table? Fold laundry? Run carpet sweeper on this or that days?

The 'rules' and the 'chores' are not a form of punsihment, they are the expectaions of living as a family in a household. Nobody is punishing her, simply expecting her to do things that everyone else in the household is expected to participate in. Maybe the list will include simple even fun things (even simple yet fun things can be helpful in the longrun). Perhaps she can be expected to 'play' with GS while you get dinner. Help GS pick up his toys? You might try giving her something that will allow her to feel 'important' and involved in being like a big sister to him. The more she feels she is needed and included in the daily stuff the more she might surprise you by SD beginning to act like she belongs and is wanted in the household (yes, I know she's wanted or DH/you would not put up with the way things have been, but maybe she needs to begin to 'feel' it for herself that she is). You/Dh can't help what her BM does, the way things are in BM's home, the shipping off to others on BM's weekends...but maybe she can begin to see that Dh/you have no control on what BM is all about all you both can do is see that she is provided with a home and familylife in your home.

Let her make stupid faces. Remember back in grade school the old saying 'sticks and stones may break my bones' , well stupid immature faces can't 'hurt' you either. Let her 'see' how silly and useless it is, make one back at her. That's right, once in a while give her right back the same silly immature face...and follow up with something like 'hmmmm, that didn't seem to work for you OR me either'. Release the tension right then right there.

IDK, just a few things to consider. Perhaps none of it will work and/or make any difference, but it might be worth a try.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:34AM
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My Mom gave me some very good advice when I was upset over my cold, moody husband. He was all I thought about every waking minute. Mom told me I was dwelling on his bad points and I was. She said think about his good qualities and he had a lot. It really helped me and I eventually applied it to every stressful situation.

I know your husband is not the problem, but redirecting your thoughts from any negative thinking will work.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 8:54PM
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"DH & I are supposed to take a trip next weekend to a National Park. We'll be gone 3 days but even that has me stressed out because we are leaving my daughter in charge of the business by herself for the first time"--

GRRRRR... I just got a call from DIL. We had plans to drop off DGS2 with her on Thursday for our weekend trip. Apparently, she started seeing a counselor that is trying to get her into a "program" ASAP so she likely won't be able to take him this weekend, or for the next month. She hasn't seen him in weeks as it is.

It's a good thing if she's working toward the goal of becoming a parent to him. BUT I don't think that's why she's doing this. She lives with her grandparents & my gut is telling me that she has been running wild (drinking again) & they are laying down the law, making her get treatment to continue living in their home. They seem to downplay to me, any problems she has and are vague with me about what's going on there. My son tells me he's gotten late night drunken phone calls from her. She is an alcoholic. She's been through two rehabs already before she was out of high school.

I feel a little selfish for being angry about her canceling. Obviously, I don't want to send DGS to a home where she has such problems that she is trying to get into a program immediately. Even if she doesn't get into the program this week, I now have concerns about sending him period, since I don't know what's really going on there. But, I've been planning this weekend for months. It's paid for & all the time spent training my daughter to manage the place. I even hired someone to help her a couple of days ago. Now, I may have to cancel or take the baby with me, which would not be a big deal if it wasn't a trip with a car club group that would probably not enjoy having a baby there. UGH!!!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 4:20PM
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Don't cancel your weekend. You need this and you've worked hard and deserve a break. If you really feel GS will be a hardship on the other then Dh/you/GS still go and do something. It might not be exactly the weekend you had planned on but you can still have an enjoyable relaxing trip.

You might call a few of the others, explain the last minute no babysitter for GS and see what they think of you bringing him along... perhaps some other kids really are attending. You can kinda 'judge' for yourself how well you think he will do/behave. You know him and know what he is like and what would be too much for him or what you know you can likely expect as far as how it will go for him.

I have taken my DD places when she was a toddler when I was about your age. She was well behaved, liked to travel and did so well. She was happy and enjoyable to have around and she sleep some to where I still had quiet enjoyable moments relaxing with my hubby. If I thought she would have been a terroor and/or miserable the trip, I would have left her with my mother or cancel.

if you really think the car club trip is a no-go now, then spend a bit of time this week looking into whatelse you'll be able to actually do. If your husband does not mind taking the GS, the three of you just might have a good time doing this and giving the three of you quiet one on one bonding.

Even if you end up going nowhere, at least still take the weekend of and relax. You have prepared for this at work and you do deserve to treat yourself to a 'me' weekend. No going by work, no calling to see how it's going. For three days it does not exist. You owe this to yourself Ima. Don't look at the possible cancelled car club trip as a another kick, if it's does get cancelled, take the opportunity to still find and do something enjoyable/relaxing. You're good at plans and arrangements, you can still come up with something...I'm sure your DH was also looking forward to a relaxing weekend with you, there is no need to totally just forget it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:52AM
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Oh Ima!! You're in LA-area right? Swing down here to San Dieog and leave DGS with me for the weekend!!! Me and DD would love to have a little baby to hang out with for a few days :)

Seriously, you have my sympathy. Take care, (((Ima)))

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Sorry. I had a lousy weekend & threw myself a pity party.

We aren't canceling our weekend. My DS22 is going to watch him for most of the weekend. I'm confident they can handle it. It was JUST so frustrating to get that phone call on such short notice... we arranged this with DIL three weeks ago & she hasn't seen DGS since then, I couldn't imagine she'd cancel it. But, it was more of a sign of how bad things are in her life right now & just like BM calling DH on Friday saying she didn't want SD... these "mothers" get to pick & choose when they want to be a mom & when it interfere's with THEIR life. That's what I'm so tired of... dealing with other people's crap while they do whatever they please ~ it just sucks the life outta me sometimes. It almost feels like I'm a magnet for attracting this BS into my life. My exBF's exW dumped her kids on him & split, in the nearly ten years we were together, I can count on my fingers how many times she saw her kids for a few hours(never overnight)... BM was (seemingly) involved with SD with 50/50 custody before I came along & after we married, she dumped SD on us a year later... and then my son marries DIL who dumped DGS (9mo) on me as soon as my son boarded the plane to Afghanistan. WTF??? I keep trying to figure out AM I DOING SOMETHING to bring this into MY life???

Anyway, I appreciate the advice/opinions/etc. I have to tell Vala that Yes, DH is a big part of the problem. We had yesterday off for Labor Day & I told him last week that I wanted to do something as a family since we rarely get a day off together. Instead, he decided to go ride motorcycles with his brother & I stayed home with the baby, stewing a little because I felt defeated & too exhausted to go do anything else. Our next "day off" together will be Thanksgiving. (I'm not counting next weekend in the same way because we are taking time off to go on this trip & will be with 10 other couples.. not exactly a family day.) It just irritated me... on top of already being irritated by all the other things. Then the phone call from DIL was the straw that broke the camel's back... BUT, I really do hope she pulls her life together, not just for DGS but for herself.

BTW, we live in Northern CA.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 12:40AM
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Ima, I'm glad you are still going!

" I keep trying to figure out AM I DOING SOMETHING to bring this into MY life???"

I think it's wise to question your actions and behavior if the same unpleasant and/or unhealthy scenario keeps repeating in your life. In your case, it is difficult for me to see how anything you are doing or have done could be attracting these women towards you (other than being a wonderful and caring Mom, SM, Grandma, surrogate mom....) But I think it is possible that this keeps repeating because of the men in your life. Perhaps a lot of the men that have been in your life are the good guys, the kind who want to "help" people, the kind who always see the good in everyone and won't see anything negative unless and until it is repeatedly right in front of their faces - well, just try to imagine that you wanted to be the kind of woman who would see their kids at random intervals and at your convenience. At the same time, whether it's because somewhere deep down you care a tiny bit for your kids, or it's because you want your kids to at least appear to be taken care of so that you can parade them around, so you want somebody who's going to raise them for you. Who would you pick to be your baby-daddy? Not some player with fourteen children he never sees nor supports! Nope, you'd want a "good guy" - the kind who would raise the kids, the kind that you could guilt into not making you pay child support, the kind that would be so happy for the kids' sake whenever you actually deigned to see the children that he'd rarely say anything negative to you. If said good guy has a woman in his life any guilt about your kids not having a maternal figure could be gone as well. So maybe that is the common denominator!

I hope you have a great weekend!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 9:12AM
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