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Old 02-09-2009, 12:08 AM   #1
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I need to know how to speak to my mom

She lives at my house. She doesn't do much around here, I just ask her to watch the kids if I'm headed to work. Hubby has to drive me because I don't drive. I believe mom to be an undiagnosed bi polar disorder, among other things. She seems like she'll be fine........... and then all of a sudden its too much for her. Monday through Friday its just the 2 year old she has to watch while I go to work, because the other kids have kids club at church. Every other weekend its all 5.

I had three days off this week all in a row, so I got to see first hand how she is. She yells about everything, to the point where I was telling her it was no big deal and then she kept up and I snapped SHUT UP! I hate leaving her with the kids anyway, and usually don't leave them with her for more than 30 minutes. If I have to go out I wait till they are asleep.

I just don't know what to do. She's horrible to the kids and I hate it. And then I get fed up with her talking to them/talking LOUDLY to them/SCREAMING at them. (she can't hear so she talks loudly anyway) Then the kids keep up with whatever it is they are doing to get yelled at.....and eventually I get tired of the cycle and ask them to go upstairs. But that makes me feel bad because sometimes I just feel they are being kids. Sometimes they are all getting out of hand. And then I understand it, because I want to yell too. This weekend I threatened to send my mom to her room!

And then the baby. I don't agree with her parenting style and she doesn't agree with mine. And she gets so frustrated so easily. A few weeks ago she got frsutrated changing the baby's daiper because I sewed his overall snaps shut. He's 2 and he pulls it open and yanks off the diaper and pees on the floor. Anyway, I guess she ripped all the stiches open, and then realized I sewed it shut on purpose. She hid the overalls. But now the baby won't wear them and cries when he sees them.

So what do I say or do? Hubby says she has to do something to stay here, even if its to watch baby for 30 minutes while I go to work. He says if she can't find something to do she'll have to go. And yet, she can't cook, hates to clean and is horrible at it, can't do laundry, etc. She's like one of my children, if I ask her to do it I have to follow behind her and fix all she misses. Oh and dishes. She can't do dishes. She leaves food stuck every where.

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Old 02-09-2009, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

Sweetie, i feel for you, but you have to understand bi-polar. it is something that must be treated. Also, I know that patients with mental illness often dont want medication at all for various reasons they will tell you. So that is why mental illness is the hardest illness to treat. Also, know that bi-polar and ADD is often confused so some of the issues might include unable to focus (such as frustration with kids and leaving food on plates. )

My mother sounds a lot like yours but she lives on her own/low stress so she is pretty calm as far as I know. She is convinced she is not ill anymore but put her under the same stress of raising children again and she would flip right back. It is not something that goes away no matter what the patient says. Stress makes it worse. So I think u could use alternative therapies to treat but u must be dilligent and also change the diet to a low-carb diet, increase excersise, stress-reduction techniques, etc.

I am not sure why u have a bi-polar person caring for your children on a daily basis. Caring for a 2 year old OR a baby is so stressful, so put them together and its a double-whammy. Either u need to stay at home or find other care. Is there any way u can explain this to your mom with out hurting her feelings?

Last, Was there any kind of agreement when your mother moved in? Is she holding up her end of the deal? If not then maybe it is too much for her and u need to re-negotiate. Secondly, if there was no *agreement* then why need strings attached? She is family, your mother and she needs help. At least give her the understanding and try to get her some help. If your DH can help understand that this woman is suffering and needs help. Decide what is best for her. Better to keep her there to help her or better for her to be off on her own to reduce stress, I dont know. If she won't get help in the way you decide is best, then u have to decide whether to keep her there. Either way, know that there is no wrong choice. what is best for your family AND her is the right choice & no one can tell u.

I would also suggest posting this on the special needs board so mamas with bi-polar kids can make other suggestions & support.
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Last edited by vintagegyrl; 02-09-2009 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:11 AM   #3
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

You need to find mom a new living arrangement because your kids should come first! Unless she agrees to counseling and meds then it would be a no go for me.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:25 AM   #4
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

Find her a new living arrangement. She chooses not to do things like cleaning, laundry or dishes correctly. No offense but a trained monkey can do those things.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

I know there is very likely more to it than you wrote in your post, but from the sounds of just that I don't think your mom is bi-polar. I have an aunt who is bi-polar and she lived with us and then a few blocks away from us for a while when I was a kid. There's a lot more to it than going from 'fine' frustrastion and yelling. That being said, you obviously feel something is not right. Have you ever talked to her about seeing someone? Universities that over psychology programs often have cheap or free therapy. Different forms depending on what the school is teaching. The students are supervised by experienced clinical psychologists. Just an idea.

If you want to resolve some of the communication issues I say take something like the overalls to start with. Ask her (calmly!) why she felt the need to hide them. Tell her that you don't like that she has to hide things from you (or that you hide things from each other). If she opened them not realizing why you had sewn them shut - she could have come to you and said I'm sorry I opened these, but now I realize you had done it intentionally. Tell her that if she approaches you with things like this you can work together to work out the problem without resorting to anger.

You mentioned yelling. Maybe she doesn't realize she yells so much. You said you yell as well. So maybe you could talk to her and say that you want to work on your yelling because you feel like you yell too much and maybe the two of you could work on it together and be a support system for each other. This means not yelling at each other as well.

Tell her the environment you and the family are living in is not working because of these ____ issues. You want to be able to have her continue living with you but things need to become more harmonious for that to happen. Tell her you need more help around the house and you would like her to take responsibility for some/one of the chores... allowing her to choose what. If she chooses she will likely do a better job than if you say "from now on you sweep and mop the floors".

Another thought would be to do some family therapy together and work on communication. It might be a way to get her into see a therapist (which may lead to helping find out what her 'problem' (sorry, lack of a better word) is. AND it will help your relationships. All of them - communication is something a lot of people could use help with. Family therapy is a useful tool - even for those who are not totally dysfunctional.

Good Luck!
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

How old is your mom?? I think this is a bad situation. It is bad for your mom and your family. If she is able to live alone, she should not be living with you. IT just causes too many problems, you will both start to resent one another. Is that what you want?? You have a lot of thinking to do. But I thik it is time for mom to leave.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

Its not that I enjoy the idea of her caring for my kids. I have no choice sometimes. I work from 3-11:30. I arranged for the other 4 school aged kids to go to kids club at the church so they won't be coming home while she's there alone. I try to put my 2 year old (whom I call the baby) down for a nap just as I'm leaving. So my hubby has enough time to take me to work. Or if he won't go down before i leave I have hubby take baby with us. Its the occasions when he doesn't stay asleep long that she ends up with him.

She refuses to get help or even realize she has a problem. She says she's been like this for as long as she can remember, so there's no problem.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

if she's incapable of cleaning and cooking and is not good with your kids, i would find other living arrangements for her.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:14 AM   #9
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

I'm kindof still shocked that you would leave him alone with her at all? I mean what did she do to him with those pants that he cries when he sees them? Even putting him down for a nap while hubby takes you is def not good either. he shouldn't be with her are AT ALL. You always have a choice.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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Re: I need to know how to speak to my mom

It sounds like you are in a tough situation, but honestly if I were you, I'd be talking to my mom about a new living situation. I firmly believe that kids always come first, and if your LO cries looking at his overalls, he was obviously traumatized by your mother's behavior and IMO that is not okay.

If she must remain with you, I would certainly not leave her alone with the children. It only takes a second for someone to snap and hurt a child. If she must do a job, have her fold clothes, empty the dishwasher, or put away groceries.
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