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Old 06-17-2009, 12:42 AM   #1
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Feeling kind of depressed here...

So, I've been here in Korea for three months now. Made a friend though right now she's on vacation back in the US. Cool. She'll be back in July and then we'll be back to doing the play dates again.

To be honest, I really need some social interaction WITHOUT children or at the very least, without my daughter. While I love her dearly, she's three which has been the most difficult age to deal with since she was a newborn. Going out with her is a constant challenge and I'm just not up to it anymore. I find myself getting angry at her but I hold it in. In the meantime, I don't find the outings fun because even something as simple as going to the store or out the eat is a major challenge of trying to get her to listen, not whine and cry for things she wants, not run around like a crazy person, not MOOCH off of people on the subway (doesn't help that she's adorable and everyone LOVES her so they all give her stuff including candy), not scream or get mad for not getting her way, the list goes on. She's been very difficult since shortly before she turned three.

Since we couldn't afford plane tickets for DD and me back in November, DH came over on his own (his plane ticket was paid for) and I stayed with family. I took care of DD pretty much 24/7 in circumstances that were VERY trying and other than the occasional break when I was able to get into town, really didn't get much help the four months we were away from DH. We finally get here and things really haven't changed much. DD still requires a lot of attention, CONSTANT attention. She doesn't allow DH and I to talk without doing something to bring attention on herself. DH and I have not had a night to ourselves for a date in almost two years. We're in a studio apartment and therefore, even finding time to be intimate has been a challenge.

I'm just getting very depressed these days. Doesn't help that June is a difficult month for me as it is but I really need to have some grown-up time WITHOUT kids all over the place. Yeah, I can go off by myself but that gets lonely and doesn't really satisfy my need for adult interaction. I don't know what to do. I'm not the greatest at meeting people IRL, I'm very shy with a speech impediment and not exactly on the thin side so I'm very self-conscious. I'm still trying to figure things out here including being able to talk somewhat with people but it's been hard. DH doesn't get it. He's the better parent out of the two of us, it all comes very naturally to him while I constantly struggle to have any sense of patience with DD. It also hasn't helped that DD is very pushy and has no sense of boundaries and it is because of that that I'm really starting to push weaning even though I wanted to be sure she had adjusted to the move before doing that. I'm just getting to where I cannot handle her lifting my shirt all the time and pawing at me.

I don't know. I'm just having a lot of issues right at the moment and I'm just really burned out and I'm almost to the point where I just want to leave them both, go home for awhile and just I don't know, lock myself up somewhere.

And now DD, who is SUPPOSED to be potty trained, NOT only peed in her pull-up (because I put her back in those because she was CONSTANTLY wetting her panties) but got it all over the floor too ALL because I wouldn't pick her up and put her on the potty, ALL because my attention isn't on her 24/7.

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Old 06-17-2009, 01:46 AM   #2
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...


It's a tough age I know. My 3 yo ds drives me many times as well. Don't get me started on the PT... sigh... it is a lost cause I think he will go to college in dipes .
Remember she is a only child and she is wanting attention even if it is not the good kind. Hang in there Janine, it will get better.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:50 AM   #3
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

Oops sorry for misspelling your name Janeen!! I am nak and super tired LOL.
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:00 AM   #4
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

Argh! DH has been home not even an hour and DD has been AWFUL! Everything DH has told her to do has ended with her just absolutely flat out being defiant. I really, REALLY hate this age.

Don't worry about misspelling my name, it's not the first time anyone has done it. lol
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:53 AM   #5
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

It is a tough age. My kid potty trained probably because he was in Kindergarten (and partly cuz of his Thomas underwear). I think the kid has to decide they want it. I can understand the frustration tho!

Him going part-time to Kindergarten was really a life saver. Is there a preschool or someone who can watch your child for a few hours a week? Are there playgroups you can go to? I know it is not exactly 'me' time for you but if the little one is distracted, it helps.

If you feel you are ready to ween and it is no longer comfortable for you, then it may be time. Congratulations for 3 years of b******!

Do you spend time daily on a hobby? For me, knitting is relaxing and my 'me' time.

Hugs from another one 'not on the thin side.' Keep us posted.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:01 AM   #6
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

We're in South Korea, not military, for an undetermined amount of time. Hard to say because DH is an ESL teacher and the current director is a not very nice word. He has actually fired DH but won't sign a release because he hasn't found DH's replacement. DH could be replaced at anytime and the Department of Labor here really won't help out at all, they side with the Koreans here and have already done so in one dispute DH had with the director. On top of that, the director is not taking out pension OR insurance so that's all iffy too.

SO...while there is usually kind of a play group that meets up once a week or every other week, there really isn't much of an option for preschool (doubt DH would put her in one anyway as he intends to homeschool) and I don't know anyone enough to babysit (my friend lives an hour away and comes for the play group herself each week and right now, she's spending a month in the US with her family).

As for hobbies, everything related to any of my hobbies got left, I couldn't really spare the room in the suitcase. And I wasn't sure what I was going to be able to find for supplies. Would love to get back into scrapbooking or even something different like sewing but things are INSANELY expensive here and it's really hard to justify paying for anything when we're still not entirely sure how long we're going to stay. As it is, we pretty much waited until the LAST minute to get our visas. The tourist visas expired last Wednesday and because things had been SO iffy between DH and his boss, we really weren't sure what was going to happen. However, we could still end up leaving at any time. DH doesn't really want to stay anymore. This is his second job here that's gone down the tubes (because no one wants men teaching Kindergarten here) and he's fed up but at the same time, at home, he can only work entry level jobs and make a little more than minimum wage. Here at least we don't need to be on food stamps and we can send some money home but at the same time, the apartment is insanely small and my daughter has been a very difficult child ever since her father left back in November.

While most of the time I'm able to hang in there, I go through periods where I really start to feel I'm going to lose it. And the fact that it's June doesn't help. I have some huge issues with things that happened the end of June and even though it's been six years, it still has a huge effect on me.

I am beginning to think that it's time for weaning. While I would love to let her decide for herself, she has gotten way too demanding about it. She doesn't respect my personal boundaries at all and it's very frustrating. DH wanted me to get to two, after that he's was fairly ambivalent. Just kept on going because I knew we were going to have this big move and I didn't want her to have a hard time adjusting. But now, I'm really starting to resent it. It was one thing when the idea was for all of us to leave in October for Korea but then DH left in November and it took four months for us to join him, MUCH longer than we had originally planned. And now we've been here three months and things no more stable than they were seven months ago. It's just all very frustrating.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:28 PM   #7
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

Sorry you're having a rough time of it, Mama. ...

As for your hubby's job situation, he has basically no rights in the eyes of the labor board until he's been at the job more than 90 days. After he passes the 90-day mark, they should become slightly more helpful.

Has his boss given him a written notice of termination? If so, he should be able to take that to immigration and request an exit order, effectively cancelling his visa and freeing him to get a new job w/o needing a letter of release. (This also provides a small amount of legal retribution to his boss, who will himself be behind the eight-ball if he loses his token native speaker before securing a replacement.)

If the boss has NOT given him a written notice of termination and he has been employed more than 90 days, he technically hasn't been fired -- and he cannot legally be fired without the school either giving him 30 days notice or 30 days severance pay.

As far as pension/insurance, the school is required by law to pay those and can get in trouble for not doing so. I would more concerned about not having health coverage than about getting the school in trouble. That said, he *can* apply for national health coverage on his own with proof of employment and earnings. It's been years since I've had to deal with sleazy hagwon owner (in the form of an independent, fundamental Baptist preacher who apparently cut all the verses of the labor being worthy of his hire, etc. out of his King James Bible), so I don't know where he needs to go to get the situation resolved. He should be able to get recent "been there done that" advice of one of the expat message boards, though.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vickul View Post
Sorry you're having a rough time of it, Mama. ...

As for your hubby's job situation, he has basically no rights in the eyes of the labor board until he's been at the job more than 90 days. After he passes the 90-day mark, they should become slightly more helpful.

Has his boss given him a written notice of termination? If so, he should be able to take that to immigration and request an exit order, effectively cancelling his visa and freeing him to get a new job w/o needing a letter of release. (This also provides a small amount of legal retribution to his boss, who will himself be behind the eight-ball if he loses his token native speaker before securing a replacement.)

If the boss has NOT given him a written notice of termination and he has been employed more than 90 days, he technically hasn't been fired -- and he cannot legally be fired without the school either giving him 30 days notice or 30 days severance pay.

As far as pension/insurance, the school is required by law to pay those and can get in trouble for not doing so. I would more concerned about not having health coverage than about getting the school in trouble. That said, he *can* apply for national health coverage on his own with proof of employment and earnings. It's been years since I've had to deal with sleazy hagwon owner (in the form of an independent, fundamental Baptist preacher who apparently cut all the verses of the labor being worthy of his hire, etc. out of his King James Bible), so I don't know where he needs to go to get the situation resolved. He should be able to get recent "been there done that" advice of one of the expat message boards, though.
Hey, just curious, are you doing ESL? DH was in Dongducheon and I hope you aren't working for his old boss. He had a TON of issues with her, didn't help that the co-teacher was the boss's cousin.

He started at this job March 2nd. He saw the labor board the first week of June, I think June 5th. So, wouldn't that have been 90 days? Or it is 90 work days? We have been here over 90 days now and we got here about 10 days after DH started working for this school.

He has NO written word of termination. And I STILL think part of the reason he was told he was being replaced was because we changed our mind on taking the one apartment. We wanted a bigger place but we could not afford the 5 million won key money. We needed to make sure that we had at least a month's worth of money set aside to live on should the director decide that he can't pay his teachers for a month (he had done that before though not since DH has been there). Since DH has been here, he has only been paid on time with the full amount of his salary ONCE and that's been out of three payments. He's supposed to be paid on the 10th of each month. April, he was paid on the 13th and he had a day docked because he didn't start working until the second, the first was a SUNDAY. May, he was paid on the 11th and was docked real estate feels for helping us look for a new place and when we changed our mind, the director having to find us a new apartment because he had already placed the one we were in up for sale and it had already been bought (which I never understood and NEVER liked the pressure of that at all). Not to mention, we would have had to change our minds anyway since DH was told he was being replaced not even a week after we decided not to take the apartment! Again, either it was that or one of the reasons the director decided to replace him was because we changed our mind.

So now, we're just waiting and trying to take it day by day. We finally went to get our visas and now they have my passport and DD's until next Wednesday but again, not knowing how long we're REALLY going to be here, having DH pretty much SICK of the whole ESL process which kind of sucks because he spent over FIVE YEARS making plan to come back here because he had FINALLY decided he wanted to maybe make a career out of it but even he has his limits when it comes to being screwed over and he's reached it.

The apartment situation is starting to drive us all nuts. We have at least a little more space because this place has a loft so DD has sort of a room for herself but it's a loft set up for small children or very, very short people as from floor to ceiling is not over 5 feet, if even. That, along with no bathtub, no oven, and no dryer is making life a little frustrating. At least there is an AC because this place would be absolutely unlivable but the phone that's here doesn't call out (and was set up that way), DH killed the cell phone, and the director didn't transfer the internet or cable that was set up at the other place and has been giving DH a hard time about that because there's a year contract required and the director has no intention of keeping DH for the year. It's just VERY frustrating and DH getting fired from the last job was the reason it took so long to get here (and more or less for the same reason as this one, the moms don't want him teaching kindergarten) because we weren't even sure he would find another job (especially since the director was a WITCH and wouldn't give him a decent reference, fortunately the vice-director didn't have an agenda and was a little nicer about things). The whole thing has just been very frustrating and if it wasn't for the fact that things at home would be WORSE, I would SO be on a plane heading back but to go back to trying to figure out how to pay rent every month, have a working decent car (which we have NEVER had and part of why we're here, to save up enough money for a GOOD car), get back on county assistance since we NEVER really get enough coming in especially since I'm still trying to stay at home with DD, etc. We're pretty much on our own since my family isn't overly fond of DH and they don't really like me all that much either. It's just all very frustrating to try and figure out. I KNOW I would do a lot better once we get figure out how long we're going to be here; we've been on the fence for MONTHS because of this guy and still are because we don't know when or even IF this guy is going to officially let him go and if he does, whether that will give DH enough time to look for a DECENT (non-hagwon) job or not.

And because we're so on the fence, I really feel we're short changing DD. I don't get her a lot of stuff because I don't know how long we'll be here and I don't want to buy a lot of stuff we would then have to get rid of. She's got a bunch of stuff that was left behind because we just couldn't bring it all and she's just at a very challenging age in general that's made worse now because of this move. And even being able to talk to my husband, TRY to make plans, TRY to make large decisions like where are we going to live when we finally DO go back home, is made impossible by DD who feels that she has to be the center of attention EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. It's just all very stressful.

But, I do enjoy the area, I do enjoy getting out and doing things (when DD isn't being a total pain to be around), and I think the subway system rocks. But there are just SO many issues we're dealing with and I think it's really starting to pile up on me. And it doesn't help that in preparation for doing this for two years (since that was the original plan because I HATE moving constantly), we pretty much got rid of everything we owned so we have pretty much no furniture, no appliances, no car, not much of anything really and it's all stuff we'll have to replace when we get back which DH doesn't really understand when he starts spouting off about going back home. And it makes me mad because I FINALLY gave him permission to do this because he kept going ON and ON and ON about it, making plans behind my back, getting his transcripts without even telling me, making preparations and all of that because this was the HUGE thing he wanted to do because he HATED all the jobs that he was working at home and the fact that he couldn't get anyway but now that we're here, after everything DD and I have gone through to be here with DH, NOW, he's tired of it and wants to go back home.

It's just VERY maddening. And being in a country where I can't read the language or speak the language and have trouble learning other languages due to hearing loss (I have to lipread just to understand most people in English) and couldn't even get through a four year college BECAUSE I cannot get all the way through a language class, it's just very hard. I'm starting to feel very isolated and very lonely. And yet, I can't stand to be around my own daughter right now because she's constantly whining and screaming and all I want to do is scream at her when she does that. It's just a very difficult situation and I cannot even begin to figure what to do anymore and DH is completely and totally clueless and blames me for having a crappy attitude, especially towards my daughter so I don't know. I just can't get anyone to really understand anymore.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:46 PM   #9
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

Yes, I'm in ESL, in Dongducheon, and probably at the same school he was at. ... I previously taught at this school and its sister school (in a neighboring town) for more than four years, though, so am hopeful that our return is profitable for both us and the school.

That said, space doesn't come cheaply over here, ovens are still considered "luxury" items, and bathtubs are reserved for "family-sized" apartments -- which are well beyond the budget of the typical hagwon in or near the major cities. The Ministry of Education sometimes offers larger-than-average apartments, as do some language institues in rural areas. Depending on how important an oven is to you, it's possible to get new western-style ranges (four burners) and ovens for W600,000 or so. They are smaller than American ovens, though. My American cookie sheets wouldn't fit in the one I bought last time around, and an 18-pound turkey was a tight fit. Microwave/convection oven combos can also be found for W260,000-300,000.

As for getting things for your daughter, if you DO buy some things for her and end up leaving, it's fairly cheap to ship stuff back to the States via surface mail. I know that it's crucial to my mental well-being to feel like DD is not being "short-changed" by our living here. ...

One other idea -- A lot of the larger stores offer child care in the store for a couple of thousand won an hour or less while you shop. I know I'm reluctant to let DD out of my sight. (In fact, last week was the first time we were ever apart for more than 10-15 minutes!) But most of these places are open enough for you to be able to see in and see what's happening whenever you choose. Perhaps DD could get some supervised play time while you shop for groceries or eat lunch in the food court or even just sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or some bubble tea and recharge/regroup?
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:48 AM   #10
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Re: Feeling kind of depressed here...

I may have to look into the supervised play area thing but I'm a little nervous about that since not too long ago when DH had her at a play area (not a child care one but just one in the department store), her shoes were stolen. They were crocs and we had just gotten them due to a sale the store had. DH did get her another pair but it really affected her. She started talking a lot about wanting to go home. Since it was one of those places where you have to take the shoes off, it really bugged me and DH had even put her shoes on top of his, they were gone when they went back to them when it was time to leave. Pretty pathetic considering how busy that place gets.

DD also gets a TON of attention here and I would be a little concerned about that too because people come up and touch her and her hair all the time. If you haven't experience that yet, just wait. It's really bad with DD sometimes. DH is pretty laid back but people are REALLY starting to go overboard with it, touching her face, her hair, whenever they see her and giving her candy. They've taken pictures of DD too. It's pretty crazy.

Yeah, one of the things that really bugged DH was that the director placed him in a really small apartment that would have been barely big enough for the three of us but was placing other teachers in NICER apartments that were not only bigger but Americanized. He still thinks that part of the reason she let him go was because he wasn't happy with the apartment and she felt he should have taken whatever she gave him. I really have not been very impressed so far with how the directors seem to treat many of their employees.

I wish a more rural area were more feasible but we don't eat Korean food. DH won't eat any unclean meats nor will he allow DD to and I don't eat seafood. We would end up starving if we didn't have access to Western food. As it is, I don't eat very much these days. DH has gotten pretty clever with the burner and stuff but I do wonder about Thanksgiving. Doesn't look like it's going to be much of one this year unless we go to either Uno's or Outback.

The big thing DD wants right now that I have a VERY hard time rationalizing the expense for is a bike. Around here, they are almost 100,000 won or more and when we're not sure how long we're going to stay, it's really hard to want to put the money down on one. I don't think that would be very easy to ship back home either or even find a place to store it here. And right now, it's her BIG obsession. Every time she sees one, she wants to ride it and she rides the bike at the one apartment we go to for play dates all the time. It's really hard to say no but it's a lot of money to pay. Bikes are just not that expensive in the states and I would almost rather wait and get her one when we finally get home. Just don't know when that will be.
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