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By Rebecca Teti


 

Tuesday: Open Forum

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

This is the Open Forum Coffee Talk. That means ... anything goes. Ask a question, make a suggestion, share a story, offer some advice -- the floor is yours!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • Help with a brother in law, please. My brother in law has lived through a bitter divorce, that he brought on himself by a violent act that included a house and an ax...no BODY was hurt, but everything was pretty much destroyed. His wife left, of course, and has full custody of their two young boys, and he was only allowed to have supervised visits for about 3 years while going through counseling, anger management and parenting classes. Now even though she is difficult, I understand why she left him. I would have too, but she hasn't been in contact with us, and last I knew she is negative and pretty much on drugs and alcohol all the time. Now as of last year, he has earned the court's trust to see the boys when he has the visitation rights...which is every two weeks. Ex-wife moved across the state with the boys, without telling anyone, which made it hard for B- I- Law to see them. {It's about a 6 hour trip without kids in the car}. Here's my dilemma: he doesn't know how to handle them, much less PARENT them, they are not well-behaved AT ALL and he believes that every time he comes across the state, he can just drop in! Additionally, one has scary/life threatening food allergies, to foods we eat, pretty much daily, and the other one is just super picky and wants anything "else" than what I have made. Now for the last four visits this last couple of months, I have bent over backwards and cooked up a storm of all the things he said they like. We have planned cooky baking and snow fort making. Going to the lake, and the park. And I am DONE! I have 5 kids I am trying to raise, and it is NO FUN for them when the cousins come over. They really dread it. *I* dread it. Now I just got a phone call that he is coming over. I need help with my boundaries because my husband, will not. He feels like we should always help, but he doesn't help. I end up doing all of the cleaning, putting all nut, dairy and other stuff away, dip everything in 409, and making the menu, for 3 very un-appreciative guests. Ugh!

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 9:40 AM by Lynn

  • I feel like I am losing my mind! Hormones are raging, and I feel angry, irritated and frustrated pretty much all day! What is wrong with me????my hubby is thinking I am "always" mad, and don't want to have relations with him [I would like to, but my cycles are not normal, and as much as I love our children 15 years down to 2, I would probably have a nervous breakdown if I get pregnant right now.] I have a few health problems that I am working on, as well as losing 50 or so pounds, and at 46 years old, it ain't easy! Any advice? Any books that could shed some light on this depressed, sour outlook I seem to have? Normally I just love life, and am an eternal optimist. Right now, everything sucks....and I feel like a dark cloud is all around me...help

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 9:48 AM by Antique Mommy

  • Hi Antique Mommy, I am another "40 something" and will be eagerly reading for ideas...until then, I'll pray for you, and hope some of the ladies out here in F&F / Catholic Digest will be able to help!

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:01 AM by Donna L.

  • Antique Mommy, I had a simliar experience ie feelings of anger, irritation after the birth of my 3rd son. I won't go into the whole story but it took specifically timed blood tests based on my cycle to figure out the problem--my estorgen and progestrone had bottomed out after delivery and never recovered. I ended up taking HCG shots for 3 specific days during my cycle and it has made all the difference in the world. Due to your age, I'm wondering if this could be part of the problem? I will say I'm not a big fan of taking drugs/medicine and it took some convincing on my OB's part to get me to try the shots but I'm so glad I did and so are my sons and my husband. For more information you might want to check out the napro technology website www.naprotechnology.com and click on Premenstrual Syndrome. There is some information there about progestrone/estrogen support and common symptoms.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:16 AM by Jenny

  • Lynn: How long do they visit? Are they staying the whole weekend of his visitation or just stopping by on their way back to your brother-in-laws place? You should start with the length of the visit. They can come for the afternoon, or whatever time frame makes sense. Once the weather gets better, maybe you can even plan an activity at a neutral location. No worrying about scrubbing everything down, and when it is done you both move on (no worrying about how you are going to politely kick them out). In terms of the cooking, make sure there are things they can eat, but don't feel like you need to go further than that. I mean, don't serve foods with allergens, but don't worry so much about preferences. You are right to set some boundaries. Another way to set some boundaries is not being so available. If he calls on Wednesday to say he is coming over Friday --- sorry, you have other commitments! But also keep in mind that you can set a good example here. First, an example of good parenting. Second, you are also setting an example for your kids. If some of them are old enough, talk to them about how frustrating it is to work around this situation, but also talk about why you do it anyway --- because they are family, because you can be a good example, whatever your reasons are.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:16 PM by Andrea

  • I am looking for some ideas to celebrate a long-distance baby shower. My husband's sister is expecting her first child in June. I live in Indiana, she lives in California, one of her sisters is in Virginia, parents are in Pennsylvania. We are definitely not getting together for a baby shower! Her husband's family lives an hour away in California, but I haven't really heard of any shower plans. We will get them a nice present regardless, and my husband and I will be visiting them in March (our first real trip without kids!) and her parents will be visiting in April. But I would love to come up with some sort of creative way to celebrate together in a meaningful way --- and, no, I'm not too interested in a Skype shower. Has anyone out there pulled something like this off, and what did you do?

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:22 PM by Andrea

  • Just want to share: my daughter is extremely sensitive, and I just discovered that punishing the *toy* works so much better than punishing *her* (yet she still gets the point). Case in point: if she's not supposed to throw toys in the house, yet she does it anyway... I sit the toy down and tell it it's in time out for awhile because it forgot not to go bouncing across the house. My daughter watches these "talks" in amazement, yet they are never addressed to her and she is just a spectator. Results (in terms of following rules) are the same as if we sat HER down for a talk... yet without her crying. I'm posting this as an idea for others with sensitive kids AND because I would love to know if anyone sees a reason *not* to keep doing this??? (My daughter is 3.)

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:51 PM by jen

  • Thanks Andrea, I have talked to my older kids, and the last several visits we have tried to do our best, it is just HARD! {It is sad to say, but our summer vacation, that we spent closer to his home, was kind of ruined because my husband felt sorry for them and invited them to the cabin we rented-they broke some things - accidentally - but then hid them, and we didn't find out until the owners charged us. } My brother in law does not seem to want to try? He just keeps walking out of wherever we are, to be away from them,I guess what bugs me a lot, hope I don't sound whiny, is that he does expect to be here, and have foods served just like his mother did when he had to have supervised visits. He also asked if he could just drop them off so he could go back to the hotel (where they are at night) and sleep for a few hours! !!!!! I wish *I* had someone watch over my kids so I could sleep....come on! He only has them for a couple of days twice a month. He needs to "Man up" and be the dad! Sheesh! I have tried to show ways to work with the cousins, but honestly they are really difficult, un-nerving, non-communicative little brats and I have no desire to ever see them again! I know all about helping someone in need, but I really am feeling taken advantage of---I think charity is wonderful but this situation is NOT my fault...I don't think it will ever be perfect, nothing this side of Heaven is---I'm also angry that B-I-Law went from visiting once every 4 years, rarely calling or writing and basically paying little to no attention to our family he suddenly wants tons of help in a tough situation every few weeks! Gah!

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:53 PM by Lynn

  • Lynn - have you tried taking a more "bad cop" type stance on their fod-related behaviour when they are at your house? I have a very spoiled, picky little nephew who comes over to play every so often and usually he doesn't like what I serve. He'll sit down and stare at the plate saying "What? I don't LIKE chicken with tomatoes. Ew! There's peppers in here too! My mom only makes chicken with noodles." etc (IN FRONT of my children, who are not picky in the least). It used to upset me like crazy, but now I keep a calm face and say, "Well if you don't like it you certainly don't have to eat it, but that's all there is for dinner, and it looks like you might be pretty hungry later." He'll start eating, never a ton, but he doesn't refuse to eat it at all any more.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 1:33 PM by Em

  • Dear Antique Mommy, I am 32 and have four little ones (home sick today!) and could easily have written your post! I just very strongly encourage you to check out the Naprotechnology web site. I was feeling exactly how you described, plus very depressed and hopeless at times. My friend loaned me the book from the Napro people at Pope Paul the Sixth institute, written by women who had been through pretty much exactly what you are describing. They all had total or nearly total recovery with treatment. Though my regular OBGYN had run blood tests to check my hormones before, they weren't done during the correct time of my cycle and showed nothing. (I should mention I also have very strange/painful cycles) The tests done by PPVI really are a totally different thing, and are very accurate in showing what is going on in your body. I am going to start treatment this month. Just knowing that I am not the only person going through this awful, depressing time, helps me keep my chin up and make it through the days a bit easier. Please remember that you are not alone. You ARE a good mother! Just reaching out to us today says how much you care for your family, how much you want to bless them through your love. At times, we cannot be the perfect mother we so want to be. But they really just want YOU. They don't want anyone else. Maybe take it easy today, have pizza for dinner and just hold them and watch a movie, or play cards. Just try to connect with them. They love you SO much. It is such a blessing that our children forgive us all our shortcomings, and really just want to be loved. I'm sure teenagers are more complicated than littles, but I never fear that there is no one more special in their life than you and their Father. Please be encouraged, and remember that Jesus is walking with you. He never leaves you, and is always waiting for you to fall into his arms. He is ALWAYS waiting for you. He will ALWAYS forgive you, and he will ALWAYS love you. Forever. God Bless, Melita~

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 2:02 PM by MNS in Oregon

  • Lynn: I'm sorry! You are in a very tough situation if he spends the whole weekend with you guys. I'm assuming that is so he doesn't have to drive all the way back and forth across the state. I think you need to try and take a harder stance with your husband (this is his brother, right?). If it is tough to set boundaries with your BIL, try to set some boundaries with your husband, emphasis on WITH. I'm not saying you have boundary issues with your husband, I'm saying if you guys agree before hand, it will be easier to hold you husband and you BIL to those boundaries. Try to get in agreement beforehand about what you will and will not do. For example, setting time limits (Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, or all day Saturday) on the visiting time. Or, set limits on what work you will do. You will cook dinner one night only, the other night is take-out. If your husband doesn't like the limits, he can set up activities out of the house to fill the time, or cook the extra meals. I don't mean to sound harsh about your husband --- that isn't what I mean at all. I am more talking about treating yourself with respect. You are married, his family is your family --- but really, this is his family situation. You shouldn't have to deal with it all on your own, especially every month. Also consider taking some time away on the weekends when your BIL visits. Maybe you get a long coffee break after Mass or something. It can help your husband understand if he has to do all the dealing on his own, and it can help you to recharge.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 3:05 PM by Andrea

  • Wow, if the BIL has a hotel anyway, why does he expect to see ya'll all the time like this? Can't he have HIS KIDS at his hotel room and plan fun activities for them in town? Many hotels have pools and I could see kids really enjoying that... plus surely there is some stuff he could do (take them out to eat, spend an afternoon at a park, etc.) If he starts to plan some of his own stuff with the kids maybe they will all start feeling connected/attached to one another, too. Either way, this is NOT your responsibility! I'm sure its awkward, but like Andrea said, you and your husband can come up with some limits and he (if needed) can set them down to his brother. Your BIL chose to mess up his life & his family. This does not entitle him to mess up your life and your family, too.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 3:35 PM by unknown

  • @Lynn. I like the recommendation that someone else made--schedule yourself to do other things (with YOUR kids) during that weekend. I can see where it would be very hard for your husband to say "no" but it might be easier if he ends up alone with them a few days (if he chooses not to go with you and the kids). Perhaps discuss this with a good friend and plan on an art project (or something) that will be scheduled for the next weekend . . . then you can't bring them along because they are not invited and if it is a two day project all the better! That way too you won't be home to cook and if it is important to your husband that you see them you can meet at McDonalds (or another totally "bad" kid friendly restaurant for dinner one of the days. Just an idea!

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 4:18 PM by Lisa

  • @Lynn--Oh by the way--check out Pinterest for good craft ideas or even things liking making your own detergent (cuz if someone told me to come up with a craft project I would look like a deer in the headlights! LOL)

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 4:19 PM by Lisa

  • Asking for prayers today. I "lost it" with my son over something stupid, and was hard on him for no good reason (not that there's ever a good reason, but there particularly wasn't in this case). I'm at work now, and I'm feeling like a horrible mother. He's a sweet little boy who didn't deserve to be treated that way.

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 6:49 PM by Claire S

  • Antique Mommy, You have no idea how comforting it was to me to read your post. (Though I will pray for you). Other than the fact that I am 44 with kids from 18 down to 1...you pretty much covered everything I have felt lately. A friend of mine who is very much into natural cures recommended the book "Before the Change" to me. I keep meaning to get it. I'm also going to check into the Napro info that a few people have given you. Thanks for asking the question. I needed to here "it" and the responses. Peace

    Posted on Feb 5th, 2013 at 10:31 PM by RealMom4Life

  • @Andrea- my sister did a long-distance baby shower for me when I was pregnant with my son. She lived in Massachusetts and I was in Indiana. She planned it with my friends and family that lived locally and they played games and had a meal. Then they mailed me the presents with a CD of pictures (we're talking 2003 technology!). Although I wasn't there physically, it was nice to see everyone having fun and celebrating for me.

    Posted on Feb 6th, 2013 at 2:54 PM by Shari