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JaneF

I feel guilty because I am angry at having to raise my grandchildren

51 posts in this topic

I am so angry.  I have raised my children, and when my daughter had a baby at 16 and couldn't take care of her my husband and I gladly took this baby and we have raised her for 14 years now.  She has had a calm, stable life with us and is a well adjusted, well behaved, beautiful girl.  Her mother (my daughter) has never gotten her act together.  She is bipolar, but even on meds she has always made terrible choices and has lived a chaotic lifestyle.  She had two more children both boys.  One is 10, the other just turned 5.  These boys have really had a mess of a life.  They have behavior issues as well.  Last April my daughter and her second husband were arrested for having a meth lab in the home with these boys.  They lived over 3 hours away so I had no clue what was going on.  To make a long story short, the boys were placed in foster care for a while, and then my husband and I took them in.  It has been a HUGE struggle both financially and emotionally.  Their behavior is a concern and frankly wears us down so badly I am beginning to notice the effects on me health wise and emotionally.  My daughter only served a shock time for her terrible choice and was released from prison already.  She lives in our carriage house now that we usually rent out.  Due to her choices she cannot reside with the children now.  We are supposed to be getting guardianship soon.  My dilemma is this...I work third shift and it already is difficult on me as it is.  I have to sleep in fragmented shifts an hour or two here and there to take care of either issues the kids have and appointments, or ones my daughter has.  I average 4 to 5 hours of sleep daily and it is affecting me badly.  I am angry and short tempered, my weight has gone up a lot which upsets me, sometimes I can't sleep from the stress (insomnia).  This week another stress will be added because my daughter will have to go to the next town for drug and alcohol classes 3 times a week...she has no license or car, so there is ANOTHER thing to take away what little sleep I get.  My daughter gets social security disability due to the bipolar but a great deal is spent on HERSELF for make up and hair crap, nail polish and remover etc.  She owes us a tremendous amount of money and when she does pay us some of her debt she ends up "NEEDING" MORE STUFF by the end of the month, so actually it is given right back.  I am getting sick of having to care for her needs, and I am honestly not sure I can take care of these boys because I am so exhausted and stressed out.  I feel so very guilty for wanting my life back.  My husband and I have gladly taken on the oldest child, but I don't want to raise kids the rest of my life.  The youngest is not even in kindergarten yet.  But on the flip side I am so angry because I have no life aside from raising kids anymore because all of my friends are doing all the things I was able to do but now cannot.  I get calls asking me to spend the day shopping, or going out to dinner with them, or to a party but then they realize I am home with children...and no there is nobody for childcare so I can do things, and I cannot afford it anyway if there was.  I simply do not know what to do.  I cannot afford therapy although I will talk to my pastor about her counseling me perhaps.  My friends do not understand, but how could they?  I love these children and cry at the thought of them going to foster care because I don't want to raise more children.  It isn't fair to them.  I am so very angry at my daughter I could scream!  The boys' father is in a long term drug rehab because he has abused drugs for the past 2 decades, and honestly I feel he will never stop.  He does not provide a red cent for their care and the state does not make him for some reason.  His entire family is the same (drug abusers)...and I am not kidding...all of them.  So they cannot give me a break from the children because they'd be in danger around those people.  Thanks for letting me just vent a little.  I'm sorry this rant was so long, just had to get it off my chest.  Jane

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Rant all you want, Jane! You have come to the right place to do that! Trust me, there are thousands of GPs in situations similar to yours, sad to say. And many have them frequent these boards. Also, rest assured, several of them experience/have experienced some of the resentment you're feeling. Please do not feel guilty. You are not alone!

 

I have more to say but need to get off computer soon. Will be back in, later, and I'm sure others will respond to you, also. For now, bless you and DH for being there for your GD (granddaughter) all these years and taking on the challenge of raising your 2 GSs! You are doing a wonderful, wonderful deed! And while I don't like to direct people from one group to another, I feel compelled, in this instance, to suggest you check out the thread "Need Legal (or Financial) Direction" in Grandparents Caring for Grandkids. It may lead you to some helpful info. Here's the link:

 

http://community.grandparents.com/index.php/topic/9232-need-legal-or-financial-direction-updated/

 

Be back later. My heart is with you and yours.

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I'm glad you found this place to get that off your chest. I think how you feel is natural and most people would feel the same. When your children grow up you look forward to doing the things you didn't have the time to do during your child raising years - spending time with your husband, travelling, doing things with friends, hobbies, as examples. Now you are right back into raising children again and all those things have to slide. It's a long term commitment too. And you're worried about your daughter. Who wouldn't be stressed? You do not need to feel guilty for not really wanting this role or for being disappointed that you have the constraints of raising children again now. Your feelings are understandable and it's ok to have them. It's all very new so you'll have a  lot of emotions to work through. I'm sure I would feel similarly though, like you, I would take in my grandchildren in a heartbeat without giving it a second thought if it were necessary.

 

On practical matters, I think you would have a social worker involved? If not, it might be a good idea to talk to someone who can help you sort some practical things to help you. You may be able to get financial assistance as a caregiving grandparent if you aren't already, you may be able to access respite care to give you a break sometimes, maybe being connected to a group of grandparents raising grandchildren would help (like a playgroup if there are preschoolers), as examples. There should be community agencies that can make those referrals for you.

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maybe I'm stepping on toes here but is it really so bad to allow the children to go into foster care; I mean, I know there are some bad ones so there could be a risk but there are also some really good ones who could be the parents and you could still get grandparent visitation; I know a couple in particular that have a similar situation with their daughter - and not sure how much they've done for her - but she had 2 children, both girls, first, but even them they didn't take in but were able to have a wonderful grandparent relationship with them with their foster family, which was wonderful, and then she ended up having another one as well later on, which same foster family also took in - I believe they adopted them all as well but they were still able to keep that grandparent relationship and as they got grown themselves not sure but what they - or at least the oldest, which I realize you have anyway - have more of a relationship with the grandparents than they do with their adoptive parents; I've actually felt somewhat sorry for them, in that possibly with having such an open relationship with the bio grandparents and being older when they went to the foster parents that even with them adopting them not sure they ever really bonded with them like maybe should really have happened but anyway know at least the oldest one is married with a child of her own now and the grandparents still have a relationship with her; to me, just a thought, allowing them to go into foster care doesn't have to be a bad thing - just saying

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Back again, Jane. And glad to see that other posters have been in here, too.

 

I've already told you how highly I think of you and DH. And I've addressed your financial concerns by directing you to that thread. It may also lead you to help with childcare, etc. Now I'm going to ask how much DH is pitching in here? He may not be used to having to deal with kids' appointments, etc. (IDK - you didn't say), I know. But if he's truly on board with having custody of these kids - and I trust he is - then he may need to learn to/adjust to helping out more with their care. Then, perhaps, you could get more regular hours of sleep?

 

As for the other stressors in your life, for one, please try not to worry about DD's (dear daughter's) problems. I know it's hard not to but she's an adult and needs to figure them out herself. Please rest assured that your feeling of anger at having to raise more kids is very common in these situations. Perhaps it will actually help ease your pain if you realize that - and also focus on what a wonderful things you are doing for these kids.

 

It's not unusual to feel alone, either (though as I told you, you're not) or to find yourself distanced from/unable to enjoy activities with friends. Nor is it unheard-of for the friends to have trouble understanding your situation. As you say, "how could they?" Please consider this website your support group, however. I'm glad you trusted your concerns to us and we are here for you!

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I agree if I were you I would drop all efforts with your DD. I imagine it would be really hard, but the priority is your Grandchildren and your health and sanity is vital to your Grandchildren. After getting the stress of DD away from you, you need to look into ways to get a less stressful exisitence for yourself and DH. Could you find a position that isn't third shift? I know that may not work, but just a suggestion. What is happening right now is not fair to you or the kids and you need to figure out something. Find a way to take some time for yourself, which I know is easier said than done.

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Thank you all for your great responses, they are appreciated.  I'll try to answer the questions I remember first!  Yes, my DH is a fabulous help.  He does do some of the appointments and cooks supper every night, so I do not have that issue.  There really isn't an option to my third shift (at this point).  Maybe in the future though.  This job is a great job and carries our health insurance, as well as a pension and retirement too...so best to keep this job!  The boys were in foster care before we chose to take them into our home.  The behaviors of both boys causes issues with who ever there care givers are.  Partly ADHD, partly due to a lot of environmental junk they endured...and yes I am livid about how they were treated!  I agree totally with posters who suggested I not let my daughters issues cause such stresses for us.  I have talked to my oldest grown son, and he volunteered to take one of the days to get his sister to those classes she must attend 3 days a week.  I hope to be able to enlist the help of a few Church friends to help as well...however, I plan to make my daughter responsible for finding alternative rides when able, she made this mess!  My husband and I have had a few  "CHATS" with her about our expectations too.  My oldest son followed suit!  Yesterday she had the children with her outside playing in the leaves, then doing arts and crafts in the carriage house to give me some quiet time.  To be honest I think I might be dealing with some depression (due to this overwhelming mess of the last 8 months).  I plan to speak to my doctor about my problems with sleep and possible depression...but I think lack of sleep is the cause for the depression!  Or a lot of it anyway.  I feel so exhausted I didn't go to Church today, nor did I go last week.  Not good I know, but I'm so very tired.  I will work at midnight tonite again.  My daughter took the kids after breakfast again to the carriage house to watch movies and do art work again.  My husband fixed breakfast for us after I got the coffee on.  I REALLY appreciate the statement about the fact that it is normal to feel resentment about having to raise kids again when I so wanted some freedom at this time.  I was feeling such guilt at feeling that way.  I know it's early, but I think to cheer myself up (and to give the kiddos something to do that they will enjoy), we will set up the Christmas trees today.  I ADORE Christmas, and the lovely trees and lights, and the beautiful hymns too.  I can play some while doing this maybe.  The kids have their very own tree to decorate, with a huge selection of ornaments and beads and other pretties too.  I will enjoy preparing my tree as I do each year.  I hope I have the energy to do it now!  If not, there is always another day.  Again thank you for your great responses.  I also feel guilty for being a whiner...I have so much to be thankful for, and here I am complaining.  Such is life I suppose.  Have a most joyous day.  J

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Jane, don't beat yourself up too much.  You have taken on a lot and I can relate a little bit, I have my 2 nephews due to alcohol and drug issues that my brother & SIL have, amongst a bunch of other drama.  The boys behaviors are very wearing at times and it is an adjustment just having a new family anyway, take care of yourself.

 

I do think asking the church for help might be a good thing, try getting a support system in place.  It can feel like you're carrying the world on your shoulders.  But remember, there are others that are there for you. 

 

And your DD does not need make up, hair & nails right now.  Do not feel guilty and give her back money, please don't. 

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I'm glad you appreciated our responses, Jane, and that they have helped you to feel better, if only, perhaps, a little. I'm also happy to see that you're looking forward to Christmas and don't blame you, at all, or think it's "silly" if you start early. What's that song from the show (or was it the movie) Mama, I think? - "We Need a Little Christmas!?" - Sometimes, IMO< people need to do/prepare for a holiday or other event that they enjoy a little sooner than they ordinarily would.

 

I also think you could possibly cut down on your stressors by cutting yourself a little slack. For example, I realize that going to church, regularly, is a priority for you and, in many ways, that's beautiful. But it's also totally understandable, IMO, if, after a whole week of juggling work, appointments, household chores and childcare, you're exhausted and need to sleep. As Tinka says, please "don't beat yourself up too much" about that or anything else.

 

It's good to hear that DH pitches in the way he does. And ODS, apparently, too. And even DD, the kids' mom, herself. I'm glad that she spends some time with her kids, even if she's not ready to be a fulltime parent to them. And that, as a result, she helps to ease the demands on you. I take it you feel you can trust her with them, as long as they are just in and around the carriage house, etc.

 

I'm a little confused about your situation though. You say that you and DH "are supposed to be getting guardianship soon." Does that mean just of the boys or of your GD, as well? Or do you already have guardianship of her? And what, if you will, does guardianship in your state entail? I ask this b/c we've had some posters come in and say that, in their state "guardianship" is the same as custody, whereas in other states, it's not.

 

Regardless, please don't worry about coming in here and "complaining" or "being a whiner." This is the place to do it - much better than risking doing it with your family, etc. Please feel free to come in and vent and/or ask advice, any time!

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I'm glad things seem to be better; certainly if there's a way of working things out and you have the family support you have - even with your daughter herself - I'd like to see things be good for all of you! I didn't realize you'd already been the foster care route and it didn't work - I'm sorry, I do know that is the case so many times; they definitely need some stability, was just thinking of you but sounds like maybe it's all going to work out

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Jane I don't blame you one bit for being angry. My parents are at retirement age and I have 3 children. When making our Wills DH and I actually chose my brother and sister in law should something happen to both of us for our kids. the reason being that my parents are at retirement age and I don't want them to make themselves sick by having to also raise my kids. They of course would still be around for my brother and to help them out but they wouldn't bear the brunt of it.

 

Your situation is even worse as its due to your daughter's inability to be a good parent. She is making choices that put herself and her children in harms way. You now have to pick up that slack. Be angry. Get mad. Make your daughter see what she is doing and don't sugar coat it for her. You can love your grandchildren all you want but you shouldn't be in the position she is putting you in.

 

I would suggest calling the social worker you are working with and see about respite care. I am not sure if you can get it but it is worth a shot. Basically its trained caregivers who come in to help with the kids while you get stuff you need done. Also get your daughter a bike and let her ride it to her meetings and such. Make her be responsible for her sobriety because at this point you are the one doing it all and it is completely unfair to you!

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Believe it or not I know a few people living with similar experiences. In one case the grandmother receives state funding for taking in her grandchild which is very helpful. Recently she told her daughter ,( the mother of this child) that she was not welcome in her house as long as she was with the boyfriend and as long as she was using drugs and not working. As hard as that was for my friend, the daughter chose the drugs and the boyfriend. My friend then began the long road of fighting for guardianship. She won. It is so sad but now my friend can go on and live her life. She grieves so for her own daughter and sees a counselor to address these feelings. The daughter has made her choice.Good Luck, there are more people then you realize living this way. Find someone to share your feeling with, someone who understands and does not judge. Oh, by the way a new study suggests that insomnia may be a big cause for depression and not the other way around. Hope this helps.

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Wow! My heart really goes out to you and I'm sorry that you're in this position. I'm not a GM just yet (have one on the way) but I do think if I were in your shoes because of poor choices that my child made I would be angry too. I think you've been given some really good suggestions on the help issue and daughter issue, so I have nothing to add. I hope that things start falling into place soon for you. Please remember that you have to take care of yourself first and foremost or you will not be any good to those you are caring for.  Hang in there.

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I read this forum often but this is the first time I have responded.
 
I am in a similar situation to your first grandparenting-parenting situation. My husband and I are raising our granddaughter (6 yrs old). Her Dad, our son is bipolar and the birthmom is mentally disabled too with no family support. I can relate to your feelings.
Physically and mentally, we are not made to be actively parenting through our senior years...just keeping up with the loads of wash, packing lunches,remembering when signups for soccer are, did I miss the parent-teacher conference?.
 
And then there's the serious stuff that burdens your heart and nearly destroys your spirit. One of my wishes before I leave this earth, is that I would be able to wake up one day and have nothing to be responsible for except me and my stuff (and maybe my husband's, too  :) ).
Some people have had wonderful parenting experiences and look forward to grandparenting. I don't know if the is true for you, but raising our son was stressful, defeating, and chaotic and it affected the other children in the family. So we entered this grandparenting-parenting situation, worn out and broken, watching our dream of a peaceful, restorative empty nest disappear.
 
With all of that, we have to keep our head in the game, and search for, find, and implement solutions for our grandfamily!
I would like to share with you some of the things that have worked for me.
I see in your post that you go to church. I have found great solace and hope in my relationship with the Lord. When the problems of this world get too big, I try to focus on His promises for this life and the next and it keeps me going.  I too, often miss church because I am so tired. Don't worry - he is at home with you too.  Find a good Christian radio station, get out your Bible and read some verses. It will do wonders for your soul. And take your anger to him in prayer. We are his children and he already know what is in your heart. Pray for him to change the situation, change your heart, equip you to do what you need to do, to bring help. I also listen to Christian music on Pandora (on my computer).
 
Our son is 28.  My heart goes out to people who suffer from bipolar disorder. They are trapped with a mind they can't control. There is no cure and the treatments seem to work for a while and then..not...and then their whole world spins out of control.The protection of the mental health laws often end up backfiring and instead of giving the mentally ill freedom, and they allow them to head down a path of destruction as the family stands by helplessly, useful only for cleaning up the aftermath.  
We have learned that "loving and supporting" our son as we did with our other children as they grew into adulthood, didn't permanently make his life better and it took a toll on us.  He is not able to live with us because of the bipolar disorder.  2 things that have helped is getting him a mental health case worker and a representative payee through county mental health services. Our son is not cooperative with any ideas we have, so we used whatever leverage we had at the time to get him to cooperate..a cell phone, housing, groceries. So now when he has a crisis we tell him to talk to his case manager. And with a rep payee, bills are paid first, and then he gets spending money. And that doesn't involve us at all.  It is not perfect but it works. Now our relationship is limited to when we want to see each other.We don't have any expectations of him and like you, are happy when he is able to spend time with our granddaughter, giving us a break.
 
The grandchildren..... You have probably already done this, but get them tested and labeled with whatever learning, behavioral difficulties they have. Once identified then you can request learning support. Befriend you GS's teachers-get to know them and let them get to know you and your story. Again, through the county mental health or special education services in your school district, you can find individual and group therapy as well as respite services. Health insurance should be available through state.
Another thing we did was to email everyone we know explaining just the basics of our situation(grandparenting-parenting grandchildren), stating that although you don't feel you deserve to ask this, but could they lend you a hand just once or twice sometime during the coming year.  And then list your wish list.  Some of the things we wrote were take GD overnight or for supper or for a Saturday afternoon; make a meal; rake our leaves...you get the idea. You will be surprised by the response...a lot of people won't respond but what a treasure those who do, are.
Even if none of my ideas help you, I hope that you will get some comfort from knowing that you are not alone.
 
We are too old and tired to squeeze support group meetings but I am thankful for this online forum.  :)

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I am in awe...such great responses from you all!  Robinlaud it's nice to meet someone with similar issues.  I am going to TRY to answer some of the question asked here, hope I do not leave anyone out accidentally.  First, yes I have my faith, and it is at times my saving grace.  Guardianship here in our state from what I understand means we have full control.  Physical custody, decisions with medical, education and activities etc.  Yes we have guardianship of the granddaughter that is 14 years old, and have had that since she was a tiny infant.  It is nice now that my daughter is able to be with the children unsupervised, although even when she has them I am near by.  When she is well, she can be a fairly good mom...not perfect, but who is?  Yes bipolar disorder is a terrible mental disorder, and sometimes I get angry at the disease.  She did not choose it, but it makes it difficult when she makes poor choices because it affects everyone in her life, not her alone.  She is a rapid cycler, so it is much harder due to that as well.  Thus her disability and being on social security.  Trust me...we have tried the working and going to school for a vocation...she cannot handle a lot of situations that "normal" people do daily.  But in a way that can be a good thing (depends on how I choose to look at it!), she can be here at bus times, homework, getting them ready for school in the morning (I work 3rd shift so husband is with them then), she can go to the pool with them in summer which they enjoy, and she does help with their laundry and bath times, bed time stories, and we enjoy camping trips a lot with the kids and fishing and she can go along.  So not all bad.  The carriage house is a comfy, adorable little place with it's own kitchen (small), full bath, and living/bedroom combination with walk in closet and attic for storage.  She is right in the back yard across the driveway!  Yes I understand the statement about parenting made less enjoyable due to the bipolar child, and I have TWO bipolar adult children!  My middle son is 32, and was difficult when younger!  He is not on medications, and has not been for a very long time, but holds a good job, is married and has 2 children of his own.  SadlyI know in my heart his oldest daughter is bipolar, though never diagnosed (her mother denies being bipolar, she claims "doctor said I am manic depressive"...she refuses to believe it's the same thing!)  This granddaughter has been sexually active since age 12, and at age 13 gave birth to my great granddaughter!  WOW, that was hard on everyone, but again it's all how we look at it huh?  She DOES take good care of the baby who is a year old now.  My daughter in law is a stay at home mom so she keeps baby while my granddaughter attends school, and baby is very healthy and weighed over 9 pounds at birth!  The father has no part of her life and should have been charged with sexual abuse of a child as he was almost 20 at the time!  I asked why he was not charged and prosecutors office basically said because my granddaughter was a willing party.  Good grief.  Shouldn't have mattered what the circumstances were in my opinion, he broke a serious law!  Nothing I can do though so I have to just let it go and I have.  I am very lucky to have a good working relationship with the boys schools and teachers!  They have been great and they are aware of my situation and the issues with the children.  The 10 year old is having difficulty in math so a teacher will be tutoring him starting next week...I keep in touch via e-mail with teacher!  The smallest one is only in head start and goes to a pre K school AFTER that to help him with social skills...he has an IEP for behavior issues.  My granddaughter has an IEP for her ADHD issues, but is well behaved!  I will monitor the middle one for needs of course.  I am done with their Christmas shopping now I am happy to say!  We have books and movies, clothes, bath tub toys, one got Nintendo DS, one a train table and train set, one Karaoke equipment and CD's, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Toy Story stuff, music cd's, and a game for their Wii, too much to mention!  Since the boys were taken out of a meth lab home they lost everything they owned due to contamination, so we had to start from scratch!  Bedding and all.  Many people were wonderful and donated mattresses and curtains, books and clothing, toys, and shoes.  I am taking things one day at a time, that's all I can do.  I am lucky to have the most wonderful husband to help too.  Thanks for your responses, I have felt better since "talking about" the issues.  Jane 

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Jane, thank you for coming back in, answering questions and giving us more info! Thank you, also, for sharing with us in Grandparents Caring for Grandkids, as well! It sounds as if you, basically, have a good attitude, esp given all the challenges you're been facing. And I'm glad you've "felt better since 'talking about' the issues." Hope we continue to hear from you here, in GCfG and, perhaps, elsewhere on these boards.

 

@ Robinlaud - Welcome to GP.com, this Community of forums and to this group! My heart goes out to you and yours, also! But I think it's wonderful that you're able to draw on your own situation to reach out to others, this way! I hope you continue to come in and talk with us, both here and in other groups. (To see the rest of the groups, if you haven't already, just click on Forums, above-left and look through the Index.)

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I had to laugh when I read the statement about me having a good attitude Rosered!  Today I am NOT in a good mood at all, and that is putting it mildly.  I just got off work after a long third shift, and I come home to a frazzled husband, every light on in the house (it's daylight), the kitchen a mess, MY own bathroom a mess, and the 5 year old who has no school on Fridays was not dressed, and to top it all off the other children were not given their needed am meds this morning before they went to school!!!  My daughter had to go to drug and alcohol classes this morning, which from now on will be at 9 am...so instead of making sure the kids got meds and all the other stuff that could've been done, she most likely spent the better part of an hour (probably more which is her normal doing her hair and make-up!  I would bet my life on that.  Please tell me if you think I am in the wrong, I will not be upset at all...but this is how I think things should be going around here!  1) My husband and I both work a full 40 hours, so I think she should have to put in almost the same amount of time doing things to help out around here and tending to the kids  2) She needs to get herself up earlier from her darn beauty sleep and do her hair and make-up BEFORE she comes to my house because I am sick of her messing up MY bathroom and leaving it when she has her own in the carriage house!   3)  The 2 older kids do chores because it helps teach them life skills like washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen and their rooms, dusting and helping with pet care...HOWEVER, my daughter does NOT lift a finger to help clean up after supper at all, even though me or my husband help the kids a lot, so I think SHE needs to help them do that daily chore!   4)  I should not be doing any laundry and except for cleaning up after myself in my bedroom and bathroom.  She does nothing but 9 hours a week at alcohol and drug classes (which I have to drive almost 40 minutes doing), and once in a while helps do housework and laundry!  She does GREAT for a day or two after I get onto her about this, but then she is right back to her old self  5)  She needs to spend LESS time texting her boyfriend all day long and more time doing chores and paying attention to the kids!   She manages to do her hour of Wii time for exercise daily, then walk the track a few miles daily for exercise but I BARELY find time to bathe!!!   My husband does grocery shopping and I do some too, he spends another (usually) at LEAST 20 hours a week working on the yard work and rental property repairs and helps transport kids here and there when I cannot.  I spend about another 20 hours a week dusting, doing the wood floors, cleaning glass in front door, laundry, pet care, and running her to HER appointments, and all the kids to THEIRS!  I am LUCKY to have 15 minutes a day to brush my teeth and run a comb through my hair and put on the bare minimal amount of make-up, then finding time to go to bank, post office and make out bill, and tend to pharmacy and all med issues!  This hardly seems fair to me.  She really is a very selfish and self centered person and it makes me sick sometimes.  I tell her we are STRUGGLING financially, but she buys herself an ipod, and make-up when I tell her even though she gives me money every month we are LOSING money with her here for her food, no rent from the carriage house, the expensive gas for my car to do all of her stuff, and we pay all the utilities on the carriage house.  I am almost to the point where I ask her to go live in the town where she goes to the classes.  I am angry because she told me her boyfriend is coming up for the weekend!  Soooo....I will have the kids the whole time so SHE can have her GUEST!  Never mind it is my days off and I would love to have a little time for myself!  So I pay for extra water so he can shower, and I am willing to bet my left arm she start smoking cigarettes again since he smokes!  She quit while in jail and prison last April or May.  I REFUSE to continue doing all I do especially if she decides to take more money for herself to buy cigarettes...NO WAY!  We stopped smoking many years ago, and the oldest child has asthma anyway!!!  I have the 5 year old with behavior issues home with me since he has no school on Fridays.  I have to drive down to get her after I feed him his lunch.  I will not get any sleep until after all of that, so I will be tired.  I did not sleep yesterday (insomnia), so I napped about 7 pm to 11 pm, then had to get up and go to work.  So today I come home to clean the kitchen from the breakfast mess, do laundry, and clean my bathroom, and do pet care...never mind take care of the little one and dress him too.  Forgive my being cranky.  I am considering getting a mediator to help me address these issues, or I am going to explode from anger.  I may just have to make her understand things have to change or she cannot live here.  She threatens to not agree to the guardianship of the children though...her choice I suppose.  She could be selfish and have them return to foster care because I quite frankly am sick of dealing with family services!!!  I am actually VERY angry at them as it is because for YEARS I reported the drug use by my daughter and those in her home and the danger to the kids...a man even dropped dead in her living room from drug issues and they told me they really couldn't do a thing about it!!!   REALLY?  I finally told one social worker almost 1 year ago that I would be calling her back WHEN something dreadful happens to my grandchildren!   Guess what?  I made that phone call the day after my daughter was arrested and they took these children out of the meth lab!   I was LIVID!  There was meth residue everywhere, syringes, knives lying about, the photos of all the evidence were shocking as well as how filthy the home was!  The 10 year old had reported this to the school which caused the arrests!  He had been hit so hard the night before by my daughters husband that his eye was bleeding from his head smacking into the refrigerator...and there is a little scar there now.  He reported to family services a little over a year ago (told school counselor) that this man was using a board to hit him and drew the picture, and the boys were locked in their room from the OUTSIDE all the time!  They did NOTHING!  Sooooo...now here we are.  They even took the 10 year old of his much needed ADHD meds!!!   Then they couldn't understand why he was hitting himself in the face and head, and having melt downs, bed wetting, and he even ran away from the foster home and got 5 miles away before found because NONE of the social workers returned the foster moms calls until much later!  This foster home was WAY out in the country in the timber!  And the temps were very hot as it was AUGUST!  Again I am furious.  Thanks for "listening" once again...now I will take some deep breaths and get myself in a better mood!  Have a joyous day.   J

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Ohhhh, Jane... I don't blame you for getting furious when you think back over all that has happened! How badly your GSs were treated, how social services didn't really seem to "listen" until it was almost too late and how they messed up even after that! It makes me angry and I don't even know your GSs!

 

I think you need to be careful, though, not to mix up the past with the present when approaching DD. (I know that must be hard and I'm glad you can and do come here to unload it all). If you ask her to contribute, financially or do some chores in the house, for example, I hope you're doing it in a frame of mind that says, "We're asking this b/c you live here/ your kids live here and we need everyone to pitch in" and not, "You did this and that and the other, and that's why your boys are here and I have no freedom, so you better pay up and do some chores to try to make up for it!" If you're approaching her in the second spirit, DD may well sense it and resent your holding the past against her. But hopefully, you're not doing that.

 

You definitely seem to be doing more than your fair share and I totally get your frustration! I would feel the same way! In fact, there was a time when I was taking care of my DGC fulltime, 5 days a week and still trying to keep up with chores in my own home, etc. that I, sometimes, felt torn in all different directions, the feeling I imagine you're experiencing now. Though DH, apparently, puts in as many hours of work as you do, clearly, you responsibilities are more divided up. And I can see where that can be harder in certain ways and more frustrating. I can't really say he needs to take on more of the chores you're doing since he has a lot on his plate as well. However, my sympathies are more with you than him, FWIW.

 

I'm also wondering about priorities. If, for example, the priority, in your mind and his, is that DD should make sure the kitchen is cleaned up, etc., in the morning, then I can understand his leaving it alone when you're not there and your putting all the blame on her. If, however, the priority is that the kitchen get done, then IDKY he didn't do any of it or why you don't hold him equally responsible for that.

 

Beyond that, though, I certainly agree that DD needs to pitch in and do her share, etc. I don't think you're "in the wrong" about that, at all! In fact, as far as the money is concerned, perhaps you and DH should charge her rent for the carriage house? Do you think she would come up with it if you did, though, or would it just cause more friction?

 

About household chores - Is she keeping the carriage house nice? If so, is it possible that she thinks that's all she needs to do? That the carriage house is "hers" to take care of and the main house yours and DH's to do? If so, and you can't get her to see otherwise, maybe she should spend less time in your actual house? Perhaps I don't quite understand the situation... this is just a thought...

 

In fact, that leads me to something that confuses me - You tell us in your OP (original/opening post):   Due to her choices she cannot reside with the children now (bolding mine).

 

So, I'm sorry, but I'm wondering if it's actually "ok"  for her to be spending so much time with the kids/ in your house. I mean, I'm sure she's allowed some visitation. But unless I'm misreading, it sounds as if she's spending unlimited amount of time with them. I hate to cause you further stress and, no doubt, you know more about this than I do, but are you and DH setting yourselves up, legally, by allowing this? Would it, perhaps, be better for all concerned, both legally or where peace of mind is involved,  if she stayed out of your home and in the carriage house or elsewhere, period?  She could/would still see her kids but not hang out in and mess up your house, after all. 

 

In fact, I'm not clear on where the carriage house is. If it's on your actual property/near your house, are you sure that's permitted? (I'm not accusing you and yours of doing anything "wrong." I'm just wondering, again, if you're flirting w/ trouble, w/o even realizing it?) Perhaps the idea of her moving to the town where she takes the classes is a good one on a lot of levels!

 

As I recall, you also told us, somewhere, that legal guardianship in your state is the same as custody. If so, then I know you know that once you and DH have guardianship, you will be "acting parents," so to speak, for the boys. And while I get your wanting DD to take full care of them when she's there and you're not, I don't know if that quite goes together. You will, of course, be responsible for their care, and may, sometimes have to find someone else to fill in. But you may have to look into daycare/afterschoolcare, rather than counting on DD. Not saying she "shouldn't" do it (unless it becomes a legal problem) but that I don't think you can be sure she will.

 

That's another reason it may be better for DD to move. Perhaps it's time yous stopped covering her bills and began looking into paying for daycare, etc? ... Food for thought...

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Good afternoon Rosered135!  I will try to answer your questions again, and thank you for your wise suggestions!  I can see where one might think I'd feel "she owes me" so I expect her to do all the chores etc, and while she was incarcerated I was very angry and felt "she did indeed owe me" for pain and stress, expense, fear, and all we have endured, and I mean kids, husband and children.  But what I told her in many, many letters is that I do expect her to pay back some financial obligations since it put us in hardship, but my "payback" would be for her to get well, stay clean, and get her life together so she can take the responsibility back for her children and raise them.  The entire "team" has been in agreement that reunification with her and her children was the goal.  That was family services, juvenile office, court and my husband and myself and childrens attorney.  I could be wrong, but if she is helping to pick up after them, bathe them, do laundry and homework with them, and help teach them life skills like dishes and cleaning their rooms...this only helps HER to learn better parenting skills.  That was my thinking I guess, maybe I'll revisit that and see if I need to think differently.  My husband spends sooo many hours aside from his 40 hour job, he is awesome.  Today he was winterizing some rentals, and clearing out a ton of junk left by a renter several months ago, and yesterday he did all the grocery shopping for the week and brought it home and sorted and put away and planned meals!  He cooks EVERY night supper, and does help kids clean up some too.  He was single until age 34 so knows how to do all house chores, and he often cleans bathroom for me, or loads dishes up, makes the bed etc.  So he really does spend his share of "chore time" honestly, with never a complaint.  The money she does give us monthly could be considered rent I suppose, however, we have to provide all utilities as she can't get service (bad bills owed)...and she eats ALL meals here, does her laundry here, and we provide even toilet paper, bath products, and of course the cost of the gasoline for about 180 miles driving weekly for me to take and go get her for her required drug and alcohol classes, doctor appointments for her bipolar meds, trips to her pharmacy and social security office, and all laundry products.  She pays about $45 a month for her cell phone...that pretty much wipes out the money she gives us.  Some of the money we were going to have her give us to repay the traffic fines we paid while she was incarcerated, court costs, money sent so she could call the kids while they were in foster care, and money on her books for tampons, stamps, paper and envelopes...however, it doesn't spread out very much!  lol  To clarify for you, the carriage house is probably 40 or 50 feet across our back yard is all.  Family services and probation and parole etc all approved this "home plan" when she was released from prison, so they all know every thing there is to know!  If you knew my husband you'd laugh because this man is the most honest man I have ever met in my life!  He would NEVER agree to be dishonest with any of those people, and frankly it would be very scary to be dishonest since neither one of us has ever been in any trouble, and feel it is NEVER worth the risk to be dishonest.  My daughter knows I would never lie to cover for her either.  I have always asked family services permission or questioned if I should do this or that, or ask CAN we do this or that etc.  We had to go through classes to get licensed for foster care to even be able to take these children in, so we know what we can and can't do.  I wouldn't risk the children.  When my daughter first got out she was only allowed to be around kids supervised...period.  We obeyed.  No she can be around and have unsupervised time, but one of us is usually around anyway since we differ in work shifts.  Also the kids are gone (2 of them) from 7:25 am and return between 3:15 pm and 4:15 pm daily unless the one has Church activity after school Wednesdays.  The little one is gone daily from before 9 am until a bit after 3 pm, so she can't spend too much time with them anyway!  lol  She does come up to see them after they get home and we go over school papers etc.  I honestly am honest with her and tell her I do get upset sometimes for losing my freedom and having this huge responsibility again.  But we discuss it, it's not a blame game.  She says she can understand that feeling.  For instance last evening her boyfriend came up to visit her (we had the children here with us), she got to go out for supper, sit down there and watch movies with no noise from kids etc...and he spent the entire night and is still here and they are watching movies while kids are here with us of course.  They must be eating out since she has not eaten here and it is 4 pm here now.  So I do get to feeling sorry for myself, and I have to kick myself for it.  My day has been like this...up most of the night (have to keep my shift while on nights off or it wrecks me!),  got up made coffee by 5, read newspaper and after that began getting clothes ready (mine) for Church.  I got washed up, did teeth, hair, face etc, start preparing to get them breakfast items out and some Church clothes.  I let the dogs out to potty, feed and water them and cat.  Fold a little laundry from yesterdays 2 loads I did while waiting to wake the kids.  Oh yeah, I also cleaned up kitchen from snacks after supper last night and washed those dishes.  Kids were up by 7:30 am and getting ready to eat.  They get done and we clear the table etc.  My daughter gets up her a few minutes after 8.  I'm sending some to brush teeth and wash faces, and my daughter helps to dress little one (he does most by himself as he needs to be able to this I feel for school!). Get kids coins ready for the little funds they contribute to at Church weekly, get all gloves and hats and coats out as it is COLD this am!  lol  I go out and warm car at 10 till 9.  We leave for Church at a little after 9 am, daughter goes to carriage house as boyfriend is there.  We return home after Church around 11 give or take.  We hang up wraps and some change out of good clothes to play clothes.  Then I take dogs out again, hubby is off working on rentals.  I help the kids do their lunches, they all like different items and are learning to cook easy stuff (another life skill!).  We clean up kitchen and table top.  I write check for ones yearbook, and sign weekly grade report.  I fill out rest of anothers paper work to send back tomorrow.  One plays with K'Nex today, some Wii was played, one is on the computer for a while.  We have a snack prepared by my husband of melon slices around 3:15 pm.  I have laid out clothes for school tomorrow for boys, cleaned both their ears and checked the older ones fingernails. My daughter and her boyfriend came up to play wii for an hour or so before snack time.  They are down in carriage house again.  I am preparing to wash some items left by renter we can donate to some folks, and my daughter wanted a few things too like towels and sheets and a few glasses and cups etc.  Husband has been gathering what was left that is trash to haul to city dump if can't be recycled.  He asked me what time I wanted him to begin pork chops.  lol  I have to work at midnight, but the children need bathed for school tomorrow, and I am not sure if my daughter will be here or not.  If so fine, if not fine.  I really need at least a four hour sleep time though or my health will suffer.  It sounds selfish, but I have been running on between 4 and 5 hours of sleep for too long and it's taking a toll.  I will need to be able to be alert at my job as a dispatcher for the power cooperative.  I do have issues like outages, cars hitting poles once in a while, and house fires.  I need to know where my crews are if I send them out and we service NINE counties in all!  I love my job though.  I had a great phone conversation with my Pastor yesterday, so that always is uplifting.  We are going to try and work together to see if a volunteer from the Church ministry might be able to take my daughter to a class occaisionally.  It would be such a great help.  I don't like asking for help honestly, it is usually my husband and I that are helping OTHERS...so this is a change for us.  But we could use the help at times and I will be so thankful.  I hope I answered some of your questions.  Thank you for allowing me to ramble on.  We will get through this, but I have some rough days now and then and need to just "talk it out".  Healthier than drug or alcohol abuse!  lol  Blessings to you.  J

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Jane, it sounds as if you might need to drop the rope. As a nurse, I understand that it's not easy having someone in the family who has a mental illness. I've worked with people similar to your daughter. The reality is that at this point, she has no reason to act like an adult, because you're providing for her! She has a mental illness, this is true, but she is also an adult. It is HER responsibility to get herself clean, get her illness under control, and start taking responsibility for her own life.

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agnurse I couldn't agree with you more!  I have been doing a lot of thinking since work was quiet last night, and perhaps I am not feeling as much anger about having to raise these darling children (although I was sure looking forward to my "older years"!)..as I am frustrated because I TOO feel she needs to get herself clean, and act like a responsible adult, even if she has a mental illness.  There are many bipolar folks who work on getting meds balanced, and seek counseling (she has not done so for a million years), and who have not had convictions for a serious crime.  I refuse to allow the bipolar to be an excuse for her to behave the way she has, and still does at times.  That is possibly why I do expect her to do her fair share and work at least half as hard as we do.  I plan to do more thinking and perhaps speak to someone myself for guidance.  FOR ME...  Thank you for your wisdom, it made feel as if maybe I am not expecting too much from her because I want her to get her act together for once.  Have a fabulous Thanksgiving everyone!  J

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You too, Jane!

 

There are many bipolar folks who work on getting meds balanced, and seek counseling (she has not done so for a million years), and who have not had convictions for a serious crime.

 

True. Very true. But there are also many BPs, to my limited knowledge, who "self-medicate" with illegal drugs or by taking extra doses of prescription drugs. And, sadly, drug addiction has a high rate of relapse, from what I've read and heard. It's very difficult to beat and, despite her flaws, I have to give your DD credit for trying.

 

I'm sorry that she hasn't sought counseling in a long time, however. Is it possible for family services, etc. to make counseling a prerequisite to her reuniting with her kids? She may need help accepting the responsibility of being an adult and, IDK, maybe cooking her own meals, etc? Would they be receptive, do you think, if you suggested that they add that requirement, somehow?

 

Regardless, thank you for filling us in further on what was agreed upon with family services, etc. And the fact that you and DH are actually serving as the boys' foster parents. (I thought as much but wasn't sure since, of course, laws differ by state.) That info completes the picture, IMO. Everything else makes more sense now.

 

FWIW, I definitely think DD should do more of the work, especially where childcare is concerned and cleaning up after herself and kids. Not just b/c it's fairer to you and DH - and trust me, I think that's very important/that you deserve that - but also b/c, as you say, it could help her to improve her parenting skills for if and when she regains custody of the boys. In fact, I'm wondering if she ever could if you have to tell family services that she doesn't do much childcare, etc. IDK if you can, realistically, expect her to do as much as you'd like, right now, though. But it certainly sounds as if she could pitch in way more than she does.

 

But that's why I'm glad to hear you say you're thinking about seeking counseling for yourself. As much as I hope - and believe - that talking with us here is helpful, I imagine that one-on-one counseling could not only help you deal with all your less pleasant feelings but also help you figure out just what you can/can't or should/shouldn't expect from DD.

 

Whatever you do, please keep reaching out, here, too, of course. Meanwhile, thanks for the good wishes and again, right back atchya! :)

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I grew up with a bipolar mom, and now I'm a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist.  That's like being a nurse practitioner except I specialize in the area of the body from the neck to the sky.  I have had, and do have many bipolar patients.

 

Having bipolar disorder can be either a reason for behavior and thinking, or it can be an excuse for it.

 

With bipolar disorder there's a range of illness from what I call "kind of" all the way to "holy cow!!"  For someone who falls in the range from the middle toward the "holy cow!!" end, behavior and thinking are extremely difficult to control or even understand logically.  They have a reason for what they do and how they think--their illness.  Those who love people with this end of the illness have a tough row to hoe.  It's bizarro world and nothing seems to help until the ill person gets the proper medication and dosage, along with the proper therapy, if that's needed.  One bad thing with this end if the range is that sufferers often don't think there's anything wrong.  That makes things even more difficult.

 

If your daughter falls in the range from "kind of" to the middle, her behavior is probably at least partly an excuse, and she needs to do things to help herself and her children, and to help herself get better.  It sounds as if she probably falls in this range, from what you've told us.   Set some boundaries for her and expect her to follow-through.  Tell her she must do _____ and _____ if she wants to continue living in the carriage house.  Otherwise she'll have to make other arrangements. 

 

You are "normal" to feel taken advantage-of.  It's up to you what you do to get out of that feeling.  I do think some counseling could help you.

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Thank you KaIana, for your post.  I loved the description from "kind of" to "holy cow!".  lol  I am not a doctor or trained in the field like you, just experienced due to my kids.  My daughter was called something like "ultra rapid cycler".  She is on disability as I said.  Sometimes yes, she falls into the kind of category...but to be fair, there have been MANY times she was the HOLY COW type.  Lots of trials with different meds and combos of meds etc.  I understand they will sometimes self medicate, yes.  She does that as a rule, which is why she ended up in the situation she is in partly.  It seems at times she has no empathy at all for others feelings, and she uses people for what she needs a lot, then tosses them aside like old clothing.  I need to "cut the rope" like was said. One reason I have done as much as I have was not really for HER benefit, it was for the children (or so was my thinking!).  Now they are safe for sure so it might be easier to change my actions.  I know I can't fix her, only she can do what she needs to do...and I usually say she either will choose to do that, or she won't...but she will face consequences for poor choices.  Honestly I think the consequences might not have been serious enough to shock her.  Her sentence of 15 years and 5 years to run concurrently should have done the trick...however she got a 120 day call back and then 5 years probation.  If she is not successful in that, THEN she will have a harsher reality perhaps.  I refuse to police her, my job is to keep the kids safe and not allow her choices to affect MY household (which is hard at times).  The kids love her of course, she is their mother.  Her choices will affect them no matter what I know.  I have been talking to my pastor from time to time, and it seems to help me a lot.  I feel safe enough to just talk, and she listens, and asks me questions (helping me to sort through my feelings).  I worry that one of the children will also be bipolar, since it is hereditary.  I am closely watching the 10 year old because of behaviors as I said before.  I am hopeful it is due to what he has endured, and is not the other.  As I also mentioned, all 3 are ADHD...so....My ex husband was diagnosed bipolar, but not until the kids were all grown up and he was about 40ish.  I have set some boundaries for my daughter in order for her to be able to live in the carriage house.  Time will tell I guess.  One of her worst behaviors (and it's when she is manic mostly) is sleeping around, even if she is married at the time.  She started being sexually active around age 15 as far as I know.  The children will not be subjected to that, and she knows I mean it.  Again thanks for taking the time to post, your experiences in this field could be quite useful!   J

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Jane,

Wow! What a story you have told. You have and are going through a lot.  I started from the beginning and have gradually read the posts.  I have been reading posts a few at a time.  I am sure you have and will go through so many emotions.  You do have a lot of your plate.  Tooo... much!!!  You really need to be able to find some way to get more rest. I feel like that you have several reasons that you cannot sleep.  I am sure you are depressed and very anxious because of all that you are having to deal with.   I feel maybe for the time being it might help if you had some antidepressants until you can get a handle on things emotionally.  Then maybe get off gradually. ( I don't like having to take an antidepressant but it has helped me. I plan to get off gradually after I have gotten over my emotional stress.) There is so much in your head that it is probably whirling around all the time and causing you not to be able to rest and relax to go to sleep. Then you are so over tired from not resting and from the stress that will cause you not to sleep also. I don't know how you are going to be able to conquer your rest problem but somehow it will help you tremendously if you can find an answer.  Is there a way that you could take a few days off from work and relax without any children and daughter at home during the school day?  If you, could maybe you could rest.   I do feel life would be easier to handle if you could sleep. 

 

I am so sorry for all that you have to deal with.  I hurt for you.  I have been raising my grandchildren for over three years.  I understand some of your frustrations.  I haven't had any where near the problems you have been dealing with.  My husband and I have worked until this school year. We both are unemployed now.  It is difficult dealing with all that you need to do for the children every day and especially dealing with the disfunctional mother.  It does get easier taking care of grandchildren if you can figure out easier ways to handle situations. I hope you can find ways that will make your life easier every day. My  daughter got custody of her children Nov. 6th. This was an ordeal.  We didn't believe our daughter needed to have custody.  So we do have a break but I do have concerns of my daughter raising her children.  I am going to "Trust in the Lord" and give this problem to Him.

 

I wonder if you could get any state financial help since you are foster parents.  You may be receiving this help already.   Or you may make too much money to receive the assistance. 

 

You have been given some good advice in the above posts.  I really like what Kalana said to you.  I feel you should make your daughter be more responsible also.  She needs to be able to function on her own and take care of herself as much as possible. She needs to know how to manage her money.  I do know that this is hard sometimes for people with a bipolar disorder.   Also I am glad that you are getting some counseling from your preacher.  Maybe in the future you will be able to have time and money to go to a licensed counselor. 

 

Even when you are feeling discouraged in all that is going on and all that you do for your grandchildren know that you are a blessing to them.  You are also a  blessing to your daughter.  May God bless you in your life for the positive impact you are having on your children and daughter.  When you have time go to Godtube and listen to inspirational music on there and watch some of their videos. You can sign up for daily e-mails from them and receive encouragement each day.  Godtube is one of my favorite sites. You can also go to Youtube and listen to Christian musicians like Chris Tomlin, Matt West, Celtic girls ( The Celtic girls sing "Amazing Grace" so beautifully.) and  other singers.  I am glad that you have a faith in God.  He has helped me in my struggles this year dealing with my daughter.  I have learned to "Trust in Him."  I thought I trusted in Him all my life but this year I really learned to trust Him.  I hope that you will be able to find Christian friends to help you and give you assistance in some things.  That was a great suggestion from a poster.

 

I hope you will keep posting and let us know what is going on in your life.  As Rose has said this is a good place to vent and share your problems.  I have been on this site for a few years and this site helps me.  Sometimes you will have posters who will give you a hard time. Sometimes we posters are wrong in our advice.   Just ignore those if you disagree and take the advice that you want to take.  Know that many on GP site do care about you and your struggles. 

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