I frequently have a young woman babysit my three children, ages six, eight and ten. She’s capable, kind, and loves them.
She also has mental health issues - depression, suicide ideations, and has previously cut herself (years ago).
Her mother, who lives close by and can help as needed, has assured me that she’ll alert me if her daughter’s unfit to babysit. I check with her before we have her daughter stay overnight (rarely).
My parents and some of our friends express concern that we shouldn't have her babysit (we live in a small town so some of her issues are known).
Am I on the right track in having her babysit?
What should I tell my kids about mental health? Should I tell them about our babysitter's situation? She has already said it's fine, but I have no idea what to say.
You’ve been accepting and thoughtful so far, so it’s curious that you’re now second-guessing yourself - likely a result of others pressuring you with their opinions.
Your instinct so far has proved safe and sound. It seems that your babysitter’s mother is a reliable backup resource which adds to your comfort in hiring her daughter.
In my opinion, your children don’t need to be told about her mental health issues at this stage, especially not the younger ones, as it might frighten them about her and raise worries about themselves.
If she habitually exhibits some “different” behaviours, you’ve already given them a valuable life lesson in acceptance.
If you and your husband want to discuss mental health with your children, it’d be helpful to call an association for mental health issues and read some websites from those organizations, to learn age-appropriate and accurate ways to talk about it.
My only consideration would apply to anyone who babysits overnight. You must feel certain that one person in your home can react quickly and appropriately in an emergency – a child’s sudden health crisis, fire, etc.
My wife suffers from chronic pain and I'm concerned about our attachment. She's avoidant and content to be left alone.
I slept in another room for months and recently returned because it only isolated me, and didn't bring her to pursue me, as I’d hoped.
I've learned to read her body language to gauge her pain level and irritability, but she lashes out at me and our teenage daughters harshly.
She watches TV in bed until late while her pain meds kick in, but falls asleep with it on, wakes when I turn it off, and turns it back on.
She refuses to talk to someone about depression, chronic pain and addiction, or our relationship issues.
I’m becoming hopeless. My very presence annoys her. I'm facing a loveless future caring for an ungrateful and mindless wife.
I love her and honour my commitments and will stick it out while our girls are at home, but I’m looking at pulling away to find my own happiness. What can I do?
Do what you believe your wife should be doing – talk to her doctor about chronic pain, depression, addictions and the emotional effects. Learn what it’s really like to be in her shoes.
Get counselling for your own situation. Periodically, tell your wife what you’ve learned about her pain-filled life, but also tell her that shutting you out is taking its toll on you, too.
Stick to your commitment to your daughters who need you. Use what you learn from this time to consider all your options.
I’m not good at receiving compliments. Recently, at work, a woman walked by and commented in a complimentary way on my being slim.
I stumbled, stuttered, and said "You're crazy!" Why would I say that?
I am slim and was wearing an outfit which shows that off.
But I tend to think that if someone’s complimenting me, there must be an underhanded motivation.
I’m sure that’s a different issue about self-worth. A simple "Thank you" sounds to me as though I’m conceited.
You’re smart enough to already know this is about lacking self-confidence and self-worth.
Yet, oddly, you’ll acknowledge to yourself your slim figure and wear something to show it.
So take a closer look at your self-image. It got shaken up at some point, likely by others. It’s time for you to turn it around.
“Thank you” is gracious, and a way to start believing in yourself.
Tip of the day:
A babysitter for your children must be someone you trust, period.