Hi everyone :)
I have been separated since Jan. 10th this year, and former spouse left on Feb. 4th. It's March 10th today. :) I have five children, four boys: 9, 8, 7, 5, and one girl, 2.5 yrs old.
Alright, so my five children have gone through a bunch of emotions and behaviours during the time since their father left. At first they had anxiety issues because they/we used to 'walk on eggshells' and never knew what would set off a daddy-tantrum. After about a week of that never happening (because he was gone), they began to relax and started to just spend hours relaxed in imaginative play with one another. It was wonderful to see them doing that again. For a long time, their father worked during the days and oftentimes evenings and nights and slept during the day, so there were long periods of most days when they had that freedom. In the four months before he left, he was home all the time, and it was very stressful for all of us.
Anyway, this past week has brought new issues to my attention, and I am wondering if anyone else has seen this or if there is something to be addressed, or just waited out. It is so extreme that I am not sure if I should be getting right on it before habits are formed, or if I should just endure it until it settles. Anyone btdt and could share would be very much appreciated.
They are awake around 7am, and go to bed at 8pm, and stay up until around 10ish- the younger ones slightly earlier, the older ones later. Sleep has always been an issue, and I believe it is tied to stress, so I am working this out on a day-by-day basis and seeing improvements in their sleep already. During the day (we unschool), they have become so unruly, so loud and jumpy/fidgety and completely unhinged, that I feel like I'm in a very noisy factory all day. They literally cannot stop yelling instead of talking, yell-talk over one another for hours upon hours, and basically, it's like they have so much energy that they are constantly on overload and their volume and output is off the charts. These are children who've been home since birth and have had excellent focus, attention spans and self-direction as appropriate for their maturity levels which tend to be rather high in general; they have had a lot of freedom and power of decision at each stage of their abilities when they are with me, and this has been hindered when their father was home, so they have lived a sort of double life until now. They have also always been high-energy with lots of stamina, but again, this is like that x100. I feel like I'm going to lose my mind, lol, and I'm a very relaxed mama in general.
So, I am guessing that they are now experiencing an excess of energy that they don't yet know how to effectively use because they previously expended this energy coping with stress and the instability of the emotional and mental landscape when their father was here. Now that he's not, our life has become very predictable and stable, and so, they are bursting- BURSTING!!!- with energy. Even my very quiet (ha!), introverted nine yr old is yelling at the table- not in anger, just in volume.
I should add that their attitudes are generally very positive, they are happy to be here with me and that their father has gone (except the 2 yr old- she doesn't express anything like that, but her brothers express relief and gladness, and I just listen and offer support without ever blaming their father or anything negative like that; I don't want that kind of attitude in my life or home at all, and not from myself either), so this is not "acting out" in the sense that it is usually understood. I will say that along with this mass-energy explosion has been back-talking and some rudeness that is really not usual, and I am not sure how to deal with that either, because I hear them parroting their father's words and attitudes toward me, as if to make up for the missing stress- to normalise things in the moment, it seems. So far, I just tell them that we can have peaceful conversations without that, and when I say that to them, usually they realise that it's true and they try again, or just stop with the rudeness and carry on with our conversation.
I know that they may need assistance learning what strategies to employ for themselves for channeling all this new-found energy, and also that they may find kinked up anger or other pain in the process of experiencing all of this coming up. I am not sure what exactly to do other than to find practical outlets (lots of physical activity, meditation... we have daily practices such as these already though, and they don't seem to be enough like they used to be). Otherwise, I am just wondering if this is common among families where a major stress has been removed from the daily experience of children. I am going to need a break from it just to have some quiet and space! By 10pm, I am not much able to find ways of refreshing myself for the next day, so I'm waking up exhausted, these last few days, which is not good or usual for me since I've been solo.
Oh, and I've been on the peaceful, naturally-based mothering journey since ds1 was a young toddler- so about 8 years. My children are not schooled in any way- just natural learners. So, I am with my children now 100% of the time, and this is obviously not ideal (I do recognise the need for a break, and have some healthy possibilities for that in the near future- imagine I met a nearby naturally-mothering, unschooling mum- she has for 21 yrs- already! And she offered to watch my children for a few hours whenever I need/want- must pend more time together first, of course); we had just moved across the country 6 months ago, so my community involvement and support is somewhat limited for now- though it's already reliable for me, amazingly- it's a great little town where people know what it's like to need one another, so people here offer and follow-through too. I love it here.
Thanks so much for any positive opinions or advice about the energetic-overload behaviours, or your experiences, mamas! :)