Daytime parenting vs. co-sleeping - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 05-06-2010, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have tried posting this at least three times, and always delete it because it sounds too disjointed. So please bear with me . . .

DD is 8 and we still co-sleep, which is not the issue. My issue is that, due to the job I started in this crappy economy, I'm only home two hours before bedtime every evening. This is after 7+ years of being a WAHM, thus being home at all the important moments. So DD feels totally neglected, despite the fact that I'm spending every moment I'm home with her, plus 8+ hours a night. I am driving myself crazy with guilt over the situation. The only way I can cope with the stress of our new family situation is exercise, but she gives me so much guilt when I duck downstairs to do an exercise DVD for 45 minutes (I already gave up most gym visits, except on Sat & Sun.)

Add this to the fact that DD has been dealing with a bully at school, and our lives have become fairly miserable. I could not believe the guilt trip the school counselor gave me for my unavailability, ending our conversation with, "But you've got a great little girl, so you must be doing *something* right."

The easiest way I can see out of our situation is to try to sell our house, me quit my job, and become a SAHM. But as it is, we barely make ends meet, so I'm not working for fun. At this point, she's not even in after-care, because my husband works 6:30a-2p so he can pick her up from school.

I honestly can't tell if a) I'm a neglectful mother because I occasionally exercise to keep from having a stroke from the stress, or b) I am doing the best I can by nighttime parenting and spending almost every possible waking moment with my daughter. Is there a ratio where you can measure the value of time spent co-sleeping vs. daytime parenting? Of course there's not, but it's the question I keep coming back to.

Thanks for reading through all my crazy nonsense rambling!

Nichole
wife to Sasha, mom to Marlena, nursed for 3.5 years, aunt to 3 adorable nephews
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#2 of 14 Old 05-07-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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You are not a neglectful mom. Your daughter is 8 yrs. old. I think she is old enough for her to understand that you have to work, just talk to her. Can she not go down to the basement with you and watch you work out or even join you? Please do not feel guilty. Remember life is a journey not a destination. Which means life is always changing, routines and such can not always remain the same. Children need to know the world does not revolve around them. JMO.
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#3 of 14 Old 05-07-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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How long have you been back at work? It's a big transition.

Most likely, she would be having the problem with the bully whether you were home or at work. What would you be doing differently if you were at home? Could you (or maybe you do) have her call you on the phone as soon as she gets in from school? Maybe if there is something she needs to tell you she'll have the opportunity to before you come home and it will help her realize that even though your at work, you are are still there for her if she needs you?
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#4 of 14 Old 05-07-2010, 04:46 PM
 
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You are doing great. You can't take care of your daughter unless you take care of yourself, so exercise. She isn't 8-month-old--she is 8. It isn't that she doesn't need mothering still, but she doesn't need constant mothering. And like I tell myself, part of mothering is providing for your family, which you are doing. It seems like your daughter has a parent caring for her from 2 pm until the morning when she goes to school.

Bullies are hard. My daughter had to deal with a bully at school at that age. I am happy to report she survived. I am glad to hear that the counselor is working on it, but shame on her for making you feel guilty. There are many, many of us who just are not available during the day to be at school.
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#5 of 14 Old 05-07-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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I think you are doing great and should keep it up. Reading some books about people with families dealing with changing situations like this may help her to process this. Would your dd be happier if you were walking together around the block? It doesn't give you as much of a workout, but it is a good time to bond and you both get some benefits of excercise from it.
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#6 of 14 Old 05-07-2010, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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THANK YOU all so much for your responses! You don't know how much better it feels to get some input from other AP working moms.
[QUOTE=madskye;15381076]How long have you been back at work? It's a big transition. . . .
Could you (or maybe you do) have her call you on the phone as soon as she gets in from school? QUOTE]
It's been seven months - I know it's a huge transition, so I've really been obsessing over it. She does call me quite often after school, and I love hearing her check in with me.

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Originally Posted by rivkah View Post
It seems like your daughter has a parent caring for her from 2 pm until the morning when she goes to school.
That is a great point. She is being parented the same amount of hours, just by her dad instead of me in the afternoons.

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Reading some books about people with families dealing with changing situations like this may help her to process this. Would your dd be happier if you were walking together around the block? It doesn't give you as much of a workout, but it is a good time to bond and you both get some benefits of excercise from it.
Any book recommendations? We've been reading the Chrissa books in the American Girl series, and they have been wonderful in coming up with constructive ways to deal with bullies. This bully girl is bullying lots of kids - not just my DD. So DD has been giving the other kids tips on standing up for themselves.

I have been trying to come up with more exercise we can do together, and that's a work in progress.

I keep telling myself every day that the situation isn't forever. Being reminded it's a transition really helps. Thank you all again!

Nichole
wife to Sasha, mom to Marlena, nursed for 3.5 years, aunt to 3 adorable nephews
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#7 of 14 Old 05-08-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AuntNi View Post
I have been trying to come up with more exercise we can do together, and that's a work in progress.
Does she play any sports? Kicking a soccer ball around or playing catch would at least be something? Bike ride together? Vigorous walk? Dancing? Can you expand your definition of exercise? Mine has no interest in sports, so I get it. I think you are doing great.

You really can't sell your house and move because your 8-yo wants to spend more time with you. I think you know. Choose to let go of the guilt here and be a parent-leader. This situation is the best you can give your whole family at this time.

I have a 7.5 yo (VERY attached) with a brand new baby brother, so I get where you're coming from. I'm home on leave but she's still going to aftercare 1-day a week and she'll still go to camp this summer. She's not totally happy about the thought of these, but the aftercare is good for her and camp will be as well. She'll adjust.

Very sorry about the bullying. Have you read all the books on covert aggression? Odd Girl OUt? The bully, bullied and bystander?

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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#8 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 01:59 PM
 
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Even if you were still working from home, you wouldn't be there with her at school. She'd still have the bullying issues.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#9 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 07:28 PM
 
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Well I ALWAYS count night-time parenting (co-sleeping) when I consider the amount of time I spend with DS!! I do consider it quality time, even if they're asleep, just many people feel it's important to sleep beside your spouse...

As far as exercising, you do need to do that if that's what keeps you sane! But could I suggest that you find some activities you & DD could do together? Maybe your 'exercise' could be chasing her at the park, or going for a walk together in the evening, or maybe she would even be interested in doing the DVDs or a class at the gym with you? I think it's important to get kids physically active anyway, so this seems like a win-win to me: more time with your DD, AND you both get some physical activity! But I know some people need to exercise alone & if that's you, don't feel guilty, you need to be calm & happy & healthy to be a good mom to your daughter!

HAHA OK just looked back up a saw you are already trying to come up with exercises you can do together... I should read all the responses before I start typing but I'm always rushed. . Well you could turn on her favorite music and dance together... play catch or dodgeball or kickball... volleyball, tennis... hike in the woods, walk in the park, make an obstacle course (playground or backyard) and time each other as you try to do the whole thing... yoga... Wii Fit if you're able to invest some $$... trampoline... jump rope, swimming... OK hopefully something there inspires you

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#10 of 14 Old 05-10-2010, 07:53 PM
 
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Dancing is great - if you have a WII or playstation, Just Dance and Dance Dance Revolution are great, fun, family friendly exercises.

Walking is good too - great way to burn fat because (for most) you can effortlessly keep your heartrate in that fat-burn zone - just walk at a speed that you are able to talk easily but too breathless to sing.

At 8 she *may* be able to do some of the exercise videos w/ you too... then you could invite her to join you and let it be her choice to get extra "mom time" or not while you exercise.

Mom to A 11/06: Researching : to grow our family
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#11 of 14 Old 05-11-2010, 04:45 AM
 
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do you hold grieving circles with her?

just because she is 8 years old doesnt mean she doesnt need her mom less. i have a 7 1/2 year old and we live in poverty because we both decided she needs me more than a regular job would allow.

it makes a huge difference to dd even though we cosleep. it makes a huge difference to me too as i really do miss her when i dont get my time with her.

i have been doing greiving circles with dd. we sit and both share how much life doesnt go the way we want it to go. sometimes we just have to do things because we dotn have a choice. i recall her telling me at 3 that she accepts that i have to go to work and that she has to be at daycare, but it doesnt mean she doesnt stop hurting. that she doesnt miss me terribly. that she isnt sad. she understands intellectually, however its still hard emotionally.

just accepting that has been huge for dd. i think it really REALLY helps her that we cosleep together. i tell you in our case cosleeping is therapy - a cozy tiime for dd which fulfills her need to be wanted, for physical touch.

sit and ask your dd what she would like you to do to make this easier for her. for instance i asked my dd what she would like when i go away for the first time for a week for a summer class. and she asked if we could take pictures and email her some.

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#12 of 14 Old 05-11-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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AuntNi, you are doing GREAT. Your daughter is SO lucky to have her dad home with her after school every day. Many kids are in day care for hours after school. It's a hard adjustment, but you will both be okay! Exercising together is a wonderful idea too.

How are your mornings? Are you able to have breakfast together?
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#13 of 14 Old 05-13-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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I would shift the focus to this being an opportunity for her and dad to develop a much closer relationship. It seems like her main emotional bond is with you - or at least that is where she sees her source of comfort and strength. Why can't dad meet with the guidance counselor after school? Or whatever it is the guidance counselor thinks you guys should be doing? Can dad and daughter come up with some special after school things to do once or twice a week that becomes their ritual. They could cook a special dinner so that when you get home you can all sit down to "restaurant night" - making a weeknight into a more weekend-like special occasion. Also takes the stress off you (if you are the one responsible for dinner). It's so great that your partner is able to be with her in the afternoons. I would definitely try to figure out how to work that more.

I'm not saying she doesn't still need you, but she has two parents and between the two of you, you are both able to meet her physical and emotional needs. It's a big transition if she's used to having you around all the time, but 2 hours/night plus weekends is what a lot of people have and it's plenty to be there for your daughter.

It sounds like there's a lot of stress generally in your life. I'm sorry things are so tough. I'm also sorry the school laid a guilt-trip on you. That's really terrible in my opinion.

I'd also check out a new book called Equally Shared Parenting for lots of ideas on how to work out a more equal balance in all spheres to make the whole family happier. I found it really helpful. Good luck!
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#14 of 14 Old 05-13-2010, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxmom View Post
I would shift the focus to this being an opportunity for her and dad to develop a much closer relationship.
THANK YOU! Big hugs to you for pointing this out. Sometimes I can be so dense.

Due to all your positive suggestions, I am feeling better about the situation. DD got a dog for her birthday three weeks ago, and she has been such a blessing to our family. She's the calmest, sweetest thing, and thus is a wonderful, soothing afternoon companion for DD. We're able to walk her together, adding exercise opportunities for the whole family. And DD and DH are really bonding over taking care of the doggie after school.

I also read the most amazing article yesterday about a study that showed when girls talked on the phone to their mom, it raised their oxytocin levels almost as much as physical hugs. We've been trying to talk on the phone every day after school, which does make us both feel better.

And we have spent so much time working through the bully issue. It's been hearing DD tell about how she's using her newfound skills to help the other kids stand up to the bullies, as well. She's like a little 2nd grade Norma Rae!

Thank you all again for all your help.

Nichole
wife to Sasha, mom to Marlena, nursed for 3.5 years, aunt to 3 adorable nephews
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