18mo Stress - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-21-2014, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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18mo Stress

We have a stressful life. We really, really are trying to sort things out- but we keep getting curveballs thrown and right now we just have to deal with it being stressful. It's clearly taking a toll on kiddo, which is taking a toll on my SAH partner.

The biggest problem is the separation anxiety- it's not overly surprising, it's apparently supposed to be peaking about now, but it means that during the hours I'm at work, my toddler is in meltdown mode. Clingy, breaks down over just about everything, refuses to sleep, and constantly pushing boundaries. It's not in the regular "trying to learn" way- it seems more like a self-destructing due to inner turmoil. Which is a pretty awful thing for a 1 year old to be going through.

We don't really know how to help with this. Most of the books assume that there's one primary caregiver- but we were both pretty much equal, then I got a job with variable hours. We don't have to get kiddo used to a new caregiver, just used to one caregiver being gone.

DP is trying to stay calm and patient, and I'm trying to give DP time off- but it's not easy, especially when us adults are starting off already stressed. We're trying to deal with our own stress, but really have no idea how to help a 18mo with his.

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#2 of 6 Old 10-21-2014, 09:09 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wonder if part of what's bugging your kiddo is the variability of your hours? IME, toddlers are big on routine, but he's not yet at an age where you can easily explain the schedule to him, so he might just be freaking out that he can't seem to predict his day.

Are there any ways you could build predictability into your kid's schedule? Are there constants that you can put in place that don't rely on one person or another being present? And does anyone have any suggestions for communicating to a very small child when it is that a parent with an inconsistant schedule will be home? Maybe some kind of chart with velcro bits or magnets for activities, and a piece you can place showing when you'll get home and when you'll leave.
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#3 of 6 Old 10-22-2014, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
I'm so sorry you're going through this. I wonder if part of what's bugging your kiddo is the variability of your hours? IME, toddlers are big on routine, but he's not yet at an age where you can easily explain the schedule to him, so he might just be freaking out that he can't seem to predict his day.

Are there any ways you could build predictability into your kid's schedule? Are there constants that you can put in place that don't rely on one person or another being present? And does anyone have any suggestions for communicating to a very small child when it is that a parent with an inconsistant schedule will be home? Maybe some kind of chart with velcro bits or magnets for activities, and a piece you can place showing when you'll get home and when you'll leave.
Thanks for the response! It's possible the ONLY part of this is the variable schedule. It's never been this bad. We've had times of stress before, but kiddo's never been like this, and I really think the schedule is the problem. We were in college the first year of kiddo's life, so our schedule was weird but a stable kind of weird. This is just chaos.

I don't know what to do about it- I can't find a better job (TRYING), and I'm not sure how to help kiddo. He clings to me like a limpet when I get home, so he definitely gets enough affection. (I do get frustrated when I need to do something and he puts up a fuss, but I also give him a lot of positive attention) Apparently when my partner tries to talk about me being gone and that I'll be back, it can get kiddo more upset.

Right now, my schedule is constant, but the reason it's constant (DP was offered a night job that necessitated me only getting morning shifts) didn't pan out (person DP was replacing decided not to leave), and I'm worried that if I hide this at work I could get in trouble if they ever find out later. The consistency only just started, last week I had all evening shifts which worked- kiddo was awake when I left and came back. Now I've got all early shifts so kiddo is asleep when I leave. The evening shifts are shorter than the morning shifts by 1-2 hours a day, so the morning shifts are a lot better financially. Honestly, I wish I could just ask for all evening shifts, I've never been a morning person, it's better for a few other reasons, and they're easier on kiddo. But I'd either have to work 6 days a week or take a big blow to my paycheck. I can't afford to do either.

DP's been trying to keep a solid schedule for kiddo since I got the job, but my hours changing this much throws kiddo off so badly that it's been an uphill battle.

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#4 of 6 Old 10-25-2014, 11:02 AM
 
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I am so sorry I know how you feel. We just entered into a very stressful year with me going back to school for 15 credit hours. I think what you are already doing, trying to make a consistent routine than either of you can maintain without the other is the key. It might just take time for your kiddo to get used to it. Nothing can speed up gradual learning from routine and changing of expectations, unfortunately.

This is also a very social time for toddlers. From about 13 months my DD started becoming OBSESSED with befriending the neighborhood kids. Maybe she needs more company in the form of baby friends to begin to replace the deep mama-attachment-type relationships? This is hard to do as a SAHM, but it's something that is worth trying! I really think a lot of our parenting ails are a product of individualist culture. We are social creatures! That's why only children get so attached to stuffed animals and have more imaginary friends. They need peer-type socializing.

I'd been wanting to try some kind of babysitting exchange thing when I was a SAHM, but never found a good partner to do it with. My plan was that one day a week, I'd go to her house and watch the kids while she does chores or takes a break; and then a second day that same week she'd come over and do the same. We just didn't have many friends with babies then, and now, we use daycare for socialization mostly.

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#5 of 6 Old 10-30-2014, 11:56 PM
 
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I don't have time for a fully reply, but I have to say I totally feel you, because my partner works week on/week off, alternating a week of nights and a week of days. It is still hard for my almost 3-year-old to understand "night shift" and "day shift" and "week." What ended up helping for me was explaining to himwhere daddy was and and exactly what he was doing there, rather than focusing on why or when he'd be back or how we were missing him. I also tried to structure our days almost super-predictably, depending on the shift my husband was working, in the hopes that maybe he would recognize whether it was "this" kind of day or "that" kind of day (day vs. night shift). I hope this helps.
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#6 of 6 Old 11-02-2014, 12:48 AM
 
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good,We were in college the first year of kiddo's life, so our schedule was weird but a stable kind of weird. This is just chaos.thanks
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