Creating security when I'm feeling unstable..... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 02-12-2012, 02:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if this belongs here or not....

But, I need advice.  My daughter is 5.  The past 2 years have been rough for us.  Her father and I separated about 2 years ago and I haven't been the most stable person ever.  We have moved A LOT.  And by a lot, I mean we haven't been in one place for more than 6 months, and that only happened once.  So she doesn't know what to expect.  The last place we moved I told her we wouldn't move again, and when I said it, I meant it.  But it ended up not being a logical place for us to be.  An hour away from town, which is where I would love to stay, but it just isn't working.  I work in town and her and I both feel isolated out there.  So, we've been staying in a bedroom at my parents house for the past 2 months.  We have no routine.... it's awful.  I'm looking for a place right now to call home and STAY.  

She has been acting up and a little bit out of control with me.  She doesn't do this with her dad (who has her one day a week) or his mom (who has her 2 days a week).  She only acts like this with me.  So.... if any of you mamas have been in a situation where you have found yourself, almost without a home, how did you help to establish a routine or help your child feel secure?  I think that's why she is acting the way she is.  I was so frustrated with her the other night at bedtime, that I started crying with her and it scared her.  She asked me if I didn't like her and told me that she was afraid to lose her home at her nana's house.  I am so afraid that I am not providing for her the way I should.  I am trying hard right now to get it together and keep her in one place.... with me.  In the past we have rented rooms from friends or had roommates, which is why nothing has really worked out.  

She said that when she is with me she misses her nana and her daddy and when she is with them, she misses me....  :(  

I need some advice please.

Thank you.

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#2 of 10 Old 02-12-2012, 06:21 PM
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We've had things pretty chaotic too (moving 5 times in the past 2.5 years), so I don't really have advice. I just want you to know you are not alone. Maybe a distinct bedtime routine? the same exact 6 steps in getting ready for bed? I do think you are right about having routines gives a sense of security. Maybe also something along the lines of 'it doesn't matter where we are, when we are together it is home for us'? Not sure, but hope you'll get some good advice here. 


Mom to 11 y.o. lawyer, 9 y.o. actor, and 4 y.o. pilot. I believe 'em on those, too!

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#3 of 10 Old 02-13-2012, 10:03 AM
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We've moved 4 times in 4 years.  One thing that worked for us is starting check-in time:  initiating physical contact or closeness with them throughout the day.  We call it snuggle/huggles...I would say things like 'it's been 2 hours and you haven't hugged me' or time to sit on the couch and snuggle and read and book!  My kids are 5 and 8, and even the 8 year old needed this.  My 5 year old is now more open with affection and had started requesting more snuggle time when she is feeling weird.  Establishing routine also helps....we snuggle when we get up every morning while we read the paper together.  And bedtime is always the same, and they both still sleep with me.  We did have discussions about moving and feeling secure, and now we have a saying:  "Home is where the mom is", which was especially helpful because asshat would not give me time to get a mortgage after being a sahm for 8 years, and he kept the tiy house that they loved.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-13-2012, 11:30 AM
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Do what you HAVE to, not what you WANT to and everything will work itself out. Be patient.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-14-2012, 03:06 AM
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How about having a bit more of a routine that can be maintained no matter where you are?  For example, find out the local library day for your daughter's age group and go once a week.  Then check out books afterwards.  Try to go to the farmer's market and get some fruit on a Sunday, then you two can cook a meal with a different vegetable or sample some interesting fruit.  Have a regular boardgame/nature DVD/pancake breakfast/craft night/swimming together/nature hike/what-have-you on a certain day or time that she can rely on as a "staple".

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#6 of 10 Old 02-14-2012, 06:18 PM
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This coming from a mom who really sucks at routines,
I have moved 3 times in 2 years.
My son is now almost 4 and I am planning to move again next month.
What I do is make it a big happy event!

Yay! We will try a new home! Whoohoooo!
He acts funny for 2-3 days but I keep a happy disposition no matter what, even if I have to fake it. Have you seen the movie "life is beautiful". Is a father who was able to fake for the holocaoust to be a positive thing for love of his son. Very sad movie, but powerful message.

My poor son never knows what to expect with me, but he has become very resilient and I know it is because I am a joly improviser,
Something like, nap time! Shooks, Forget nap Time, I forgot we need to go to the bank!! Yay! Isn't it exciting!? Let's make the bank errand dance!

His dad is the opposite, a strict organizer.

Don't take me wrong, at times I do cry in front of him, couldn't avoid it. I would liook at him and say " mommy is sad, mommies cry too. But all is ok and I love you so much" he would just lay with me while i sobb. Then I would put my smile and go for a good tickle fight.

Maybe, just maybe, you may be too hard on yourself. You love your daughter and you can indeed show her you are happy and stable, one little happy moment at a time.

Sending you lots of Love:joy
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#7 of 10 Old 02-14-2012, 10:55 PM
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My son is 11, in that time we've had SEVEN different addresses (and one failed cross country move).  The longest we've been anywhere was the first 5 years of his life.  Then we moved across country, lasted oh... maybe a month and moved right back.  Found ourselves with nowhere to live, couch surfed with his father (bad idea), then rented an apartment, after 2 1/2 years got evicted (life crisis and couldn't make rent), rushed to get a new apt before the eviction was 'official', lasted there a year then moved with roommate, lasted 18 mos now we are here with horrible people living above us.  PHEWY!


In all the chaos I try to keep some things consistant, like I TRY to make Sunday dinner.  Yes like a real full meal.  I try to bake something once a week.  We go to the library alot, DS is now involved in swim team etc.


I have full custody and there is no visitation so he is always with me which makes things easier in some respects.


Sometimes we read outloud at night.


*I* also make sure that I make my therapy appointment.  If I miss it or cancel my mental state is horrible.  Make time for yourself.  It may not be therapy, it could be a long shower, soaking your feet, a routine haircut etc.  But make sure you have time for YOU.

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#8 of 10 Old 02-15-2012, 04:06 AM
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I don't know if this is helpful, but I just made a meal plan and my kids are totally glomming on to the routine of it.  It seems to give them a sense of stability even though it's just "tonight is hot dog night."  LOL!  It also helps me not have to think about what to cook.  I don't know if that would work for you, but if you think of the seven easiest/cheapest/no-brainer meals you usually have, assign each to a day, stick it on your fridge, and give it a try, maybe it will work for you.


Also we light a candle on the table when we have dinner and then blow out the candle at the end of the meal. 


Another rule we have is that before anyone watches TV or a movie, the living room has to get tidied up.  That keeps me sane and motivates them to do it because they want to get to the movie.


When I was trying to establish routines a long time ago, lists helped me.  I posted a list in the bathroom -- brush teeth, floss, pee, wash hands -- with pictures so my kids could do it themselves.  My youngest especially is faithful about that routine and now we don't even have the list anymore, I just say "do your bathroom stuff" and they do those things every night.  But I started small and the list was more for my benefit than theirs, so I wouldn't have to think!


Also I have a wall calendar that I color-coded so they can all tell which days they're where.  I think it gives them security to be able to check it for themselves as many times a day as they want.  My youngest crosses off "yesterday" each morning.  It doesn't require much from me -- if your DD knows numbers you won't need to help her much with this.  My kids only go two places but my house gets a purple line and their dad's house gets a blue line at the top of the date.


These things might not sound related to what your DD is going through, but with my kids it seems to have given them a lot of emotional stability in a year where I was feeling pretty unstable.  Also all of these things can be done anywhere, doesn't matter if you move.


Maybe something there will help.  Start small -- don't try to do it all at once.  Also have you asked your DD what would help her feel secure?  Maybe you can problem-solve together.  Good luck.  hug2.gif

- homeschooling mom to four teens
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#9 of 10 Old 02-21-2012, 07:28 PM
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#10 of 10 Old 02-22-2012, 07:42 AM
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I think all of these suggestions are phenomenal. I'm right there with you, dd is almost 5 and we've moved more times than I can count, not to mention that I'm a full-time student and we do a split week, so there's a lot of busy-ness. We're finally settling into a better state...and that has been wholly due to routine (bath EVERY night, same bedtime routine - I rolled my eyes at this for years until I finally caved and decided to try it). I've learned that no matter what happens in circumstances, in the environment, I have to be the rock. I have to be the solid ground. And I think these replies have all given you wonderful suggestions, many of which I want to try as well!!!


So, I'm mostly posting to say you're not alone. It's going to be okay.

(sort of) single mama to one hearts.gif7/21/07. student, breastfeeding advocate, writer 

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