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Old 05-27-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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I am so wiped out. I am so emotionally exhausted and disconnected. Yesterday, I was in tears because I kept thinking, "I hate being a mother!" I have been a solo parent since ds was 2 months old. It is hard and it sucks!!! No one should have to parent on their own... it is so unnatural and unfair.
This made me cry!! I am so sorry you are going through this, Mama. You are right, it is totally unfair!! I don't know how single parents do it...I have a supportive spouse and I still feel overwhelmed.

Could you make a deal with your son that you will stay in your bedroom for X number of minutes after he lays down, and then you are going to have some time for yourself? Maybe you could tell him that you are at the end of your rope with this whole situation and if you can't find a workable compromise you wont be able to stay with him at all. You can't be a good Mama if you aren't getting your needs met.

Another idea I have is to tell him you will stay in your room a couple nights a week and he can choose which nights. Those will be HIS nights, and the other nights will be yours. Then you will both have something to look forward to when it isn't your night. You could do a ticket system or something.

Bottom line, you need some downtime to recharge. Mental health is so so so important. Your needs are every bit as important as his.


hth and I really hope you can find a solution. I can tell how miserable and overwhelmed you are feeling.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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When my dd1 transitioned to her own bed from the family bed and although it was her choice she still had some difficulty at bed time. I remember going through a stage where I would tuck her in and then go get my pajamas on and come back and check on her. I'd sit with her a minute and rub her back and then go out again. I remembering telling her all of the things I did in the evening (load the dish washer, put in a load of laundry, etc.) and that I really needed to do these things but I would come back to check on her after each job even if she was laying quietly. I could have gone by a timer but that meant nothing to her at the time but she could understand about how long it took me to unload the dishwasher or whatever. Anyway, after doing this a few weeks she knew I was coming back to see her and she was calm enough to fall right to sleep. She started falling to sleep before I even made it back for the first check-in.
Maybe this idea could help you in some way.

I don't like the string idea. I don't think it is safe. I would worry about that.

So he wants to be sure that you can hear him if he needs you?
Possibly: check on him lots and tell him what you plan to go do in the other room (tonight I'm going to knit, do school work, read, etc,), celebrate him for laying quietly and resting (not punishing or being harsh if he gets up or calls out to you though), reassure him that he is safe and you can hear him. (you can hear him if he cries or calls out, right?) plus, you'll be bac kto check on him shortly so if he needs something he can tell you then.

I hope you guys resolve this soon.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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DS is 4 and we have some of the same issues.

One thing that has REALLY helped us is that we go for a LONG, meandering walk in the evenings after dinner (30+ minutes). We talk about the day, what tomorrow will bring, etc. I think that it helps him process the events of the day (sometimes he has troubles at preschool that he needs to work through). I think that this helps him wind down at the end of the day and also helps him relax and stop worrying about things. It gives him physical and mental exercise, KWIM? He also knows that he gets my undivided attention.

After the walk, we go home and he plays for a short time before we start the bedtime routine. If he comes out of his room, I remind him that I have to fold laundry, read my book, etc and that I'll be in to check on him when I'm finished. He usually falls asleep in less than 15 minutes.

FWIW, we co-slept until Thanksgiving-ish of 2008, so this is all relatively new, make-it-up-as-you-go territory for us.

Jenny Eric and The Boy (05.04.05)
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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mama, sounds like you are having a rough time! I have no BTDT advice, because my LO is only 9 months old, but I couldn't read and not post!

Have you read Sleepless in America? I just got it, because we are having nighttime issues with my DS. He fights sleep horribly, and doesn't sleep for very long when he does sleep. Someone recommended that book to me, and it has been a real eye-opener. It is more geared towards kids than babies, but it just has some great explanations for why kids have a hard time sleeping, and things you can do to help throughout the day.

I, too would not be comfortable just walking him back to bed without saying anything. I don't ever want my DS to feel like if he needs me (night or day) that I won't be there to meet that need. I remember laying in my bed many nights as a child, scared of monsters and ghosts, but knowing that I couldn't wake my parents. Now, at 23, I am still 'scared' of the dark, and of being alone at night. I never developed a healthy appreciation for nighttime sleep.

I would start with doing a bedtime routine, then lay in bed with him, and tell him "mommy will lay with you until you fall asleep and rub your back/head/hold your hand and help you get to sleep, but after that I need to go get some things done in the living room. If you need me, I will be right there." and then after a few weeks of that try "mommy will lay with you for 10 (or however long you decide) minutes and then I have to go into the living room..."

I also like the walkie-talkie idea, so that he knows you are there and can get you if he does need anything.

Trust your instincts Mama. You are doing a wonderful job. Good luck, I hope you figure out something that works for your family soon.

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Old 05-28-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I was a single mama too for the first 4 years. I used to pretend to tie an invisible string around their wrists and to mine- that actually worked for one of my kids, it never took off with the other. It was just so they felt that we were still connected. Maybe if you reward him for staying in bed you can peek in every ten mins at first, then 15, and so on. You absolutely need your time, no doubt! So, there has to be some limits that you draw- and that will help him to respect others' limits as well as his own needs. Its not ok to be literally on a string for anybody (on a regular basis) at least in my opinion. Blessings!
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You are all so absolutely amazing. I cannot thank you enough!

I just didn't have time to get the walkie-talkies today. I also thought that consistency was going to the be the key and I needed to stay my course.

It is currently 8:40 pm. We read books, talked in bed and just cuddled for 30 minutes until 8:15. I told him that I will tuck him back into bed 1 time, if he got up. BUT, if he got up more than one time, he would have to tuck himself back in. He said OK and we walked through what he would do to tuck himself into bed.

He has a low self-esteem and I was thinking all day that he needs to feel like he can do this. I need to teach him, walk him through it all. What will it look like, what will I do, etc. So far... he has only gotten up once! I tucked him back into bed, started his music over again and told him he was doing great! Nothing since... it has been about 20 minutes.

UPDATE: Just checked on him... he is fast asleep!!!! Tonight was a good night!
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:10 AM
 
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You are all so absolutely amazing. I cannot thank you enough!

I just didn't have time to get the walkie-talkies today. I also thought that consistency was going to the be the key and I needed to stay my course.

It is currently 8:40 pm. We read books, talked in bed and just cuddled for 30 minutes until 8:15. I told him that I will tuck him back into bed 1 time, if he got up. BUT, if he got up more than one time, he would have to tuck himself back in. He said OK and we walked through what he would do to tuck himself into bed.

He has a low self-esteem and I was thinking all day that he needs to feel like he can do this. I need to teach him, walk him through it all. What will it look like, what will I do, etc. So far... he has only gotten up once! I tucked him back into bed, started his music over again and told him he was doing great! Nothing since... it has been about 20 minutes.

UPDATE: Just checked on him... he is fast asleep!!!! Tonight was a good night!

What about a reward chart for staying in bed? Something like, if he stays in bed without getting up he gets 2 stickers, if he gets up once he gets 1 sticker and you will tuck him back in, and if he gets up more than once he gets no stickers for that day and he has to tuck himself back into bed. Obviously there would have to be a reasonable milestone/tangible reward.

I agree with your conclusion that you need to teach him to handle this himself. Rewards always helped me over these kind of humps when I was that age.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:24 AM
 
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I have a 6 and 4 yo boys that i lay down with until they fall asleep. They know that after they fall asleep I will leave and if they wake up they know to just come and find me. They usually 1 or both of them will appear in my 1y/o's room where i cosleep with him and they just jump in the bed with us and go back to sleep. It is rare for them to get up before i have gone to bed.
I did think the walkie talkie thing would work. let us know b/c I am hoping this summer to transition mine to hopefully go to sleep without me in the room so that I can be putting the little one down at the same time. his room is right across the hall so we would be able to hear each other.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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But this mom is a single mom and her well being needs to be important too. She is saying that she needs this time to herself. AP shouldn't be at the sacrifice of the parent.

:


My daughter went through (er... cycles through) crazy bedtime issues too.

LATELY what has been working (with disputes in between, of course) is giving her a special toy at bedtime for her to work on.

I keep some stuff up in her closet (a wooden "paper" doll, etchasketch, one of those obnoxious noise making books etc) & she gets to choose one to play with in bed at night.

On seriously rough nights, though, like last night... we do what we can, & if she's still a lunatic wait her out. If she grates on nerves with her crazed screaming we go outside.

It's not "cruel," we're not "doing anything to her." She is screaming because she's pi**ed off that she's not getting what she wants. Tragic nights don't effect her bond with us at ALL.


Before anyone totally flames me, we also have the wonderful bedtime routine. It's not like she doesn't understand it's bedtime or that we're directly in the other room. She just wants us to stay with her.

Nobody gets what they want all the time, and kids (at least my daughter) react to fustration/dissapointment/anger by screaming. I think, in general, it's good for kids to feel those feelings & for those feelings to be ok. I don't think running in & comming to the rescue when my daughter is totally pis**ed off would tell her that those feelings are ok... I think (me, as in no expert except to my own child) it would communicate that fustration, dissapointment and anger is something Mommy will "fix."


It works for US. Like the poster above indicated, parenting styles MUST work for the parents. In general (of course there are exceptions) being harda** at bedtime is what works for us.


Thankfully I have my husband around to keep me strong, too

Wife to my of 10 years, SAHM to my 2 beautiful homebirthed girls Sydney (4/29/2006) Kennedy (3/21/2010) & 1 super Newfoundland
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Old 05-28-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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It seems like you have it under control, but I just wanted to add my two cents. (I'm not a mom yet)

I also have a tough time sleeping without my husband. I like it better when he's there, and I don't like it when he's up watching tv-- it's hard for me to get back to sleep.

It took me a while to figure out that it's just the white noise. It's comforting, even when he's in the next room, and I can hear him working. (his office shares a wall with our bedroom). If he's downstairs, I have to sleep with a fan on, and if that's not enough, I listen to audiobooks until I doze off. Perhaps something similar will work for your son.

It may be different at your parents, because maybe he hears more hustle and bustle?

BTW, this is only been an issue for me for the past 2 years or so-- before that I was a lone sleeper w/out any problems.

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Old 05-28-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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If things have been going ok the past few nights, these might be more of a distraction than a help. I did get a pair, thinking it would help when I want to go to the basement to do laundry (because ds doesn't like to be alone and doesn't want to come with me, either). And it does help. BUT, every two seconds, he asks me where I am and what I'm doing.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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Again... thank you so much for your input and sympathy!

For the past 2-3 weeks, I have been consistently staying in the living room every night and he knows that will be the norm from then on out.

As I said, some nights are easy with him only getting up once and some nights are miserable and he gets up 5+ times!

Perhaps with time, it will start to even out.

I am seriously considering going and getting walkie-talkies. One of his greatest anxieties is that he cannot hear me and I cannot hear him. What do you think?

Or, should I just continue to stay on course?
Well, personally I'd not get the walkie-talkies. Would getting send the subtle messages that 1. you don't really think he's OK going to bed on his own when you're not right there, thereby making him feel more insecure about it? and 2. undermine his developing sense of consistency based on the new guidelines you've given him?

Also, is your house or apartment really so large that if he really needed you he couldn't call out and get you? Unless you live in an exceptionally large home or one with three levels or something, I can't imagine what benefit walkie-talkies would be except to provide an even easier way for him to get your attention.

You're a single mom, and you said you need that downtime in the evening. That is a totally valid need. We all need a break, and we can't parent as well if we don't have some time to recharge. Would walkie-talkies infringe on your down time and prolong your ds's time to fall asleep? I know that I would hate being summoned on a walkie talkie every few minutes!


One other thought - have you ever had walkie-talkies? We've had cheap ones and medium (like $70) ones, and they were AWFUL. If they were left on (which they had to be if you wanted to be able to talk to the other one when you wanted), they crackled and were really loud and staticky. The call button on both sets was a really loud beep, which was not at all conducive to either falling asleep or relaxing around the house.

I'm glad last night went well for you!
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Last night did go very well and he woke up VERY proud of himself asking for a sticker on the calendar.

I had told him previously that if he was responsible with his sleeping (not staying up late by getting up over and over again) for 4 nights in a row, then he could stay up late (an extra hour -- 9pm) on the weekend.

We'll see how tonight goes. :
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:09 PM
 
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Is there a different reward, other than the exact thing you're wanting to prevent?

Just a thought...especially since you're in the early phases of trying to get peaceful sleep earlier.

I'm learning a lot from this thread, thank you!
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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If you are OK being the boss I would just tell him how it is going to be (what you need him to do) and then be prepared to spend several nights in a row walking him without comment back to his bed. No talking, no interaction. It's very unlikely that if you are persistent and consistent in your response (walking him back without talking) that he will keep it up past a few days.
Yup. We have done that, but I just tell the kids, "I realize [name their issue], but it is bedtime. We can deal with that tomorrow. Goodnight. Do not get up again."

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Old 05-28-2009, 04:18 PM
 
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I also do the "It is your bedtime and you belong in your bed. I love you. Goodnight." But, after the 5th time, I am not saying anything because I am angry and afraid of what might come out of my mouth.
Oh, I hear you on this. This same scenario happens in our house w/ our 7 & 9 yr olds. SO frustrating!!

Is it anxiety getting to sleep? Is it trouble sleeping?

We use melatonin for trouble getting to sleep and Rescue Remedy for anxiety. It seems that he may have anxiety. I would try the Rescue Remedy and see if it helps.

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Old 05-28-2009, 08:41 PM
 
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I just wanted to add...
1.) It really helps our son to be TIRED at bedtime. Lots of physical play. Lots of natural sunlight on skin and eyes. If he goes to bed after a rainy day of lazing around, well... it's not so great. It's also not great if he is so exhausted he falls over. But going to bed after at least (for him, a few hours) or exercize and being outside that day really helps.

2.) I don't think walkie-talkies deminish your "course" or the sense that you are sending the message "Its bedtime now". Heck, I like my cell phone. I can call my husband, my mom, my sister... Whenever I need to hear them, to know I'm not alone. Just KNOWING that he can talk to you might be enough. And the fact that it sends a message of "I'm always here" is important.

3.) Sometimes, its the "pushing away" that makes them want it so bad. Inevitably, when I am the most frustrated and need a minute to myself and some personal space is when my son wants to be right on my lap. Its because he senses that I am pushing him away and he wants to know that everything is OK, so he wants to be closer to be reassured. He may be responding to your desperation (in which you really want to be alone, but he wants to be with you because he wants the reassurance). I found that often, the harder I push, the worse it gets. The trick is to do it without making it feel like a rejection, an unsettlement, or that something is upsetting you. Sending the message "Ah, no big deal..." is important. If he doesn't do it with others or in other places with you, he might just be responding to the tension around the situation and is seeking your reassurance because he knows that something is wrong.

I'm glad to hear things seem to be going well!
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