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Hi there. I have a 15 month old DS who is pretty high needs. He gets upset when I leave the room, but seems to do pretty well with DH and his grandma and grandpa. We just moved away from all of our friends and family a month ago since DH is in school now. He works incredibly long hours, so I thought I might join a gym and exercise(I suffer from depression and though this might help a bit). Anyhow, I checked out all of the gyms and went with the one that had the best nursery/day care area. It was the most expenisive and we really don't have the money, but I wanted to concentrate on actually feeling good every once in awhile and having energy again. So, I have tried to leave DS in the kid area twice now and he cries and they have to come get me after 5 minutes. I have tried staying and playing and then leaving when he is distracted and I have tried openly telling him goodbye just to see if one worked better than the other. He has also been having trouble in our church nursery. I just want to enjoy our church service and get a little exercise, but not at the expense of my sweet little boy. Should I just tell them to not come get me so he can work it out or should I just keep taking him and having them come get me over and over and hope he will get used to it? I read in the AP Kelly mom site that coming back in to check on them and leaving again can make things worse. I have been just coming in and taking him home with all hopes of a workout dashed. What do you all think? I would love some help on this one. I am feeling pretty down and want to do the right thing for DS.
Thanks!
Elle
 

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What a difficult situation. I'm sorry you had to move away from your support system. That must be a hard adjustment to make.

Ordinarily I would suggest that you postpone joining a gym for a few months and see if his separation anxiety gets any better, then try again. But since you are feeling down I think you need to do whatever you can to feel better. Is there anything else you could do for exercise - maybe get a jogging stroller or go for long walks with a carrier, or sign up for a class at the Y like a swimming class or mom & me exercise class? Like I said, just for a few months. It might make a difference.

If you feel like you really just need an hour alone a few times a week to work out, though, I don't think you should feel guilty about that. You can't be the best mother to your son when you're all stressed out and depressed, and you shouldn't neglect your health. So I guess what I would do is leave him a little longer at the day care - you said they have to come get you after 5 minutes, so tell them to give him 15 minutes and see if he calms down. A lot of kids do. If he does, I'd probably stick to shorter workouts at first and gradually work up to a couple of hours over the course of a few weeks. Maybe try letting him bring some of his own toys or a stuffed animal or something with him to the day care? That might help him feel more at home. You might even try staying with him and playing for a little while, then going home - don't even leave him at first. Maybe he'll warm up to the situation and won't mind being left.

Good luck - I hope he changes his mind.
 
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