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Discussion Starter #1
How do you deal with (slightly) irrational fears about your kids when they're gone?<br><br>
My ex (for a long time) only had a cell phone. So, when I would call to check in on the kids (which is something we both do - no issues there) the phone would be dead, or turned to silent, or he wouldn't get to it in time, etc.<br><br>
I would literally be in panic mode.<br><br>
For example - my ex is not in the best health. He's a youngish guy, but he works a desk job, probably weighs close to 375 lbs and has severe sleep apnea. He tells me these stories about how our two year old gets out of her room at night and wanders in the apt. - and he doesn't hear her until our seven year old wakes him up.<br><br>
Or how our two year old 'got away from him' in the parking lot and ran towards the highway - and he 'just' managed to grab her.<br><br>
Now, these are things that can happen to any parent (certainly me!) but I spend EOWeekend in sheer terror that something is going to happen to my youngest. Or what if he has an MI and my seven year old can't get his cell phone to work?<br><br>
I tend to call at least three times a day while they're over there to check in. He doesn't mind (trust me - he'd tell me) and it puts my mind at ease, somewhat - but the times I can't reach them, I literally work myself into an anxiety attack to the point where I've drive into town to check on them.<br><br>
It's not about not wanting the kids to go there (I count down the days until I have some time to myself) and not that I think he's a horrible, inattentive father - I just worry incessantly that something is going to happen.<br><br>
This is an example of how crazy I am - I work as an RN in our hospital's emergency dept. I'm actually HAPPY when I'm working and the kids are over at his place - because I know if anything were to happen - I'd be the first to know, because they'd be coming to me at work. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
I need a hobby. Or a valium. Anyone else worry in a deranged way?
 

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I'm going to very blunt. I think it would be a great idea for you to talk to someone about your anxiety (counsellor/phsychologist)<br><br>
You've said yourself that your EX is a capable father......you are worrying excessively for nothing. You don't want to pass your anxiety down to your children. They need to see that you're calm, collected and cool.
 

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That does sound like excessive anxiety. If you knew that he was really irresponsible with the kids, if he was a raging alcoholic or something like that, that would be one thing.<br>
I think it's normal to feel a slight amount of worry when your kids are away. There's this tiny part of my brain that thinks, whew, everything was okay, when DS comes back from an overnight with his dad.<br>
But you're talking about "panic mode," "sheer terror" and literal anxiety attacks -- that's not healthy, and it sounds like it's more an issue with yourself rather than real fears about your X's parenting skills. I agree that it might be worthwhile to talk to someone about that anxiety, because it can negatively affect your kids or your own health.<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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You could get a cell for the 7-y-o. If he used it mainly while at his Dad's, his battery ought to last all weekend. And if he thinks it's cool to have one, he may be keen to carry it all the time, espcially if you get him one of those cute belt-holsters for it.<br><br>
My step-son had a Firefly phone at age 6. I don't think they make those anymore, but I do think you can still buy them on eBay and use them on an AT&T plan (or possibly other plans). Just switch the SIM cards. Fireflies don't have keypads, so kids can't dial outer Mongolia, by accident. You go online to program numbers into their address book. There's one big button on the phone for Mom, one for Dad and one for 9-1-1. Otherwise, the kid makes calls by scrolling through their contact list and hitting the call button. So, you can also limit how much he uses it, by making his contact list short. There's no texting, no internet access. So you can pay for a barebones plan. I highly recommend them!<br><br>
I assume your references to panic are a bit of hyperbole and that you don't necessarily need counseling. I think it's reasonable to be concerned that a morbidly obese person might have trouble keeping up with a fast, impulsive 2-year-old. When we leave our 2-year-old with my MIL - who is perfectly capable of caring for him in most situations - it is critical to me to know that she has access to a working phone and that she does not take our baby in the unfenced front yard by herself. Competent adult that she is, <span style="text-decoration:underline;">she</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">can't</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">catch</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">him</span>. It's also reasonable to fear a person in your ex's condition could have a heart attack (or some such thing) and that, with no land line, your 7-year-old could be in a helpless, terrifying position if his Dad's cell battery is dead, or if the phone's lying underneath him in his pocket, God forbid. Best to think about these possibilities and take what reasonable precautions you can, than to wish you had, later!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jeannine</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423455"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You could get a cell for the 7-y-o. If he used it mainly while at his Dad's, his battery ought to last all weekend. And if he thinks it's cool to have one, he may be keen to carry it all the time, espcially if you get him one of those cute belt-holsters for it.<br></div>
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I don't think that's fair to the seven year old, or his father. They deserve to have time together without constantly being checked up on. I don't think getting the seven year old a phone would be healthy. All it would do is promote the mom (who's having anxiety issues) to call more often than needed.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>spinknottle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423542"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think that's fair to the seven year old, or his father. They deserve to have time together without constantly being checked up on. I don't think getting the seven year old a phone would be healthy. All it would do is promote the mom (who's having anxiety issues) to call more often than needed.</div>
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Uh, I think this is a GREAT IDEA. This way the 7-year old can use it if *he* needs to. It sounds like you have some history that is influencing your answer. Giving the 7 yo a cell phone just for an emergency is fantastic. Make sure he knows how to use it then send him on his way.<br><br>
If you have a decent relationship with the ex, talk to him about how you feel. Ask him if he shares any of your concerns or brainstorm together details about how to come to a resolution.
 

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I don't think it's unhealthy.<br><br>
My 9 year old dd has a cell phone that she uses on the weekends she goes to her dad's so <span style="text-decoration:underline;">she</span> can call <span style="text-decoration:underline;">me</span> if she needs to. I will often send her a text at bedtime to say goodnight, and she knows to call me if she needs me. We often go without talking, but knowing that she has the phone and could call me if she needed eases both of our minds and hearts.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Chantelle691</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423884"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think it's unhealthy.<br><br>
My 9 year old dd has a cell phone that she uses on the weekends she goes to her dad's so <span style="text-decoration:underline;">she</span> can call <span style="text-decoration:underline;">me</span> if she needs to. I will often send her a text at bedtime to say goodnight, and she knows to call me if she needs me. We often go without talking, but knowing that she has the phone and could call me if she needed eases both of our minds and hearts.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jeannine</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423455"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I assume your references to panic are a bit of hyperbole and that you don't necessarily need counseling. I think it's reasonable to be concerned that a morbidly obese person might have trouble keeping up with a fast, impulsive 2-year-old. When we leave our 2-year-old with my MIL - who is perfectly capable of caring for him in most situations - it is critical to me to know that she has access to a working phone and that she does not take our baby in the unfenced front yard by herself. Competent adult that she is, <span style="text-decoration:underline;">she</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">can't</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">catch</span> <span style="text-decoration:underline;">him</span>. It's also reasonable to fear a person in your ex's condition could have a heart attack (or some such thing) and that, with no land line, your 7-year-old could be in a helpless, terrifying position if his Dad's cell battery is dead, or if the phone's lying underneath him in his pocket, God forbid. Best to think about these possibilities and take what reasonable precautions you can, than to wish you had, later!</div>
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Absolutely. The panic is not (from my POV) diagnosable as an 'anxiety condition'. I just have these nightmare scenarios exactly as you've described - something happens to my ex, and there's no phone for my seven year old to use. They live on a busy highway, she has no idea how to work the deadbolt on the apt. door - and even if she did - she'd end up letting my two year old out into the main entrance.<br><br>
I wish it was as easy (or maybe I don't - I'm not in that position) where he was a rotten, inattentive father. I do think he has semi-poor judgment at times (good intentions though!) and is getting close to the point where he may not be able to catch up with our two year old if she darts.<br><br>
Pretty sure he'd be open to the idea of a firefly cell phone for our seven year old... I also wanted to clarify that I would never, ever call or pop over if it caused him or the girls any distress or discomfort. Like I said - he'd for sure, for sure tell me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
On the other hand, I'm also open to the idea that I may be stuck in a cycle of getting myself wound up with worrying. So, I'm going to run with some of the constructive ideas here, and also work harder at not getting so worked up with worrying.<br><br>
Thank you for all the input!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>spinknottle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423542"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think that's fair to the seven year old, or his father. They deserve to have time together without constantly being checked up on. I don't think getting the seven year old a phone would be healthy. All it would do is promote the mom (who's having anxiety issues) to call more often than needed.</div>
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If you've never had a little kid use a cell phone in a divorce situation, I can understand how it might strike you as excessive. And, of course, you're entitled to your opinion. However, 7-year-old boys, by nature, are not big talkers-on-the-phone. He would likely spend a week or two calling on it constantly - and having 45-second conversations - then feel cool carrying it around, but rarely use it. The idea is to make <b>Mom</b> feel like <b>she doesn't need</b> to call all the time, because the kid has a way to reach her, if necessary. Or <b>her ex</b> can use the kid's phone to reach her, if he needs to and his battery's dead. The fact that she wrote the original post shows her understanding that it would be healthier for her to call - and to panic - less.<br><br><i>In my experience</i>, if the OP didn't respect the kids' need for time with their Dad and didn't care about interrupting that with constant calls, making the kids focus on <b>her</b>...then she would have posted something demonizing her ex for denying her contact with her children and trying to frighten her. Instead, she's looking at how to manage <i>herself</i>.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Ceinwen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15424376"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">she has no idea how to work the deadbolt on the apt. door - and even if she did - she'd end up letting my two year old out into the main entrance.</div>
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Sorry! How did I miss that this was a girl?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/Sheepish.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Sheepish">
 

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No advice, but I'm sure being an RN in the ER helps create all sorts of horrible situations in your head, because you have seen quite a few tragedies at work.
 

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i don't think your fears are unfounded. do i think you worry a LITTLE too much? Maybe. But I don't think you worry to the extreme. I think your fears have some validity based on his stories to you of the sleep apnea affecting his ability to wake and hear the littlest one or his weight making him unable to catch the little one when she bolts. So yeah, that doesn't make him a bad father or not worthy of having the children, but it does make for some complications. I think a cell phone for the oldest is an excellent idea! A year or two back, verizon had one that had space for like 4 pre-programmed numbers and no other numbers could be called. It was a migo???? Something like that would be great on the condition that you call his cell phone like normal to check on everyone and only resort to the child's phone if you can't contact him within a reasonable period of time(ie, due to dead battery, silent mode, etc). Also, while I'm not a fan of these things, they have a purpose. Maybe he needs one of those leash/harnes things for the little one and a baby gate for her room. That would alleviate some of the problems and keep her safe. I always always always gate the stairs in my home at night. I gate the kids' bedroom to keep the 2 year old safe(we sleep on the second floor) and then when I go to sleep I gate the stairs and take down the bedroom gate so they can come to my room or the bathroom and that's it. No one can stumble down the stairs in the dark by accident or fall down the stairs. It keeps them safe, not penned in like animals. At my preschool age daughter's school, there is a mom of a child my daughter's age with a physical disability(my ASSumption is cerebral palsy but I can't be certain). She puts one of those monkey backpacks with the leash thing on her son before he gets out of the car to bring him into school because he's a runner by nature and she physically could not reach him in time to save him if he took off. She can barely walk with him into the school and doesn't have the strength to hold doors more than a few seconds so chasin ghim isn't an option. I'm not a fan of those things in general but for her, it's a lifesaving piece of clothing. It's necessary. And maybe your kids' dad needs one for the littlest one. If he just cannot chase her and catch her, maybe one of those harnesses would be that little bit of safety that she needs until she has the willpower and self-control not to run off. My 2 year old takes off on me all the time even though we have a holding hands rule in parking lots. She's 2, it happens. But I'm able to catch her. If I wasn't, you can bet I'd be leashing her for her own safety.
 

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New natural Mom -- no I don't have history that's influencing my answer. I don't think the cell phone would be used if the 7 year old *needed*, I think it would be another way for mom to call when she's in a panic. Another link that she could abuse because of her anxiety.<br><br>
Chantelle691 -- same answer as before. With mom's original post saying that she can't help herself from calling or driving into town to check up, I think the cellphone would be abused.<br><br>
Jeannine -- Why is the responsibility of making mom feel like better put on the 7 year olds shoulders. That a pretty hefty responsibility.<br><br><br>
To the OP -- I'm not saying any of this to be offensive to you. But you know your anxiety more than anyone else. Do you really think you'd be able to restrain yourself from calling?? Just the fact that you will drive into town to check up on things makes me think that it might be a little more out of control than you think. I think you need to try to trust your childrens father.
 

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if my ex were a babysitter i would not hire him. not even if he were free. but it's the law, i have to let him take his kids. ceinwen, i completely understand. it's really, really hard to trust that the universe will take care of my kids when their dad fails, since he's guaranteed to fail on a regular basis. if i could i'd monitor their time together so i'd know my boys are safe, but i can't and it kills me. i have no suggestions, but all the sympathy in the world. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>spinknottle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15426445"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Why is the responsibility of making mom feel like better put on the 7 year olds shoulders. That a pretty hefty responsibility.</div>
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That's a very good point.<br><br>
For example, my step-son moved in with us at age 8. Sometimes his mom seems to have emotional melt-downs about the separation. Perfectly understandable! But she feels entitled to seek comfort about it <i>from the kid</i>, regardless whether it's an hour past his bed-time on a school night, or he's working on an important report that's due the next day, or he's doing something special with our family and prefers to call her back later. In such cases, the kid certainly should not be responsible for making her feel better, especially at the expense of getting enough sleep or finishing his his homework, or skipping a family activity he's enjoying. It's not <b>his</b> fault she and his Dad divorced, or that she lost custody, or that she prefers living across the country!<br><br>
But my step-son's mom generally assumes the kid is <i>always</i> desperate and upset, simply because he is separated from her; and that <i>nothing</i> else he's doing and <i>no one</i> else he's bonding with can possibly matter, because the only thing that <b>really</b> holds any importance for him is returning to her (or at least hearing her voice). I don't get that same vibe from the OP.<br><br>
Sure, she shouldn't abuse the cell and make the kid feel like it's <i>her</i> responsibility to reassure Mom every 5 minutes. But if knowing her daughter has a phone available at all times - with a charged battery - lets Mom tell herself, "I am not going to call. I am not going to call. The kids are OK." - <b>and <span style="text-decoration:underline;">believe</span> the last part</b> - I think that's OK. Simply carrying the phone and being instructed who to call in an emergency is not an imposition on the kid. Like I said, she'll probably think it's cool.
 

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Josybear -- the OP said that the father was a capable father<br><br>
Jeannine -- If the OP could make a rule for herself not to call the cell phone and not to tell the kids to call her "X" amount of times, then I could see that working. But any other way would be tough on the kids, I think
 

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I think all people should have a land land in the event of an emergency....... could you perhaps tells him this?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I see that there is concern that my kids may be picking up on my anxiety/worry about them when they are gone.<br><br>
To address that first, I would like to point out that when I call - it's my ex that I speak to. Not my seven year old. Most times, she's unaware that it's me.<br><br>
If I stop by Saturday afternoon, it's usually under the guise of dropping something off for my ex, or bringing them a treat, etc.<br><br>
It's never a situation where I barge in going 'OMGAWWWD! Where is everyone?! What's going on?!'<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Ahem. Honest.<br><br>
I think part of what compounds my fear is that my ex is not disagreeable to me checking in/up on them, kwim? If he was all 'Pshaw, we're fine. Back off. Give me some space. Geez woman.' then I'd feel foolish.<br><br>
But when he shares stories of my toddler wandering at night, or running away outside, or falling off the top bunk - yes these are things that can and ostensibly do happen to everyone, but HE also seems to be concerned.<br><br>
I've managed to convince him to reconnect the landline - most likely by scaring him into a scenario of what the hell will our seven year old do if he has a massive MI in his sleep (and to the pp that mentioned working as an emerg nurse probably does NOT help the situation - you are so right <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> I see the worst possible outcome of every emergency situation...)<br><br>
Jeannine, no worries thinking she was a boy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> I love your input, so it's much appreciated!<br><br>
josybear - absolutely. This especially rings true for me "it's really, really hard to trust that the universe will take care of my kids when their dad fails, since he's guaranteed to fail on a regular basis" Scary, no?<br><br>
spinknottle, I wanted to say that I appreciate the input from the other end of the issue. I'm just not sure why you came out so hard using words like 'abuse' with regard to the cell phone and checking up on them. Trusting my ex has nothing to do with worrying about his physical ability to care for them. I think my toddler wandering around the apt., unattended at night is cause for concern, no?
 

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<<<spinknottle, I wanted to say that I appreciate the input from the other end of the issue. I'm just not sure why you came out so hard using words like 'abuse' with regard to the cell phone and checking up on them. Trusting my ex has nothing to do with worrying about his physical ability to care for them. I think my toddler wandering around the apt., unattended at night is cause for concern, no? >>><br>
Yes I can see that, I'm sorry I came on so strongly. My DH has a 9 year old, I have friends that are "part time" parents. In certain situations I think that mom's need to trust the father to parent his children. The way you spoke about your ex shows me that even you think he is a good father. Has your toddler never walked around at your house at night, never fallen in your care? I think it's great that he's open enough and secure enough with you to tell you when these things happen. To me it shows that he cares about his children and his co-parenting relationship with you.<br>
Abuse may have been to strong a word, I apologise for that.
 
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