Alone Time? Yeah Right!

I watch shows like "Super Nanny" and other various shows and movies about children when I get the chance. The thing that always gets me is when people tell "Mom" "you have to remember to take time out for yourself"
My son is 18 months old and I haven't had a momment to myself in so long I don't remember what that's like. I don't even get to go to the bathroom alone much less take time out to do something I enjoy. The only reason I'm able to even write this is he is FINALLY asleep.
Don't get me wrong, I love my son more than anything in this world and I would not undo one thing that led him to my life. I just wish I had a little help sometimes.
People have told me I should take him to a mother's day out thing once in a while. Maybe I should. It's just that I'm afraid that would hurt him. Emotionaly. His father abandoned him when he was three months old. I'm sure he's probably forgotten Daddy by now but he still seems afraid that I will leave him too. If I am out of his line of sight for more than a minute he freaks out. He is not talking yet either so I worry about leaving him with someone becasue he can't tell me what went on. If someone was mean to him or even how much fun he had.
I have no one that can help out. None of my friends or realitives have the time or patience to watch him from time to time.
So.... how do I find time for myself? Sometimes I really feel like I just need a break. Staying up all hours of the night to get a few minutes alone is taking it's toll on me. If I don't sleep when he sleeps I am so exhausted during the day.
And even this... staying up and messing around on the computer is rare for me. He sleeps in bed with me and when he wakes up and notices I'm gone he freaks out. He won't go to sleep without me holding him. Which was cute at first... and sometimes still is... but sometimes I just have things I need to do and if I lay down with him I will fall asleep too. I have tried to get him to sleep in his own bed but he won't do it. I tried one time to let him cry it out and I only lasted for 5 minutes. Honestly it seemed to make the sleeping situation even worse. I've read it can actually tramatize some children.
I've also read letting them cry it out is what you should do so they leran to fall alseep on their own. But he seriously freaks out when I'm not around. I'm not talking about just being a little upset and throwing a tantrum. I mean screaming and crying at the top of his lungs with tears streaming down his face,
So I'm torn. Do I leave him with strangers when I know he's going to freak out just so I can have a little me time? How can I do that? I could try telling myself it's for his own good. I just honestly don't know if it really truly is the best thing for him. I feel, as his mother, it's my job to protect him from as much pain as possible. So how can I inflict pain upon him just to give myself some time away?
This mom thing is one of the toughest things I have ever done. However it is also the most rewarding. I do love him sooooooo much. More than I ever thought possible.
gr8tgrl23 gr8tgrl23
31-35, F
16 Responses Feb 27, 2011

You sound just like me !

If you can afford it, and if it would work out with your schedule, preschool might help, at least for a few hours a week. It also will help your son be a bit more independent because he'll be around other kids and other adults, while also in a situation that's secure. KinderCare was the one I had my son when he was little. I was a teacher so he had to be in preschool or day care while I was at work. During the summer I'd sometimes take an afternoon "off," and I knew he'd be in good hands there. I wouldn't leave him with strangers, but a reputable preschool or day care might be a good idea. I know you love him more than you can say, but you also need a little time for yourself. Everybody does. Best of luck to you!

Thank you allf or your wods of encouragement and advice. It is appreciated very much :)

I feel for you. I am a single dad, but I have the support of my friends and family to help me through.<br />
What I keep seeing is that you need help and that you are alone. I wish that you were nearby, we could spend some time getting to know each other, and then i could help you out - you never know, we could even end up together - two lonely parents trying to make it the best way we know how for our little boys.

Just a note that it is a developmental stage for children around 18 months to 3 years old not yet understanding that when mom is out of sight, she is gone, forever. I feel for you and it is important to take care of yourself...right now, that may seem impossible but maybe join a first things first support group, or parents anonymous single parent group where the child goes with you.As far as the sleeping problem, you have to get your sleep and with that if you start a sort of ritual bedtime routine that may help (reading a story...) Joyce Meyers recently talked about when its time to get children off of their "suck toys" (cant remember what they are called.) Oh yes, pacifiers. She lived in a one room apartment with dad and 2 other kids...of course the baby cried and cried for 3 days, but by the end of the week it subsided. The point she was making is that the first 3 days of quitting any addiction, whatever is maybe, is the hardest, but any behavior can be well on its way to change for the better within 4 days...The child knows you love him and you are certainly a good mom, but you don't want to set yourself or the child up for established behaviors that make home life bad for both of you... YES, it is important to take care of yourself and it is important for a child to see that role parents really aren't doing their kids any favors by not role modeling the "care for self" behaviors. Otherwise, they grow up tending to believe that others are responsible for taking care of them...this happens with boys and girls, but is especially very bad for developing healthy relationships later in life for boys...if they look for a mother instead of a wife...and throw tantrums when they don't get what they think should be provided for them. I'm just trying to give some insight into the big judgement implied or intended. I really think you could get some very good support in a single parents group and maybe even start a rotating "mom's afternoon off" kind of thing. This way, both you and baby would know the people beforehand and develop trust, and baby would have a playmate.I hope this helps a bit...just don't let guilt get the best of you...YOU ARE A GOOD MOM WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF LOVE FOR YOUR CHILD.

Have you thought of joining a playgroup? Other mothers get together and share their experiences and support each other. Also the children learn to interact with other children and socialise. With lots of activity they also get very tired and sleep a lot better,giving Mum a bit of "me time" As your child is only eighteen months old,the old Baby Health Clinic can always give you very good advice. Remember your child grows so quickly and you need to enjoy time with him so if your happy he will be happy.Good luck.

Have you thought of joining a playgroup? Other mothers get together and share their experiences and support each other. Also the children learn to interact with other children and socialise. With lots of activity they also get very tired and sleep a lot better,giving Mum a bit of "me time" As your child is only eighteen months old,the old Baby Health Clinic can always give you very good advice. Remember your child grows so quickly and you need to enjoy time with him so if your happy he will be happy.Good luck.

I soo feel for you dear. My mom (R.I.P) once told me this too shall pass. I trusted my moms words she wasn't big on talking but when she did I was all ears. I remember when I had a 6yr old a newborn and an 11 month old. At the time my mom told me this they were potty training, in diapers and the older one needed attention of course. You might try to research some techniques one Applied Behavior Analysis big title but it's pretty basic stuff. Consistence gives a child a feeling of stability if you start something with him to revert back to a previous way leads to more insecurity. Not to worry it takes time. One day you'll look back and laugh. Wonder what all the fuss was about. You have to be strong for your baby as well you will be strong for yourself. You love your little one by being stern(in no way mean but loving) just sticking to it. Babies crying hurts us more than them. My baby girl was big on crying her dad left her at 2yrs old so she always expressed insecurity. I'm a child behavior instructor. Once you try something stick to it and if you revert back just try again but remember each time it will be harder for the baby. As long as he is not hurting, hungry, and the like. I found that this does work if we parents are willing to endure. Crying is the only way a baby without words can communicate. The are letting us know what we as adults scream and holler about all day; the long grocery lines, the mean cashier, rush hour traffic that's not rushing anywhere etc...Can you just imagine what your little one is thinking (look mom this is not working for me). lol. This too shall pass. It is your little ones learning experience he will be great because he has you for a great loving mommy.

JSG - His father actually has a pretty small family. The only person from his family that I still talk to is his mother ( my son's grandmother) Unfortunetly she is neither physically or mentally capable of looking after my little guy.

Perhaps it's a culture thing, I don't know your situation, but the first thing to do is have a cot or bed for your son and gradually have him get used to it. The reading of stories there is the best thing to start. This is the first step away from full dependance to interdependance, then independance. Everything sounds/looks like it can only happen after you set that up. Baby steps.................<br />
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And the calm, confident voice advice from another is priceless. Absolutely true. Let him hear how self-assured you are - he'll pick up on those cues faster than you think.............<br />
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You'll be great!

All these words of advice! Great stuff. However I am curious. What about the father's family? Was the father an alien? (from another country maybe?) or was he an orphan? There has gotta be some one out there who is related who could possibly help out alittle from time to time.

Oh, and about his wish to sleep only with you - did u try to sit on bed near him, give a soft toy and tell a tale? or to lay with him, but a little increasing the distance between you and kid every day? ... All these things take a lot of days and dont work if u r in hurry, but then it will be more easier to you and to him. <br />
sorry 4 bad english. i hope, i was understandable...<br />

) it will be easier. he will not be afraid to stay alone for a short time, if u yourself r not scared of it. <br />
You can teach him not to be afraid. Very slowly. Play hide-and-seek. Disappear to the kitchen for a minute, but talk to him in a calm manner, if he begins screaming. Every calm second of your baby without you near him - is your little victory. Only dont be afraid yourself.)<br />
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My son also was anxious abt being alone in the room (and if he woke up at night and I was in the shower - it was a catastrophy) in 18 month. After one year there was a funny situation: early morning, kid was sleeping and I quietly ran to the store to buy milk. I returned in 10 minutes, quietly entered the apartment - and heard philosophycal voice of my boy:"hmmm, interesting, where is mom? where did she go? to the store may be?...Oh, mom, u r here!!!)))

Thank you both. I'm sure you're right Wispen that if I did leave him with a sitter I would be worried the whole time. I'd miss him like crazy too lol I am so thankfull for the advice. I was starting to think I was not doing the right thing by putting him in a Mother's Day Out program since everyone I know keeps telling me I need to. I know he needs to learn to socialize with other children and be more independent... I just think he will get there when he's ready and I don't want to try to force it. <br />
I try to cherish every single momment I have with my little guy and not get frustrated about needing "me Time" because I know before I know it that is all I will have - "Me Time" One day I'll be begging him to spend time with me.

It will take some time but slowly he will get used to it. At a year and a half, he is still young to be with strangers, but do not worry, he will get used to it. I am really sorry that you do not have anyone to help you out, otherwise this could have been a great relief

You sound like a very good mom and I'm sorry about your situation. I'll be honest about what I see here. I don't think leaving him with strangers will do either of you any good, because he may or may not be just fine, but you will probably just spend every second away from him worrying, which is not the point is it :) It may be exhausting to hear, but most likely you will have to invest some time before you can get that much needed free time for yourself. If you introduce him to a new group, take the time to warm up to everyone with him, and then slowly let him spend more and more time with them on his own. It can be as little as two or three minutes while you sit in another room. Doing this repeatedly will teach him that mommy always comes back. (I had to do this with my little one at home who was similar in completely freaking out whenever I was out of sight for a moment. I would always say, "I'll be right back honey!" and slowly she was able to relax, learning what those words meant.) Then you start to increase the time you are away more and more until finally leaving him for a couple hours is not a big deal at all. With the sleeping, I agree with you that it is not always right for every child to let them cry it out. Mine had to be held to sleep as well, and I would just combine that time with getting some down time online. It served her needs and kept my sanity :) She eventually starting sleeping on her own, in her own room, but in her own time. Have you tried having him sleep in your room, but in his own bed? It sounds like even that is not right for him right now, but it may be the next step to work towards :) I wish you the best of luck. Again, you sound like a very good mom, and you are doing right by him by thinking about his emotional needs in every aspect and the long term effects of what he is exposed to right now.