Ways to Help Kids Cope When Dad’s Away

BY: - 8 Jan '13 | Home

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My husband travels a lot on business, and of course that means that we miss him something terrible and around here that means that sometimes the kids are a lot to deal with, even more so when he’s away. So, in order to help me stave of the restlessness of my little natives, I generally try to incorporate something fun for them to do that also helps to keep them connected. Here are a few things that I’ve found very helpful:

Face Time: Thanks to Apple, we get to Face Time Dad and not just talk to him, but SEE him whenever he has WiFi. The big kid gets to tell him about basketball and bring him up to speed on the most recent academic achievement. The sassy little princess gabs about her ENTIRE day, not allowing for much from Dad, edgewise and the baby sees his face and her face just lights up! It’s like MAGIC!

Where’s Waldo? No, Where’s Dad? The kids are at an age now that they are interested in different places and other cultures. So, without realizing that they are basically having Geography lessons, we take a look at the globe and see exactly where Dad is in relation to the U.S. Then, we find a world clock to check out the time difference. The internet is so amazing, we take it a step further to check out live cameras, so that they can “actually” see live streaming of popular landmarks and famous tourist attractions. So, when Dad calls, we get to brag about all the cool stuff he needs to see while he’s there!

Using the calendar to countdown: We don’t generally talk too much about Dad leaving, but we mark the calendar and surely countdown his return. We sometimes think of fun things to do when he returns, like bake cookies or make him a special handmade gifts. Nothing fancy, just something made with love, that is always guaranteed to make him smile. Quite honestly, Mom is generally counting down too…for more reasons than one. I miss my honey, but Mommy is glad to have a little respite!

I do all of this, so the kids still feel connected and it basically gives them something to do because he’s not there to “patiently” help them with homework or give them that coveted nightly piggyback ride. I think Dad actually loves the attention too. Who doesn’t love to know that they’re loved and missed while they’re away? On another note, I’d like to give a duly deserved shout out to all of the single parents, military parents, long-distance marriages and what I call the “married single parents” like myself, trying to hold it down and keep it together when a lot of it sometimes falls on you. I know its hard. I find strength in the “thank you’s” and the “I love you’s” that I get from my babies, especially my husband that recognizes and appreciates my efforts.

BMWK – do you have a spouse that travels? What do you and the kids do to cope when your spouse is away?  Do you stick to your normal routine? Or, do you take the opportunity the mix things up a little?

About the author

Sheree Adams wrote 117 articles on this blog.

Sheree is a wife and WAHM of three who passionately blogs about marriage, family, health tips and more as Smart & Sassy Mom. Sheree is committed to helping blended families and keeping marriages strong, healthy, fun and SPICY!

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Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression: It’s Ok to Admit You Need Help (Part 1)

BY: - 8 Jan '13 | Home

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When I heard people talking about postpartum depression (PPD) and the baby blues, it was just something I brushed off because I felt like it was something that other women went through. I always looked forward to being a mother, had a loving and supportive husband, and had it all planned out. But by the time our third child was born, I started to realize that no one was exempt from baby blues or PPD…not even myself. I didn’t realize that my daughter’s two hospital stays within her first month of life (four days for jaundice, and a separate five days for a blood transfusion), would have as great an impact on my mental health as it did.

It was months before I admitted, even to my husband, that things just weren’t quite right. I now realize that I was like a lot of other moms in that I was embarrassed about feeling hopeless, overly exhausted and disinterested. I’m so thankful that my case of the baby blues didn’t take a severe turn for the worse. I know that there are women, like Quiana Wade that I interviewed for this article, that go through a severe case of PPD. Here is what she had to say about her experience and what she wishes she would’ve done earlier on.

How did you recognize the signs of PPD?

Well I had a history of depression but had never really gotten help for it, so I knew I was more at risk at developing PPD. I just wasn’t myself. I was extremely tired (which a lot of new moms are). But it was to the point that I just couldn’t get out of bed. I was feeling inadequate and didn’t have that connection with my son that I did when I first had him in the hospital. That feeling went on for a few months so that’s when I knew it was more than just the baby blues. The hardest part was feeling like I was never going to get better. I didn’t feel any of the joy that I was supposed to feel as a new mother. I couldn’t snap out of the way I was feeling: so disconnected from him. I just felt so inadequate and that everyone else (like my mother and my husband) could take care of him way better than I could. I felt like I didn’t need to be around in order for him to be okay.

What were some of the initial steps you took to seek treatment once you knew you needed help?

I waited a really long time before I decided to get help. I just thought that I could handle it and that the feelings I was having would just go away. I found a psychologist through my job and she advised that I go to the ER for an evaluation because I was really bad by that point. I was hysterically crying and couldn’t stop.  The support group at the hospital is honestly what started me on my path to getting better. In addition to joining group therapy, I also started seeing a psychologist for individual therapy. The combination of the two helped me get back on track.

How did PPD affect your marriage? How was your husband able to support you during this time?

It affected my marriage basically by strengthening our partnership. I was so unable to function at the time. There were a lot of irrational thoughts going on, and feelings of inadequacy didn’t go away. My husband is definitely an angel sent from heaven. He really is. He would go to work all day and then come home and tend to me and the baby. He would encourage me to just go lay down or go take a bath and just relax. We already had a good marriage before our son was born, but it made me specifically realize that I didn’t have to do it all. I was able to learn to lean on my husband and he liked to be leaned on.

What advice do you have for moms who think they may be suffering from PPD?

I grew up with a mom who had to do it all, so I had the mindset of, ‘Oh this is just what a mom does’. I put a lot of pressure on myself in that I felt like I should be able to do it because my mom did it by herself. Especially as a black woman, I felt that I should’ve felt stronger than what I was actually feeling. But what really showed my strength was going to get help.

Now that I’m on the other side of it, I’ll tell you what I should’ve done. I should’ve gone to get help much sooner than I did. There was no need to suffer for seven months when there is help out there. If anyone has any history of mental illness, they should definitely let their doctor know about that because then they can tell you what warning signs to look for. But just know that those feelings won’t last forever as I thought they would. Once I grasped the belief that things would get better, it allowed me to be able to start to enjoy motherhood. I had to learn that in order for me to take care of my son, I had to learn how to take care of myself first. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of telling someone that you need help.

I found great help and support from Postpartum Progress and Postpartum Support International.

*DISCLAIMER: the information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat PPD.*
In part two of this interview, I talk to Dr. Joshua Johannson who is the Director of Cheaha Women’s Health and Wellness in Anniston, AL and specializes in OB/GYN. He is also the Co-chair of the Alabama Breastfeeding Committee and founder of Northeast Alabama Baby Cafe. He will share his advice on what he wants other mothers to know about PPD.
BMWK: Have you or a loved one experienced PPD? How did you get through that period of time?

About the author

Christine St. Vil wrote 148 articles on this blog.

Christine St.Vil is co-author of the Whose Shoes Are Your Wearing: 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. A happy wife to an amazing hubby of 8 years, and homeschooling mother of three, she teaches moms how to FLY (First Love Yourself). She uses her corporate background to work with women who are ready to start a new business, accelerate their career growth & design a life they love. She's on a mission to help moms to battle the mom guilt epidemic, so they can begin to put themselves first on their never-ending list of priorities.

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