My husband and I moved from New York to Arkansas. I have no one but a working husband and a screaming crying toddler. I feel alone and depressed and I’m having a hard time dealing with my toddler’s behaviors and everyday stress. I also don’t sleep very well and it makes things worse. What do I do?
Response by Katie Neal, LCSW
That does sound like a lot of stress; moving is one of the most stressful life events that we can experience. A move can feel even more stressful if you feel like you don’t have a good support system in your new town. It’s very common for someone new in town to feel disconnected, lonely or sad. Connecting with other moms in the area might be a good place to start. Motherlode has a link to some great moms’ groups that are full of other mothers looking for ways to connect with friends. There’s also lots of additional information on this link designed for moms new to NWA. That link is http://motherlode.com/archives/category/new-in-town
Being new in town can also be challenging for a toddler, which may lead to added irritability (cue the screaming and crying). If your child is old enough, a conversation about the move may help to soothe some uneasiness and alleviate some of the stress. Also, consider going on a fun day out for you and your kiddo (or the whole family) and point out all the fun things in the new town. Crystal Bridges in Bentonville or the Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville are options for outings all three of you could enjoy together. The nwaMotherlode link has more ideas for fun outings as well.
Sleeplessness can also make this stress even harder to deal with. It might be helpful to try some different sleep hygiene techniques, such as sticking to a routine. Having a fixed daily schedule can help considerably. Getting up at the same time, predictable meal times, and evening routines makes a huge difference. Reading to your toddler before bed, for example, can be a very soothing activity for both of you. There are lots of other things to try that you probably know – exercise, reduce screen time before bed, cut back on the caffeine. Stop or cut back on the alcohol if you’re drinking. It’s also normal in times of change and stress to think those things we used to do to take care of ourselves are too basic/simple to make a big difference in how we feel now. Or, sometimes, we just simply forget or don’t make time to do those things we know nourish us.
Some other ideas may be to talk with your husband about setting aside time for the two of you. You need each other’s support during this transition time. With the mile long to-do list that comes with a new home and a new town, time spent with your significant other sometimes gets pushed way down on the list. Reconnecting with each other will help.
Also, carve out some time for yourself. I know that’s easier said than done, but it could be as simple as doing things like journaling, a new hobby or a little exercise during naptime or after your toddler goes to bed.
If you find that these suggestions don’t seem to be helping or if the issue seems a bit more pressing, seek out a professional to talk to. There are several different options for providers available in the area and Ozark Guidance is here to help, too. I hope you and your family are able to find the support you need to make Northwest Arkansas a happy new home. Welcome!
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Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.