F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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canadamom12
I'm looking for input and feedback on anyone who has helped to care for their child and also work full time.
Did you require to take a leave from work at any point?

We are very new into this process, breakfast is an ugly battle every single day, and dinner is actually a lot more pleasant (for some reason the ED has convinced her that eating a normal meal at dinner is not the issue). But when she's at school for the day, I have to trust that she is eating what was sent.  She does bring home wrappers and has shown to be honest, even when it means she did not eat something I sent. But I'm not naïve to think that she could be throwing things away and bringing home empty containers.  I have spoken with her teacher to advise and he will make efforts to monitor and let me know.

But I'm wondering if I will need to be planning to have a leave of absence for work, to be at the school to ensure she is eating each day?
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ValentinaGermania
Hi canadamom12,
a very warm welcome from Germany. It is great that you found us here so early in the process and so you will find a lot of help here now. This forum was a life saver for us.
To be honest, I was glad that I did not work full time durig refeeding and I cannot imagine to do that and to care for your d and to care for yourself (which will be very important as that is a marathon and not a sprint and you will need power on a long term). I was blessed to be able to work at home and to be able to drop everything if needed.
As long as your d is at school and you can supervise all meals through the day working is possible. BUT: it is difficult to get meals at school supervised. Some here needed to eat with their kids in the car park or take them home for lunch and bring them back (that is what we did).
It is very important that ALL meals are supervised and that there are no loopholes for AN. And normally a meal that you have not seen going in is NOT eaten.
So as long as she is eating AND gaining weight you can go on with that but you need a plan b,c if something changes (meals not eaten in school, no weight gain, you struggling with power). So if it is possible to arrange some leave from work keep that for emergency case.
If possible I would at least drop some hours because it will get very important that you are fit and powerful. 110 % if possible.
And it would be great if you could cancel work spontanously if needed in case that she refuses to eat breakfast. No breakfast no school.

Come here to ask your 1 million questions, we are open 24/7 and we have all been in your shoes.
Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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sk8r31
Hi canadamom12, and welcome.  Sorry you have a need to be here, but hopefully the info and support you've receive from other parents/caregivers will be helpful and worthwhile as you navigate this challenging battle.

I did not work full-time while working on nutritional rehabilitation with my d, and to be honest, I don't think I could have.  It was a more than full-time job all on its own.  My hubby wasn't able to manage the tough times at the table, but he was a real rock in other ways...working to support us all, and providing distraction before & after meals.

I know there are others who have worked full-time while helping their kid, but as mentioned above, they may have cut down on hours, used flex time, and most definitely had support of others to help with supervision of meals, etc.

Perhaps you may be entitled to some leave from your job; there may be something available through the federal gov't to help with this.  Or perhaps you can enlist the support of other trusted family members to step up and help out with meal prep and supervision, care of any siblings, and so on.  This is definitely a time to reach out to others in your 'circle', be they family, a faith community, or trusted friends.  

Sending warm support,
sk8r31
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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Mcmum
Hi Canadamom and welcome from me too. I work full time as a teacher but luckily just as things got particularly tough ( starting refeeding), my husband and I broke up for the 6 week summer holidays. (We are in the UK).
I honestly don't think that without this time to deal with meals, cooking and the HUGE anxiety caused by eating we could have managed work at the time.
I am back at work now but my headteacher lets us out for camhs meetings and I go early if I have finished teaching. The staff at my son's school have been brilliant and he is supervised at lunchtime but I still give him a huge breakfast just in case he misses out on calories later.
It's hard enough dealing with an ed without factoring in work but I think it depends where you are in the whole process, how supporting work colleagues are, how helpful the school is and also how much you enjoy your job. It can be a bit of respite from the insanity of an!
Good luck with making the best decision for you and your family x
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canadamom12
Thank you so much for all of your prompt replies. I have been reading these boards the past few days and I can see that this will be a very helpful resource; for a tough community that I didn't actually want to be a part of.

My Employer will be very flexible, so really it will come down to what I can manage, I suppose.  Part of me thinks coming to work is good, because my job is very demanding and keeps me busy, allowing me less time to dwell on the 'what ifs', but also, I've only disclosed what's going on to my immediate manager, so it's fairly exhausting to smile at people and say "great!" when they ask how things are going because I don't want to get into the myriad of details that is our tangled up life right now.  I only work about 15 minutes from school, so I know that I could make arrangements with work that I leave and go to the school each and every day to supervisor lunch, and I also could just take a protected leave.

I am trying to maintain my usual schedule, rising before the sun to get a workout in, because that's what I've done for the last three years, and that's what I know my body needs. Even though my heart is not in it at all, I know I will be better off for it.
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cm72
Hello Canadamom. I might be in the minority but I am working during this process. I have found so far it has not been a problem and actually the peer pressure from eating lunch around others HAS been a motivator. We have several people watching her and the teacher knows she is supposed to have snacks twice a day. She is also very honest with me when it was hard to eat and will admit if she couldn't eat something, which so far has been rare. We save all of our fear foods for either dinner or weekend. 
I also have to say if it wasn't for work I would go insane. Work is one place where I can control things. Last week I was off for their fall break and when I came back to work, I literally kissed the desk.
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Mcmum
Yes, I was going to add that I told my colleagues at work and am really glad I did. I hadn't planned to as I felt like I would be advertising myself as a terrible parent but actually confiding in them has been really positive and they have been supportive.
I think take it a day at a time and if you can keep working, do! The whole world of eating disorders is a surreal one and "normality" is very reassuring at times. I do a lot of batch cooking of high cal dishes at the weekend to get ahead and we also have a cleaner now as I was burning out. I gave up a couple of volunteering jobs connected to church. Your own well being is paramount if you are going to be able to look after your child. My son was especially anxious about something minor at school today for instance and needed hours of consoling. He's ok now. The Simpsons seemed to do the trick!!
Look at what you want to do and need to do and what you can let go of.
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Enn

Hi canadamom12, 
From me, another Canadian, I also welcome you here. I know it is really hard right now. You will find the best people and advice here. So keep reading around. 
As for me, I am self employed, I still did work. I wish our FBT team had told me to decrease the work a bit. However, feeding and cooking and shopping is time consuming, I know, but I needed to go to work. Not for financial reasons, but to keep me sane. I needed to see some normality. I do think I would, work part time if I ever (I hope never) have to do it again.  
I would have used the days off work to sleep, and cook in bulk or just have a nice day for myself. 
You will see how it goes and what you can manage, as you say above. No one has a crystal ball to tell you what is going to work for you. Many stayed home,and many did not and we all do find our way. 

I too found support from co-workers and I felt productive useful and appreciated at work.

Please let us know how we can help. We are all ears. 
Are you doing FBT? Is she gaining. My D was 11 as well at diagnosis. 

XXX

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help + ATDT+ no exercise +state not just weight+/- the "right" meds= healing--> recovery(---> life without ED)

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Enn

Another note, We have "boomerang" lunches here too. They bring home their  garbage and left overs. I felt that was helpful to see if D was eating at school. However, D took a smoothie to school and dumped it into the toilet. So she could never bring that home. Just trying to ensure that your D is really eating everything and not throwing out, it hard to know, if she goes to the washroom she could throw something out. So supervision is important and our school was able to support D in that, but not 100%

cm72 started this nice thread awhile ago.. take a look...
https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/working-in-the-beginnings-of-refeeding-9838338?pid=1305380238#gsc.tab=0

XXX

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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MamaDo
Hi Canadamom,

We are in calgary, and we are 3 months in to our journey with or 12 yo ED D. I have taken leave from work, as I was working out of town, and there’s no way my H could have managed this on his own all week. Things would likely have been different if I’d been working in town, but as it is, I’m glad I’m not working because I meet my child every day at lunch, and have had to implement the “life stops until you eat” and taken her home when she refused to eat her lunch. And with the ED program, there are soooo many appointments- we are there at least once a week, so that’s a half day every week, plus lunches, food shopping and prep, and sanity breaks. My H is still working, and finding it difficult to make all the therapy appointments, but his workplace is being really understanding.

If you do need to take a leave: now that my general illness leave is used up, I have applied for a new program called Famiky Caregiver leave. It works like parental leave for people caring for family members with a critical illness. You need your child’s doctor to sign a form declaring the three conditions (critical illness, requiring care, and that you are family or considered family). I just recently applied for it, so am testing the program as it just started in Dec 2017.


Basically, whatever keeps you in the best space to support your family. Best of luck!
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Torie
canadamom12 wrote:
I can see that this will be a very helpful resource; for a tough community that I didn't actually want to be a part of.


Indeed.  Welcome to the club no one wants to join.

It is really hard to guess what kind of trajectory you will find yourself on in this upside-down world of ED.  Sometimes it is impossible to guess from one day to the next (or even one meal to the next) whether our world will be reasonably calm or...anything but.

I suppose it is possible that someone here has a kid who never lied about dumping food, but most (raises hand) have been surprised to find our formerly-honest kid doing just that.  So I would encourage you to join your d for lunch.  

Sorry if you already told us and I missed it, but is your d currently gaining weight at a good clip?  Have you seen signs of purging either by exercise or vomiting?  Are you able to ensure that your d is not lured into pro-ana websites?  Those are some of the questions that might help us guess if you will be able to continue working full time.

Of course, some do not have the option of stopping work so yes, some do continue on despite the extra burden of ED.  And I can easily imagine that it is a blessing to have the normality of work as a kind of refuge.  So it is a kind of a balance I suppose.

We had an incredible forum member anotherbite_CAN who was a single mom of three special needs kids (I think).  I'm pretty sure she took carer's leave and wrote about that, although I can't find the post(s) now.  If interested, you might send her a note off-list.

Please feel free to ask all the questions you like.  We're glad you found us.  xx

-Torie
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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canadamom12
scaredmom wrote:



Please let us know how we can help. We are all ears. 
Are you doing FBT? Is she gaining. My D was 11 as well at diagnosis. 

 




We will be doing FBT.  We are still waiting for our appointment into the ED clinic in my city. In the meantime we have done a ton of research on our own end about FBT and Maudsley to begin the re-feeding process as best we can while we wait for professionals to also assist.  I'm hesitant to weigh her because she is obsessed with the scale.  I've told her we will do it once per week, one time on scale only.  She did gain a pound in the first week so I was pleased with that. She of course screams at me that I only want to make her fat.  Wow, this will be a long, hard journey.
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Enn
Hi I am in Ontario. We did not weigh at home. We “lost the scale”. I still don’t know where it is ( haha)
How many calories is she getting?
Can we help you get more into her?
How are YOU doing? Do have emotional support?
Keep asking! Keep feeding!
XXX

Oh we did blind weights d never and still does not know. I do and she knows I do but does not ask. She only asks of she is doing well and I only say “yes”.
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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ValentinaGermania
Ask her to go backwards on the scale and put some gaffa tape over the display if needed. Say just something like "thank you" and learn to have a poker face.
It was much easier when my d did not know her weight any more (does not know it up to today).
Tina72

Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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canadamom12
scaredmom wrote:
Hi I am in Ontario. We did not weigh at home. We “lost the scale”. I still don’t know where it is ( haha)
How many calories is she getting?
Can we help you get more into her?
How are YOU doing? Do have emotional support?
Keep asking! Keep feeding!
XXX




Perhaps I will implement the blind weigh sessions.  I'll have to gauge whether that's a battle I want to have or not.
Currently she is getting 2000 calories per day. We are just into week 2 so I feel like that's good for a start, especially as we are currently doing so on our own, without having been into the ED clinic yet.  I am reading some of you feeding 3000-4000 calories and I have no idea how I would ever be able to get that much food into her.

I am doing good, then bad, then terrible, then alright (I'm sure most of you know this feeling). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life and I will try and stay positive each and every day.  My husband and I have been doing a great job approaching this as a team, and I hope it can stay that way.  We have the support of our family and close friends, although truthfully our home is our castle right now, and we have retreated just us and our children as we navigate the beginnings of this path.
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ValentinaGermania
canadamom12 wrote:

Currently she is getting 2000 calories per day. We are just into week 2 so I feel like that's good for a start, especially as we are currently doing so on our own, without having been into the ED clinic yet.  I am reading some of you feeding 3000-4000 calories and I have no idea how I would ever be able to get that much food into her.


Some here even needed up to 6000. I was glad that we only needed 2500-3000. You will learn how to do that if it is needed. Weight gain is a secret service thing. Some weeks we had gain with 2500 calories, next week no gain or a loss with exactly the same amount. Metabolism is very difficult...

canadamom12 wrote:
I am doing good, then bad, then terrible, then alright (I'm sure most of you know this feeling). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life and I will try and stay positive each and every day.  My husband and I have been doing a great job approaching this as a team, and I hope it can stay that way.  We have the support of our family and close friends, although truthfully our home is our castle right now, and we have retreated just us and our children as we navigate the beginnings of this path.


That sounds great. You will get better when you are more used to it and when you see things improving. Use the support of family and close friends to do something nice for yourself and hubby REGULARLY. That is very important. Carer burnout is a high risk with ED.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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HopeNZ
Hi canadamom

Oh I do feel for you. I remember all too well those early days when you're still reeling from the shock of the diagnosis, and feeling your way with getting things started. It does sound as if you have some good folk around you and I'm so pleased you and your h are a strong team.

I tend to bang on a bit about it but I strongly recommend a little book we found immensely helpful right at the beginning and which we referred to often during refeeding. Maria Ganci: 'Survive FBT. Skills manual for parents undertaking FBT for child and adolescent anorexia nervosa'. It's short, practical and easy to read, and can also be a good way to bring helpful friends and family up to speed.

We too 'retreated into our castle'. Fighting this ghastly illness really does demand everything you have to offer, and more. But you've made a great start, and so many here can reassure that you - and your d - will be able to venture out into the world again in time!

Warmly
Hope
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Enn
canadamom,
I was one ,and still am, a mom who feeds 3500+ to 4000 cal per day and it is one yr later after WR and +12 kg - the first weight was too low as per our friends here at ATDT. I recall being freaked out about how I would add in the calories. It did take time and I learned from everyone here how to add extras.  
Everyone kept telling me to put oil in and I did. I added cream to the milk and she had her "own" container marked so that no one else would use it. As She was not allowed in the kitchen, only the rest of the family knew. Use the premium ice creams, Haagen dazs, Ben and Jerry's (540 cal per cup!!) nuts and chocolate where you can. Many of us have fried everything!!  Cream in the yogurt etc...I does come with time and experimentation.
So 2000 is good right now, and if I may offer, try to add things now, so that it will be easier later. I suspect she will likely need more than 2000 soon. You are filling in the hole first, then adding for growth: linear and organs. 
My D would eat pasta with tomato sauce, but the sauce only has 80 cal per cup, so I added in olive oil to the pot- 1 cup is 1000 cal divided into 4 portions that was an extra 250+ cal to the meal, add cheese and meat that is fried that is 600-800 cal dinner, add a juice or milk with cream and you are 1000+ with one meal.
Grape juice 180 cal vs apple juice 110-120 per cup. We become experts at which grocery stores/brands have the higher cal muffins, breads, etc.

Keep asking questions, we all want to help
XXX

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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Enn

canadamom12 wrote:

I am doing good, then bad, then terrible, then alright (I'm sure most of you know this feeling). It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life and I will try and stay positive each and every day.  My husband and I have been doing a great job approaching this as a team, and I hope it can stay that way.  We have the support of our family and close friends, although truthfully our home is our castle right now, and we have retreated just us and our children as we navigate the beginnings of this path.


I am pleased that you and H are doing this together. Please take time for self care and marriage care. It can be very taxing on our other important relationships. Have a date night. We too, stayed at home and isolated ourselves while refeeding, but take heart it does get better.  

It really IS the hardest thing I have ever done. Try to do somethings that are not related to ED, I wish I had done more of that at the beginning. It would have helped me not feel so alone, stressed and exhausted. 

XXX

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
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