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Where I’m at these days

Well, it has been a crazy school year! As it unwinds, I find that I have some time to jot down my thoughts, once again.

To bring you up to speed, we have been dealing with some issues with our “typical” child that are actually, believe it or not, stemmed from her “special” brother.

And that’s where it literally stems from…her idea of “special”. I guess, all this talk of special ed, and special needs really skewed her idea of how she is special. I won’t go into it more than that, out of respect for her. I believe strongly that she would not want her story shared, so I will keep it here, with me, where it is safe.

What I will share is how it has affected me.  It has been a fucking trip. I mean, I thought having a child with autism, ADHD and SPD was a lot. Well, screw that! Add this to the mix and it is a molotov cocktail of crap.

The biggest challenge has been how to balance the needs of both of my children. They both need attention for different things. And there is little time for me to take a moment and breathe.

I am exhausted. I am sad. I have taken for granted how easy it was before. Or maybe, I took advantage of how easy SHE was??

I am angry most of the time. I find it very difficult to relax.

I have never been the positive one in my marriage, even when we were dating. I always carried around my baggage, but, now, it’s worse. SO much worse. I cut my husband very little slack. I cut myself none. I am always on edge. It can’t be easy for him to come home to that every day but I can’t help it. I am stuck in a vicious cycle of high stress, high emotions all the time. I try. I am trying.

I thank god that I started yoga a couple of years ago. Even though it is not paying off in the way my body looks the way I hoped it would, it is the one (or two) time(s) a week that I am taking care of ME. “Self-care” my instructor calls it. Without it, I don’t know where I would be. I am not very good at taking time for myself or care of myself. I am very good at keeping going. Never stopping, until I hit the frigging wall. And, lately, I have been hitting it hard. There are days that I yell at my kids just because I can’t take listening to it anymore. Listening to the complaining, the whining, the inflexibility of them both. How far can I bend, before I break?

But, I don’t want to break. I want to do better. As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I want to take them back. I then spend the next ten minutes thinking of how I could have handled that situation better. I beat myself up. I regret. And then the cycle starts all over again.

I reset to zero, where I am patient and kind. But, over time, those kids wear me down and I am back to having less patience than I require and feeling more guilt for not being better.

They say kids are resilient, but I don’t buy that. I mean, we are all resilient to a point but, I can’t use it as an excuse for not being a better mom to my kids. “They’ll get over it” is also not a line I subscribe to. “They” might, but I won’t. I remember every time I was impatient or frustrated, or said something I shouldn’t or raised my voice when I could have tried another way to get my kids’ to stop, or get their attention.

I do not forgive myself easily. But you probably already guessed that.

Maybe it makes me a better mom over time. Maybe it just makes me feel crappy about myself. Either way, I have to wonder how it is helping my kids?

Do they see my struggle and learn that people are flawed and human? Do they learn to respect other people’s feelings? Do they learn that they are not the only ones in the world? Do they understand that they could change THEIR behavior, in order to help themselves? Are these life lessons, or just mommy lessons?

You see, I’m struggling. I’m questioning, myself and my kids. I’m unsure of myself as a mother now more than ever before.

And that’s why I need to keep some distance from folks. I don’t want to be the one who brings the room down when we are out. I don’t want to be the one constantly complaining about my life. I WANT to enjoy my life, and focus on the positives, something I realize my children need to work on as well. So, I started a “Our Good Things” jar where we are supposed to write down something good that happens. We haven’t filled it in weeks. Not because nothing good has happened–it has–just that I haven’t had the energy to ask them to do it. Not in the midst of PARCC testing, and stomach bugs and vacations. I am just getting through it. I set up a system to ensure that we find the good in every day, and I can’t even remember to do it! And it’s sitting on my kitchen counter!! You know what they say about best laid plans though, right?

Seeing your children go through stuff, seeing where they need to get stronger, it really makes you look at yourself and your own struggles. I see so much of myself in my daughter and I want better for her. I want her to feel better about herself than I ever have. I want her to feel it’s okay to take risks, chances and overcome challenges and know that we will be here for her, no matter what the outcome. That she is loved. That she is cherished. That she, too, is special.

Jbear

2 Responses to “Where I’m at these days”

  • Joanne says:

    Jaime I hear you loud and clear! Why does it seem that dads don’t get all jammed up like moms? Everything our children do affects us good or bad. When they’re happy we’re happy and when they’re sad our hearts break along with theirs. I used to sing the Barry Mannalow song “I Feel sad when you’re sad” to Emily all the time. Our feet hit the floor in the AM and we immediately think..What can I do to help them have a great day or at least a good day. Everything they’re doing in their day we’re doing with them. When we go grocery shopping it’s with all their likes in mind, we schedule our day our them and all their needs. I think this is what good moms do. But somehow at the end of the day we don’t feel like good moms. The good news is, that in time (a long) they will show you how grateful they are to you. You will notice that they have picked up some nice traits from you and life lessons. I used to ask my mom how could I ever repay her for all she has done for me and my children. Her answer was just be good to your children. You see, moms don’t want any pay back, just keep passing your love and kindness along. Jack and Ella will write “Thank You Mom” on the top of their graduation caps!! Now the bad news is you will never stop worrying because you will never stop caring and loving them with all your heart. I can’t look at old pictures of the girls because it makes me very sad. I miss them when they were children and wish I to could do it all over again and take back my lack of patience with them times and mean comments, but I can’t. This is where becoming a grandparent is so wonderful. I actually feel that I have been given a second chance to say things nicer and be more patient. I hope I have made some sense toyou, and maybe helped you to feel better. You are a wonderful mom and don’t be so hard on yourself. I love you, JoJo


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