I often feel so overwhelmed by all there is to be done and by all the thoughts swirling around in my head that I fail to accomplish anything. I have days where I sit in "my" chair in the living room and can't figure out where to begin. Pay bills? Work on the taxes? My Bible Study? Schoolwork with the kids? Balance the bank account for a volunteer organization I'm Treasurer for? Create invites for Bruce's party? Fold laundry? Fill out paperwork for Julia's doctor appointment next week? By the time I determine the most pertinent and time sensitive project, it's 2 am. (I was interrupted a lot, of course.)
Still there are other days I want to crawl back in bed. It's not just that I'm tired, which I am. I am tired all. The. Time. It's that I am so absolutely overwhelmed I cannot even comprehend what my next step will be. There is so much shouting and crying and whining in this house. Everyone needs so much from me. All the kids require much supervision, and prompts, and reminders.
I love being a mother. There is no other role I'd rather play - but parenting is not JUST about the joy. The bad comes right alongside the good. I can choose my reaction. I can determine I will enjoy as much as possible, and give God the rest. I can choose to have a good attitude and be a healthy example for my children. That said, I have days where I fail - in my humanity I fail to see the joy. Tonight I've chosen to have a bad attitude, to feel sorry for myself, to hide in the bathroom and sob.
Today I awoke before the alarm (as often happens since my sleep is restless and involves frequent waking). Before I crawl out of bed I talk to God. I thank Him that I am alive, that my sweet boys are sleeping next to me (both the almost-5-year-old and almost-1-year-old sleep with me on nights my hubby works), that we have a home (we are in the process of foreclosure and I know that having a roof over our heads is a blessing at this point), and that I can come to Him with every need.
I beg Him for the strength to get out of bed. To get me through this day. It is not remarkable, it is similar to every other day. And for that, I need His help. Strength, energy, patience, to show love when I don't feel it, to react in kindness when I don't want to, to be patient when I'm fed up - for all the things that don't come naturally.
Confident He will equip me for the role He has called me to, I carefully slip out of bed, desperate for a shower - the first one in days - and breakfast. No such luck. How that baby knows I'm not there, when he was so fast asleep, I'll never understand. Alas, Baby Bruce is NOT happy. I pee holding him. I scarf down some cereal (likely my only meal today) and then wake his sisters.
Here's what a week looks like for me:
Today is Wednesday so I'm gonna start with last week. Last Thursday I got up scary-early (scary because as unattractive as I already am, I am downright scary looking that early -- those under eye baggies make me appear to be a tree-sized racoon). Julia has a 7:00 am lab appointment to draw blood, followed by 2 hours of Occupational and Physical Therapy.
Fortunately I am able to leave Dean (almost 5) and Taylor (9 1/2) behind with my hubby (Dan). He works 3rd shift so he's home. Mostly in a half-sleep zombie state, but it's better than dragging the other kids with. So SO much better. Speaking of zombie-state, Julia fainted while having her blood drawn. She was so pale when she woke up she could star in a Twilight movie. (Well, I haven't actually seen any of them but point made...)
Julia, Bruce, and I find ourselves with almost an hour in between appointments. Since the clinic is across the street from OT/PT (which is 20 minutes south of our house) and Julia had to fast for 12 hours, I opt to kill time at the Burger King that has a play place. I love how Bruce insists on using a fork to eat, impeccable manners for an 11-month old! Oh and Julia loved going down the slide with him!
As long as I've got Taylor with to be my helper, and Dean's off at preschool, I hit up Target. It's tough pushing a cart and holding a sleeping baby, so I set him IN the cart - and he napped for an hour! He has almost NEVER slept outside of someone's arms!! I've put off shopping too long, and needed larger items (litter, dog food, toilet paper, diapers) so a 2nd cart was already part of the plan. But since Bruce stole one of those carts, a THIRD was needed.
Yes, I pushed and pulled 2 carts while my 9 year old followed behind me with a 3rd cart. Yes, checkout was exhausting (especially since I'm a big time couponer). And yes, bringing all of it in my front door (since the side door is broken) in the freezing cold & snow, and getting it all put away does take ALL the rest I've got to give. So, yes, I did lose my temper and end up yelling at the kids that night. So. Much. Whining. Fighting, crying, tantrums, meltdowns, messes, messes, messes, repeating myself, shouting... sometimes Mama wants to cry and shout too.
I skipped my mommy-baby class for the first time ever, in favor of a nap. There was nothing else I wanted more in the whole world at that moment. I run up to Dean's school to drop off fliers (I'm the Box Tops/Soup Labels person) and the clinic calls (Alexander Center is who diagnoses and treats my special needs children). They'll cancel the appointment (the one that took 6 months to schedule) unless I obtain current school IEPs and evals for tomorrow. What?! I DID that!
I'm grateful I was already at the school and that Dean's special ed teacher took the extra time to print all the forms and put her notes and phone number on them. It truly takes a village!
I mean, 4 kids with health issues, plus chronic conditions for my husband and myself. Really? Not one, not two, but THREE children with autism. Really? Not only autism but for fun let's add in food allergies, asthma, heart defects, Crohn's, failure to thrive, osteoporosis, high cholesterol, low weight, precocious puberty, sleep apnea, ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia, dysgraphia, reflux, ODD, OCD, developmental delays, SPD, speech disorder, etc. etc. and on and on and on...
Lord, forgive me for making this all about me! Perhaps He does indeed have something to teach me in this life, but it occurs to me these are not just issues that impact me. Others ARE involved. How selfish I am!
What's this post even about? Me. My brain is fried at this point but I feel better after venting. I'm desperate for some camaraderie, someone who knows how hard this is and putting it all out there on the internet opens me up to literally a world of people. I covet your prayers - and your experience, if you've got it. Tell me YOUR story. Tell me one day I'll miss all this and to cherish it. Tell me it's all worth it. Tell me God loves me and has a plan for me. Tell me it's okay to say "this sucks" every once in awhile.