It has been almost two weeks since E started back at school. He has had no negative behaviors in the classroom and on Friday the teacher invited him to share lunch with the class the week after Labor Day!
This is all fabulous, but.
Last night, I was on the phone with a tribe member and dear friend. She heard my voice and said, “You seem down, distracted.” In truth, I’m exhausted. I’m not distracted, I’m hyper focused on all the moving pieces and so I am very, very tired at the end of the day. For a lot of moms, this may be normal, but for me it isn’t. I tend to keep things together, or at least not get exhausted while trying.
You see, I’m super proud of E. He is hyper focused on keeping his act together at school. He raises hands, shows appropriate boundaries, basically does all of the things to prove that the years of therapy and my personal sacrifices to get him help have been effective. Then he comes home. You know how you get home from a long day of work and you just want to unwind? So does he. The difference is that his form of unwind typically involves chaos. When we don’t give in because in the long run, that makes it worse.
E loses his mind.
What’s the toughest part of raising E? His meltdowns. I really don’t mean tantrum. Any mom of a child who legit melts down immediately knows what I am talking about. This kid loses his shit! He channels Gordon Ramsey (don’t click on that link if you don’t like strong language) except there is a lot more throwing. Meanwhile, I’m all those baby chefs who are required to stay calm. Have you ever tried to stay completely calm as a kid throws his pencils at you, asks if you are deaf or blind, signs no, tells you to Shut Up all while begging you not to leave his presence (because you make him feel safe).? That is the toughest momming moment. If you go through that, this link is actually really great for helping you learn how to cope.
And then the storm is over.
Like, a light switches off. He is calm, wants to snuggle, is compliant. In between relief that it is over and complete frustration, I often feel like I can’t win in these moments.
The crazy thing is… This is a way better version than it once was. Thank God for ABA therapy, Occupational Therapy, Play Therapy, prayer and support. He has improved so much because he has had support. Like, he is a different kid. Even better, I am a different parent. What about the caregivers, though?
Where is our support?
There isn’t enough support for parents who live their lives helping Special Needs kids. We need to be doing more as a society about this, because burn out happens. I’m sitting here typing tonight with a knot in my neck, a pit in my stomach and angry with my husband because he works and isn’t here for the worst of it (I know this doesn’t make sense, but I’m being honest). There is no true let loose for moms, especially those with Special Needs kids. Why? Because we can’t turn it off. We are constantly thinking, worrying, wondering and planning. We have to because the HARD DAYS happen and our best bet is to be prepared.
What do you do on your burn out days?