a long summer

This has been an exhausting summer.  I realized this as I lay in bed. It was after a very long day full of screaming and me wondering about my place as a mother.  I have more of those moments this summer than any other. Of course it may just seen harder than normal, but it is what it is.

Being as things are what they are let us reflect on the truthfulness of parenting. No glossing over what it is really like and pretending everything is always perfect.

Life as a parent of young children can be summed up in at least one word. Screaming. Yes indeedy, you got that right. Life with kids is full of a screams. It is either them screaming or they make you want to scream.

My day today was full of screams. Every time I stood up, sat down, left the room, or did anything at all it was met with screams. Then there was the constant screaming over toys or irritation from siblings. Finally it comes to a head and all I want to do is scream and to prevent myself from injuring my children, of which I would not do, so I stick them in the car to contain them so we can go on a drive and I can regain my sanity.

Life with small children can be trying but I do know it is not always that way. There is so much love and affection that children often give mixed with the joy they bring to life. So, I cannot really complain.  I do love my children and enjoy all of the time I have with them minus the screaming.

As a side note: because all children, unless for some physical reason, scream. Screaming will sometimes get to be too much for the parent. As the parent it is important to remember that it is okay to walk out of the room and let your child keep screaming. It is okay to call on someone to give you a break. Why? Because too many people lose their cool and end up hurting the screaming child instead. When that happens it is never good.  Screaming may cause you to feel like you are going to lose it. It is important to maintain self control at least long enough until you remove yourself from the situation–which is why you should not be ashamed to call on help. Be smart even when their is screaming.

Advertisements
keeping it real

keeping it real

In my home we have to be careful of what we leave out and what doors we leave open. In order to keep my sanity the bathroom, kitchen and all bedroom doors need to stay closed so that my disabled son stays safe as well as the things in those rooms. Life happens though and things do not always work as intended.

The other day I forgot to lock the bathroom. My son had a blast.

Torn toilet paper everywhere, even hanging off the toilet seat. Diapers were everywhere (there is a small suspicion I may have already told this story last time).

Amy son had fun and I learned that I really cannot leave the bathroom unlocked.

finding the time

finding the time

In my home I have to hide things to avoid certain destruction.  Markers, crayons, pencils and pens are all hidden or locked up as best as I can. Of course that mean my children may not get the opportunity to color as often but it has not hampered their creativity. I also hide away anything that has the ability to be ripped or folded. This includes paper, mail, pictures, books and so forth. One of those items is sewing patterns.

My son loves sewing patterns. They seem to be one of his favorite things to fold and rip.  As a treat I will periodically buy him some cheap ones at a thrift store. If I fail to lock up my sewing patterns I will suffer the consequences.

Not too many months ago I misplaced the lock to my sewing cabinet. While I was out of the room my son got the patterns and had a wonderful time with them. While he enjoyed the patterns my youngest enjoyed the thread. It was a mess that I just threw in my cabinet with frustration and avoided-until today.

Today was my sewing cabinet cleaning day. I figured that I would never get to sewing again if I did not clean up the mess I tried so hard to avoid.

I had about six patterns that needed sorting and taping back together. I also had everything else to sort through so I could enjoy my hobby once again. My task took much longer as I tried to fight the youngest ones for the thread and bobbins as they tried to help me. I can’t tell you how many times I picked up the buttons, and even though they tried to get to the pins I managed to keep them from them. (What is it with small children and the desire to play with poky things?)

All in all, it was a success but the event tried to get me down as I wondered why I even bother. However, I will still bother. I have to because if I do not then I will have given up. I cannot do that now, can I?

The Prius butt support group

I know it is a weird title, but I think people need to start speaking up.

I drove several hours today in a Prius. This was my sister’s vehicle. She let me use it to save gas. By the time I got to my destination I was very sore. On my way home I told my sister I could not understand how she could travel anywhere in the vehicle because it was so uncomfortable. She laughed and told me she thought it was just her. Then told me she kept a pillow in the car to sit on. Sorry to say but that pillow did no good.

It was not just my butt that hurt but almost my entire body. At one point it seemed my back was going numb. Even my feet began to hurt. My daughter in the seat next to me also complained of discomfort. To occupy my mind I began to draft a letter in my head to the makers of Prius.

Dear Prius Maker,

I have recently experienced a trip driving one of your cars. I love the fact that I can save so much money on gas. I even like that I can see my average miles per gallon usage. However, I feel I need to speak up for all the people too afraid to say what is on their minds.

Although your car is great on gas mileage it is a very painful experience to sit in. This vehicle makes my butt hurt as well as my back, legs and feet. This isn’t just me that feels the pain, but other drivers too. Most people are likely too afraid to speak of their butt pain and so we may need to create a Prius butt pain support group.

A support group would help people realize that it is not just them. It would also give them courage to speak up and insist on a better seating design.

You see Prius, it isn’t just the pain that is the problem it is what happens as a result of the pain. The pain is so great that a person just wants it to end. The only way they can end the pain is to drive faster to their destination.

Speeding is against the law and it increases the danger on the road. This puts everyone, even non Prius drivers at risk. Do you really want that on your conscience?

Sincerely,

A woman with a pain in the butt

I don’t think they would take my letter too seriously, but it kept me occupied while I sped home as safely as possible. One thing is for sure, I will do everything I can to never drive a Prius again unless I am testing a new seat. And another thing: I will steer clear of all Priuses on the road as the drivers are likely in great pain and their driving is impaired.

To all of you Prius drivers: I am so sorry for the suffering you endure. If anyone is truly interested in starting a support group just let me know. I will join you, but in the meantime do not be afraid to speak up as you will find you are not at all alone.

summer revelations

This Summer is not even over yet and I have already been made aware of certain things that I never want to do again but know I will have to.

I do not ever want to visit anyone ever again. It is stressful. It is difficult to keep my children happy and behaved on top of feeling like everyone is watching my parenting moves like a hawk. I always go home feeling stressed and never well rested. It does not even have to be an over night visit as any amount of time longer than an hour is way too much.

I do not ever want to have people over either.  That is just as stressful as visiting somebody for all the same reasons. The only difference is that when I visit someone I am trying to prevent my kids from making a mess and when we are at home I am feeling guilty for not having a perfectly clean home.

The whole Summer of traveling, not my original plans, have definitely awakened my senses to my parenting ability and stress level. There is even the bit about learning how not to be taken advantage of too, but that will also come in time as I need more practice at that.

It is not that things a are all bad. It is just life. This is life that is not sugar-coated to hide all of the bad. Things are not always perfect. There are true feelings that go beyond eternally optimistic and happy.

When I was young people at church would always, or so it seemed, tell me to smile  Why? Because it was so odd for them to see me without a smile. Whenever I visit these same people say the same thing about my smile. It catches me off guard, but it is not bad to not have a smile on my face all of the time.

Why do we need or expect people to be happy all of the time? Why do we act surprised when someone is not always happy, or having a bad day? What it is we expect or are projecting onto others? I could ask questions all day long and come up with my own reasonings and ideas, but it would only be for my own benefit.

I do not dislike traveling or having people visit, I just got tired and that is what happens to everybody at some point in life, at least once.

I will be sad for the good times of this Summer to be over but I will be glad to get back into a routine that is not as stressful. In the meantime, my hat goes off to all parents who are doing any traveling this Summer as it is rarely easy and stress free.

 

connections

Yesterday someone made a very kind gestures and offered me some money for my son to enjoy himself at the current town festivities. The person who gave me the money was the mother of the giver. I quickly determined that the actual giver was an acquaintance of mine from my youth. She did not recognize me. I understood the connection though. Not too long ago she lost her daughter this life. Her daughter had special needs as well.

When this woman saw my son she said she felt that her daughter was telling her that she needed to help him have some fun. I made sure that happened. I took pictures and sent a few to his gift-giver. For just a small moment it felt that connections were made. She felt her daughter impressing her to give money for my son to have fun. I felt impressed that my son was having fun for her daughter. Indeed, he had fun.

July (1 of 1).jpg

 

It was pleasing to witness such kindness and generosity. It was beautiful to be reminded that good people exist. I tend to often put myself down or wonder of my own ability as a mother, especially of a special needs child. I often wonder how much people might be wondering if I am a terrible mother or what they might be thinking about how I ought to do something differently. I do that to myself.

Having a special needs child can be quite challenging, and I recognize it is quite different for many different parents. Some parents struggle to accept the reality, some deeply mourn for the loss of expectations, and some seem to not be bothered one bit. However, many keep going. They cry, laugh, and are just as human as any of us. They fear judgement and fear death, even if they know it would free their children from their earthly body that is so imperfect. It is. It is a life where you get to see miracles and where you experience raw emotions frequently. It is what it is, and for me I carry on and make connection everywhere I go because of him.

the ever present and attentive parent

Every time I pack up my children to go somewhere I have to plan how to keep track of them. I plan for them to run off, I plan for the screaming, I plan for how to successfully  get through an outing with no lost children, anger lost, or tears. I have had success many times.

In order for the best success I need to have my son in his wheelchair and either both younger girls in the stroller or on leashes. Today I chose leashes over the stroller.  I also chose to go with one leash since this was an event that I could allow one of the little ones to run a little bit from activity to activity without being so constrained. It worked quite well for most of it.

I was pleased that my strategy worked and that I had not lost any children until I sent the oldest and the youngest to do something. This left me with the unrestrained child and my son. I told my daughter that it was time to go and as she and turned something got caught in the wheel of the wheelchair. I reached down to get it and when I looked back up that little munchkin of mine had disappeared from my sight.

I froze for a moment, looked around to see if I could tell which way she had gone and then walked toward the direction she was facing last. All sorts of things went through my head in what seemed like several minutes but was really only a minute. Did someone take her? Would she notice I was not with her? Would she wander and be sad looking for me? Did she manage to go find her sisters? What kind of a parent am I? Where in the heck did she go?

I walked toward the large group of people in the pavilion and stopped to look around for any sign of her. I did not see her so I decided I needed to go back to where I started. From this new angle I immediately saw where she was. She had not gone far. It was the next activity over from where we were before but I guess I didn’t see her earlier from all the people in the way.

Some people may think I am a horrible parent or maybe even that my daughter was naughty. Neither is true. My daughter had not done anything wrong and neither did I. I thought of several comments I have heard and read over the years where people chastise parents for not watching their children more carefully. The one opinion that seems to ring the loudest is how the parents need to always have their eye on their children. This is a difficult and impossible expectation to have on another person. It is impossible to effectively watch your children in tha. It is also unrealistic to expect that if someone whether they have one or multiple children (I have heard someone say they should have only had one child then).

Maybe it is just me, I don’t know, but I think people forget that everybody is human including themselves. It is easy to condemn others from the outside looking in but often times there is no true understanding until you have experienced it and realize what it is really like. Even then, in order to truly understand through your own experience you would have to have all variables the same. That is unlikely to happen.

So what are people missing? What makes people so judge mental of other parents? Is it the idea of perfection? Is it the desire to be perfect yourself, knowing you cannot, and so you project that onto others? Is it fear that it could happen to you too and you are just trying to tell yourself that it won’t by way of putting other down?

I do not know exactly what people are going through but I can relate to many circumstances. I can have empathy for those around me even if I think I know a better way of doing things. I have the ability to hold my tongue, cry with others, change my ways, and learn from my mistakes without a need for society to rub in my face how horrible of a person I am to the standards of perfection set before each parent. I would also guess that the majority of the population has those same abilities as well. What do you choose?

In the meantime, I am grateful we survived an outing where everyone made it home safely after hours of fun–even if I came close to feeling like a failure as a parent.