Work- A Blessing and A Curse for the Exceptional Parent

So I’ve officially been back part-time in the workforce since late last fall. I work in retail as it is flexible, fun and I can do it around Michael’s schedule. The store I am working in now mainly has me working one night a week and the weekends. It is great to have a job and be bringing in some money, but there are challenges. Michael misses me on the weekends, but at least I see him at bedtime and he has Dad and his activities to keep him busy. The one evening a week I work is harder on him, especially when he has a challenging day like yesterday. Work is a great break for me from being Mommy and a rest in a way, but coming home to hear how he was a handful for his grandparents then was yelling and hitting my husband makes me feel so sad for him, for his Dad, for my parents, and me. It seems that we sometimes take one step forward and two back. I want to get back out there, help support my family and build a writing and speaking business, but nights like yesterday have me feeling guilty like maybe if I’d been home things would have gone easier. l sometimes feel damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I wonder if it’s worth it, the stress, the pressure on Michael, my parents, my husband and I.

I’ve been exposing Michael to a lot in the last few months, and he has done amazingly well. He has adjusted to me working,  sometimes as much as 30 hours a week when I was at another retail store last spring, to an after-school program twice a week, to my parents taking care of him for a few hours once a week this summer, and to Dad having a more active role in the pm and weekends. But it’s hard. When you’re a Mom, and especially an Exceptional Mom, you always second guess yourself. Will this scar my Exceptional Child? Will this cause new behaviors?

What helps is that I know Michael and I will talk about what he is feeling tomorrow when he is calm. I will explain to him again ways to calm down before lashing out at his father and I, how he has to listen to his grandparents, and that we will find a way to make my evening shift less stressful for everyone, especially until school starts and daycare will be handling most of the after school care on that one evening a week. We have had so many amazing conversations this week, but there have been stressful moments too. Swearing, hitting, and lashing out are painful for him and me. But I see it’s all part of Michael learning to control his many conflicting emotions about control and anxiety. As long as I keep that in mind and keep myself strong, and tell the rest of the family to do the same, I think we’ll all do well at handling things.

How do you handle conflict with your Exceptional Child? How do you handle your own conflicting emotions about work, family and balancing it all out? It is no easy task, but one that I think can be managed over time by communicating to your child in words or pictures what’s going to happen, to your partner and other family members about how you will handle conflict with your child, and by being honest to yourself about your own stressful thoughts. Until next time.

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