So our second long family holiday weekend had its ups and its downs. It was a great learning experience for all of us, as that is how I now look at the downs. As for the ups, well, they are what keep me going in this journey called life and motherhood to an exceptional son. I know deep down inside that summer is a hard time of year for exceptional families or families that have special needs children. It is all about adjusting to new schedules, expectations, the weather etc. As Moms and Dads we try to be everything for our kids, our spouses, our extended family and friends, but if we don’t take care of us, the ending is not pretty. I know this. I speak of it. I have the tools all ready as a Mom. I even tell other parents what to do so well, yet I forgot about one important tool, preparing myself mentally, physically and spiritually for what I needed to do to get in the head space of summer vacation. I can happily say I have finally learned what to do for next year. 🙂
The week started off normal hectic as Michael and I adjusted to being home. I worked my writing and coaching duties around him, and camp started mid-week. It all went well, but I was busy with work, Dad has been extremely busy on his end with work and personal commitments, and there seems to be an unending list of summer chores to do. I did not listen to the little voice inside my head that was telling me I was feeling exhausted and needed to take a break. Hormones due to my period coming mixed with utter mental, physical and spiritual exhaustion, and I crashed spectacularly from the high I had been on. I was being supermom, afraid to admit that she needed some help and some down time for herself. When I found myself losing patience, yelling, and then breaking down and crying at how I just wanted to be left alone without having to put fires out, it was then I realized that I had never sounded the alarm in the first place asking for help and time. I kept going and not refueling me. I had a dreadful moment mid weekend when I thought, “Oh God. I feel so alone. I am so tired.”
After letting off steam, the first person I apologized to was me. I forgot to advocate for myself. I can’t expect my son and partner to know anything is wrong unless I tell them, right? Then I apologized to Michael and his Dad that I was being superwoman again. I am not her nor do I want to be her. I am me-a regular Mom who has strengths and weaknesses, and who uses tools and strategies to make life run as smoothly as it can for everyone. And when she forgets, she admits it, takes a deep breath, and moves forward, stronger for the struggle. That is where I am now. I am coming up for air, and proud to say that after my heart to heart with Michael the other day about how NOT to handle mounting stress and anxiety, my little guy woke up this morning after some very difficult moments of anxiety for him this weekend and said, “Mommy, I need to plan out the week on my dry erase board.” Just when I thought I had failed as a Mom, I see my victory in Michael. We have both learned something.
Exceptional Parents, how often have you pushed down your feelings to be “ALL” for your family? We are all only human, and we need to acknowledge in small ways when we need a break to relax and recharge from real challenges as parents. So don’t be a martyr. Don’t be a superhero. Be better. Be an Exceptional Parent who sets the example for your child and family of how each member needs time alone and together to be the best they can be. Until next time.