On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Freight train of mental doom

Every summer I have a to-do list of home projects that need to be attended to.  I usually get them all accomplished with gusto and flair.  Not so much this summer.

With Sissy's and AB's therapy, I hardly have time to think.  I usually get to the end of a day, having successfully gotten them all off to bed, I usually flop in the recliner, mentally exhausted.  I hate mental exhaustion.  I would trade it for physical exhaustion in a skinny minute.  Being mentally tired seems so fruitless but with physical exhaustion, at the end of a hard day of work, I can reflect on my day with pride, having accomplished something worth while.

It goes without saying then, that all of my unfinished summer projects that are labors of love are being averted because the children's needs demand my brain time and I feel like I have nothing to show for my efforts.  There is no finished product, it does not feel like I'm accomplishing anything and I'm silently beating myself up for not finishing the list of projects I intended to get to.  I've spent two months of summer vacation doing therapy, therapy, therapy, doctor appointments, med adjustments, therapy, therapy, therapy.  I have only two weeks left of summer before we get back to the grind and all I want to do is cry.  We've not had one vacation, we've not had unlimited fun without a schedule to bend ourselves around, I've not had the physical energy to do anything because I'm mentally and emotionally drained.  In short, I'm done.  My summer's done and so am I.

Now the issue becomes how to restart another school year without having recharged my batteries, with unfinished projects still unfinished, with my mental energy gone. I was reading a book about a woman that devoted her life to science, spending 30 years on her work proving that animal brains are more sophisticated than previously thought. She has done it all joyfully. She has gained world recognition and praise for her work.

If I felt like my life work really was indeed being a parent, if I could OWN that, I'd be able to do this all joyfully. Mental or physical energy, it wouldn't matter, I'd be doing my "life work". But honestly? I can't say that. I'm always pining for what hasn't happened, what I haven't achieved. I'm always flopping into my recliner at the end of another mentally grueling day, melancholic and lethargic, my head aching from all the preplanning and prethinking to prevent AB and Sissy from tearing themselves apart. It's not rewarding to start each day dealing with a Sissy issue. It's not joyous to end each day with AB STILL not sleeping. It's exhausting to try to find the silver lining and a moment of happiness and laughter despite the circumstances. And all of this knowing there will never be any accolades, publications, conferences, or world renowned recognition. I'm just a mother, no one recognizes mothers, especially when after all is said and done, they grow up to be adults that make foul choices despite all the days of mental energy.

This isn't fun for me. Once again I've allowed my life to meander and take it's own course instead of trying to navigate. Once again I'm unhappy with the place I am in. Once again I've blown an entire summer trying to prevent escalation to crisis with my children. Once again I've put my well being at the bottom of the totem pole. Once again I've forgotten that I'm a cool broad that has things to offer this world and that my children are only part of that offering. Once again, I'll end a summer less prepared for the pending school year than I was the year before. Once again, I'll go into another school year anticipating crisis, tears and gnashing of teeth. Once again I'll be counting the days toward something "fun" for me instead of enjoying the here and now.

Someone please tell me how to get off this ridiculously nauseating freight train of mental doom!


J. said...

I hear you, I have the same struggles and it is hard to make time for you but even if it means putting the tv on or sending them to read in their rooms for 30 minutes you need the time for you. I hope that you can find it.

GB's Mom said...

Don't discount your role as a Mom. Yes, you need time for yourself, and of course you are more than just a Mom. When the Doom train comes to run you over, remind it that you are a super mom, doing a difficult job that God signed you up for. I will get my PhD, but I will get it in His time, while I do His work, and follow His plan. God always lets hope shine through (and WG is a ray of sunshine!)

peacechaser said...

One step at a time girl thats the only way to get anywhere. if it helps to know....when my daughter got sick the last time we were in the middle of painting the house. We have never got back to it so certain sections of the house are apply green with big swatches of the old white....lovely....

marythemom said...

I so don't look forward to Summer as a vacation! I know that I'll be spending that much more time trying to address my kids issues (we frequently add more intense therapy since they're not dealing with school and muck with their meds more), plus I have to keep them entertained.

How can you say you blew the Summer? You worked hard keeping your kids from escalating! Those Summer projects should be looked at as bonuses if you can get them done.

Mary in TX