I think a lot of things are based on perspective, and I know this to be particularly true because I have heard totally different perspectives regarding myself as a wife and mother. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they truly don’t understand my medical issues or that they don’t understand the intensity of parenting 3 special needs children when you and your spouse both have medical issues. It can be downright overwhelming.
Although I feel hurt when someone says something negative in regards to who I am, I ultimately remind myself I’m a child of God, and HE chose me for this time and this place. He surely likes to choose ordinary people to take on extraordinary tasks – and it’s all for His Glory!
So, although I DON’T agree with the naysayers, I also don’t agree with the praises. You see, some people imply I am “supermom,” but I can assure you I am FAR from it! I am definitely not supermom. Yes, I do take on some daily challenges others don’t, and there are many others that take on daily challenges I don’t. I can assure you I wouldn’t make it through a day without God’s help. Many days I’m down on my knees just praying for some peace in my spirit so I can continue about my day calmly! Yes, I do have to overcome a lot to even do simple things sometimes – like playing on the floor with the kids!
I want to let you in on a “typical” day for me:
The morning starts out with the kids being fairly agreeable. B and A both wake up fairly early – before 8am (I know that’s not early for some, but I’m not a morning person!) C, on the other hand, may sleep until after 11am because there is a high possibility he (and I) were up until after 2am because he couldn’t fall asleep yet again. To say I wake up tired would be an understatement. I’m absolutely exhausted in the mornings. I am so glad the kids are (usually) pretty agreeable in the morning because I am prone to being grouchy when I’m tired.
By lunch time, though, things start to go down hill. It doesn’t matter what day it is, whether we’re well into our homeschool day, or it’s not a homeschool day. It usually starts with Chaz having meltdowns. Sometimes they make sense, most of the time they don’t. All I can guess is he is under or overstimulated, but I’ve learned not to try to guess which it is because if I try to respond to his being understimulated when he’s actually overstimulated (and vice versa) I would be fueling the fire so to speak.
Instead I try to stay calm and encourage him to use his words (though he still has quite a speech delay) or point to something he wants or needs. The problem is, he sometimes is already too far into it that he no longer knows what he wants (or maybe he never did), and it’s like trying to find a solution for an unknown problem. I really do try my best, but regardless, it usually escalates to a point that there is really not much I can do. This is particularly bad when we’re doing homeschool because neither B or A can “focus” when there is something going on in the background, and Chaz’s yelling is pretty hard to ignore!
This is where phase 2 begins. Aurora gets overstimulated by Chaz. It doesn’t always have to be when we’re doing school. It can be any time. She then starts crying about everything, and once she is in her “zone” (as I call them) then every little thing bothers her. At that point I basically have to make sure nobody invades her bubble or she will get very upset with them. Of course, I intervene as much as I can, but once in a while she’ll hit her max and totally break down. Add a splash of “girl” to it, and you get slamming doors, too!
Phase 3? Not really. Brayden is almost always full of energy and is everywhere – meaning he’s in both C’s and A’s “don’t come near me” bubbles. So although there really isn’t a phase 3 because Brayden doesn’t have the meltdowns as often, he tends to antagonize Phase 1 and Phase 2. If he does so enough, then it might lead to a Phase 3 because one of the other 2 couldn’t take it anymore and B just doesn’t understand and gets really upset. He doesn’t tend to develop a “bubble” like the other 2, though. Instead, he tends to be the one in everybody else’s bubbles. Mind you by this point I’m starting to develop a bubble of my own and my patience wears very thin.
I inevitably hit burnout level.
As the day progresses everything waxes and wanes like this throughout until bed time. It’s at the end of Phase 2, though, where the day is the hardest – for myself included. By that point I am mentally and physically exhausted. There are many times I truly do feel like I “can’t do it.” Sometimes I wonder “Why does God think I can handle this much? I’m sure there are moms out there that have 3 kids like ours that knows how to keep their day from even escalating to Phase 2. Why can’t I?” I feel like anything but supermom. Sometimes I feel like a downright failure.
But you know what? We’re fine. We’re better than fine. We’re blessed. Yes, it’s hard – sometimes it’s really hard – like on the days where my Chronic Fatigue is just crushing me, and my Fibro flare-ups are body wide. I can barely stay awake, let alone fight the pain to just walk across the room. Sometimes I have a habit of blaming my health issues for being a “bad parent.” What I have to remember is – our kids are special. There is no sense in trying to compare my parenting to anybody else’s or our children to anybody else’s.
We’re ALL special and unique, and if that is how our days go, I just have to remember it’s an opportunity for me to learn. I learn more about myself, I learn more about parenting, and I learn more about what they are feeling or experiences. And I pray. A lot. And those moments when everybody is calm and fine, and the older two are asking me about God I realize it’s all worth it, and I’m exactly the parent I’m meant to be – neither “bad” nor “super.” Just me. In the grand scheme of things THAT is what matters.
I’m not sharing this to sound like I am “supermom,” because as I have clearly said, I don’t feel that way at all. I do what I have to do just to get through each day, and pray for God’s help along the way. I want you to know I’m utterly HUMAN. I know there are other moms out there, particularly moms of special needs kids that also feel that way, and I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re not a “supermom” maybe, but you’re the PERFECT mom for your kids. Just as God chose me for my family, He chose you for yours.