A bit of honesty, without trying to sound like what I said I wanted to avoid.
In a nut shell, I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed around here lately. It started a couple of months back when we started seriously trying to get Fulton on a bathroom schedule (that I don’t wish to elaborate on too much for fear of embarrassing him when he’s older). It was one aspect of his care that got put off for probably too long because 1. we don’t fully understand some secondary issues he’s got going on in that department 2. we had to order specialized equipment for him to use the bathroom and 3. I knew it would take tons of time that I wasn’t sure I had.
But we started and in the last few months have made minimal progress getting him on a schedule which means our efforts completely consume a large chunk of my day. And Fulton’s unhappy and I’m unhappy and everyone else still has needs that need met. Patience and optimism has worn thin, but there’s no turning back and I’m just trying everything to rearrange my day to make it work.
When introducing me, people often mention the fact that I care for two special needs children in addition to homeschooling, and how sometimes I write really meaningful stuff about the experience. But the last couple of months, and weeks in particular, have reminded me that caring for special needs children does not equal days filled with spiritual enlightenment and deep insight. It’s typically a lot of hard work coupled with frustration. I think I fail more days than not at gleaning the grace and sanctity that are mixed within the tedious caregiving and instead fight back and resist against the never-ending tasks.
From a spiritual standpoint, I’ve been given a gold mine of graces to pick away at day in and day out. But I struggle to give up my whole day for the needs of others, and then feel like the world’s worst mom, and Catholic, for not joyfully living out my little way. I also fear that my children, Fulton in particular, will grow up thinking I resent being a mother and caregiver. I conscientiously spend a chunk of each day apologizing for my anger, telling them I love them and hoping that in someway they understand how hard it is to do what I do, or that at least they will look back as adults and forgive me.
This is why I don’t want the title ‘Superwoman’, ‘Mom Who Does It All’ or ‘Inspiration’. Don’t look to me as the example of how to spiritually rock this special needs mom game. I’m proof that anyone can do it, but not proof about how to do it well.
Our search for a nurse or aide is currently on hold while Tony’s job situation is in flux. Since the process to procure assistance is long and time-consuming, it’s not something we want to start, then have to restart if the kids insurance provider changes or if our family needs to relocate. I’m trying to make the best of what I know is a temporary situation, and generally failing the longer the situation plays out.
So that’s what in my heart and mind right now. I can look back through the archives and find similar posts of woe and know that things will improve, so I’m not despairing so much as tired. I hesitate to say ‘This is my Lent” and just try to really own it for the next week and half because, this is my everyday life and it will continue through the celebration of Easter and until only God knows when.
God has blessed me with five great kids and I never forget that. And I try to remember to thank Him daily for allowing me the opportunity to stay home and raise them all, even when it’s exceptionally hard like right now. I just wonder why I wasn’t given Julie Andrews levels of joy, patience and perseverance as part of this vocation.
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