By Guest Blogger Kathryn Sneed with Singing Though the Rain
Last weekend we decided to drive an hour away to take my son on a train ride. My son is autistic and is just obsessed with trains. We thought it would be so much fun for him to ride a real train. And it was!
The entire thing was a 6 hour ordeal from start to finish and to be honest all of us, my son and the baby included were exhausted. We were only about 15-20 minutes down the road when our car broke down. I won’t go into the details, but it was the middle of nowhere Georgia, and there happened to be a cop sitting in his car having a break nearby.
My husband went and explained our situation: two special needs kids in the car, no AC, in a town we’ve never heard of far from home, no water, and 100 degrees with humidity. The cop proceeds to tell my husband there is no mechanic in this town and nothing in this town to help us and goes back to reading his newspaper.
Again, I will spare you all the details, but after gathering the children up and walking 1/2 mile down the road, we found a motel that let us sit in the air conditioned lobby until someone from my husband’s work came and got me and the kids. My husband had to wait for the tow truck which ended up costing $90. and then $500. to fix the car. It was a rough weekend.
I spent the next few days in a sort of depression. My husband and I are exhausted from everything. We would love a break, we would love more support, we would love a normal life. I keep thinking, if I am barely keeping it together now, what am I going to do when my husband leaves for his one year for the military.
These thoughts send me into a panic. I have no family here, my two good military friends I had one PCS’d the other is about to PCS, and very few sitters want to deal with my two kids mainly because my daughter is on a tube, not to mention I can barely afford it.
So I have these days where I go back and forth. Some days I feel like I can do it all, I can BE supermom, I CAN do this. Other days, I would rather just sit in my room in the dark and stare at the walls. It’s hard being a special needs mom. It’s hard trying to figure out how to do this all alone and to keep up with it all. It’s hard not having as much family support as I thought I would.
So what do I do on the days I can’t be supermom and do it all? Here are 5 things I’ve learned…
1. I’ve Learned to Get a Little Done Every Day.
There is no way everything can be done every day. My house is not going to be perfect every day. A load of laundry is most likely not going to be done every day. Sometimes all the dishes might not be washed every day. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to do what I can and worry about the rest tomorrow.
I try to set goals: today I will get done one load of laundry, or today I will just mop the floors, or today I will just work on therapy things with my kids. There is no way I will get all of it done with being at therapy every single day and going to appointments throughout the week and with everything else going on. Get a little done every day and work on it from there.
2. I’ve Learned That I Can’t be Picky About my Weight, What I Wear, and How I Look
If you know me personally, you know that I am very girly. I like to dress up, I like to look pretty, I like to wear girly things. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way. I don’t have time to wear makeup, I don’t have time to really put a lot of time into how I look, and to be honest it’s been a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
I had my daughter back in November and lost only a little bit of the baby weight. She was in the hospital three times for a total of 5 weeks and in those months I gained it all back and more. My clothes don’t fit well, and I don’t have time to work out right now. So I just throw on a t-shirt to cover up my tummy that makes me look like I am still pregnant.
I’m sad that I don’t have more time to be girly. I’m sad that I can’t be one of those moms who gets up early to “have it all together.” But right now I’d rather get what little sleep I can. Right now it’s enough to grab a t-shirt, brush my hair and teeth and run out the door. I just can’t be picky right now.
Does it make me feel bad about myself? Sometimes. But my focus is mostly on my kids and my family. I know that someday when they are older and won’t need as much help and as much therapy that I can work out again. I can start dressing nice again and work on being pretty. But right now, I can’t be picky. I have to get past it and focus on the now. And for now I think I am okay with that.
3. I’ve Learned That Drinking Coffee is Okay.
I know, I know, this one is just silly. I’ve always had a thing where I refused to be addicted to caffeine. I could do things without caffeine-or so I thought. But most days, a mocha frappechino is just the thing to get me through. I’m not addicted to caffeine (yet), but I can’t always run around on empty, exhausted and frustrated. Coffee is okay for some days or even most days, and I’ve learned that it’s a good thing too!
4. I’ve Learned That Sometimes I Just Have to Take a Step Back.
Since my daughter was born, I’ve learned that I have to take a step back from some things. I have had to take a step back from play dates and hanging out with friends and I had to resign from working in the nursery at church. Now, after all the hospital visits and everything we’ve been through the past few months, we haven’t even been back to church in awhile.
I know there are a lot of people who don’t understand this or support this, but there is a lot that they don’t understand. It’s so hard getting out the door to church every time the door is open. It’s hard leaving your kids in nursery or Sunday school when you are not sure they are going to be understood or if they will know what to do if my daughter’s feeding tube alarm goes off. It’s hard when you’ve been hurt multiple times and hard when you are not quite sure where you and God stand right now.
So sometimes you just have to take a step back. Sometimes you have to step back and see where you are. You have to see what God wants and where He wants you. Sometimes what you thought was best, might not always be what’s best.
5. I’ve Learned That Tomorrow WILL be Better.
I’ve learned that no matter how awful and exhausting a day can get, that tomorrow will always be better. There are days where it’s all I can do to fall into bed and hope and pray for a better day. And you know what? It usually is. So on the days where you can’t take another step, where you just can’t be “supermom” anymore, there’s always, always tomorrow!
I know a day will come soon where you will be able to focus on YOU without guilt or lack of time. You deserve it! In the meantime I love that you are enjoying the craziness that has come your way and learning to adapt and roll with the punches.
You sound like a wonderful mother whose children are lucky to have you.
Thoughts and prayers for your family. Thank you for your honesty. You are not alone.