Monday, April 6, 2015

Finding Time-How To Love Yourself and Fix Everything-Or Not

My life is hectic.  I feel like 100 browser windows are open in my brain while the dogs are barking, the phones are ringing, the water is running somewhere and the alarm to take dinner out is buzzing its head off in the background and don't forget the door bell and the teenager wih autism and OCD has a head cold. I am in slow motion with short term memory loss issues and a sinus infection that will not go away. Now add a Nintendo Mario Brothers theme music looped for a soundtrack and a nagging termite problem in my house, a UTI issue and you start to get an idea of how I feel and what my day looks like.  When people say to make time for myself I am like "Are you flipping serious?"
I live in 6/13's time. it is a fast waltz in double time with one remainder which is good because I dance in a runaway sentence and need time to get back on the right step before the next bridge or refrain or wherever this song or next transition or melt down takes us. If you enter this time zone keep up or get out of the way but trying to infer I am not taking care of myself when I am caregiving and doing it well with few supportsor back up and no script is not helping or even constructive criticism.  

One of my adult children needed me this month and I flew to the rescue and brought her back to my nest. She did not stay long but has flown on and left us again. Our family's rhythm is off and my son's homeschooling unscheduled schedule has veered off a bit. When a child has a crisis in their lives family must rally their support and lends a hand and heart.  Crisis time is over now. Our hearts and hers are attached together with an invisible tether so it it hurts to see her flyaway.  So that's a computer tab in my brain with a toughie file, always open and sensitive. My son is very close with this sister and he goes through his withdrawal from her too and it takes time to get back to normal.
Another adult daughter has called sick and alone in Chicago. She too is grown up but still needs a mother too. Doesn't everyone? This other daughter is still a newly wed and learning how to coexist with a partner who is young too. It is hard to tell people what you want out of a marriage when don't know what you want until the other person doesn't give it to you. We learn from mistakes and correcting to each other in a marriage is a process not an event. I trust that my daughter and son in law can work out their needs but I hate to see my child suffer. Sometimes I can swoop in and fix it but this one Mom can't fix.
So with grandchild's birthday party to plan and adult children's lives in turmoil, a school to run and a household to manage life has been brutal.

How do I make time for me during all this chaos? Well part of homeschooling means we make our own school year and since the weather is at its best right now in Arizona we can take a break from academics and focus on down time in more self designed structured activities. but what about Mom's battery. I don't have the budget or time and help to run off to a spa for a recharge. I have been doing some art and writing which help.  Also I love researching and study and am taking a Brene Brown course on line on vulnerability, shame and scarcity. I also am kicking back to connect with nature, watching birds in the backyard. This small thing of slowing down and observing nature really clear my mind and heart. I can just sit quietly for an hour and watch the humming birds feed at sunset and wait for the sky to bloom in its southwest glow of setting sun and rising stars. I also go out in the evening and lay on the trampoline staring up at the night sky and use an app on my mobile device to identify stars and comets. I have been doing these books too, which are a series of lessons and activities to connect with yourself.  All of these things work great unless they don't and some times life is over whelming. Like August in Arizona.

One of the harder things is hiring help.  I have always struggled with having people in our home provide habitation and respite services for my son. It gets invasive to have helpers for me and leads to another kind of stress where we cannot just be.  So many times the habitation people want to make my son do things that he doesn't want to and the resulting behaviors problems this causes are stressful for our family.  It's a balance to find someone who will just be with my son, without an agenda, who will follow him and not make him or manipulate him to do things like make eye contact or follow some intrinsic behavior plan that is about their comfort and nothing to do with his needs. Not every provider has done this but enough of them have to make me leery of helpers in the home. Still I do need help and I still want to find the perfect person who will follow our learning plan of authentic learning and support my son where he is and help him navigate by mentoring and guiding him to his own pursuits of happiness.
All of this pursuing of happiness is exhaustively possible.  Prayer and chocolate help, but of course when it's 114 degrees out a walk in the park is not going to work for recharging.  I am seeing with the teen years my world because of my son's sensitivity is shrinking. I have always used social connections on line and they have been very meaningful.  It's perfect for me, as I cannot go far from home. Taking classes for myself is difficult now. My sons medical needs are challenging.  I get few breaks away by myself. I have a few communities I belong to on line that offer some support to me but lately all my old ways of taking sometime to myself are feeling bad. I do not feel connected. I feel my peers do not understand me, the usual supports and inspirations aren't working. It's like a cold and all my comfort foods are tasteless. I am out of sync from raising a child who is going through a major transition from childhood into otherness.  The emotional roller coaster of teenhood and autism has effect our entire household.  Even the dogs feel it. My husband and I take turns, we use help.  It's just challenging.
This summer I have focused on finding more help and cutting the therapy and things that don't help.  It feels like a very bad haircut at the moment. Many of the supports I have been using aren't working anymore.  Many of the supports like doctors and therapist, I used knowing they weren't very good are glaringly obviously horrible.  Now, when we need them so badly, they are just awful and clueless. No one has answers and the experts, I have come to the conclusion aren't much help. I keep going. get through another day of meltdowns and teen angst with autism on the side.  I don't take it personally.  Having raised other teens has desensitized me and taught me not to take it personally.  I'm done with following goals and plans that aren't working though and this feels like a shift in the right direction, tossing out the dead weight. Throwing out the road map has its cost. With wandering off the beaten path comes new fears of getting lost and the big bad wolf of self doubt, that voice in my head that makes me feel like I am doing it wrong. Even though no one out there that I see is doing it right. We are all just making it up as we go along, some people just get paid more for it. Some folks have tons of confidence even when they are doing it wrong too. So I have to keep my bs meter finely tuned. Head up, eyes open keep, observing and accessing, fix what I can, teach what he wants to learn when and how he wants to learn it and keep weathering this storm.  Keep swimming. This is how it looks right now. Being grateful for the little stuff and allowing ourselves to be just us, without guilt or shame or apology. A good day above ground.

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