People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

I’m still a stupid bitch ass, and some other stuff.

It’s true. I haven’t been attentive to my blog lately. I freely admit that I sometimes prefer my cyber-life to my real life, but lately, real life has left no room for much of anything else. But more on all that later, when I’m not drowning in laundry that must be folded before I can go spend the afternoon with my grandma.

For now, I just want to make a confession: I broke down in front of Carter this morning. I keep getting these emails that go like this: I don’t know how you do it! You do so much, handle it all so well, etc. Here’s the deal, though: I DO NOT handle it well a whole lot of the time. My life is a mess. My relationships with my older children are severely damaged. My house is a sty. My marriage is strong and our church family supports us in every way possible, and those are the only two things that keep me alive some days.

So, this morning. Carter was working hard at sneaking some toys to school (again, more on the school later) in his lunch box or his pockets. I took the toys away and the tirade started: I ruin everything, I’m a stupid bitch ass woman, the biggest asshole in the world, etc. After his time-out was over and I thought he was calm, he started again with names, accusations, screaming, and even an attempt to hit me. And I lost it. I broke down and sobbed into my lap.

Understand that I work very hard to keep the expression of my own feelings (the big ones, anyway) away from Carter. His anxiety is huge, and since I’m his solid ground, his only real security, witnessing significant pain or anger from me is devastating for him. When I started to cry this morning, Carter panicked and was hysterical by the time I pulled myself together.

So, my point? Nobody who is living this hard, hard life of raising a child who is extremely volatile (whatever it ends up being officially called: autism, a mental illness, or any of the alphabet soup diagnoses: ADHD, SPD, ODD, OCD, etc.) is doing it gracefully! Yes, I’m sure some do better than others. I’m one of the “others” in some circles, part of the “some” in others. We all are. It’s a hard life. I’d like to see every one of us give ourselves a break, because we do the best we can. Yes, we do. Yes, I know you can remember times when you wish you’d done better. That doesn’t mean you could have done better. My house is a mess, but you know what? Last night, when Carter was in a rare good mood, I read books with him instead of cleaning the kitchen. This morning, when I “should” have been folding laundry, I managed his tantrum. When I “should” have stayed calm, I broke down and cried. And now, when the laundry is still sitting heaped next to me, unfolded and getting more wrinkled by the minute, I’m writing and trying to find my way through the mess of my feelings. Life is messy, and our lives, with our challenged and challenging children, is infinitely more so.

Moms and dads of SN kiddos, just for today let’s pat ourselves and each other on the back. We’re badasses for hanging in there, even on the worst days.

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9 comments to I’m still a stupid bitch ass, and some other stuff.

  • Anonymous

    As a mom who is there, I salute you and pat you on the back. Some moments are easier than others. I originally wrote “some days are easier…” but one of the first lessons I learned with my SN kid is to savor the good moments and not to let the bad moments ruin the whole day. I used to do a lot of , “It was such a nice bike ride/party/picnic____________(fill in the blank) until such and such event ruined it” Then I learned that no, there was an entire 30 minutes of nice bike ride, followed by another 30 minutes of emotional upset, and that just because the ‘nice” part of the bike ride didn’t last the whole time, neither was the whole thing ruined.

    I hope today has some good moments in it.
    Carrie

  • Meg

    I lose it with my son too. Believe it or not sometimes it helps him to see me cry as it ends the drama and lets him see my real feelings. It brings him to earth and lets him know that what he does affects my feelings and I think, every once in a while, that experience is grounding for him.

  • I think I was guilty of one of those e-mails. Nobody handles regular parenthood, let alone high needs parenthood, without ever having a meltdown. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

  • I was too, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad or like you had to keep up a front.

  • Oh, wait, no! No no no! I didn’t want to make anyone feel guilty, just to reassure everyone that there isn’t someone out there that’s handling it all better, or well, or whatever. I think it’s a terribly difficult thing to accept – that life is hard with some kids, and it’s not going to be made easy with the right techniques, coping skills, etc. *Easier* perhaps, or better, or more fulfilling (for some), but not EASY.

    That’s all. No guilt necessary for anyone, honest! The emails I’ve received since my BC article was published have been like fresh air to me – they’ve brought this wonderful sense of not-aloneness, and the last thing in the world I want to do is make anyone feel bad about sending any!

    Now, back to my very un-graceful life. Carter won’t stop trying to spin my desk chair and I fear a big battle if I don’t switch things up in a hurry!

  • Someone just directed me to your blog from Mothering.com. and it’s surprising how similar your son sounds to mine. My son is four and a half years old. You can read most of my story on the Mothering discussion forum at the link above.

    While we haven’t had any specific diagnosis, they have suggested he might have bipolar disorder. Other moms also suggested I look into Sensory Processing Disorder and we will be seeing a Occupational Therapist in March. Risperdal is the first medication they recommended, but I’ve been too scared to try it.

    I am also a single mom with very little support, so it’s just me and my raging, angry, hitting little boy. His father has never even met him, so I have no support (emotional or financial) on that front. My parents take my son one day a week overnight, but otherwise, it’s just me. It’s SOOOO FREAKING HARD! Especially right now when I am massively ill with the flu and desperately need some help.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Oh, Bisou, I’m so sorry. I couldn’t read the whole thread, but I read as much as I could. I wish I could help in some way, but the best I can do is say, I hear you. The most important thing that we, as parents of extremely demanding/needy children, can do is take really good care of ourselves (and I absolutely know how hard, and sometimes impossible, that is), so kudos to you for taking your son to daycare yesterday. It was absolutely the right thing to do.

    I really encourage you to think long and hard about the medicine and to search far and wide for multiple opinions on the issue. Ultimately, we decided to medicate because not to do so was cruel. Yes, there are big risks, but there are also big risks to letting an illness (whatever the name-of-the-moment might be: bipolar, intermittent explosive disorder, sever emotional dysregulation, on and on) run riot over your lives and your son’s developing brain. Right now, your little boy stands little chance of experiencing the normal give-and-take of healthy relationships. A mood stabilizer could change that.

    And perhaps that sounded like I was encouraging medications, which I don’t intend to do. It’s the choice we’ve made, and I think you should make your own. I guess I just want to show the other side, but the risk-benefit analysis can only be made by you.

    I wish you the best. Come back often and LMK how things are going.

  • Well, I won’t tell you you’re handling it well –I’m just impressed that you’re handling it at all 🙂 I have a fairly normal 9 year old daughter, and I’m emotionally exhausted most mornings before dropping her off at school.

    I’ve been wondering, from your contact with other parents of SN kids similar to Carter, do you have any feel for what his life may be like as an adult?

  • […] honestly? Nothing I’ve gotten so far has upset me all that much. Carter calls me worse than a “hug [sic] fucking idiot” all the time, so I’ve had a great deal of […]

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