So, I was THAT Mom yesterday. The one in the school drop off lane, still in my pajamas, slippers and a mismatched hat to mat down the scary bedhead. If I had to get out of the car to walk the Preschooler in, I probably would have changed into my normal shoes. Probably.
What can I say; it was one of those days! It seems I’m having more of those days than not lately. It’s certainly the result of a combination of at least 100 options. I’m slightly exaggerating, but, seriously!
We’ve hit this delicate balancing act of mayhem in our home at bedtime. The bedtime issue is The Bigs (11 and 8 yr. olds) should be staying up till a certain time each night, but The Littles (4 and 2 yr. olds) don’t want to go to be before The Bigs. “Don’t want to” is mildly putting it. Some nights my husband and I turn into Riot Police! I digress. So, it’s not fair to make the Bigs go to bed early like The Littles. The compromise has been secretly negotiated with the husband and I that the middle time is the perfect time for all four to go down for the night. This seems all fine and dandy, but the battles that ensue past bedtime are pure insanity. They are tag-teaming and wearing us down! No wonder why we’re haggard all the time! By the time they are all knocked out, I mean sweetly asleep, the Hubs and I can barely speak and then it’s time for us to call it a day. Rinse and repeat.
From the birth of Number Two, we made it a point to make sure we left time at the end of our day to have quiet, alone time. We didn’t do this after Number One because we all know that the first child is the center of our obsessive and paranoid attention. And, you do all those “bad things” you’re not supposed to do (i.e. co-sleeping, no set bedtime). With Number One being 24/7 attachment, Number Two arrives and you’re like, “Oh, okay! Now we get it! And, how did Number Two come along when we didn’t have any alone time?” Ahem! Okay. What was I saying?
Sleep depravation! Yes, this is our life right now. No sleep. Eyes halfway open, functioning on coffee, doing parental and adult duties that can’t be ignored. It’s our “Groundhog Day” life. The day in and day out existence that I can’t even remember some days. So, those days when there is less sleep than normal, those “adult duties” like taking a shower first thing in the morning gets shoved to an 8:00 PM opening of time that you may or may not have energy to shave. And, did I already wash my hair? I don’t remember two minutes ago, so, I wash the hair again. The second wash always ensures an amazing static cling and fluffiness! Fantastic.
The kids aren’t “sleep terrorists”, but sleep just isn’t in Number Two’s genetic makeup. He loves us all so much; he has a pressing desire to share his zest for life at 2:00 AM almost daily! He’s always danced to his own rhythm. We knew he was different, a bit slower with his speech. It didn’t help that Number One talked morning, noon, night and in his sleep. So, because of all that, the Autism diagnosis didn’t come officially till a few years ago. It confirmed what we already knew, but we still had the grieving process. You know, sadness, anger, denial and then acceptance.
It’s amazing how acceptance is always the last one. Why do we go through all this emotional roller coaster movement? I’m an extremely emotional person, so please don’t think I’m some crazy, emotionless cyborg. Did I just say “cyborg”? Clearly I was at an impressionable age when “Terminator” came out. ANYWAY! Why do we accept things last? Obviously, it’s a normal process to go through these states of emotions. I do believe, though, that our ability or inability to get to acceptance can give an abbreviated glimpse of how much a “control freak” we are.
My life over the past six plus years seems to be one grieving process after another; some big, some small. Through it all, I have found myself more willing to accept the process and go through it. I do have my crazy, out-of-control days, but I know it’s okay. I no longer condemn myself for having an off day. As parents, we know our kids are going to have off days so we extend them a lot more patience and grace. I’m learning to do this for myself. My kids aren’t anyone else’s. And, just so you know, no one else’s kids are as perfect as you may think. I learned a long time ago to stop comparing my reality to someone’s snapshot. If you do this, you will always feel like you’re failing.
There’s a reason and purpose for you to have the children you have, just like there’s a purpose and reason for me to have my children. Acceptance of the place and space you’re at for each season will leave you at Peace. Even in your tears and struggle. Just like the weather, every season serves a purpose; it leads to the next season. Life is this way; changing seasons. Accepting that change and welcoming it will help you get what you need out of it. I know there will be days you simply feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Guess what? IT’S OKAY! Have that overwhelmed and exhausted day. We’re not super heroes! But, we have an amazing Heavenly Father that has more Grace and Patience for His children then we can imagine!
So, next time you’re sitting in the school pick up lane in your pajamas and slippers, know that it’s okay. You’re doing the best you can at that moment and keep moving. Accepting yourself in your glorious mess is an amazing and free place to be!
Psalms 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”