I know I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way. I can’t be. But boy do I feel exhausted… and frustrated with all the child-rearing stuff that’s still on my plate after all I’ve been through. I know everyone in my family has been through it with me… but right now, this feeling of depletion is all about ME! I feel like a terrible mother! I think it’s a post-crisis fatigue reflex to compliment my family’s gag reflex LOL!
Yes, I’ve somehow kept myself standing through the past 6 or 7 weeks of my children’s’ illnesses and hospitalizations. Beginning with a lactose-overload stripping of their intestines. Followed by weeks of diarrhea, vomiting, high fevers, hospitalization, pneumonia, repetitive chest x-rays and experimental treatments, a partially collapsed lung, pulse oximeters, oxygen tanks and more… so much more for my poor little babies. Yes, I’ve dealt with a bunch of difficult stuff (though recognizably minor compared to what others deal with every day!). I’ve stayed up [mostly] through entire nights just to listen and watch him, or him, or her breathe. I’ve slept sitting up in a chair or crunched at the foot of a hospital bed… Only to be awakened multiple times by the beeping of one machine or another indicating some number is not where it should be… some aspect of my child’s well-being is in question. I’ve been knocked down with my own illness in the middle of all this, only to crawl back up onto my knees to keep on praying.
And through it all, we’ve somehow managed to maintain the potty-training regimen for BOTH boys despite hospital stays with IV hoses, IV fluids, and oxygen hook-ups. Despite our inability to double-team our 2-man team of formerly diaper-clad, sometimes incredibly-stubborn-about-toileting little boys. And, we managed — with much help — to get the Old Soul to her socially-important final days of school and end-of-year parties despite the fact that The Sarge and I were sitting bedside vigil in different hospital wards each with our sick little charge. We even managed, very well I might add, to work together to get it all done without disagreement and to still love and respect each other on the other side of our shared crisis.
So why am I so darn bone-tired when things just got soooo much easier? Why am I suddenly feeling inexplicably angry over nothing in particular? Why do I feel like such a bad person for feeling this way NOW after all we’ve come through? Why do I want to scream at the top of my lungs, “NOOOOOOO! I don’t WANT to drive my beautiful little men 60 miles a day to and from a school that I wish they didn’t have to go to for Summer!”? Why am I blaming anyone but myself for gaining back a very few lost pounds during these trials and tribulations (sitting on my butt in a hospital room, eating nothing but hospital food)? And with a small but definite lull in our daily activity, why am I not able to carve out a moment of time or energy to refocus just a little tiny bit on myself to eat right and exercise? Now that things have settled down, why do I feel the need to run away [briefly, mind you]… To jump in the car all by myself and drive somewhere of MY choice [not too far away in case my kids need me] to spend a peaceful and quiet moment enjoying the way the sun sparkles on the water’s calm surface?
Ah… there’s much wisdom buried in that last heartfelt desire!
Yes, I’m more than a few years into this journey but I’ve just figured out that, at times, there are going to be days, weeks and even months like this. Thankfully, most days my cup runneth over — truly! — with the joy and laughter of my beautiful children. But when these hard days, weeks and months hit — and they will — I’ve learned that I have to take the time to refill my own cup afterwards! Like storing nuts for a hard winter, I have to replenish the used-up supply!
I don’t know for a fact that I wouldn’t have had these same kinds of days if a couple of my children didn’t have special needs! Or if a couple of my children weren’t twins! Or if maybe I had just a couple less kids! But I promise you, I wouldn’t trade my beautiful kids for the world! Besides, listening to my mother’s crazy child-rearing stories, I realize it’s not about the number or type of kids you have. And it’s not about the breadth or depth of the crisis! It seems to me, no matter what kind of kids you have — kids with special needs, 5 kids, only-children, teenagers, boys, girls — sometimes this motherhood thing is tough! And when the Post-Crisis Fatigue reflex sets in, only a moment of respite will fill your cup and prepare you for the next wave of life, whatever it may bring.