For those of you who don't know the back story, let's review...I am the mother of 2 girls and 3 boys ranging in age from 14-17. I have one biological daughter, the oldest of my kids. My other 4 kids were adopted from the far off land of Kazakhstan; they came to the US as older kids who had to learn a new language and culture. All 4 have PTSD from the trauma of their early years with birth family and/or in the orphanage system. All four are under IEP's at school and have special needs of one type or another. Two are on medication for behavioral and emotional management. All 5 are teenagers with all the attendant mood swings, drama, activities, and events that go along with the middle and high school years. When I tell people I have 5 teenagers, they shake their heads in dismay and ask how I do it all...I tell them I honestly don't know. I just know that life is pretty intense at our house...never dull but definitely intense.
Some days it's all I can do to survive, keeping all the plates spinning. You moms know the plates I'm talking about...the ones that hold the soccer schedules, doctor appointments, homework, field trips, college visits, parent teacher conferences, not to mention the platters of housework, groceries, cooking, and laundry. Throw into the mix our boy's mental health issues and the boatload of therapy appointments, the medication regime that needs to be managed, the wonderful team of mental health professionals that support our boy with regular meetings...more plates spinning. It's not that I don't appreciate the value of the services we are getting for our boy or that I don't love being a mom to my kids, I do...but I just don't have enough hands to keep the spin action going. Lately I've been breaking a lot of dishes. It's hard to hit the keyboard for a blog post when I'm buried in broken crockery.
Yesterday, our awesome family partner and intensive care case manager came to visit with me re: goals for our boy. They asked me how our boy was doing...and he's doing well. Yay! He's coping better, handling stress better, back in school, benefiting from therapy, all good...so the plate spinning is working. Then they asked me how I'm doing...or more specifically, what I'm doing for myself. Ummm...not much...and suddenly, I was crying. They gently observed that I seem to be crashing, that maybe it was time for me to be less of a super woman. They gently suggested that maybe I should take better care of me...because if I burn out, who will keep those pesky plates spinning? Hmm, good point. But where do I begin?
First step...put down the darn plates for an hour or two each day and do something totally self-serving. Maybe it will be a walk in the rain, maybe an hour of mindless TV, maybe (gasp) a nap in the middle of the day while the kids are at school. Maybe my voice will return to me and I'll blog more often. Maybe if I allow myself some time, I can worry less about broken dishes and do some mending of my own.
It's a start...