I don’t think I have ever felt this type of exhaustion before in my life. I physically cannot even get out of my own way most days and wake the next morning still craving more sleep.
In April, I lost my job. This set off a difficult tail spin of behaviors in our house from Little R due to the change and fears she associated with a mom not working. It was a stressful phase in our lives but one that I hope Little R will learn from, that just because a mom is not working doesn’t mean she will be poor and not able to take care of her kiddo. I was dealing with my own set of emotions over losing my job and feeling the financial strain and I wasn’t therapeutically parenting Little R to the best of my ability. I was emotionally not able to meet her and was at times short with her, which did not make things better.
I found a job in late May and began a new schedule of working much later in the day than I ever have with Little R in the house. When she moved in I was given a schedule of 6:30am-2:30pm. It worked out perfectly since she is an early riser. I would see her in the AM, hubby would take her to school and I would pick her up from school in the afternoon. We had time for homework, playing and our evening routine this was our schedule for almost a year. My new job has me working at least until 4:30pm and sometimes later and not picking up Little R until 5-5:30pm and on occasion 6pm. We rush home and have dinner and by the time that is done it is after 7pm. Not a lot of time for playing or homework ETC. She doesn’t do well with being rushed and just shuts down. So her way of expressing her dislike over all of this change is through tantrums and defiant behavior.
In addition, the summer has been an extreme challenge for Little R. She spent the better part of the summer throwing major tantrums and expressing her dislike of several changes in her life including my new job, school ending, and her favorite teacher leaving the district, my parents (her grandparents) moving to Florida and going to summer day camp. She has made it clear that these changes were not acceptable to her but none of which I could change. But even though I couldn’t change them nor did I cause them I was the punching bag for little R over the summer both physically and emotionally.
If I am not running around for normal life stuff, we are going to Therapy’s, tutoring or trying to fit in some family time on the weekends. I have been sick over the past two months with colds and infections and some stomach trouble. I haven’t been super sick consistently like this in a long time.
I don’t know where the balance is. Little R takes up about 75% of my time due to general care taking/ tantrums/explaining everything due to learning issues/re-direction/direct line of sight monitoring/therapy/tutoring and the other 20% is work. I love her and wouldn't change being her mom but there has to be some balance.
Where and how do I fit in time for me? I really don’t want to be selfish but I am exhausted and have ostracized myself from my friends and at times from family because I don’t want to “add another thing” to my plate and I can’t have Little R tantruming with them or I suppose I can I just don’t want to deal with it. I am physically and emotionally burning out. My candle has been going at both ends for over a year but in the past 3 months it has been running on just the wick in the middle and it is just about out.
I have been blessed to have a mother-in-law who wants to spend time with Little R and cares about how we parent her. She is always asking what she can do to make things easier and how she can "parent" her when she has her. She will take her for a full day or overnight to give us a break. She has been a reprieve for us on many occasions but the day in and day out parenting a special needs kiddo and working a full time job and managing Little R's many many appointments for therapy and specialist's is exhausting me and all I want to do is take a very long nap…….