She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

The Burn

UnknownI’m going to burn up this year. 

My favorite Equinox instructor (and my friend), Rebecca, always tells us, when we are dying in her hard-core fitness classes, that the burn means that change is happening in our bodies.  We want that burn.  We need that burn.  Even if we are screaming and whining like little girls on the inside.

She always reminds us we can do it and to just push through the burn and DO. NOT. GIVE. UP.  Embrace it, when what you really want to do is stop, quit, and take a sip of water.

Every time Rebecca says this, it speaks a life-metaphor to my soul.

Right now we are in a particularly challenging new phase with Ryan.  Symptoms of PWS are popping up in intensity, frequency, and severity.  And may I just say for the record that Prader-Willi syndrome is from the pit of hell!  I will stop there, before I begin to rant and rave.

In this new season of high anxiety for Ryan is high anxiety for us.  All of us.  We “walk on eggshells” as they say so as not to set him off, and then be forced to deal with crying, perseverating, and tantruming.  His food drive, (what makes the syndrome famous or newsworthy) is kicking in and I must be more vigilant and watchful at parties and restaurants, so that he doesn’t overeat.  Overeating in PWS is harmful and life-threatening.  It’s not just like if you or I overeat at a meal and feel uncomfortable, and our stomachs pooch out all prego-style.  (For more information on PWS, please visit the website pwcf.org.)

Throughout the 10 ½ years we have raised Ryan, I have come to describe in different ways how it affects ME personally:

“It comes in waves.  The stress, the pressures, the appointments…there is an ebb and flow.”

“It’s like living with chronic grief, deep below the surface, but always there.”

“I am NOT grateful for having a disabled son, but I AM grateful for how my soul and heart have expanded as a result of our journey.”

And on a completely maddening and exhausting day:

“F— this syndrome and how it tortures my son and the rest of us!!”

It’s January 2014 and I am burning.  My emotions, my thoughts, and my heart are on fire, as we deal with new behaviors or more intense behaviors.

I have a choice.  To just get flipping angry or have pity parties or give up and use some form of escape to numb the pain and stress of it all.

OR—I can remind myself that this BURN means that changes can happen in me.

Changes like practicing and experiencing gratitude in the midst of hardship and grief.  Changes in the form of implementing new methods to manage Ryan’s behavior.  Changes in my attitude and perspective.

I will embrace the burn in this new year and phase with Ryan/PWS, and therefore embrace the changes I desire for my soul.  That God desires for my soul, my family, and home-life.

Painful? Yes.  Easy? No way.  But like I do in Rebecca’s classes, I will close my eyes, breathe deeply, and pray through the burn.  I will remember that I CAN DO THIS.  And I won’t give up or give in.

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Cigarette Girl

images-1It was summer.  1979.  I just finished 3rd grade with a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Finefield.  I was nine.  I wore the Rainbow Shirt. You know that shirt that had the rainbow splashed from left arm, across the chest and onto the right arm?  Super groovy.

I was a child.  And I smoked all summer long.  (You can gasp now.)

My mom was a smoker.  She had been smoking for decades.  She always had a carton of Merits in our laundry alcove.  Our house smelled like smoke but it was all we knew.  I didn’t even notice it.  I wonder if the nuns at school smelled it on our brown plaid uniforms? They must have.  But then again, it was the 70’s.

My older-by-11-months sister, Jennifer, and I played with neighborhood friends.  In those days you did, you could, and no one was overscheduled.  We were fancy free.  We swam, we walked to the candy store, AKA “the liquor deli,” on the corner in Rossmoor, and we made up skate routines to disco music.

It would be easy to blame the older neighbor girl for influencing Jennifer and I to steal my mom’s smokes and give it a try.  She was 11 after all, and so worldly.  It may have been a factor.  Maybe.

Or it could have just been childish, foolish curiosity.

I was  a ”good kid,” a people pleaser and a rule follower.  I kept my side of the bedroom neat and clean and organized.  I liked school and always got outstanding citizenship awards at St. Hedwig’s Catholic School.  I may have mouthed off once in a while to my mother’s dismay, but I was not an out of control 9 year-old.

However, in a whim or a dare or a thought, we stole my mom’s cigarettes for a whole summer and smoked in our playroom.  We played office or restaurant and had ashtrays nearby.  My mom was a single working mom and we had our little puff parties while our babysitter was downstairs watching tv or who knows what.   What was she doing?!  Because how did she NOT check on us and catch us?  We were three young girls, ages 9, 10, and 11.  Not needing constant supervision but A LITTLE MORE that we were getting obviously.  She could have protected us from our silly selves.

Again, I cannot really blame the sitter.  We made our choices.  And we liked looking like Farrah Fawcett with our feathery hair (or was it Dorothy Hamill bowl cuts?) and trying to blow smoke rings. So cool and sophisticated were we!  So grown up.  So we thought.

As a mother who worries about the choices my kids make, and WILL MAKE, I’m a little taken back with this childhood memory.  Not really proud of it.

Yet, the big take away from this trip down memory lane does leave some wisdom.  What I extract from this is that good kids make mistakes.  Really good kids make mistakes.  They do.  My kids will. Your kids will.  Even if I passed Parenting Perfectly 101.  They will have their own ideas, their own will, and their own immaturity to contend with.  Not to mention peer influences and unique opportunities that will be in front of them.

I never became a full-blown smoker.  It did not lead to pot addiction at age 10, 13 or 17, etc.  I did not turn into an uber rebellious teenager.  I absolutely made bad choices; I am not trying to sound pious or self-righteous in any way.  No.  But I did not go off the proverbial deep end because I tried cigarettes at age 9.

I share this story because it (strangely) comforts me as I begin a new chapter as Parent-To-A-Teenager-Boy.  He will make mistakes.  He will even be foolish or reckless. (Only once or twice, right?)  But I do not need to have a panic attack and imagine he is ruined forever if there is one or two or three bad choices made, even one BIG ONE.  It does not determine his whole identity and existence and future.

I still wonder if my mom knew what we were up to that summer….

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Tales from the Toilet

I am literally sitting in my bathroom.  And yes, I do keep little notebooks EVERYWHERE for when “aha-writing-moments” appear.  Which is often, but I don’t always stop long enough to jot it all down.  But, I digress.

I am in here not due to tummy catastrophe but because a tantruming child is outside the door.  He or she (I won’t give it away) is pounding on the door and apparently did not read the Boundaries book.

I am giving myself a mommy time-out as they say.  Or I should really call it the “count-my-blessings-so-I-don’t-curse-at-you and-then-feel-eternally-guilty time-out.”  Now, I would NEVER actually curse at my children.  Never.  (Well, be careful to never say never…I’m not perfect and I make mistakes all the time.)  But I think about it and feel it in those moments.

You know.  THOSE MOMENTS.  All mothers have them.  All.

When your kids are unkindly fighting, or they are fighting with you, or having a tantrum of epic proportions, or having a major teen attitude, or when they are in egocentric, narcissistic me-me-me mode.  I know my kids are the only ones.  Yours are all perfectly behaved at all times.  And all you have to do is give THE LOOK and they back down from a potential bad choice in words or actions.

Well, if you live in my reality, you sometimes need to run to the toilet.  You stop, sit, collect yourself, and literally BY AN ACT OF YOUR WILL, tell God thank you for your life, your children, your home, and for being a mom, until…poof, the anger is gone.  Or mostly gone.  Then you can re-enter mom-life in the kitchen or wherever you are and not be unkind, or irrational or impatient.

It takes a decision, a will, and great intention to not act their age and lose my cool and say emotionally reactive words.  This is easier for some of you than me.  If you have less stress or pressure, or protect your schedules from total craziness,  it helps.  When you live with ongoing chronic stress from ____(you fill it in), that won’t go away (a disabled child, as in my story), its easy to find yourself in the “I’m going to lose my cool again” category of moms.

I will combat my stress and heated difficult parenting moments with trips to the toilet.

I read a really darling short story about a woman who locked herself in her master bathroom happily for the weekend.  It was her own special stay-cation, complete with Orangina and crackers.

I may have to try that.  Don’t tell my kids.

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A Raw and Honest Love Letter

126018790Dear Sweet Mama,

You have been given an incredible, amazing, and heartbreaking gift.

You have been given a child with “special needs.”

The needs could range from severe allergies to severe handicaps and/or anything in between.  Not that there is a spectrum and your story is worse than another’s mom’s story.  Or her story is worse than your story.  You just each have a story.  And a journey that has been difficult.  It may get easier.  It may get harder.  BUT you are all “special mamas” together.  You are all in this TOGETHER.

And it’s not the road you asked to travel down.  You were hoping for the raod that leads to Italy, Fiji, or Santorini.  Yet instead your travel stop landed you in the middle of a war-torn country you’ve never been in.  There are landmines to baby step around.  There are well-meaning but insensitive people there.  And there are downright nasty, unjust humans there, too, who make your struggle to provide everything your child needs, all that more challenging.

It is TRUE, though, that in this distant land of life with disability there are angels.  There are lovely souls who care, and whose patience and compassion are as vast as the universe sky.  There are angels each step of the journey if you look for them, in the smallest cracks of your day. YES.

Sweet Special Mama, do not think for one second that your experiences in Motherhood are in any way on par with families who have not encountered disability.

Do not think for one second you should be like THAT MOM, wife or family.

Do not expect that you will cherish motherhood and parenting in the same way.

Do not expect that you will not need breaks.  Lots of them.

Do not expect to never fantasize what life would be like if your child was born perfectly healthy in every single possible way.

Do not condemn yourself for wishing, hoping, praying, and pleading for a re-do.

Do not condemn yourself for wondering if life would be easier for you, your husband, and your other children, if your child passed away.

You, Mama, carry heartache.

You carry loss.

You carry an on-again off-again grief.  And it comes in waves.  And in your everyday life, its there underneath the surface, threatening to come up.

It takes some of your joy.  It makes you tense.  It makes you more snappy and less carefree-and-happy.

You have become more tender and you have become tougher as a result of this terrific trial in caring for your disabled child.

And it’s ok.

 

You are ok.

 

You are very ok.

 

You can do hard.  You already have.

I know there are moments you absolutely want to curse and cry, “Why me?  Why us?”  You want to pull your hair out after a day of dealing with illness, or medical specialists, or anxiety or behavioral issues.  That is normal.  You are normal.

You need to vent.

You need to cry.

You need to share, with raw intensity and honesty, with other moms. Just be WITH.

You absolutely must exhale or your soul and spirit and body will implode.

That cannot happen because your precious child needs you, mama-bear-advocate-extraordinaire.  So find, seek, and chase after moments or days of respite.

In your brighter moments, you completely recognize that you are deeper, richer, more compassionate and more sensitive to the needs and crises of others because of what you have been through.  Because of what you go through every day.

Yet, it is VALID to wish that this unique opportunity for major emotional, spiritual, and intellectual growth was not given to you.  That personal growth could have come, should have come, in a different vehicle altogether.  No mother, however excellent and mature she is at having wise perspective, wishes for their child to be disabled.  No mother.

So again, do not place unrealistic expectations on yourself, your heart, your mind, and your day-to-day dealings with disability.  It is hard.  It is maddening.

And when the sweet moments and small victories come, inhale them, deep into your soul.  Because of these, you will survive.

Sweet Special-Needs Mama, you will survive, and the sun will still shine.

I love you,

Jessica

 

 

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Jen Hatmaker Is My New Imaginary Friend

I have a crush on Jen Hatmaker.

She is a new discovery to me.  Writer, blogger, speaker, mother to 5 (she wins!), including two she adopted from Africa, and wife to Brandon Hatmaker.  She lives in a city I would love to live in, Austin, Texas.

Anyway, after reading her blog post that went completely and insanely viral, “The Worst End of School Year Mom Ever,” I was hooked.

Because she’s my kind of girl.  With her unbridled and unfiltered way of writing, she engages you quickly.  She is hysterical on top of that.  She says how she thinks and feels.  REALLY thinks and feels, not what she wants you to think of her.  She’s not trying to win our approval or favor.  Yet, she is not abrasive.  Some people find sarcasm abrasive; I do not.

She’s not writing to make herself sound like The Perfect Mom, The Organized Mom, or The I Have It All Together All The Time Mom.

She’s honest.  And imperfect.  Honest about her imperfections.  So you relate to her, like her, love her, want to high-five her and buy her a drink.  (I actually tweeted that to her, but I’m so tech-challenged, it probably did not reach her.)

If you’ve followed my blog or me around long enough, you know I don’t mince words.  I’m painfully honest about life as both a mother and special needs mother, and totally full of a zillion imperfections.  I am not afraid to admit Major Mommy Failures.

Jen Hatmaker, if I had my wish, would be my next door neighbor.  And running partner.  (I don’t know if she runs.)  And prayer partner.  Oh, and of course, my writing coach.  I imagine us throwing back a glass of wine and sharing war stories and encouraging each other forward.  My stomach muscles would ache from all the laughter.  Did I already say she is hilarious?    She’s the type who would never judge me for pulling one of my kid’s hair (once!)   She would remind me to have new mercies each day for my kids and remind me how deep breaths and Twizzlers help when you are pushed to the brink in Mommy Land.  She would pray for me, in a caring humble way, not in a “Lawd, HELP HER!!” way.

My other pretend next-door neighbor would be Glennon Doyle Melton.  Because I know that if she heard me raise my voice at my kids, she would probably knock on my door, and give me a wink and a hug.  And again, not judge me, but say, “Carry on warrior mama.  You can do hard.”

Glennon, creator of Momastery.com, writer, speaker, blogger, is another new fave.  She is so gutfully honest about her own struggles, and is passionate about “making the unknown known.”  Her heart and vision is to help others unmask and take off their superhero capes they hide behind.  To help others be vulnerable and truthful about who they are.  She is so snarky and smoke-and-joke in her writing that I feel she gets me and the snarky way I sometimes feel.  Yet she is so sensitive and deeply profound, and writes provocative posts.  She was born an old soul.

One more shout out I must must give is to Rebekah Lyons, author of Freefall to Fly—A Breathtaking Journey Toward  A Life Of Meaning.  (I have actually met Rebekah in person and she is lovely, I might add.) She writes like Jen and Glennon, from her heart.  She writes her own story, authentically and transparently.  She blows open the topic of depression and anxiety women face.  She bares it all and in the meantime blesses us to our souls and we are changed for the better.

What all three women offer to us in their writing is validation, encouragement, wisdom and feeling completely understood.  They offer themselves.  And if we lived next door to them, I’m sure it would come out of their pores and smiles.

What is speaking to me these days in my life as a mother, is—IT IS HARD TO BE A MOTHER.  A GOOD ONE, that is.  It’s definitely easier to be unintentional, lazy, emotionally-reactive, and neglectful.  I don’t want to be that.  God, no.

It’s HARD to do it all, wear 17 hats, and keep the Pottery Barn plates spinning and do it gracefully without ever becoming frustrated, tired, or just unglued.  NOBODY CAN, I remind myself, but not enough.  As my friend Kristin says, “NO ONE lives the Pottery barn life, and its time we all started talking about it!”

If “they” say they do, and, with a smile on their face, then they are inauthentic. And I cannot be friends with them.

–I love being a mother and then I don’t.

–I try and I fail.

–I do good and I do bad.

–I hug and I holler.

–I cuddle and I cuss (not in front of them).

–I love-on my littles, and then I’m a total lame-ass.

–I’m emotionally present, and then I’m aloof.

–I’m all fun-goofy-and-dance-party mom, then I’m somber and

preoccupied.

–Like Katy Perry sings, I’m hot and I’m cold.

–I embrace the chaos and clutter and a minute later I curse it.

–I question whether I should have become a mother—and then I have THE BEST MOMMY MOMENT EVER, and I recoil at the thought.

–I make special dates with my kids, and then I dream about special dates for me, all alone, in a beautiful hotel by the beach.  Alone.

I’m human.

I’m embracing my humanity, my feelings, my thoughts, my strengths, my weaknesses, my sins, and my angst.  I am trying to let go of the guilt I feel all of the time about the mistakes I make 23 times a day.  This is a real challenge…the mommy guilt.

I lay it all out for you to read and peer into.

And I do sometimes wonder what my mom or mother-in-law would say if they were alive and reading my blog.  Would they applaud me or be horrified at what I spill out?

It’s cathartic for me, and by the lovely and kind responses I’ve received, it’s cathartic for you.

The angst I feel in motherhood fuels my writing.  Maybe that is why God has not healed me or released me from it, nor has He slapped me up side the head with a new perspective. (Not that He, in His goodness and mercy, would actually do that.)

So, I embrace you, Mothers of All Littles out there.  I embrace your gifts and talents and courage as a mom.  Whether you are a SAHM, or a working mom, both lifestyles are taxing and wonderful.  I embrace your failures, your fears, and your anger, that you never even knew you had, till you had children.

I do not and will not judge you.  I wont judge you if you “have it all together” or if you pretend to, or if you can never, ever, ever seem to get out the door on time.  I won’t judge you if you pull up to school in a sippy-cup-laden, messy minivan, or a pristine Prius.  We all try so very HARD to get it right.  As my friend, Kristin says, “NO ONE has a Pottery Barn life, and its time we all started talking about it!”

I just lied. 

I would be a little bummed about your pretending (or just jealous of your incredible organizational skills!).  Actually really bummed.  I understand the appropriate game face at certain times and situations.  I took Social Skills 101 and 102.  But a lifestyle of pretending, denying, and hiding does not equal joy or growth. Does not.

My new mantra is:

 HONESTY+VULNERABILITY+TRANSPARENCY= TRANSFORMATION

I want to grow.  Desperately.  And I want you to grow, too.  Into the most beautiful, loving, giving, compassionate person you can be.  As mothers, as wives, as daughters, sisters, and girlfriends.  All these parts of us are gifted and to be shared.  For the good and blessing of the world.

Even though Jen Hatmaker and Glennon Doyle Melton are just my pretend BFFs, I am thankful I DO have women in my life (you know who you are dear girlfreinds) who accept me, who inspire me, and who push me (and sometimes) drag me towards a transformed life.

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The All-Together-ness of Summer

I survived the first week of summer break with a smile. Barely.  Only 10 more weeks, but no one else in the Patay household is counting.  But me, I admit.  Deep breaths.

Don’t get me wrong.  I welcome the respite from homework, projects, meetings, volunteering, packing lunches, and staying on top of endless papers that come home.  My in-basket is sooo happy to be less full.

I have loved a week free of nagging, pleading or threatening to get out the door on time.  Three kids in three schools.  Sounds worse than it is, but sheesh.  I am happy not to think about that right now.  The end of the school year trauma for moms (or dads) was captured hysterically and so-right-on by Jen Hatmaker’s article, “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever.”  A must must must read.  You will love her honesty and humor.  You will feel incredibly validated.

We did have a highlight moment I must say.  The first Sunday after summer break invaded my life and personal space…oh, I mean joyfully began…we, as a whole family created our “Summer Bucket List.”  This is year two of this tradition.  I am not your fun-summer-mama-full-of-arts-and-crafts-and-amazing-outings, but this bucket list makes my kids think I am.  Heck, it makes me believe I am.  It helps me to be intentional and look forward to many special events and memories to be made.  And my kids loooove the Bucket List.  They will lock this in as a childhood AHHH.  (And hopefully forgive and forget some of the ways I have blown it.)  Our Bucket List is on a huge colorful poster board in our dining room. I see it every day and it helps remind me that I won’t completely suffocate over summer.

Yes, I used the word suffocate. Because, we are All. Together. All. The . Time.  And the three little darlings are around EACH OTHER all the time.  They bug each other and stare at each other and touch each other and copy each other and it escalates and then they are at war with each other.

Every day its “What fun activity are we doing today?” And after we get home from said fun activity, “Now what, Mom?”  “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Moooooommeeee.”

It seems the SoCal June Gloom hit RIGHT as the clock turned 12:46 pm on the last day of school.  This does not help me at all.  We had positively gorgeous sunshine day after day.  Until we didn’t.  And still do not, (mostly).  Which means we have not been swimming, beach-ing, or park-hopping.  Lots of being at home.  All of us.

There are many ways for moms to cope with this.  I found myself hiding in my closet the other day, “cleaning it out,” with the iPad in tow, watching an episode of Breaking Bad.  Yes, I was hiding away. Proud Mommy Moment #2089.

Another coping mechanism is to drown out the noise (I must be getting old) and other unpleasantries, with music.  PANDORA is on 24/7 in my house and I’ve also been carrying around my iPhone with various tunes shuffling through.  Music is my happy place (one of many) and it lifts me up and fills my soul.  No, I’m not

checking out here, friends.  Don’t judge me.  Prayer, exercise and mommy-breaks are also utilized as coping skills.  Jen Hatmaker, my new pretend BFF, also has a piece called “Survivng Summer,” which is chock full of ideas.  Wish I lived next door to her.

As I was writing this, and sharing my theme with my husband, he started with, “Not another…” I stopped him right there where he would possibly say “another venting piece.” I’m guessing, because I did not let him go on, and further justified my venting because of how HARD it is for me. Maybe not for him.  He is more tolerant and patient.  And he is not here all day either.

The all-together-ness that leads to fighting, to loudness, to constant questions, to the never-ending, “Now what, Mom?” makes me want to pull my hair out.  Or theirs, but I DO refrain.  Kate asked me why I had to go to the gym again this morning, and I said, “Because you know those times I get grumpy and lose my cool?  That would happen A LOT more if I did not exercise.” She does not get it, but when she is a mommy she will.

I am one who needs a little alone time, a little space, a little time to myself.  To think, to write, to exercise, to work.

I need space just to keep up on the household to-do lists.  I NEED them to be in school, and I could never homeschool, because of the all-together-ness factor.  I have projects that awaited me till now like two boxes of filing that are so over-full.  My house is photo-shopped all neat and tidy, but don’t dare look inside my closets and drawers.  I’m in desperate need of deep organization.

I am really not a Negative Nellie or a Sourpuss Sylvia.  Ok maybe today. And then the pity party will be over.

I do LOVE summer, the theme, the feel, the weather, the tanks and flips, the sun and trips, the grilling, and the endless memories made.  Even in this week of I have had belly-laughing moments, doubled over in the kitchen, when I thought my bladder would give out.  Yes. That kind of fun and humor and goodness.  Its possible in the Patay House, despite my ranting and raving.

Long mornings of pajamas and tv time, or hanging out and playing with no where we HAVE TO BE is bliss.  Truly.  Lets all have a collective sigh. Once the June Gloom subsides and real sunshine takes over, our souls will open up a bit.  Our Summer Bucket List of FUN awaits us.  And maybe you could join us, too.

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When Tears Are More Than Tears

Just as laughter can be rich-belly-laughter, so can tears come in a way that you know they are from deep within one’s soul.

Kate had those kind of tears a few mornings ago.  And I had to pull the minivan off the road just to hug her and hold her.

We were on our way to drop Luke off at middle school.  Which is always a feat to get the three of them out the door that early.

Not more than a minute in, Ryan started to annoy Kate.  (But of course, what else are car rides with kids for?) And she told him to stop.  He liked the rise he was getting out of her, especially as her pitch rose and her passion ensued.  He was smiling (I could feel it) and relishing in his pestering of her.

And then she broke.  She started crying and yelling at him to stop. And it was primal and guttural.

Not the whiny-crying.

Not the manipulating-crying.

Not the baby-in-the-family-type-of-crying.

It was grief.

It was hurt.

It was disappointment.

It was anger.

It was sadness.

It came from a deep place, and she could no longer squash it and just be the sweet, motherly sister who cares dearly and is so uber protective of her older-and-younger-brother, Ryan.

All about Ryan, and having “special needs” that she wished he didn’t have.  And wished nobody knew about.

I pulled over to the side of Grayslake Road.  I did not care one bit if we were running late.  Kate needed me.  She NEEDED a hug.  She needed everything to just stop, for one bless-ed moment, so she could be comforted.  By me.

I slid open the van door and just swooped around her little body.  I held her tight.  And I held in MY TEARS so tightly.

She then whispered as our heads were so close to each other, “I love you, Mom, I love you.”  As if to say, “thank you for validating my tears, and EVERY SINGLE THING I am feeling right now.”

It was a morning that started out like every rushed, hectic before-school chaotic morning.  Unremarkable.  The usual.

But that moment with Kate, I will never forget.

13 Comments »

Confession

Its TRUTH-TIME.  

I will share 10 ways I have blown it as a PWS mom. (I blow it as a “regular mom” all the time, too, by the way.)

We, as parents and caregivers of a child or adult child with Prader-Willi syndrome, are all trying our best to provide what our special peeps need.  We read, we research, we go to endless appointments, we read newsletters like this, we attend behavior training sessions, we follow food schedules and life schedules and implement car rules and safe eating rules, AND WE REALLY TRY to maintain a calm environment.  We desire for our child (all our children) to succeed as best they can.  And we are working so very hard.  Hard. All the time.

Then we blow it. Or at least I do.  Here are the 10:

  • I lost my cool. I yelled at Ryan.
  • I rewarded with food (the whole family).
  • I gave in to a tantrum.
  • I triggered a tantrum with my impatience with the 583rd question of the day. (Or was that 983rd?)
  • I did not monitor calories.
  • I did not do proper priming before an activity or event or change in schedule, and therefore paid the price with a tantrum.
  • I used negative consequences (took away his beloved CD player) even though they don’t work.  (And I know they don’t work.)
  • I gave up on the token system because I was sick of having to be uber –consistent with it, month after month.
  • Used a threat to motivate him to do what I needed him to do.
  • Are we at #10 yet? You get the idea…

When I make these mistakes from time to time, hopefully not all in one day,  I beat myself up horribly and feel that darn mommy guilt.  Again.  The guilt monkey sitting on my shoulder loves to taunt and berate me to no end.  And I accept it for a little while. Then I tell myself, we all do it.  We all make mistakes.  Yes, even the ones who seem to have it all together and tell you they “never ever yell” at their kids.

We must give ourselves a little grace once in a while.  We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world with an imperfect family dynamic going on.  Why do we (or just me) need to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves to NEVER EVER make a mistake as we parent?  Do we need to beat on ourselves over and over? I think not my friends.

GRACE.  Give yourselves some today.  Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made and move on.  Know that you are, that we are, absolutely making a difference in our children’s lives despite mishaps and blunders.  OH YES, WE ARE.

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