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January 30, 2012

Frustration and Guilt

I'm annoyed that this is the first time I've written in nearly two months.  Yes, the holidays are a busy time, so I cut myself some slack for that.  Now January is nearly over and this is my first blog of the year.  I don't put pressure on myself to write updates.  The words come when they come.  The lack of routine when it comes to writing is part of the life of a special needs parent and hopefully lends to the reality that is raising a child with extra needs.

I'm frustrated because writing is an outlet for me, like many writers.  My lack of writing is a symptom for the lack of me-time in my life.  I'm frustrated that I'm grasping for moments to myself in less-than constructive ways.  I watch tv rather than read a book.  I eat a bowl of ice cream instead of going for a walk.  I'm allowing bad habits to form.  Habits that are more hurtful than helpful.  I'm frustrated that I have the desire to do a lot of "good" things, but I either lack the freedom or believe that I lack the freedom to do them.  I felt guilty for sewing curtains for our living room because it puts an extra burden on my husband to care for the kids without my help.  Then I get annoyed when he asks me for help and I have to stop what I'm doing.  Start-stop, start-stop.  There is absolutely no consistent routine in my life and it's driving me crazy!

Add a healthy - or not-so-healthy - serving of guilt to the fact that I need help taking care of my son each day, and it makes for a constant battle inside me.  I regularly feel like I just can't hack it as a mom.  I regularly feel like, "Lots of mom's are busy and have more kids than I do, so why am I struggling so much with taking care of the two I have?"  I struggle with seeing myself as a spoiled, detached mom who doesn't want to be inconvenienced by raising her child, so I outsourced it to someone else.  When I talk about the difficulties, I'm frequently met with someone who "understands."  "I understand, I have four kids."

With all due respect, no you don't. 

I don't understand what it's like to raise four children, and you don't understand what it's like to raise a child with special needs.  When I'm told that a mother of two, three, four or more understands (moms who do the job everyday, on their own), it drives home the point that I can't handle it.  I hear, "What's wrong with you?  I don't get any help, and I can do this job."  Here comes the guilt for being overwhelmed.  Here comes the guilt for qualifying for 40 hours a week of in-home help.  Even with 40 hours of help each week, I still find myself overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done.  Leaving me, once again, feeling like I can't hack it as a mom.

I know deep down that these are all lies that the enemy wants me to believe, and sometimes I do.  It's a battle to go to the source of life each day when the lies are so convincing.  Many of the scriptures about getting strength/relief from Christ revolve around going to Him first.  He's there waiting, and some days I'm too busy throwing a pity-party to get up off my butt to go to Him.  Even when I'm down (like today), I know I'm never alone.  For that I am grateful and hopeful that tomorrow I may see through His lenses rather than my own.