Wednesday, October 3, 2007

In a State of Overwhelm

I knew this would happen. I expected it, but it still took me by surprise last night when I took to my bed with a migraine. It was brought on by the storm front coming in, but also by the stress of this new job. A job I love, but being a fairly emotional person, one that is taking quite a bit from me. I haven't collapsed in a sobbing heap or anything, but I almost wish I could, because these kids can break my heart. The last two days have been a trial for everyone - new staff, which is a great thing, as they are really good, but changes for anyone is difficult, and for kids with autism, well, it's just a lot more stressful.

Also, I am still riding a really steep learning curve, and want so badly to do the right thing always. I don't want to make mistakes, but since there hasn't been a lot of training, mistakes are going to happen. I'm grateful for them, because I know it's the best way to learn, but still. They make me feel really humble. I know humble is supposed to be a good thing, but I think humble is overrated.

Then to top it off, I come home and feel like I'm just not enough. Not enough mom to engage my son, not enough wife to have the house in somewhat decent shape. Just not enough of me to go around. I know, I know, welcome to the world of working parents. But honestly, it's not the time thing, where there isn't enough to get it all done, it's an energy thing. I am pretty emotionally drained when I walk in the door.

I know I am going to have to fit in some kind of exercise program somewhere, because I know that is the answer to a lot of my problems. It will help with the stress AND my energy level. But where will I fit it in? THAT is the question. Well, I'll just have to figure that out because if I don't, it's not going to be pretty.

Another thing about feeling this way, is I feel apologetic about EVERYTHING. I almost typed an apology for this post - "Sorry I'm such a downer, and I don't have anything to say..." Then I just start to sound pathetic.

On the bright side, one of my kids who hadn't spoken to me in days asked me if I wanted to have a playdate today.


I, Rodius said...

I hear ya. For me, I think the exercise thing's gonna have to wedged in there around 5am, and that just sucks for someone who lervs sleepin'.

Lolabola said...

Ooh I hope you find a way for the exercise and it helps. That's so great when someone wants a playdate!

Anonymous said...


Welcome to the sisterhood.

English Garden said...

Keep at it Annie, we all have those days, I always say that when I no longer require sleep then I'll get more done!! Don't be down on yourself, your a great mom.

anne said...

Ms. Mcq, the best advice I ever got when my first baby arrived was from a high school friend who was a married mom herself, who held down a full-time job outside her home. She said, "Don't sweat the small stuff... and it's all small stuff".

It is okay to be exhausted after a day's work, especially the kind of work you do. My sister worked with special needs kids for a time, and the love and attention she gave to them was amazing to me - where did that bottomless well of emotion and caring come from?

Your students appreciate what you do, their parents appreciate what you do, and so do your son and your husband. They know you are doing your best to manage home and work life, and they will realize you cannot do everything to the same degree you did when you were not working outside your home.

Now YOU have to appreciate what you do, and stop beating yourself up if the house isn't as tidy as it was when you had more time and energy to devote to its upkeep. When the dinners are not as elaborate as when you had more time and energy to plan and shop and prepare them - IT IS OKAY - really!

As for exercise, you are right that it will help you to feel better. I joined 24 Hour Fitness near my home with the express purpose of being able to go there at 430 in the morning or at 9 at night, when my husband was home with kids and my other obligations were finished for the day (or not yet started). I do not go as often as I should, but I have also learned that even 30 minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical machine every so often is better than nothing. I try to walk to errands on the weekends, when time is not such a factor... and all of my family likes to hike, so we are doing that more now that it is cooler.

I hope that helps - I am in constant awe of people who are professional teachers of children!

suttonhoo said...

it's all been said above, but to recap: first rule is to forgive yourself. and love yourself good. as good as you love and forgive that beautiful family of yours.

because they wouldn't have it any other way.

you're doing beautiful things with your life, ms. anniemcq. and I can testify that all that goodness spills over into everything you touch.

Donna said...

Mind if I just copy your blog AM? I so feel your pain. My kids are not autistic, but they are constantly challenging, and old enough, it seems to know better at least some of the time. And when we make it home around 4 p.m., there is dinner to think about, maybe sports practice, maybe daddy is late at a meeting, and the last thing I want to do is cook, clean or shop. I had to throw down the detention threat several times on Friday and then we had a snafu with something not work related that snapped up my two husband-free after work hours.

But, on the 15th, there will be enough extra money in the bank to make that new minivan payment with padding left to cover the increased insurance, taxes, and such. And maybe somewhere along the way I'll make a difference to a couple of these kids.

And in the meantime, I have to find a way to NOT forget to take kindergarten treats (like I did on Monday) and NOT forget to send the library book back to school.... That didn't happen before. OK, it did happen, but when it did all I had to do was zip over to the school and drop it off. Not so much now.

Hang in there, ride the wave of overwhelm as best you can and think happy thoughts of Thanksgiving break.

anniemcq said...

I just want to thank you all for your words of encouragement and empathy. I think I feel the way I do in part because there hasn't been a lot of training for this position, and I came in knowing so little about autism. I believe in the program there, and feel the staff is amazing, and I am learning more every day, I just want to do my best by these kids. They deserve it. AND I want to be the mom and wife my family deserve. It really helps to know that many of you have been there, done that, or are doing that right now.