Thursday, August 23, 2012

Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

I am so totally NOT the expert on being a mom to special needs kids.  I wanted to say that straight out just in case you had missed the subtle signs for yourself.   This is hard for me to admit because I have always been the A plus, type A, on the ball, I got this, look at her go type.  It is very hard for me to admit when I’m not totally and completely competent at something, especially something that matters to me.  Asking for help with something is a skill I have just never needed and thus never developed before now.
One of the basic tenets of Special Mom-ing * I am learning is that you have to remember you are in it for the long haul.  This is a marathon not a sprint. ** So you have to know when you are close to the end of your resources and ASK FOR HELP.  You also have to know when it’s time to throw the towel in – not forever - but just for a while.  You know, pry your clutching fingers off the steering wheel and let go.  Give someone else the controls and take some Me time.  Rest, Recharge.  This is also a totally foreign concept to me. 
My poor husband tries to tell me “Relax.  Don’t worry about it.”  At which point I usually snarl at him, “Who is going to worry about it then, You?  Them?  The housework, homework, health insurance, finance FAIRIES?”  To his credit my husband has never replied, “No silly that’s covered by the ELVES remember?”***  Instead he clears everyone who might get run over out of my way or digs in to help and he’s usually pretty good at telling which strategy will work best. 
I’m working on getting better at the whole Me time thing.  My husband recently convinced me to leave both kids in the care of their grandmother for three whole days and two nights.  We sat discussing it the first night at supper and realized, it was the first time we had been anywhere together without the children IN THREE YEARS.  We slept in, moseyed through shops we could never take the kids into****, looked in museums that would have had them squirming and whining in minutes,  ate some really fantastic food which despite being absolutely delicious would have caused a huge kid eruption, and generally just did whatever WE WANTED TO without reference to their likes, dislikes, attention span, etc.   We had a wonderful time (and sex).  The kids did not burn down the house, get run over playing in the street, or get abducted by aliens.*****  Grandma even offered to do it again sometime … the year after next … maybe. 
What I really need to do though is find some day to day way to recharge that I can work into an already hectic schedule.  Expensive, long weekend trips aren’t going to come around with any regularity.  I’m gonna need help with ideas though.  Did I mention I’m not a natural at this? ******

*Hey, I like that!  I may have coined a new phrase for myself – I’m not S for Supermom,  I’m S for “Special Mom”.
** Actually sometimes I feel like “The Trail of Tears” would be a better name but that would be disrespectful to appropriate.  Ditto for the Bataan Death March.
*** Which is a very good thing because while I find it funny sitting here now that would probably get him killed in the heat of the moment.
**** Bull in a china shop doesn’t even begin to cover it.
*****  They did have ice cream before dinner and skip brushing their teeth along with some other infractions I’m sure I have not ferretted out yet. 
****** Admitting you have a problem is the first step right?

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