Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Santa, Please Bring Me a Superpower

Moms and Dads are already superheroes in my book.  I know lots of people would like to be able to fly or be invisible.  Invisible might be good if it meant I could escape from my own reality for a while.  Neither of those totally work for me, though.  Santa, I want a superpower for Christmas:  I want to be able to be in two places at once.

Sounds pretty good, huh?  Consider this:  those of us with extra-special kids have the same busy schedules as everyone else.  The mom who has special (not extra-special) kids knows what it is like to have to run one to practice, another to dance, and make sure homework is complete and chores are done.  When you have an extra-special kid, this delicate dance of schedules can quickly turn into something extra-stressful.

When K was young, I was driving her 30 minutes out of town to go to speech therapy.  That's 60 minutes driving, 60 minutes in therapy.  Twice a week.  S was in school and needed to get there and back each day.  K was also in preschool and one year was dually enrolled (one special ed class; one regular preschool class).  Then we had to add in occupational therapy.  Once a week, 20 minutes to get there, 60 minutes in therapy, 20 minutes back.

I learned pretty quickly that the notion that I could do everything myself was a complete myth.  I simply couldn't be picking up S from school at the same time that K was in speech.  Conversely, I couldn't take K to occupational therapy at the same time that I had to take S to dance.  I think we live in this culture that says that we must be and do all things for our family.  I know I'm not the only stay-at-home mom that feels the pressure to perform to somehow compensate for the actual wages we don't earn.  It's nuts and it makes me nuts, too.  Working moms feel the same pressure to "make up" for the time they are working and not home with the family.

We need to be kinder to ourselves.  I would love to be able to do it all.  It is especially hard on S, this scheduling craziness that is our life.  Getting the appointments for speech isn't like calling to get your hair cut.  Often, the therapist has one or two times for you to choose from and that will be your slot from now until eternity.  In my experience, one of the two time options is almost always during school, which means I better take the other choice because pulling K out of school adds another layer of complexity.  Anyway, so S has to accept that pretty much everything in our household revolves around K's schedule. 

S takes dance classes 3 times per week.  She really likes it!  She would like to take more jazz dance than ballet, but her studio doesn't offer another class at her level.  Answer?  Move her to another studio.  Reality?  Current studio is literally a 2 minute drive from my front door to theirs.  That kind of convenience three times a week trumps the extra jazz class for now.  It's not like we are sitting around just watching the flowers grow until it is time for dance class.  Nope.  We are busy doing homework, getting dinner, trying to eat together as a family.  Someone inevitably needs to take a shower or those chores need to get finished.  2 minutes to get to dance class?  Yep, that's how it has got to be.

Asking for help has become much easier for me as time has passed.  I can't be bothered with the feelings of inadequacy or worry about what others might think (yes, I've been known to worry that they think I'm just trying to hand over my kid for no good reason).  Time is too precious.  One year, I had to rely on my parents to get K to occupational therapy every week.  Did I feel bad about asking?  Sure, but once I got over that, I could see that my dad got to spend some quality time with K - just the two of them - while he took her to OT.  There are blessings to be found in asking for help that are bigger and more valuable than just taking my place as chauffeur.  I think that many times, I default to asking someone to take over my duties with S because I am so involved in all of K's schedule, but it's important to show S in some way that she is just as important as her sister, in spite of what the schedule looks like.  I have to believe that she will someday recognize that I did my best every day to make sure she felt special, too.

I still wish I could be in two places at once, but not because I feel inadequate.  I want to be in two places at once so I can take care of my family, but also be enjoy a spa day now and again at the same time!  There could be lots of benefits to this superpower.  When I figure out how to harness it, I will market it and become a gazillionaire.  Until then, I'll continue to ask for help.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog! Looking forward to reading more. :)

    See you SOON! Can't wait!