Autism | Family | Homeschooling | Marriage | Parenting | Sensory Processing Disorder

Dear Me – Here’s Some Chocolate

I stayed up way too late last night with certain child of mine obsessing about king snakes and crested geckos…again.

As he started to tell me all about the law in California that allows Field Herping. “Wait, what is field herping?” I asked, rubbing my temples and trying to focus. “Going into the wild and catching your own reptiles,” he said. (Clearly something I have been hoping for and dreaming about. Me and Sourdough traipsing through the wilderness, trying not to get any dirt in his crocs, catching wild snakes. Perfect.)

As I tried to pay attention (for the love, it was almost 1:30 in the morning…sometimes his brain just will not shut down), I started to think about all the ways I had blown it throughout the day –

1. I am sitting on the couch way too much these days.

2. I left clothes in the washing machine, overnight, again.

3. I had to wash said clothes, again, clearly being a poor steward of our water (we are in a drought after all) and of our money (the water bill went up $14.00 last month – I wonder why..).

4. I did not have the energy to force Sourdough to take a shower last night and I am sure he smells.

5. I could not keep it together when Bacon couldn’t recognize the lowercase letter “i” and referred to it as “you know, this one” in our reading lesson.

6. I am way behind where I was this time last year in homeschool planning and prep, and now we might get started a few days behind.

7. My poor husband hasn’t seen me in anything other than raggedy jammies and some helpful but ugly face cream for the last 4 nights. Not that he would ever complain, but still, not sexy.

So, at 1:30 in the morning, I can really take myself out.

I woke up 4 short hours later, depressed and feeling already behind. I fell back to sleep on the couch and then woke up 20 minutes later, upset that I didn’t get in my quiet time to pray and read the Bible (clearly #8 to add to the list above).

I am a mess.

And, apparently, I am human.

I am not able to keep it all together and do all the things all the ways I think they should be done.

So, tonight, rather than continuing to beat myself up, I have decided to try to speak to myself the way I would one of my friends. I have decided to try and encourage myself as I would any of the mommas I know and see working so hard for their kids. I have decided to extend grace to myself, as I try to do for anyone who is not me.

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Dear Me,

Of course you are tired and sitting on the couch too much and feeling defeated. You have had an average of 4 hours of nonconsecutive sleep each night for more than a week now. Sleep deprivation is real and you should not beat yourself up because you are not able to accomplish as much. Of course you can’t. Here is some chocolate.

Dear Me,

At least you did that laundry in the first place. You are working to take care of your family. It matters. If you wash it twice, so what. If you leave it in the basket on the dining room table for three days, it’s fine. Your kids are not going to remember and no one is calling CPS anytime soon. Here is some chocolate.

Dear Me,

Most 11 year old boys do not enjoy taking a shower. Sourdough’s resistance is partially because of all of his sensory issues and partially because he is completely normal. So are you. Yes he smells. He is healthy. That’s good. And he is going to swim tomorrow. That will do. Here is some chocolate.

Dear Me,

Yes, it was frustrating when Bacon couldn’t for the life of him recall the letter “i”. But you know what? Just 6 months ago, he didn’t know what it was at all, along with several other letters. And, he read the first two chapters of that book out loud to you this week. Dyslexia is just weird like that. He is making progress. Here is some chocolate.

Dear Me,

One of the reasons you homeschool is because it gives you the flexibility to adjust the schedule according to your family’s needs. Sleep is your top family priority right now. You know you will figure out the plan. You have for three years running. You will get to it when you get to it. Here’s some chocolate.

Dear Me,

You have been blessed with a sweet, loving, patient husband who tells you all the time he likes the way you look in any outfit. Just take him at his word, maybe skip the night cream tonight, and plan a fun time just for the two of you when the boys are gone at the end of the month. Here’s some chocolate.

Dear Me,

I know you wish you could keep all this together, but you can’t. And you know it. Only Jesus can. He loves you and he loves your family. He’s got this. So go take a bath, say a prayer, and eat some chocolate.

Love, You

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19 Comments

  1. Oh my poor sleepless friend! No wonder I have barely heard from u in days. I love u and am praying for u to get sleep ASAP. I thought getting my crown on today and it killing me, my step son refusing to call his father and tell us how he’s doing on the phone we pay for and my daughters temper tantrums and my 6 ur old night terrors were bad. Your life trumps mine, by far. I love u. Miss u. Still think ur amazing.

  2. Yep, I left clothes in the washer overnight this week. I overslept yesterday and my son was almost late for school. I got angry with my son because he got angry and lost patience with me (it wasn’t until later that day that I realized he was upset because a scent in the house was irritating him). After feeling completely defeated this week, thank you for reminding me that I am not alone 🙂

    1. Oh my goodness, your life sounds very very familiar! Thank you for the kind words and for commenting.
      Hope today went a bit smoother.
      Shawna 🙂

  3. Dear you ! Love you and glad you are having grace with yourself . You truly are one of the most amazing mom/wife/ human I know.

    1. You are way too kind, but thank you so, so much. I am so grateful for your encouragement, support and love.
      Love,
      Shawna

  4. Wish I could send you some chocolate! I so know how that helps!
    I leave clothes in the washer overnight frequently, but with a new washer recently after our first hand-me-down quit, I’m having to learn how again – it drains the water if you leave the lid open. :/
    Hope you get more sleep soon! I’m praying for you right now.

    1. You are so sweet! Thank you so much for being such a love and encouragement. It means so much and I would love to send you some chocolate too!
      Love,
      Shawna

  5. I’m really enjoying your blog. I read a guest post of yours on another blog (Kitchen Stewardship I think) and that ‘s how I found you. I have a special needs 11 year old son as well. I love the honesty you write with, its such an encouragement when I get down on myself for not being able to “fix” everything, or accomplish everything, or orchestrate the perfect day, etc. etc. As you said there’s only one, who holds all things together, And I’m not Him. 🙂 so it’s good to rest in the assurance of His care. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You are certainly welcome. Thank you so much for the kind words and support. It means so much, especially from another momma in similar circumstances.
      Praying for you and your guy right this minute.
      Love,
      Shawna

  6. I have a 6 year old boy with autism and a 3 year old boy who will probably have one this fall. Your days sound so familiar. My husband knows what kind of day I’m having when I call him before he gets off work and say, “Do NOT come home without chocolate!” Haha!
    And you know what? He never does.
    I’ve always wondered why we’re so quick to give everyone else grace, but neglect to give ourselves any grace. Shouldn’t we be kinder to ourselves than to anyone else?

    Something to think about. Thanks!

    1. My pleasure, Becky! Oh my…two little boys, just like me. I love it!
      Praying for you and your little loves right this minute.
      Love,
      Shawna

  7. Hello, My grandson is on the spectrum and thus I subscribe to your blog. Thank you! As far a sleep goes, my primary care MD follows the advice of the article on the web called: ” Treating insomina with Less” Just google it. My PCP prescribed be a very low dose of the medication referred to in this article that he take nightly. Remeron brand ( generic Mirtizapine) 3.75mg or 7.5mg. My Primary care physician uses this. It is very inexpensive and it works blocking just the receptor needed for sleep with not residual effects in the am. However, once started, you would need to take this nightly once you start. . Anyway, just wanted to share in all sincerity. http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/01/treating_insomnia_with_less.html.
    Take care.

    1. Thank you so much. We will look into it and I am grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and experience.
      Praying for your grandson right this minute.
      Shawna

  8. Thanks!! I just needed to be reminded today, to show grace to my self in the same way I would do it to anybody else.
    God bless you a renew your strength, love, patience and wisdom.
    Your blog is a highlight to me, and helps me to overcome my motherhood with more hope and joy and not to feel that alone.
    Thanks for the courage to share your life with a lot of people.
    Best regards Dorthe

    1. Hi Dorthe! Your sweet words are always such a blessing to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage and strengthen me. I am grateful for you.
      Love,
      Shawna

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