I Fail My Family Every Day
“You are such a good mom.”
“Please tell me how you stay so patient with your son.”
“I have no idea how you do it.”
I hear and receive these types of sweet remarks all the time. I am encouraged and grateful for the compliments, the encouragement, and support. Thank you.
I am conscious of the fact that most of you only see a tiny slice of my life.
I am conscious of the fact that I write, not to vent my frustrations (well, most of the time), but in an attempt to encourage all of us.
I am conscious of the fact that because of this, you don’t always see the full picture.
In the interest of being as honest and real as possible, and because I NEVER want another momma to feel bad about herself and the job she is doing because of something I put online, please allow me to tell you a little more about this week.
This week I failed every single day – some days it seemed like I failed all day long.
My youngest screaming at me, “You never listen to me!” (which incidentally, I am pretty sure I spend way more time than I ever thought possible listening to him), then storming off to his room, prompting me to escape to my room (under the guise of folding laundry of course) for more than an hour – door closed, wine poured.
Dinner was leftovers or eggs more than once.
The bathroom? There are not words to describe the smell and dark reality of what was happening in there at one point mid-week.
I actually argued with a nine-year old about why we won’t spend $700.00 to purchase him a full- size Astroids video arcade machine for his room (precious moments I will never get back).
I hid from my oldest, more than once, knowing that he wanted me to come into his room and watch aquarium set-up videos on YouTube with him…again.
I was condescending and rude to my husband, feeling the need to sarcastically instruct him on how laundry hampers work (seriously, I have issues).
There was more YouTube, more snacks, more video games and more sugar than any family of four should ever report for a single week.
There was less sleep, less hygiene, and less togetherness than any family of four should ever report for a single week.
Overall, this week was not my favorite. I feel like we barely made it through…clawing our way across the daily bedtime finish line.
All of this is completely true.
So is all of this…
Posted Thursday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: I was trying to distract my son a bit (from telling me all about dart frogs). I starting calling out random words and asked him to tell me the first thing he thought of when he heard the words. It was an incredible glimpse into his mind. I said, “Disneyland”. He said, “Loud.” I said, “Homeschool”. He said, “My Momma.” I said, “Anger”. He said, “Pain.” And so on.
Too often, autism keeps him from being able to really communicate how he is feeling. One word at a time changed that today. It blew me away.
Posted Friday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: My son is recreating Amazon river basin soil and substrate today. He is over the moon happy, y’all. Like smiling and skipping and whistling happy. #makesmyhearthappy #ihavenoideawhatheistalkingabout
Posted Saturday on the Not The Former Things Facebook Page: Grateful today for my son’s medicines (that are actually working!), for a lunch date with my youngest (and the ability to focus only on him), for a husband who is at the fish store (instead of me) and weekend days that help us all feel a little bit calmer.
The good and the bad. The ugly and the beautiful. The exhausting and the exhilarating. The crazy and the calm. The anger and the love. The smelly and the sweet. The sacred and the mundane.
This is my life. Not a single one happens without the other.
I fail these people I love, every single day.
I serve these people I love, every single day.
I resent these people I love, every single day.
I enjoy these people I love, every single day.
And by the grace of God, I get to do it all again this week.
Shawna Wingert is a special education teacher turned educational consultant, and mom of two brilliant boys who have learning differences and special needs.
Shawna has also written four books: Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, Parenting Chaos, and Homeschooling Your Child With Special Needs. A passionate advocate for individualized education, Shawna is frequently featured on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and The Mighty. She can also be found supporting parents online at her own site, DifferentByDesignLearning.com.