When All Else Fails, Say A Prayer and Eat 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 my son, 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 him to take a shower last night and I am sure he smells.
5. I could not keep it together when his little brother 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 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.
At 1:30 in the morning, I can really take myself out.
I woke up 4 short hours later, depressed and feeling already defeated. 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 (#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.
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 to encourage myself as I would any of the moms 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.
When All Else Fails…
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.
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.
Most 12 year old boys do not enjoy taking a shower. His resistance is partially because of all of his sensory issues and partially because he is completely normal. So are you. Yes he smells. But he is going to swim tomorrow. That will do. Here is some chocolate.
Yes, it was frustrating when he 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.
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.
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.
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.
This post originally appeared here on Not The Former Things in 2014.
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.