tired – a rant

*

Ed note: What follows is a rant. A vent, if you will. It is not, despite evidence to the contrary, a cry for help. Promise.

 *

She said the girl I was with the business degree probably wouldn’t recognize me.
I was gonna run the bank.
I was gonna run the math.
Now all I want to run is a bubble bath.
Back then you know I had this plan.
Before all of this reality set in.
Here comes life boy ready or not.
Hey I wanted it all and that’s what I got.

Kenny Chesney, Woman with you

*

This last year has gone by in a haze. I know I was here, but trying to pinpoint the events of a month, a week, heaven forbid a particular day? No. just no. I feel like I’ve been walking from crisis to crisis, conflict to conflict, dodging bullets, catching shrapnel, holding on for dear life. I ride on adrenaline and crash into fitful, terrifying sleep. Because sleep is the place where all the fear comes to life in vivid live-action, macabre tragic comedy. The place where I, half-conscious, can’t move, can’t speak, can’t DO ANYTHING to make it better. The place where everything sees itself to its worst possible conclusion and then … Good morning and good luck! And people can’t understand why I don’t like naps.

After our recent team meeting at Brooke’s school, I gathered my things in a hurry to get back to my office. In one of those moments that you remember years later, one of her teachers said, ever so casually, “I just don’t know how you switch gears like that.”

And that’s it, isn’t it? Constantly shifting gears, spinning in my phone booth, spinning, spinning, spinning, shifting, shifting, shifting — who am I today? Who do I need to be in this exact moment? What cocktail of roles can I mix to make this work? This high wire act of being and doing and creating and sustaining — who am I today? — wife, mother, advocate, writer, teacher, student, professional, politician, friend, agitator, mediator, daughter, sister, counselor, consultant, strategist, apologist, friend, warrior, connector, decider, planner, bread-winner, trail-blazer, walking credit card, life of the god damned party, don’t mess with me mama bear, disciplinarian, maker of limits, soother of egos, defender of honor, soft place to land. Who am I today?

I’m tired of feeling like the more I do the less I do well and the more I try to do less the more I let my children, my husband, my work, my friends – myself down. I’m tired of being too tired to be the mother I want to be – the mother they deserve to have. I’m tired of being so tired that I snap and snipe and find fault where it doesn’t have to be. I’m tired of my daughter saying with those earnest eyes that bore through my soul, “Mama, are you sure you’re ok?”

I’m tired of saying, “I’m okay, honey, it’s just been a rough day / week / month / couple of years.” I’m tired of educating. I’m tired of shifting. I’m tired of spinning. I’m tired of managing life from one crisis to the next. I’m tired of aching for sleep that I’m afraid will come.

I’m tired of being someone I don’t recognize. Someone so far from the woman I hope to raise my daughters to be.

I’m tired of trying to remember who I have to be today.

I’m just .. tired.

43 thoughts on “tired – a rant

  1. Yep. I get it. Been there. A lot. Take a deep cleansing breathe and say “It’s OK not to be perfect all the time.” You can’t be everything to everyone ALL the time. Be gentle with yourself. Take care.

  2. This made me teary because I recognized myself in this description. For a while I would blow up too easily. Being angry that I didn’t have the energy to deal with each and every problem thrown at me calmly. Feeling guilty if I needed to take an hour to myself. But despite our superhero abilities, we are human after all, right?

  3. writing you a permission slip to unplug.

    you do not need to fight on every front.
    you don’t. you also don’t have to do everything right.

    writing you another permission slip:

    permission to fail

    your daughters are resilient each in their own way. they will grow and strengthen no matter what you do. sometimes in spite of you. this is the way of all things.

    another permission slip:

    give up. give up trying to change the world for a little while. catch it by surprise next time when you are fresh and ready. then give ’em
    hell.

    your body and soul are telling you ‘enough!’

    yes there is a difference between a cry for help and this. this is asking the world to stop, if even for ten minutes. you need to do that, for yourself. so yes one day your girls will know how to do it too.

    permission granted.

  4. These are the words that got me: “I’m tired of educating. I’m tired of shifting. I’m tired of spinning. I’m tired of managing life from one crisis to the next. I’m tired of aching for sleep that I’m afraid will come. I’m tired of being someone I don’t recognize.”

    Because that is it exactly. There’s no stopping, no downtime. Even sleep brings anxiety, restlessness. The constant managing, the waiting for the phone calls from school that may or may not come, the planning/unplanning/scheduling/unscheduling.

    This one hit home today. I am tired too.

  5. It sometimes feels like being a mom is all about wanting to do everything right for them but being stuck in our less-than-perfect selves. But that’s probably everything they need…

  6. I am right there with you. I want to say “give yourself permission to_______” but I can’t even give myself permission to _______. Hang in there and thanks for letting us know we are not alone.

  7. This one hit me right between the eyes especially the phrase about not being the woman you want your girls to be and how you are so tired of playing all these different roles. The first thing that popped into my head was a funny thought that it was time for the oxygen mask stat! The even more amusing was when do I have time, when do you have time to do that. But I guess that’s the point. It is the life preserver. You make time. I make time to stop spinning, stop shifting gears and go do something enjoyable or relaxing or whatever it is you need to red charge so you can come back and take on the world again. We need to I this…all of us. I know I am preaching to the choir and take my own dose and I will find the time somewhere…no I will make time. You make time to recharge too, Jess, and I will be sending prayers that you find that perfect way to do just that! Much love, Jess.

  8. I feel the same way. I’m spinning, things are slipping, there isn’t enough me to go around. I keep trying…

  9. I look forward to my bed from the moment I wake up in the morning. Once my head hits the pillow, my mind starts racing and I can’t shut it off. It’s a vicious cycle.
    Hope you have some clear, sunny days ahead!

  10. Where is that post you wrote a few months ago, about promising to take some time to re-energize yourself? You should go back and read it (as I tell you what to do…). Lately I’m nervous that I’ll get to the end of my life and realize that I just rushed through it, and never took the time to relax and enjoy what was in front of me.

  11. ((((Jess)))) – I know what it is to wake up every morning with an ideal and feel you failed it before the breakfast dishes are even cleared. I know what it’s like to have an amazing and rare night out with friends and to come home not feeling refreshed but rather like a starving person who was handed a cracker. I know what it’s like to pull the car over to the side of the road, lay my head against the steering wheel, and sob because it’s the only place I felt I could just be human for ten minutes. You are so loved, Jess, in your strength and in your humaness. I am hoping you find that rest you need in whatever form that may come.

  12. This sucks and I’m sorry.. that said,, we are all right in it with you. I know from experience that doesn’t usually help much but it doesn’t hurt either. Sending some love your way… and one piece of advice. B r e a t h e …..

  13. Dear Jess,

    One suggestion from me: Stop educating at large for now?

    You have a voice, an audience, your blog is well-known. You will not lose that. How bout concentrating on just your little family for a while? Not your big one of autism, online and offline, in the world out there. You are an important member of the “scene”, you have established yourself there, you have fought the battle of awareness long enough on the big scale. Many people are there who can take up and carry on with the good fight. I think you’d do good to let them do just that for a while.

    You need to allow yourself to stop fighting for Autistic Kids and for awareness on a US of A-scale for a little while, just as long as you need to recharge your batteries, and to concentrate on Brooke and Katie and Luau and your extended family. It should be enough. You need to step back on the rest. The dreams are a clear indication of that. Address them. Address the bone-tiredness. Please.

    I’m trying to start a business from home -full-time employment- and buy a house and do the housework and take care of my husband and two NT little boys… it’s not working. There just isn’t enough of me to go around. I fall asleep in random places, I forget appointments, I let the fines pile up on my library books. I snap and boil over at my boys and at my guy. We just can’t. do. it. all. I’m not superwoman, you aren’t Superwoman, though I’m sorry to say -;)

    You need your strength for yourself, your fine husband, your job and most of all, for your soon-to-be tween/teen girls.

    Back to basics.

    Peace and love and lots of zzzzz’s

    Someone over there who admires you.

  14. Man oh man Jess, you did it again – hit exactly the nerve that we all have that is oh so very raw. I know it’s part of being a mom; but it’s especially a part of being a ‘special mom’. For me? I pray… lots and lots and lots of ‘giving it up to God’, as I just can’t stand one more thing piling onto the existing issues we deal with each day. I pray especially for all my fellow ‘special moms’ that we learn this one poignant fact a friend so eloquently shared with me — the best way to be an advocate for our kids is sometimes to just be their mom, the best mom we can be for them. Your dedication to the cause is admirable, and much appreciated by us all, but FIRST and FOREMOST you have to Just Be Their Mom. I loved this post. I love that you share. I love that you can put so wonderfully into words what fills my heart so often too. But if you want to ‘just be their mom’ for a while, I’d love you all the more. ♥

  15. Yes. This. I totally get it.

    Now I’m going to tell you that you have to – HAVE TO – find a way to take an occasional “Mommy day.” It makes a huge difference, that ability to unplug and be nothing to anyone for a few hours, and it will help you remember who Jess is. You don’t need to do anything in particular – no pressure, just several consecutive hours that belong to you.

    Try it. And don’t *make* me take a road trip to Boston to make sure that you do ;0)

  16. Amen Sister! I think so many of us feel just like you. I recently hit my max of all I can handle. It is weird, we talk about getting to
    That point all the time but when you actually get there it is very surreal. No easy answer but I think acknowledging it is a start. Maybe it helps knowing we are not alone in feeling this way…

  17. I read your diary and I pray for you. Mainly because I know I can use prayer everyday of the week and I only have one little girl that is blessed with an active spirit. It helps me keep calm even though somedays that is extremely hard!

  18. So sorry, Jess. Heartbreaking to read, also, how universal the bone fatigue of some of us seems to be. I cannot in my heart and mind reconcile that this exhausting of our demographic is the best vision for our society. But no one asks me. 😉

    Here’s the aspect I’d like you to say more about (though that sounds terribly presumptuous) — that sleep is not a respite. This part is the opposite for me, and it alarms me a little bit. Even though it makes me want to suggest all kinds of things that I have no right to suggest – career change, etc….

    Hugs from the midwest —

    • I have to respond because like Jess, sleep is not a respite for me either. If you live with anxiety, or insomnia, or live through any of the myriad of things that we do as special needs parents, sleep does not refresh us or provide the escape. And if you live with a child that also has sleep issues, anxiety, seizures, etc, sleep is not a respite for them either. My son at age seven has never consistently slept through the night. We have wake ups starting at 1am and lasting through the night. The nights when he does sleep, I cannot as I expect him to come in at any moment. We watch for seizure activity, expect sensory overload, etc. the nighttime is not a break for us.
      I am glad that for some respite comes as sleep. But it’s not as simple as a career change or lifestyle change to make that happen for some of us.

  19. Jess, I recently discovered we have “42” in common, at least as of this Friday. We also have this bone deep tired in common. I quit my executive job to try to shift my situation, but like water is sand, the things I had been neglecting immediately filled the pores I freed up.

    What is the answer? I think there must be a new branch grown on the feminism tree that enables women to be contributors part-time in multiple places, rather than crazed full-time contributors at home, work and community. Our culture and systems need to adapt to women, not just allow women to work like men (and be moms, or give up motherhood to work like men).

    We also need a society where advocacy for justice and fairness, for respect and accommodation, is less urgent, less required.

    But most of all, I want you to know that this is NOT true outside of your rant “I’m tired of being someone I don’t recognize. Someone so far from the woman I hope to raise my daughters to be.”

    You are who I hope to be when I grow up, even though Im almost 42, and your daughters could only be so fortunate as well. They’ll learn from you. You don’t have to be perfect.

    xoxoxo

  20. Oh Jess. I get this. The exhaustion, the guilt, the dreams, all of it. I have no answers, but I do have love and I am sending it your way.

  21. Lordy, do I hear you! Thanks for sharing, for putting to words what I feel. Oh, SPED parenting, you are so hard…

  22. When you admit that you are tired you are able to handle it better. Our lives are about the constant shifting of who we are. Remember, you are a good person, mom and whatever else you need to be. We are not perfect, what we should strive for is happiness, and acceptance that sometimes we can’t change things right now. It’s the journey of life. Always in flux.

  23. Yes! Yes! Yes!
    Jess,
    I hope you hear/see all of us saying that your words are our words! They are words I have inside but don’t know how to process/produce them. Thank you once again for giving me/us words and by letting your rant fly letting ours go with you.

  24. This past March, I made the decision to step away from a teaching position to take a paraprofessional position (teacher’s aid) for next year. I was burning the candle at both ends and I was not able to keep up. I love teaching, but I can’t have another year like this year. So I will not make the money I made this year, but I will finally feel like I’m “there” for my kids, especially my daughter. This tiredness you speak of? I understand…

  25. Oh man, if I could raise daughters to be like you, I’d be pretty amazed with myself. If your daughters grow up to be anything like you (and they will, of course), then you should give yourself a blue ribbon. Being amazing doesn’t mean being perfect or superhuman. I know you know that. Helps me to say it so I remember it, too. 🙂

    Hope tonight brings some restful sleep to you. Sometimes when I’m falling asleep, I breathe in and say ‘I am doing,’ and breathe out and say ‘just fine.’ Over and over. My hope is that I will sleep better if I put myself to bed with kindness.

    • …was just thinking that as I say good night to friends and people I love, I always say ‘Sweet dreams, doll face.’ As I fall asleep, the conversation in my head sounds like, ‘You should have…why did you…will you ever…if you would just…tomorrow you need to…it’s about time you…’ I’m going to try to stop that. 🙂

  26. I get it too. Run here, run there, pick this up, pick that up. Make a deadline at work, try to beat the traffic home. Once you get home, start shift 2.

    Repeat ad nauseum.

    {HUGS}

  27. I hear you! Tired of the battles, the ignorance, of people thinking “he’s okay, nothing wrong!” Tired of parents who allow their kids to be rude/bratty to my son, of his twin brother having to be his defender and safe-keeper, of paving the way and fighting through everyone and for everything to ensure his path is as smooth as possible, of rarely smiling let alone laughing…. So tired, but I will never stop or leave him to fight on his own because I am his mother.
    As someone’s tattoo says……..
    “I would not change you for the world, but I would change the world for you!”

  28. So can relate… I’m exhausted. Always… and just when I think I’m making some progress, bam… smack… I hate being less than the Mom I’d pictured I be. I keep reminding myself that there is a reason I was chosen for this challenge and then I see those sweet little eyes and hear the sweet voice that took so many years and so many hard earned dollars for speech therapy to hear. Hugs to you all!

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