A Woman on the Verge . . .

August 21, 2007 at 4:31 am Leave a comment

I titled my blog “Life with 4 kids, 2 Whammies & No Nannies” because that’s my life. I have 4 kids. Two of my children have issues: one has Tourette’s Syndrome and one has an undiagnosed syndrome. And, to date, I have no help. All of this has put me on the verge of a nervous breakdown all summer long. So, the question I’m throwing out there today is this: Why is it that I feel the need to justify getting help?

My life is insane! What’s wrong with me? Often people will see me someplace with all 4 kids, and I’m chasing one down or dealing with one crying, or one yelling, or two fighting, and people say to me, “I don’t know how you do it.” I always answer with some kind of humbling comment like, “Oh, I really don’t do it very well.” Or “Well, I’m an insane woman most of the time…” and so on, and so forth. I did go so far as to say to a man at my friend’s pool party, whom I had never met before, “some days I think I deserve a medal”. Usually, however, I stick to the humbling comments, as self-deprecating humor is one of my specialties.

The other day I was in Target getting school supplies. I had all 4 kids. My 6 month old was crying; it was time for his bottle. My 4 year old special needs child was yelling incoherent babble at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason. (He does this often; it’s maddening!) My 8 year old had run off to check something out, and I had no idea where she was. So, I was sternly asking my 5 year old to go find her. A woman I sort of know from the neighborhood passed me by and said, “just keep smiling, you look great! I just don’t know how you do it.” And I smiled and made a joke. Then I beelined for the bathroom, where I could make a bottle and yell at my daughter . . .

So, where is this blog leading? Well, I’m finally getting help. My husband and I have decided that my sanity, unfortunately, defines the family’s sanity. Basically, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!!! (I actually read a book with that title…) My husband wants a sane wife. I want a sane life. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m overwhelmed. And all of this probably makes me normal. But, the question remains . . . why do I feel the need to justify getting help?

I’ve gone over it in my mind. I know a handful of people that grew up in families with 8 or more children. When I ask them how their mothers managed, they seem to say the same thing: pure and simple neglect. Well, that probably worked 40 years ago. But, today we don’t let our children run free throughout the neighborhood streets. We don’t let our kids play out front unsupervised. We definitely don’t let them go to the park or walk to school on their own. It’s different now. I used to walk about 6 blocks to elementary school, all alone. I can’t fathom that today. I’d let my daughter walk the 6 blocks to the intermediate school (4th — 6th grade), as long as she walked with the neighborhood kids. But not alone. Not ever. So, all of this to say, that our children require a LOT of supervision in today’s world. Too much for one woman with a full plate, too much for a woman on the verge . . .

Yesterday I took my kids to the pool. We came home in the pouring rain, and while I was unloading the car and talking to my husband about our time at the pool, the doorbell rang. (We had been home about 15 minutes.) It was my neighbor ~ with my 4 year old special needs child, dressed in nothing but a diaper. My neighbor had found him up the street, half naked, happily stomping/dancing around in the puddles in the street. My special needs son has figured out how to get out of our house. Yes, I was mortified — and totally grateful. I need help.

Having a special needs 4 year old makes life a lot more physically, and therefore emotionally, draining. I cannot complete a household task. I am constantly saving my infant from him. I am constantly moving him “away”, stopping him “from”, keeping him “away”, shuffling him “out”, etc., etc. Unsupervised (and I use this term to describe 10-15 minutes of me doing something like folding laundry, talking on the phone, or going to the bathroom…), my son will: flood the bathroom, draw on the walls, draw on himself, draw on the furniture, draw on anything; he will smother my infant, empty my freezer, eat sand, take off his diaper and smear his poop everywhere, go through my make-up, dump toys out of the bins, dump/eat as much pirate booty as he can get his hands on, drink any kind of drink/cup/glass left anywhere he can reach, tear apart my older son’s legos, pump out the soap, the lotion, etc., and his latest fancy is: spitting. He spits out juice, water, saliva, food — anything; it simply intrigues him to spit stuff out of his mouth.

We’ve decided to get an Au Pair. And the funny thing is, while filling out the necessary forms I started really thinking about my special needs son. How should I describe him? He’s not in a wheelchair, he doesn’t need to be fed through a tube, he’s not autistic — he loves socializing and he loves people. I realized that if I didn’t have the multi-tasking, multi-faceted role to play (whether or not you “work”, you know what I’m saying ladies, don’t ya??), I don’t think he would be that much to handle. If I was to simply focus on him, and not on the others, not on my husband, not on the house, not on the bills, not on our activities, not on our social life, etc. . . . well, then, if he was all I had, he would not be that much for me to handle. I found myself, yet again, feeling the need to justify getting help.

It’s done. We’ve invited our Au Pair to come live with us. We’ve paid our deposit plus our initial fee. We’ve started construction on our basement to add a bedroom and a bathroom for her to use. We’ve told the children. We’re getting help. Hallelujah! I’m a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown . . . but I’ve made the sane decision not to breakdown ~ but, to get help.

Should I rename my blog??


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