An uptick in seizure activity, sick kids, busy schedules, doctor’s appointments for both kids & for you, work piling up, birthday parties… when does it stop? I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble, but it doesn’t. Life happens. Every. Single. Day. Life just continues, until it doesn’t. Let the chaos continue, its ok to be overwhelmed, exhausted and defeated. Sometimes life just gets the best of you. Then you’re in the eye of the storm (its Hurricane season folks, so that’s the analogy we’re going with today), so there’s calm for a couple of hours. Take that time, pull it together and get ready for the second half of the storm.
Check out our story here.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Take those damn lemons and chuck them at the nearest wall. Seriously… no one needs a sourpuss around right now. We need positivity. You need rest. The family needs organization, sanity, and consistency.
Consistency? That’s your suggestion, really? Yup.
Kids need it. They crave it! They should be on a schedule, not a strict one, but a schedule nonetheless. Try waking up around the same time every day, we do it as adults for work schedules. Our children need this in their lives as well. Likewise with bedtime, every night the oldest monkey goes to bed around 8 pm. Sometimes it’s earlier, sometimes it is later, but not by that much.
Early on, we weren’t that consistent with waking up and bedtime. Once we got AJ on a schedule, he became a totally different kid. He listened better, his behavior was better, it made what had been before moments of high stress, incredibly calmer. Some nights we still have tears that he doesn’t want to go to bed, but those are far and few between now.
This also helped tremendously with Riley and her bedtime. She had a tough time sleeping through the night. She now is on a pretty consistent schedule and things could not be better overnight.
Exhausted and Defeated
Exhausted and defeated has been me pretty much all the time the last two months. There’s just so much going and not enough hours in the day. Sound familiar? You’re not alone, I’m not alone. Sometimes it’s just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. How do you sort it all through, organize it, get your thoughts to slow down enough to make sense?
I recently transitioned to a new position in a different department within the corporation I work for. (Hint, hint!! That’s the reason the posts have been slow lately) Trying to finish out any of my old work prior to moving over so I don’t dump it on someone’s lap at that team was a priority. Someone I use to work with told me once I had too much work ethic and not to expect that out of others. I call it having respect for my co-workers, and wanting to leave on good terms, because honestly, I really liked that team… a lot.
Then moving to the new position and learning new technology, it’s been a challenge. A very welcomed challenge, but a challenge. The people on the new team are great, a couple of them are former co-workers, but more importantly, friends. That makes this much easier, but also they expect more out of me. There’s a built-in expectation, which causes pressure that I honestly didn’t plan for when making the consideration to change positions.
New stresses in addition to current stresses equal exhausted and defeated.
Why Are You Defeated
Okay, so I’m not actually defeated, it’s just the way I feel. I feel like I’m in debt, but emotionally. I’ve felt so down for so long that it’s hard to catch up even when you’re feeling good about life.
Think of it like credit card debt. You have a lot of it, you’re getting to a point where you’re close to maxing out a card or two… maybe 3. You feel so much burden by it that the only thing that makes sense to you is to take out a loan to consolidate all your debt. Life hasn’t changed though, so you still spend money on those cards. You’re more aware, so you’re trying to make changes, but eventually, you start to get close to maxing out again, and you still have half your loan to go. You decide you’ll change your habits and make better purchases, but the only way out right now, at least in your mind, is another loan.
It’s a vicious cycle that you can’t seem to break. There’s so much stress being a parent. Now add the stress of special needs parenting. Then add in all the doctor’s for the kids, both typical and atypical. Keep adding things like financial stresses of keeping up with doctor’s bills, your own health concerns/unknowns, and then adding in any surprises you can’t plan for. For example, I chipped my tooth yesterday. Wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m in week two of a new job, Riley is currently on her way down to Nicklaus Children’s hospital for a neurology appointment, AJ’s sick(ish), my Dad is at our house waiting for a guy to do repairs and I have to run to the dentist to get this stupid tooth looked at. This wasn’t a typical day, but there’s a ton of moving parts, and I unexpectedly added to the chaos.
It’s this cycle of more stress than relief that you can’t get caught up emotionally that makes me feel defeated.
Keep Moving Forward
When you’re feeling exhausted and defeated, it’s hard to find ways to keep moving forward. It always feels like you’re stuck in the present reacting and not moving forward. Although it doesn’t seem like you’re moving forward, the reality is that you are. Every task that you complete, going to that doctor’s appointment or paying that doctor’s bill, it’s moving forward. As tiny as it may seem, it’s movement.
There are plenty of ways to help see progress forward. I keep bringing this one up, but getting organized is a great way to feel better instantly.
Our family is on a shared plan with AT&T and we use the shared calendar on the iPhone. We use to use an app called Cozi, that I still recommend and wish we still used. The best part, it’s free. This is the perfect way to keep track of appointments, school functions, etc. You can also share lists, which is super cool for grocery shopping, and reminders/to-dos. Making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to schedules is a huge help when planning immediate life. If we’re at a doctor’s appointment and we schedule the next visit, we always add it to the shared calendar at that time, and a notification is sent, if you set it up that way, to all members on the shared calendar. Sharing is caring!
Recruit Family & Friends
Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and defeated? Reach out to your family for help! I’m literally working with my absolutely wonderful mother to get organized for the coming school year. Honestly, she noticed me fraying at the edges and like the caring, encouraging woman she is, asked me if I needed help. Yup! Sure do!
You may think that you don’t want to burden them with your stress, your problems, but you’d be super surprised how much they want to and are willing to help. I’ve said it many times in the past, I’m extremely fortunate for the support system I have. Reach out to yours, you’ll find out who the real family is, and that family will also include friends.
This should be a given, but I know it’s hard when you’re in the thick of it. Find things to laugh at, like when you’re super busy trying to get everyone ready in the morning, and yourself, then you’re sitting at the office and have two different socks on. You can either stress about it, or find the humor in it. I like to laugh at myself. There are probably a lot of people don’t agree with that and think that you’re hurting yourself and self-esteem. I find it therapeutic. My husband may disagree, but that’s only when he’s finding the humor in me and I’m not.
Example, there is a younger team member at my new position. He’s a pretty decent guy, eager to learn. He asked me what I was listening to, and it happened to be 30 Seconds to Mars. “They’re not bad, a little older, but not bad.” Yeah, I was 14 when he was born. For the record, 30 Seconds signed their contract with the record label in 1998 (yes, 20 years ago, that would make my coworker about 5), and their first album was 2002. So yes, a little older is accurate, but not quite oldies yet. I’m not even 40!!!
I laughed. Literally, I really found it funny that this young man was considering 30 Seconds older. I’m glad I didn’t tell him I was listening to Backstreet Boys earlier, or that I pretty much go to every New Kids on the Block concert when they come through town. Then I’d be old.
Know Yourself – Trust Yourself
Being exhausted and defeated isn’t the end. You have to realize its happening, know your limits, and find ways to help yourself. You can do this. I didn’t think I could, but you just keep going, and then one day you realize there are tough days and there are great days. You start paying more attention to what happened when you had great days, and what caused the not so great days. You make things start working through experience. Or read through this blog, and subscribe to my non-existent, but starting soon newsletter and learn through my experiences. Check out the Unbreakable Sara FaceBook page and click like for updates, where I send out little inspirations, photos, and fun stories.
We got this, I promise. You’ll figure out what works for you and your family. It takes some trial and error, and sometimes more error than I’m willing to admit, but you will get there.
Good luck!! Until next time…