The toll of parenting kids with issues

I don’t know if I”ll end up finishing this post or leaving it up. It is somewhat personal. If you read my stuff, you know that I’m not one to shy away from personal stuff, but this has to do with my kids and I’m not sure how I’ll feel about what I’m about to write once it’s down on “paper.” But I think it is important for us, as parents, to share our pain and vulnerability so we don’t have to suffer alone. So, here goes:

I just don’t think the average person/parent has any idea what it is like to parent kids with real issues. It takes a toll on your mood, your sleep, your attention, your weight, your social life, your pocketbook, and your family unit. I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. It is more stream of consciousness than anything. But I am a life coach. I am good at that, because there are many, many things that I’ve figured out about life. But that doesn’t mean I have it all figured out… or that it is even possible to figure it all out. So I want to admit to y’all that I’m struggling right now with my parenting. 

There is a delicate line to tread. Really the issues are my kids, particularly my daughter, who just turned 5. She’s bipolar. She is like a little terrorist in our house. It is just so hard to work all day, run a household and that that entails and “come home” to a child who is a constant tantrum, won’t eat dinner, and won’t go to the bathroom by herself. She wakes up and comes into our bed nine out of ten nights. And we never know when she’s going to completely lose it. In a lot of ways it’s like being in an abusive relationship… that you can’t get out of.

I’m ashamed to admit that there are many days in the last few weeks that I’ve sincerely felt that I would rather not be a parent anymore. I love my kids fiercely, but they have ground me down. Now, nobody get worried. This is not a desperate cry for help. I’m not going anywhere and am not going to do anything crazy. But that’s just an illustration of how difficult it is now. 

My neighbor and I were catching up the other day. He has three kids around 7, 5, and 1. And he was lamenting how little time he gets to spend with then in the evenings. Meanwhile I was thinking that he was lucky that he wants that time. I’m often praying for bedtime to come. And, I know that if you don’t have kids with real issues and you are reading this, you probably think I’m the worst person in the world. I guess I’ll have to own that. I promise you there are other good/great parents out there who have the same thoughts. I want them to know that they are not alone. 

I have friends who take their kids on vacation and have a great time. That is my idea of hell. They are a monumental challenge at home. Why would I take them anywhere else where I can’t control the environment? (By the way, I’m sure I’m now on some NSA watch list because I mentioned on the internet that my daughter is like a terrorist. So I guess we can’t travel with her anyway.)

I remember one time at a baseball game my son was playing in several years ago I watched a mom walk over to the game to watch her son with her 4 other kids walking behind her may way for ducklings-style tallest to smallest. They were maybe 11 – 2 years old. They all had clean white shirts or dresses on and the all sat on a blanket and watched the game while they amused themselves. Honestly, my reaction was, “Fuck you!” I only have two kids and they are nearly killing me. This woman has 4 or 5 and looks super zen like she just walked out of a yoga class. 

Not that I really, truly resent people with neurotypical families. But it is hard not to feel comfortable in confiding in some of our better friend. I don’t think they really understand how hard it is when your kids are garden variety wild, crazy, or weird. Clinically wild, crazy, or weird is different. And, they don’t always see it. But we do… every morning, every night, often in the middle of the night and all weekend long. 

Thus ends my shameful confession. 

Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.

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