Did you read my last post (about keeping your head in the heat of the moment) and feel like telling me to shove it?
Natasha Tracy (of Breaking Bipolar) spoke in her post today to people taking care of loved ones with a psychiatric diagnosis. She included a list of things caretakers can do to help, but warned (and I’m paraphrasing here)–”don’t try to do everything on the list or you’ll keel over from sheer exhuaustion.”
Good advice. But what if you’re the parent of a child with mental illness? Friends, relatives of adults, and significant others can get away with picking one or two things from the list. Parents of young children, by virtue of being parents, are supposed to take on the list in its entirety because they’re parents.
It’s exhausting. I don’t need to tell you that, but I will anyway. So maybe you’ll forgive me when I mention that this morning, I wanted to shake Bob til his teeth rattled. I didn’t, but boy oh howdy, I wanted to. I wanted to yell expletives and make snarky remarks and just be as obnoxious as I could possibly be. (In short, I wanted to treat him the way he treats me–but that’s another post.)
I didn’t do any of that, but I wasn’t particularly nice to Bob this morning. I did issue his permanent exile from our kitchen (or until such time as he can go in there without creating a disaster). I did threaten him with certain death if he doesn’t have a stellar day in school today. And I did tell him I love him and kissed his head before I left for work, but I was still mad.
And I still feel awful. No, I didn’t get my morning latte (that’s what he dumped all over our kitchen), and I began my day with a dose of his sarcastic backtalk (which is getting incredibly old), but now he has to go to school and face the day with that as his head start. (And, I discovered upon checking my email this morning, he has a substitute teacher today. I should probably just go get him right now and save him from himself.)
I can’t beat myself up too much, though. It’s tough, this raising kids. It’s especially tough raising a child with a chronic illness. And no one bothered to make sure I was qualified for the job before I accepted it. I can’t be a model parent all the time. I can try, but I’m not sure anyone could achieve that kind of perfection (save maybe Mother Theresa).
So I’ll forgive myself, and I’ll forgive him. We’re both learning. I hope.