“I think I’m part of the problem here. I’m irritated at little things and I can’t wait for school to start so for at least a few hours a day, she’s someone else’s problem.”
You know what I hear here? Guilt that the mom thinks she is part of the problem. But I also hear the answer, and she doesn’t even know it. Most likely, because of the overwhelming guilt in the statement. This RAD life is not easy, it’s taxing and sucks the air out of you, all your energy. Or as one mom recently described it, “she sucks all the air out of the room and laughs as you’re all gasping for air.” Yep, perfect description. So I’m going to harp on one of the things I harp on a lot, and that is to say, NO GUILT. You have feelings? (fake gasp) Heeellllloooo of course you do! You get irritated and tired? Of course you do! This is not easy! This is a life for super heroes – and you are one! No normal mortal could do this! So leave the guilt aside for being human, having human feelings and limitations.
If you haven’t figured out the answer in the statement of the mom (it’s so much easier when it’s someone else’s, versus yourself, isn’t it?), she’s tired. Of course she’s irritated, she’s worn out. Her body, mind, emotions are telling her that she is in need. She needs respite, self care, she needs to recharge. That’s also a “no guilt for being human” thing. Of course we all need to recharge! In a more normal life it happens without people even realizing it so much, and they are drained so much slowly it’s not an obvious up and down cycle. With RAD and trauma parents, special need parents, parents of kids with mental illness, etc., the cycle is so much faster and deeper that we can literally lose our entire charge in a single day. That doesn’t make us bad parents! That doesn’t make us bad people! It doesn’t make us weak! It only means that our kids take a lot. We want to give them what they need, and they need all of us, and so we give, leaving ourselves depleted. And somehow, we must find a way to recharge ourselves and fill ourselves back up so that we can continue to give to our children and help with their healing. No guilt, it’s part of their healing to have parents who have well-fed “souls”.
So if you feel you are part of the problem, listen to yourself. Get yourself some respite, some self care, take a break, take a mental vacation, something, whatever it is that works for you to recharge yourself. Meditate, color, do yoga, sing at the top of your lungs and dance around your house, color your hair blue and purple streaks. Whatever. It doesn’t matter so much what you do (as long as its’ not harmful) if it makes you happy and fills your soul, then do it. It’s not being selfish to take take out for yourself, as we’ve been told by society. In our lives, it’s an absolute necessity for the healing of our kids. It’s a requirement. It’s the only way we can make it to the end.
Hang in there. And once in a while, you know, chill.