So basically, all is calm on the Western Front, so I figured it was time to finally work on me. As you can imagine, with 3 kids, even typical kids, life can be pretty insane, and so it has been quite a long time since I have had an opportunity to work on myself. Thankfully I have some pretty amazing friends, who have been great about reminding me of the important rule that is clarified every time you fly somewhere.... you can't take care of others, unless you care for yourself first, so ALWAYS put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else put on theirs!
Apparently, it is time for me to put on my oxygen mask! I have started seeing a therapist once a week and so far I am 3 weeks in and I am loving it! The best part by far is that I don't leave there wanting to kill myself. You see the only therapy I have ever done in the past has essentially been the kind where you walk in feeling great and you leave after talking about how shitty life is and you basically feel like it is time to drop dead.
This therapist is amazing at helping me see what I am already doing well, recognize what I can change and then making a plan for how to implement the change. The best part is that after my first hour of therapy I already started implementing awesome changes, AND I have lived to tell the tale!
I have always been a pretty reactionary person.....if you upset me, I have been quick to either cry or to send you a strongly worded email. When I cried, people often felt I was angry and so I rarely got the help I needed, and well, the strongly worded emails often were also not seen as a cry for help but rather they were interpreted as a big "f" u.
I am working hard at breathing through my intense reactions to events and I have realized that I have about a 30 minute upset time and that once I get through that really intense upset time I am able to either:
1. see life more clearly and respond appropriately
2. move on to something else and realize it really wasn't a big deal in the first place
3. address whoever I had the concern with and respond appropriately
What I have realized is that all I have to do is get through the first 30 minutes. As long as I don't let myself anywhere near a computer, I am doing pretty ok with that. No nasty emails have been sent, and I am more clearly able to problem solve. I have realized that while the first part of those 30 minutes can be really intense for me and include some really strong emotions, after that things get better.
I am learning that I can do anything and deal with any situation if it is just hard for 30 minutes and that is a very powerful thing to learn! Now I only wish I had learned this a while ago, because boy would life have been easier!
I am also learning in therapy that it is totally ok for me to recognize that the life I am living is not easy. I have often felt that since I chose to adopt 3 kids on my own that I have no right to complain about our challenges. As I hear people complain about the daily ins and outs of parenting, it has been a struggle for me to know how to relate to that.
As a rule most moms and caretakers complain at some time or another about "having to make dinner" or "having to grocery shop with the kids" or "having to do homework", but because I adopted my boys as a single mom these are just a natural part of the life I really wanted, so it seems odd to complain about them. However, as I am out at the grocery store with my 3 kiddos, and I bump into friends who are shopping alone, I often wonder how that must be.....in many ways I am sure it is really quiet, and I think I would miss some of the noise of my boys, but it also must be kind of blissful to be able to just be lost in your thoughts as you pick out your groceries and not have to explain again why we are simply NOT BUYING OREOS....(strange how those words are capitalized, huh!)
I am working hard to recognize that while I don't need to start "complaining" about the challenges in life, it is ok to breathe and acknowledge that something is a challenge and then be aware of my successes. It is not easy to work until 5:30, get home at 6:00, feed the kids dinner, clean up from dinner, check homework, ensure everyone has a bath or a shower, read books and keep track of all of the school reports. It is not easy to be the only set of ears that hears everything the boys want/need to share. It is not easy to juggle it all.
It is ok if not everyone gets as many showers in a week as they are supposed to. It is ok if I don't remember to initial everyone's homework. It is ok if we don't get all of the reading done. It is all ok, and from what I am hearing, it is even ok to say that these things are hard and to acknowledge that no one loves doing it all.....apparently nothing bad happens when you say that!
I think I may kind of like this therapy thing.....one hour a week, or in reality a therapists hour which is really only 50 minutes, but hey...that's ok too! It's 50 minutes all about me....for me! Kind of like a weekly present! And THAT I'm learning is MORE than ok!
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!