“You can’t be strong every day.”
This from a trainer who had been putting a group of 40-something women through their paces for 90 minutes.
Why is my instinct to disagree? Why do I think it’s impractical to contemplate not being strong if you have kids – especially a special needs child?
Kids are demanding – there are activities to schedule, practices and games to be chauffeured to, halloween costumes to make, endless meals to prepare and all those other adventures that their creative minds come up with.
Add to that a disabled child who needs lifting and transferring, assistance with meals and supervision 24/7. Not being strong is out of the question.
Or is it? Am I falling into the Supermom trap? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that I can’t do everything for everyone, that there are limits to my abilities, that I can’t be strong everyday? Will my kids suffer irreparable harm if I’m not incredible everyday?
No, they won’t. On the days I’m not so strong, they have to put up with long pauses mid-sentence in a dinner-time story because I’ve dozed off sitting in my chair. They get the entertainment of me filling the gaps with random words and phrases from my mini-dreams.
They hear the exasperation in my response to the umpteenth question designed to delay turning out their lights. They also hear the irrationality in my voice when I’m waiting to eat until they are in the beds they refuse to get into.
When kryptonite (or lack of sleep) weakens me, I am slower to respond to requests from Deane to move from wheelchair to couch to stander and back again. I also find that on the 100th time through, even the best video induces narcolepsy.
I don’t think any of these things will send my children into counseling. With any luck, it will teach them that parents get tired, frustrated, hungry and bored – just like they do. Hopefully they will come to understand that there are days when I am not strong.
Now, I just have to learn that lesson myself.
How do you acknowledge your limits? How do you deal with the days you’re just not up it without disappointing or feeling guilty? Share your suggestions – I’d love to hear them.