The Importance of The Break

This whole two kid thing is exhausting. I mean, mind numbing, can’t remember my middle name exhausting.

Maybe because it’s Christmas AND Gord’s birthday? I’ve been running around like a crazy person and wrapping and baking and and and….

Maybe it’s their age difference? Four years and ten years old usually means two different things happening at all times; ABC’s and gluing random things to boxes sure doesn’t interest Anthony and Minecraft and Guinness Book of World Records isn’t up Jonathan’s alley.

Maybe it’s exhausting because it’s a different routine? Instead of going to work and talking all day to grown ups (my conversations now mostly consist of ‘stop’, ‘don’t touch’ and ‘great job!’). I drive around, A LOT doing errands, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. A lot of cooking. A LOT of cleaning. I don’t even mind cooking, or cleaning most times, but I feel the same about it as I do about ‘must do’ sewing – when I HAVE to do something it takes the enjoyment out of it.

Maybe because I’m new at 2?

Or maybe because I’ve pretty much maintained the same lifestyle I did before Jonathan came; I do the same amount of home cooking, the cleanliness of the house has been maintained (I can be a bit…um, particular I think is the right word), I’ve been sewing, baking, etc. but we’ve doubled laundry, dishes, driving, cleaning and kid attention…actually make that quadrupled the child attention – Add one Deaf kid with multiple placements to a new home + one anxious new big brother with DCD and you got not just double the work load but you just bought a ticket to ohmygodimsotiredofdealingwithemotion land.

Or maybe it’s all the above.

No matter the reason, I’m tired. We are tired. Physically tired but most definitely emotionally.

As parents we need to take breaks. As adoptive parents we need to give ourselves a break…and then take a break

I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for what we  have just done – think about what just happened: we are in the throws of a life changing transition in raising a pretty complicated kid. We’ve impacted our relationship as a couple, we’ve rocked Anthony’s 10 year old only-child world. That’s some pretty serious holysh*t what are we doing kind of  changes to adjust to.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Ok, why am I so hard on myself?

Why are we not eating Kraft Dinner once in a while? Why am I so concerned if the floor isn’t swept and you can feel all those yucky crumbs and gunk on your socks as you walk?

I decided I need to let some of the smaller, and maybe some of the bigger too, things go here in order to keep myself from loosing my mind when I hear ‘what you doing’ for the 19th time in a row.

If I’m stressed about the state of the house, making sure dinner is made on time (and eatable) and worried about completing the to do list that constantly runs in my head, I have discovered I have way less patience for people under 5 feet tall.

So, this is what I’ve done: I bought frozen pizza and there are more fast and easy meals on my radar to lighten the load some days. I started wearing my crocs in the house (this serves two fantastic purposes – 1. I feel no crumbs 2. my feet don’t ache at the end of the day and you could add in 3. being oh so fashionable. ha! These two small, seeming ridiculous changes alone have made a big difference in my day. I kid you not.

Who cares if there’s a giant pile of laundry to be done? Nobody’s askin’ for clean clothes and I’m blissfully playing ABC’s. The coffee table is piled with books, cups, comic books, random sheets from school and usually after a couple days it starts to drive me nuts and I go on a table binge – haven’t touched it for a week. I’m trying to let some (may I repeat some) of the smaller things go.

We also took a big break this weekend with Anthony staying at his mom’s and Jonathan at respite with his old foster mom for the night. It was wonderful to spend some time just with Gord and have a night out with some good friends (we even stayed up until midnight. Midnight people! I mean come on, that’s a wild and crazy night!)

It was refreshing and needed and deserved,  because everybody needs a break once in a while.

In all my years doing my job (working with kids with disabilities and their family’s), the one thing I have done for or at least asked every single family I’ve worked with is do you have respite? As a professional I understand how important this is when raising a kid with special needs. Now, I understand this first hand.

To any parent reading this, please please please, the best thing you can do for yourself, and your family too, is give yourself a break. Take some credit for your hard work and then take a nap. It’s hands down the best Christmas present you can give yourself this year.

I’m off to put a pizza in the oven. Merry Christmas to me.

And to you too:)

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