Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Now the children are all at school...

So all 4 children have started school, I should have loads of time now to get on and pursue the things I have wanted to do... well this is what I thought, but it turns out, that's not the case.

I thought when all the boys started school I would have some time to get on with my projects, write regular blog posts, do running/look after myself, start hobbies, be up to date with all the house work, bible studies, reading, have time for myself and be able to give more to others.  In reality this didn't work out as I thought - infact that is quite a list when I jot it all down.  Seasoned mothers would tell me to enjoy this time, take time for yourself and read a book or two - I agreed and thought that this is what I would do.  For the past 11 years I have been in full force of growing, caring, raising and prioritising babies/small children, learning about their disabilities, parenting on a different journey, as well as, being their advocate.  I wanted to use the first term of adjusting to this new season. I didn't want to take on any new commitments but have time to consider before I leapt.  However, life has been quite busy and I have just been so swept up in it all, that this time to consider just hasn't happened. 

It is like I forgot all about the fact that I am a mother to 4 children - 3 of whom have special/additional needs and at times very challenging needs. I forgot how much time the school run/picks up took (4 in 3 different places), how much time I spend preparing and attending appointments for their needs, looking after the home on a day to day basis (let alone think about a full spring clean) and how much energy I needed at the end of the day for when they all came home.  I was under an illusion that I would have all this free time with L at school. That suddenly this new chapter meant that all the other things would disappear and I would be trying to work out what to do for 6 hours a day!  Don't get me wrong, it is much easier to do all these things without also entertaining or organising a sitter for a little one.  My perception when they were all at school, is that life would be easier and in some ways it is. However, I would describe it like a conveyer belt - as soon as one thing is mastered it falls off the end and something new emerges... For example, when they are younger, they may move from walking to running, then its time to tackle toilet training (in our house it appears obedience seems to stick to the belt so we often have to re-tackle this issue...) It is mainly physical when they are younger and as they get older it becomes more emotional ,which is draining in a completely different way. As my children have gotten older they are more independent but due to disabilities/needs, they are behind their peers in a few areas and need extra help in doing the ordinary, that others don't see - so we still have a fair amount of physical alongside the emotional.

I know that there are people who have just as many children, with perhaps just as many needs - who perhaps also work but I think it comes down to your capacity of what you can handle and the courage to accept it.  I need to have flexibility to go to and prepare for appointments and meetings.  I need flexibility to manage my time so if we are having draining episodes I have some down time to recover - being a carer can be tough.  I need energy to manage the school pick ups (which are not always very straightforward), energy for after school to be able to help them organise themselves for tomorrow, do reading/homework, afterschool clubs (which they need to help them develop/build up muscles), follow sensory diets/programs, make dinner and manage a conversation or 2 for when my husband comes home! I also need my house to be tidy, otherwise I can't cope. I (reluctantly) need to do exercise each week or my mental health suffers.  I think because my list of 'have to do's' can be quite large, I don't have time to do all that I had hoped this season would bring. I lost my way in appreciating the fact I now have the time to do the 'have to do's' without rushing through or stressing.
Basically, I just put too much pressure on myself to achieve everything and be a super woman/wife/mother in this new season without even realising it.  I like and long for everything to be perfect and in my life - it hasn't been - Life did not go to 'My Plan'. I think on some levels, I thought now was finally that time to achieve it all.  In the back of my mind I think I stored up phrases such as 'when they are all at school I will be able to do ---' and expected to complete all of them in that first term.  Whilst I was able to do some of the things I wanted to do, I didn't enjoy it as I was thinking about everything else that I also wanted to do and hadn't achieved.  As I have been raising little ones for the past 11 years, I built up quite a list!  This perfection trap is something I so easily fall into time again but life isn't perfect, its actually quite messy.  I hadn't even realised that is where I was, until the New Year and was feeling fed up.  I knew I had some important meetings coming up but I needed to release the pressure I had put on myself - so time to restock, learn the lessons and move forward.  The best way to do this, is time in prayer and reading Gods word.  I am a 'planner' and enjoy achieving things and checking off lists but I think this season I need to just be still and let God guide me through, enjoy the moments of calm and find my new rhythm.

So if you are wondering what life is like for me with all 4 at school - its pretty much the same, I just don't have my little companion with me (whom I miss) and therefore I can spend a bit more time doing what I was doing before, to help our family life run a little smoother...


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