Perspective, sanity and gratitude prove to be Chicago mom’s best weapons

There is no lounging around in pajamas. I have to get up, get the coffee going, and jump in and start calling doctors and therapists, fill out paperwork and write a social story and make sure we have enough medicine to make it over the holiday weekend.

Silly me, I was thinking we could go to the park or something.

This is not how I pictured motherhood. The whole supermom thing gets old sometimes.

I get tired, so tired, of being resourceful and networking and planning, planning, planning so we could get through the day with a minimum of meltdowns and trips to the ER.

The thing that wears me out the most, though, is the neverending fight against self-pity. It is my nemesis, my worst enemy, and it chases me, hounds me, sneaks up beside me and taps me on the shoulder. It is a snake in my sleeping bag, a tiger in the trees, a hungry lion looking to devour me. A pushy salesman trying to get a foot in the door.

I must not hesitate. I have to slam the door without a second thought. Must. Not. Engage.

The trouble is, no one around me is much help. Most of my friends aren’t comfortable telling me to snap out of it. Who is going to tell someone with a critically ill child with autism and two sons with a bleeding disorder to “buck up”? So I have to be my own security guard, or in about 20 minutes I turn into a combination of Veruca Salt and the Creature From the Black Lagoon.

I used to force myself to read articles about Africa, Haiti, Iraq. I would read stories on the bleeding disorders websites about kids who would love to have the freedom and ease of movement that mine do. I am very aware that most of the world does not have the access to medicine and therapies that we are blessed with. I remind myself that it is a uniquely American perspective to feel I have a right to healthy kids, a vacation and a car that never breaks down.

But then my neighbors take off on a spontaneous weekend trip to the water park and poof! I am starting to turn all slimy and whiny and resentful again.

So I focus on the good. My son’s beautiful blue eyes, a family moment of hilarity when Dad’s pop explodes, our ability to not sweat the small stuff, because we have so much big stuff. Faithful and loving friends, and above all the knowledge that my sons are acutely aware of how desperately we love them.

Perspective, sanity, and yes, gratitude. The best weapons a girl could have. So maybe I can relax, just a little. Have some coffee, and ignore the doorbell no matter how many times that pushy salesman rings. Go away, sir. We are just not buying today.

Rebecca Hill is a Chicago mom of three boys with special needs and the author of two blogs about parenting children with special needs.

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