Monday, October 25, 2010

mental health monday: uncle.

It turns out, you can’t do it all. At least, I can’t.

This past week, Scott and I decided to make some changes. Changes for the better. We have a lot of balls in the air right now, and unfortunately, we have been letting some of the most important ones drop. Kids, therapy schedule, school consults, doctor’s appointments, full time job, eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep…can you guess what has been falling by the wayside? You got it – eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep have been the bottom of the totem pole for far too long. Ironically, they are the very things we need to be doing consistently to be making sure we have the energy to get all the other stuff done. But how? There are only so many hours in the day, only so many days in a week. Something has got to give, and it probably shouldn’t be my sanity.

Long story short, I am reducing my hours at work from full-time to 75%. This, of course, means a pay cut, which is less than ideal. But, I can’t see any other way (besides paying someone to come in and take care of the kids, manage Max’s therapy, cook, and exercise for me). That last one is very attractive though…anyway, paying someone to do all that would be more expensive than the pay cut and would actually do zilch for my mental health, which is definitely waning right now.

For some reason, I feel like a bit of a failure for not being able to do it all. If I just worked a little harder, gave myself a bigger kick in the ass, and had a better attitude, I could make it all work. But, then again, all but one of the families I know who have a young child with Autism have a setup where the mom stays at home full time. And even then, it’s still a lot to keep everything in order and make sure that everyone’s needs are being met. Just this morning Scott and I debated who would stay home with Cam because she is still under the weather. Neither of us could, so we opted to take her to daycare and play the wait-and-see game (as in wait and see how long it takes for the daycare to call us to come and get her).

Here’s hoping a slightly lighter load will help make things better.


  1. Anonymous12:25 p.m.

    Living this - last time we slept was about four years ago. We are lucky that mom can stay home but it is still a full time effort for both of us (one kid ASD, one typical). Do not feel guilt - you are doing the best for the family and we know this effort. Those not living this life do not have a clue (even the ones that like us, you gotta live it to get it, and this does not mean those that do not get it are not sincere). I beat myself up every day - did I redirect quick enough? did I reward the wrong behavior? Is our son getting enough therapy? I also don't have any answers but at some times I realize we are doing the best we can and that is all anyone can do.

  2. Don't feel like a failure... you can't do it all, and if you are not balanced, your kids will notice and it will impact everyone. Becca works part-time so we balance 1.5 jobs with full-time IBI, a 16-month old and everything else.

    Frankly I do not see how families can afford private IBI without dual income unless one earner makes a crapload of money, they live super frugally, are getting help from others or are piling on massive debt. Hang in there Kat, you are inspiring the rest of us!

  3. What's amazing is that you've managed to keep as many balls in the air as long you have. Amazing women (such as yourself) can do it all, for a while - but no one can do it all, long-term.

    Get healthy. First. Everything else depends on it. And in no way, shape or form, should you take any shit from your inner critic. Every time you hear her starting to pipe up, tell her if she doesn't quieten down, you're gonna sic Liz on her. OK?

  4. You're not a failure!! Your kids and loved and are growing and learning. That's a HUGE success!

    I always remind myself that someone once said, "Women can have it all. Just not at the same time." There are times when you need to focus on you so that there is something left for everyone else. This is one of those times and there's no shame in that.


  5. SeeDogThink9:14 p.m.

    When I see the smiles on your children's faces it's clear you are not a failure. When I see the beautiful quilt you made, it's clear you are not a failure. When I read your eloquent descriptions of what you are going through, it's clear you are not a failure.
    To me, from the outside, it looks like you are doing an amazing job and I don't know how you do it or where you could possibly find the energy.

    As you go through your incredibly busy life there will be many times when you have to shuffle, reconfigure and re-prioritize. It's how life works and it means that you are paying attention, being the best you can be and, from the looks of it, doing an absolutely amazing job.

  6. Anonymous8:03 p.m.

    You're doing the right thing Kat. I like what SeeDogThink had to say, I completely agree.

    My little brother is 14 now and absolutely has some sort of ASD, but it was never properly diagnosed and dealt with. My stepmom doesn't work, has no hobbies or passions, yet she still acts like she doesn't have time for her son - takes no interest in his schoolwork, and doesn't seem to see a problem with the fact that he still can't carry on a normal conversation and has no social life. He's 14!!

    YOU are a great mother, and if you can't do everything all at once, then NOBODY can. Give yourself a break, let yourself breathe a little bit ... from the looks of it, you know very well that this was the right thing to do even if the numbers on paper don't quite add up to as much. We all know that those numbers don't really apply to real life anyway - too many other factors ... factors that you know all about, and are dealing with the right way.

  7. Kat, you're singing my song. I go back to work at the end of February and we are already bracing ourselves trying to figure out how we're going to balance it all. There's always something that me still not losing the baby fat:) You do what you gotta do to survive as a family...and if you're lucky you keep your sanity in the mean time. It's the right choice, it's the only are simply being a good mom by doing your best to take care of yourself as well as your family:) Good for you!

  8. Anonymous12:28 a.m.

    don't let anyone (and I do mean anyone) around you drag you down with their negativity.