Today I Have a Sh*tty Attitude


August 13, 2009 by Marj Hatzell

You know, when I signed up for this parenting gig, no one ever told me to read the fine print. They certainly didn’t say anything about NINE YEARS WITHOUT A VACATION or NINE YEARS WITHOUT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.  No sir.  Because if I read that? I might have thought about it for a while. And then signed anyway.

It’s really starting to wear me down. I feel defeated. I am sad and moping around the house.  I get angry with people for silly things and I’ve gotten somewhat forgetful.  I am unorganized and I am in the middle of about fifteen things constantly and never finish any of them. I really despise this.  I don’t like the way I look, I have bags under my eyes and I barely have enough energy to walk the dog twice a day, let alone get any form of decent exercise.  This is all really taking its toll on me, y’all.

My normally cheery disposition has been replaced with a miserable, tired hag who curses like a drunken sailor. This is different from my normal persona, the perky, energetic, tired hag who curses like a drunken sailor. I’m still too stoopid to say ‘no’ to people and I still want to help folks out as much as I can.  That’s just me.  The thing is, I just don’t have the energy to do it.  I want to volunteer and be there for my friends and be involved and I can barely put coherent sentences together.  Not like I could put coherent sentences together when I did get a decent amount of sleep, but let’s just pretend I did and now you don’t understand a word I say and want the old DG back.  Just for the sake of argument.

The thing is, I stay home for a living. I desperately want to stop staying home and get at least a part-time gig.  But I cannot. It is not physically possible.  If I work outside the home, I cannot sleep during the day to make up for when Bugaboo does not.  It I work outside the home, I would have to find him child care for those weird breaks.  I am not going to let my husband waste his hard-earned vacation time on those breaks and then never go on vacation.  And if I get a job I cannot very well go in there once a month and ask for a week off.  Also?  There ain’t no way in heck Bugaboo is going to make it in any sort of daycare situation, y’all.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am quite grateful that I can stay home and my husband makes a decent living and we can afford it.  Sorta.  We cannot really afford it, but we make it work. We don’t live paycheck-to-paycheck, but some months the credit card bills are higher than others.  I shop at second hand stores almost exclusively for the kids’ clothes (and mine).  I dog sit, baby sit and do whatever I have to in order to earn money for extras like soccer and music.  And I feel like a whiny beeyotch for even mentioning this.

But I am going insane.

My brain is turning to mush. I have conversations with children all day.  I rarely talk to adults.  I’m sleep deprived and can’t get my housework done during the day.  I can’t get into a regular exercise program and have gained twenty-five pounds (and counting!  WOO!) as a result.  I just don’t feel like me.  Or maybe I feel like me but the alternate universe me.  The one who never gets what she strives for, never sleeps, never gets to read a freaking book for pleasure, never goes out with her friends, never sleeps in the same bed as her husband (Which is getting sooooo oooooolddddd) and never, ever gets to sit for five minutes and just do absosmurfly nothing (OK, I exaggerate ever so slightly, but I think you catch my drift).

Nothing is going to make this situation better.  It is what it is. Sounds cliche, but it is true. Bugaboo is autistic.  Bugaboo has autism.  Autism is our family.  And with that comes sleepless nights, doctor’s visits, therapy, a life turned upside down.  It ain’t going away, so the sooner I learn to live with it the better, right?  Right.  Except I don’t want to live with it. I’m sick of living with it.  LET SOMEONE ELSE LIVE WITH IT FOR A WHILE. I need a break.  A long one.  Not just a weekend a year. I just want to be done.  Except it never will be.

I want to parent my child without experts lending their opinions. I want to sleep once in a while. I want to clean my house and have it stay that way for a few minutes. I want to get new furniture or floors and have them look nice occasionally. I want to end the stream of strangers coming in and out of my house. I want to go on a family vacation without having to contact all of the local authorities to warn them in case my kid escapes. I want to be able to go to the bathroom without my kid running away. Nekkid.  I want to be able to hug him and kiss him without being pushes away (or bitten). I want to hear his voice.

I know I’m super-emotional for a few reasons:

A) Bugaboo is finished early intervention today.  His teacher of three years is amazing and I can’t stand the fact that we are moving on away from her. She has been such a good support system for us and has done amazing things for Bugaboo. And she promised me on the first day, the day my baby entered her room, that he would be communicating and using the toilet by the time he left her class.  And sobbed when she told me this.  And here I am crying now because, guess what?  He’s communicating.  And he’s using the toilet.

2) He’s technically a first-grader now. My petite, skinny, hyper, autistic boy.  My friends, who have boys the same age, the ones Bugaboo grew up with?  All going to first grade.  All buying new backpacks.  All playing town soccer and on the swim team and taking Spanish after school and going to reading club.  Bugaboo?  HECK, I’LL TAKE KOREAN SO LONG AS HE TALKS.  This is always going to be difficult for me to accept.  I know I shoudn’t compare him, but how can I not?  It just hurts.

D) Bugaboo is moving on to a new school with new kids and new teachers and new administration and a new way of doing things.  This is going to be difficult for ALL OF US.  It will be a tough transition for him.  It will be a tough transition for us.  I know it will work out for the best and I very much wanted him to be in this school but it still makes me anxious and apprehensive because I keep thinking they are going to call me after two days and say, “Um. Yeah. We made a mistake, we don’t want him.”

13 thoughts on “Today I Have a Sh*tty Attitude

  1. I feel the same way. My three kids wear me out. I’m tired ALL the time. I don’t remember when I actually got 8 hours of uninterupted sleep. Or peace and quiet for more than an hour.

  2. RuthWells says:

    Honey girl, you need a break. Seriously. Make you a deal — get a sitter or get Hubby to cover for a few hours, and we’ll go get pedicures together. On me. You don’t even have to talk to me if you don’t want — you can sleep or read gossip magazines. But I’m going with you to make sure you RELAX, dammit!

  3. She Started It says:

    I know things are tight financially, but is there any way you can barter for housecleaning? If someone came once a week to do a deep cleaning and help you catch up on laundry so you can rest a little more.

  4. Kelly says:

    Marj, I wish I could say or do something to relieve the burden a bit. So it is your reality. Doesn’t mean that’s easy to ingest or live with, as you say, 24/7. A person needs sleep, an outlet, a retreat.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but just feel free to vent. We’ll listen.

  5. HG says:

    I wish there was a way for you to get away, just for a little bit. 😦

  6. RuthWells says:

    Honey girl, you need a break. Get a sitter or Hubby to cover for a few hours, and I’ll take you for a pedicure (on me). You can read gossip magazines the whole time if you want, but I’m coming with to make SURE you relax!

  7. Merlot says:

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling sleep deprived. The transtion for Bugaboo and you guys maybe tricky, but you are doing the right thing. The new school will be awesome for him and he will continue to grow. As for adult conversation, I’ll gladly stop by with Lovey Girl if you’d like.

  8. MemeGRL says:

    You know that old chestnut “of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most”? Yah. Me too.
    Hey–wanting your child to talk isn’t “comparing.” It’s a basic human instinct. You’re allowed to want that for him without turning it on yourself as though it’s not good parenting.
    That’s my thought and I’m sticking to it.
    Does Amazing Teacher ever do babysitting? Sounds like she’s been fabulous with him and if there’s no need to sever the connection…Just a thought. I know if I were teaching, I wouldn’t be sitting also, but I also know a ton of teachers who shock me by picking up money by babysitting when they are off.
    Other thought I had: at some point when more sleep is being had by all, maybe working at the school but not in the classroom would work for you. It’s been a great solution for one friend.
    Thinking of you–let me know how to help–

  9. Mina says:

    Just want to say I get it…I’m there too. Your post made me cry because I’ve thought and felt those very same things, and even now am feeling that way. When you have kids you don’t really even consider that Autism is going to effect your kids; your family. My older autistic son is starting Kindergarten this year. He’s verbal, but I’m still scared, because he’s NOT your average 5 year old. And how hard is it to avoid comparing what every other child is doing at the same age as your autistic child. I keep thinking it’s so unfair. I love all my children (I have 2 on the spectrum and 2 who are NT), but I am just SO DRAINED all the time. And I hear other moms of typical kids saying “Yeah, well, it’s tough raising kids.”, but I know they don’t really GET IT. They don’t understand that it’s more than just typical childhood stuff. That we would KILL for just typical childhood stuff.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I’m right there with you.

  10. julie says:

    From another sleep deprived, overly-emotional, mother of 2 hyper-autistic boys- YOU ARE AWESOME! the boys are super lucky you have them!!!! As for CARES, heck they haven’t asked us to leave…yet(maybe once the grusome twosome are back together…). We will cross that bridge another time. Hang in and hope it hurts a bit less to know that you have lots of good company on this journey called Autism! As for wonderful, amazing teacher..yup she is all that, but be ready for a whole school full of them, not just that special classroom that they were in! August 31 isn’t too far, and we are just a phone call away(even at 3 in the morning!)

  11. Joe says:

    Hang in there. The breaks are fewer and shorter at the new place. That might help a bit.

  12. Hugs.

    I thought of you this AM when I heard Future Senator Sestak speak on his autism task force.

  13. pkzcass says:

    I can’t relate, but I can feel for you, and I do. Um, do you think getting a puppy now is a good idea?

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