Dear Exhausted Mom
It's exhausting to be the pre-frontal cortex for an entire family. Of course you are bone weary. You are but a mere human, yet have an entire household dependent on you to organize, manage time, regulate emotions, solve problems, all the things. It is exhausting for any mom, but for a mom to differently wired kids who . . . phew.
I know that there have been days when you’ve sat with your anxious, empathic child for hours helping them breathe, cuddling them, soothing them, trying different strategies to alter their catastrophic thinking or help them find ways to contain their empathy. I know that you have spent those same hours simultaneously having to do your own breathing, soothing, and trying different strategies to keep calm and supportive when really 500 other things were on your to-do list.
I know that you have been called names and had things thrown at you and stared sensory overwhelm and rage in the face as you were the calm eye in the middle of the hurricane. I know that there have been hours spent physically keeping children safe, sitting silently by waiting for the storm to pass, whispering loving statements, all while you kept your own internal storm at bay.
I know that you’ve kept track of homework and appointments and chore schedules and birthday parties and shopping and careers and relative’s visits and therapies and therapy homework and oh so many other things. You are the family calendar.
If you have a significant other, I know that you’ve spent time intervening to help them stay regulated and respond to our neurodiverse kids’ intense ways of being. I know that you’ve struggled to decide when to intervene and when to stay back. I know that you’ve felt like you were at the end of your rope, but still had to step in to relieve your partner. And I know that you desperately needed to just check out instead.
I know you’ve patiently reminded absent-minded teens to close cabinet doors and put shoes away and do their laundry. I know you’ve spent hours finding creative systems to help – a chart, a reminder on your phone, a planner, etc, etc, etc.
And I know there’ve been times when you’ve missed an appointment, forgotten about a volleyball practice, lost your patience, yelled at your kids. I know you feel guilt about those times, because you’re supposed to be the one that keeps it all together. But, you’re human, and just because the consequences when mom is less-than-perfect can reverberate throughout the walls of your home, does not mean you can avoid being less-than-perfect.
I know you. You are not alone. Of course you are exhausted. Of course you can be scatter-brained. Of course you feel like the emotional weight of your family is on your shoulders. But, you are not alone.
Take care of you. Reach out to other moms who get it. Demand more of your spouses. Retreat for a weekend or a week. Let the house fall apart for a minute. Allow yourself to be exhausted without guilt. Because of course you are exhausted. You are the executive functioning for your whole family.
A mom who knows