I am all out of sorts today trying to reflect. Lets start with the desperate feeling that creeps in when you caught in a limbo during a conversation you have with your child's teachers at school. I know what I would do, but do I trust they know best as educators or that I do as a parent? After disengaging and time in the car to reflect-Perhaps, neither of us know best, but rather we know differently. Okay, so identify the issue. He hates reading time. Is he bored? Does he already know the words? Is he distracted? Enter mom visiting school for reading time today.
As Chandler sat for his word lesson, I could see how distracted he was today. Today there was lightly falling snow outside the window, I know because I followed his gaze. It really is beautiful. I quietly watched his teacher try to engage him with the words. Horse. A. Car. He was breaking eye contact, turning his head away from the page. Touching her newly manicured fingernails because he is fascinated with nails. He has been working on horse. a. car. yellow. see . all year long. My gut feeling is that he is bored senseless. On to edmark, a computer based word program. The pleasant voice speaking out "Find the word ball" and Chandlers hand travels to ball. "Find the word yello.." He pushes it abruptly and turns away. He is pushing them before they finish speaking. He knows these words. All of them.
Here's the problem. He is not consistent. They cannot say he "knows" them for certain. How are they ever going to assess that? Ever? Should they move on to other words? I don't know. I just don't know.
Fast forward. Email from my college professor, who mentioned to me that I was consistently late to class. And apparently I sighed coming in loudly last Friday. (To clarify-I live 75 miles away, and its every Thurs and Fri. and I had to run all the way to class) An excerpt:
"...it seems like you are in a constant state of overwhelm. I would really recommend that you consider some self-care to help you develop better coping skills for managing stress and widening your homeostasis. You could consider seeing someone privately, or I could set you up for some coaching with X (free for students). I recognize that your stress related to your child isn't going to go away, yet your ability to manage your responsibilities, your time, and your relationships with those around you are always "improve-able." From what you've said, it sounds like you've become a kind of "island unto yourself" and wonder if you could use some self-care to improve your life. A balanced mom is much more able to care for her loved ones than a stressed one - I know this from experience."
I was unsure whether I should laugh or cry. I really like her as an instructor, but she doesn't know me as well as I had assumed. I wish to God she knew me five years ago. My reply was this:
Thanks for writing me back! I didn't realize I was coming in loudly, I will pay attention to that (I think the sigh is due to relief that I made it at all after running to class, and its "getting my bearings"), but I will check that. I don't mind you stepping out on a limb to give me feedback, I welcome that actually. I really do have some time for self care, (normally my respite care time during the week, and zumba class, and of course support group). I agree that I come off as overwhelmed, but really tend to be a dramatic speaker, which is improving after all these conflict classes. I have seen a private therapist because the stress load can get overwhelming. I know when my homeostatis is off. It's not just taking care of Chandler, I take on advocacy, working on changing school policies, etc. more than I should. My mother has severe MS, and as the oldest child, my father and I have daily conversations about moving her to a nursing home, and my husband's job schedule with the railroad is unknown day to day (that is permanent). I am a pretty good multi-tasker, and everything has worked out for me until these past few months. I don't have enough hours in the day, or days in the week to cram everything in, and I know how much I take on. I am really working on taking on less outside responsibilities, but its hard to let go, that means dropping some of my support group stuff. I actually feel like I do an exceptional job of balancing responsibilities, but this is my last year of school and that entails picking up all these "extras" like classes at 3 colleges, and bits and pieces. I don't feel too overwhelmed, but I recognize that is how I am perceived. I grew up in a home where catastrophized speech was the status quo, and although I see it, that is what comes naturally. I also naturally run on hyperdrive, its how I get things done. But I will practice slowing down my vibe, althought I will disagree with you a little bit, that sometimes appearing in a constant state of busy, can look like "overwhelmed' when you are an outloud thinker! Have a good one. Nicole
Sometimes, as mothers in this lifestyle, we are so used to being this way, we forget about perceptions of us, and are surprised when people are wrong. Dead wrong. I know I seem stressed out and overwhelmed sometimes, but I love my crazy life. I thrive on this. One minute I am humming Farmer in the Dell so Chandler will put on his shirt, and the next I am answering a phone call from my who knows who trying to schedule in more things in my already packed week. But I see Chandler make eye contact with me and say "MOMMY, MOMMAY". It's not overwhelming stress, its passion.