The Frazzled

I stood in the kitchen surveying the cluttered mess on the counter and deflated. This anxiety-inducing mess was on my to-do list (that’s longer than I am tall, by the way) and I hadn’t managed to get to it yet. It was already 3:00 p.m. I couldn’t ignore my need to rest, and the counter would just have to be left as it was.

Then it hit me. I figuratively slapped myself and realized, wait! Look at what I already did! I forced myself to make a mental list of what I already worked through today.

  • I got up. Which is a huge big deal considering the horrific health day I had yesterday. I forced myself to function through a high level pain day, including a full day of homeschool, navigating a complex family situation with minimal emotional explosions, and culminating in the highest level of pain management I have just to sleep. Moving forward after a day like that takes a huge toll on my body.

  • I got caught up on all of my school records. Including those from last week that kept dangling on the kitchen counter in piles of school books. It’s an on-going, frustrating task that I never seem to quite complete.

  • I took care of the foster kittens – play time, weighing them, care and clean-up – all of the little things like cuddling the teeny baby and coaxing her to eat that devours my time.

  • I did the next installment of dirty dishes and laundry. Like student loan payments, they’re always here and waiting.

  • Juggled kid battles, kid chores, and assorted minor emergencies. Normal life, but still draining and difficult when I’m feeling yuck.

  • Carried an actively-trying-to-hurt-me seven-year-old child through the grocery store, alternating with periods of full-restraint bear hugs sitting on the floor, or grimly holding on as he flopped on the floor so he wouldn’t bolt.

  • Managed to not snap or otherwise bite the head off of a shopper who wanted to have a nice chat while I was bear hugging my son on the floor in the middle of his deliberate attempts to crash his head into mine and hurt me as much as possible.

  • Accomplish checking out while holding said child at all times, then carrying him to the car.

  • Navigated the emotional storm in the car afterward, holding the boundaries with steely determination no matter how long it took until the child obeyed car safety rules so that we could leave. Because hearing seatbelts pop apart while driving is an added fun frisson to my day that I could do without.

  • Got everyone fed and back to a normal day for lunchtime.

I did a lot. Still doing a lot. If the counters aren’t magazine-level clean and clear, or even functionally clear, it’s not hurting anyone (but me.) It can wait. What can’t wait is the need to plan for school tomorrow, celebrate a big family event today, and cram in enough rest to hopefully avoid the looming migraine.

I can’t be and do everything. It’s not humanly possible for anyone, least of all me with my chronic health issues and high needs kids. It’s not fair to me to beat myself up for failing to complete that long to-do list, or have a perfect house, especially during a pandemic that just won’t stop.

We homeschoolers tend to hold ourselves to high levels of perfection. Maybe because others have high or unrealistic expectations? Add in chronic health issues or high needs kids, and it’s a good day if no one gets hurt and everyone has food and brushed teeth!

Be kind to yourself. I promise I’ll try to do the same!

pictured kitten is one of our current batch of foster kittens. Adopt, don’t shop!

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