Wednesday, October 5, 2011

GBE2 Challenge: Balance

I'm beginning to think that I'm primed and ready for the dunce cap with my blogging group. This week's topic is "Balance", but, seriously, people: If I had any, do you think I'd be running to a Mom Cave in a desperate effort to find my sanity?

What mom to special needs has balance? BALANCE? What the heck is that, anyway?



1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
3. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

Bwahahahahahahahaaaaaaa!!!!!!! Seriously? The only thing even remotely familiar in these definitions can be found in the second offering. Isn't that called wine? I know a host of prescriptive meds that many FINE moms have used in order to maintain their sanity in this life. I've always called them crutches, but who am I to argue semantics? They shall now collectively be called our balance.

Unfortunately, "balanced" parenting or lifestyle or emotional well-being, well, that's a whole other ball game, my friends. How does one get it? And, how does one keep it in the life of special needs? Hmmmm...well, I don't think I'm the right person to type any "How-to" essays on the topic.

I have a sad and sorry vision of our younger son in my mind, crafted partially from truth and also from a whole bunch of mommy guilt. In my vision, he's a grown man, lying on the couch in a psychiatrist's office, spilling his worries--worries that can all be traced back to us. My husband and I, of course, have ruined him.

Tell me, when only one parent is in a public location with both boys, and the older child, nonverbal and lacking danger awareness, bolts away at top speed, what is a parent to do? All too often, we found ourselves dropping whatever bags we had weighing us down and taking off after the older son, leaving the younger son behind. That's some great parenting there, born of necessity and certainly not balanced. As our younger son has grown, he's learned to just pick up that bags and slowly walk in the direction that he parent and brother ran, understanding that they will soon return.

I don't even want to know what he tells his future psychiatrist about this. Ugh.

When the kids have been on an outing, and the older brother unexpectingly goes through his current set of clothes but also the extra set that we always keep on us. How are the interests balanced when we have to cut the outing short and go home?

I hope that he will at least tell his doctor that we tried our best. Double ugh.

My husband and I, do NOT lead a balanced life. And, I venture to say that most parents in our shoes don't either. I think a more accurate statement is that most parents in our shoes live in constant pursuit of balance. It's the brass ring. We all want it and are reaching for it as hard as we can. We spend extra money on yoga when we really don't have the money to spend. We muster up the energy for girls' nights knowing that our kids will likely be awake the second we get home--all in an effort to break away from this life for a while. We create Mom Caves so that we can duck away from the fast paced insanity that is our daily lives, but, still, true balance is elusive.

Earlier this week I had an appointment with my general practitioner. My blood pressure was good, but she noted that my pulse was running high. It has been running high for a few months. At 41, I had my first EKG, which was perfectly normal. The racing heart is how my body reacts to a life that lacks balance.

One thing I desperately want to be sure of is that when our younger son is spilling his future emotions to his future psychiatrist about all of the emotional scars he has from our unbalanced parenting, emotions from the premature death of one of his parents isn't added to that.

Once placed in that context, blance has never before seemed so important.


  1. Have you seen the movie, Parenthood, with Steve Martin? It's one of my favorites and if you get the time, it's a great one to rent. Your post reminded me of it. :O)

    I think that in the midst of chaos, focusing on a 'balanced' life is asking for a kick in the teeth. Heck, even a balanced day can be a lot to hope for. Eh. You're still sane and in my book, that means that your balance is dandy enough. ♥

  2. Beth, thanks for reading through all the typos--I just cleaned up a bunch!

    I'm not sure if I have seen that movie? I don't remember much of anything these days. I'll google.

    Your response makes me giggle and think of something a doctor said to me--a female doctor--as I was preparing to fill out the questionnaire she gave me at the start of the session. She said, "You can just ignore all of the relationship questions because, when you are running away screaming from the fire-breathing dragon that is chasing you down the street, when are you really thinking about your relationship?" LOL! That was funny! Yet, still, there is a need to make a concerted effort to find balance. Our bodies and mind can only take so much.

  3. "Unbalanced parenting"? Seems to me that both of you are riding unicycles on a tight rope while juggling vacuum cleaners! And the remarkable thing is that you have NOT fallen off (I'll leave the 'yet' out of this sentence)!

    If your boys are ever on that couch, they will be granting interviews to the psychologists who want to know how their parents succeeded so well!

  4. Although I was a perfect, my sisters were not, and my parents were busy raising a special needs child. We had a busy chaotic life with lots of love.
    My folks did a great job, but when Mom needed a break she'd cook liver and onions. Dad would get the hint and hustle the kids to a pizza parlour.
    What we remember the most? Love.

  5. Kids remember things differently than adults. I have a daughter nearby and one in Colorado. We liked to take the nearby daughter and grandkids out to Colorado around Christmas when possible, and one year that meant leaving on Christmas day. I thought, "No problem. We'll just have dinner at a nice restaurant." Yeah. No restaurants open for 200 miles. So we stopped at a gas station and ate dinner off the tailgate of the Jeep in a cold, misty rain.

    Years later, I asked my grandkids what Christmas Day they remembered best and why. They both named that one, and I was consumed with guilt over ruining their Christmas. Till they gave their reasons. "Yeah," my grandson said, "that was fun!"

    I'm sure your son will surprise you in the same way.

  6. Funny, I was thinking as I read that, balance with 2 boys in the house is already a gigantic task! Two special needs boys? Makes me just laugh to imagine looking for it, however...and there is an however...what you might be able to accomplish as a couple is some emotional balance and what you apparently have already achieved, togetherness in your daily chaos. The emotional balance can be achieved by understanding that never ever will you get it all perfect and just good enough is absolutely good enough!
    You are such a remarkable woman and I have total faith that you will, in fact, find your own balance and you will thrive there. You are totally right about one thing for certain, your health is of the utmost importance. Please take care of YOU.

    :) (((hugs)))

  7. I can so relate to this! When I am not racked with guilt over not doing enough for my son on the spectrum I am racked with guilt over my son who is not special needs having to grow up with the craziness of our home. But, I hope previous commenters are right and that the take away for them will be a home- crazy as it may be- filled with love.

  8. For a really long time, Bear "ran" our house. We didn't realize yet that we needed to fine tune our parenting to meet his needs. It was a daily struggle to find some kind of balance (still is!) I can so relate to your psychiatrist fantasy...I can picture the rest of the kids complaining that we always had to do everything Bear's way :)

  9. Unfortunately, our kids don't come with a manual. Wish they did, because each kid is amazingly different. While you are trying to balance the chaos, I am trying to balance my attention equally between each one. Parenting is a balancing act. Once again you served up a very entertaining post proving once again that you got the life you live...nailed. Sounds like you all cope well, and in the long run...I don't think that brass ring is that far from your reach. Well done!!!


  10. 2:30. Older don's bus is about to arrive. Younger son has been punched on his bus two days running now. Electricity was gone for the morning, and I have a kitchen filled with the debris that was preparing hot breakfast and lunch boxes by flashlights.

    Thinking of balance. Breathing. Not working but will keep trying. lol.

  11. take both your wait...first take the hat off..ok now take both your arms..wrap them around yourself and HUG REALLY TIGHT!!!!!!!!!! you are an amazing woman, wife.. MOM and you ARE BALANCED ..just flowing from one loving moment to the next

    (now about the rapid pulse..drink more water..really!! 80 oz a day..and watch it normalize) hehe MUAH! love you my hero you are!