"As homeschoolers, I think we feel the pressure to “do it all” even more because we know personally that we are 100% responsible for the little ones we have with us 24/7. We feel that responsibility acutely—that is part of the reason we started homeschooling in the first place. We also know that “everyone” is watching us, wishing us good or ill, and we feel that anything less than perfect will brand us a failure in their eyes." Michele Bolton, "You're So Selfish", National LDS Homeschool Association.
Shiloah sent me the website, http://lds-nha.org/ that had some articles on it. Yesterday was a day of overload, burnout, guilt, misery, and frustration. It had started out good, but ended so badly. It's nothing new that has never happened before. Basically, the day centered on my oldest child, Isaac, who recently got diagnosed with autism. He just turned 9 in December. It's been a long time coming to get this diagnosis so his quirks and mannerisms are nothing new to us, but how to deal with his issues effectively are becoming increasingly difficult as he ages and learns more things. I find myself not agreeing with some of the suggested "therapies", but then I also find myself searching for more that will help him and us to function. Obviously, no two children have the same autistic tendencies, and I'm so I'm in the "elimination period" of trying stuff out, throwing out what doesn't work and testing new ideas.
By last night, I was doubting my abilities as a mother, overwhelmed with guilt, crying because Isaac was crying because we both had been stressed to the ultimate maximum, I was doubting whether to continue to homeschool him, I was embarrassed. When we sat down to start school yesterday I realized Isaac was at least 4 days behind, and this is with me constantly doing one on one with him. So, I decided he had to get caught up yesterday, and it took us 6 hours of work to get 5 pages of work done, and we didn't even finish what all he still had to do. Shortly after he finished, he had an eye appointment. We found out he has to get bifocals so his eyes can relax and start working together (he did a vision accuracy test in which we discovered his eyes are not working together). I felt like a heel when the doctor, just in passing, said Isaac was working overtime long before we even got down to learning. The exam was difficult. Isaac wouldn't answer her questions, was slow to respond to "which is better" questions, squirmed and readjusted himself during the exam. I don't think he understood me the three times I tried to explain what they were going to do during the exam. We had about an hour and half after the appointment to run an errand and get dinner for us before he had to be at a church primary activity. He didn't finish his supper (nor for that matter had he finished his lunch) and this brings me to another concern that he is losing weight. This is a kid that has been underweight and skinny most of his life, and for weight is somewhere around the 5th percentile. We get to church and he's again refusing to answer questions or respond to requests. They decorated cookies and while Isaac was never obnoxious or ill-behaved, he was moving fast and making a huge mess, made way more cookies than he needed, and it was hard to watch him during this because his movements were jerky and inconsistent and you could see every muscle in his body tensed as he tried to frost and decorate the cookies. They had to write a Valentine card to their family and this was the most he said during the evening, which sounded like a broken record, that he could not think of anything to say. They had to cut out hearts for a service project. He cut out tie shapes.
Not that any of the ladies there last night made comments or passed judgments, but I was already feeling inadequate and sensitive to Isaac's needs and incapabilities, it was hard not to assume they were thinking the worst of me. It was hard not to come home and think that I'm failing him in some way and that maybe public school would be the better route, but when we did try public school, it was 10 times more stressful with Isaac.
When we got home last night, Simeon threw up on both couches, was running fever, Curtis was sick, Jesse was complaining of a sore throat, Isaac had a headache, Hannah was cold and not feeling good and Joshua was hopped up on something and running wild, and the dog ate our new 30.00 extension cord to keep our well from freezing. I woke up at 3 having to go the bathroom and feeling queasy myself. Part of it was probably nerves, the other part pregnancy.
In the wake of a day like yesterday, I have to admit I'm a little timid to start today. There was thankfully no more throwing up, but we still have fevers to contend with. I've already had to get on Isaac 3 times to eat breakfast. School has not even begun yet, but I know it won't have to be like yesterday. Not that this whole post has been worthwhile for anyone to read, but days like yesterday with an autistic child, sick kids, and a sick husband make me really want to run away. I won't, I can't, and I will persevere, but boy it makes it hard to WANT to go on.