Tag Archives: pancakes gone awry

It’s About The Sanity

by Patty, Pancakes Gone Awry

I sat on the park bench crying inconsolably. I was too upset to go home; I didn’t feel like explaining myself to Bil or the kids, so I just sat there sobbing, so angry at Danny’s teachers.

I had just had a terribly frustrating meeting with them about how he “couldn’t focus.” The teachers gave no suggestions, only complaints. It was obvious they were giving up on him for the year. The special ed teacher kept talking about how much better third grade would be. It was only March, but they were already giving up on my kid.

I felt helpless and sad and hopeless, as I sat on that bench staring at the houses that lined the street surrounding the park. Trying fruitlessly to come up with solutions, I wracked my brain. But there was nothing. I had nothing at all. I was so drained and confused and angry. And I didn’t know what to do to feel better.

Then, I had a thought. I would go to Zumba class. That would buy me some time before I had to rehash the meeting with Bil. I just wanted to be alone, and Zumba seemed like a good place for that. Though crowded, it’s dark and noisy–no need to talk to, or even look at, anyone.

So, I composed myself and headed to the gym.

As soon the bass tones of the music filled the room, I felt relief. As I danced, I was actually overcome with a peace and an overflow of emotion. I started to get choked up, but this time it wasn’t out of hopelessness, it was blessed peace and release. I knew I still had to figure out how to help Danny, but at that moment, I could revel in the movement and how good it felt. As I cha-cha’d and shimmied, I began to feel that life was manageable again. I would figure it out.

By the time the workout was over, I felt like a new woman.

I have been working out pretty regularly, since my teens, in an attempt to manage my burgeoning weight. Aerobics videos, walking, biking all to reduce the size of my hips, thighs and stomach. I knew that if I ever wanted to look like Kate Winslet, I should be exercising everyday.

It hasn’t been until recent years that I realized exercise was about much more than my appearance and weight.

It is the one thing standing between me and depression.

I first realized this when I was pregnant with Tommy. My first trimester hit me hard emotionally. I was already overwhelmed with my parenting duties and the hormonal onslaught only made me more scared, lonely and weepy. I couldn’t make it through the day without crying. And these crying jags were not just the kind you have from watching a sappy Hallmark commercial. Oh, no, these episodes included me feeling like things were completely dismal, that I was the worst mother in the world and I would never be able to handle another child.

I had almost decided to talk to my doctor about medication when I popped in an exercise video. To my surprise, I starting smiling almost as soon as the warm-up was done, and I didn’t cry once the rest of the day. After that, I knew that if I were going to make it through the pregnancy sanity intact, working out had to be a priority.

That episode on the park bench last year reminded me that I have to make time for exercise. Though I rarely look forward to the actual work out, I always feel better afterwards. More telling is when I take a break for a week. All of a sudden, my emotions are more difficult to control. My stress levels raise exponentially, and I don’t sleep as well.

So, I try to make it a priority to work out, no matter what is happening. I sometimes feel guilty about the time I am taking away from my family, but really we all benefit from it.

I’ll never have Kate Winslet’s body, but some things are more important than looks.

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The mother of three kids, Patty’s eight-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter have both been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her oldest son also has high functioning autism. Though her two-year-old son has no diagnosis as of yet, she’s pretty certain he has SPD, as well. She blogs at Pancakes Gone Awry and has contributed to OUR Journey THRU Autism. Her writing has been published in SI Focus Magazine and online at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Mamapedia. She recently started a LEGO social skills group for kids on the spectrum for those with social/developmental delays in her area.

This post was originally published HERE and was used with her permission.

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step

Me And My Martyr Syndrome

by Patty, Pancakes Gone Awry

I haven’t had an entire day to myself in 9 months. Heck, I haven’t even had a couple consecutive hours to myself since then.  Instead, I am constantly pulled in multiple directions: the kids need me, I’m expected to help with the PTO, my church responsibilities never seem to let up.  Even the Red Cross has my number on speed dial, so that the term “blood, sweat, and tears” applies to the demands on me in a very literal sense.

Last week I informed my husband that I needed some time off, time away from him and the kids. Time which I could spend however I desired. He readily consented to guard the home front, so I could get away.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I would do with myself.  After all, my town doesn’t boast many entertainment options, and I was in no mood to brave the wintry weather to drive 70 miles to the nearest mall.  By the time Saturday came, I was still at a loss as to how to spend my few hours of free time.  Go to the library?  Sit at the cafe in town? Window shop at Kohl’s?

It didn’t really matter, as long as I spent some time in solitary confinement.

All Saturday morning, we ran around trying to complete errands and take care of the kids.  After many, many distractions and obstacles on Saturday morning, Bil finally insisted I leave the house so I could get my time alone after lunch.

As I readied myself for my outing, Charlotte mentioned that she wanted to come with me so we could have a “Charlotte-Mommy Date,” and for some reason I still don’t understand, I assented and took her with me.  I think I actually was a bit relieved to have some company, even that of a preschooler to keep me occupied.

Though my afternoon was very enjoyable, I don’t know why I wasted my only chance this week at some alone time.  After all that whining and complaining about  how I am constantly at everyone’s beck and call, why did I not run from the house before anyone could notice I was leaving?  Why did I not just say “no” to my daughter?  Why didn’t I assert my right for some independent fun?

I’m really not sure, but I do know one thing:  though it is true that I have many obligations that make free time hard to come by, it’s often MY fault I don’t get to go out alone.  I’m the one to blame!

After some soul searching, I realized that I am a bit of a martyr, though I really hate to publicly admit this.  I like feeling wanted and needed.  It feels good to be the one who knows just how to calm Danny and Charlotte’s overwhelmed senses.  I like that they would rather spend time with me than give me a moment’s peace.  I like being the one who knows where everything is, how the hot dogs need to be cut so as to avoid any tantrums, and how to convince the kids to cooperate for their dreaded therapy.

No matter how much I complain about all those responsibilities, I must, on some level, like being the one in charge.  If not, why didn’t I leave the house alone on Saturday?

And staying at home and complaining is sometimes easier than getting out of my comfort zone and doing something for myself.  It’s easier than figuring out what it is I actually want to do with myself, because apparently, somewhere in the last 7.5 years of parenting, I’ve lost sight of what that is.  Probably through lack of practice.

I have a lot more soul searching to do in order to ascertain why I am not making time for  myself.  Sure, I can blame it on the kids, our lack of money for babysitters and all my other responsibilities, but Saturday made me realize I am not being entirely truthful with myself.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize that my martyr syndrome is not doing anyone any favors.  Not getting any free time is making me a total crank with an incredibly short fuse.  But that’s the least of the problems.  I realize now that I am not giving Bil the opportunity to spend alone time with the kids.  He isn’t getting the chance to be the guy in charge and to teach the kids that there is more than one way to cut a hot dog.  Armageddon will not occur because Bil cuts Charlotte’s orange rather than peeling it.  And my kids need to get that.  But if I am always hanging about, fixing things and butting in, they won’t.

So, this Saturday, I’m getting out of the house.  Alone.  No amount of whining and complaining by the kids will make me change my mind.  After all, it’s for their good as much as mine.

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The mother of three kids, Patty’s eight-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter have both been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her oldest son also has high functioning autism. Though her two-year-old son has no diagnosis as of yet, she’s pretty certain he has SPD, as well. She blogs at Pancakes Gone Awry and has contributed to OUR Journey THRU Autism. Her writing has been published in SI Focus Magazine and online at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Mamapedia. She recently started a LEGO social skills group for kids on the spectrum for those with social/developmental delays in her area.

This post was originally published HERE and was used with her permission.

3 Comments

Filed under Remembering to Breathe