Lately it feels like I’m juggling multiple balls and can’t keep them all in the air. Life at home has actually been fairly calm. We’ve only had a couple of meltdowns in the last few weeks and it’s been a month since our last rage. Praise the Lord!!

Despite the calm, I’m struggling. When life calms down enough to give me breathing room, I start thinking. Processing. Daring to dream just a little. And that makes me realize how far from normal we really are.

Awhile ago I posted that my therapist has me trying to identify my core values. Honestly, I’m stuck at two. My second core value is that life can always get better if I work hard. I’ve always been a planner and a dreamer. I worked hard in high school and earned a scholarship to college. (How I lost said scholarship after my freshman year is a long story). I lost a ton of weight in my 20’s. I budgeted, scrimped, saved, and paid off a ton of debt that my husband and I accrued both before marriage and after marriage. I’ve studied Latin, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. I read a ton. I truly believe that if I work hard enough, I can improve my mind, my health, my spiritual life, my marriage.

Unfortunately, I cannot force that improvement on my children. I cannot force them to stop raging. I cannot force them to stop melting down. I cannot stop the permanent trauma they’ve so generously shared with me. I cannot force growth so that they no longer rely on me to keep their emotions stable.

This family life and my core belief that I can always make improvements are at odds with each other. I’m trying to determine if it’s possible for me to regain control of the emotional state of our family. When my children melt down, it changes everything. The other day, one of my daughters had an hour long meltdown. I sat near her, offered comfort (she rejected it for awhile), and eventually was able to pull her out of it. But addressing that meltdown was at the expense of my other daughter because I disappeared downstairs to deal with daughter #1. When the meltdown started, I was engaged with daughter #2. So daughter #2 was left behind so that I could deal with daughter #1. And after that hour long meltdown, I no longer had the energy to study Chinese or exercise or do anything that required much of an effort. My energy was completely sapped trying to connect with daughter #1 and help her deal with the huge emotions that caused the meltdown.

How do I learn a language while trying to navigate the emotional minefield in our home? How do I find the energy to exercise on a regular basis? It’s a good sign that I’m once again finding the motivation to do these things. But I cannot control my environment enough to exercise, keep up with my Chinese studies, complete the FlyLady assignments, finish the taxes, declutter, etc. There’s not enough of me to go around.

I was hoping to write a more positive post today but this is what’s been on my mind lately. The challenge – how do I help my girls heal enough that their daily struggles stop sapping every bit of my energy and motivation?

3 Thoughts on “Juggling

  1. Jim R on May 31, 2017 at 3:23 am said:

    I recently read a couple of observations about us Americans that came to mind when I read your post:

    — Americans have trouble accepting that bad things happen to good people

    — Americans believe that any problem can be solved with the right combination of tools and talent

    It seems to me that you are an example of WHY many Americans believe that about solving problems. You are WINNING. Not as fast as you’d like, I know, but you are. Give yourself credit. The war is costing you a lot of blood, toil, tears and sweat, but you are winning it. I suggest, too, that you are setting an example for your girls that will pay big dividends for them in years to come.

    And I use the metaphor of war deliberately: when it’s a fight for your life (and Jeff’s, Cin-ru’s and Li-le’s), other priorities *naturally* get pushed aside. I add that it seems to me that you wouldn’t have even THOUGHT about resuming your Chinese studies a year ago. Those were the dark days, but you got through them.

    Good work!

  2. I agree with Jim. You are making progress. I’m a strong believer of I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control my response. You are responding to your girls with love and grace. You are modelling unconditional love and also self-improvement. What children see is often more important than what they hear us say.

    You are starting to get the energy to think about more than just surviving through the day, that is a huge step. Celebrate that progress.

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