There is something that happened when I began living with other people I’m responsible for. I don’t remember noticing this as a child or in my early marriage either. It began when my first child was born.
It seemed like every time I tried to do something, it affected me/her badly. If I tried to cook, she would wake up and cry. If I tried to shower, she would scream. If I tried to nap, she would wake up… crying. It paralyzed me… I couldn’t start anything without it being interrupted.
Then my second was born. Then my third was adopted. Then my fourth was born. And now my fifth is adopted.
Naturally and imperatively, I learned to live within a world riddled by interruptions. But there is a kind of interruption that still paralyzes me. It’s when the things I do cause others to be upset. As a mother of kids who have experienced trauma and neglect, part of my caregiving involves sitting with kids while they experience the fear and pain and panic of PTSD. It involves supporting and guiding them as they come out from their trauma brain and toward healthier responses to life. As a mother of children with autism and sensory processing disorder, I am often parenting kids who are distraught due to everyday life experiences that are just too overwhelming for them.
Even with all my experience, I’m still paralyzed all the time! Vacuuming excites one child, terrifies another, and irritates one more. Using the blender (essential, because two of my kids eat a pureed diet) worries one, hurts the ears of another… and terrifies a third. Zoom classes…. oh, zoom classes! The pressure to be ready and “on camera” at a particular time paralyzes and panics one child! The printer turning on is stressful. The toilet flushing is sometimes stressful. The shower curtain being too close to the toilet is stressful. A cabinet door being left open is stressful.
I don’t know why I’m sharing. It’s just been a difficult morning after a difficult afternoon yesterday and I’m tired and need to write. Because I pushed through and did some blending. And it was awful. And my chore list is so long, but I am struggling to begin.