Sunday, March 13, 2011

Walking on Egg Shells

Is it just me or do you hate the weekends? This weekend was really rough on us. Except for the scratches left on my husband’s arm after placing our son into a timeout, it wasn’t a violent weekend, but we were walking on egg shells. For the entire weekend.

It’s almost like the smell of coffee, you don’t have to see it to know that it’s brewing in the house. It’s the precursor to a rage, it’s the intense mood that’s stewing below the surface. It shows up as irritability and opposition. It’s like a predator, hunting out moments to pick at others, to create conflict for reasons unknown while leaving threats of a rage behind every incident.

The result is a lot of fighting and screaming among our boys and rising stress and disappointment within my husband and myself. As the day drags on, any optimism of having a restful weekend is completely lost and resentment starts to form. Anxiety creeps into my gut, as I flinch every time one of our boys screams, worried that a rage is breaking out, while feeling frustrated beyond belief that we can’t have 5 minutes of peace. Instead of planning fun family events, I find myself planning how to have alone time. I start to feel the weight of all the stress and give up on trying to save the sinking ship, knowing that any effort will produce the same results. Is this what raising kids is suppose to be like? Will we ever have fun and enjoy our children’s company? Or is this all we have to look forward to? Long weekends where everyone is miserable, walking on eggshells.

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What do you do to survive the weekend, please share, we could use a few ideas!

10 comments:

  1. I emailed this entry to some friends because it is 100 percent accurate to how we feel sometimes.

    How do we survive the weekends? With as much structure as possible and the knowledge and memory (however tiny or distant it may seem) that here is some fun and happiness to be had some of the time. And for some reason, the kids seem to remember that more than the bad.

    Thanks for this post!
    Betsy

    Betsy

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  2. boy, do I hear you! Our son is 8-autism diagnosis, but HIGHLY supsected bipolar diagnonsis as well, and your words really ring true. I agree with Betsy-structure is our friend on weekends, but we also use what my hubby and I call "dividing and conquering". I hope this won't be too long winded, but thought a description of this past Saturday, as an example, might be helpful. So, Saturday morning we had a neighbor kids birthday party, which both kids got invited to, up at the school gym. Both of us took the kids (we also have a 5 yr old daughter), with the idea that one of us could leave early with son if need be. he managed to do fine after an initial settling in period, so he and hubby stayed for most of it and left about 15 minutes early as the frosting from the birthday cake was kicking in:)

    then, hubby and son went to grocery (we called it "guy time") while daughter and I stayed at party, ran an errand ("girl time"). met up at home about an hour or so later at home, and our next "task" was rearranging/spring cleaning son's room, which sis helped. Granted, I did most of it, but it kept them both focused and somewhat involved with one another on a common goal. Lucky for our son, our daughter likes things neat and orderly, so she wanted to help! the kids got to enjoy their brother's "new" clean/rearranged room and wanted to do a sleepover. so, brother spent a good 1/2 hour setting up sis' cot, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. Again, a TASK for son is always very helpful in keeping him out of trouble, giving him somthing to work towards. then, they set up the portable DVD on the nightstand and watched some old Batman cartoons with dad, read a couple of books and fell asleep. While dad was having his time with the kids, I got to have a little alone time-running to the store alone, making a phone call, doing some dishes, whatever. Finally, at the end of the evening, hubby and I had a couple hours to chill. Sunday, we did a similar mix of mom/sis, mom/son, dad/sis, dad/son time, ending the night with a "family movie"-basically, a good excuse for all 4 of us to cozy up together on the couch and watch a movie that hopefully has some kind of good life lesson in it. last night's pick was "fly away home"-was excellent!

    So, long story short, we survive by breaking things up, as much or little as seems to be needed on a certain day, and building schedule or structure into everything, even if it is minor. Having time for me and hubby alone each night has been critical-great for just decompressing, and keeps us in a good mindset during the day when things get dicey, knowing that we will have our time to chill later. It takes some doing with bedtimes to get there, but I highly recommend it. Hope this helps-hang in there, our families are works in progress, and as long as the trajectory of your path is upward, you are doing great. Best of luck-

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  3. I wish mental illness were more predictable because it would make the family unit more cohesive but alas it is not. I think you handled everything this weekend to the best of your ability and that really is all you can do.

    When I was a younger kid about 12 I used to have these incredible urges to isolate myself but my mom was always trying to engage me in a group activity...even though I just wanted to be alone. She had good intentions but it resulted in me being more agitated. Though I had no violent outburst on a family member I would break things in my room. Then again sometimes the isolation would be so overwhelming all I could do was curl in a ball and cry. Oh man, I do not envy your situation.

    Reading your blog has opened up my mind to how ruff my parents had it raising me...even though they say I was an easy child I was a very difficult teenager. I wish you all the joys possible and praise all your efforts to ease your sons suffering. But understand this...sometimes the suffering is unavoidable because our brains are causing it and no amount of support can stop that. It is hard to cope when in a state like that and my only real suggestion would be to alter his meds. But who knows what pros and cons that would cause.

    Sorry, I have gone on to long here.

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  4. I agree with Anonymous, divide and "conquer." And plan. The weekends that go the best for us are with some activity that has been planned--but isn't over structured. We had good luck with a tree planting activity with the 4-H Million Trees Project. A group activity where the actual "activity" was very individual doing something he really cares about.
    My problem is that I get so tired of planning everything out. I just want to sit and not think come the weekend. Then I get a wild hair that we should do something--forgetting that spontaneity is not my friend.

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  5. My daughter is an only child, so our situation is a little different. But I've certainly experienced those horrible weekends of being held hostage by an angry, bored kid!. My daughter CRAVES being around other kids. If we don't have lots of playdates or other social activities planned for the weekend, we are in for some serious torture. Thankfully, she now actually HAS friends to play with. So I try to make sure I've got at least one playdate planned for each weekend. Have you read this article about boredom and the bp kid (http://www.bipolarchild.com/Newsletters/0402.html) ? Your description of your son being a predator is exactly like what it talks about and explains.

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  6. Thanks for the feedback, I agree that structure and "divide and conquer" are very effective methods, but I think I have Heather’s problem, I get so tired of planning everything out. All week I am on a schedule that’s pretty firm, I’m "ON" all the time, but when the weekend comes I need some down time to recoup from the prior week and I start to relax with the structure and let my kids have "free playtime", then things start to fall apart.

    I don‘t know that I can always be "ON", so this makes it very tough to do. I need to be more mindful of this, yet at the same time, I don’t know if I can do this 100% of the time, I’m getting stressed just thinking about it. It feels like the life is being sucked out of me.

    Regardless, I need to get better at this because our weekends will always be miserable if I don’t step it up.

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  7. Bugs Mom- Thanks for the link you gave, what a wonderful, insightful article! It is a great reminder that what we see in our kids is their brain not functioning correctly, it is so easy in the middle of it all to think your child is just being mean and picking on others, but to read that this is just a way to provoke a stimulus in their environment because of executive function deficits in the brain, helps me understand so much better. What an enlightening article. Reading it, I was able to relate on so many levels, it felt like they were talking about my son’s behavior.

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  8. In the Pink- Once again, that you for given me insight as to what my son is experiencing, your posts are always so helpful!

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  9. Oh Mama Bear, Thank you so much! You must have been a fly on the wall in my home many times. No kidding. What a wonderfully writen article too. I am very grateful for the link you reposted from Bugs Mom as well. I devoured that and continued on to several other newsletters from Papolos @BPChild. Thank you again so very much for being there for all of us. You are truly wonderful!

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  10. You're welcome Mel, I'm so glad the BP Child article spoke to you too! Thanks again Bug's mom for sharing it with us.

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