Some of my regular readers may have noticed a dearth of posts this past month or so. I have been experiencing a major burnout due to holiday, marital and child stresses. I have taken a few months break from my other blogs The Exploration Station and The Wonder Years. I have been dealing with a lot of parenting-related marriage stresses, because as any parent with gifted children or children with learning disabilities or high sensitivity/emotional intensity knows, the roller-coaster ride is extra challenging on a marriage.
One of my internet friends had felt something was up…and he was right. I had told him though I didn’t want to air my dirty laundry (at least any more than I already had), but that we needed the prayers to keep us going.
This morning, I found I had a comment on the The Wonder Years blog from a teacher who invented a nifty little math tool called the Zero Sum Ruler to help with integer subtraction. If your child could use the help, check it out. Anyway…the point is that I checked around her blogroll and found a cool little blog called Well Educator.org, which is devoted to helping teacher burnout. I spent a few moments there and realized…hey wait a minute…I’m suffering from teacher burnout. No, I’m not a teacher, per se, but I do home educate my children when they aren’t in school. And in addition, I’m suffering from parent burnout (and bloggers/writers burnout), and wife burnout too.
Mr. RSG has a new job…of sorts. He works in a sales position, but he doesn’t get paid very much until he makes the sales. Well, technically he hasn’t even gotten paid at all yet in the three weeks he’d been working there. So add that to the mix of stressors too. There was a glitch in the processing of unemployment benefits, so we had gone 3 months without any income. We finally burned through his not quite two months worth of severance pay about a week ago and I had to start digging into our savings. And I still had not done any Christmas shopping. But, Christmas miracle of all miracles, the glitch finally got straightened out yesterday so that we finally got the unemployment benefits deposited into our account.
Suffice it to say that Mr RSG and I have been fighting a lot more lately, and helpful, productive communication has been very sketchy and I haven’t felt up to keeping up a charade that nothing was amiss in the RSG household.
I realized that I’m exhausted…emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Communication has been difficult with Mr. RSG as well, because he’s under considerable amounts of stress from being laid off and taking on a job in an area he’s very unfamiliar with – he was an engineer, and now he’s in sales. As the only financial provider in our family, not having a paycheck has to be killing his self-esteem.
So as I got to thinking about what is happening in the RSG household as we approach the crazy Christmas holiday, I realized, as the mother and primary emotional caretaker of my family, I have desperately needed to take care of my burnout.
I’m sure many other parents out there are having difficulties too as the holidays approach. I don’t know about you, but holidays with the extended family have often sucked. Too much of the wrong kinds of interacting, too much running around trying to please the grandparents, too much emphasis on stuff, too many bad memories of former holidays gone dreadfully wrong because someone blows a gasket.
Since I can’t spend Christmas with just Mr. RSG and the girls in Tahiti (or some other place equally tropical), I figure I better figure out ways to take care of myself here…so I can help my family regulate their emotional intensity a little bit better.
So I perused Google and came up with a few ideas.
Ehow has a few tips on Preventing Burnout as a Stay at Home Parent.
Selective Mutism.org has a pdf file on Preventing Parent Burnout: Model for Teaching Effective Coping Strategies to Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities . (though you have to overlook some typos…)
And I am thinking this is book might be a good one to get for families of gifted children, with it’s emphasis on family dynamics – Gifted Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. No, it’s not one of the more popular ones recommended, but I perused it on Google books, and I like it for its emphasis on the emotional needs of the child in the context of their families. The focus is not so much solely on the needs of the gifted child, but the needs of the family members too. Its at my local library…so tomorrow I’m going to go pick it up. If it’s proves meritorious, I’ll post more about it.
Families, which are a microcosm of the society in which we live, are all about negotiating needs and dealing with disappointments because we can’t always get what we want, isn’t it? Families with gifted or special needs children have a tremendously difficult time negotiating the needs of all of the members of the family. My family did a really crappy job of negotiating needs. My husband’s family did a crappy job of negotiating needs with him too. We are both gifted grownups, struggling with how to raise gifted/special need children because no one knew how to help us with our social and emotional and gifted needs. Consequently we have trouble figure out how to negotiate our needs with each other and with the girls. We are the emotionally blind leading the emotionally immature. How fun is that?
It’s not really.
Anyway, I figured I can’t be the only one out there struggling with familial and holiday stress, so I thought I’d share resources.
Feel free to post your tips and ideas to combat parent/home educator or gifted/SN parent burnout.
If I don’t get back online to post, have healthy, sane and Happy Holiday!