The past three days have been the longest year of my life. I’ve been planning my blog entries, thinking about the topics I want to cover, researching out medical terms and finding links for resource sites. One of the topics I was planning on covering was geared for the single parents out there about introducing someone new, a romantic partner for you, into your children’s lives.
I had planned on discussing ways to explain ADHD and children’s mental health to the new person and how to make them aware of the struggles and the joys of parenting these amazing kids. I was going to reference my year-long relationship since things seemed to be going well.
What’s that expression about the best laid plans? They often go astray. Well, my plans didn’t just go astray, they crashed and burned. My boyfriend and I ended our relationship this weekend. He told me he loves me but he can’t handle me or my kids. Our mental health issues have proven too overwhelming for him and he is unable to adapt. He is a good man, with many fine qualities but flexibility isn’t one of them. And flexibility is a requirement when dealing with kids with ADHD.
I may do that entry, about involving someone else with your children, but it won’t be any time soon. Dating him was the first thing I’d done for me in a really long time and I’m going to need time to heal before I can tackle that topic. It’s too new, too raw.
Hence the title of this entry, emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this quote let me take a quick moment to fill you in. The TV showM*A*S*H, which aired in the 1970s and 80s, is my favourite show of all time. It was set at a US Mobil Army Surgical Hospital unit in South Korea during the Korean War(or Conflict if you insist). The doctors and nurses were under a great deal of stress and often played pranks on one another to lighten the mood. Two of the surgeons,BJ Hunnicutt and Hawkeye Pierce, punked their fellow surgeon, Frank “Ferret Face” Burns, who was very much alive, by tying a toe tag on him which read “Emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt” as cause of death. Subsequently, Frank was hauled away in an ambulance heading to the front lines and BJ and Hawkeye not only had to get him back, they had to perform extra hours of surgery because they were one doctor short.
The title isn’t entirely accurate, I don’t believe I’m morally bankrupt, and if I am it’s only temporary, but I am, most definitely. emotionally exhausted. In my experience when you’re emotionally exhausted it can lead to moral bankruptcy because you reach a point of lethargy, a point where you no longer care and start saying things like “sure, go play with scissors in the pool” or “no, I’m not going to make you a salad, here have some chips instead”. Fortunately for me, and my children, I was able to access respite care through a local agency called Community Living Elgin. I’m sure there are similar agencies wherever you are.
I am a mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The kids’ father hasn’t seen them in a year and a half, which is good since he’s not a positive person for them to be around anyway, so I am responsible for my kids all the time. I’m not complaining, they are mine, I love them without question, it’s just sometimes, I’m so tired. The respite care service allows me a few hours a week to relax and focus on me.
It’s important to remember that you need care too. As parents we tend to focus a great deal of our energies into our children. When your children have mental health issues, they require more of your time and energy. You are the foundation of your family and your children depend on you to be as solid as you can be. I encourage you to seek out the agency in your community that provides respite services. My kids love going with the respite care worker, it’s all fun with no mom nagging at them and when they come home I’m happy to see them. I feel rejuvenated and ready to face another week.