Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good Enough

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog-gone it, people like me" - Stuart Smalley, Saturday Night Live.

There are many nights when I lay in bed thinking "I didn't do enough today for my kids."

The guilt of special needs motherhood hangs over me.  There are therapy appointments that I didn't schedule.  Doctors that I didn't call back.  Games that I didn't play with my kids.  Time that I didn't spend one-on-one with each of my boys.  My to-do lists are long and mostly in my head.  My pre-bedtime routine is to run through them all, kicking myself for all that I could have done and should have done that day. 

Thursday night was not one of those nights.

The week started out with the revolving door of therapists in and out for my two youngest boys and the first week of real homework for my oldest.  The days were filled with behavioral goals, game play and 4th grade math and spelling words.  On Wednesday night, my oldest came to me, full of anxiety, telling me he was unable to focus in school anymore.  He was starting the school year lost and he didn't know how to get back. 

Thursday afternoon, I hit the ground running:

- Took my oldest to the doctor and made the next step plan to get him help.  We're going to get some academic testing done to see what kind of learner he is and talked about ways to manage his "worries".

- Went to the elementary school open house, met with Howie's new kindergarten teacher and special education liaison and expressed the things that I was happy about and the things that were still bothering me.

- Ran into the school counselor in the hall and made sure she checked in on my oldest during school time, to have another set off eyes on him and his anxiety.

- Got myself signed up as the parent rep at the preschool to speak with the consultant evaluating their special needs program.

-Met the fourth grade teacher for the first time, soaked in ALL that he's responsible for and followed that up with an e-mail to her asking her to watch for his anxieties. And asked the teacher if he could e-mail her directly when he had questions to give him a safe space - away from peers - to get his questions answered.

-Filled out the kids' picture day forms. Placed them safely in their backpacks so I wouldn't forget in the chaos of a Friday morning.

I put my head down on the pillow that night, and for the first time in...forever...I knew I had done everything I could for my boys that day. 

It was a rare, but wonderful, feeling of peace.  Of knowing that for one night, my to-do list was done.  And I could sleep.

Now if only my kids would sleep too...

"I wont let you go
I wont let you down
I wont give you up

don’t you give up on me now

What do I have to do
To try to make you see
That this is who I am
And its all that I can be
" - Good Enough by Lifehouse

Alysia Butler is a stay at home mom to three boys, two who are now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  When she's obsessing about her to-do lists, she writes about her kids and other things at Try Defying Gravity and on twitter at @trydefyinggrav.


  1. and a thank you to all of you who commented on my personal blog about my oldest and his school struggles this past week. You helped spur me into action with your support. Thank you.

  2. Well, I knew you were good enough, I'm just glad you can see it too! For some reason, we parents are far harder on ourselves than we ever would be with one another. You're more than good enough- you're wonderful. And so are your boys.

  3. I think we all have days like you described (the I didn't finish/accomplish days)... but unlike others you were able to relish in the joy of what you DID accomplish that day :)
    Thanks for sharing :)

  4. This makes me think of all the times someone has asked me "Do you work?" I say "No, I just stay at home with my kids." Reading your list reminds me that Hell yea, I work my ass off. and clearly you do too Alysia and all the other mothers out there.
    Even if you don't finish your list each day, you are doing so much for your kids-you are amazing and an inspiration.
    And PS: Congrats on actually finishing your to do list! It's constant and often unachievable goal of mine.