Tuesday, June 10, 2008

End-of-school-year chaos: Whine train boarding now


A recent article, "End-of-year obligations drive parents batty" featured Liz Lange, maternity clothes designer, and how she and other working mothers struggle to balance year end festivities with her children with work commitments.

The article quoted Boston psychologist Catherine Steiner-Adair, who believes the situation has gotten worse over the years. She said, "It's this crazy culture we have now of anxious parenting. This nervous generation of parents is signing kids up for way too much stuff. And so we have too many rehearsals. Too many games, too many practices, too many cookies. Too much celebrating!"

It's nice to know that I am not the only frazzled one, but I still wager that moms of kids with special needs can match and raise one on moms of "regular o'le" kids. I am trying NOT to sound like a whine train, but we have IEP meetings to contend with, and concerns about our children's school placement next year (it's not as simple as "You will be in third grade with Mrs. Miller).

And the anxiety, yikes! So many of our kids internalize all the static around them - the excitement about the end of the year, the buzz surrounding field days, field trips and so on. Schedule changes, even for fun, can be hard on children, especially those on the autism spectrum. Our kids don't need to be over-scheduled to feel overwhelmed.

Sayer always gets amped up around mid-May, until school is over and he has started his summer routine. Last year, he compulsively repeated one phrase (I won't say what it is, I don't want to jinx us) so many times I got chest pains and had to retreat to a friend's house in Portland for the last few days of school. Knock wood, it hasn't been quite as bad this year but still no picnic. Add into the mix that I am now doing some consulting work and there you have it, a stress cocktail.

OK, so the whine train has come into the depot PLEASE reassure me that I am not alone! Send your comments and survival tips.

And to step briefly into the Gratitude Station, thanks to Mr "D" for guiding me through ordering and setting up my new computer system - I now have two screens and that REALLY makes blogging easier. Thanks also to dear "G" in LA for his assistance with software.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Carol...I feel your pain...trust me....things go down hill the day after Spring Break (I tell teachers this year after year and I think his current teachers actually believe me, which is a first...we usually lose the first month and a half...or three months if there is a move and the last 2-2 1/2 months).

This week has been the worst (not anyone's fault). Brian's been VERY sick as you know...add that in with hubby gone this week and activities....you know what I do...I schedule LOTS of babysitters (what's funny is I had a GREAT schedule this week and with Brian's vomiting, had to cancel every last darn one....). There's usually no homework this week and frankly, everyone is too tired to do it anyway...I learned a LONG time ago, I have to take care of me (especially when hubby is gone for a week). Trust me, money well spent. I make it a rule...NO MOMMY GUILT!

Also, after bedtime, I curl up with a fun, quick book or a fun movie (the brainless the better). I have been so exhausted this week (because of B's illness), it takes me 10 minutes to read one short chapter and I am asleep...

I am sure I will come up with more...


Hang in there!!!

Carol said...

Katie,

I'm totally with you on the hubby traveling thing. I go into survival mode - on the plus side I can watch whatever I want at night, too.

Try and get some rest.

Anonymous said...

Brian's BACK AND I have a sitter this afternoon and hubby is coming home tonight....let the party begin (of course to get there, I have to deal with cranky 3 year old---don't even get me started on that, and a kindergarten graduation....and picking up said cranky 3 year old at the same time)...

Katie

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to get the 'toolbar' back on a pc? Brian, my little computer geek, did something to my computer...sigh...I know, God gave him computer skills and took away some other things...sigh....

Katie

Pam said...

Hello ladies, you are not alone. My son has woken up the past three Saturday mornings very upset. Yesterday was his class picnic; an annual affair at a nice park he enjoys. Only problem was that some kind of parent/toddler/baby group was there too........about 200 bodies on one playground. Yikes. We beelined it home before I even got a bite of the yummy looking food......... Once summer actually starts we can get into a not half bad routine of walks, water play, half day day camps, etc. But June is a mean mean month to endure. And did I mention that we have a sixteen year old daughter too? That is a whole other story. On Monday (last full day of the school year) my husband is off and we are making a run into Portland to buy some assorted international beers. One has to do what you can to survive. Take care, Pam

PS Carol, I love my movies too when Ed (husband, night RN) is working. Sometimes I find them that interest my son, too. A good example was The Illusionist. It was a romance but included magicians. It really captured his interest.

Pam said...

Hi Carol, a bit more on gift giving at the end of the year. Yes, I do it. I like my son's teachers take on it :"really unecessary but very appreciated". Since my son does not speak much and there are a variety of aides in and around the room, I put in a large gift bag a batch of small things that can be selected from (tubes of hand lotions, scented soaps, or this year, beaded butterfly garden picks) with a generic, thank you for helping my son learn and develop note. This way I don't leave out anyone. I take the bag to the school office a couple of days before school lets out so that nothing goes into the classroom (and may cause hurt feelings among the students).The major players get something bigger. This year Geoff has been working Thursdays at a Chevron gas station that also has a deli. So for teacher, bus driver, 1:1 staff asssitant, etc. I bought them each a Chevron gas gift card (ten dollars each, bigger may seem like a bribe) and encouraged them to visit G. over the summer. Other years, I have given certificates for whatever business G. has gone to successfully for school community outings, for example, local coffee shop. End of year gifts are kind of a drag time and finace wise, but it is all part of the game us parents play every year. Take care, Pam

babs said...

Oh yes. Routine disaster in May each year, all the field trips and substitutes and special meetings??? I hear you.

Carol said...

That is a great idea, Pam, to give gift certificates to businesses that support our kids. I may do that next time, since my neighbor has a coffee shop and they are always so cool when Sayer is there - even that time we thought he might have locked himself in the bathroom!!