Yesterday I posted about parents who give up their children to strangers when they can't handle them any longer. I mentioned how no matter how hopeless and frustrating the situation feels, there is almost always a option of improvement.
I now have a personal illustration of that point.
My older son is not toilet trained and will fling his BMs onto the walls and ceiling to get it away from him. It's gross and unpleasant to deal with. There have been times where I've spent over two hours cleaning up his room after an incident.
It's something we continue to work on but last year, we took steps to make our lives easier. We replaced the popcorn ceiling finish with a smooth ceiling finish. Suddenly the amount of time to clean up his room was a fraction of what it had been before.
Last night, I went in, realized we had an incident, woke Alex up, took him to the bathroom for a shower, cleaned up his room, washed down his bed, made up a new bed, got him into new pajamas, tucked him into bed and sang him a lullaby in less than twenty minutes. What would have likely been a two person job taking forty-five minutes to an hour was handled by one person in twenty minutes.
We haven't fixed the underlying problem but we did make it more tolerable and less frustrating to deal with. That's a very real improvement.
One of the best pieces of advice I got from another parent was to accept where my children were and what was happening. Don't spend your time and energy on focusing on where they "should" be. Look at where you are and take the steps necessary to deal with it as things are. It's why we bought a sprayer attachment for our toilet (it's meant to help clean cloth diapers but it's been darn useful for a non-toilet trained child in underwear). We recognized that the situation wasn't going to go away in a hurry and took the steps to make our lives easier while we dealt with it.