I am not the mother I want to be.

Most mornings, after I’ve shuttled the kids out the door with somewhat of a “don’t let the door hit ya on the way out” attitude I want to call them back. “Wait!” I think. “Come back.””Let’s have a redo. This was the morning that was supposed to be different. This was the morning I wasn’t supposed to yell.” “This was the morning I was actually supposed to be the mom I want to be. Facebook mom. Happy, loving, nurturing mom.”

Last night, it finally hit me. This angst I constantly feel. The nagging, your kid has special needs and you can’t handle that angst that I constantly feel. The one I’m always trying to fix and wish away. The one I try to drown with tears or ice cream. I finally realized what it’s all about. If I was a church- going person, a God-belieiving person, I would think that “he” put Max in my life to teach me a lesson- how to become that “sticky floor and sticky hands mean happy kids”, laundry and organizing  can wait kind of mom that I wish I was. But alas I am not (that kind of mom or a religious person), so I know it’s totally nature vs. nurture at this point.

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No matter how much I want to be that mom in my head, it’s just not in my nature. It’s  nearly impossible for me to pass by a pile of papers or crumbs on the counter and just leave them. So the fact that Max has to constantly touch everything; rummage through papers, click buttons on my computer and leave sticky milk-filled Cheerios all over the table and floor after every single breakfast drives.me.crazy.

I know he can’t help it. I know he isn’t trying to be…what?…disobedient…annoying…fresh/bad/difficult. But I grew up in a neat and orderly, place for everything type of household and it’s just who I am. Just like the opposite is just who Max is. So how do we figure this all out? How do I accept that he is the child and need to change for him and not vice versa?

By the way, I haven’t even mentioned these struggles also include Ben and my inability to ignore the incessant whining that lets me know day after day he feels overlooked, he needs more attention from me, he is starting to figure out that we all walk on eggshells around his brother.  I know the only  way to make the whining stop is to ignore it, but sometimes, usually based on all of the above, it’s just really hard to do that.

So what I want my boys to know is that I’m trying my very best, I really am. I wake up each day hoping it will be the fresh start we all need. Hoping that will be the day we call just breath and smile and enjoy each other. I want them to know that I’m going to keep trying, as long as they are patient with me, I’m going to keep trying.

Why We Write

I read a blog post on Momastery today that completely validates the way I feel. Take a minute to read it, I’ll wait.

The author, Chrissy, puts into words exactly how I feel, how I’ve felt for the past 5+ years.  Those words, about Cancer, and how it would almost be easier…I’ve uttered those words more than once. I’ve thought, that has to be easier. There is a clear treatment plan (that insurance covers by the way). With cancer, no one judges how your kids behave in public. No one snickers at the precautions you take to keep germs away from your child like they do about the precautions you take to prevent melt downs or seizures. No one questions whether your diagnosis is real or just the flavor of the month issue that kids have these days. But then, I’ve felt the shame for wishing that because my God, there are people whose children die from cancer. At least my child is still here.

But that dark cloud of sadness, that haze that you live in, that’s real. I’ve been waiting for it to go away for a long time now, but it always seems that just as it slowly starts to dissipate, something else comes creeping right behind it and we’re back to heavy hearts, heavy shoulders and heavy minds.

But like Chrissy, all of Max’s diagnoses have brought a fire to my soul too. They have lit up something in our whole family. We just want to DO something; to fix something not just in Max but all the other kids like him. We want to help. To let people know that epilepsy isn’t just seizures. It’s ADHD and learning difficulties and Autism and not having play dates because how do you ask a parent you don’t know well to administer medication in your child’s rectum if necessary. Autism isn’t just kids that flap their arms, are non-verbal or don’t like to be touched. They are kids that feel, and love. They are kids who grow up to contemplate suicide because they’ve never really had friends and the bullying becomes just too much. They are kids who live in households with bickering parents because the adults are just so on edge all.the.time.

But they are kids that work really hard, and kids who need and want to be loved. So I’m going to take a page out of Chrissy’s book. I’m going to do my very best to follow her words:

“I refuse to waste my entire life on sad because of stupid autism.The best thing I can do for my boys is to give them the gift of a happy me. A really and truly authentically happy me.”

By the way, the title of this post was inspired by this Tweet from Stephanie Dulli.

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Even though it’s scary, we should all be sharing our stories. Me, Chrissy, Stephanie, all of us because there is someone out there who will read them and learn something. Or feel just a little bit better because there is someone else out there that thinks like they do, or feels like they do. And plus, writing it down, getting it out, helps lift some of that heavy weight we all carry around.

To My Baby Boy on His Fourth Birthday

Ben

Ben (Benny, Chicky, Cheech, Papa),

Today is your fourth birthday. It’s a hard day for me. Not because your birth was traumatic or because there are negative memories. It’s because you’re growing up. It’s highly likely that you’ll be my last baby and I desperately regret wishing away your infancy. I was totally overwhelmed with your brother and you were just so easy. Yes, you wanted to be held constantly, but that’s nothing the baby carrier couldn’t take care of. I couldn’t wait for you to hold your own bottle or sit up on your own because it would make things just that much easier.

But now, I don’t remember what you were like as a baby. I don’t remember what it felt like to hold you all the time; to feed you and wake up with you in the middle of the night. You crawled early, you walked early, you talked early (and haven’t stopped since) so it’s like you grew up and I missed the whole thing. I’m very sorry for that. I will try harder to savor the moments from now on.

Benny, you are so independent and really do know exactly what you want; whether it be two different socks or a glass vs. a blue cup. You mimic so many of my behaviors that it’s scary. We are so much alike it’s alarming and causes us strife from time to time but we’re figuring out how to work with each other. Just this morning you informed me that 4 year olds always listen and have nice behavior so perhaps we’re turning the corner.

I can’t wait to see who you become. It’s been fun to watch your interests blossom and I’m anxious to see you divulge from the path Max has forged and make your own way in this world. You really are a sweet, sunny, little boy and you’ll always be your mama’s baby.

I love you.

Birthday Parties! Am I right?

I’m in the midst of planning another birthday party…which is being held on Sunday. I have a love/hate relationship with birthday parties. I love them, until the day of. Then I hate them because my vision is never really fulfilled. I blame Pinterest. It makes it all seem so EASY.

I’m crafty in spirit, not so much in execution. I’m not sure when I’ll really learn that about myself and just buy all the handmade goodness off of Etsy. I mean, those kids, the ones whose moms run those Etsy shops, they must have some kick-ass parties complete with pirate patches, costumes and cute labeled food. If you followed me on Pinterest…wait, where was I? I went to get the link to my boards and got lost there for a while…oh right… you’d think that my kid was about to have one of those too. But sadly, I’m not sure that will ever come to fruition because the scene will likely end with me in tears the morning of the party because my Pin the Hook on Captain Hook game, or homemade bandannas didn’t turn out the way I wanted them too and I’m too stressed to even watch my son enjoy his own party.

I can do all this this week...no problem!

I can do all this this week…no problem!

The even sillier thing? There are probably only going to be 4 kids total at the party and 2 of them are mine! I’m doing this all for the adults, who are part of my family and don’t really need to be impressed. I just want my little scallywag to have my his dream pirate party because gosh darn it he deserves a good time. Aargh!

I Have Something to Say

Ahem. Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

It’s been awhile. A long while. I’ve been writing a bit here and there, but not actually HERE. I felt like for a while I had nothing to say. No insight to share. But I have a lot going on in my mind that I want to get out…that I NEED to get out. I’m constantly writing blog posts in my head and trying to process things as if I’m writing about them. Those voices telling me to just write, just get it out already were getting louder and louder. So here I am.

There is so much beautiful writing going on now. So many blogs that I read often and intently have really taught me lessons; have really helped shape who I want to become someday. They’ve helped me see that I’m not alone. That motherhood isn’t always easy. That marriage isn’t always easy. That trusting your gut can pay off and help you to finally become a better version of yourself. That having a child with special needs can be thrilling and challenging and frustrating and hard and inspiring and…

I do have something to say; I’m just not sure what it is yet. There is so much that has happened, so many changes, and yet so many things that have stayed the same. But I need some time to get it all out; to put words to what I’ve been feeling and the internal struggles I’ve been having. They’ll come, all the stories I have to tell. Because if just one person reads what I’m writing and nods her head yes, or feels just a little bit better because my kid had a tantrum too, or because I can’t find time to exercise either, then we’ll all be better off for that.

I have something to say, and I hope no matter what it is, you’ll hold my hand, give me some good advice and listen.

This is Me

Over on CT Working Moms, we’re taking some time to let the readers know who we really are…good, bad and ugly. Since I wrote the post a few days ago, I can’t stop thinking about things I’d add to the list. Like for instance, I really like doing laundry and washing dishes. I find the instant gratifications of a clean pot or folded shirt to be very satisfying.

So, in no particular order, this is me.