I am usually not a fan of “What not to say” and “what not to do” type posts. I’ve always found them a bit annoying honestly. But I’m beginning to understand why they exist. There’s been this specific post that’s been going around for years that has always bothered me. Every time I see it, it gets a good amount of attention, and all around agreement. I’ve always been the type to avoid disagreeing with people, so I’ve always kept quiet about it. But honestly, this one can do some damage and I feel the need to speak up. Before I go any further, here’s the message:
I’ve been going to my local MOPS group for a couple years now, and though it has been a Godsend (literally), sometimes it can be too much for me. I recently had one of those days. I was already having a bad anxious morning, but then the meeting started and something in me snapped. One of the girls came in, and it was obvious that she had just been crying. As soon as she realized we noticed, it burst out again and everyone jumped to comfort her. This is what this group is about. Supporting each other through the struggles of being moms. It was great how quickly the ladies in my group stepped up to talk her through it and make her feel better.
I had a hard time doing that. The incident she was upset about honestly did not feel like a big deal to me. It was the kind of thing that happens in my house constantly.
Now, I’m in no way trying to undermine her or pretend her feelings are not valid. How she was feeling at that time was 100% okay and totally normal. And if that incident was out of the ordinary enough for her to be upset about it, then I am happy for her. Truly. Demeaning that would be akin to demeaning someones headache because I’ve previously suffered a migraine. I’m not that ignorant.
But I’ve got to admit that it bothered me. Not that she was upset, but that I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad for her. All I could think of was how easy she must have it for losing it over something that to me was trivial. I started feeling bitter, not towards her or anyone else in the room, but towards the cards that dealt me the hand that I hold.
The meeting went on, and there was someone from the church school teaching about positive parenting. Already engrossed in my bad attitude and starting to hate myself for it, I began mentally shooting down everything she was saying. Any advice that I wasn’t already doing seemed so silly to try with an autistic little boy, and I couldn’t bring myself to listen clearly. I didn’t even think to listen for the benefit of my neurotypical daughter, because she copies so much behavior from her brother. And parenting them completely differently is useless at this age. She can’t understand why I treat her differently than him, so rather than conform, she will rebel further. I felt stuck.
By the end of the meeting, I was feeling resentful towards the women in my group, the speaker, everyone in the room. How dare they all talk about their own parenting struggles when mine feel so much harder. The more I heard from others, the more I felt like I couldn’t share. In the past, when I’ve shared about my own kids, I got pitied looks, empty condolences or advice that is useless to a special needs child. It all comes from a place of love and caring, but I can’t seem to appreciate it when it does nothing to help me. I don’t feel better, I feel estranged.
I feel like a bad mom drowning in a sea of great moms, and I’m looking for a lifesaver that is in a different body of water.
As we were leaving, it hit me how irrational and angry I was and it took every ounce of strength I had to hold it together long enough to get the kids in the car. As soon as they were buckled in, I lost it. A full panic attack ensued and my mind was at war with itself, half praying that no one noticed me sobbing in my van; the other half hoping someone would see me and care enough to comfort me. I still don’t know which scenario I’d prefer.
I dragged through the rest of the day like a zombie, beyond exhausted from my panic attack and unable to perk myself up.
I wish I could come back to this and say things are better. But they aren’t. The fact is, when a special needs parent is surrounded by parents of neurotypical kids, it is hard. It is hard to connect, hard to fit in. Sometimes I can’t join a conversation because the topic being discussed would only make everyone pity me. I refrain from attempting play dates because I can never find someone who’s kid will actually play with my son. Or because the mom has her kids in school, and I don’t, so a “play date” would pretty much be me chasing my kids while the other mom wonders why she tagged along. It’s hard because if I vent about my sons meltdown one more time and have someone agree that tantrums are hard, I just might scream.
Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with these women. They’ve done nothing wrong. The problem is with me. I can’t relate to them, so I stay quiet, I fall behind and I refrain from forming real relationships. But I know now that I need something different. I need a mom who can smile at my son having a meltdown and tell me they get it. I need a mom who won’t judge me because he’s not potty trained yet. Someone who can say, I just went through this with mine, I get it. Someone who will sit back and have a glass of wine with me while we try to convince each other we are not bad moms. And maybe even someone who has a kid that will play with mine. I need more than empathy, I need understanding. And that is what causes it. The utter loneliness that exists even when surrounded by these wonderful ladies. I just can’t seem to get past it.
Here’s to praying for finding mommy friends in a new school. Kindergarten, I welcome you with open arms. And if you are a fellow special needs parent, here’s one for you.
Today is International Womens Day, so if you are a woman, would like to be a woman, love a woman, came from a woman, celebrate! Women are amazing creatures. We are soft and fragile, warm and kind. We are beautiful and precious beings that need to be nurtured and
protected. Wait… Maybe I’m talking about babies. Yeah, I’m talking about babies.
So today is, hopefully, going to be an interesting day. On this day of celebrating and loving women, the women of the US have decided to take it a step further. Today, instead of just casually nodding in agreement of the awesomeness of womankind, men everywhere are going to get a glimpse of life without women. Today, we are on strike. Women everywhere have already called out sick from work, closed down their businesses or tossed the laundry to the side. Some stay at home moms have recruited Daddy to stay home with the kids. The color red will be flashed everywhere in solidarity. Today we unite!
To be honest, I’m not participating. Yeah, I’ll pull out the one red shirt i own and rock it today. But I am still going to be at home, taking care of the kids, chores and laundry. I’ll still make dinner for my husband and have a normal day.
But that doesn’t mean I’m not on board. Anyone who thinks the gender pay gap isn’t real hasn’t opened their eyes to it. If anyone thinks that women are actually treated equally, wrong again. The “get back in the kitchen” mentality is alive and well and the point of today is to help squash it. Men need to get in the kitchen. And women. The kitchen has food people, why do we still use this as an example?
So to all the women who are taking the day off, going on strike, I support you. If I drive past any businesses that are closed because of today, I’ll smile and mentally note which ones so I can remember who will get my business later on. I’m still doing my thing today, but I’ll be wearing a red shirt and a smile for every woman I see.
We are beautiful and kind, soft and warm and precious. But we are also amazing, strong, faithful, powerful, and bad ass. We are 50% of the population who still thinks we are less when in reality, the world would fall apart without us. So keep on turning, world and think of what it would feel like without the women in your lives. Guys, kiss your mama, your wife, your daughters. Let them know how much you appreciate them. We need to be loved, yeah, but we also need that appreciation. And if your a guy who respects the women in his life, a boss who pays his workers the same no matter what gender, then today isn’t for you. It’s not a “men suck” day. Men are great, we just want the world to remember that women are great too.
Who am I? I’m 27 years old, a wife, mother, blogging crazy person. My life is pretty easy to comprehend right now. Morning and evenings are mostly about my husband, and during the day I’m taking care of the kids and trying to keep them entertained while I do whatever household chores that need to be done. I love being a stay at home mom and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Maybe a few hours playing with some puppies, but other than that, I wouldn’t trade it! There’s just one big problem here.
There’s no room for me. It is not my husbands fault, and it is not my kids fault. It’s alllllll mine. And it’s time for that to change.
I have been complaining to my hubby for years now that I need time to myself. I probably got annoying about it, just ask him. But whenever my husband offered, I’d change my mind. I made excuses or pretended I wasn’t feeling well. I knew I needed the time to myself but I couldn’t bring myself to go for it. I’ve been struggling to understand why.
Today, I figured it out. I was scrolling Facebook, and I saw a post by a blogger that I follow, Single Dad Laughing. He was talking about starting a challenge called 365 days to live, where he has decided to change things in his life and start actually living. What got to me though, was his first day. He talks about the decision to start dating yourself. And I agree, it sounds kinda weird. But it got me thinking. Maybe this is why I don’t enjoy my alone time anymore. Because I’m spending it with a stranger.
I have spent too much of my life conforming. As a child, I conditioned myself to try to hide my mental illnesses. I learned to act like those around me in order to hide. It became so normal to just do what I was expected to do, that I didn’t even realize I was still doing it. I’m almost 30! And I have no idea who I am.
Now, it’s my turn. I’ve subconsciously been thinking about this for a while, because I’ve been exploring different ideas in my head. But I’ve been too afraid to do anything. I’ve been too afraid to be ME because nobody really knows who I am. How can they? It’s time to drop the charade and become someone new.
It’s MY turn! Obviously I’ll still be here, taking care of my kids, lovin on my husband and blogging my heart out. God knows this blog has been the closest thing to being myself for a long time. But on the inside, I will be changing. I’m starting my cocoon right now and I’m gonna work on getting to know myself. I’m gonna work on dating myself, so that by the time that chrysalis is ready to open, I can emerge as something new and beautiful.
Stressed out mamas, busy daddies, if you’ve focused so much on your family, your job, of pleasing those around you that you’ve forgotten yourself, I encourage you to join me. And everyone else taking the #365daystolive challenge! All I can say is it’s about time, and things are gonna get interesting. See ya’ll on the other side!