Now that our youngest child is approaching 8yrs of age, I find myself wondering where do I fit in now? When everybody was younger and Thomas was living home it was easy to define my role. I was/am The Mom. The Stay at Home Mom. Overseer of all my children. Taking care of everything for everybody. Now that the girls are older and Thomas isn’t living at home anymore I find myself in a state of not knowing what to do with myself. I’m tired of cleaning ~ I used to clean like nobody’s business trying to keep up with these stupid standards I had in my head, but now I don’t have those standards anymore and I just keep everything nice. However these days we’re in the middle of a kitchen ceiling renovation so things aren’t as “nice” as I’d like them to be. So getting back to fitting in, I feel like an anomaly of sorts. I do know other SAHM’s who are at or around my age and I have this thought in my head that I’m the only one having a hard time that I’m still home, wondering where I fit in. I should ask them how they feel, but I think there’s a part of me that’s afraid they are going to say how happy and fulfilled they are staying home and meanwhile I am not.
Then I tell myself that I’m exactly where God wants me right now and I just need to let go of my anxieties concerning this and know that He has a plan. I’ve been applying to jobs for months now and I haven’t heard boo from any of them. Right there that should tell me I’m supposed to be home right now. I just don’t want to be. I wonder how women did this stay at home thing many years ago, it wasn’t expected that they return to work after the kids went to school. They just stayed home. I guess they had many hobbies or something.
With everyone getting older I’m not needed as much. I know they still need me, heck I still need my mother at times. But there are more times that they are so independent of me I’m left wondering what to do? And as whiney as I may sound don’t be mistaken I don’t even miss the days that everyone was small and totally needed me. No, I don’t miss that at all. In fact I cringe when I see some mother at the mall or grocery store and she’s trying to shop with all these small kids around, or the mom in the school yard trying to keep an eye on everyone after school. No thank you.
Maybe I need a happy medium? I just need to find that. Or a job.
I almost forgot to write about the flea market I was a vendor at a couple of weeks ago. I figured it would be worth it to rent a space and try and get my business cards and my name out there. I set up my space with all my merchandise which consists of pre-owned clothing, shoes and handbags (www.nayaudo.com is my website). I was by myself of I would have set up a tent to keep the sun at bay. I was fortunate that the next space over was a lovely retired couple selling Royal Dalton figurines along with some various yard sale nick knacks.
I thought I came prepared. I had merchandise, change, I brought my lunch and water bottles. I even had a comfy chair. People are funny at flea markets I’ve concluded. They do not want to talk or chit chat. They just want to look over your “stuff”. Most people didn’t even respond when I said, “Hi how are you?” Strange I tell you. Anyway I said I thought I was prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was the haggling! Man. When asked a price I was immediately met with an answer of half my price. Half! That’s not haggling that’s insulting. I would shoot back another price just as fast. I became a quick learner. I also learned to start higher on my pricing strategy and stay firm.
It was also the best opportunity for people watching. I loved seeing the couple next to me deal with hagglers. At one point the wife became annoyed over a customer haggling her over a dollar for a set of drinking glasses. Seriously? Yes the hagglers became amusement. It was also noticed that the nicer someone dressed was NO indication of whether or not they would spend money. A well dressed mother/daughter pair carrying expensive handbags was very quick to literally paw through my merchandise and not buy a single thing. Meanwhile, the more modest dressed customers were much more polite (still haggled me) but were more likely to buy. I thought that was interesting.
I am planning to attend another similar flea market next month. I can say this time I’ll be even more prepared and I hope not to get as haggled down again.
It’s funny when there’s no one specific diagnosis for your child. There’s no banner to wave or cause to support. No dinners or fundraisers or awareness day. Specifically my son. Thomas was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly before his 6th birthday. This was the first diagnosis to try and explain the behaviors we were dealing with. And it made sense at the time (still does for some behaviors). About 5 years ago we saw a well respected neurologist who in combination with Thomas’ history and test results (MRI, IQ tests, etc…) declared our son as one with “static encephalopathy” which is short for brain damage that won’t get worse nor will it get better.
I covered these diagnosis in the very early entries of this blog but I don’t expect anyone to remember, if you do I’m impressed :). Anyway I find myself sometimes envious of those parents with specific diagnosis. Not envious of the specific diagnosis believe me I don’t think any special needs parent has it easier than any other special needs parent.
I think I know what I sometimes miss as Thomas’ mother. When he was first diagnosed bipolar I dove into an online support group and found the most wonderful people there. The support I received was second to none and the people were so full of compassion. They had knowledge either learned first hand or they were very well read keeping up on all the latest literature. I even attended a fund raiser with one of my friends (Diane) and we had a ball. These days with Thomas not living home and not being “exactly” bipolar I don’t feel identified with any such group. I still adore and keep in touch with the people I met but we don’t just see our “kids” as just with bipolar, we support each other as parents on a similar journey. As parents period. Parents who have a child with special needs. Overall I think that’s what it should be about. We’re all parents dealing with situations outside the “norm” when raising our children. We all have similar feelings about certain situations. There are many universal emotions we all go through. Although, to play devil’s advocate to myself I do understand certain disorders/diagnosis do have specific issues only another parent or care giver would understand. On the other hand, one of the best conversations I ever had was with a woman I had never met. I was given Jeanette’s phone number so I could speak to another parent who’s child was aggressive to her and they had to place their son in residential care. Jeanette’s son is autistic, but diagnosis didn’t matter one bit. We met and bonded over similar behavior, similar emotions, similar fears. We spent over an hour on the phone talking and even laughing.
These days with Thomas away at school I don’t get many opportunities to talk with other parents like I used to. His school holds events here and there but we’re not always able to go due to the distance and the girls’ schedules. Some days I miss being a part of that “group”.
I haven’t blogged in a while mainly because I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been discouraged and disconnected. Discouraged because my job hunting (along with many others) has been fruitless. Disconnected and not feeling a part of my life, like it’s just going on without me.
Today I’m relieved to admit I no longer feel discouraged or disconnected. No, I haven’t found a job but it’s ok. I’ve stopped measuring my worth as “less than” because I’m still at home. I’m where God wants me to be right now and no amount of temper tantrums will change that unless it’s what He wants. I’m still actively job searching but no longer discouraged. When the right job comes along and I know it will, everything will fall into place. It’s just taking a lot longer than I had hoped. But it’s not my plan anyway.
As for feeling disconnected, I didn’t even realize I was disconnected until Tommy pointed it out to me. I thought I was “ok” not realizing I am missing out on my little world. I wasn’t really enjoying anything either, even thrift shopping believe it or not was not working it’s usual magic. When you do get disconnected it’s not pleasant and you distance yourself from everything and anything. Hence me not blogging. (This isn’t to say any time I don’t blog I’m feeling that way, sometimes I really don’t have much to say) I realize (now) this is part of a defense mechanism I have from dealing with the trauma of Thomas being aggressive with me. I feel like “still??” This is still freaking affecting me? My gosh seriously? But yes it is. I guess there is no expiration date in dealing with things that are traumatic in your life.
Speaking of Thomas, he will be home this weekend for Mother’s Day. I’m glad he’ll be here and he’s really looking forward to coming home.