People often read about my story as The Safety Mom and say to me, “How do you do it?” What they are referring to is the fact that my son has special needs, my first died of SIDS, my husband has Multiple Sclerosis and my father has Alzheimer’s and oh yeah….I work full time.
I’m not that special. There are a million women out there with similar stories that none of us had anticipated. We definitely are part of a sisterhood. Just this week I was at a meeting with a business colleague and we started out our conversation with the typical pleasantries. One of us mentioned the issues we’re dealing with in regards to our aging parents and very quickly the conversation turned into a quasi-therapy session about how we so often feel overwhelmed, frustrated and GUILTY!
Here we were, two intelligent, capable and accomplished women who were sharing stories of how we feel inadequate and that we are constantly letting someone in our life down – not spending enough time with our husbands, forgetting some activity at our kids’ schools or not doing enough to help our parent. We expected to have the roles of mom and wife, but all of a sudden we were thrown into the role of caring for our parent and we weren’t prepared. We hadn’t considered where they would live when they could no longer live alone. We didn’t expect the frequent phone calls when they had fallen or gotten into yet another car accident and we now needed to have “the talk” about taking away the car keys.
But as we’re trying to do deal with those issues, we’re also managing our role as mom. Whether your child has special needs like mine or not, we are trying to advocate for our kids as best we can and that in and of itself can be a full time job. (I’d rather not admit to how many times I forgot about the gift for teacher appreciation day or the deadline for the field trip permission slip.)
THEN our husband wants our attention! ….really? I’m sorry, but romance often flies right out the window when I’m trying to cook a meal, check homework and do a load of laundry at 9P at night. But of course then I feel guilty about that too.
The circus music continuously plays in my head as I try to keep all the plates spinning. But holding that suitcase for my guilt trip in one hand makes it even harder.