Monday, May 9, 2022

A Little Truth Serum on Mother's Day

A little truth serum on Mother’s Day: Motherhood hasn’t been at all what I expected. When I got pregnant with NoĆ© I assumed we were all headed on a trip to um… Denmark and then we took a swift detour to … let’s say … Morocco. Morocco is a fine and an equally beautiful destination. But I wasn’t prepared. I had been learning Danish and studying Denmark guide books and none of that was remotely helpful when we landed in Morocco. And I feel like I’ve been winging motherhood over here in Morocco while everyone else is hanging out in Denmark.

How do I help my child with severe disabilities realize his full potential? What exactly is that potential? How do I raise this kid next to my other typically developing kid without short-changing either? How do Ed and I stay engaged with our marriage when we have 24/7 caregiving demands with a (now) 19 year old? I am writing this guide book as I go and frankly, I get a lot wrong.
A lot of days I’m grateful we crash landed in Morocco. Ed and I are unshackled from a lot of the expectations of raising kids in Middle Class America and are free to figure out what works best for our family. It has made us value kindness over achievement. Want a quick way to rid yourself of caring what strangers think of you? Take an older teenager with severe OCD and all the autism tics (and seizures!!!) out in public on the regular.
Watching our eldest on a different development path has made us reexamine what is best for our other kid. Last year Asher told us he wanted to transfer high schools. We gave him the green light and let him figure it out and he has grown and thrived in ways I never anticipated. I am positive that had I been “living in Denmark” I would have encouraged him to stick it out at his highly-rated former high school.
But lately I’ve felt utterly exhausted with motherhood. I feel ready to be done with the work of raising children. Blame the pandemic, blame my own lack of patience, blame the dearth of paid caregivers currently available to help us with our disabled son. Whatever. I am ready for novel challenges and ready to follow the horizon of some unrealized dreams. I feel the smallest bit of resentment that I am currently an almost full-time mom and I only fit this other work in small bursts of free moments. Ed has lovingly filled a lot of caregiving gaps when I’ve crawled away to my bed and raised a white flag from under the covers. But these two kids deserve a mom to get them to the finish line. And Ed and I will find a way to get them there together, error-riddled guidebook in hand.