Note: I’m not going to spill the whole can of beans in this post, so there will be some things left unexplained. If I were to open up and just dump everything, this post would be an eBook and I’d probably send Blogger offline due to the amount of memory it would take. So, the loose ends are there only because there’s just not enough time and space to explore everything I’d like to in this post. Also, I’m going to start off somewhere out of the ballpark, then make a bee-line through left field Stay with me… I’m zeroed in on home plate and will get there!
I’ve had over a week to really concentrate on some of the questions that were asked in The Parenting Passageway’s first Mindful Mothering post. The problem is that, though I write “I” at least a hundred times a day. “I think/believe/feel that …” Yet, when it came time to really examine who I am now, I couldn’t find any definition(s) that were accurate. You see, my husband became physically disabled a few months before Little Guy was born. At the time, I was taking online classes and had a very specific goal in mind: I would earn my degree in education in June of 2011 and start the 2011/2012 school year as either a teacher or a substitute in an elementary classroom. And, up until early this year, all was going as planned.
Then I had to start dropping classes. You see, along with chronic pain that was slowly and steadily increasing, my husband started to have mental problems. I don’t know if it was the constant pain that caused it, maybe the medications that he’d been on (Lyrica is poison – do not ever take the stuff, please!), or (most likely) a combination of the two. I have a good understanding of the reasons behind many of his screwy behaviors, but understanding doesn’t make those behaviors more bearable. He’d be up for days on end, unable to sleep. He’d forget if he took his medications… so he’d take more. He’d wander down the stairs and outside in search of the bathroom at 3am. He’d turn on the oven to make God only knows what and then forget it was on. Then, when he’d finally pass out, he’d have terrible nightmares that would cause him to yell out, hit, push, kick… he’d sleepwalk doing this. Sometimes, these nightmares would wake him after only a couple of hours of sleep and he’d be back up and wandering around. Add the fact that he has problems with his bones that cause severe throbbing pain that is barely touched by pain medications and rubs. Now, he’s wandering around - sometimes banging into things, sometimes trying to carry heavy items – he’d end up hurting himself even more… This is still going on and it’s getting worse by the day, I don’t know why it’s all in past tense. Just go with it for me? (I need to add in here that he's not like this 24/7. He has good days and bad days. Sometimes we get 2-3 good days in a row. Other times, we have hours that are good and some that are bad. I just never, ever know what's coming next.)
Anyway, take the problems with my husband and add a two-year-old with a lot of moxie. Little Guy is not an easy-going kid who lets others make decisions for him. He’s full of self-esteem & pride in his “I do it myself” abilities. He can be very stubborn (got that one from me – my motto was “I’m Always Right” up until just a few years ago!) He feels that if he is physically or cognitively able to do something, then he should always be allowed to do it. He needs to be watched every minute he’s awake. I’m not kidding. I can’t even run to the bathroom to pee without coming back to a child who’s poised on the edge of a bookshelf or covered on black Sharpie. Therefore, everywhere I go, he goes. I have to take showers with him. I tried taking them at night or naptime, when he’s asleep. No – he has a little guy in his ear who yells, “NOW!” over and over until he wakes up. There’s some kind of intuition in him where he just knows. With my husband wandering around all of the time and Little Guy just waiting for my attention to be diverted, I really need to be on my toes.
Then there’s my oldest. I really can’t say enough good things about him. He helps me out with Little Guy. He helps keep tabs on hubby. He does his homework (all A’s and B’s!), he on the cross-country team and working hard. However, he’s also a teenage boy. I understand his frustrations, I really do. But this is his family and I need help sometimes when he’d rather sit around doing nothing. He’s never talked back to me; he’ll eventually take out the trash… My problem with him actually lies inside me. I can’t be the mom I want to be to him. He’s relied upon too much for someone his age, yet I can’t do it all by myself. We rarely get one-on-one time, I feel the chasm between us widening, and I panic. But what can I do?
Now, with all three of these people who I love so dearly needing so much from me, doing anything for myself just became a luxury. I mean, I can’t go to the coffee shop downtown by myself and sip on a latte while reading my favorite book. I haven’t done a girls’ night out (or even “in”) for so long that no one even asks me anymore. The last time I did any artwork for myself was… LOL – I don’t know! I’m not feeling sorry for myself about these things. My family comes before the luxuries. I just don’t even think of my wants anymore. It's not as if I have no happiness. Read my posts – I can look at the good in my family and enjoy it so thoroughly!
So, I attempted to do my schoolwork late at night. I’d be so tired that my papers looked like something a sixth-grader would write. I’d figure out which assignments were worth the most points and only do those to save myself time and frustration. When I got too far behind, I’d have to drop the class…Finally, it caught up with me. My student financial aid package was so screwed up from all of the drops that, this past month, I was told I’d have to wait at least until next June to take any more classes without having to pay out-of-pocket. We now have no money coming in. I am currently in panic mode.
Getting a job is out of the question. Without a degree, my education means nothing. I can hope for waiting tables or some other minimum wage job. With earned income, we’ll be cut off Medicaid coverage, meaning my husband WILL die (he has many other health problems that require a doctor’s constant supervision, testing, and medications.) My husband would need to be supervised by someone (?) and I don’t see him agreeing to one of those adult care facilities. Little Guy, who has only had two vaccinations, would need to be “brought up to code” and sent to day care – both of which I am very much against. My oldest would be forced to take even more responsibility and I’d see even less of him. Oh, and after paying for medical bills, day care, and someone to watch hubby, do you think there’s be enough to even buy a single decent meal for my family (I know there wouldn’t be money for rent and utilities!) I’d be working 40+ hours a week while other people (or no one at all) care for my family and for absolutely nothing in the end. (*Check out Bowling for Columbine's part about the little boy who shot a classmate in Flint, MI. The Michigan Works program hasn't changed one bit.]
That’s where I am right now. Trying not to freak out, trying to keep everyone safe AND happy, trying to decide for all four of us what the next step will be. That’s when I realized what my personal mission statement should be.
Okay, I should explain a little more. I need inner peace. My mind goes around and around. While spinning (yarn) the other night, I managed to find some peace. My thoughts just stopped and I wasn’t anywhere in particular. This is what real meditation is, right? No thinking, just being? Peace = A quiet mind.
I get very angry with many people. At doctors who just write my husband a prescription for whatever the last drug, rep was selling. At my oldest for begrudgingly slamming the door because I finally lost it and told him to take out the garbage (NOW!) rather than asked him nicely (again… and again…) At Little Guy for running to the computer and opening 1,000 tabs the second I head to the kitchen to get a refill of coffee. And, especially, at my husband for not being my husband – just another (very big) kid that I have to watch over. The last one is very, very hard for me. I get extremely infuriated with him. Sometimes, it just feels as if he acts the way he does because he can. As if he has a license to not take any responsibility for his actions and not even try to change them because a doctor gave him a label: ADHD, memory loss, insomnia, depression, bipolar – pick one, he's been told he's got them all. Oh, and there are more, too. (Just one more reason for me to not care for most doctors!)
Anyway, this anger builds and builds in me. I usually blow right about the time PMS sets in. I just lose it – I let everything go and no one feels good about anything afterward. I’ve tried to write my thoughts down to just get them out of my head to keep this ferocious wife and mother from surfacing, but it doesn’t help. I need to tell someone about it. I would LOVE to head to a psychologist’s office once a week just to unload my tensions and anxieties. I can’t. Nowhere to put Little Guy and hubby for the hour or so that I’d be gone. I can’t talk to my family about this. Hubby was NOT welcomed into the family when we married to begin with! The news of Little Guy was received with more tsk-tsk’s than smiles. Moreover, these people seem to think that my oldest is a slacker who needs to learn how to be a man. I do not know where to get my Peace from on this one, but it is something that I will think about as often as possible. I know the answer is sitting right in front of me…
Revenge is toxic. I do not wish to “get even” with those who have done me wrong. It’s just not right. And, hey, there’s always karma to even things up, right? Well, I thought long and hard about karma this past week and have decided to look at it in a different light – the one I believe it was meant to be seen in. You see, saying, “What comes around goes around,” is just another way of feeling vengeance. A person who says this feels good in knowing that the person who has wronged her will end up getting paid back eventually. I don’t want to feel that spiteful. I still believe in karma, but I’m not waiting to see what happens to so-and-so after they’ve treated me badly. Peace = Letting go.
I have a few more peaceful revelations that I’ve come across this past week, but I’m going to close up that can of beans before someone around here knocks it over. I’m going to brainstorm the anger thing… I really feel that if I can get it under control, things will look so much better for all of us. PEACE isn’t going to solve any of my problems – I’m not going to disillusion myself! Nevertheless, it sure will make me strong enough to deal with whatever is coming next.
Check out the other Mindful Parenting Collaboration posts below and, please, if you’ve written a post about inner work and/or a personal mission statement, I invite you to link it below! Collaboration means group effort – we’d love to hear your opinion on the subject.