Saturday, July 31, 2010

She was

I never thought it would be like this. Motherhood, that is.

All I ever wanted to be was a mom. When I was a kid and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a 'mommy.'

My mom tells me things like "God wouldn't give you more than you can handle" and "You must be very special is why God has given you these challenges."

But I don't feel special. I feel alone.

And I am sitting in the kitchen crying to myself after Murphy just told me to get out the room he's in...and not in a nice way at all. And unless you have a child like Murphy, you could not understand that the best option was for me to leave. I know it seems like I am not disciplining him and that I shouldn't let him talk that way to me. It is just not that simple. It just is not. I have another child who does not behave like this.

I wonder if he will ever truly know what a great mom I was.


  1. Oh julie! I'm sorry you're feeling so alone. I am certainly not judging you. It is hard. And it is more than you anticipated. And that is real. You're allowed to feel it. I get it... Kid is challenging in a different but similar way. Discipline isn't easy when you are already feeling so guilty that your kid is challenged in a way that isn't their fault... and isn't fun for them either. It just isn't the same as with a child who is in complete control of their emotions and actions. Kid has some real crazytown going on and there are lots of days that I want to scream at her or cry or both simultaneous or first scream and then feel like shit and cry or just let her watch 9 hours of TV until she is out of her mood. Is there an ADHD support group around?

  2. that comment had bad flow... obviously.

    the support group is a legit question. I've seen them around us. It might be something that could be helpful (or horrible?!).

  3. Thanks Mrs F.

    I go from feeling so sad for him that he feels and acts out of control to feeling so mad that this is our life and how it affects everything. Then I feel guilty that I even feel badly for me/us because it could be so much worse.

    I think I may try to start a support group in the fall. There is nothing around here that I know of. I have really searched, too.

    I just don't even know what it all is. He just has so much trouble with his emotions and his need to be in control of all of us. I don't know anymore if it is ADHD or what else in addition. He is just such a challenging little person.

    I am so sorry that you guys are going through stuff with Kid, too. How do you feel about the school situation up in AA?

    It's all just so fucked up.

  4. Your comment made perfect sense to me.
    The mix of emotions...totally get it.

    There is nothing around here as far as support. It's like no one around here wants to be real. Yet, since I can't NOT be real about it, people have been opening up about their situations. There would be more support group types of things closer to Boston, but not out in countryville.

  5. Oh Julie, this breaks my heart!!

    I am reminded of a blog of one of my friends. One of her sons has autism and she posts often about the challenges, sometimes with HIM but mostly with all of the judgement that comes from people thinking she just doesn't discipline him. She has two other children who are well-behaved who don't have any brain issues. (You know of course, I'm not sayin Murphy has autism)

    Anyway, I'm sorry. just sending my love and empathy. There have been many times I've felt alone, I've cried, I've wanted to run away forever. I've felt like I wasn't up to the task AT ALL. I've thought "Nope. God got it wrong, I actually CANNOT HANDLE THIS" many many times.

    And yet. I just cling to that belief that I'm making a difference. That they won't grow up to be the four ax-murdering brothers...
    I think Moms (and especially Moms of uh...spirited children) have to have an INSANE inner strength. Fighting for kids, believing in them when no one else does, letting judgement roll of of them because their Mommy skin has grown so thick. I'm still working on having it; that graceful steel that breeds wisdom and empathy.

    But Julie, I know that you do. Your are a cheerleader. You lift everyone up, you don't judge, you are so kind and nurturing. I doesn't surprise me that you've always wanted to be a "mommy." Take hope, you are doing the best that you can.

    "She Was."

    Totally Julie. Totally.

  6. that graceful steel that breeds wisdom and empathy. Oh Katie, that sounds so beautiful. Thank you for your words, your encouragement.

    Another piece that makes this all so hard is its effect on Jack. It is so upsetting for him and he doesn't think of it all that Murphy can't help it and that he has something up with his brain. I know he loves him, but I know that he resents him a lot, too.

    I am so grateful to you Katie, Robin, Mrs F and Heather. You all are so supportive to me. I feel I can say what I feel and not be judged. You know I love my boys. And you know that Murphy isn't only his challenging part...he is also such a wonderful little person.

  7. OOPS!!! I left out my KIKI!!!!!! I am so grateful for you, Kiki:).

    I love you all.

  8. re:public school... I am freaked out.
    While this is like literally the best public school in the country... it is still a public school with class sizes that are about 3x what she is used to. I just don't want to damage her... you know? Part of me wants to just give her more time in a safer environment and part of me thinks we'll kill each other if we attempt to homeschool. She like the social aspect of school... and her moods are not an issue at school. But the monthly vomiting and ocd ticks... not such a huge fan (not to mention the afternoon tantrums because it takes so much out of her to be at school holding all that stress in all day). And of course that was while in a small protected school setting. But, maybe she'll love it. Maybe it'll be great. Who knows? We're setting out to try it and see how it goes. There are lots of other options in MI if she isn't doing well. She also goes to the neuro on Tuesday.

  9. Interesting about the moods. Murphy is the same way with losing it at the end of the day. He keeps it together at school and just lets go with me.

    Murphy has not seen a neuro yet and it bugs the hell out of me that we haven't done that. We keep going the route that the pediatrician and the psychologist have hold off for now. I don't want to wait. It just bothers me that my insurance does not cover any of the doctors/hospitals I would like to go to. That is one of the main reasons I have not just done it. It's sucks that it comes down to a money thing. We will just have to figure that portion out and do it.

  10. Well with Kid we are pretty sure she has mild OCD (real kind not what people use as euphemism for cleanliness) and generalized anxiety. The neuro is not dealing with that but with the epilepsy (now theoretically outgrown) and the potential for abdominal migraines. ALL of these are co-morbid with anxiety so it's all related for her (most likely). And we have a strong history of anxiety on both sides of the family. The tics are most disturbing for us but those come and go. Right now she doesn't have any. Last December she was looking at her fingertips about 100 times an hour when in one of her spells. Freaky. And obviously if things progress on that front that could really hurt her academically and socially and we'd have to look at anxiety meds to help control that. The whole school thing really stresses me out because it is obvious when she is not in school how much of her issues are related to school stress. Right now no vomiting, no tics, and very few tantrums. So what is best? It just feels wrong to put a child under that kind of stress. Would it be better for her to have more time at home and work on helping her develop stress coping strategies? Or, while she seems upset, is her stress so subconscious that she doesn't really mind? She does like school and wants to go historically (not to a new school... but that's understandable) she even wishes I'd send her to aftercare. She loves that social aspect of having time with peers. I do think that is important but I really struggle with this decision and the fear of hurting her or pushing her. She has a really low frustration tolerance and pretty low self esteem. I'm worried the more rigid academics and the more open comparison to peers (she's usually a bit behind because her perfectionism makes her slow to finish tasks) might crush her spirit. Gah! Can you tell this is eating me up?!!

  11. Girl. I had two margaritas with dinner, so I'm not going to try to make sense. I'll come back tomorrow with more to say, but...

    I was just thinking today how I was kind of resentful of moms of "normal" children. Do they realize how easy it is? Do they appreciate it? I was in the pool with Kara (Kent was with my mom in a different pool) and I was just so relaxed and having so much fun. I kept thinking how wonderful life would be if Kent were as easy as she is. And then I feel like shit for wishing he was different. (and then I wonder if I REALLY do wish he was different. He's so funny and happy and charming....but hard.)

  12. I'm back.

    Ugh. I really feel for you. I completely understand the frustration and guilt.

    Re: support groups. Maybe I'm not a support group type of person, but I belonged to an Autism support group, and for me, it was just depressing. Instead of finding support and hope (which is what I needed) I found a bunch of people griping about vaccines, and the schools, and the doctors and how their kid would never be normal. And stories of older kids being totally out of control. It made me completely hopeless for the future. I would have liked for it to be a place to commiserate, but the self pity and hopelessness in that group were out of control. Every kid is different, and the only thing that gets me through this is the hope that Kent will be ok. I know it will be hard, but I believe he will be fine. And I don't want anyone taking that hope away from me. I'm sure there are good support groups out there. This just wasn't one of them. Y'all are a much better support group than they were.

    Has Murphy always been as difficult as he is now? I'm wondering if this degree of difficulty is maybe just a phase? Y'all are going back to the therapist in September, right? Maybe you need to go back now?

    Katie - "the judgement that comes from people thinking she just doesn't discipline him." YES!! I know people think I don't discipline Kent, which is far from the truth. I do. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Bottom line is, he doesn't learn good behavior very quickly. So for a typical child who only has to visit time out 3 or 4 times to learn something, Kent has to visit time out 50 times. And for every little thing. He's not able to translate from behavior to behavior. Like if he finally learns not to hit his sister, he doesn't realize that means he shouldn't hit his friends, either. You have to be very specific. Ugh. But I stress out about other peoples perception of what is going on. I need a shirt that says, "He has Autism! I'm not a bad mom!" But that's not fair to him, and he's so high functioning that I don't tell people because they treat him differently. Autism and ADHD are hard because people can't "see" the disability. But it is a disability.

    "letting judgement roll of of them because their Mommy skin has grown so thick. I'm still working on having it; that graceful steel that breeds wisdom and empathy." That is beautiful, Katie. I'm working on it.

    We're here for you, Julie. You're such a wonderful person and a great friend. I wish I could do more for you.

  13. RE:support groups... yes I was afraid of that hence the (or horrible) part. If there is not an actual professional facilitator support groups can be a very negative place. I'd look for one run through a psychologist, or similar. Group mentality can go either way, and there needs to be a strong neutral party to keep things headed in the right direction. It can be a great place of support and healing... but... it can also be a train wreck in the wrong hands.

  14. I haven't been able to respond since the boys keep coming over and looking over my shoulder! I will get back to this later.

    Yup, Robin, I have felt slightly resentful,too, of moms of 'typical' kids. But then, we never really know what's going on with them, too. It is crazy to think that I am a bit of envious of a friend of mine, whose kids are practically perfect in every way...well, except (and it is a HUGE except), her oldest has a lung disorder so he has severe asthma and a severe nut allergy as well. Even my friend has said though, that as crazy hard as that is, she thinks it is harder on me with a child who has 'hidden' issues. At least with the medical issues, she knows what to do to help him. And he is totally fine otherwise (in fact super, super smart and social.) Plus, they are uber rich and have the means to do whatever it takes regardless of insurance coverage.

    I guess I am getting the time to type without the boys. Better take the opportunity!

    Mrs F: oh God, the worry and uncertainty of knowing what is right for your little girl. Yup, I know a thing or two about that word 'co-morbid.' When one wiring in the brain is a bit off, it affects other areas, too. I don't know for sure if Murphy's ADHD is the main thing or comorbid with something else. In some ways he fits aspergers, but in most ways, he does not. That must be so heartbreaking to see that Kid has low self esteem. I just want my kids to feel good about themselves. It is all such a struggle. I feel like Tom and I have made Murphy not feel as good about himself since he is so challenging and he knows it. I know I am rambling here. Just quickly trying to get thoughts out before a boy comes by.

    Yup on support groups.
    I agree with what Mrs F said: it can also be a train wreck in the wrong hands..

    We've never even been able to use any typical positive (or negative for that matter!!) discipline techniques with time outs or about having the child learn to make 'good choices." And as I learned from a symposium at Mass General Hospital, this wasn't all in my head. Some of those methods actually make things way worse for kids like Murphy. I can't even get him to go to his room...or to leave ME alone if I tell him that I need a time-out (because if I don't I will really regret what I say to him.)

    Robin, Murphy hasn't gotten worse really. It is definitely not a phase. Believe me, I remember hoping when he was like 4 that by the time he was in 2nd grade, he'd be better. Not so. Now that he is older, it is even more apparent that there are real issues going on and that he is not growing out of them. It all requires non-stop energy that sometimes I just let him do what he wants (like right now...he is playing video games and watching tv all day and not eating. Yay me as a mom;) .)

  15. Mrs. F - yeah. It was just a Yahoo group of local people. So bad. I can see how one with a professional facilitating would be better.

    Julie - disciplining Kent is constantly changing. Nothing works really well, and the things that kind of work change from day to day or week to week. It's super fun. ;) Positive reinforcement works better than negative, but sometimes that doesn't work either.