I’ve had just about all I can take of this Lions Tour thank God that is over with. I’ve had enough of sport in fucking general if I’m being honest. If it’s sport my husband will watch it, it seems to me like there is not a single day of the year that there is not a professionally played sport televised. If it’s televised then it’s on in this house. Now I know most men are like this and it’s usually fine with me but this past week has tested me and the weekend was a disaster. Neil left at 7am on Saturday to go watch the sodding Lions and I was stuck solo parenting again all day, I know that there are single parents (I’ve been one), army families and people all across the world who do it on their own day in day out but Saturday…. I had had a guts full.
Every week is getting a little harder, what with appointments coming out of me ears for Connor. Therapies and education, we have the speech therapist coming two sometimes three days per week and I am trying to learn more about behavioral therapy and techniques to help with his anxiety attacks. Plus all the day to day things we face, sometimes just getting him dressed has me on my knees in tears. Now we have things beginning for Florence, in the next three weeks we have three new intervention projects starting and her first appointment with the speech therapist. Now I’m grateful for all this I really am, I may not seem it right now but I am. My kids mean everything to me and they need my help but right now I feel like I’m failing. I’m struggling to stay on top of life. I am failing at keeping on top of special needs learning, I’m failing at spreading my attention around all of my children, I’m failing at keeping on top of housework, I’m failing at getting my daughter to move on with her development and most of all I am failing at being me. There is only so many things you can fail at before you start to question if your the problem, I must be the failure. I am the only common denominator.
This has been on of those weeks where everything is kicking my arse. Being a Wife is kicking my arse, being a Mum is kicking my arse and being Natalie is kicked me so far up the arse that she’s been gone a few weeks now. So feeling like this and the fact that I was solo parenting again Saturday, which I wanted to strangle my husband for…even though he needs a break too because he works his arse off for this family, didn’t make the weekend seem all that promising to me. Plodding along though, until major meltdown hit right in the middle of trying to get Ed Sheeran tickets on the ticket master website. FFS! I only wanted ten minutes why choose now to kick off Connor? Yeh I’m blaming Connor, my Autistic four year old for my head stress. I mean what the fuck is up with me? (Rhetorical question please don’t answer that). I decided to get the kids out of the house for a little bit, our days and blurring into weeks and weeks into months. Being stuck in alot of the time because it’s so difficult to go places with them both on my own. We are very limited to where we can go because of Connor’s sensory issues, and I know I’m not the only Mother who has more than one child, but I can’t even go to the park for God sake. Connor has no sense of danger, he can’t speak or understand alot of what I say so if I’m pushing Florence on the swing and Connor tries to run out of the park, jump in a river, dash across the road etc… which one do I leave? The baby sitting in the swing or run as fast as I can to catch my son who won’t stop when I call him because he doesn’t register the danger. I may seem like I’m over paranoid but things have happened in the past and I’m terrified that he will get seriously hurt. So most of the time we are trapped in the house in a cycle of needing to socialise and not coping well on my own out and about.
It’s not a case of people and the nasty shit they say or do because I’m good at ignoring that, it’s just so hard to do alone and more than once I’ve broken down in tears in the middle of the street and just so you know what not one person, NOT ONE has stopped and asked if I was OK. Sometimes I just don’t get humanity at all. Why do we have this problem with people admitting that they are struggling? I’ve kept my secret long enough now, perhaps it is because I don’t feel like I’m failing every day or perhaps it’s because I’ve been ashamed but why should I? Being a mum is so hard. I’m exhausted most of the time and I miss me. What about me? I know people will think “selfish cow” but I can’t find me anymore. I’m trying to be something to everyone and I’m failing at most things, and the one that is making me the most sad is missing myself. I want to be me again for a while. I’ve given up so much to be a mum, just like most mother’s I know but I don’t think I was even slightly prepared for how much time and dedication a child with special needs takes. I hate myself for saying this but I need a break. I am now a full time carer and have had to give up my job and in doing so the career I had been planning for around three years, but that’s ok I’ve excepted that. Connor needs me and I want to be with him but now Florence is under the microscope and they could tell me at any minute she is on the spectrum too and I really don’t think I am gona cope. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and that you go through things in life to prepare you for the next chapter of your life and I still believe that, but what the fuck is am being prepared for? I sometimes sit and wonder what the hell can the universe through at me next? I feel like I’ve let my husband down alot of the time, he waited a lifetime for the family he never had and we keep getting told we are failing at every turn. This is not what I wanted for him. I wouldn’t change my children are I love them all more than life but I sometimes wish we could catch a break before we break ourselves.
I’m doing that thing that I hate, where I am looking at other people’s Facebook and Instagram and thinking, “When am I gona get to do that?”. I hate that I’ve been doing it and that I can even think it but when I found out I was having a daughter, I dreamt of ballet classes and gymnastics, Mum and daughter shopping days and horse riding but all that seems so far away, if even possible now. It makes me so mad but mostly sad because I feel like I can’t give my daughter all the things that my parents have me. I know how lucky I am to have my children, that some people can’t have the children they desperately want and that some parents have had their children taken away too soon but my children are here and I just want them to have the best and right now, I don’t feel like that is me. I always feel like I am playing catch up to everything, I am so busy all day then at night we have to have things done a certain way or Connor will struggle to settle. Not that he does most nights and when he does it’s for two or three hours at a time, then when I finally get them into bed I am trying to play catch up with it all. The housework, staying healthy and fit, just having five minutes to sit down or have a bath, having any kind of social life is just a fucking joke and never mind trying to have a career of any kind. Yes I feel incredibly lucky that I am now doing something that has been a secret passion of mine since my teenage years and that I am now lucky enough to have a husband who will do anything for this family, so I can actually take courses and be serious about writing which I’ve wanted to do for so long now but getting any time to write is near impossible. I am having to start it at around midnight sometimes and I’m not talking blogging or freelancing, I am in the process of writing a book. (There I’ve said it, the secret is finally out) At the rate I am going, I’ll be finished in 2050!!!!! I just feel like I am loosing now matter how hard I am trying to do all these things, something always slips. Myself and my husband spent no time and I mean NO TIME together, this may seem like a regular thing for parents and yes I was aware we would be giving up alot but seriously Connor has been alive for 1681 days and I have been away from him 23 times!!!! That is 1.37% of his life.
People actually think that when your child is disabled ‘at least’ you don’t have to work. People think ‘at least you get money for nothing’??? I mean are you serious? Firstly, as if I would want my child to be in any way affected so I didn’t have to work. Secondly if you think it’s a money pit then you are so misinformed. For example Connor needs around the clock care and CONSTANT supervision, that is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, no sick days for me and no holiday pay. So if you actually worked that out it comes to 38p per hour, but that’s ridiculous right? So let’s work that out basing it on me ‘working’ 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, it comes to £1.60 per hour. So yeh it’s all about the money eh??? My whopping carer’s allowance. The fact is I had a job, I wanted to go back to work and I couldn’t so I am staying home to make sure my son gets the life he is entitled too… and just so you know, I’d do it for free. So to the people who think that as a carer in this country you get to stay home and look after your children, why should you get paid to do that?? There is my wage slip broken down for you. I don’t see my children as a job I chose to have them and I wouldn’t change a thing about them but I am drained at the moment and I feel like if I don’t get myself back in the picture a little bit I might disappear altogether. Being a mum is so hard, we are expected to juggle so many different jobs all at the same time. Am I the only one who’s not coping?
Natalie Abraham AKA Mostly Mummy