Sunday, June 17, 2007

On Being Mom

There's a great discussion going on over at Suburban Turmoil about stay at home parents.

Do you think that being a stay at home Mom is hard?

I personally think that being a parent in general is hard. Kids are not easy little things. We muddle through doing the best we can, often second guessing ourselves and trying to do the best we can, but screwing up often. Very often. Good thing kids are pretty forgiving.

Not to mention that people are always doing the one-upmanship game.

"Oh, well, just wait until they are teenagers."
"Well my child never tantrumed like that."
"You only have one? That must be easy."

Oh please. We all have our own family dynamics. We never really know what the other parent is dealing with. It's often assumed that I know nothing about teens or having more then one child, and then people are surprised when I tell them I've been....

-a stay at home Mom
-a working Mom
-a step Mom
-a foster mom to FOUR teenagers (yes, four)
-I've worked with kids from 5-18 who have special needs
-my own child has learning disabilities and needs too
-a mom with a small child AND teens in the house
-a second/much younger wife

However, Lindsay makes a point that I whole heartedly agree with. She says, "I vented all my feelings about being a stepmom and a new mom, thinking it would make me feel better. And I was so wrong. Writing all those feelings out made them more real somehow. I felt worse after I wrote those posts. Much worse. Conversely, when I wrote something funny, I felt much better. And so I started writing humorous posts. "

Just recently I've been wondering if I've been writing too many negative things here and not focussing on the positive.

Is it hard?

Yes. Sometimes, it really is. Parenting kids with needs outside the typical kid can make life a bit of a guessing game. You always wonder if you're doing the right thing because typical advice just doesn't apply. You're always educating other people. Other people who either judge what sort of parent you are based on the fact that your kid is different, or who want to label your kid with disorders they know nothing about.

You are constantly advocating. Constantly educating other people. Then you have to teach your child how to navigate a world that really isn't too keen on accepting differences.

On the other hand, you get the opportunity to see life differently. You appreciate small victories more then most. You dance for joy over things many people take for granted. This small being surprises you with their determination, their passion, and their unbridled love. I would not trade one second of it for anything and feel so priviledged that I got to be his Mom.

Being a Mom has taught me so much; it has brought Hubs and I closer, it has made me more empathetic to parents of special needs children, and taught me to be assertive and fight for what I believe in. Parenting Jake has made me a better person.

Like giving birth, it has it's moments that are painful and you think will never end.

The rewards however, are beyond anything you could possibly imagine.

Edited to add: I don't think parenting is easy for anyone, no matter what your work status is. We all have our different circumstances and what works for us. It would be nice if we could all just support each other regardless, but you know...that's like asking for world peace. Right?

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