I’ve been stewing. Sitting here wondering how to get more readers when what I should be focusing on is venting through my writing. And enjoying the process of writing. I don’t know if anyone is reading this, other than my writing partner, Nicole. At this point, I really just want to talk about my life as a stay at home mom and how it has changed recently.
For the last 10 years, I’ve been a stay at home mom. It’s really all I ever wanted to be: a wife and mother. Joel and I have been lucky enough that he has a fantastic job that enables me to stay at home, because Jamie has needed me at home with him since day 1. Jamie has cerebral palsy and needs help with every aspect of his life. He can’t brush his own teeth, he can’t make his meals, he can’t pull his pants down and get on the toilet by himself. Because I hate saying the things he can’t do, I’m now going to say things he can do. He can make me smile faster than anyone I know. He laughs at appropriate things; he has the best belly laugh I’ve ever heard. He sings little notes here and there, even though he’s non-verbal. He loves the show Jack’s Big Music Show on Nick Jr. And he lights up a room just by being in it. However, he still needs a shit load of help throughout the day.
We moved to Kentucky from Florida and a friend we met told us about this program that the state has called the Michelle P Waiver. We did all of the applications and interviews to get on the list. Jamie qualified with no problem, because it doesn’t matter how much his parents make. It only mattered that he needed help living in the community. Basically, the waiver is to make sure that people with intellectual and physical/medical needs are able to stay in their own homes as long as possible without having to live in a nursing home (thus becoming a bigger burden on the state). We got enough money to be able to hire someone to come in every day and help me with him. Here’s the rub: our helper is so kick-ass good that I’m now feeling a little left out and a little bit useless. This is not a great feeling for a mom to have. Especially this mom. I’ve never felt useless before; I always had a purpose: to be Jamie’s and Riley’s mom. Now, though, with Riley in Kindergarten and Jamie getting all of his help from our nanny (that’s what we call her, even though she’s really more like family), I feel like I’m sort of floating along. Twiddling my thumbs has become my past time.
So, I write. I write to fill a void that has been left by all of the time I used to spend helping Jamie learn his letters and numbers, potty training him, reading him his favorite books, and singing to him. When you’re used to doing something every day for 10 years and then someone comes along and sort of takes over, it’s like being laid-off from work, or maybe retired. I’ve been replaced. That stings a bit. Seriously, I’m still reeling. I’ve thought about going back to college, even filling out the applications and trying to get some financial aid. Don’t even get me started on the financial aid crap. I don’t qualify for any. Ugh. So, I’m not sure where I am at this point. I think I’m too young to be having a mid-life crisis. Is 36 too young for that? I’m not sure. I don’t have any gray hairs, but I do have a few wrinkles around my eyes. We’ll call them “laughter-induced-enhancements of the eye area.” I don’t think of them as unattractive because it means I’ve led a happy life. 🙂
What does one do with their time when their kids go away to college or move out? I feel like I’m having an “empty nest” moment in my life, and yet my kids are still here and I get to see them every day. Riley is very independent and likes to do her own thing. I sometimes have to force her to spend time with us in the afternoons after school. She likes to go in her brother’s room and color while she’s watching her favorite show. She needs that down time after school to decompress, so I let her have it. I was the same way when I was a kid-I went in my room, turned on the stereo as loud as I could stand it, and did my homework. So, I’m stuck feeling useless for now.
I’m looking into things I can do that will help our household. I’ve thought about taking a sewing class (I can sew a straight line but forget about following a pattern), or maybe a finance class to learn more about the stock market and how to grow our IRAs. Joel suggested a part-time job, but I’m not sure there’s a job that is flexible enough for me to take time off when we have doctor appointments and the like, that will also pay enough that it makes sense for me to work. If you’ll remember (for anyone who read that post) I had a job earlier this year. I didn’t make enough money to make it feasible for me to pay our nanny the extra money that the waiver didn’t cover for the extra time she would be working.
What do other parents do when their children don’t really need them anymore? I’ve asked my friends, but no one has any answers really. I’m at a loss. I hate this floating around shit and I’m ready to be needed again. I’m a MOM. It’s what I do. I can’t fire our nanny, she’s too awesome with Jamie. He’s blossomed so much since she started with us, and they really love each other. He’s becoming more independent and she has the patience that I sometimes lack. Plus, I like having some time to myself. I’m just trying to find a balance.
I guess what I’m saying is this: I’ll be writing more often to kind of talk about what I’m going through. Stick with us. This Modified Mama is still learning a few things.