Not the Momma…

the good ol' days the good ol’ days

Ok, so I am the Momma, but seriously….how did this happen?  I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, so how the hell am I supposed to guide another human being? Am I doing this right or screwing up my kids for all eternity?  I could ask my mother, but then I’d have to hear her tell me exactly how I am messing them up for all eternity, so cross that resource off the list.  This parenting thing is a lot harder than it looks.

My oldest is a Junior in high school and was recently diagnosed with adult ADD and depression. Many people ask why he didn’t get diagnosed until now The truth is that he was so smart that he could mask it. When I look back at his childhood, there were probably signs, but they weren’t neon glowy signs screaming “GET YOUR KID HELP!” Instead, the signs were more subtle; like a soft warm glow.  For example, I’d receive a call from his teacher around March saying that he has spring fever and could I please ask him to settle down in class?  I would talk to him, and he would correct the problem. He never missed homework, always completed reading projects and was a very well-mannered kid.

Around his Sophomore year that all changed.  He couldn’t keep up with his work and at times was missing up to 20 assignments in certain classes. When I would ask him why he wasn’t doing his work, he would mumble “I don’t know.”  UGH.  So frustrating.  I had reached out to all of his teachers and begged for them to allow late work.  After getting approval, my son and I sat together, and I would watch him while he completed all of the missing assignments. It was exhausting. The next day, he would forget to turn them in.  I really believed that he was not turning work in to be spiteful.  We fought like crazy and it was ruining our family dynamic.  My youngest was starting to be affected by all of the fighting and we needed to find another way.

I had him tested for learning disabilities and he did not have any.  His IQ tested between 125-130, so we knew he was more than capable.  Throughout the testing process, I also had him working with a therapist to help him with his depression and anxiety issues.  Once that was corrected, and homework was still not being turned in, we were able to come across the ADD diagnosis.  He was put a daily medication and was literally better the first day. (sorry haters, I know you all think our kids are overmedicated, but keep that opinion to yourself….this kid needs it!)  He said the world felt clear for the first time. The guilt I had for not realizing sooner crushed me.  His grades improved, the fighting stopped and life went back to normal (as normal as it gets).

This year, I decided not to monitor him as much and see how he does on his own.  I hoped that he would appreciate the freedom and would keep working hard on his assignments. It’s also a way to stop the fighting. Here’s the big problem; if I don’t monitor him constantly, he starts to slip up again, and now I’ve put myself in the position where I allowed it to happen.  I don’t want to have to moniter a 16 year old constantly, but I also don’t want to see him flounder. He seems too old for any real punishment and I was raised with the theory if a kid fails, “oh well, that’s thier own fault”.  The thing is, I don’t really subscribe to that theory. I’m his mom and I feel that I am letting him down if I am not there helping and pushing every step of the way.  I always wondered why I wasn’t being pushed harder, and I don’t want my kid to wonder someday why I didn’t push hard for his success.

For the record, I am not a helicopter parent.  I don’t think all kids should receive participation medals and I believe that they should learn how to properly lose.  I also don’t believe that this is the same thing as allowing them to fail.  As a teenager, my mom would always remind me that if I failed it was on my shoulders.  I was even told time and time again, that they didn’t think that I would get through school. That message is dangerous and can become a self-fulfulling prophecy.  At times, I didn’t feel worthy of success, so I pretended not to care and she believed me. Of course, internally I did care and felt horrible most of the time.  I can’t do that to my kid.  He needs to know that he isn’t allowed to fail on my watch and that I will fight to help him succeed. So, now I have to backpeddle from granting my son some freedom and get back to the constant monitoring/nagging, and sadly, fighting…..sigh.

I was about to write that I hope we look back at his school days with some good memories and laugh about it, but that’s bullshit.  I know we won’t.  What I really hope, is that we make it through this last year of high school alive and without damaging each other’s pysche for good. In the meantime, I will fight for him and with him to get through this. He will know that I believe in him and will not allow failure. If nothing else, it will give him years of good stories for his future therapy appointments….

the thing about my job…

wpid-20141028_120403.jpgI have received so much concern from my family members regarding my “shitty job” comment in my bio that I felt the need to address it. I also broke down and cried at work today about how horrible I feel in my new position, so that needs to be addressed as well. Ugly cried. At work. So embarrassing. Anyway, I get that I need my job. I’m a single mom and am the sole provider of this family. (So much pressure.) It’s important to note that my issue isn’t with the company as a whole, but my role within that company that is sucking my soul dry. So readers, how should I honestly address a job that I hate, and stay employed? Very carefully.

Let me backtrack a bit to explain that I really believed that I was going to “make it”. Whatever “it” was going to be, was yet to be determined. Broadway,tv, SNL (I would’ve been great on SNL). I have toured with Ringling Bros, waterskiied for Sea World and performed in tons of local theatre. I had such cool jobs/experiences that anything other than “it” was never to going be “it”.

Flash forward to modern times, and I, like so many other people, find myself doing what i have to do and not what i want to. This is always the part when annoyingly cup-half-full people say,”you can do whatever you want” or “you are such a great decorator, you could totally start a business” or “what is it you WANT to do?”. As if. That’s not a luxury provided to me in this lifetime, and I’m totally ok with that. I became a single mom at 26, and needed to make money. So, instead of having the time to invest in a dream career, I became a really great salesperson. No, it’s not what I hoped to be when I grew up, but I do provide a nice life for me and my boys, and I’m very proud of that. I’m even really good at it. I love closing a big deal! I had just started to have fun with my career and began to develop really great business relationships and connections within my field, when the bottom dropped out. Industry changes equalled downsizing.

Over the last few years, we have experienced cut backs and downsizing. Through every cut, I have been lucky to keep a chair with my name on it. (Many of my friends haven’t been so lucky.) The chair keeps moving further away from a window, and is accompanied with less and less responsibility, but it’s still mine! It feels demoralizing and lucky all at the same time. We no longer work in an era where companies feel lucky to have great talent, instead we work in the “you are lucky to have a job” era.

YOU WILL WORK HOLIDAYS
YOU WILL ACCEPT WORSE BENEFITS
YOU MAY NOT LEAVE 30min EARLY FOR A DR. APPT

Welcome to corporate America in the “you are lucky to have a job” era. And what really sucks? We are lucky! I am very lucky to still have a chair, further from the window, but mine all mine. I’m very lucky that I still have benefits for my kids…a huge deductible, but we’re covered nonetheless. I only wish that this corporate America realized they were lucky to have us, too.

It feels so selfish to think about what could have been. I feel horrible that my friends are still searching for a jobs while I have that far from the Windows chair. Also, I really love raising my kids and totally own my financial responsibility, so please don’t think that I have regrets… Of course, if Lorne Michaels stumbles upon my blog, and invites me to an an SNL audition, then I am so outta here! Later suckers!