Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Self-Judgment: My Own Worst Enemy

I've been feeling the need more and more of late to do something with myself. I worry that I'm wasting my life just raising my kids and taking care of my husband and house. I think about all the things that others are doing that I'm not doing and feel less than. I'm not measuring up. I used to do everything I do now plus work and attend grad school. I think about what I could be doing right now: working, going to school, pursuing a business, or just some greater good in the world. I'm not doing any of those.

I've forgotten about all of the reasons that I wanted out of that harried life. I wanted more time, a relaxed life; I wanted a break. Unfortunately, with all of that time for self-reflection, I've gotten quite adept at judging myself and coming up short in several areas. Because for all of my efforts at trying to rewire my brain and let go of modern society's standards, I haven't been successful. I still see myself through the eyes of others instead of seeing how I'm meeting the goals I set out for myself when I quit my job at the beginning of this journey. I think where I'm feeling most vulnerable is that I haven't figured out where I'm going from here. I know that at some point I'll be going back to work in the next year or two. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do or how to prepare for that transition. I haven't been to discern what my passions are and what I'd like to do in my future career. It has brought about all kinds of insecurities because I thought I would have some idea about that by now.

So, I'm clueless about my future and have fixated on the uncertainties of it rather than the certainties of the present. I have a beautiful family, a comfortable life, and great friends. So when that self-judgment monster rears it's ugly head and asks me what I've accomplished in the past year, where I'm going in the future, and what it is that I'm going to be, I need to have an answer. It's been in front of me all this time. I've spent a year being there for my kids, caring for my husband, maintaining my home, volunteering at school, being a friend, and learning how to be me without a career. I'm grounding myself for the future. I may not know what that will be, but I'm sure it will be fabulous.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Special Daughter

My daughter is special. She was born with Noonan Syndrome, a genetic syndrome caused by a gene mutation which appears to have been spontaneous in her case. She is a smart, stubborn, and often entertaining little girl. She is a ball of energy. She is a loquacious three-year-old with strong opinions. She is also tiny and very thin. She has certain features common to Noonan Syndrome, downward slanting eyes, prominent eyelids and epicanthal folds, low set ears, and a narrow face. From her diagnosis around seven months old, she has been through a battery of specialists and tests. The poor child has seen nearly every pediatric specialist in her early years to rule out any and all problems associated with Noonan Syndrome and help with her growth and hypotonia (low muscle tone). We also had a terrible scare the summer she turned two when one of her lymph nodes swelled up to the size of a golf ball in her neck (insert specialists, batteries of tests, multiple appointments, ending in a biopsy and CT under general anesthesia). All in all, she has been fairly healthy and her condition hardly limits her ability to engage in whatever activities a rambunctious three-year-old may want to engage in. And most of the time I'm able to put it all to the back of my mind. On a day to day basis, I don't worry about how being different will affect her in the future, about how having a syndrome attached to her person might shape her, about how other people will treat her or assume things about her, about how her body might betray her in the future, or about things like how she might feel about having kids and the possibility of passing the syndrome to them. I package all of those things and more into a tiny little box in the back of my head because Noonan syndrome is only a very small part of her. She is so so much more than that.

Then, like today, something happens-something which may seem very small and inconsequential to most people who don't have a child with a syndrome and haven't experienced what we have. I took my daughter to see the Ophthamologist and she was diagnosed with near-sightedness (myopia), astigmatism, and strabismus. The long and the short is that she needs glasses, her strabismus may or may not improve with glasses, and she may need to have patches or possibly surgery.  So by itself, perhaps, it isn't such a big deal. However, it brings that little box out from the back of my mind and pretty soon I'm unpacking it and arranging it in my head like it's furniture that I'm setting out to stay. I start to worry about her wearing glasses and how people will react and how she will feel especially as she gets older. I start to worry about things I haven't really thought about for awhile.  Because having a child who faces obstacles and has to deal with being different really does hurt. For her sake, I'll pack all of that away in a little while. I need to be strong for her because I know that sooner or later those worries will probably become her's too. I just hope that she can learn to move those worries back too. While the world may see her differently, I don't. She is a perfect little girl from her head to her toes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Losing Myself

I last posted here a year ago. I started this blog as a way to work through my feelings and transition as I moved from a full-time employee, mom and wife to a stay-at-home mother and wife. After I left my job, I just sort of lost myself in daily life. All the build up and anticipation of quitting my job sort of fizzled as I realized that being at home was a lot like a job too.

I'm trying to start afresh again and really find my passion. Find out where I fit. I love some aspects of being home, others not so much. But I don't want to wake up five years from now and realize that I've just been doing the daily dance instead of building the life that I'm meant to live.

So here it is, plain and simple: I'm more than just a mom, I'm more than just a mother, I'm more than just a housekeeper, home organizer, laundress, short-order cook, and nurse. I'm me too. I've let that slip away a little. I need to find her again. Figure out what makes her tick. While I love taking care of my family, that is not all that I am.

I'm determined to figure it out now. I let myself just be for a year. And now the work begins. Today, tomorrow, all throughout the next year. I need to focus on me. It sounds self-centered and egotistical. And perhaps it is. But more than just a mother and a wife, my family needs a whole and complete me. It may mean going back to work, going to school, starting a business, finding a volunteer passion, or none of the above.

We'll see where my journey takes me. I'm not just along for the ride anymore.