Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When Happiness Is An Option

Recently, my friend told me that she had a wish list on and I thought that maybe I should make one too. So I tried to make one for Logan, Spencer, and myself. For Logan, it was really easy since there are tons of things that I want for him. My list is a little too therapeutic and educational but I did try to put "fun" stuff on it like a set of Hot Wheels cars. I haven't finished Spencer's list but it'll be similar.

I did however, have a lot of trouble making my own list. I basically could not find anything to put in it. Could I possibly not want anything? No books, no CDs, no DVDs? No perfume, makeup, a new jacket, or some jewelry? nothing? What should I make of that? What does this say about me? Am I a loser? Am I that boring?

I literally spent hours poring through the Amazon website and all I could find was a pair of Crocs that I wanted and it's not even summer! What's even more insipid is the fact that I own this pair already but they are just worn out. The other thing could be also interpreted as pathetic. I put a Time Timer and some random candle on my wish list. Is this sad? Could I be labeled a loser because I couldn't put anything on my list when Amazon sells practically everything in the world?

I thought about what I really wanted most and the trouble is that those things are not sold on Amazon, some of which include, a new home and a vacation. However, those are things that have always been on my mind but when I thought long and hard about what I really want most, only one thing came to mind:

TIME. I just need more time.

I need time to organize my house so I could throw away things that I don't need anymore and feel good about having everything in order. But it's so hard to do this when the kids are home. When they are not, I am so relieved for the break, the last thing I want to do is organize.

I need time to clean my house because looking at the dirt and grime depresses and embarrasses me and yet I let it persist because I am just never in the mood to do it.

I need time to cook something other than the same old things that I cook every week. I like pleasing my family this way but they probably don't know that given the constant repeats they get every night.

I need time to read books that don't have anything to do with ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder. Right now, I'm trying my best to read My Baby Rides the Short Bus which thankfully is an anthology of short stories so that I could feel like I finished reading something since each story is only several pages long.

I need time to look in a store and shop for stuff I like instead of grabbing one thing in a hurry or buying something online and hoping it will fit and look good. If it doesn't, I sometimes still keep it because I don't have time to return it.

I need time to try on some shoes and ask my friend what she thinks. Then I need time to have lunch or dinner with that friend.

I need time to sit in a Barnes and Noble and just browse and have a cup of coffee while I sift through magazines that I have no intention of buying.

I need time to visit Spencer's school and watch him in class or in therapy. He acts differently in school than he does when he has therapy at home.

I need time to do nothing and not feel any guilt about it.

I need time to shower, dress, put make-up on, have a cup of coffee and eat breakfast in the morning all before 9 AM. This rarely happens and I feel embarrassed about it because the first therapists show up to my home at 7:30/8:00 AM for Spencer and I don't know why I have not done those things that they have all managed to do and show up to work on time.

Really, there is nothing more expensive than time. I know that the list above looks like it could be fixed by paying for a babysitter but it is more complicated than that. Babysitters don't get my kids ready for school and help them with homework and do enrichment work/therapy with them. Besides, babysitting is not free anyway. Either way, I think the Amazon exercise taught me a lot about myself and that is I am feeling quite empty.

I realized this because I have been obsessed with looking at my Abilitations catalog and dreaming of all the things I can buy for the kids. I stay up for as long as possible trying to do things even though I'm so tired and should be sleeping. Sometimes the thing I am trying to do is something so unimportant like watching television. I fight to keep my eyes open because I feel as if I have done nothing for myself that day.

You might know how I feel if you are the type of person who orders something from a restaurant and finds the food disappointing and yet you end up eating more than you usually eat to make up for the disappointment. I do that all the time and I think I go to sleep late for the same reason.

Also, if I wake up by accident at say.. 5 AM, I do not go back to asleep. Instead, I quietly creep out of bed (sometimes both boys are there with us) and go to my desk and do things like organize, write, or read. I am happiest at this time of the day and have to try very hard to hide my anger if Logan or Spencer comes lurking out at 5:30 AM and is not able to go back to sleep.

I think I'm at a crossroads right now. I can feel it. It's been 12 months since I started this blog and I think there have been a lot of changes; many of them good.

I no longer suffer from panic attacks. I no longer watch my children with great anxiety to see if any of interventions I use (ie. GFCF diet) are working. I have a babysitter now so I do go out of the house a bit these days. Spencer also goes to school for a couple of hours a day so I get a little break to do things including taking a much needed nap.

But I think I am longing for more these days. Perhaps I am no longer in a "state of emergency- happiness not an option." Maybe now I am looking for fulfillment. Maybe now the question is: Can Mom Be Content?

I believe my children will improve with help and I will secure that help for them but I think I need to have something of my own now. It has to have nothing to do with them. It has to go beyond this blog. It has to be rewarding for me. It has to help me reach my goal of moving out of this small apartment away from neighbors who bang up when my kids run and play even during the day. It has to help me pay for vacations where I do not have to think about cooking and cleaning for a few days.

I think I need to get a job (other than being a SAHM). I know this because I have been a bit envious and in awe of working moms lately. I've met a few in the past couple of months and like me, they have special needs kids but they also have a career and are managing their families just fine.

Maybe if I had a job, I could be more productive with my time. I could stop observing children in the playground and trying to gauge if they have untreated special needs or not. I could stop telling people about the services that are out there for the taking if they just look into it more. I don't think this is a bad thing to do but out of the many times I do this, my advice is not followed. Thus, I need to be more selective when giving my "why not get an evaluation just to check?" speech.

This new job has to be freelance work for now because I want to be here for my kids when they are home from school. I need to get started on this goal but it is so hard. Maybe that could be my new year's resolution: to get started with this new chapter of my life. The second resolution would be the start the first resolution as quickly as possible.

Photo: I think I did one good thing this year which was to get Logan ice skating. He loves it and I love watching him enjoy himself.


Anonymous said...

I hear you Jenn -- time is a wonderful gift and one that's not sold on Amazon. I don't know if I could do that either. I think I've seen some cool thins on etsy from other blogs I read ;)! Good luck w. the freelance work. I recently started teaching again part time and it is nice to have another outlet though my laundry pile is even more out of control than ever before!

Nicole said...

Oh my God-- this is too funny! I think the same thing about the amazon wish list. My husband has one nine miles long, and has "hobbies", and I have nothing. I don't want anything. I'm sure if I thought hard enough or looked, I would find something. I cried one night because I thought I was so boring, and that "I need a hobby". I looked online that night, and then went to Michael's (the craft store). I never really do my "hobby", and get jealous of him because he has one, or several...