I find myself working so much more often than I do actually relishing in my children these days. Sure, you say, of course. Most moms do. The ironic fact is that I’m officially a stay-at-home mom, a title that, depending on the day is either the greatest blessing or one big frustrating pain in the neck. Noah is in school four half days a week, while Avry spends most mornings with me, but is in a program of his own two days a week. Three days a week I have a mommy helper come over the afternoon. She takes the boys for walks, feeds them snacks, and generally attempts to keep them from killing each other for a couple hours while I lock myself away upstairs and work to the soundtrack of squeals, screams, and a Sesame Street counting video. It’s an incredible gift to have people to help me, to have a break from my children, especially when they’ve worn me down to a nub and all I can do is eat ice cream in my bed before curling into a ball and sleeping, i.e. last Wednesday.
While I have help I telecommute for my job that I’ve had since before Noah was born and I am writing a book about the Ketogenic Diet and the Modified Atkins Diet. I’ve been mum on mentioning the book because I’m still the kind of gal who’s afraid of the other shoe dropping. But the contract is signed, the book is well under way, and it will be published in December. I am writing the book with a fantastic woman who lives in China and has raised seven children. She makes the days when I’m feeling lazy – or cranky or tired either of working too much or of working too little or of toddler tantrums in general – seem utterly unwarranted of complaint.
This book is something of a gift to myself and to all those people who are fighting epilepsy. The Ketogenic Diet saved Noah. It took his seizing little body and gave it a break. Heaping helpings of fat took him from a dramatically delayed and introverted child and turned him into the precocious, stubborn, and often-amazing child that I like to complain about after he’s terrorized me. I can laugh about it now – because I have my mommy helper here to play with him, but this morning was another story. Let me tell you: Noah delights in making me squirm, in making me feel like I have lost every bit of sanity, and if he can do it with Avry as a willing audience, SCORE! And yet when he signs “sorry” and says, “wahry,” I am reduced to a puddle on the floor.
In the last few months we’ve been dealing with so many behavioral issues with Noah that every step I make as a mother feels like a step backwards. I feel lost more often than I feel I have my footing. I’ve read several discipline books, and the methods work and then don’t work, and I never know whether it’s me as a mother or Noah as a child that is the root of the problem. How do I ever know what is age appropriate versus what is a result of Noah’s brain injury or developmental delay? When do I know that this is an issue greater than those that the average toddler mom deals with? Is this another special needs thing rearing its complicated head?
And then I think, as I steal away to write this book, or as I telecommute for work – or like right now when I’m writing a blog because I can’t focus on either of the other two aforementioned items – if my being locked away from them this often is somehow to blame for these behavioral outbursts. Have I taken to finding my place outside of this home too soon? Is this what is sounds like, the working mom’s dilemma creeping into my lovely white house? Do I work less during the day and work more at night? Do I put on my cape and become Super Woman? Surely I can’t clone myself; that would spark far too much controversy. I’d hate to read someone venting about it on Facebook. You know the posts; you think, sheesh, glad that wasn’t directed at me!
I could wrap up this blog nicely, organized, with a theme I’ve gently hammered onto the page, but that would require some cohesion of thought that has completely gone AWOL. Instead I might ask yet another question: how do you split yourself into all the women you want to be?