Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Excuse, Support Exists

A side effect of being a mom, and especially a stay-at-home mom, is isolation. When my oldest was born I was so lucky to have an awesome neighbor whose 2nd son was born the day after my firstborn.  We talked on the phone, we walked in the mornings, we traded dinners, we watched trashy reality t.v. together. I thought this whole mothering thing was a piece of cake.

Then my friend moved 2 states away. I had never felt so alone in my life. I found a mom's club and even though I eventually got kicked out because of my big mouth, I am still close friends with these women.  I have known them now for 5 years and they have been a huge support.

Now I have 3 kids.  Just a few months ago my oldest was diagnosed with ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder and my youngest was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (which is basically Autism). I felt the same way that I did when my friend moved away, alone.

I cried and felt sorry for myself and drank too many beers and yelled at my kids and refused to have sex with my husband.   And then I sucked it up and started looking for help.

So we all know about 9-1-1 and 4-1-1 but have you heard of 2-1-1?  This number is somewhere in between 9-1-1 and 4-1-1, if you aren't having a full blown emergency but need more info than a phone number, than 2-1-1 is for you.  Crisis intervention, family counseling, parenting classes etc. Free of charge.

Through them I was able to find out about CARE Parent Network.  They hooked me up with another mom who has a son with ADHD and a son with Autism!!! That's better service than an online dating website, and it's free. This mom called me before mother's day when I just happened to be wine-tasting in Napa.  I told her I couldn't talk at the moment and she said she was extremely jealous.  But she called me back this evening, and Erik had taken the kids to the gym, so I was actually able to talk on the phone. We talked for an hour. We had a lot in common.

This hour long conversation was informative, but mostly therapeutic.  The kind of phone call where you are scrambling for a pen to write down what she has to say, but where you also can just take comfort that somebody has walked a mile in your shoes. And she is still standing.

I am not the only parent in this family, I am not a single mom and Lord above I never want to be!  So on my husband's day off I am dragging him to a Saturday full of parenting classes. Classes for parents of children with special needs; that's us.

After my firstborn got kicked out of his second preschool I found the ever so amazing School Of Imagination.  My friends always tell me that I should be their spokesperson because I praise them so often. I can't help my enthusiasm, I love this school.  Your kid could be as difficult as  you can imagine, and they will nurture and bring out the best. School of Imagination also offers parenting seminars and other community outreach projects.  One of these seminars are what we will be attending on Saturday.

A dear friend of mine, Danica, accused me of being so blue lately.  Meaning my blog posts haven't been light hearted and funny.  I agree. I have been dealing with some shit, I want perfection for my kids. And Danica isn't shallow by any means!  I know she just turns to my blog for humor to get her through the day.
Here is a joke just for Danica: What's the difference between a heterosexual woman and a bisexual woman?

4 drinks.


sherri said...

I get that joke.

I am so glad you have found a network of like-familied peeps. I think if we could all only find people who relate to our personal situaions, whatever they may be, learning disability/autism/ or just personality issues (ahem, perhaps referring to me), whatever it is and someone who can say - yep, know what you mean. how powerful and therapeutic? good for you.

and I'm so jealous too of the napa tasting. that is where we went on our honeymoon and it is about to be 10 yrs, but we can't afford/have the time to go back.

and I'm the commenter who wouldn't quit...

Bea said...

Just wanted to send you a hug my friend. You are one rockstar mama and those children are blessed to have you fighting and advocating for them.

Charlotte said...

Sherri when you can make it back to Napa we should have some 4 drinks and find a hotel room. Ha, I crack myself up!!

Bea you are a rockstar as well. I know you are dealing with some hardcore sleep issues right now and those are so hard. I hug you in return, before I start drinking.

Hartley said...


I just stumbled onto your blog and love it! :)

There truly is NOTHING better than support, is there? I hear you!

Thanks for sharing,
Author of This is Gabriel Making Sense of School

Charlotte said...

There is absolutely nothing better Hartley and welcome to N.E.O. Moms. Gonna check out your site right now.