Treading Water

At what point is enough, enough! I have created this world run and approved by me. I learned just over a decade ago that, I made this bed, now I must lie in it. Although there is some truth to that saying, as I find at the root of all sayings, there is some wiggle room in life. As I get older and more experienced in life, I no longer see things in only black and white. As I learn to look at life through a more objective lens, I am also becoming aware of how much of life is a gray area.

Just take the world of disability, there can be similarities, such as wheelchair users. A group of wheelchair users can and very likely are extremely different from each other.

  • gender
  • race
  • sexuality
  • paralyzed or not
  • quadarapaligic or paraplegic
  • age of onset
  • disease or injury
  • ambulatory (able to walk)
  • etc.

Returning to the point I am learning that in order to be one thing ( a kick-ass mother) does not mean I have to forgo other aspects of me. A fairly simple concept logically, unfortunately sometimes logic no matter how simple can escape us.

So, essentially I quit. I am going to see if my family sinks or is able to swim on their own without me always there floating them along. I am their figurative life preserver, there to protect them, no matter how shallow the water.  For example, when people do not add what they need to the shopping list, it is me who tries to remember what everyone needs, or desires. No, at this point I am not packing a bag and running away. Mostly due to the fact that I can not run, nor are there many truly accessible places that I can afford. I am joking to some degree, but when you are physically disabled, do not drive, and on disability, the number of places to escape to is rather limited. There are more puzzle pieces in your overall picture. My personal picture is more like a 3D puzzle or game of Jenga. I am the foundation or base of this puzzle, but this foundation is no longer strong enough/ or wanting to support the increasing layers to this never-ending puzzle, alone. There are other people in my life that can/ should step up. I am asking for some level of accountability for themselves.

In my life, it seems nothing is quite as straight forward as some situations. I, of course, am not talking about a house of 4 adults, able-bodied, roommates. I am talking about an adult male with multiple disabilities, 2 able-bodied sons at both ends of the age spectrum (a 16 yr old boy with his own car, and a 4 yr old boy). On top of my boys, I have 5 dependable staff members who have been with me for years, and a continual revolving door of one or more associates who seem to be always in between the highering and firing faze, for a multitude of different reasons. This are a lot of people with various issues for anyone’s daily mix. Nevermind, that I am a “Homemaker”/ “stay at home mom”, which means I am in charge of….

  • supplying 21 meals x4 a week,
  • cleaning and maintaining our house both inside and out
  • transportation for my younger son and I
  • replenishing and restocking food, household, and cleaning supplies
  • payroll for all employees
  • scheduling all employees
  • scheduling for both sons as well as my own Dr., hair, dentist, school, birthday parties and recreational appointments
  • organizing and decorating the house both inside and out
  • creating and implementing healthy routines and limits for all

Yet with all these tasks and many more, I am classified as unemployed, or worse disabled. If being disabled is a full-time job, which I am saying, yes it is. In fact, it is work trying to maintain, trying to improve or just survive one’s given circumstances, it is its own job classification. On top of that, how many other jobs can I do alone? I am not saying I should/do not want to be part of many of these responsibilities. My 4 yr old son is not expected to shop for and cook his own meals. He can and does though pick out his clothes for the next day. Pants, underwear, undershirt, shirt, socks, nope they all most never match. He is so proud and happy to be able to choose his own clothes, and it is one less little job I have to think about.  My 16 yr old, the other day said, “I think we are out of ibuprofen”. To which I said, “OK”.  He looked at me blank-faced as if to say, “now the ball is in your court”.  I looked him in the speechless face and asked ” did you check the extra bathroom supplies to see if we had more? Did you add it to the shopping list? Did you drive to a store and get some, and bring me the receipt so I can remember you?”  The next morning there was a new bottle of ibuprofen on the kitchen counter.

So, I quit. I quit leaving unrealistic and unmanageable life. I can not live other people’s lives for them, not that I was ever asked to, somehow this monster just developed and I can no longer control it. As I said I created and fed this monster, and I take full responsibility for that. I am currently trying to discern what among all these are true values of mine and what are habits I have developed to impress “so and so”. Who by the way, if they need to be somehow impressed, maybe aren’t worth it anyway. At some point, I lost myself and just started treading water. I stopped doing things I had been doing for myself had done for 20 plus years and a good majority of them I stopped for reasons other than my own desire. I feared to look vain, selfish, greedy, self-absorbed, and of course, the worst opinion being a neglect full mother or wife.

Maybe I am failing. Maybe I am totally wrong? Then why all of a sudden can I breathe just a little and I feel like I am starting to move, not just treading water. Maybe it is not quitting? Maybe it is a fresh start to a new year.

One thought on “Treading Water

  1. Ouch! You named it — I, too, have created the monster & fed it & keep feeding it! Yikes! Thanks for powerful message that we can ‘quit’ the unhealthy habits and work to create new healthier habits. Harder to do than to say, but worth it! Great reminder & greater challenge! 🙂


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