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A Special Needs Mom’s Never Ending Battle with Feelings of Inadequacy

I spent the first twenty or so years of my life judging my worth by grades. After that, it was job title and salary. It wasn’t until almost thirty that my son was born and his medical difficulties turned everything I knew about how to measure myself upside down. Some Moms compete over who has the sickest child, but that’s just not me. I’m perfectly happy when my son needs less medical intervention than someone else’s. I want him to be able to blend into a crowd and let something define him besides his health. At the end of the day, I’m left with no way to define myself good or bad. It leaves me feeling completely out of my depth. For every new thing I learn, there’s ten more things I need to work on.

In order to make up for these feelings I frequently end up overextending myself without realizing it. I no longer earn a salary, so instead I micromanage the electricity usage and keep our bill down to the smallest amount possible. I’ve tried several different attempts to make up for not earning a salary, but I simply made too much money working for that to be realistic. I’ve begun to settle for things that I really enjoy and ignore the financial piece for now. It’s difficult to make money writing and taking photos with your phone, but that doesn’t make it any less fulfilling. I came to realize in the last few weeks that a little satisfaction with how I’m spending my time takes the harsh edge off of not being able to help with the medical bills.

One day soon I hope all of my hard work with my son will begin to show, and I’ll finally be able to hear I’m doing a good job. My husband and mother tell me how well I’m doing all the time, but it’s just not the same. Hopefully, how I define my worth will transition to a better place. I don’t think it can ever be exclusively defined by my son’s achievements. I’ve seen what that does to women, and it’s not healthy. Maybe if I work hard to shift my thinking it can become a hybrid of my housekeeping and mothering skills. They’ve never been my strongest areas, but if I work hard I think I can manage to be content with them.

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