Being a Mom is Hard Fucking Work
Being a mom is hard fucking work. Straight up. While it is a rewarding job, 95% of the time, it is no easy feat. Growing up when I dreamed of becoming a mother, I never took into consideration how difficult it was going to be. No one told me about the horrors of becoming a parent. I was terrified, and a little pissed off when I had my first son, and as I was leaving the hospital no one gave me the parenting handbook…they pretty much told me to figure that shit out on my own…. assholes!
I love my children more than life itself. My children are my world, and even though I have never won mother of the year, nor do I expect to, my kids love me, and they are all still currently alive. I consider that a parenting win. While parenting my children hasn’t and still isn’t easy, it is still very much rewarding, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The only thing I would change, is that I would never, and I repeat NEVER be a parent in the year 2020 again…. COUNT ME OUT!
My Back Story
Here is a little back story as to why I would never repeat the year 2020 again with my children. My oldest son, who is 15 years old, has been in a residential facility for the last 3 years. He’s being discharged in August, but that is a whole other nightmare of a story for another time.
He is in a residential facility because of severe mental health issues such as suicidal ideation, homicidal tendencies, PTSD, severe anxiety, ODD, ADHD, and the diagnosis list goes on. Pretty much if it is in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) it is also on my son’s list of diagnosis. He has been making great progress while in the residential facility. He has finally been opening to his therapist about the abuse he endured while living with his father, and everything else that he has been through that makes life so challenging for him.
My youngest son, who is 8, with an attitude of an 18-year-old, is ADHD as well as on the autism spectrum as high functioning. Both my oldest and my youngest struggle getting through each day, most days when it isn’t the year 2020.
So, here we are the year 2020, and the theme song of the year should be “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. C’mon, you know you just sung the song in your head as you silently agreed with me. Covid-19, Coronavirus, or whatever you want to call it besides living hell hits, and it hits hard. The world starts going into lock down mode. Something, that most of us that are living and breathing today have never experienced, nor did we ever think we would experience. We all had to quickly adjust to this new “normal” and we had no warning, had limited guidance, and a whole lot of unknowns.
It was a Wednesday night when I got the call from my eldest son’s residential facility telling me that I needed to come get my son, that they were closing the facility (even though it is considered a hospital) and that they would figure out how they would provide services to my son with him being at home. I then listened to the governor as he announced that schools would be closing. Great.
I did what everyone else was doing in the panicking that was ensuing the country. I went to stock up on supplies. I went to the grocery store, and stocked up on the essentials…brownie and cake mixes to eat raw in my pajamas in front of the TV, Cheetos and chips to snack on while the kids were still awake so I didn’t let them know that it is actually ok to eat raw eggs in the brownie and cake mixes, some fruit, milk to go with the brownie mix, and some cleaning supplies simply because I am so OCD that I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to live in my own house for an undetermined amount of time unless it was spotless.
Then I made the most important stop for the most important essential items…. beer and wine. Some might say that I am a bad parent because I ordered a case of wine because I knew that I was going to be stuck in the house with my kids, but lets face it….I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE WHO DID THIS!
No Longer Just a Mom
The year 2020 for moms everywhere, changed the way that we mom’d. We were no longer just mom. We turned into teachers, therapist, maids, mediators, chefs, and sometimes even prison guards, on top of our regular mom duties, and for most of us, while still working our regular jobs either remotely or in the office.
For me, it just plain sucked. I couldn’t try and make it sound any better and glorious, as it wasn’t. I cried more from March to June as a mom, than I had in my 15 years of being a parent. I felt so fucking helpless. My oldest son lost ALL his resources that he had while in the residential facility. Sure, he was still having therapy sessions via Zoom, but when you have a child who hates communicating on a good day, especially by phone or other electronic device, imagine what it was like trying to get him to open about his feelings via Zoom?
During the beginning the county had their team come into the home and meet with my oldest son in person and did activities with him, which was nice and he enjoyed it, but eventually because of executive orders and such, those visits then had to turn into Zoom calls as well. These ways of therapy were not effective for my oldest son, who so desperately needed therapy.
As a mom, it broke my heart day in and day out watching him regress and start to shut down, because the resources that he needed were no longer available. I literally watched two and a half years of hard work a progress fade away. It was by far the most painful thing to watch. Getting him to do his schoolwork, was a complete an utter nightmare. He struggles with academics in a typical classroom setting, because of the emotional disabilities that he deals with, even though he is very intelligent.
His teachers were assigning upwards of 4 hours of schoolwork a day for my son. Mind you, all their students are part of this residential facility and have severe emotional and mental health disabilities, and these teachers expected them to do this large quantity of work independently. There were no zoom calls, or virtual learning for them. Their teachers uploaded the work, and the students had to complete it. IEP accommodations, were no longer a thing, as we didn’t have access to the resources that the school had. So, I became a high school teacher to a student with special education needs and absolutely no supports in place.
It didn’t take long before my eldest son’s regression got the best of him, and he ended up going into full on crisis mode, threatening to kill me and his brother and then himself. While this isn’t the first time, he has done this, the typically resources that we would utilize, were no longer an option.
I knew that he was no longer safe to be in the home, and he needed to go back to the facility, but we had no way of getting him there. I most certainly wasn’t an option because he was so angry with me, that he made it very clear that if I were to drive him back that he would kill me and everyone else in the car, and the facility wouldn’t come to get him because they didn’t have the resources. I had to call my narcissistic ex, whom my son has a decent relationship with, to come and get him and bring him back to the facility.
This was in April and I am still catching shit for it. We haven’t been able to have in person therapy sessions, because of the visitation policies the facility has, and I have only been able to see my son once since he has been back because of those same policies.
My Youngest Son
As for my youngest son, we were required to do Zoom calls every day and twice on Wednesday. The days that he had math were a little bit easier, because he enjoys math, and is good at it. The days that they did reading, he had to sit on my lap, so that I could ensure that he would remain focused an on task. This meant that I couldn’t work during this time, because I had to make sure that my son was doing what he needed to be doing. He too, lost his IEP resources, but he was able to adapt a little bit easier than my oldest son.
The hardest part with my youngest son was keeping him engaged and not playing video games all the time. I started doing creative time with him every day for an hour. During this time, I taught him how to make cookies (so I could expand my comfort food eating menu), how to make his own sandwiches, we played with kinetic sand, painted sun catchers, made bird houses and so much more. Eventually he lost interest in that, I lost my creative time buddy, and the cookies I taught him how to make.
It Isn’t Over Yet…
I tell you all of that, to say this. 2020 sucks, and it isn’t over yet. I know that I have cried myself to sleep more nights than I care to admit, because I feel horrible that my youngest son (my oldest when he was home) are being entertained by electronics most of the day. Its challenging to be both a mom and a teach to a child who doesn’t like and struggles with school.
It is painful to me that my child can’t go and play with his friends because of this virus, and now the first semester of school he will be taught by the same dumb blonde that taught him the second half of last year. However, no one could have planned for this.
This wouldn’t have been covered in the parenting handbook that the hospital never gave to me when I had my first son. We have all had to adapt and overcome while dealing with more unknowns in one year then we have faced in our lifetimes.
We will continue to do everything that we can for our children and at the end of the day, it will be good enough. We are judging ourselves harder than others are judging us, yet we are all in very similar positions. We will rise above this and survive. And when our kids return to school their sober teachers will be able to assist our children back into school better than us moms who so desperately want to spike our coffee with Baileys.
What I Have Learned
If I have learned anything from the year 2020 it is that no parenting guide would have covered how to be a mom during a global pandemic, that us moms are doing the best that we can and that IS good enough, and last but certainly not least….kosherwine.com has free two day delivery on cases of wine.
I am a single mom of 3 boys, who all have their own challenges. While being a mom, a student, and an employee I am just trying to figure this parenting thing out and even after 15 years I still struggle!
Author: Megan Goslin
After experiencing firsthand, the effects of mental health illness and the stigma around it, Meghan strives to help others through their challenges. Meghan grew up in a small town in Vermont and faced some big challenges. Holding her MBA, and being a single mom, Meghan has used writing to help her get through some of her biggest challenges of life. If you want to read more about Meghan’s story check out her debut novel, “Life Sucks: Embrace It” available on Amazon.