Having to be a FT working Mom of a Child with SN is D!@!$#@ Hard — The Bump
Special Needs

Having to be a FT working Mom of a Child with SN is [email protected]!$#@ Hard

I am sorry -- I am currently working out some major emotional and stress issues (I am also 34 weeks pregnant, so I think my hormones have totally screwed with my "you shouldn't really say that" censor)

Anyway -- I find myself feeling guilty and angry at the fact that I have to work full time (Im an attorney so its a stressful job at that) and manage a schedule of a son with ASD. [at this point a cut in pay is not an option, altho I am constantly searching for a more flexible position, unfortunately the legal field isn't the best place for that] 

I feel like if I had more "time" to just concentrate on being a mom - I would be a better mom.  Dont get me wrong - I am not saying that it will all be peaches and creme if I was SAHM - but at least I would feel like it is my choice and I am devoting my time to my son and my family.  Instead of feelingI jealous and bitter of all the other moms that get to pick up and drop off their kids at school and drop in to observe - or take them to other therapies outside of our Pre-k Program to supplement their child's treatment (my son is in a full time ABA pre-school).   

 And I talk to the other moms (in a class of 6 kids I am the only FT working mom) and I like them all - but they all seem really engrossed in the diagnosis and the treatments and the support groups and the lectures and fundraisers and 5ks..... and I want to be that too,  I just cant do it.  First, its not that I just dont have the time or flexibility to do it - but also and mentally I feel like I can only absorb my son's ASD and treatment - a spoonful at a time (if that makes sense), just to get through the day and tolerate all the other - more immediate job-related stresses in my life.

sorry - I just needed to wine a bit.  and ironically now I feel like a big jerk because I probably should feel lucky that I have a job.


Re: Having to be a FT working Mom of a Child with SN is [email protected]!$#@ Hard

  • We all, as moms, do the best we can everyday. I think wanting to be better comes with the territory in a way. I often feel like if I had more time, I could work harder on this and this and this. 

    But you know what? There IS only so much time in a day.

    Absorb the diagnosis and treatment as you need to. My son is 3 and I still have days when his physical limitations get to me.  

    I understand the sentiment about feeling a jerk whining too. The days that I get down about stuff, I end up feeling bad because I know as sucky as things can seem, there are people that would pay to have what we have.

    Being a mom isn't always easy. Being a SN mom presents a whole new set of challenges, but wanting to do better means you are a good mom and working hard for your son. 

    Katherine Proud Mommy and Foster Mommy
  • Thank you both for the great words.  I think I have to bookmark this post - and re-read when I get frustrated.

     I think sometimes I feel jealous/angry/anxious - that there are SN moms who (having the time and opportunity and hence focus) get to have the experience of participating in therapies, groups, etc. have the banner around them of "I am a dedicated mom to a SN child".    and I feel like most times I am just doing enough to skate by.  its a struggle just dealing with the guilt and bitterness.

     I really am not this miserable of a person --- but I am using this forum as my therapy.  Thank you for letting me - obviously everyone on this board is here because they are a SN mom.  I hate sounding so selfish in light of that fact - so thank you sincerely.

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  • Omg, I totally feel the same way. I had that kind of week last week where I felt like I was being a craptastic mom just because I DID work FT. I so know how you feel. It's basically a FT job being a mom to begin with but then to have an ASD kiddo (DD is ASD too) it's like you want to morph yourself into 2 different people. Both me and DH work ft - and while we have somewhat flexible schedules, even if I wanted to be a SAHM, it would be at least a year before I got to that point, with selling a house, moving to an apt, etc. etc.

    I often feel like Jessie Spanno in that Saved by the Bell episode - "There's never any time!" I feel like I go from work to therapy to sleep to dinner, without any time in between to decompress. And both sets of our parents are in FL for the winter, so we're on our own with this.

    Hey I'm in NJ too! We should get together for a "whine and wine" ;-) I can commiserate with your feelings, totally...and it makes me feel so much better to hear someone else feels the same. It's pretty lonely sometimes on the ASD mommy train for me.
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  • I work full time too....w/ no option to not.  I don't have a blog, I don't spend my day's doing research, and I don't focus 100% of my time engrossed in my LO's diagnosis.....while I was on maternity leave, I did, and it made me crazy.  I have mom guild 100% of the time because of all the stuff I'm NOT doing, and don't feel good about all the stuff I AM doing.  Funny how that works, huh????  I just keep plugging along, shedding tears along the way when necessary.  I am coming to grips with the fact that my life as a mom, and especially as a SN mom is going to be guilt filled.  Maybe that's a negative approach, but let's face it.  There are enough downers in my life right now, if I aim low for my own emotional health, maybe when I actually feel good once in a while, it'll feel EXTRA good?!?!?! Make sense?
  • Don't compare yourself to the other moms who are able to be SAHMs. There are pros and cons to both. You just be the best you that you can be. That is what your kids need to see.

    Anyways, you don't want to become your child's DX. That's not good for anyone. No offense to anyone here, because I have been there, too, where all you think about is your LO's health. That wears down you and gives your LO a guilt complex, too.

    Do your best, and then let the rest go.

    Hang in there, chick. :) 

  • Ah, the grass is always greener, ain't it. Smile

    I am so sorry you feel that way- like you're not as good of a special needs mom because you work. It's SO not true. I'm home full-time, and in theory it's great, since I'm able to attend to all of DD's ASD needs, right? Problem is, those needs CONSUME me. I have nothing outside of my four walls to take my focus off DD, which really isn't  emotionally healthy. I suspect that's the case for just about every SAHM of a special needs kid, especially during the first few years. While I appreciate having the flexibility to focus on Sylvie's needs and therapies, I totally recognize how much of myself I've lost over the past couple of years, and I absolutely believe it's party due to me not being accountable to anyone/thing else other than my family. 

    Guilt is an ugly by-product of becoming a mom, and having a special needs child just compounds the guilt. Know that every mom of a special needs kiddo struggles with that guilt, whether they're working or not.

    (and oh yeah- you're THIRTY FOUR WEEKS PREGNANT! That alone would send your mental state into a tailspin! Cut yourself some slack and KNOW that you're being an amazing mom.)



    A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garrett
    image7_0002 A ~ 2.7.06 S ~ 9.2.07
  • I am sorry you are so stressed... you are doing the best that you can and you are not a bad mom..

     i get days like this too.. I am super stressed..( we have almost no help from family) I am 37 weeks pregnant so that does not help but I am a sahm.. I think i would compleatly loose it if I was working.. my ds has a speech delay some behavioral issues and possible asd ( we have not gotten an "official" diagnosis yet) this all  has happened since I got pregnant.. its hard

    Hang in there, I hope things get better for you! (((((( hugs))))  

    DD 11/5/10 born by c section DS 9/8/07 born by c section due to Pre-e/Hellp Syndrome m/c at 5 1/2 weeks 8/4/06 Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker DaisypathAnniversary Years Ticker
  • I think this can be a greener grass post.  I TOTALLY understand how you are feeling, I don't think there is ever a great balance when you have a SN child.  But I wanted to add that my son has ASD and severe sensory processing issues.  I never planned on being a SAHM but my non-stop screaming newborn had other plans.  I just couldn'tt go back to work for fear that anyone else would lose it trying to care for him and feared for his safety.  I tried joining mommy groups, tried reaching out to our friends who have kids, but we never fit in because Ty was different and no one seemed to understand why I was having such a hard time.  Eventually, I was able to get EI involved, diagnosis, etc.etc.  But for 3.5 yrs, I have been totally isolated, I'm extremely lonely, I have no friends, as a result my marriage is strained, I'm depressed, tired 100% of the time.  There are days I would give anything to be able to go to work and talk to real adults face to face.  To feel like I have purpose outside of the house, to have my own money, to have new things...  I even feel like I would be a better, more attentative mom if I worked. 

  • My ideal situation would be to work part time.  Enough to get me out of the house and around other adults, but still have a lot of time to spend with DD and not feel the time pinch.  I also work full time, but am fortunate to be able to get DD by 3:00 everyday.  Honestly, I think that if I were a full time SAHM, I would go crazy.  Not because I do not love spending time with DD, but because my life would become DD and her therapies etc.  She has three therapy sessions every week.  1 is always on me (since it is private), but the other two are through EI.  We have it set up that they both go to daycare one week and to our home the next.  I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the "daycare" weeks sometimes. 

    I don't do a lot of research on DD's conditions anymore.  It was consuming me and that was not good.  Besides, every kid with her condition is different, so why bog myself down?  Since I changed my attitude, it has really been more liberating.  I often take breaks from this board as well.  Not because I don't love you ladies and want to offer support, but sometimes I need a break from thinking about SN as much.  I even stopped reading a listserv because it was making me more nervous and worried about DD's future than necessary.

    There are pros and cons to both situations.  I love the adult interaction I get with my job and that it is not SN consuming.  DD adores daycare and has made a lot of progress due to her peer role models.  I like having others support our therapies and work with DD (her therapists and her teachers are amazing).  I also don't have to worry about money which would be very tight if I quit my job.  I have great insurance so I rest soundly at night knowing that DD gets what she needs and I don't have to make a monetary choice about her care.

    I know it is hard when you are frustrated and hormonal :), but try to keep your chin up and find the positives in your situation.  I hope today is a better day for you!

  • I work too, full time with two kids, my ds, 4 1/2 has autism and I have a typical 2 1/2 yr old dd. Some days can be hard, but to be honest, I have to work so we can afford ds therapy and pre-school. He wouldn't be doing as well as he is doing if he didn't get those things. That keeps things in perspective for me many times. I do have a lot of family support here, and my dh does his share as well.

    Being home with my kids for a week at a time during my vacations or holiday breaks, is enough confirmation to me that I would not be a good sahm. I would go bonkers. Work gives me time to not think about ASD all the time, and gives me the "break" I need.

    Good luck, I hope things get better for you!  

  • To piggyback on what several posters said, I do think day-care/preschool can be helpful for SN kids. I work from home, and one of the main reasons we are starting DS in day care a couple days a week is for the peer modeling. He is also going to an SN day-care, so they can give him extra help and therapies. We would not be able to afford this if I did not work.

    It will also hopefully restore my sanity. ;)

  • I think pregnancy has a lot to do with what you are going through, Also, your LO was diagnosed recently, if I remember correctly. It takes time to process everything. You also need to sometimes STOP reading, researching and just let got for a bit. Then you can start up again.

    Personally I work FT but had to cut down on my hours (now no more than 50 hours a week) and got passed on for promotions. I could not stay at home because I pay for DS out of pocket for most of his therapies. Also - I think my work is my sanity.

    Good luck and hope things get better soon!

  • I just saw this post - I'm a fellow NJ gal too.  I definitely understand what you are going through.  I sometimes think my daughter would be better off if I had more time to spend with her.  But I think I can acknowledge that she is partially better off for me working.  She's in a typical daycare and she has a lot of motivation because of the kids she is surrounded by every day.  And the teachers there adore her and treat her like she is their own child so I know she does not want for individual attention. 

    As other posters have said, I contribute a significant income to our family and health insurance, so I know that I'm helping my daughter in that way - and I'm not sure we'd be able to make it work any other way.  On top of that, I have had periods of months where I felt the only thing that was getting me through was the fact that I had work to keep my brain occupied so I didn't think about the worst of possibilities.  I think I'm the type of person who would obsess over every detail and being at work keeps me from doing that.  On the positive side, my daughter continues to make great progress and this is something that keeps me going.  If she weren't, I know I'd question my situation more. 

    Feel free to vent any time.  Most weeks between therapy, scheduling doctors appts, doing exercises at home and fighting with insurance to cover things (on top of normal life stuff like buying a new house and selling ours), I feel like I can't keep it all together.  I would kill for a personal assistant or just someone to remind me of the sh&t i have to do every day!

  • I just wanted to say hello since I am also a lawyer although I don't practice in the traditional sense. I practiced for only a few months after my call to the Bar and then I got a permanant policy advisor position with government. Although it can be stressful at times (I prepare briefing materials and presentations for senior government officials and write manuals and directives) it is usually a 9-5 job and I don't have to bring anything home with me. While I'll never be a 6 figure earner, I come close to that and the benefits are great. I too struggle with wanting more time with my son who is currently going through the process of being diagnosed with a developmental delay (although I don't know yet if the diagnosis will be autism or speech apraxia or even something else....) but I actually think that being in daycare/preschool is better for an ASD child because it forces them to interact more than they'd have to at home. Don't feel guilty...and maybe in the future if you want to have a more flexible job, you could pursue something in gov't or at a non-profit. GL! I understand where you are coming from!


    DS #1: May 25, 2007

    DS #2: Jan 7, 2009

    DD #3 due May 17, 2014!!! Low lying placenta and DD measuring 1 week ahead at big u/s

  • Yes, I totally understand. Between getting him ready to go on the bus, then get ready, sit in a crappy commute, work 8ish hours (with lunch at the desk), slug home and then start that second shift, I'm tired to begin with, let alone with a SN child. And there are days that I relish working - because I can work on projects that I have confidence in my abilities (versus my advocacy or "mom" roles) to to do something at work! Not only there is work but juggling appts, meetings, calls is a struggle. Husband tries to help when he can but I shoulder the majority of it (I'm the lower wage earner).

    I still haven't gotten into the 2nd tri energy swing yet either...waiting for that to kick in anytime now!

    I constantly struggle with mommy guilt, but I think everyone does in one way or another.

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