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Over the last few days, even weeks, I have been trying to find who I am.

When I was in high school I was goth/punk.  I had friends, I had a social life.  I went to concerts.  I went to movies.  I had a boyfriend.

Once I entered my 20s, I settled down and had babies.  When that first marriage didn’t work, I dated around.  I didn’t know who I was anymore at that point.  My social life got flushed down the toilet when I gave birth to my first baby.  I didn’t go out and do anything anymore.  I stayed home with my kids and did what I could to give them a good upbringing myself rather than have a child care provider raise them.  I didn’t even go out or do anything, as family wouldn’t even keep an eye on the kiddos long enough for me to do anything.

Once I reached my 30s, I found a guy who would be my 2nd husband, and my boys were old enough to leave alone while I worked.  I found identity in my work and marriage.  I was a wife, a mom, and a veterinary assistant, which I LOVED.  I gained a couple friends so I had more social interaction again, and became slightly wider known and respected in my community.

Then due to physical limits from a slowly progressing disability, I lost my job at the vet clinic.  Then my husband left me.  I ended up dating someone who should never have been anything more than an old friend, and abuse ensued.  I lost a lot of my identity again.  I pushed away friends and family.  I neglected the emotional needs of my children.  I neglected all of my own needs.

When I finally snapped out of that pit of despair I found the love of my life, Jarrod.  He threw me a rope, so to speak, and pulled me out of that pit.  We got married, had surgery to be able to expand our family, and had our baby.  The older boys are teenagers now, and my husband’s daughters are also teenagers.  The boys and girls had very different upbringings, and clash with each other.  The rules the boys were raised with were very different than what the girls were accustomed to when they moved in, so things got lessened and a lot of slack was made for everyone to adjust to the new arrangement.

Now, 2 years later, its IMPOSSIBLE to tighten up rules to fit everyone.  We have tried and tried, and no one follows any rules.  Our house is a lawless wasteland.  No chores get done by kids ever, no matter what punishments or rewards, so if I want this house remotely tidy or sanitary, I have to do it myself.  Being a stay at home mom again, you’d think I have all the time in the world to get the house at least somewhat tidy.  But no, my baby is extremely demanding of my time and energy.  Most days I’m lucky to be able to feed myself supper, let alone scrub a toilet or mop a floor.

So since I had our baby, I’m having a crisis of identity again.  I’m a wife.  I’m a mom.  And that’s where it ends.  And I have a hard time even calling myself those two things…

To me, being a wife is being able to be my husband’s companion.  To talk to him, support him, enjoy time together with him (and him reciprocating those sentiments), and being a team when it comes to parenting and all the big and little decisions in life.  But instead, I feel like it has become an odd partnership, where he works and busts his ass for this family, and I’m at home not accomplishing anything that needs done, while the kids do whatever they want, whenever they want and I cannot keep up or enforce any sort of order.  When he comes home from work he is annoyed by kids’ behaviors.  When we do get a chance to talk, rather than text, its mostly made up of he and I both venting about our frustrations, and not really having much else to say because frustrations aren’t exactly conversation fuel. Also, by the time he gets home from work in the evening, I may have just laid down the baby and he will likely wake up and need put back to sleep 10,000 more times before I give up and just go to bed for the night.  Therefore leaving no time for us to just relax and watch a TV show, talk, or anything else married couples do in their time alone.

To me, being a mom means understanding the needs of the children and doing everything I can to meet those needs within reason, teaching the older kids life skills that will help them survive and thrive on their own such as cleaning, cooking, money management, appropriate social interactions… but this is where I’m failing miserably.  Every single one of the children who live in our home have serious issues with several of these things.  None of them follow rules.  None of them are motivated to do well in school.  None of them have any inkling of what should be a priority.  They have zero respect for adults, especially Jarrod or me.  And they do pretty much whatever in the fuck they feel like, all of the time.  The baby is just a baby, so I can’t be upset with him… but he is very needy.  A “Velcro” baby if you will.  He wants to be held, and when he is on the floor or somewhere playing, he wants me nearby and giving him attention still.  In the evenings, he gets fussy because he doesn’t nap during the day and doesn’t typically sleep well at night.  So I cannot make supper most nights due to trying to console a fussy and very overtired baby that fights sleep like it is the worst thing in the world. So the older kids end up fending for themselves for supper.

So yes I’m a mom, and I’m a wife, but I don’t feel like I’m doing well at those two things.  And that’s all I’ve got.  I don’t have any control over my household or my life.  I don’t have me time anymore.  I don’t get to watch TV.  I don’t get to watch movies.  I don’t get to listen to music.  I don’t get to go for a walk.  I don’t get to hang out with friends.  I don’t get to pursue any interests, passions, education or career.  If I did, this household would fall further and further down this spiral of chaos.  The only reason I even had time to sit down and type this is because I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown and I got pissed, screamed, stomped to my bedroom and slammed the door, like the teenagers do.  Honestly, due to all the difficulty with everything I attempt right now, I’m feeling like a failure as a human.

And while I’m going on about all this other shit, I might just throw in there that when I got pregnant, supportive people came out of the woodwork.  Family, friends… everyone was so happy and couldn’t wait to meet the baby and play with him.  And when he was born a few people showed up at the hospital.  But since then?  Nothing.  Literally even those I was closest to just vanished.  So yeah, I can’t even turn to anyone for emotional/moral support.  Jarrod and I are really on our own.

So, what is this blog post going to accomplish?  Is it going to make the teens or anyone at all give a shit about anything?  Is it going to make the house clean?  Is it going to make the baby sleep?  Is it going to make me feel better about myself as a parent, wife, or human?  Nope.  There is no point really.  So if you made it this far, I’m surprised.  Sorry to say, there’s no point to any of this.  It’s just one big long ramble of a woman with a missing identity, purpose in life, and support system.

School Is Out

It’s officially summer for the kiddos!

Andy just finished his junior year in high school. He’s been messing around so much that he is not on track for graduation with his class, so he starts credit recovery with the start of his senior year. He can either go to the alternative high school to finish up, or he can take extra online classes in addition to his full classload. But he must pass everything. He’s fully capable of passing, even with exceptional grades. He’s just not willing to put in the work. I’ve been having conversations with him about it quite a bit, and I’m hoping at least some of it is sinking in. Also, I’m requiring him to get a job this summer. He’s 17, and it’s time for him to start preparing for adulthood. I can’t believe I have a baby who is nearly an adult!

Evan spent most of his school year at Orchard Place, where he refused to do much school work at all. When he came home he did very, very well for about a month, until I expressed how proud I was of him. Then he stopped doing work and eventually got expelled for the remainder of the year with the option of finishing online. He didn’t take that option, so he will now be required to repeat his freshman year. It’s really too bad because he proved he’s capable of getting As and Bs. He just refuses to do it, for whatever reason. It may be a part of his mental illness. Or it may just be defiant adolescence. Or both. But I sure hope he can pull himself out of it.

Cory finished his 7th grade year! He was trailing behind on a couple of classes until the day before the last day. He and I sat down and I told him (for the millionth time) that he is nearly 14, not 6, and he needs to start being responsible for himself. And that the only one he’s hurting by not doing his work is himself, and he was about to have to repeat 7th grade. He pouted for over an hour, then got some work done that night. The next and final day at school he was able to find the motivation to get caught up.

Zoey, Autumn and Willow all did much better than the boys, as they don’t avoid their schoolwork, and are all moving onto the next grade.

The boys definitely had a lot of struggles with school this year, but we made it through. Here’s hoping next year isn’t quite the struggle for them… and congrats to the girls for doing well!

Evan Came Home

After just short of 9 months of inpatient treatment, Evan was discharged from Orchard Place. He was there to receive psychiatric services to help him with his anger and impulse control issues. He was there full-time with the exception of being home some weekends for visits. While he was there he had regular talk therapy, medication management, and plenty of social training and activities. We also had weekly family therapy. For 3 weeks during March, he was home during the week and attending school, while spending weekends in OP. Then on April 2, he discharged and is now home full time.His grades in school have improved dramatically, as has his relationship with myself and the family. He is getting himself up in the mornings now with no prompts or arguments, he is getting himself to and from school. He has decided to start looking for employment to buy himself some of the games and things he wants. He’s been more respectful of adults and peers alike. Im very impressed with his changes, and I have high hopes for his continued success.