Friday, November 22, 2013

Coping With Working Mom Guilt When Your Kid Has Autism

When The Boy was first diagnosed with autism there was no discussion on whether or not I would continue working. I knew that I didn't have any other choice. We just couldn't afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom.

And aside from needing to work, I wanted to work.

Whether you're a mom who works or stays home - guilt is inevitable. And when your kid has special needs, it adds a whole other layer of guilt. (Yeah, it's super fun!)

Lately my guilt has been in overdrive. This last year, in addition to working full-time (I'm an administrative assistant to three attorneys.), I've been doing a lot of freelance work. (My day job schedule varies but I work a 35 hour week. And it's an hour commute each way.)
side note: My day job isn't my dream job but it pays the mortgage on our little condo apartment and provides kick-ass health insurance. I need my day job.
When I come home from work, there's dinner, laundry and cleaning, before bath time and bed time stories. 

Somewhere between all of that (and well after), I write for Babble and And every so often, I agree to write for other venues. It seems as if I'm writing more and more. Which yeah, it's great. I LOVE writing. I'm grateful. It's extra money. The extra money helps with therapy costs. It allows for the little extras in life - a new DVD, a meal at a favorite restaurant or a new toy for no reason. It also provides opportunity.  

Last month I attended a blog conference in Atlanta. And last week I flew to Disneyland. Both trips required me to travel alone. Without my family.

I'm not the kind of blogger that travels often (usually once a year). But when I do leave, it's tough on The Boy. He cries every night I'm gone. Though we try to explain to him, he doesn't understand why I'm not home. It throws him completely off schedule. And The Husband is left on his own to deal with meltdowns, bath time and the morning routine. I know he's a parent too but I feel like it's my job to take care of them both. And when I'm not there, I'm failing as a parent and as a wife.

And even when I am home, I'm still not always "there." I spend most of my weekends, sitting on the sofa typing away and most evenings, I'm working. The Boy often comes over and says, "Momma close the computer and come to my room." Sometimes, I close the computer and sometimes I just can't. And when I can't, it hurts because I waited so long to hear those words. It hurts because there are times when he wants to be alone in his room and asks me to leave. 

Lately I've been wondering if the little extras are worth the time away from my family. I've been juggling so much, for so long and I'm exhausted. I thought that once I graduated, things would be easier. Nope - I've gotten busier. And while I'm grateful for the work and recognition, what I really want to do is slow down.

Will slowing down eliminate all my guilty? Probably not. But I'm hoping that doing less for everyone else will allow me the time to do more with my family. 

Catch up with my Babble posts

No comments:

Post a Comment

AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.