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Friday, March 4, 2011

A Little Help for Mom

I’m not Super Mom. I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just me. A mom with a child who has special needs. He’s a perfectly normal child with an extra chromosome, thereby delaying most of his physical and emotional development. It doesn’t sound so hard on paper. But in reality, even when I think I’ve got it all under control, I realize there’s usually an internal struggle happening. If you see me and ask me how I’m doing, I’ll tell you I’m doing well, thank you. Because I am. I’m not on the verge of tears all the time anymore. I’m not completely and utterly devastated, depressed or angry anymore. I am all of those things and more on any given day and under any given situation. All those feelings and emotions are living within me constantly. I just don’t need to bring them up all the time. If I did, I would need to be institutionalized. Instead, I’ve learned how to cope with my circumstances. In fact, I more than cope, I do well. I feel happiness and love as well as sadness and anger. It’s all part of my life and I accept it all. Honestly, right now the hardest thing to deal with is my schedule!

Organizing my life so I can be there for Miles and his therapies and my career and being a wife and a friend and having time for myself, is difficult. And I realize that part of the reason it’s so hard for me to get organized, is because I want to do it all. My husband freelances, so he can help with Miles on his days off. My mom just moved to LA, 5 blocks away so she can help me. My in-laws and my brother also live in town. But no matter how much they want to help, they all have their own lives to deal with first. And nobody can be there for Miles the way I can. He’s my son. I know when he needs to eat and what he needs to eat and when he’s tired and when he’s just hungry or cranky. I want to be there during his therapy so I can see his progress and so I can help him at home. I am getting an education in OT and PT as much as he is. If I wasn’t present for his therapies then I wouldn’t know how to feed him properly or how to help him transition from sitting to standing and vice-versa. I wouldn’t know to help him crawl and reach for toys and use his core. I know how to help him because I am there to see his progress and be taught by his therapists.

I know I need to accept help more, but I am pretty attached to this little dude, even if I need time away from him. Like I said, I want to do it all. Maybe deep down inside, I do think I’m Wonder woman.

A typical day for Miles and I consists of 1-2 hours of therapy, at least 1 audition or a booking for me, preparing meals, cleaning up and dealing with house “chores”, answering emails and phone calls and some playtime with Miles (if he’s lucky). Once he’s asleep, I might read or watch TV for an hour, sometimes finish emails, but by 10pm I am seriously pooped and plop in bed ready to start all over again the next day. It’s exhausting, but in a way, I love it. I want to be able to put more time and energy into my acting career, I do miss it. But it’s hard for me to let go of my role as a mother and therapist long enough to have more time for myself. I’m working on it, I swear, but it’s a slow process.

I had my first “theatrical” audition (meaning non-commercial or voice over) in over a year this week. That same morning, Miles had therapy and was cranky, I thought he was sick. I had to wait for the handyman to come and give me a quote on a job and the plumber to come and fix the sink. I had to eat breakfast, take a shower, put on make-up, drop Miles off at daycare, make his lunch and snacks and look at my script all before 10am. It was hairy! I got to my audition on time and I was nervous and frazzled and unfocused, but I had fun. I had a lot of fun. And it’s not a matter of needing to book the job, but a matter of getting back into the game. I’ve been out of it for a while. But like I said, I am trying.

Today, Miles had his Speech evaluation from 9-11am in Hollywood, then I had to drop him off at daycare and rush to my voice over booking in Santa Monica at 12p. I barely had any breakfast and the voice over session ran long, so I didn't eat lunch until 2pm. And that’s another normal day. But as frazzled and unfocused as I may feel, I’m still smiling. I am trying to do it all and I do need help. But I had fun today.

I got to be there while Miles flirted with the Speech pathologist and I got to go to work and chit chat with friends while we waited to record. And I got to drive my car and sing along to the radio blasting while stuck in LA traffic. I got to sit here at a café for 45 minutes and write in my blog before picking up Miles in daycare. See, some days as frazzled as I may be, I can do it all. Some days, I can’t and that’s when I need to ask for help. And I will. I promise. I’m working on it!

On a quick note: Miles was approved for two hours of Speech Therapy a week!

So he will now have:

2 hours of Physical Therapy,

2 hours of Occupational Therapy,

2 hours of Speech Therapy and

1 hour of Infant Stimulation all in one week.

His schedule is booked up and coordinating playdates and doctor’s appointments and auditions and lunches is a challenge, but I’m ready to take it on…with my family’s help!

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