I have had a really stressful week, starting with a head cold, and talking about past trauma. So I was already at max capacity when this thing happened with Lucas’s school.
I have trouble sharing – not in person. If you knew me, you’d know that I share whatever is on my mind, whether or not it’s awkward or conversation killing. It’s important to me to tell the truth, to tell my truth with a little t, and to get it out of my system before it becomes toxic and overwhelming.
But online? Here’s where I have trouble writing. I have a friend who just tells it like it is – the awkward, embarrassing, the shame-filled, the process of life, messy as it is. (I’m looking at you, Jill M.) I appreciate her honesty and vulnerability, and her willingness to let me walk along with her in her life, from a distance.
When I asked her about sharing other people’s stories, she said, “I’m with Anne Lamott: If they didn’t want me to write about them, they should have fucking behaved better.” (Which is paraphrased from this great quote.)
Jill uttered this statement years, ago – yet I remember it because it rocked my world so.
Here is me, standing in my truth. There are a lot of things and people I would like to write about, online, but I don’t want to break their anonymity or “not be nice.” I just feel bad because I don’t want to be a burden to the people who love me. When things in my life are really in the shitter, I want people to experience me as “someone who has it all together, someone who is kind and compassionate who never yells at their kids.” Especially the part about managing it all, because I’m not, really.
So there are several things:
- I need to tell my story in community, and my wordpress blog / facebook feed is a fine place to do that;
- I want people to think I’m more fabulous than I actually am;
- I want people to think I have it together far more than I actually do;
- I am falling apart this week.
So there are a few things which come to mind as a response:
- This beautiful saying from AA, “What people think of me is none of my business.”
- I am probably kidding myself about my friends thinking I have it together;
- “Are you sure you want to say that online?”
- I don’t want to be a burden, but I need to ask for help.
- Asking for help is always a sign of strength.
So here goes.
Head cold/chest cold. I got asked to leave work “because people are complaining about your cough.” Which was a rather rude way to say it. I took Tuesday off and had a really restorative day with friends. I don’t get paid if I don’t work, and having to take time off work for being sick, especially if people are complaining, that’s just ugh.
Then I got a call on Wednesday from the nurse at L’s school. The school nurse called to inform me that L could go on the field trip only if one of us adults/family members could go with him. If there was an accident on the field trip, then one of us would have to change him. I told the nurse that my husband and I both work, and we wouldn’t be able to get off work because of such short notice. I called my mom, and she’s unavailable because she’s picking up my other kid from Early Head Start.
L has something called “encopresis.” Which means he’s still in a pull-up instead of underwear, which means his body doesn’t tell him if he has to go poop. And he is still having poopie accidents. He is six years old and in first grade.
So I had to tell my kid that he would not be able to go on a field trip because he is still having poopie accidents, and let me tell you how that conversation went. It went awful. He cried and said he really wanted to go, I said I was sorry but that there are consequences to his actions, and that he wouldn’t be able to go.
I had a shame spiral the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. Years, y’all. I am embarrassed that my son is still in a pull-up. He has a medical condition. He’s never really been able to tell when he has to go. He’s had an x-ray of his abdomen. We’ve given him exlax to get rid of the massive pile of poop that was stuck in his colon. (That helped move things along! Ha! I’m so funny!) Yes, we’ve tried the goddamn sticker charts when he was two years old.
We’ve tried everything, and we’ve really tried everything. But here is what has changed – last year, I could go to the school if he had an accident and clean him up. This year, I have a job and I’m out in the valley 25 minutes from the south hill, where his school is. The hubs has been the “on-point parent” for accidents, and he is not happy about that. (But he can get his own blog and deal with that if he wants.)
So in the midst of the epic shame spiral, I felt that my kid was being punished, I felt that they didn’t understand how special and wonderful he is – no, he was being reduced to “the kid who doesn’t poop on the toilet.”
Well, I called the principal the next day and had a conversation about it.
We talked about how it was a “sanitation and health problem.” And how things are different now that he’s in first grade. Kids will start remembering things like this and tease him about it for years to come. “Hey, L, remember when you pooped your pants every day at school?” The principal was worried that kids would tease him about this for years. I am not okay with this. We would have to move schools, maybe towns. I would have to beat up other people’s kids for being mean to my kid and then go to jail for child abuse. Because I would fuck their shit up. Watch me beat the shit out of a hypothetical 5th grader who is teasing my kid.
The principal is right to be concerned. I’m grateful for him and the work he does (he was really wonderful last year). But I was not happy to hear this news. It added more fuel to the epic shame spiral that I was already dealing with.
I don’t know how to deal with this. He is my first-born. I don’t have a wealth of parenting knowledge of “how to deal with when your kid is still in a pull up at 6 years old.” We’ve been doing this for 4 years now, trying to get him potty trained. It’s been grueling. But he’s my kid and I love him fiercely. And he’s a great kid.
I also had an epic headache (it totally laughed at ibuprofin and acetaminophen, which I took a lot of) from Wednesday to Friday, when I went to the chiropractor. See? I’m trying to take care of myself.
In other news, I was offered a job Thursday – a permanent job at the place where I’d been temping. So that went well. I accepted. I get health benefits right away and 401k benefits after 6 months. So that was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise difficult week.
I’m really trying hard to keep it together and not really doing great.