Up until now the majority of my blogs have been about child safety issues happening in the world, tips for baby proofing and product recalls. Once in a while I’ve opened up a bit about my life but not much. Some people are concerned about me doing this – that’s not my job as The Safety Mom they tell me. But I’ve been learning some incredible life lessons these past two years. One of these realizations is that, as I’ve talked about on my radio show Keeping It Together With Alison Rhodes, The Safety Mom in order to keep our kids safe, happy and well, we need to first take care of ourselves. Well, that’s easier said than done for moms. And I realized that I wasn’t taking my own advice. But how do we put ourselves above our kids? I would literally lie down and die for each of my children every day. How do I do something selfish and think of myself first? Well, I’m beginning to realize that if I don’t, I quite possibly might die and that won’t help them at all.
You see there are some pretty tough things going on in my life, some I’ve blogged about but others I haven’t touched yet. Now I’m going to and I’m doing it for several reasons. Writing is therapy for me (and I suspect for many mom bloggers). Once it’s down on paper, or computer, it’s out of my head and not causing me as much stress. I also do it because I know that ,if I’m going through some of this stuff, there have to be millions of people going through very similar situations and probably feeling isolated and alone. Maybe by reading this blog they will know that they’re not alone and maybe, if we all start posting, we can all help each other find the support, encouragement and love all of us need to get by. The third reason is that because I’m a “do-er.” I’ve entered into the confusing worlds of special needs, the educational system, emotional abuse, divorce, aging parents, and financial hardship. There are some major problems in many of these areas and I’m determined to start screaming about it to try and change archaic and dysfunctional systems that don’t work. The fourth is because this is the only way I’m going to heal myself. For years I never discussed what was going on in my personal life. I didn’t think that anyone, even family and friends, wanted to know my problems. So I put on my “game face” and kept things to myself. Oh sure, a few close friends so the little cracks in my armor but not many. I’m really good at keeping a positive outlook and not showing my problems. But that, in the end, was my un-doing. Because when I finally realized that I had to start talking about what was going on, most people didn’t believe me. “How could these things be happening in your life?” they would ask. In the end I’ve had dear friends and members of my community turn away from me because it didn’t seem possible. Quite possibly it also forced them to look at their own lives which they probably didn’t want to do. Now I’m talking about everything. It takes courage and it’s not easy but I have to in order to build a new and much happier life for myself. My blog and my radio show is how I will do it. I’m sure there will be readers out there who disagree with me and downright dislike me with some of the things I’m going to say but that’s my last and most important lesson – to be true to myself no matter what.
So a quick update from my last blog about Spencer my oldest son with special needs. Last Thursday we ended up in the emergency room as he got upset with his sisters and put his hands around the back of his sister’s throat. His psychologist was worried he was having a psychotic breakdown. I was having a complete breakdown worried about my baby boy.
Yesterday he was diagnosed by the psychiatrist hired by the school as meeting the criteria for childhood schizophrenia. The first question out of my hopefully soon-to-be ex-husband’s mouth when he heard was whether there was something else we could call it when talking to friends (yes, that’s been part of my problem – someone who is more worried about appearances than dealing with an issue). I participated in the PPT at school and it looks as if by the end of this week or next week he will be in a temporary home-bound learning situation. My next PPT is next Thursday to start searching for the appropriate out-placement for him.
Yes, it’s been a long week and there are so many other things to blog about. But this is it for now. My early morning peace is about to end as I need to get the girls ready for school. So, how am I surviving? If you’ve never heard of Jerry and Ester Hicks, check out their website – www.abraham-hicks.com . Reading their books and messages has helped. Writing is helping as well as walking in the woods and clearing my head. I’m blessed to have a wonderful minister at my church who is always there to lend an ear. I’ve surrounded myself with a very few close friends who now protect me and I’m fortunate to have unwavering optimism that I wake up with every morning no matter how bad it gets. For anyone out there struggling, please know you’re not alone. Write back and let’s support each other – it’s how we’ll all survive.
Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.