Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crossing the Threshold: trying to find myself

I feel as though I am in a bit of a frenzied slump.  Yes, I realize that is a bit of an oxymoron.  I am feeling unmotivated to write which was something I used to thoroughly enjoy and quite frankly, I have so many discombobulated thoughts racing through my mind that I am having great difficulty sorting through the muck.  My camera has been resting in its bag for many days which is very atypical for this paparazzi mama bear.  What is truly bothering me?  Why am I having a hard time getting up in the morning?  It isn't just lack of sleep or not enough coffee.  I do recognize that.

There are new changes and there will be even more changes ahead in the next few weeks.  Changes that many of you have already survived.  That is perhaps what has me in this frenzied state and what is triggering this need for me to bury myself into a protective cacoon.

My Ellie learns by repetition and by routine.  However, she is not greatly distressed when her routine is disrupted or changes.  I, however, am.  It has taken me nearly 30 years and I am just now figuring this out.  Apparently, I am much more rigid than I thought! The public schools started in Austin last Monday and with that, our therapy schedules changed to accommodate the school year.  However, Ellie does not turn 3 years-old for another 2 weeks which means she has not yet started school like many of her peers.  Right now, we are in limbo.  A new therapy schedule, but no school.  Soon, a new school will be thrown into the mix.  Five days of PPCD for 4 hours a day located at the elementary school down the street.  Morning therapies have been rescheduled to the afternoon.  Some therapies canceled all together.  Morning playgroups, eliminated.  Ellie seems to be taking all of these changes in stride, but I am struggling.

We are at a threshold.  The point where after 3 years of me being my daughter's sole care provider (plus Andrew, of course!), I am leaving her in the hands of the school.  Yes, they are highly trained professionals with a zeal for teaching and a love of kids, but I am her mommy!  I feel like the umbilical cord is about to be severed.  Yes, it is time.  Yes, Ellie is ready.  I, however, am not.

For the past 3 years, my life has essentially been defined as being a mother.  A mother to a rambunctious little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes and a love for climbing.  A mother to a daughter with extra needs.  A mother who shuttles her child from one therapy to another.  A mother who works tirelessly to help her little girl navigate the world, to talk, to walk, to eat with a spoon, to communicate with her hands, and to know that she is so desperately loved beyond measure.  A mother to Ellie Bear.  I am known to many as "Ellie Bear's mom".  I am known as Ellie Bear's mom in our playgroup and at the eateries we frequent.  I seriously doubt all of the workers at Quizno's and at the mall's carousel know my actual given name, but they certainly know Ellie's.  My car is even known as "Ellie Bear's car".

I have not stepped foot into the work force since Ellie came kicking and screaming into this world.  I am no longer Anna, pediatric NP, but rather Ellie Bear's Mom.  I am PROUD to be Ellie Bear's mommy and yet, I am struggling.  I am struggling because my baby is going to school and will be in the care of strangers.  When did she get so big?  What happened to the wee little bambina I used to swaddle in tiny little receiving blankets?   I am struggling because I seem to have lost my identity outside of being a mother.

So many things are changing and these changes are not bad.  However, they have indeed thrown me into a frenzied state of uncertainty.  Who am I?

I am a daughter.  I am a wife.  I am a mother.  I am a nurse practitioner.  I am a child of God.  I am, simply, me.



  1. I know exactly how you feel. So much of who I am is in my kids. She still needs you just as much, and you will settle in to this new schedule. I ave a REALLY hard time with change. Part if it us my personality and I think part is my issues with anxiety, because I don't know what's going to happen. It will all fall in to place : )

  2. There are a *lot* of other parents (mothers and fathers, as in the case of my husband who has only just last week gone back to work nearly full-time after being home with Sammi for so many years) in the same situation. You have to allow yourself some time to transition. So many changes, but ease yourself into it, remember that we're not machines and that it's okay to accept slowly. :-) I'm so excited for Ellie, *and* for you! You're both growing and coming to a whole new phase in your lives.

  3. When my youngest kiddo started going to preschool for 4 hours, twice a week, I declared it "The Year of Me." For the previous 8 years, I had thrown myself into motherhood which I absolutley love. Bit I also realized that I had kind of lost my identity separate from being a mom. I gave myself permission to stop putting my needs/wants so low on the piority list that I never addressed them. I carved out a little me-time out of the new free time -- even if it meant I had to do my grocery shopping with 3 crazy kids later in the day instead of solo while they were at school. But I really missed the playgroups. A LOT! It was strange not to be a witness to my kids' socializing, and I missed my mommy friends, too. Take some time for you to transition to this new stage in life. And remember, when summer rolls around, it will be back to old times.

  4. This one has me in tears, Anna. And probably one of the reasons I selfishly homeschool. Well, not really. We really did make that decision prayerfully and a path God put us on. But I have wondered if this is the plan for Benji with all of his extra needs. His therapists are so skilled and have really helped him learn. But they have also helped me learn how I can help him learn. I am SO thankful for them. But after praying about him too, we know it is best to keep him with the rest of the family at this point. His siblings are some pretty good therapists themselves. He will copy anything they do. Our son, Logan, got him to drink from a cup in a second after his OT and I tried and tried for a long time. We should have used Logan much sooner. That is when we realized we had some built in motivators for sure. But it was something I really thought about because I am concerned about the new changes when he is three. They have told me that I may have some more home options if we homeschool, but I may not get the same therapists. And I do not do too well with change with new people if I have been so use to certain people.

    I totally sympathize with your pain with what you are going through. We put our oldest son in kindergarten, and that was SO hard for me. And because I had other little ones and lived in a new state with no family and friends, I could not go to the class to help out and see what was going on. He did GREAT, though!! And he loved it. He learned a lot too. And I handled the change way better than I thought I would. It was nice at that time to get some time at home in different ways.

    Maybe you can go to the class and help out at various times if they will allow that. I am sure that would help you know that she is doing great and get to know the teachers better. That is wonderful that it is just up the street from you. That would make me feel better. I will be praying for this transition for you and have been. I am sure she will do wonderful and you will get use to the new routine once again as well.

  5. Oh Anna! What a mother you have been! And -- what a mother you always will be. Change is so, so hard. I had such a hard time sending our oldest to preschool last year and this year I realized how badly both he and Joey need it. Roots are the easy part-- wings are the hard part. I just linked to your blog tonight-- we must all have the same things on our minds right now. Hugs to you!

  6. I read this and my heart breaks for you. I wish I'd had that time at home with my kids (and no, this is NOT one of those 'be grateful for you had comments') - I know mine were in good hands during the day, first with their daddy, and then with their teachers, but it's still such a massive gut-wrenching leap of faith, to trust others with your baby (thinking more of the teachers here, obviously I trusted Matt. Except w/the girl's hair - OY!). I'd give you a pep talk about different perspectives, different experiences, blah, blah, blah but you know that. *I* am merely going to tell you that I've been there, it sucks, but it will be OK. Ellie will do great.


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