My life is rarely predictable. It’s not supposed to be, is it? Would that be great use of my adaptability or optimism? Not likely. I go with the changes. I can’t predict or control what happens, but I can certainly shift my perspective and choose my direction and that guides my reaction so that it’s less of a visceral reaction and more of an intentional response. Lately things have been coming up, and my first response is typically to say, “chet!” It’s not a “shit” moment. It’s a failure to curse. It’s so messed up that my response isn’t even fully formed in vulgarity and missing the mark allows me to grasp the situation for the opportunity it is.
I spent many years as a stay at home mom. I didn’t love it. I did it because I didn’t want someone else to have my children’s earliest attachments. I didn’t want to miss those first milestones. I loved early morning snuggles and nursing my babies on demand. They were learning just as much from me as they were teaching me.
Shared custody is the biggest possible “chet!” moment. I can’t control who is around my boys. I can’t control the fact that decisions that were once solely mine are now shared and dragged out longer than I’d like. I can’t control what they eat or how they’re treated when they aren’t in front of me.
I was never a true helicopter parent. I watch from farther away . . . Sometimes mothering means you get to keep an eye out for your littles when you can’t trust the other littles. It always means your eagle eyes are on the lookout for predators. My mom supported me in anything I wanted to do. She still does. Swimming, dance, gymnastics, acting . . . She paid for classes and when I wanted to quit, she accepted that too. I tried to follow this.
I’m also an autism mom, so I had a whole set of duties that are unique to my family. It’s easy to get carried away into doing everything, but my kids teach me that they need the space to fly or I’ll just crush their wings.
It looks like I’m a homebody every other weekend. There’s housework, and home cooked meals. During the week, I get to rely on the support of my team. I have a team of family and a caregiver that steps in and they overlap where I need them to so I can bring home the bacon, then cook it later. I can’t be a badass without them.
The reality of my reliance is there are moments when I get to let go of control. It was hard at first. I remember that first court hearing when I made a huge list of demands. It included parenting classes and financial responsibility. I had it lined up that everything I wanted was important or I would try to take away the boys. I had no intention of that. I just didn’t want the new girlfriend in my arena. The kid’s schools were my home turf. I had friends and teachers that have been there for years and I couldn’t handle having this woman at the school. At the end of the day, we came to an agreement that had his loophole built into it. I got to learn to let it go, and from that moment, everything I couldn’t control about my kids became secondary.
I even adopted a motto:
It’s not my shit. It didn’t come out of my ass. I don’t have to clean it up.
Last night and all day, situations came up and I took these “chet” moments and turned them into “Yes!” opportunities. My day didn’t crash. My kids are being cared for. I’ll get an earful later, but I get to give hugs and they will be listened to. I get to listen to them complain about a long day. I may be handing out foot or shoulder rubs. I miss doing that sometimes and the boys love it. But I get to shift in a way where these pop up situations don’t destroy my day. I get to rise to the challenge, make the calls that matter and accept that the small details don’t matter. I get to accept in these incremental moments that I can’t control anything but the way I respond.
A favorite visual of mine is a baby duck. Don’t think of a momma duck. (Those bitches be cray cray.) Think of a baby duck that is so focused on learning to swim, they don’t even notice the water rolling off their backs.