Updated: Feb 8
Hello, long time no blog. Ive unfortunately not had time to write since September, actually since September I don’t think my feet has touched the ground. I tried to give myself a new identity, to become a new person, to better myself and pull myself away from the only title I have had for the last 10 years. That title of course being, Delilahs mum.
It’s not that easy is it? When you are the core carer of a child with medical and physical needs that’s where your heart lies never mind your time, your sanity and your overall identity. So how do you become your own person? Don’t be fooled, that’s not a rhetorical question where I lead into a conversation of how to’s around bettering yourself becoming a new you and ditching your kids for a new life in the sun - oh no.
That is me genuinely asking because I have actually tried all ways, I’ve worked, owned my own business, been a volunteer, helped run a group, volunteered for a charity, gave my time to countless projects, started college and set out on a new path of being part of a parent carer forum and still I seem to trip over my own feet. Every step forward leads to four steps back, and sometimes it can be devastatingly exhausting. For instance, my husband is a manager in Sainsburys, a role he’s only had for a couple of months and each day he gets up and goes to work, that easy. He has contracted hours and when he needs to be there, he’s there, if they call he answers and works from home often, after work. Me though? I cannit even get to shops without the house falling down round me… I know sounds super dramatic right but it’s no lie. I started college in September, it has been something I had been desperate to do since I left school as a teen mum. I never gave myself the opportunity to try and succeed so I hid instead, always thinking pfft I would have failed anyway! Then during lockdown, being bored I did some distance learning courses that I passed which spurred me on to go for it, what’s the worst that can happen? After years of anxiety and personal battles this was a big thing for me, to put myself first and want to better myself. I wanted to be a counsellor, I wanted to help others as I had been helped. For the first 4/5 weeks of college it was a shitstorm. They didn’t have a clue what they were doing after my whole class had a run in with our lecturer… that run in led to us needing a new one.
*long story short picture this - day one, “let’s go around the room tell the class who you are and why you want to be a counsellor and what you think will hold you back”… everyone takes their turn explaining their brave choices and interests, what brought them there that day. My turn… “hi I'm tracey, I am a full time mam and a full time carer to my disabled daughter, I want to be a counsellor as I have a huge interest in how the mind works and my biggest fear is that my caring roll will impact my college time and hold me back” her response, oooo her response, didn’t just get my back up - oh no, but everyone else in the class on my behalf… you ready?
These words left her mouth and I heard everyone gasp… “you’ll need to manage your time better”
Erm… “yea, no. That’s impossible, I have no support network and its me or no one” Her response? “Well, create one, I have had to over the years, cashing in favours id previously done for others”…..wow. *
So as you can see, she was a delight and ruffled up others too. Unfortunately I am used to people saying stupid shit like that to me, I can brush it off. As if I can just snap my fingers and a wonderful team of carers, cooks, personal assistants and trained helpers just pop up. So she needed to be replaced, which left us in limbo catching up for the whole first few months. As if that wasn’t bad enough every time I tried to get to college things would crop up, the car would break, my kids would need something dropping off at their school, or worst of all… you will all relate… Delilahs school would call. Delilahs school calls a lot. Delilah gets sent home a lot also, one bad nappy and they act as if its the dawning of a new pandemic and off home she gets sent. Now I understand there has to be precautions put in place but currently she is home more than at school. Which means I am also home more than at college. So, my question is how do you better yourself as a parent carer? How is it possible? Everything I have done in the past, the overwhelming stress of life tends to get in the way, breaks me down and it always seems my only option is to stop. I know it’s possible, that parents are capable of working, educating themselves and striving for better and succeeding. I just can’t understand where I keep going wrong, if I am going wrong at all. I just keep trying.
It is exhausting and makes me think at this point, am I just kidding myself to think that it is possible? Is the universe trying to tell me something? Am I just destined to be good old “Delilahs mam” and give up any hope of being Tracey, again? Yes, when you become a parent you will always be “mam” but when you become a parent carer, it seems different. Some days I feel like an empty shell, a robot on a cycle that I have been on for weeks doing the same thing over and over. This does not speak for the love I have for my family, but for the dislike of the life we’ve been given. And what’s that they say about insanity? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” So maybe, maybe i’m just insane for trying?