December 08, 2009


I've been thinking lately. And my thoughts have been kind of troubled. I'm sure you might have guessed lately that I've been feeling "down". I hate to burden you with it, but then again, I'm just writing down my thoughts, it's up to you if you allow them to burden you :). I think being a mom is the hardest thing in the world. Every single day I feel like quitting. Like throwing my hands up in the air and saying, "forget it". But you can't do that when you're a mom. You can't quit. It's the one job that you absolutely cannot turn in your letter of resignation. The second that Mr. Sperm was introduced to Miss Egg, I was beholden to the little zygote. And I don't regret it, that joining of DNA that resulted in 2 wonderful children (though not at the same time). But that doesn't mean that I don't doubt myself.

I'm not going to lie to you, I feel like a lousy mom. If my kids grow up to be a couple of Mansens, well, it's not their fault. It's up to me to mold their little minds, to shape the people that they will become. And it is such a burden, trying to make decent human beings. Every day I feel like ultimately, I will fail them. I especially feel like I will fail Young Man. His particular DNA came with a special set of circumstances. If you know Young Man, you know he's different. You'd call him charming, but you'd also call him quirky. He is absolutely unique. He is who he is, which is unlike most of the little kids we come across in our lives. I can appreciate this. But unfortunately, the world we live in and anything "different" often do not mesh. People don't understand Young Man, and to tell you the truth, I do not understand him either.

If you have one of these unique kids, then you know what I'm talking about. You know how I feel. If you don't, well, then you'd probably tell me to just "get over it". I knew from the time he was 2 years old of his differences. And I spent at least 2 years trying to convince myself that it was all in my head. I desperately sought for people to tell me I was nuts, that there was nothing different there. But Young Man didn't speak until he was 3, and then it was this strange kind of echolalia that made the hairs on my arms stand up for quite awhile. Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, he walked up to me one day and literally spoke a complete, complex sentence that was an original thought. His speech therapist was floored. I was elated. He was finally "normal". But you know what, he was still who he was, just with the ability to tell me about it.

I have utterly failed him already because I cannot just accept him the way he is. I struggle with my immense guilt and the hate I feel for myself when I get embarrassed at something he does rather that support him. I am his advocate, but here I am hiding under a rock. Have you gathered yet how very painful this is. It is awful. Thankfully he is fine and has not yet felt the sting of the world. But I am shouldering a burden that is going to crush me very soon. And you know the worst part, I feel completely alone. I am wallowing in misery, guilt, and complete confusion, and I am looking for a hand up. Anything. He has trouble socializing with other kids, and unfortunately, he is not given the chance to practice.

I know this sounds bad. Trust me, I know. I guess I hope that someone out there will read this, someone who feels the way I do, and she will not feel alone. She'll know that she's not the only one in the world feeling such terrible things. She'll know she's not the only mother out there that cannot seem to stop mourning the loss of a child she never had. I don't know what it's like to have a "normal" little boy. I don't know what it's like to have a child that other children like to play with and invite to birthday parties. Princess is too young to have really had any of these experiences yet.

You know, I never talk about this. And the few times I've gotten up the guts to mention it, I really only scratch the surface. I cannot fathom the depth of my sadness over this. He is healthy, he is beautiful, he is wonderful and smart. So what is my problem? I cannot help but fear that his will be a life filled with judgement and rejection. And I ache to think of my beautiful little boy feeling desperately alone. So there is one thing I'm working on and it is that he may never, ever think for one second that he is not completely loved and accepted by me. His Mother.


  1. I haven't gone through this (so far anyway) but I can imagine in the tiniest way how hard it might be. I don't know what it's like to have a rejected, socially-challenged child; I do, however, know what it's like to BE a rejected and socially-challenged child. I don't want to give you advice because I don't want to even attempt to act like I know more about this than you do. All I know is that feeling loved by someone (particularly family) was the most important thing to me as a child. I know you love your sweet little boy, so don't get down on yourself. I love you and I hope you feel better about things soon.

  2. Ashley, I don't know anything about how you must feel (other than what I just read) but I do believe that kids are often sent to families that will give them the best chance for success in life. No one knows your son (or how to best help him) better than you because you are his mother and have a right to inspiration about how to help him. I'm not a great mom, or even a good one yet, but I know when I trust the inspiration I receive (because who knows these kids better than their Father??) we're a lot happier at my house. I hope that doesn't sound judgemental or preachy, just know that I love you, and that I think you're an awesome mommy. Can't wait for you to visit!!!

  3. I still cringe at some of the things Atticus says sometimes. He had trouble socially until probably about late 4th grade or so. It came gradually, but it did come. He didn't play much with friends, and the only good friend he had was a girl, and she was as odd as he was. But she accepted him and like him for who he was. Eventually, he figured it out well enough to get along. The mom-guilt still plagues me, too. One thing I know: the older my children get, the more I realize how little I have to do with their personalities. I can guide and direct them as best I can, but they are who they are. They come that way. And some kids, like Atticus, have to learn things on their own through hard experience. So no, Ashley, you aren't alone at all. And yes, you are a good mom. Remember, he was Heavenly Father's son first, and He knows better than you do how to help him. Don't give up. And call me when you're feeling discouraged.

    Sorry for the long comment. I didn't mean to hijack your post.

  4. I read a quote in a parenting book once that read, "Children can't help the personalities they have; difficult personalities are as much a struggle for the child who possesses it as it is for his or her parents."

    This quote made me feel less guilty for the challenging aspects of my oldest daughter's personality. I am not a great mom. I see the great moms, and I don't feel energetic enough, well-equipped enough, or selfless enough to be like them. It gets me down when I compare, so I try not to.

    Ash, you are a great mom, and you do very well with Princess and Young Man! You are organized, patient, efficient, you are tops at keeping your kids safe (whether it be proper carseat safety or playground safety), and you take the time to cut up their food at every meal that I've witnessed! You're attentive and kind, and you show your kids how to have a good sense of humor.


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