Monday, April 13, 2009

April showers bring...cloudy skies, really.

I've started and stopped during the composition of this post more times than I can count. If this were my own blog, I would have given up by now and just gone without posting. (Readers of my personal blog will note that there's been a relative paucity in my posting of the last week.) The issue? I'm getting pulled down. I feel like things aren't quite right. And I don't like to post about things like that. What I like is the moment when I realize the clouds are parting and I can see that despite all the apparent trials, things are actually looking up. Speaking of which...

The clouds and the rain. The snow storm over Palm Sunday weekend didn't get me down so much since I figured there would be a break by Easter Sunday. I mean, I believed it couldn't possibly be as bad as last year's Good Friday blizzard. I've got a friend on facebook who lives in the Atlanta area complaining mercilessly about how the cold temperatures are getting him down. Give me a break. But the clouds and rain and cold today? Forecasts of severe rainstorms throughout much of the midwest? I was just starting to believe that we'd seen the last of horrid winter weather and could look forward with a new-found sunny disposition, and then April showers come in and destroy that tiny shimmer of hope.

But I think the weather is just symbolic of other things. For awhile I've been feeling like even though it seems I've just passed something horrid, something glum like a rain storm is always around the corner. I've been feeling uncertain about the future, and unclear about how I fit in. I'm pregnant with my second child now, but the downtime between the first and second has been lengthy -- 15 years. I find myself unsure what crowd I should run with. The moms of teens want to move from parenthood, they're looking forward to life without the constant responsibility of kids. Clearly I'm not relating to that pack. But I'm even less like the new parents, the ones who haven't traversed forward in the journey past even the second trimester ultrasound image. And then there's a nagging question in the back of my mind about how you're supposed to build an integrated family under the circumstances. I keep reading advice columns in magazines and online pregnancy and parenting sites about preparing the firstborn for the birth of a new baby. Pardon me for stating the bleeding obvious, but I don't think my 15-year-old daughter will react to the addition in our family by regressing and wanting a bottle or sleeping in bed with her parents again. Still, I'm sure there's some reaction she'll have and I would just like to have some idea of what I'm supposed to be doing as her mother in this circumstance.

What I find myself realizing is that my feelings are not so much about this particular situation, as it is the feeling of not fitting in. The feeling that my situation is unique and I'm all alone. The feeling of not quite finding my place and feeling comfortable. When I moved from the south to Michigan 10 years ago, I figured the change would be refreshing and finally feel like home. Everything in the midwest seemed familiar. My mother spent in childhood in Ohio before moving with her family to the Florida panhandle. And despite Florida being the stage for my parents meeting, marrying, starting a family, and settling for the long run, both of my sisters migrated back to the midwest for college and afterward. With one sister in Southbend and the other Chicago, southeast Michigan seemed like a perfect place to go and settle down. But when the allure of the new place rubbed off, I realized that there was a lot I was having a difficult time adjusting to. For instance, I was a cultural southerner trying to figure out why others found me shallow or insincere (read: people misread my initial generous friendliness and hospitality to be naive openess or genuine vulnerability). That glitch eventually resolved itself, as well as others, and eventually I came to find Michigan was more like home than any other place. Still, I think the point remains, it never feels good to feel like you're out of place or frequently misunderstood.

Do you ever feel like your situation is unique? Like it would be good to hear from just one other family that was like yours? That's how I feel right now. I want to hear the advice of another parent who can relate to our current situation and say, "No worries, I've been there, here's some tips." Maybe it's a problem your child is having physically or with schoolwork. Or maybe it's something more debilitating to you personally, like financial troubles. Or other family woes, or whatever. What do you do as a parent when you are seeking advice and it seems that no one around you could relate to your situation?

If only Calgon moments really could solve everything...


Heather said...

My current group of friends have all put their baby years behind them as well, even though our older kids aren't teenagers. I do feel a little isolated being the only one with a baby in the group, but she is growing and soon she'll be running with the rest of them. These stages are so fleeting. Each time I get used to a life stage, something changes!

phd in yogurtry said...

Hmm, there's got to be a name for your cohort .. pregnant moms of teens .. moms of teens pregnant again .. MOTPA?

Hope you find your people soon. New blog idea, perhaps?

I'm a part time professional mom. I am between the SAHM and the FT working moms. So yes, I do relate.

angi said...

I was thinking the same way as the comment above. I can relate in that I am the only one of my friends with "so many" children, so I find comfort in reading blogs of other Mom's with large families. There is a place in a Mother that needs to know she is not alone, that other women are going through the same things as she is. Blogs help me feel that camaraderie I need, I hope you can find your place too!