Career or Kids? Why I chose my kids over “my” life

I think I lost a friend.  I don’t know how, but I’m pretty sure she’s not my friend anymore.  And, I think she’s not my friend because I have made the decision to put my kids above my career.

We all make decisions in life, some big and some small, and we make them everyday.  Sometimes, our decisions affect others and sometimes our decisions are because of others.

Just a few weeks ago, my twins, were diagnosed with PDD-NOS~ Autism, for short.  They are 7 years old.  Even though they were just diagnosed, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t know; I did know.  I knew something was wrong~ it just took us 5 years to figure out what.

Although my world only recently crashed down around me, I made the decision to put my kids first long ago.  December 2009 to be exact.  A few months later I started homeschooling.

So, since I have obviously made the right decision for our family, why am I getting flack for it?  I know, with every heart beat, that I am following God’s plan for us.  But I also know that others need facts, so I found some.

According to AutismSociety.org:

  • $60 billion annual cost.6
  • 60% of costs are in adult services.7
  • Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.8
  • In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion.9

{See article for references}

The New England Center for Children backs up those statistics:

$90 billion annual cost

90% of costs are in adult services

Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention

While there are some differences on the exact number, there is a common pattern here ~ caring for an adult with Autism is expensive.

We are too late for “early diagnosis and intervention.”  While the school was busy telling me they were low IQ {they’re not}, the days were clicking by.  Precious days needed for intervention.

So, now I find myself at this road: Autism Lane.  I am the single “driver” of the car filled to the brim with girls ~ two with Autism and a 2 year old.  I can see ahead.  The road is filled with potholes, twists, turns and detours.  There are “No Emergency Stopping” and “Stay In Your Vehicle” signs posted every two feet.  I am beyond overwhelmed.

So, why am I finding myself having to explain my decisions to others?  To other Mothers?  Why would my friend ask me what I was ‘doing with my life?’

“Well, I have two autistic children and at the moment I am trying to re-potty train my 7 year old.  After that, my long term goals consist of teaching them how to read before they’re 16.” is what I think I answered.

Sarcastic?  Maybe.  And, in all honesty, the 7 year old is doing really well.  We’re down to reminders about proper wiping and conversations on the virtues of changing your underwear on a regular basis.  But, don’t think for a second that I now have time to finish one of my two partial degrees, or I feel confident putting them back in school so I can get a “real” job.

I have all that I can handle right now without adding the stress of trying to live up to others’ expectations.  I am not the Mom that has it all figured out.  I cannot balance work and home.  I cannot wear many hats or multi-task my girls any better.  I am “doing with my life” exactly what I should be doing.

I just wish I still had my friend here with me.

Comments

  1. 1

    That’s unfortunate that your friend could not see the love, virtue, and sacrifice in your decision and be supportive. I think when friends like that disappear it’s because they are scared.

  2. 2

    Sometimes (often) working out of the home vs. working in the home is not a choice that we’re given the opportunity to make ourselves. Some moms have to work out of the house else there wouldn’t be a house to live in. Some moms have to work in the home because their circumstances require them to be there. If it truly were a choice, I do think many of use would choose for their circumstance to be different so there actually COULD be a choice.

    But in the end, it really behooves us not to denigrate one another for the circumstances which have led us to the place we are now. How much stronger would we all be if we supported one another instead?

  3. 3

    I know what you mean about loosing a friend over life choices. It’s a loss, but one that can be learned to live with. I think people bond over similar realities and your reality changed. I predict you will find another dear friend who shares your challenges. She (or he!) may not replace the old friend, but there will be new adventures ahead!

  4. 4

    The fact is what you are doing IS a real job.

    If you werent doing it, you would be paying someone ELSE to be doing it. Would that person deserve more respect because she (or he) obtains a paycheck for doing it? No.

    Why praise someone for being a selfless teacher, mentor, caretaker to a child ONLY if that person garners a degree and income off of their actions?

    Its a question I like to politely ask when faced with questions about “real” jobs.

  5. 5

    I don’t know why anyone would want to end a friendship for that reason. I have had 1 friend who I “think” I lost for that reason but I can’t be sure. I think that she thought that I wouldn’t fit into her life anymore because she had advanced in life finishing college and getting jobs while I have always stayed home to raise my kids. Or maybe I just didn’t keep in contact with her enough. But whether either of this was the case or not, I think what you’re doing is commendable. Taking care of children is cyclical and it never stops but since they are my children and I have a personal interest in raising them, I love doing this rather than having a “job for pay.” I honestly don’t think there is anything wrong with being a “homemaker” and also being respected for it, and having friends who respect you as well.

  6. 6
    Rebekah Kuczenski says:

    I think the greatest thing we can do in life is raise our children. What is the point of having kids if we choose to let other raise them? I will never understand women who work full time and have a million clubs, activities, and social events on top of hair appointments and gym time etc. and then children…. Where are our priorities in life?? I applaud you for understanding the importance of this!!

  7. 7

    What you do as a mom is so important, especially in a society where SOOOO much of the focus is on yourself as an individual. There is nothing nobler than putting the interests of someone else above your own. It’s not something to be derided, it’s something to be praised.

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