I Fail at Life

Fri, May 27, 2011


This isn’t necessarily finance-related, but I’m having a small breakdown and really just need to say some things.

Today was my son’s last day of seventh grade. I haven’t talked about him much. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 6, though I knew way earlier. And while I won’t go into a long discussion of AS, it basically means he has a mild form of autism. He’s super smart (IQ test shows 158) but has no social skills. He can’t interpret tone of voice or tell what someone is feeling by looking at them.

Anyway, so today he brought home his final report card. He made two Ds, two Cs, and a low B in his core classes. And I feel like the worst mother in the world.

In the time since Jay’s dad and I got divorced, I’ve pretended not to notice all the effects it’s had on him. So many family members were scared he’d end up dropping out of school or using drugs just because his parents weren’t married anymore. And I was determined that was stupid and stereotypical and would NOT happen to my child.

Middle school has been hard for him. All the kids are forming their little cliques and he gets teased a lot for being nerdy and naive about things. The teachers expect a lot more and are less willing to accommodate his educational needs. He has been stressed ever since he started sixth grade, but I told myself it was normal preteen stuff. Nothing to worry about.

Since my divorce, I work a job with long hours, lots of stress, and very little pay. As you all know, I also work a second job now. Most weeknights I’m gone until 9 PM. And I’ll be honest - a lot of nights, I’m ready to scream by the time I get home. Jay doesn’t want to do his homework because he’s exhausted and stressed from school. So sometimes it was easier to just give him the answers to the homework. No arguing. No extra stress. No pleading with him to rewrite the illegible parts of his assignments (many kids with AS have horrible handwriting).

I thought he was still learning the material in class. I also thought his teachers would contact me if there were any problems. Yet his grades fell to nearly failing and I never heard a word from anyone. And was so busy I didn’t take time to check.

I have a lot of guilt related to working away from home. I enjoy my career, but my mom stayed home with my sister and me, and deep down I feel I should do the same for Jay. Especially since he has special needs. Yet there is no possibility of me staying home. Ever. And now I am a walking stereotype: the single mother whose son has no real father figure and starts making horrible grades. The mother who works multiple jobs to make ends meet and doesn’t have time to be involved in her child’s life. The mother who just isn’t good enough at her real job - raising her child.

I am so devastated right now. I can’t even type coherent sentences. I just know I have failed my child in ways I may not ever be ever to fix. And it hurts worse than anything financial ever could.


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