“Hey, we have openings for people to work with adults with disabilities. Would you be interested in this job?”
A very nice, lovely someone asked me this, not knowing the completely honest yet probably unexpected response I’d have.
“Dear God why? Why would you ask me that?”
Not my best moment.
She wasn’t the first to ask me such a thing. I inspire that train of thought in people. “You should work in special ed!” or “Have you considered started a program for children with disabilities?” My reactions are always similar – I’m startled, and blurt out something that is probably considered rude.
I know it’s meant as a compliment. I am vocal about helping those with disabilities, advocating for my daughter, educating people on what our life is like. They see me with Maura, us getting along famously, us working together, Maura happy and me pretty chill.
I make this shit look easy.
So of course, I would be inspired to make it all my life’s work.
I just can’t.
I’m fantastic with Maura’s disability because it’s what I know. I don’t know other disabilities as well, or some at all. I can handle autism because I’ve been around it. But otherwise, I’m about 10% better than the average person when it comes to all sorts of other disabilities.
I would make a horrible special ed teacher because I’d make a horrible teacher. I’ve never been inclined to teach. Actually, anything requiring a leadership position makes me break out into a sweat. The idea of running a program? I’d probably break out in hives. The idea of being in charge of a program makes me nauseated.
I know my limits.
These suggestions are usually given by good people who don’t have a child with disabilities. So they miss a vital point. That point? That I’m already doing this 24/7, 365 days a year, until the end of my time. I am living the dream, caregiving with the best of them, always on call, always on duty. When I’m not directly dealing with Maura, I would like to use my time in other ways.
Wow, that sounds selfish and horrible, doesn’t it?
Yet, no one suggests a regular mom do more regular mom things while her kids are at school. “Oh, you have kids? You should totally work at a daycare! You’re so good at changing diapers!” No, in those cases, people are all “You should totally pursue other interests, be a fitness instructor because you love running.” No one suggested I become a special ed teacher before I had Maura – and I have friends who *are* special ed teachers.
It’s okay though – I feel guilty about not wanting to work more with people with disabilities as well.
But also, I know my limits.
The thing is, I have my own pile o’ issues to work on when I’m not keeping Maura alive. I’ve got 44 years of matching baggage to sort out while my anxiety hovers over my shoulder breathing heavily onto my neck. I’ve got weight to lose, and a healthy living train to get on because I have to live forever. I have a book to finish revising. I have laundry to catch up on, and groceries to buy. I have that day, once in a great while, where I recharge by hiding in my room binge-watching Netflix, because I don’t always handle stress well.
I also need to learn how to answer these questions with a bit more tact. That may take awhile, as I have a history of blurting out responses that require more tact.
Meanwhile, jobs I would trample over my own offspring for are as follows, so please, offer them to me –
- working in a bookstore, because mama needs a discount on books
- cocktail taster
- hammock tester
- permanent fixture at coffee shop
- paid writer
- museum wanderer
- Lush bathbomb reviewer
- foot model for all those “feet on beach” shots
- paid shopper for Target
- professional napper
Serious inquiries only.