The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Comment Posted January 11, 2016

Filed under: An Ongoing Journal...,Mommy Mind,The Studio — wingmother @ 2:38 pm
This came as a little shock to my system recently… And, ironically, in tending to its reply I wasted a good chunk of my “work time” this afternoon (use of quotes inspired by the sentiments of the commenter below). I found that I did not possess the self-discipline to apply myself elsewhere until I had responded directly to this reader’s criticisms. Sheesh. I can’t handle not being liked very well. ! I am a supreme wimp, and it’s hard for me to see what I look like to some. Oh well. I just gotta live in my integrity as best I can, keep making the to-do lists and attending yoga every Monday night. Just breathe….
Selene Says:

Hello. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and I just can’t figure for the life of me why you just won’t get a job and get your life together. You don’t seem to be disabled in any way and from what I gather, your mother foots the major bills. Your house is 100% free, minus utilities, food and cable (and heating oil is at the lowest price in more than a decade) and I remember you saying that you have a vehicle, but no car payment. A basic JOB would cover these leftover expenses without much difficulty. You should consider yourself very blessed to have a mommy to handle the tuff stuff. And personally, I feel a little miffed that you’re availing yourself of welfare benefits as an able-bodied adult. It feels like in a way you’re scamming the system. Your son is of an age where he can chill out by himself while you go out and earn your keep for a change.

The other thing that bothers me is that you simply will not let go of your ex and the shameful thing that you allowed him to do to you. And by mentioning it constantly – years later – it doesn’t give you the chance to heal and move beyond it and get on with your life. He doesn’t care. Next.

PLEASE stop smothering your son and living vicariously through him. He’s going to wind up a momma’s boy, constantly afraid to face the world, hiding behind his mother’s skirt everytime life get’s a little difficult for him. You’re doing him no favors.

2016 should be the year you put on your Big Girl Panties, get a job, lay off blogging, and get back to the real world and handle your responsibilities like the rest of us. Life IS hard. Yeah, we get that.

  • Hey Selene – Always wondered if I would one day get a comment along these lines… All good points. This is my first reminder that not everyone sees things the same way.

    May I offer my take on your ideas?

    Firstly, I do work. I have a dozen private students who each require individual lesson plans, as they have different goals (some want to compete, some just play in a band, some take just cuz “Miss Elizabeth is fun”) I spend a lot of time compiling material and creating arrangements and exercises designed individually for them. My regular accompanying jobs and the outside adult courses I teach also comprise what I would call “work”.

    Teaching does cover the bills when the school year is in session, but when school is on break, I often have no students, and therefore, no income (aside from some support I do receive from the ex, which is a Godsend). Until now, I have chosen to teach private lessons, accompany performances and play piano at my son’s school because these were jobs that allowed me to be present after school; to assist with homework, get my son fed and keep him ‘on task’. The older he gets, the less this is necessary – we’re in complete agreement on that!

    With this in mind, I have already begun to inquire about possible part time jobs I might take. Now that Elihu takes the bus home, it frees me up considerably (that being said, I’m learning that most entry-level retail part time jobs require weekend hours, which I don’t feel I can accept currently). Until recently, leaving Elihu alone ‘out here’ while I was miles away at a job was never a responsible option. The older he becomes, the less this is a concern.

    Believe me, I don’t ever take for granted the safety net my mother – and sometimes my friends – have provided for me when the unexpected arrives. Root canals, car repairs and the like can be impossible to pay for on piano teacher’s wages.(Never mind tuba lessons!)

    Regarding the governmental support we receive; having worked a multitude of small jobs since high school, I have contributed and paid into the system for over 30 years. The amount my son and I receive annually – for food and heat – is less than $3K. I’m pretty sure I personally put thousands more than that into the system over the years! Believe me, I never thought I’d be a single mother to a legally blind child living in the middle of the country! None of the extra support – whether governmental or gifts – goes without deep appreciation. We say prayers of gratitude at every meal, and I stretch our dollars as I have never stretched em before.The past six years were the hardest, and I don’t imagine they’ll be like this much longer.

    Re the ex – a critical look back at the posts will see that I mention him very seldom. I can’t remember when I last checked the ‘divorce diary’ category… But when shit happens that involves him, I ‘report it’ as I experience it. Cuz that’s kind of the point here, right? I’m just expressing my inner world to the outer one. I certainly don’t spend my days thinking about him., there’s just too much to do with the Studio, with life and Elihu!

    Maybe I should take the ‘backstory’ page down, yeah, I’ve thought of it. But hey – that’s how I got here, ya know? I actually enjoy my ex’s company (although my friends tell me I’m ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’) and have many times written that he’s a good, loving dad. While he has certainly angered me in the past, I have never said that he was a bad father, only that he’s made some short-sighted, self-serving choices along the way.

    Most of the blog is about our current daily life. At least that’s how it feels to me….

    I can totally understand how it looks like I’m living thru my son. Sure, I see that. But at the end of the day, it is just the two of us together, all the time. Think of it what you will, but we often feel more like a partnership than a mother-son relationship. These days my son is at an age when he needs responsibilities, he needs privacy and a sense of autonomy, and I encourage all of this.

    Remember, Selene, you read only what’s presented here on the blog; this is but a tiny percentage of our life. There is just so much more that occurs, but I only record the events or thoughts that rise to the surface in moments of stillness. I’m more aware than anyone that I need a life apart from my son’s; and my vision for this next chapter is anchored in The Studio and its future. There’s been a plan afoot all these years. As unsure of myself as I may seem, I do have a vision of myself in a role other than mom! Understand, if you will, that the Studio was a bombed-out shell last year, but this year it is rehabbed, gorgeous – and being used. ! Guess who made that happen? That was more than a part-time job, I can assure you!

    Bottom line is, you and others may not think I have a job, but I do. Putting on my ‘Big Girl Panties’ is really more about cultivating a dynamic board, writing my first grant proposal, designing a curriculum or running a summer music camp than it is about getting 40 hours on the clock at Target!

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, it’s fascinating to see how our blog presents to different people. I have to disagree about your ‘lay off blogging’ bit, because I have discovered myself to be as much writer as a musician – or mother. When I write, I am following my joy. (And who knows, one of these days I just might find myself a publisher, or at the very least, a writing gig!)

    Elihu has a question for you: Why do you keep reading if you’re so disappointed with me and my choices? (I sure hope you don’t respond that it’s ‘like watching a train wreck’! :) )

    Yeah, life’s not easy, I agree. I think all humans kinda share that idea. You’re welcome to share the ways in which life challenges you, too. Yes, there are plenty of folks who have a much, much harder road than I do. But that doesn’t mean I can’t share my experiences. Thankfully, there are some folks who enjoy what I share. If my choices piss you off – then don’t read about em! :)

    Seriously, thanks for your perspective, it was not easy to read and indeed, my feelings were hurt by it. But it was good grist for the mill, and I’d rather know what folks are thinking than not. Plus it’s been a wake up call for me; the more public I become, the thicker my skin needs to be.

    I do wish you a happy and successful New Year –

    Post Script: OK, folks, let me have it! Thoughts welcomed… The good, the bad or the ugly. Come on, I can take it…. (I think)…