Friday, May 16, 2008

Midlife Moms on the Margins? Hot day, Hot Links

Here we are in a one day heat wave and my ability to write insightful original material seems to be melting along with everything else. So, I'm going to brazenly copy an idea I read on another blog (but sadly don't remember and can't credit) and do a "Link Love Friday." was recently started by blogger byjane, when she noticed that most women-oriented blog communities are focused on younger women, not those in midlife. Those of us who commented in agreement are now the nucleus of this group blog. The posts are interesting and fun, such as Menopause Has Stolen My Brain!, by Jan's Sushi Bar.

For a more serious look at the challenges of striving for work/life balance when your family includes members with disabilities, read babs post "Approaching equilibrium" in her Awalkabout's weblog. The comments alone with reassuring you that you are not alone. At the end of the article is a link to an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencier about the struggles of one family affected by autism.

Finally, through that article I came across a blog for "alternative' special needs families, called My Baby Rides the Short Bus. The blog is an "information page for upcoming anthology written by parents of children with 'special needs' who identify outside of the mainstream" The authors are also compiling a resource guide and are looking for "favorite resources that help to empower us and treat us respectfully as parents/caregivers."

The My Baby Rides the Short Bus blog got me thinking about how the concepts of "mainstream" and "marginalization" are so subjective. Just the words bring back ghosts of sociology past. My family is mainstream, I guess, since we live in the burbs, are a "typical" nuclear family, and we are not poor. Mmn - but are we marginalized by definition because we have a child with special needs? And am I out of the mainstream because I am a midlife mom?

Whew - too much social analysis on a hot day. But I am curious what you readers think - are we "marginalized" or not? And is having a child with special needs enough of a link to forge friendships with parents with values and world views different from your own? Let me know what you think. I'm off to guzzle some iced tea. Have a great week-end, all.


ByJane said...

maybe you need a new license plate: "marginalized x2"...or no, 'two on the margins'...better yet, "edgy mom"!
Thanks for the link love!

babs m said...

I'm not sure we are suddenly sisters with other mothers who have autistic children. Often they are very different from me and too stressed to cope with their own family, much less deal with us. :) So we go on with the hermit life.

Nice post. Thanks for the link!


Short Bus Book said...

i'm going to email you as well, but wanted to respond to you here--and thank for mentioning us! i have a nuclear/blended family and most of what marginalizes me are my politics. our other editors are a two-mom family. i think it's definitely subjected, but were are parents who didn't see ourselves or our lifestyles represented in the special needs parenting lit out there. antone who feels the same way should submit their story--deadline extended thru july 1.

Carol said...

babs, I agree that often there has to be another common thread besides having children with autism. When I read your post quickly I thought you said "we go on with our helmet life" - picturing all of us with helmet/blinders on! Freudian slip maybe?

Carol said...

Jen, Yes, I think there are a lot of us that don't feel a bond with much of the special needs literature. I still stiffen when I read anything about you are only given what you can handle, etc.

Are you familiar with Battle Cries: Justics for Kids with Special Needs by Miriam Edelson? She's a social activist in Toronto. I think you and the other editors would find it interesting and insightful. In fact, she might be interested in submitting an essay to your book!

Pam said...

Hi Carol, I am getting back to a reasonable schedule now that our 16 year old daughter has finished her run as a nun in Sound of Music. It was hours and hours of practice for her to speak one word, "Maria" on stage. So life as a "typical" has its frustrations too.

I have been thinking about the term "marginalized" and I think, yes, myself and other moms have been marginalized because of one very big concern: child care/adult care for young folks with disabilities. Once your loved one reaches 12 years of age and higher, watch out. Care for children is pretty easy to find. Care for a young adult is hard. The funny thing is that the behaviors that are difficult are very rare .......but.......they are exhibited by a 200 pound male. Poof. Many of us that would like to further our careers or education or even take care of our own health a little better cannot just because the care is so hard to find on a consistent, safe, kind, and reliable basis.

I have to say, though, that I have enjoyed the e-mail sanity breaks. Life is so much easier than when my son was diagnosed 16 years ago.

Miriam said...

I think we are all probably "marginalized" by our circumstance and/or by our choices. I have chosen to remove my children from a place they were marginalized (school) and have found an amazing inclusion in our choice to unschool our kids. Funny that, yes? That by "marginalizing" ourselves further away from "mainstream" we have actually found an amazing inclusion that we never had before. It seems more a matter of perspective to me. Marginalized because of our middle age, marginalized because we have special shiny sparkly kids? Marginalized because of our choices? Where's UNmarginalized, exactly?

Carol said...

Special shiny, sparkly kids - I love it!!!

I'll be thinking of you on your DC adventure.