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Me? A Stressed-Out Mother?

What kind of mother admits to being stressed out by her child? One like me.

Another day, another service provider.

I welcomed a new social worker into our home tonight. This time, we were being evaluated to see if Nat qualifies for remedial services, specifically in-home help with skill development. We’re already receiving two types of in-home services: therapy, and home and community something or other. This will be the third. Luckily, they’re all through one agency, Gayle’s, so she can figure out what to bill where, what’s allowed and what’s not. Even though I worked in mental health for 16 years, I still find “the system” hard to navigate.

I’m used to answering questions about Natalie. I can regurgitate her history, her diagnoses, the services she receives, and so on, in my sleep. But this social worker threw in a new question. “Does all of this stress affect you physically? Like, do you ever have palpitations or anything?”

[Five Ways for Moms to Grab Some Me-Time]

“Me?” Deep breath. “Ummm…”

Give me a break! What kind of mother admits to being stressed out by her child — and to a social worker of all people?

“I cut back from 30 hours to 20 at work. I’ve asked for all of these services. I wear an estrogen patch so I don’t cry all the time. I’ve spent tons of money on a professional organizer. I feel trapped at home because it’s too hard to take Natalie places. I can’t go to a movie or out to eat with my family…”

What kind of mother? One like me, it turns out.