How to recover from a never-ending childhood

I’ve been reading your blog, and you are right, self-pity gets me nowhere. Yet I have anxiety because I have forgiven myself of my past, yet I cannot forget as the choices haunt my life.

1) I am 40 in Dec.
2) I live with my mother who exasperates me endlessly. I am the eternal teenager and now, in order to just avoid conflict, I have accepted my role as one.
3) I have a daughter in college for nursing. My other is 16, goes to high school, and is working at a tea shop. She lives with me and my mom.
4) I’ve been in poverty.
5) I’m in school, getting an Associate’s Degree in Science, but I only have 8 credits.
6) I’m unemployed–I worked 10 years as a Montessori instructional assistant–stayed too long because I knew I was in for another dead end job.
7)I have great anxiety because I feel like a bum with my mom. I’ve never been financially independent. So now that creates the low self esteem and confidence.

I know you can’t tell me what to do. I had a child at 19 and another at 22. So I’ve never really known myself. Just that I am a very kind person. After ten years and those last two years in that horrible job, I don’t want another dead-end job. I’ve thought about a business. I don’t know what —I’ve babysat and cleaned in my life and that is not my idea of a fulfilling job. I can’t sew. I can barely cook. I don’t have musical talent. And people have always run me so running a business?? Not to mention, how would I start a business on food stamps and school loans? I can barely afford gas for school. All excuses I suspect.

I know all you probably see is negativity, yet these are the realistic facts. I’m stuck. And I feel screwed and desperate. Like I should go to work at the Dollar Store or McDonald’s for less than what I had made at years of the other dead end job.

Enough of a sorrow email, I have just felt compelled to write. Cause I’m a mom. And I feel pathetic with my stance and that I have failed my children.

5 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    You did a good job with your daughters. Now you have to do a good job with yourself. You need counseling. You need to look at yourself differently. I do not think you need school or moving out of your mom’s house as much as you need counseling.

    If you get a job at Starbucks or McDonald’s you will get good health insurance. Use the health insurance to do intensive counseling, for free. I mean, insurance will pay for it.

    Any job you get before you do this counseling will be a dead-end job. But you are not at a dead-end – in any job — if you are getting counseling.

    You have enormous self-esteem issues, probably coming from some sort of family issue at an early age. You have to figure those out in order to move on. You don’t sound pathetic. You sound very able to help yourself. But you have to take action to do that.

    When you do make the decision to go back to school or not go back to school, ask yourself what you will do when you get out of school? What job will you apply to? Consider applying to those jobs without a degree. I know that most jobs say they require a degree, but most jobs do not, in fact, require that even though they say they do.

    So it’s not worth spending all that time in school if you do not love going to school. I think what you’ll really love is getting your daughters through high school and then moving out of your mom’s house with a level of emotional strength that you’ve reached through intensive therapy.


  2. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    If your school has a counseling degree program it may also have free individual and group therapy clinics with student therapists who need the experience.

  3. Cheddar
    Cheddar says:

    What jumped out at me was your idea that McDonalds is so far beneath you. It is a tough economy, especially for people without a lot of recent experience. My understanding of fast food businesses is that it is really hard in some areas to find reliable, mature full time workers. McDonalds has a training program where shift managers end up making somewhat higher pay. This doesn’t have to be your career for the rest of your life. Penelope had good advice!

  4. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    Penelope is right: you are probably doing a good job with your daughters. But part of continuing to do a good job with them is by taking care of yourself. If they see you working to be the best person you can be and not being self-pitying, they will likely mimic that in their own lives.

    Additionally, I do understand where you are at. I am almost your age (late thirties) and have spent the last year and a half living with my parents. I felt more like an adult seventeen years ago when I first got out on my own than I do now. My best advice to you is: get out of your Mom’s house, even if you have to live in a sh–thole, or, with roommates for a while. Believe me: I am trying to do the same myself. You will never feel like an adult while with her.

    Finally, look at what you have accomplished and what you have the potential to accomplish. You spent ten years as an aide in a school: that is not a meaningless job. That says a lot about the type of person you are and that you prioritize education work. However, I have to ask, if you only have eight credits done toward your AA degree, is that really the best plan? I have a BA in the sciences and am struggling to find work because I haven’t really used the degree much in recent years.

    If you do an AA, I would think you would want to find something vocational that would qualify you for a specific job when you got done. I can’t think of much you could do with an AA in the sciences unless you had plans for much additional education work after. Maybe consider an AA degree that will come with some kind of certifications?

  5. Beyondbeige
    Beyondbeige says:

    Why don’t you start an at home day care service? Parents are desperate for quality daycare. It sounds like you have the experience to start something. Getting one up and running wouldn’t cost a lot. You could get supplies and toys etc. at garage sales and thrift stores. Advertise at all your local churches and local neighborhood paper. Word will get out if you are good.

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