helicopter, over protective parenting or somewhere in between parenting…….

having kids is tough. no matter how old they are. my kids are 17 and 21. they are both graduating this year. one is going out into the real world and the other is going away to college. how on earth am i going to be able to protect them from…ummmm, EVERYTHING? after watching what happened at the ohio state university today, i realized i don’t want my children leaving the house. my daughter is a penn state senior and just left to go back there after break. the ohio state university is actually my sons first choice of colleges. he has been a buckeye since he was 5. his room is scarlet and grey. todays event was like a double whammy to my gut.  zach is going to go to a community college near home and sam only has 1 semester left and then she is back home and never leaving again!!!! thats it!! thats the answer! that is how i feel but that is not the reality of whats going to happen.

hel·i·cop·ter par·ent
nouninformal
plural noun: helicopter parents
a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children.
“some college officials see all this as the behavior of an overindulged generation, raised by helicopter parents and lacking in resilience”

The definition of overprotective parenting
Though there is no formal definition for overprotective parenting, it generally shares the following key traits:

A) Overprotection aims to address or alleviate a parent’s anxieties rather than those that come from the child.

B) It places restrictions based on what might happen rather than what is reasonable to expect. It’s driven by a fear of experiencing hurtful things.

C) It attempts to shield a child from any and all unpleasant experiences or hardships.

D) Overprotective parents view negative experiences as an evil rather than a character builder that could make a child stronger.

E) Overprotective parents harbor the view that children are fragile flowers who might shatter into a million pieces should something bad happen.

when is a parent being “over protective” vs “helicopter parenting?  i don’t consider myself either one of these things.  i consider myself somewhere in the middle. when my kids started driving all i wanted to do was follow them wherever they went. when i left my daughter in her dorm room that first day, i wanted to call her as soon as we got into the car to see if she was ok. but i did not do any of those things, and it was so hard for me not to. i let them be. i give them what they consider to be “unsolicited” advice.

when they are little and just starting to walk, we had to let them fall. how else were they going to learn to get up on their own? isn’t that what we have to do as they get older? i guess i come from a different perspective. when you have a child that is disabled in any way, all you want to do is keep them home in a bubble. keep them away from stares, and mimicking and being made fun of. the truth of the matter is that….. WE CANT.  nor should we.  sometimes zach would yell at me that I’m being mean and unsympathetic to the way he felt. the truth is that i was dying inside but sugar coating things isn’t going to help him in the future. he is going to have to deal with a lot of different things that other people don’t deal with because of his disability. he needs to know the truth. i want my children to know there are people out there that are going to say bad things to them, they are going to stare at them for whatever reason, they aren’t going to get the job or school they want. that is life!!  how my children react to that is my job as a parent.

so whether you are a “helicopter parent”, “overprotective parent” or “somewhere in the middle parent”, here is my unsolicited advice….. do what you think is best but know that your children mimic your behavior. i have experienced it first hand with my own children. i have seen the stares, and heard the laughter meant for my son. if i have seen and heard them, I’m sure zach has too. he has watched how i have reacted in those situations.  i try to lead by example. i am not going to lie. it has been very difficult not to stoop down to their level. but i honestly believe that in the long run it is better for your child. they will grow up to be strong, kind and empathic adults…..at least i hope so.

i voted today……

today is election day and i voted. i took my son zach with me. i was emotional on so many different levels while voting.

i was not born in this country. i was born in brazil and came here when i was 5 years old. my parents were born in eastern europe and my sister was born in israel. my children are the first ones in my family to be born in this country. voting today had a very different feel to me compared to voting in the past. my father was a holocaust survivor. yes i said my father. i still have the star of david he had to wear on his clothes to differentiate him from non jews.

listening to donald trump saying he was going to build a wall and ban people from entering this country was so disheartening to me. substitute the word muslim for jew, catholic, hindu, woman or anything else and imagine how it would feel to be that person. my family knew first hand what it was like to live in a walled city  (jewish ghetto). to show identification (papers) to go get food or work. how can we in 2016 allow this prejudice and hate?  it astounds me that so much hate for others exist, but i guess it should not. when people are angry and feel hopeless they look to anyone that they think will help them. my mother felt that way when my father died and left her a single mother of two daughters. my mother never went to school past the 8th grade because of the war. she was in this country for 5 years when my father suddenly died. she did the only thing she knew how to do…she went and cleaned houses.  i used to be so embarrassed as a child growing up that my mother was a cleaning lady. as i got older i realized what a strong and courageous woman she was.  i am so proud of my mother as i cast my vote for the first woman to run for president in our country.

as you may know i am also the mom of a son with a physical disability. when trump mimicked a disabled reporter i felt sick to my stomach. i really could not believe what i was seeing. it made me so angry and so sad. i saw the look on my sons face as he watched this man make fun of someone with a disability. instead of getting angry and breaking my television i decided to talk to my son about it. i told him that unfortunately  he will encounter this type of hate in his life and the way to deal with it is to hold his head high and know how greatly loved he is. i really did not know what else to say to him.

i voted for hillary clinton today. she too is not the “perfect” candidate but i cannot in good conscious endorse a man that hates so much. i don’t want to hear about emails, pay for play….none of that will ever be worse to me than demeaning women, excluding people, and building walls and having pure hate in their heart. to me “love trumps hate” and “i’m with her” for my daughter, my son, and all of the strong women that have proceeded me and will follow me.

 

why now……

recently many people have been coming up to me and saying “i see your posting more about charcot marie tooth on Facebook. why now?”

i have a few answers to that question–

  1. i have been going through my own health issues for the past 3 years and i feel as if i have awoken from a fog.
  2. i always have posted things on Facebook about charcot marie tooth but i decided that since  september was cmt awareness month i would post something everyday and i have never stopped since then
  3. i have found something i am very passionate about (mid life crisis sort of thing i guess lol)
  4. i want to teach my children that hard work, persistence and tenacity  really does make a difference
  5. I’m trying my hand at this social media stuff and I’m finding that i enjoy it
  6. and most importantly i want to raise much needed awareness and funds for a terrible disease that has affected my son.
  7.  and, why not now???

as a stay at home mom for the past 19 some odd years, my kids are getting older and i find myself with a lot of time on my hands. i know this the fork in the road of life that many moms face at some point. my time at that “road” has arrived. i have worked many part time jobs as my children were growing up. i have tried many “hobbies” also.  what i realized was that nothing was keeping my interest and i was getting bored very easily. i have always wanted to LOVE what i do. i didn’t want to get another part time office job that i would get bored with.

having gone through open heart surgery and breast cancer for the past 3 years has changed me in indescribable ways. i have become  less patient with the (excuse my language) bull#$&@ in life. i don’t know if that is such a good thing lol!! i really have realized that one must live life everyday to the fullest because life can change on a dime. but the thing that has really, really stuck with me is that life goes very fast. you wake up one day and your children are graduating high school and college and all you have left is YOU. yes family and friends are there but YOU are the only one that must find ways to make your days count. you are the only one that can control which road you take.

a wise woman named robin roberts (yes good morning america, robin roberts!) always says “make your mess your message”. that is what i have decided to do. take everything that i have been through the last couple of years and help people.  it has taken me 50something years to realize this. i know i have so much more to learn and experience as i get older but i am so excited to travel on that road!!!

 

i hope you follow me and help me in my journey!!!

#inclusion #cmtmama #endcmt #cmtstrong. if you would like to donate, please go to http://www.cmtusa.org/donate/cmtmamaruthkorowitz/.

i would also love any feedback on topics you would like for me to discuss on my blog!!!!!

 

being different…..

zach is your  “typical” 17-year-old boy in every way except that he wears leg braces and does not have full function of his hands. lately things have begun to bother him about having charcot marie tooth. he can only drive his own car. it is adapted so that he controls the gas and breaks with his hands along with a few other tweaks. he asked me last week if he could move my car from the sidewalk to the driveway. i said no. my car is not adapted for him. he became very angry and frustrated with my answer. he has realized that as much as he can do anything, he cannot.

at an age where kids like to drive their parents “nice” car, he can’t. no big deal right? to him it is a big deal. i can tell him that he should be thankful that he can drive a car and that we are fortunate to be in a position to outfit his car for him. he doesn’t care. in his eyes he is different than other kids and will never be able to just get in a car and drive. he will always have to adapt things to make it work for him. why isn’t our society more aware of people with a different ability? why is it in 2016 we are still fighting to get paid as much as an able bodied person? why aren’t there more accessible entry ways? how about opening a can of soda? zach has to compensate for everything that people take for granted.  someone the other day asked me “how does he tie his sneakers”? i had to think about that for a second. he finds a way to do it.

in an age of self driving cars and phones where you can see someone on the other end, we are very antiquated with what is available to differently abled people. we have come a long way but we have so much farther to go. being a mother of a person with a physical disability, i also take things for granted. i don’t realize how hard it must be for zach to type on a computer or open a door. all door knobs are round. he cannot open his hand. wow, right?

20% of our country is made up of people with an intellectual or physical disability. thats a lot of people. i don’t want this post to come off as preachy. i just want to make people aware of this. I’m just a mom trying to make a better place for my kids. i have the means and ways to do this. many people don’t. making ones car adaptable to them should not cost a fortune, but it does. wearing legs braces should not cost someone 2 months salary. that is insane. i don’t want to hear about obamacare and health insurance. it is not about that. it is about quality of life.  yes quality of life. zach should not be frustrated because all shirts have buttons and he can’t button his shirt. make shirts that are adaptable to him.

i started this blog to try and make a difference for my child and other people like him. awareness brings about change. lets change the perception of people with disabilities.

#cmtmama #endcmt #charcotmarietooth #cmtausa.org