Horrified and Humiliated

failI think, I hope, I have always been a conscientious parent.

Well, no longer.

For the first time in fifteen years, I have a black school-mark against my name.

I have helped to enter each competition, produced cakes, baked cookies, attended every single parent-child event.

I once spent an entire week recreating a medieval castle from cardboard, complete with stonework details and little characters and still came third. I forgot nothing. I prided myself on it. I  have been to every event, every information evening, every exhibition.

All week. ALL WEEK in my diary – important meeting re. half term visit. Thursday.

I forgot.

The Teenager reminded me 5 minutes before. I grabbed the car keys, yelled for him but he slammed his bedroom door and sulked. I was still in my work’s gear. He didn’t want me anywhere near the school.

Hearing him through his door was a bit awkward:

  • ‘I hate you’.
  • ‘What’s wrong with you?’
  • ‘Why don’t you remember anything important?’

I can’t argue with him – to do so would introduce too much he doesn’t need to know, in no particular order:

  • Have I fed the cat?
  • Why do I forget everything?
  • Have I ordered groceries?
  • Have I sent this/that/the other bill off?
  • Does he have enough warm clothes for school trip?
  • Does he have lunch money for tomorrow?
  • Will he have a clean school shirt for the morning?
  • What should I do about that mouldy patch in the bathroom?
  • Has he sorted out his sixth-form application?

And more importantly,

  • Am I there for him?
  • Why do I forget everything?
  • Am I present enough?
  • Is my work/life balance ok?

And at the end of the list:

  • How the hell am I coping with MS?????
  • Why do I forget everything?
  • Why are my legs cramping so badly they wake me up?
  • Why am I in pain?
  • What on earth does the future hold?

Being a single. divorced parent with MS was never going to be easy, but things like this bring me up short. I am failing. And how.

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30 thoughts on “Horrified and Humiliated

  1. you are not failing!! So, you forgot one school thing, it happens to most parents, teenager will eventually get over it and you never know what the future will hold having MS or not 🙂

    Teenagers throw strops, that what they do :p

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you so much!
      It’s horrible and a bit tricky. Teenager is a little bit on the autistic spectrum (which I rarely mention) so little things become HUGE, like this evening.
      To me, it happens, and apparently most parents were still in work anyway…

      • I think I remember you mentioning that before, just means it will take a little longer to get over it, but he will eventually. It does make a few things harder to deal with, but, once again you are not failing. If anything dealing with all you do, you are flying. (that sounds like one of those cheese motivational posters, sorry :p but its true).

  2. Be fair, has the school given you a black mark, have you given yourself a black mark or has the teenager given you a black mark just in case the school or you forgot.

    OK, so you don’t tell him what happens in the real world. Does he know about your blog site or the book?

    • stumbling in flats says:

      He does know – that’s half the problem, lol. He’s normally very proud!
      It’s just very, very difficult when everything comes down to me I guess. I’ve always set a huge store by never forgetting big things like this, and then I did. Meh.

  3. Sally says:

    Happens to the best of us. By tomorrow everything will be fine again. If that’s the worst you can beat yourself up about then you really are a phenominal person. This is exactly why gin was created.

  4. Jonny says:

    I guess teenagers ARE the centre of the universe, at least that’s 1 excuse. It’s important to maintain a perspective of one’s self. My approach is : look after yourself, I guess one’s body isn’t going to be too long about letting you know either way.

    I keep an A5 diary for my day to day reminders etc. and I put reminders in my A4 work diary also. Let’s not forget about the calendar ! or for that matter the nail on the wall!!

    Take care,


    p.s. It’s OK to have a throw away now and again….or 2, or 3 is there no end to it ?!!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      There’s definitely no end to it, lol.
      This was a biggie for me. The first time I forgot something so big for The Teenager, and he probably won’t let me forget it!

  5. Peter says:

    You will only fail when you quit!!! You are human with or without MS. No one will ever be able to relate unless they walk in your shoes. Sometimes we achieve what we need to do and sometimes we don’t. Welcome to the real world is what I say to myself. I did my best You can’t ask anymore from me then that! Your child acted out .. part of growing up. My two boys have done the same I don’t take it personally It is what it is!!!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I know what you mean, I just feel lousy!! I’ve forgotten a lot before, but nothing like this and it really scares me.

      • Peter says:

        Don’t stress yourself out. Its in the past and now going forward lets change the way we record event. Duplicate our efforts…. several calendars around the house with the same events recorded. Stay focused and calm Speak to your son and ask him how you both can develop a simple system of remembering future events ….

        • stumbling in flats says:

          We’re going to have a chat when he gets home from school!
          It’s been horrible. I still can’t believe I forgot it. Something so big and important!!

          • Peter says:

            Days ago I sent you a video on Cognitive issues. Watch the video with your son and let experts explain what goes on in the brain when you have MS …here is the link http://youtu.be/9uKYOpN4pyA

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Thank you!
            We had a chat about things when he got back from school. Things back to normal, but definitely a turning-point for us. Plus I showed him my blog post 🙂

          • Peter says:

            That is good news that you spoke with your son …. Communication may seem simple but at times can make the situation for volatile. In your case it worked out well … You have to let your son know that he can speak to you about MS when he feels uncomfortable or to find answers about MS … Another obstacle conquered ….

          • stumbling in flats says:

            Definitely. Good to clear the air in a lot of ways.
            Pretty traumatic 24 hours….

  6. David says:

    No you haven’t failed your doing well as a single parent, also coping with MS and being a mature student.
    Perhaps it’s time to explain to him in more detail about your MS and how it affects on you both.
    Love and hugs xx

  7. Louise says:

    Hi Stumbling! My son is 16, with ASD and I have MS! I don’t think he’s spoken to me for years, as I am always forgetting everything. I write it in my diary and then forget to check the diary. Take a deep breath, apologise and then let him get over it, it really is the only way. Try not to be so hard on yourself, you really are doing a great job!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Glad I’m not alone!
      He’s been annoyed for a while about my memory, but this is the biggest thing I’ve forgotten directly relating to him. Unfortunately, he can get a little obsessed about details so it will take a bit longer for him to get over, lol.

  8. Mary says:

    Glad to see lots of reasuring comments for you! (As there should be!) I forgot 2 family dental appointments and was thrown out of the dental practice. I was too proud to mention MS – I wasn’t sure I could genuinely blame it. I wish I had! We have to travel further now and my daughter regularly brings up the inconvenience I caused!
    So far as the appointment goes, can you email the school about the info? – not sure what it was about so whether appropriate. I’ve found teachers at our school quite approachable.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Aw, thank you! Funnily enough, I emailed the school straight after I realised I had forgotten and they were lovely.
      Son took his passport into school the next day and all is well. For now! It’s a school trip abroad in two weeks time.
      Everything is now being written down in triplicate!!

  9. Alison says:

    I now write everything down 3 times – calendar , diary, phone and guess what? I still forget as you apparently have to look at these things not just bumble on xxxx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Very true!!
      Everything in my house is now written down everywhere – the kitchen, the table by the door, etc.

  10. I hesitate to write this but I really think its important that we dont always think everything is down to MS Just because we have it. I know thats not exactly what you were saying here but it raises a point which seems very important. Everybody forgets. Being too busy, stressed and juggling too many balls makes us forget a lot more than MS does .. I suppose its something that is important because the more we see all things as stemming from MS, the more power we give it. You sound like a busy mum to me. Maybe thats all this was. Dont give the diagnosis any more power than it already has! And btw, you are NOT failing. End. Of. 🙂

    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s a really heart-warming and thought-provoking comment, thank you!
      I’m still thinking long and hard about this incident and have to conclude the memory lapse is probably down to MS, but I hear what you’re saying. I have a lot to juggle right now (whoever said Teenagers were easy??).
      And you’re right – we can devolve too much power to MS if we let it and we have to constantly remind ourselves to reign it in and take back control.
      Excellent comment, thank you!

  11. Rachael says:

    Also some perhaps relevant info on side effects of medication here at Mirandas Ms nurse blog. Sometimes the ‘remedy’ can cause problems. Someone close to me has experienced Parkinsons symptoms induced by a medication. Medicine is always advancing, so by the same token there are always drug effects that are nasty which is why thy improve the drugs. Food for thought, & pardon the pun (!) but another reason diet is so important in managing symptoms. It’s non toxic (largely) with no side effects and reduces relapse rates by about 30% reortedly


    • stumbling in flats says:

      That’s really interesting, thank you so much for posting!
      Diet is definitely a large part of managing an MS ‘lifestyle’. I’m trying to eat a lot healthier and take more exercise since my diagnosis 🙂

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