Hey, Birmingham moms! I’m Marjorie. I’m excited to now be part of your awesome city, and I look forward to sharing my motherhood journey with all of you. I hope you’ll come back to read more!
I’m still what you’d call a “newbie” to the Birmingham area. My family and I moved here from Ohio in February (I definitely wasn’t sad about leaving the freezing weather!). Even though we’ve been here for about seven months now, it feels like much less because of the pandemic. It’s hard to explore a new city and meet new people when your options to get out and socialize are so limited. However, I’ve been lucky to already befriend a few great moms through local groups. I’m also used to quickly acclimating to new places and making new friends because we’ve had to move several times for my husband’s job.
Like everyone else, we’ve spent most of our recent free time outdoors. Having moved here from a small Ohio town where park options were limited, we adore all of the park and playground options in Birmingham! Two of our current local favorites are Veteran’s Park in Hoover and McCallum Park in Vestavia. There are still many more we have on our list to check out! I also love that Birmingham is a metropolitan area. It’s nice to be able to drive 15-20 minutes and be in an entirely new place, with new shops, restaurants, kids’ activities, and playgrounds to explore.
And more unique to our personal situation, I so appreciate that Birmingham is full of resources for and inclusive of neurodiverse children. The many sensory-friendly locations make me so happy! Although our son with ASD has very low-support needs, we have found a wonderful social skills group for him through Behavioral Pediatric Institute of Alabama, and it’s been so beneficial for him!
I’m a mom to two awesome kids. Caroline just celebrated her third birthday and Connor is five and a half. I’m homeschooling both of them and not just because of the pandemic — it’s something I made the decision to do after I saw the toll public preschool was taking on my son’s mental health. He was becoming too overloaded and “masking” in school, resulting in very difficult behavior outside of school. He also wasn’t able to always work within his interests or abilities. We started getting our feet wet with homeschooling back in March, and it’s been utterly life-changing for our son and family.
I love being a mom to a neurodiverse child. Because of him, I have grown in more ways than I ever anticipated. I’ve gone through so much hard with him, and we’ve come out on the other side together. Because of him, I’ve become a new person. I’ve learned how to adjust my parenting and our environment. I’ve learned to be more patient. I’ve learned how to advocate fiercely and how I will allow others to treat me or my children. I’ve learned to follow my instincts and to not be afraid to try new parenting methods for fear of judgment. And best of all, I’ve learned to love learning again (learning is something my son lives and breathes.) This kid is just brilliant, unique, interesting, and has a little heart of gold! (Seriously, he is always doing the sweetest things for others.) I hope to share more of this journey with you in blog posts to come and maybe challenge some stereotypes about neurodiverse kids.
At three, my daughter is already so much like me. My husband loves to point it out! It’s crazy how you can see your strengths and weaknesses sometimes when you have a “mini me.” Like me, my daughter is a highly-sensitive person. Although sometimes she can challenge me because she feels things so deeply and intensely, she also allows me to be the parent I once needed as a very sensitive child (my parents were amazing — this is not to say they didn’t do a great job.) I’m able to understand her feelings and emotions in a way that someone who doesn’t have this temperament wouldn’t. Also, my daughter is just hilarious and sweet. I call her “little mama” because she’s always taking care of her stuffed animals and loves to comfort her older brother.
Motherhood is HARD — but also wonderful. I’ve had many moments, even years, that challenged me more than I’ve ever been challenged (namely, before we received our son’s diagnosis and could figure out how to help him). But these days, our days are mostly positive and peaceful because we’ve figured out what works for US as a family. I’ve gained a lot of confidence as a mom, and I see the impact that has on my family. Years ago, I wanted to continue on with school and earn a Ph.D. Now, I couldn’t care less about that — I’ve found a role that empowers me and gives me a much stronger sense of purpose than more letters behind my name ever could.
I’m excited to be a new contributor for BMC because I express myself best through writing. I’d like to think I’m okay in person, too, but sometimes I feel like I can be a little awkward (though can’t we all?). With writing, the words just flow. It’s always been that way for me, ever since I pursued my first degree in print journalism. I like to be open with others, and I hope I can share parts of myself that will resonate with other local moms — especially those who may be taking on homeschooling like me for the first time, moms with neurodiverse children, moms with young children, and any mom who is finding her way with motherhood.