Now that all three of my kids are in school, I realize how much easier it was when they were little.
Sure, there were diapers and crying tantrums and the like, but that mainly affected me and dear hubs. Now that they are in school and activities, they interact with so many different people: friends, schoolmates, teachers, instructors, and more.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
I have become more aware lately of just how much I internalize the affect my kids have on other people.
When any teacher reaches out to me, when the school number shows up on the caller ID, I inwardly cringe. I think I got so used to getting calls about T’s behavior when he started school. Then as his ADHD and SPD was diagnosed I became hypersensitive to other people’s reactions to him and the other two kids as well.
I’ve seen the looks. You know the look – the one that says you must be a crappy parent, the one that says ‘if my kid ever did that…’, the one that judges and condemns all in a single glance. I don’t mind the ones from strangers…they don’t know me. It’s the ones from people who know me that hurt the most.
I feel so helpless sometimes as a parent. I don’t know how to help my kindergartner learn how to stay in his seat. I don’t know how to help my TMan dial back his hyperfocus so he feels comfortable putting something down and transitioning activities. I don’t know how to help my tween be less distracted in class and remember to write things down.
I do what I can – I ask questions, we talk about better ways to do things, we talk about treating others as we want to be treated and I try to make sure they have the tools they need.
But I can’t be there for them in class. I can’t make sure they use the tools. I’m not there to remind them.
So when I get a dreaded phone call or email my stomach starts churning. I feel as if I’m the one in trouble. I feel responsible. I feel as if I have disappointed.
Rationally I know that I have to let it go. Not take it so personally.
I think the key is making sure that whether or not my kids choose to use the tools I provide and whether or not they get in trouble or get bad grades or make bad choices, that they don’t ever feel like they are a disappointment to me. That they don’t ever feel as if they don’t measure up to my expectations. That they know I am proud of them.
That way they won’t be familiar with that churning feeling.
Do you get that feeling sometimes? Ever felt like a constant disappointment whether in life or in parenting or some other area? Is there someone in particular who typically triggers that feeling in you or is it more situational?