I’m often told that I worry too much. My usual response to this has been, “I’m a mom, therefore I worry.” I honestly believe that being a mother involves a lot of worry and self-doubt. Are they getting enough exercise? Do I let them watch too much TV? Is this video game appropriate for their age? Am I spoiling them? Was that disciplinary moment too harsh? Am I teaching them empathy and compassion? Am I showing them enough patience? Does he have a cough or bronchitis? How many ear infections should they have before we consider tubes? Should I have them do more chores? How do I teach them responsibility? Am I expecting too much from a 12 year old? Is he just a little eccentric or is it something more? Am I being too lenient? Will they get into a good college or trade that they enjoy? How will they afford college?
Ultimately, Am I doing a good enough job as their mother?
I think every mother can relate to the barrage of worry and insecurities we filter through our minds every day. There is no “easy” child. There are no guaranteed parenting short cuts. Despite the plethora of parenting books available, none of them perfectly match your unique situation and your unique child. And they don’t match mine either.
When special needs enter the equation, the worry just compounds.
I’ll never forget the first time someone told me there might be something “different” about my Konrad. It was a neighbor mom and our children had all been playing together for the afternoon. She said, “I just love having Konrad play with our kids. Even if he is a little odd.” I was shocked. Confused. “Even if”…”a little odd”. As I thought about it I became angry. He wasn’t “odd”! He’s creative! He’s smart! He’s kind!
I became furious. How dare she say something like that?! Yes I mean, he does insist on sorting his toys into categories and lining them up in perfect rows. Who cares? He’s organized! That’s a good thing! Well…he does spin a lot. Lots of kids spin! He completely freaks out in new social situations outside the home. Lots of kids are shy! He doesn’t make eye contact. Maybe I just don’t look pretty today! He likes to repeatedly rub certain fabrics. Who doesn’t love fleece?! He memorizes music and repeatedly sings them to himself. He comes from a musical family! He chews on the sleeves of his shirt when he’s nervous. Well! Well! Well…I’ll buy him more shirts!
I became worried.
What if he isn’t just creative, smart and kind?
What if he is “odd”?
What if it’s something more?