It’s a funny thing.
You would think that it would create this special bond between women who are also mothers, but I find more often than not, it creates judgement.
But it’s not just judgement of other mothers. It’s judgement of, well everyone.
I’ll see Jayden at football practice, standing waiting for the ball to be thrown to him, and I’ll think “why aren’t those little brats throwing to him?!” Jayden gets a B on his progress report, and I think “well I know what B stands for…why didn’t that B give him an A?!”
As a parent of a child with pretty severe anxiety disorder, it’s really hard not to judge everyone else in the world. I just want everyone to treat him kindly, with sincere words, and positive encouragement. All. The. Time. Is that too much to ask for?! Jeez. <insert eye roll>
So, I really have to keep my mama-bear-like mentality in check. I am so used to Jayden being afraid of EVERYTHING, and his feelings being hurt by EVERYONE, it’s as if I live on high alert defcon level 5 all the time. Funny thing is, his anxiety is finally semi-under control. He goes to weekly counseling with a mental health counselor and monthly counseling with a psychiatrist. He is on medication. He’s in a new school which is amazing. It took a LONG time to get to this. A time where I can actually run an errand and leave him at home (for a very short time but still!), a time when I can sit in the car while he’s at practice instead of having to be 5 feet away where he can see me at all times, a time when he doesn’t check on me every five minutes as if I might have disappeared from the living room. (Yep. He actually used to do that.) There are still major worries, anxious thoughts, self hating moments. For example, today’s worry was that if I dare to leave during football practice, a gunman will surely arrive and kill him, and I won’t have been there to protect him. It sounds ridiculous. WHY would that happen! But I can’t promise him without a doubt that it will never happen, so did I leave practice? No. I did not. Because even though his anxiety is much more under control, I am always waiting for the meltdown. It’s as if I have taken on the small amount of anxiety that he no longer has. I find myself thinking “what if I do leave him for 10 minutes, and something does happen to him, how will I feel!” Now if you know me in person, you know I don’t really stress about much. I am a go with the flow kind of person. I can take things in stride, figure things out later, it’ll all work out…except when it comes to Jayden.
Motherhood has made me a crazy, controlling, my way or the highway, kind of person. But, I only do it for love. (Is that what psychos say?!) I immediately judge people, when it comes to Jayden. I judge them on their treatment of him, on how they speak to him, on how they handle his little quirks (like, how will they handle him when he says things like No, I can’t use that cup because it has a straw in it, or I can’t eat that food now because the other food touched it, or there’s one cloud in the sky so a hurricane must be coming) I am the only one who knows every single thing about this kid, and can anticipate and handle his concerns, panic attacks and meltdowns. At least, that’s how I feel. And that’s how Jayden feels. He made me feel that way. Am I judging him now?! <insert another eye roll>
Life can be hard sometimes, when you feel like you are the ONLY person that someone else will ever rely on, the only one who can make him feel better when he’s having an “I’m the worst person in the world” kind of day. It’s like I can never take a break. Not a break from motherhood, I’d never want or need a break from that; just a break from holding the weight of Jayden’s world on my shoulders. (I mean, I also have the weight of Oscar’s world and Lucy’s world too…they’re real stressed.)
When he was younger, I always just immediately stood up for him. I talked to teachers, told people what to do and how to handle him. But now that he’s older, I’m always at risk of being “so embarrassing”! So I have to stand back and wait, see if people will straighten themselves out, see if Jayden can handle the situation. GUYS. That is so hard to do! For example, he’s chatting with a group of friends, and one kid keeps hanging up on him. I hear Jayden call back over and over, “why are you hanging up on me” and then click. Of course, I immediately think “what is that little shit’s problem!” but I wait…I hear it happen multiple times. Then I walk by his room and see how defeated he looks. So I know I have to say something…I can’t say what I want to say which is “that kid must be a giant snot nosed loser if he doesn’t want to talk to you” but instead I just say “hey, if your friends are being silly, move on and do something else. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what you did wrong, because you probably didn’t do anything wrong.”
And then I judge myself. Did I say the right thing? Should I have just left it? Now he knows I was listening. Should I text the kid’s mom? That’s right, I have her number! But I wouldn’t do that…or would I?! (Don’t worry, I didn’t!)
Then I think about the card he made me for Thanksgiving, the one that says “I love you. Thank you for always helping me with my enxiety” (hey, it’s a hard word to spell!) I think about how far he’s come in the last year. I think about how often we laugh together. And then, I know, I must be doing something right.
Motherhood is judgement. Judgement of ourselves, of others, of the world. It is tiring. And crazy. It is also rewarding. Fun. Never what you expect!
But most importantly, what all of us mothers need to remember, is this…Motherhood is love.