I have always been drawn to kids, I even claimed our next door neighbor’s baby as mine when I was 3, she already had one, so obviously, the new one was mine. I studied kids, I learned all I could. I even watched Phil Donahue’s parenting shows as a kid to prepare myself to be a great mom. I volunteered at a daycare in jr. high, I babysat, I went to school for degrees in psychology and early childhood education. I am so intrigued by their minds. I taught preschool for a few years. I then began working with children with special needs with my state’s early intervention program. I KNEW I’d be a good mom. I was so confident. I was so prepared…or so I thought.
I did everything I was supposed to do to have a healthy pregnancy. My son was born at 39wks, 6 days. Excellent health. He was easy, (breastfeeding wasn’t, but that’s another post). He was so happy, and strong. So. Very. Strong. He continued to grow and develop right on track. By the time he was 2, he stood out from a group. He was just MORE!
He went to daycare 3 days a week. He had great teachers until they needed to open a new classroom and hire a new teacher, the inconsistency in staff was torture. He struggled so much and I couldn’t be there to help him. I felt horrible. I knew he needed to be surrounded by people that understood that being harsher was not the answer. We needed a new place. I also do not do well with change, so that was hard on all of us. We got so lucky and found the BEST fit for him and our family. Later I would find out that the director and I had so much in common as moms, her son was also misunderstood at his previous daycare. It was nice to not be blamed for that fact that your child struggled with transitions, had intense emotions, and did not know his own strength. I hated to leave that wonderful center. There is nothing like finding the perfect fit of caregivers for your child.
Then we started school. Oh, how I dreaded it. He was so smart and really liked almost everyone he met. I knew academics would not be a problem, but I feared how he would do with all the expectations that come along with being in a classroom full of kids.
His struggles were always brought back to me and my husband. What were we doing at home? What consequences did we give when he was overwhelmed with emotion? (Seriously, he was 6!!??) We were blamed for situations that happened when we weren’t even there. My son was struggling and we didn’t know what to do to help him.
Nothing I learned in school worked. I was desperate to help my son and I had no idea where to start. I felt like such a failure! It wasn’t supposed to be like this! I was trained! I was educated!! I had helped so many other children and families! Why couldn’t I help my own son?? Few people understood, most just blamed us for not being hard enough on him. That didn’t do any good, (did they not think we had tried everything we knew??) (We did find help and understanding, that will be its own post or series of posts). There is nothing like having to rewrite everything you know or thought you knew about being a mother.
It can be awesome to meet other moms with children the same age as yours or whose kids share similar interests. But when you have a child that struggles with behavior, emotions, anxiety etc. and you meet another mom that gets it…another mom that is in the trenches of figuring out how to parent a child that doesn’t fit the mold…you have found your special ops comrade. You know they will not blame you, they will be there with you and might even buy you a bottle of wine!