Worry, Worry, Worry
The other day, a 13 year old (my neighbor's/friend's kid) told me I worry too much. He was watching me chase my toddlers around, keeping them from picking up trash or wandering too close to the parking lot.
I answered simply, "I'm a mom. It's my job to worry. No one else is going to do it."
Which makes perfect sense to me. I've got to be constantly on the ball, because it's all down to me. The world isn't constantly watching my kids to make sure they don't choke, or run into the street, or even sit too close to the television. When they go to school, they will have teachers, and aides and hall monitors; but I'm the last line of defense... it's inevitably my responsibility to make sure they don't play hooky, to make sure they finish their homework, to deal with any problems they might have with discipline.
I watch my son closely for signs of autism. Somebody commented the other day and made me look closer at him. I wrote before that his tendencies to not look you in the face, or the fact that his only words were colors, numbers and the alphabet... that those signs were fading as he got older. And they are, but he's still an odd bird, and most of his communication is echo speech and wordless yelling. And he has never asked "Why?" or said "I love you." although those are things he hears every day.
Part of it is watching Kendyl progress. She's 20 months younger, and I'd have to say 6 months behind him in speech and gaining fast. She hugs and kisses and wants that interaction. A lot of that is driving her toward speech.
I've voiced my concerns, not to parents of children with autism, but parents none the less. Most of these people say things like, "Well, that's the difference between boys and girls." or "Kids develop at different rates." I'm not entirely convinced, but then I'm also not entirely convinced they're wrong.
And then Kendyl has become a gate-crasher. It used to be safer to be in this room writing my blog, as long as they weren't killing each other, all was well. Now I have to childproof the kitchen better.
And nutrition. What parent doesn't stress about nutrition? Am I severely harming my children because they only sit in the highchair for one meal?
All the things I worry about seem to be normal, rational worries. But I'm stressed about them. People (including a 13 year old boy) have noticed I hover more than is normal. I feel the stress, I know I'm 12 feet up my kids butts at all time... and I don't see other parents doing that. They seem perfectly comfortable letting their kids live their lives.
But their kids don't seem as likely as mine to: run off, stick things in their mouths, open cupboards, play with things that aren't for playing with, scream inappropriately, climb on tables, go through people's purses, tear books... etc. At least they can be trusted with other kids, they only hit, kick and bite each other.
My sister in law mentioned at the Halloween party that I'm always yelling at my kids. So, ok, I've become That Mom. I don't really have any solution to that. When one is running full tilt away from me while I'm tangled in my diaperbag and holding a 30 pound child, what am I going to do while running desperately after child #1? Whisper? It doesn't seem likely. And when I catch child #1 and child #2 is busily going through the wallet she just pulled out of your purse, what should I do then? Have a quiet chat about strong arm robbery and mandatory prison sentences while she chews merrily on your social security card? No! I say, "No!" and snatch it out of the offender's hand. It's my JOB. I'm their mom.
If quietly explaining certain truths to my children worked as an effective disciplinary measure, I would be the model of motherly behavior. But it's not, and between that, the penchant for trouble from my kids, and the fact I'm always worried to some measure, means that I'm a yelling mom.
I don't want to be a yelling mom.
I don't want to be a worried mom.
I want to be that mom that is laid back and comfortable, whose kids love and respect her, whose word is law, but never has to raise her voice because the kids listen and remember the rules thereafter.
Am I normal? Is everyone else just as stressed and worried all the time as I am?