I had an epiphany yesterday. It happened while I was nursing my 6-week-old. (Sitting with a baby attached to you tends to give your mind time to wander). I worry too much, and I’m afraid this worry is somehow stripping me of enjoying my children.
I worry a lot about my kids. All mothers do. And telling me not to worry is like telling me to not eat that huge slice of chocolate cake sitting right in front of me. It’s going to happen; it already has; it’s what mothers do–on top of dishes, laundry, taxi driving, tutoring and loving our kids so damn much. It’s innate. (Yes, for me, eating chocolate cake is innate.)
Worry stems from love. Well, for me, it’s love and a crazy need to control everything around me. But there’s something else. Having a child with special needs presents itself with an entirely new set of worries. The concerns that go through my head daily and constantly have just become a part of me. Nagging as they are, these concerns are what keep us on a path of independence and success for Olivia. At least, I think they do.
But it’s so draining at times.
I want to feel as though it’s ok to let Olivia run and play all day long without taking a break to work with her on letters, numbers, colors, etc. I want to not get so worked up if she’d rather watch Tangled instead of something educational. I so badly want to ask Amelia how her day at school was without worrying about the grades she brought home in her backpack. I desperately want to spend our evenings and weekends relaxing and doing nothing instead of extra homework to keep everyone on track.
I feel guilty if I’m not working with them. And it’s not fair to them.
But how do I not worry? Let me rephrase–How do I not worry so much? How do I live one day at a time when we’re working really hard toward a bright future for our child with Down syndrome? How do I allow myself to not feel guilty about taking a break from teaching my kids? This is an uphill battle, and stopping for a breather doesn’t feel like an option. There’s got to be an achievable balance, and I need to find it before I go crazy and before I drive them crazy, too.
Maybe this is where the chocolate cake comes in…