Today a mental health professional told me that she was "concerned" about A's level of anxiety. Concerned that A doesn't believe that we (her parents) are ever safe, that A believes disaster may befall us at any moment. And then she used the words biochemical and my daughter's name in the same sentence. And then I started crying.
I really thought that I wanted this therapist to tell us that the problem was A. That my parenting was fine and reasonable and clearly I have a difficult child. That's what she told us and, as it turns out that is not at all what I wanted to hear. The truth that I didn't realize, is that I wanted to hear that her behavior is well within the bounds of normal. That all kids worry and freak out in the same way, or at least the same level that she does. I wanted her to say, "No need to worry. Work harder at the business of parenting and your kid will feel better and safer."
We all want our sweet babies to be healthy and happy. To feel good and safe. To trust us and believe that, as the parents, we will take care of the scary stuff, should it come up. My big girl is sweet and funny and she loves life. She is strong and she can read better than most adults. And she is really concerned. In a giant and nebulous way that she doesn't know how to talk about. We will take the next step to helping her learn how to . . . I'm not even sure what we're trying to help her do yet, but whatever it is, we'll do it. And we will do it with as much grace and understanding as possible.
I was commenting recently to a friend about how grateful I am that I can "do" life. That, even though it's tricky as shit sometimes, I can do it. I'm competent and I can take care of the stuff. I want my girls to feel this way too. I want them to look around themselves and say, "Yep. I've got this. In fact, today, I'm going to totally nail it!" About some things, A feels this way, but a lot of life I think overwhelms her. She keeps it together all day at school and at playdates and at special overnights with Grammy, but at home, often, the wheels come off. Her stomach hurts, she cries for reasons she cannot explain, she yells at me, she thinks her dad and I are in cahoots to love her sister more than we love her, she won't allow herself to fall asleep until she's certain that we have gone to bed. She's pretty positive that something will happen to me if she's not vigilant. Poor baby. That's a lot to carry around.
I'm Molly. I'm all in for parenting. I'm all in for good food. All in for big and small outdoor adventures. And really only partly in for homemaking. I want a Martha Stewart home and meal, but the truth is, we mamas just can't do it all. Not really. This shit is tricky!
This is a collection of musings and missives about parenting like you mean it. I mean really mean it. About how you can pull off a really mostly decent meal, keep your house kinda clean, do some of your laundry, and also even remember to usually feed your pets. But mostly about how being a mama is hard and we can totally rock it, but maybe that dream of perfection has got to give a little.