I don’t remember being anxious before I became a mother. True I never like to make the “Where do you want to eat?” decisions, now or when I was younger, but being responsible for the fruit of my loins is slowly driving me insane. I think they call this Mom Anxiety.
Every thought I have, every choice I make, is run through my “mom filter” so I can assess how it will impact my home life. Before I commit to coffee with a friend (assuming I were to ever do that) or decide if I can squeeze in a grocery shopping trip after an appointment, it has to pass the Mom centre of my brain for processing and contrasting with the 1000 other things I’m trying to fit into my week. Do I need to get the kids early for extra-curriculars? Can hubby get them and feed them dinner? Are we out of milk or is there enough for breakfast? So many whizzing thoughts to try to corral – sometimes I want to just shut down.
My main source of Mom Anxiety right now is my daughter starting Grade 3.
She’s only been to school one day and I can already feel the pressure building.
True, some of that pressure is mine and mine alone. My anxiety level is very high where Emma is concerned. In her agenda today it said she will have a spelling test on the 16th. She couldn’t even the copy the words from the board in the time provided to her. That really hit me.
Grade 2 went fairly well for Emma. She got extra help with her printing, her reading jumped ahead in great bounds (thank goodness – that was our Grade 1 stress), and she started with an occupational therapist at school. Of course the therapist provided by the school only sees her once a month, and I find it hard to believe they actually see change in the kids when the sessions are so far apart.
This summer we started Emma at a private Occupational Therapy clinic. She had 6 sessions and I learned so much about why Emma behaves the way she does. At least sometimes. I also learned that she needs a lot more help than I can provide her – and maybe even more than the school understands. So we are going to continue with the private therapy as well as the school funded sessions.
I really struggle with all of this stuff. My life growing up was very plain and straightforward. My mom was a stay at home Mom, she was fabulous at it. It makes me feel a little inadequate that I can’t provide that for my own kids. My sister did have a little speech therapy, but Mom was able to do the exercises with her at home and she worked through it. I’m lucky if I have time to make dinner and talk with the girls about their day day before I have to start bedtime routines.
This year we’ve had to enrol the girls in the after school care program at their school. I’m very hopeful they will provide Emma with some structure and some time to work on her homework. Starting next week I’ll be taking her to her OT sessions every Wednesday and then she dances later that evening. Time is going to be a very precious commodity for us this fall.
Having a routine is key for me to feel more organized. I can only hope Emma will benefit from it too. This year I can feel the workload increasing. Emma is very bright and I’m not worried about her ability to learn, it’s more about how she’ll get that information regurgitated to the teacher. Her printing is very laborious, very slow, and quite messy too. We’re hoping to get the ball rolling on school-funded assistance for her. I understand that to mean we’d get a stipend to buy her a computer that she would use for all her long answer written work. I’m hopeful that will help her, but she still needs to be able to print and write. Even though the world has gone technology crazy, being able to make a shopping list is still an important skill!
I’m hopeful this year’s teacher will be just as great as last year’s. Getting Emma the help she needs is my top priority right now. I know it’s very early in the school year, but her issues need to be addressed right away or my head just might explode.
I’m trying hard not to tell Emma how much trouble she is having with printing. She hears me say things like “She’s very slow,” or “It’s hard for her” and she makes that her reality. I want her to know we can work on it – it will be easier one day. But by the time we’re finally home to get some dinner Rose is tired, and Emma is too (although she won’t admit it.) The last thing she wants to do is homework, but she would be very happy to read a story to someone. This is actually a very big improvement on her part over the last two years. It gives me hope we can work on this next hurdle and see some improvements.
Stay tuned to the blog for more instalments about my Mom Anxiety, and to see how Emma is getting along this school year. I don’t want to be working against her, so I have to try really hard to take some deep breaths and let her do what she’s ready to do. I can’t push her through this – we need to develop strategies to (somewhat) go around her difficulty with printing. It’s going to mean she still has low marks in English purely because she can’t print out answers quickly or well. And her math mark may suffer as well. But I have to remember that she’s still learning it all, she just can’t pencil and paper the answers properly.
If you have any words of wisdom for me (or for Emma) please comment below. I’m going to need all the support I can get over the next few months (if not years!)
Oh, and Rose needs glasses……
Good luck! My daughter is only one so I don’t have any words of wisdom, but I know how easy it is to worry about your kids and whether they’re getting on okay. Just be there to support her without judgment – the rest will fall into place. #stayclassymama
Thanks! It’s hard to just let her “work” knowing she won’t get it done without my constant prompting. Grade 3 seems to have a lot of work so far!
I don’t have any wisdom but I share your plight if that makes you feel any better ! Every year at school I feel my son needs more support from me but it’s not always easy to give ( he has ASD) thanks for sharing #stayclassymama
Thank you – any support is good support! If only there was a way to add time to your day…
We have three children and one has slight challenges when it comes to doing school work and/or behaving at school. I understand your anxiety! One tip and I hope I don’t sound scolding but we have found it helps if our son doesn’t hear us talk about how hard things can be for him. We think it helps prevent anxiety. We say things like, “in order for you to get this assignment done, you need to do XXX.” He knows his processes are different than other kids but hopefully he’s not overly nervous about it.
Just another perspective and good luck! : )
Thanks a great tip Holly. It didn’t sound scolding at all. I’m trying very hard to make that my reality now – no negative talk around the kids. That is a lot harder than it sounds! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a meaningful comment. 🙂
Having spent a good 6 years going thru the OT system with my kids, you will get through it. Having issues myself as a child, I became excellent at writing essays in less words (pages) but with more details. So I would get excellent marks in exams (better than most) even though I wrote half as much as other people (you just cut the ‘filler’ as you don’t have time for it. So do as much as you can, that is important, but trust that it isn’t the big deal you think it is (and I understand it feels like it is when you are in it)
Thank you Lydia. I’m always happy to hear from people who are going through (or went through) the same sorts of trials with their own families (or themselves!) It helps me get a grip on my swirling emotions and understand that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I really appreciate you sharing your story!
I only have a 7 month old so I’m not at the school stage yet and unable to share anything with you that’s useful. But as long as you re there for support I’m sure she will get through it all.
Thanks for linking up with #EatSleepBlogRT
Thanks for the kind words Rachel. It’s hard to stay positive but we’re already seeing some improvements.
Hi Jess, the joys of being a parent, eh? It’s a tricky one and I’ve had my fair share of Mum anxiety, but one thing I learned was not to dwell on it (too much). We are only human and our children are only human and none of us are the same. Stressing won’t help, but taking a deep breath and hugging that tree will!
I’m sure Emma will learn to print clearly in the end, and if she doesn’t? It’s not the end of the world. My son is nineteen and I still can’t read his writing, I’d like to say it’s because he’s a Doctor, but that’s not the case.. Shopping lists can be done on phones!
There is a lot of pressure for children to be up to a certain point at school and that pressure doesn’t help things, but what is the worst that can happen? Will Emma be kept behind a year so she doesn’t get left behind? Is that such a bad thing?
It may not feel it to you right now, but it sounds as if you are doing everything right and one day, you will look back and know that to be the case.
Thanks for sharing Debbie. Now that the hectic first week is behind us I’m feeling more calm and I’m trying really hard to focus on the positive. We are already seeing some results from our OT sessions and through communications with the school. It’s hard work but I’m hopeful we’ll get through it together!
I am afraid I don’t have much in the way of wisdom to offer you. But I do wish you and Emma the best of luck for the next year and hope that all the hard work you are both putting in helps her out #EatSleepBlogRT
Thank you for your best wishes! We’re finding ways to improve every day. Stay tuned to her more from our journey!