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……