Today, my son asked me if my upcoming surgery would “make it so that you can get off the sofa and give us more attention?”
Owww! Gut hit there, kiddo. Let’s add some more mom guilt to the pile, shall we?
I know he’s capable of caring and being really loving, but sometimes? Sometimes I just want to hide in the bathroom and cry because of what he says. I probably would have this time, if I hadn’t had to save my energy for breaking up kid fights and stopping them from doing crazy stunts off the bench onto the crash mat.
Yesterday was one of those times. I get frustrated with him or angry at his behaviors, but I seldom get that mad at him. He’s a kid. He can’t always control himself, I know that. But what he said yesterday made me furious at him, the person. He stated “mommy’s being mean again. It’s not fair that we can’t go do XYZ because mommy doesn’t want to!”
He had asked to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower replica at the amusement park – with an observation deck almost 300 feet in the air. I explained that I was already feeling bad and that I didn’t want to make my body feel worse by doing something I knew would make me anxious. I don’t like heights, and I avoid them when I’m responsible for the kids because I know I might shut down and have a panic attack.
I patiently explained how anxiety makes my body feel when we go too high. I told him I was already struggling to just walk. And at the end of the discussion, he decided I was being “mean” by not doing what he wanted. That’s what made me furious.
Everyone tells me that raising kids while enduring a disability or difficult health condition will promote compassion and teach them empathy. That they will somehow absorb it by being around it all the time. My kids? They conclude that I’m the not-fun mom because I can’t do all the stuff, or they think I’m a bad mom because I’m not doing what their friends’ parents do.
Clearly, we need a specific curriculum designed to teach compassion. I’m not sure where to get that, but it’s on my list of things to find. Just as soon as I can get off the sofa.
Worse, I need some kind of guide for me to follow. I had told my husband on the phone that I just wanted to lay down and die (it was a REALLY bad day for me) and the Engineer wandered up in time to hear that. He brought it up today, and his sister panicked and started tearing up: “mommy, I don’t want you to die! I’ll miss you!”
I’m adding ‘compassion curriculum’ to the list of things I need, along with mobility scooter, a doctor who listens, and a new script for my inhaler. This is a good start, and I’ll build along the way. Maybe by the time we’re done the kids will learn some responsibility as well!