Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We've Come a Long Way, Baby!

I remember when Matthew was in second grade and his teacher was talking to me about troubles with his behavior in the classroom. I was completely overwhelmed with his problems, and trying to figure out what to do with how to help him. I took everything she said as a judgement upon my mothering abilities. Not because that's what she meant to convey, but because that's the direction my thoughts always went. And I tried unsuccessfully tried to keep a flood of tears at bay.

I remember the email messages I got from Joshua's sixth grade teachers just before parent/teacher conferences. They wanted to meet with me to discuss his classroom (mis)behavior so we could come up with a plan to improve things. As I read about their complaints concerns, I couldn't keep myself from crying. My mind was racing with thoughts like, I'm failing as a mother, and, These teachers probably think I'm a horrible mom. Because, that's where I always went with my thinking.

Matthew's fourth grade teacher was wonderful. She had an adult ADHD son. So she totally understood what I was going through. Even so, I cried in her presence, too.
And the first time his fifth grade teacher called me at home, well, you can guess what I did.

It drove me crazy that I cried so often. I hated that my thoughts were so negative about myself all the time. But I felt completely unable to hold back the tears, or to think differently.
Last March I finally visited a psychiatrist and told her about my tears and my thoughts. Just having me talk about it gave her the opportunity to see the tears for herself. *sigh* She diagnosed me with generalized anxiety and depression.
I started taking an anti-depressant and began learning how to combat my negative thinking. I worked on developing rational thinking. And I was astounded by the changes in me. For once I felt like I was in control of my emotions. Somehow it seemed like the medicine gave me time to pause and think rationally, instead of falling immediately into the negative thinking to which I was so accustomed.

And last week I had the opportunity to witness just how far I've come.

I was home Thursday, enjoying my day off when the phone rang. It was Matthew's teacher. She had his other teacher on the line and they wanted to conference call with me. This can't be good, I thought. They proceeded to tell me about issues Matthew was having with not turning in homework, and blurting out in the classroom. They told me - while they think Matthew is a great kid - these problems are not going away and they didn't want to wait until parent/teacher conferences to address them. And then one of them said, "Gee. I hope you don't feel like we're ganging up on you by having a conference call with you."
For a moment, I recalled what I would have done in previous years, with previous phone calls. I think I would've been in tears when I heard, "This is Matthew's teacher..." as I anticipated the flood of negative emotions which was about to come over me.
But this time I took a deep breath and said, "No. It's OK. I'm glad you called. I've been through this before and I think it's good for us to talk to each other so we can work through these issues." Because this time I was able to pause and think rationally. This time I knew it wasn't about me, or my mothering skills. It was about Matthew and how we could work together to help him be the best he can be. This time, I didn't cry or think negatively about myself.

This time I thought to myself, We've come a long way, baby!



TheUnSoccerMom said...

oh yay!

It's so hard not to bash yourself when your kids don't behave the way they should. I know I do.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Praying for ya'll.

Irritable Mother said...

Jodi - Yeah. But I'm getting better at not doing it. :o)

Leah - Thanks!

MomMye said...

Hi, we're on the same boat.. Experiencing those things in school with my eldest son Joseph Matthew whose in 2nd grade now. Somehow i felt happy because I'm not alone w/ this kind of situation.

Irritable Mother said...

Mye - It's always good to know we aren't alone! I pray God will give you abundant patience and wisdom as you help Joseph Matthew through his struggles.