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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Continuing the challenges

I don't know if the "hot sauce" mom from my blog yesterday felt isolated and alone but I my guess is she was. Most moms don't reach out to television personalities if they are surrounded by a good support system. She needed help and she asked for it, in a very public way. I am not condoning her behavior, she screwed up. But I feel for her with her appeal for help. I think at some point, parenting a difficult child makes us all do things we regret. I think if mamas don't have a good support system they can crumble. Her appeal for help shows her regret and her lack of parenting skills dealing with a difficult child.

I talked yesterday about all of the good ways I came up with to help me parent difficult children. But there were many times I screwed up as well. I yelled, a lot, when the kids misbehaved. I slammed doors. I screwed up. I didn't "hot sauce" my kids or make them take cold showers but the harsh words, the yelling and slammed doors inflicted damage on my kids. Maybe as much as hot sauce in the mouth, but damage jet the same. I was not a particularly good mama sometimes, especially in my alone times. I was stressed out and freaked out. I didn't know how to parent a kid with ADHD. It was a stressful time. It was an alone time. It wasn't until I found several, precious friends in Louisville I felt I could open up about all of the trials and tribulations of life with Lucas (and Zach). It was then that the yelling began to subside and the slamming door stopped. Life became about mamas helping mamas. For me, it wasn't every mama for herself anymore. We shared what worked and what didn't. We talked, we laughed and we supported each other. I thank God every day for those precious friends. They helped me learn to better parent a difficult child...or two. The feeling of failing Lucas and failing as a parent went away.

I was able to talk to my friends about my decision to medicate Lucas. It wasn't an easy decision and we didn't take it lightly. Stan and I talked for hours about this decision but I needed more. The pediatrician gave me his take on medicating. The child psychologist gave me his take on medicating. But I needed my mamas. My mama friends lent their ears and their shoulders to cry on. Ultimately, the decision was ours and ours alone but it felt good to have a support system. That is what every mama needs...other mamas.

When we left Louisville and moved to Richmond I had to start all over again making those much needed connections. This time I was ready to reach out. I was not going parent alone. It is too hard and too stressful to have parenting struggles and be alone. I am so fortunate to have a number of other mamas to call and have a vent fest.

In leaving Louisville we left a school that was not a good fit for my boys. In the school system here they have thrived. I didn't go out of my way here to keep Lucas' ADHD a secret but I wasn't necessarily forthcoming...until I realized, it was OK. They weren't going to label Lucas. Lucas has thrived, Zach too. It is here we realized we were right, Zach does indeed have an attention disorder, he just doesn't have the hyperactive part. And it is here I realized my boys' attention disorders are nothing to be ashamed of, or any reason to feel I failed my kids. It is a disorder not a disability. It's not a label, it's a path to helping your child overcome adversity.

I hope the "hot sauce" mom gets whatever help she needs for herself and her son. Her son reminded me of Lucas when he was in kindergarten. My heart went out to that little boy. He doesn't seem to have any impulse control. He pulls cards instead of moving his car from green to yellow to red like Lucas did. He doesn't want to get in trouble but he has no idea how to avoid it. Lucas didn't want to get into trouble either but he did, often. It is up to the mom now to teach him impulse control by controlling her own impulses, finding mama friends who support her in a positive way and learning how to parent a challenging child.

She needs to do it for the love of her children...

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