Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Angry Mom

Sometimes I feel like I've developed infinite patience during this past year spent at home with my kids. It's has mostly been a conscious choice of mine to remain calm and collected - since I am not like this by nature but rather impatient and volatile - while dealing with all the stuff life has thrown my way lately. From moving to staying at home; to dealing with a child with Autism and learning ALL there is to know about it, and just guessing the rest; throw in a preteen in bloom and a hyperactive middle child and you've got major havoc! Being angry was just not in the list of emotions I've allowed myself to feel. It's OK to be pensive, hopeful, patient (very, very patient), understanding and sometimes a little sad but angry, NO, angry was definitely not in the list. The way I've handled stuff lately it has been like a game of dodged ball...here it comes, dock and save the skin! It has worked so far but lately I'm starting to lose it. The pressure of the everyday routine, adding the school testing for Frankie, the unknown and the "waiting" has taken a tow in my otherwise "pleasant" disposition and I'm starting to crack. This was clear to me the other night, when I was struggling to rush to put dinner at the table before my husband got home and I'd just had the day from hell; doctor's appointments, kindergarten registration, therapy for Frankie, Karate classes for Victor, rehearsal pick up for Rebecca and a lot of background noise, courtesy of major meltdowns staged by Frankie. The "hows" and "whens" were irrelevant at this point and the details got blurry as the day went by but what did remain clear was the discussion Frankie and I had regarding my mood. In the middle of his loud whining, Frankie told me he was sad and I answered back I was sad too and to please leave me alone. I must have sounded exasperated and fed up (and probably I rolled my eyes too!) because he answered back, angrily and said: "No, you are not sad, you are angry!" I felt as if everything was still at that moment and I had to agree with him, confirming I was ANGRY, indeed. I then sat down on the floor with him and explained why mommy was angry but mostly I wanted to know how he knew this...he said it was my "face."

If you don't know much about Autism, this statement doesn't mean anything to you but it means the world to ME! I had just realized that my kid could read my face. Happy is easy to figure out, and when you have tears, sad is a piece of cake too, but angry can be tricky, especially if you are not yelling and shouting and your voice is controlled, as it was the case this particular time. Needless to say, after this conversation with Fankie I wasn't angry anymore but grateful. I was very grateful that my kid was making progress but mostly I was grateful because once in while I was allowed to let some steam out. I was grateful because I felt like I didn't have to be superhuman anymore and most of all because my weakness had helped my autistic child figure out a new emotion; one more piece in the social puzzle he's working really hard to complete.


Anonymous said...

Very well written! Good for you for keeping yourself in control. I'm a habitual screamer and that is not so nice for the family. I am continually in an angry state.

ORFA said...

Cherie, you are pregnant! Please, don't worry about the "angry state" :-) Besides, I am older, you will mellow out, trust me! You are a great mom, silly, and your family is lucky to have you!