Mother Like Me
After yesterday’s post, I had some people question why I didn’t react more to what happened during our flight. It is a valid question, and one that had whirled around my own head ever since Saturday. You see, my instinct was to protect my children. Adrenaline was coursing through my system, and my body felt like it needed action. My brain even pictured the various actions which would have satisfied it- all were physical, and all of them would have landed me in trouble with aviation security. But I wasn’t thinking about that.
I was thinking about what the children would do if I raised my voice, or had a physical altercation, or even moved to argue face to face with the man in front. Pudding had already had a meltdown over the change of seats. A meltdown during which she became violent, briefly clawing at my face with her fingers. Pudding is not usually an aggressive child, but she already felt threatened, and was lashing out. And this was with me being calm.
If I get worked up, if I raise my voice, if I give in to strong emotions, it is absorbed and reflected back at me by two people who need me to stay in control. That isn’t to say that I never get angry, or I’m always in control of my emotions, but I do know that when I explode, so does everyone around me. And I really didn’t need that. Nor did the rest of the passengers crammed on to that painfully full flight.
Well, all apart from one, that is.
Before I actually confronted him, calmly, I’d spent several hours with Pudding and Cubby sleeping on me, peacefully oblivious to the barely-contained rage I was feeling. Any parent who knows this forced calm- and I’m certain there are a few of us with children on the autism spectrum- know that this inertia is a hundred times more difficult than acting on our feelings.
We do it, because we can. They can’t.
We can take a deep breath, calm ourselves down, refuse to let things escalate. My kids don’t know how to do that yet. They are learning, and like with many of life’s lessons, they need them modeled time and time again. Even when there are jerks within hitting distance who totally deserve it.
Now, maybe you have children who don’t follow your every move, hear every word you say (even if they conveniently don’t pay attention at times), or detect every change in your pitch. That way you don’t risk the same consequences. Maybe you haven’t had years of learning to show Zen when you feel anything but. I’m glad for you, and I’m jealous of you. You don’t have to hold it all in until you find a suitable outlet.
Believe me, it gets hard, when you mother like me. Certain situations are just harder. But at least when the gory fantasies (I’m always like Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my daydreams) I had of what I could do when the plane touched down and the kids were handed off to the husband didn’t get to come true, I can always write about it here.
Because some how, some way, this stuff has to come out, if you are going to mother like me.