Sometimes I think that I am the only one in the world that struggles with raising a family. I thought that maybe, perhaps, I’m just not cut out for parenting. Especially parenting kids that are gifted.
I thought maybe it’s me…that I have some terrible defect that prevents me from parenting with poise. I thought, perhaps maybe it was my own childhood issues being unearthed (which, to an extent, it IS) and some communication difficulties with my dear husband (and it does play a part) that affect my ability to be an ever flowing font of calm energy, and providing a home that is a refuge from life’s upsets. And I thought as late as last night, there is something “broken” within me that makes me flip out from time to time. The most recent upset was regarding a neighbor whose child can’t seem to get along with mine and we had some very cross words. In the end, I was called a “whack job” as she was walking away, and I called her an expletive. Yeah, not nice. I know. Someone ought to take my “enlightened” card away from me because I acted horribly. And yet again, we have to be excluded from playing with others. It really stinks.
I forget, sometimes that while the past certainly does color my present, there is something I keep overlooking in myself. My daughter’s aren’t the only ones struggling with overexcitabilities, but I am too. After all, just because I’m an adult, doesn’t mean I have perfect control over those areas in my life that induce stress in me, particularly, since one of my strongest OE’s is emotional. My husband reacts to my reactions because he’s not immune to my emotional upsets. He’s strong if I’m strong. He’s calm if I’m calm. He’s open-minded if I am. And not if I’m not. You get the picture. He seems to reflect whatever mood I’m in, which may or may not be a good thing.
I related, all too well, to a scenario from a blog that was shared with me on my post Understanding Psychomotor Overexcitabilities in the Gifted Child by ecemom. She co-writes a blog called So Over Everything with another mom of a gifted child.
In a post called, Let’s talk about ‘stress’ baby, So Over writes
You see I can handle all the demands and pressure and craziness that my family provides on a daily basis to a point and then I seem to ‘pop’ – kind of like a balloon. I say ‘pop’ because it is not a slow leak of pressure escaping…it is generally a full on explosion of emotion and folks – it ain’t pretty! It usually involves either tears or a total conniption fit…or perhaps both. This particular fit has several origins, but in order to survive these moments of emotional overload that I experience, I have to find something physical and concrete to fix.
and this too
He is an amazing husband – whatever quirks he may possess – he is my support system and I love him for it. He ‘gets’ me….which is no easy task. He knows that by ‘organizing’ our home….it will help me to organize my emotions and find a happy place.
Yeah…I get upset by external organizational issues too (mostly because I am constantly moving 2 steps back for every 1 step forward it seems with regards to keeping things in their place here).
There’s lots of resources out there about raising gifted kids, but SO few about what it’s REALLY like to be in the trenches. I love people who blog transparently who offer me a glimpse of their lives and how it really feels to try raise gifted kiddos, especially when you have your own OE’s to contend with.
You just don’t know what kind of child you are going to get and even being aware of normal childhood development does not adequately prepare one for the realities of an asynchronously developing gifted child. Not all gifted kids have adjustment difficulties, but sometimes the intellectual development outpaces the emotional development and creates frustration not only for the child but for the parents that love them too. Especially since it’s so easy to be lulled into thinking the child is much more mature based on what they intellectually grasp. Sometimes it comes as a real surprise that the child acts emotionally his or her age or even less than their age.
Ecemom writes in a post called Occupational Hazards, about how being an early childhood professional did not quite prepare her for the realities of having a gifted child.
In a nut shell, knowing about development didn’t help me, my child or my family. I was lost, as many of you are…thus your internet search. My friend and I have been great refuge to each other. Our thought is by our sharing our trials and tribulations about living with giftedness, you hopefully relate and help us make some sense of this all.
At any rate, I just wanted to share this blog, partly for my HUSBAND’s benefit, since he has to put up with my emotional OE’s and I want him to understand that others have similar family situations, and partly for my readers’ benefit, since I think that, especially in a case like mine, I have NO one in real life to talk to about such matters. It’s not that there aren’t other gifted kids in their school, it’s just that I haven’t yet been able to talk with the parents much. So, essentially, I AM alone in real life. It’s good to read other parents perspectives on the matter.
Thanks Ecemom, for sharing your blog with me.