6am this morning my 5th grader gets in bed with me.
Hi mom. I’m sad.
Why are you sad, baby?
I don’t like Mondays.
What’s wrong with Mondays?
Ah yes. School. Are you stressed out?
And so it begins. The rest of the day I am feeling anxious and worried about how his day is going. He feels lost. I feel lost. He’s overwhelmed. I’m overwhelmed!
And then the shaming begins. I’m a terrible mom. I haven’t done my best keeping him organized. Following up with teachers. Forcing him to study on weekends so that he goes to school on Monday feeling prepared. Get your shit together, Whitney! Why haven’t you been more on top of this? How dare you let your child feel anxious or overwhelmed. And you broke up with his tutor!! Money shouldn’t play a factor. The kid needs help! And Lord knows you aren’t giving it to him.
The next round of thoughts go something like this: Whitney, get your shit together. It’s fucking 5th grade. It’s not the end of the world. Who cares if he feels overwhelmed once in awhile. That’s good for him. He needs to learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings. As a matter of fact, you need to learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings.
Truth be told, he has probably gone on to school and hasn’t given it another thought. I’m the one internalizing his words and creating scenarios where my kid’s life is ruined because I’m not on top of things. I should probably get a job. I obviously have way too much time on my hands.
I really do need to get my shit together. This has consumed my whole morning. I’ve emailed tutors and googled “How to Handle 5th grade stress.” (PS- there were actual articles to read. Apparently I’m not the only one overreacting.) No one’s life is in danger. I barely remember 5th grade, so it’s obviously not a huge factor in the grand scheme of things. Someone once told me, “Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. ”
I better pace myself.
I’m exhausted now.
Is it 5 o’clock yet?