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Hey there Momma,
I see you there, fighting with your child in the grocery store. Trying to stay calm as you wrestle with his flailing body. Over peanut butter none the less. I see you, getting red in the face as people stare, casting their judgment and assuming your lack of parenting skills to blame for the outburst.
I know all too well what it’s like to be in your shoes.
Wondering and questioning if you should start spanking your child to gain the upper hand. You know it won’t work, it never has. No amount of yelling, arguing, punishing your child has ever worked. Your friends insist if you were just more strict or had a better routine these things would happen less.
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But they don’t know.
Their children, they may misbehave, but they don’t have a chemical imbalance in their brain. They aren’t hard-wired to argue back and be defiant.
Their children can be reasoned with, while yours cannot.
Listen, Momma, you’re not a bad mom.
Your child’s behavior isn’t even because of your parenting. It’s not because of that one thing you did when they were two years old. It’s not because of your divorce, or the fact that you moved. It’s not because you had them before you were financially stable.
Their behavior isn’t because you don’t love them enough, or correctly and it sure as hell isn’t because you don’t discipline harsh enough.
Their behavior is just them and their brain. Right now, you don’t know yet if it’s just you or something else. That child of yours, who is five and old enough to know better doesn’t seem that different to you than other children. You don’t realize the impact yet his behavior will have on his life, so you continue feeling despair.
Worrying that you must be a terrible parent. A Bad mom.
But you’re not.
Your child, they have something else going on. They have an invisible disability which makes it difficult for them to manage their emotions, understand cause and effect and focus on the task at hand.
And none of that is your fault.
Not because you didn’t take prenatal vitamins. Or because they ran that high fever when they were 18 months old.
It’s not even because you let them watch too much T.V.
It’s not your fault or even their fault for that matter.
Soon, in time someone is going to tell you this, and you will begin your research into your child’s mental illness.
You will get an answer, and life will get better.
You’ll begin to see your child’s beautiful, happy and loving spirit shine through their behavior because they can finally manage their symptoms.
You’ll find a tribe of mommas who know what it feels like to worry that it’s you.
Life will never be easy parenting a child like this, but it will get easier.
A few years later you’ll spot that other momma in the grocery store fighting with her strong-willed five-year-old, over a chocolate bar. He’s having a meltdown, and she’s on the brink of tears. You’ll confidently go over to her and say “It’s not your fault momma. Things will get better, you’re not a bad mom.” And you’ll know that you aren’t lying.
Until then, listen to me: You’re not a bad mom. It’s. Not. Your. Fault.
No—not even because of that.
You are a good mom.
They are a good child.
And soon, everyone will know that.