On the 4th of July, my family went to a friend’s house for a barbecue. About 15 minutes after we arrived, my 11-year old son Adam slipped and fell by the pool and smacked the back of his head on the concrete. The cut was deep and we knew immediately he needed to go to the emergency room.
There was blood. So much blood. It covered my hands, my husbands hands, our clothes, and the concrete around us.
In that moment I realized they all bleed the same. Children that is. All children bleed the same.
In that moment I realized I was just a mom. Not a Mental Health Mom whose 11-year old son Adam is bipolar. I was just a mom trying to calm her child and assess the situation.
In that moment I realized he wasn’t my Bipolar son Adam. He was just my son Adam. My son Adam who was hurting and needing his mom. Not the Mom who manages his doctor appointments, his medications, his homeschooling, and his mania, but the Mom who gives hugs and kisses to make it all better.
In that moment I realized my Bipolar child bleeds the same as your non-Bipolar child.
In that moment I realized I associate myself more as a Mental Health Mom (in addition to my Bipolar son Adam, I have a 10-year old son Alex who has ADHD and is mildly Autistic) than I do a ‘normal’ mom, just a mom.
Upon reflection over the last week since Adam fell, I don’t like the way this truth feels. While the 5 staples in his head healed Adam’s physical wounds, my emotional wounds still linger.
As a Mental Health Mom of two kids with special needs, it is very difficult to identify as anything else. Every minute of every hour of every day is spent making decisions for my children based upon a very unique set of circumstances. It is all consuming. It defines who I am as a mom.
And yet, if I ask myself if I want to be a Mental Health Mom first or just a mom first, I pick the later. I admit I forget some of the ‘normal’ things my kids go through on an everyday basis because the symptoms of their disorders scream so loud it’s hard to hear anything else.
I suspect you do not have to be a Mental Health Mom to experience these feelings.
Some moms probably feel they are a working mom first, a diaper changing mom first, a grocery shopping mom first, a cooking mom first, a cleaning mom first, an errand-running mom first, a carpooling mom first, or a tantrum-fighting mom first, instead of just a mom first.
How many special moments have we missed with our children because we are too caught up in life’s daily grind (being CIA Secret Ops level laser-focused Momma Bears) to enjoy uninterrupted time just being a mom? Just a mom.
How many hugs and smiles and snuggles have we missed? How much nurturing and laughter have we missed? Does it really take an emergency like your son cracking his head open to stop being every other kind of mom and just be a mom?
Well, it did for me. I am going to try and embrace a new normal that focuses on being just a mom first.
I don’t want to miss one hug or one smile or one snuggle. I don’t want to miss one opportunity to nurture my kids or one chance to make them laugh.
I don’t want to live life with my Mental Health Mom blinders on where all I see is my Bipolar son and my ADHD/Autistic son and all that is involved in managing their care. I want to spend more time being just a mom focusing on her sons well being outside their disorders. My kids really aren’t that different from ‘normal’ kids in what they need from their mom.
I never want to miss being just a mom who gives hugs and kisses to make it all better.
After all, kids all bleed the same…inside and out.