This past week I was on vacation. A nice time to sit back and relax and take in the fresh air of upstate New York. I went hiking observing frogs and blue waters so clear it was like looking into my daughter’s eyes. We went to Niagara Falls participating in both Cave of the Winds and Maid of the Mist. We took the train/trolley into downtown Buffalo. It was a great experience… until yesterday.
This trip was with my In-laws to visit that side of the family. The original plan was to leave after breakfast on Saturday morning. This plan quickly changed and by doing so caused me to question my parenting with my Mental Illness diagnosis. Friday’s plan was to go to the Erie County Fair for a day of farm animals, food, rides and games. Sophia was being extremely unbearable in the morning. She was throwing several tantrums over bathing and not cleaning her hair well enough. My husband and I both agreed that with the way she was acting she did not deserve to go to the fair which in turn meant we would not go either.
Enter my father-in-law… a man who believes he is an expert in everything including raising little girls although he only has a son, my husband. Amazingly, I remained calm during all this. My father-in-law was telling Sophia to get ready for the fair. She was wailing, crying, screaming, “Mommy and Daddy said I can’t go!” We explained that she was being horribly bad and did not deserve to be rewarded. At this point my father-in-law is trying to go over our heads with parenting and telling Sophia to get ready and that it was vacation and that he said she could go. Well… this didn’t sit well with my husband or myself. There was much screaming and yelling between him and my husband. Then my father-in-law started to yell at me to “Answer him!” about my thoughts on the topic. Calmly, I said, “She was warned several times and continued to be bad, she doesn’t deserve to go.”
No one is a perfect parent. In this case, Sophia should not have been rewarded and she wasn’t. We wound up leaving a day early because my father-in-law did not get his way. Because of him trying to over step my parenting the first thing that came to my mind was, “Oh my God, I’m being judged because I am Mentally Ill. He probably views me as an unfit parent. He probably thinks I should not be a parent at all.”
Logically, I know this is probably false but as someone who questions herself often if my diagnosis interferes with my parenting, it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Because of what I experienced over 6 months ago with having to give back my foster son I constantly question myself as a parent. Sometimes I wonder if Jimmy wasn’t with me would Sophia have been taken from me? In my darkest days, I was more dependent on my husband than Sophia. Would DCF have stepped in and put her in foster care? Would I ever have gotten her back?
Why worry about something that will most likely never happen? My anxiety diagnosis. Anxiety causes a person to worry about things that most likely will never occur. Anxiety is what calls my parenting into question. I will always wonder if the decisions I make for Sophia are right or wrong… I will always fight myself internally on whether I am making a smart parenting decision or it is the Anxiety and Depression talking.
I spent most of yesterday in a depressive funk. I laid down in bed after the argument not wanting to move… wanting to sleep but not able to. My medication helps, but it isn’t a cure all. One day, I hope that this feeling will leave me. I hope to not question my decisions. I hope to be able to defend my choices for Sophia rather than have to explain myself to people who are not my child’s parent. One day…