I have always struggled with anxiety about the future. In a positive light, I call myself a planner. My earthquake kits (yes, kits) are always stocked and I have mental lists preparing us for any emergency, health related, natural disaster or otherwise. I have life goals and short term budgets that support my long term budget. When I don’t plan and prepare for life’s emergencies, I tend to wake up at 3 am , unable to fall back asleep as my mind runs through all worst case scenarios.
Whelp, parenting has not helped me curb these anxious habits. Imagine that.
During my first few months as M’s foster mom (because I fell in love hard and fast and I wanted to never let him go) I poured through the Welfare and Institutions Codes (WIC) so that I would know exactly what the legal proceedings are and what the “loopholes” might be if it was suggested that M be moved to another foster home. This definitely came in handy when it was suggested that M2 be moved to another foster home closer to the social worker’s office. I had to be prepared. I knew I couldn’t protect myself from heart break but I was sure that I would know my legal rights.
In the same way, I now find myself researching interventions for kids with FASD in elementary school. I am reading and preparing and I know a significant amount about the IEP process. When I step back and think about this, I know that it is a little bit foolish. There must be better ways to spend my time, after all, my house is NEVER clean enough. I am already anxious about kindergarten. I have a plan though! (Two years of kindergarten. One at his current school and then a transition to public school at the same time as M2.) I am already concerned about his fine motor delays. Good lord, his handwriting will probably be terrible! I find myself on the internet searching for how I can best give him in home OT to improve his hand strength and visual motor coordination. When I step back and think of the whole list of things that I worry about, I can see that it is ridiculous. But I compulsively have to plan anyway. I think it is a little bit like Earthquake preparedness. We are going to have earthquakes, that is not the question, but will I actually need those 16 cans of tuna? Probably not, but I have them just in case.
I have mentioned in other posts about my compulsion to control everything. It definitely takes away from my quality of life. It steals away my joy in the everyday moments. We have had SO MUCH SUCCESS using PCIT. We are almost graduated from the program after about 6 months and it has changed our life. I find the less behaviors I have to worry about in the present, the MORE I worry about the future. I guess that is normal, I don’t have to be ready for battle everyday. But I want to be able to find the right balance between being prepared and being overwhelmed by all that the future might hold. I want to enjoy now, prepare for the future and just get rid of the anxiety and worry.