Emotional whiplash

Emotional whiplash.  Or parenting schizophrenia.  Those are the terms I use to describe a condition that the medical community may not recognize but one that is quite well known to all moms.

In fact, I was having a couple of conversations with some of my fav swim team Moms and this was our topic.  One of them grinned and said "you should blog about this."

Uh, sure thing.  I can talk about the malady all day long but I have no idea how to prevent it, treat it, or cure it.  It's completely impossible, I am sure.

You're reading this smiling cause you know exactly what I'm talking about.  The ups and downs of responding to the different needs of  your kids simultaneously.  As in one just broke his personal record for the 25 freestyle race and you are celebrating with him.  Before you can unwrap yourself from that chlorine-soaked embrace, you notice one other offspring in a puddle of tears from a DQ on his butterfly stroke. Or one daughter got elected Prom Queen...hooray!!...and the other one got rejected from the college of her heart's desire.  And so you jerk yourself from your happy place to the one of consolation and empathy.  Or the other way around....just depends on which emotional need surfaces first.

Emotional whiplash. 

Sometimes the onset of parenting schizophrenia has been so acute that I forget which emotion I am supposed to be responding to and consequently administer the wrong antidote.  Sympathy instead of cheer.  Or, worse, gladness instead of condolences.  Wow, talk about the "cure" being worse than the "disease"!!

As I type this, I'm smiling.  Grinning, actually.  Just like my swim Mom friends and I did when we chatted about it.  Not smirking at the affliction, mind you.  And certainly not at the repercussions of wrongly-administered doses.  But at the privilege it is to bear this condition.  The honor of getting to be the one to diagnose the emotional needs and then to apply the appropriate salve.

My soul doesn't feel so handicapped after all.  I realize I am downright blessed.  No matter how much it may appear that I have a personality disorder!!