There will be a post later about kids and OCD, but if you are an adult with kids and your OCD had throat punched you in the brain, then this post is for you.
My OCD got super bad in the last couple of years. I have two little boys who have witnessed mommy’s compulsions. This makes me feel terribly ashamed and horrible as a mom! I am not 100% over this, but if you are dealing with this, please try NOT to add mom guilt and shame to your already guilting and shaming situation. Kids are resilient, and the ONE thing I know about this situation is that, YES, my kids are witnessing some wack repetitive behaviors, but NO, they are not scared of them, and YES, they understand that mommy is working REALLY hard here.
So, to put this in context… I have had intrusive thoughts and made my kids get back in the shower after getting out. I have had a difficult time putting on their socks and shoes – particularly bad when we are running late for sports (football and soccer spikes anyone?). I have had bad thoughts when pouring milk or water or making waffles, and I repeat things. They are used to seeing me do this. I am not okay with it. I NEVER share the thoughts with them, just that mommy has OCD and I do these things. Sometimes they are annoyed by it, sometimes they joke about it. Sometimes my oldest squirts me with his ice water bottle because I said that was okay. Incidentally, if you are in this situation. Ice water really takes you from a 10 to an 8 and can help you get out of a spiral.
I have had to have some very serious conversations with them, but they really seem to understand that OCD is not dangerous to them, they love me and they know it is not my fault.
Once we were trying to leave for vacation and I basically could not get dressed or leave the house. It was one of my worst OCD moments EVER! Somehow, I finally got out of here (many hours behind schedule). When we stopped and my hubby got out of the car, I apologized to my boys for the whole situation. My oldest was so kind. He said, “why are you apologizing, this is not your fault.” That kind of wisdom and empathy and hugs coming from a 9-year old is something spectacular. The point is this: If you have OCD and you are a parent, you are most likely hyper-focused on the protection and safety of your kids – even if that goes to extremes and the illogical places too. While your OCD behaviors may annoy the crap outta them, they truly know you are working hard to get better and you love them.
I guess the advice is this… If your kids are old enough to understand stuff, and you are in a situation like mine where you cannot hide the behaviors, try to explain your OCD in a way that is not scary to them. Try to let them know that you are working really hard to fix it and you know you can get better.
I read and listen to A LOT of stories about really hard cases of OCD. EVERYONE with OCD has my heart and I am hoping I can help at least one person somewhere. However, there is a whole new OCD “level up” when it comes to your kids seeing it and you become afraid people will think you are nuts and it will impact your kids.
I LOVE YOU ALL and hope that we can ALL beat OCD! It is the biggest BULLY EVER!