I Put My Kid in Therapy, And That Doesn’t Make Me a Bad Mom

Confession time: I really, really, REALLY want to be Superwoman. And I don’t even hide it well.

A few years back, I went to counseling for some post-adoption depression. It took the counselor less than 10 minutes to see it in me.

“You don’t like to ask for help, do you?” she asked.

Well, dang.

And my Achilles heel? My kids. I really want to be a parenting expert. I want to pretend I can fix all my kids’ issues myself and really like to think I’ve got this mom game under control. (As long as there’s no blood. Or vomit. Because I’m out on that.)

But eight years into this parenting thing, and I’ve had to wave my white flag. After two years of sleepless nights and thousands of cups of coffee, I swallowed my pride and asked for help with one of my children. It was time. Past time.

To protect my child’s privacy, I’m not going to identify which child I’m referring to or give details, but I’ll tell you this: my only regret is that we waited so long.

I remember walking into our evaluation with the therapist feeling like a terrible mother. For hours, I wondered how things had gotten so out of control and berated myself for not being able to handle this situation myself. I felt as if I had failed my kid.

And the worst part was that I was about to have to admit it to someone.

But you know what happened instead? She listened. She could tell how much we loved our child. She affirmed that we had tried all of the traditional strategies for coping with this particular struggle and that it should be escalated to include herself and others.

Over the last several months, we’ve seen a play therapist two or three times a month. The regulation strategies we’ve learned have been invaluable.

We have celebrated successes and navigated setbacks together. Our rage has lessened. Our tantrums have gotten shorter. And our bond has grown so much richer.

You know what hasn’t happened? No one has ever called me a bad mom.

Quite the opposite, actually.

So why am I telling you this?

Because my pride is what kept me from admitting we needed help. And my hunch says that many of you out there might be in that same boat today.

Here’s the thing. In 2020, we have access to so many incredible resources through the internet. We join Facebook groups so we can be in mom circles. When a child is sick, we can WebMD just about any symptom. Thousands of blogs exist for people to share their struggles and triumphs, and they are just one Google search away from our eyes.

Just about anybody can call themselves an “expert” at something and slap a banner on their Instagram profile today. We believe we can YouTube our way out of just about any parenting issue, when in reality, there are experts out there for a reason.

But I fear that what we’ve forgotten in all of this, mamas? Humility.

We have to get over our fears of admitting that we can’t do it all.

I had to get over myself and get off the internet in order to get my child the help we needed. Looking someone in the eye and admitting we were in over our heads has ultimately helped my child most, of course. But the surprise in it all was that it was even more healing for me.

I’m not Superwoman. I can’t fix everything myself, and that’s okay. I’m learning that good moms put their child’s needs in front of their pride and that bringing in a real-life, educated expert is actually the best thing I can do for him. God didn’t create me to do what she does, and that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

In fact, it’s just the opposite.

If you’ve been waiting for a phase to pass that isn’t passing or have been afraid to admit that you’re out of your league, stop waiting. Whether it’s help for you or help for your child, don’t make my mistakes. Make that phone call or book that appointment. It’s the strongest decision you can make.

Allison and her husband, Blake, grew up in Dallas and made the move to the 'burbs in 2010 when she began teaching middle school in Frisco. After attending Texas A&M for her undergrad, Allison came back to Dallas to pursue her Master’s in Education from SMU. She has a huge love of writing and taught everything from preschool to eighth grade before obtaining her certification as a Pediatric Sleep Consultant. Today, McKinney is home for her circus which includes three children (four if you count her husband) and a troublemaking lab. Allison and her husband are both passionate about orphan care and adoption, a calling that led them to their adopted son from China and to pursue their foster care licensing during the pandemic. Keep up with all her shenanigans on Instagram!