A Day in the Life of an HSP Mom

momMy fingers are in my ears and I’m yelling, “La la la la la la la.  Geez!  You haven’t figured out, by now, that it’s not the best idea to tell me of your narrow misses on the ski hill?”

“I know, but it was SO cool.”

“Bud, anyone would tell you that that is just not something to tell a mom – especially an HSP mom.  Tell me the gist, but please spare me the gory details.”

“Right. Right. Right.  I’m sorry.  I know.”

As much as I want to hear how he does on the slopes, if he gives me too many details, I know I won’t be able to let him go.


It can’t be easy being the kid of an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) mom.  A sensitive mom is in tune to mood shifts.  She notices when her kid is out of sorts.  She perceives the funk before the gray cloud has even made its appearance.  Most times, she knows what’s bothering him before he even knows what is bothering him.

It’s not that I hover, it’s that I’m hyper-aware of potentialities, and we know that most, if not all, teenage boys are not.


Try agreeing on a movie with a sensitive mom – especially if you’re a teenage boy.  Unless it’s a not-too-risque comedy, or one of the Avenger films, they’ve yet to make a film that won’t keep him from rolling his eyes, or her from shielding hers.

He watched Fury the other night – without me.  He said I’d probably have been okay with American Sniper.  A few years ago, he was willing to watch The Decoy Bride, so the other night, Jen said, “Hey, we could watch The Decoy Bride again.  That one is funny.”  Will looked at us as if we’d each recently sprouted a third eye.  “You thought it was funny a couple years ago, Will.”  I’d swear I heard his eyes roll.  He didn’t respond.


We’ve talked about sensitivity – who is and who isn’t.  He has said that he doesn’t have a problem with me being sensitive (thank you?) but he’s glad he isn’t.  It’s clear he sees my being sensitive as though I’m handicapped to some degree.  Just think of how my life is marginalized because of all the movies I won’t watch.  Think of the books that I won’t read.  (He just finished a Kountz and is now on to a King.)

I tell him that there are a gazillion books in the world, and I’ll survive quite nicely without the horror genre.  He doesn’t respond.


On the days he heads to the slopes, he can’t leave the house without his two moms (Jen will make a great mom some day) telling him to, “Be careful!”  “Wear your helmet!”  “Don’t forget to text when you get there.”  “Don’t drive too fast.”  The poor kid can’t get out the door fast enough.

And I know that other moms give their kid the same admonitions, but do they find it virtually impossible to focus until they see the whites of that kid’s eyes?  Do they pace back and forth with a phone in their hand, waiting for the text that says he made it on the snowy roads?


As I type this, I have to wonder if I might not be quite as sensitive if Will weren’t so….  Will. But then I realize that I’m the same way with Jen.


The other day when Will was having a difficult time hiding his impatience with my sensitivity, I heard myself getting defensive.  I’ve spent a lifetime getting defensive about being sensitive, and here I am, again, defending myself to this person that I love so much.

Then I get mad at myself for getting defensive.  But I was struck with an insight:  “You know, if it hadn’t been for my being so sensitive, we’d probably still be living with your dad.”

He didn’t respond.


One day I may tell him that if it weren’t for my sensitivity, he’d probably still be enrolled in public school.

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  1. You and Will will both figure out the balance between how much you show him your HSP-ness and his protecting you by hiding his impatience. How do I know this? Because, among all the exceptional qualities each of you has, you’re both smart – crazy smart!!

  2. Pat,

    We do have some pretty fun discussions about sensitivity. I refrain from reminding him that he is quite sensitive in his own right. ;)

    I read him your comment and he beamed … well, sort of. You know how 17 year olds can be.

  3. Yeah. I know. 17-year-olds don’t like to let it all hang out. But I’m glad it made him smile, if for only a fraction of an instant.

  4. I do agree with Will, it has been a handicap over the years, jobs I haven’t applied for, road trips I haven’t made but I do feel you feed off of their confidence everyday, one day I will take that road trip.

  5. Hi Mo!!

    Oh, I do hope you take that road trip! I can’t wait to hear all about it. :)

    And I do learn a lot from their bravery and confidence.

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