*Warning*: This will ruffle some feathers. Truth is, I’m at a point in my life where I don’t really care if feathers get ruffled. I like to speak my truth. So if you spent a long time making sure your feathers are smoothed…. You might wanna stop here. Or don’t.
I’ve earned a veteran status in the world of autism motherhood. My spectrum kids will be 19 and 15 this year. I’ve been the advocate. I’ve sat through ARD meetings, fighting tooth and nail for my children. I’ve learned about methods to calm and methods to teach. I’ve gone toe to toe with teachers, (and an occasional administrator), who has made off-hand comments about my child.
Because of this, I’ve been asked repeatedly to join in on support groups, locally and even online, to help parents find resources and advice in dealing with their own spectrum children.
I say this now, on everything Holy: I would rather have a root canal than join a parent support group.
The last “support” group I joined was online. It was mostly made up of local parents whose names I recognized because of my boys. I’m trying to be positive, thinking, “Hey, I could make some friends who understand me.”
I noticed a lot of people asking for advice on certain situations, so I would chime in and offer my experiences. Say for instance, sleep…
Mom: I don’t know what to do, my child won’t sleep at all. It’s been weeks since we had any sleep in this house because they keep waking /staying up all night.
Me: I know that my pediatrician was able to advise me on how to dose Melatonin for them to help regulate their sleep cycles. Some nights when my boys can’t sleep then I just allow them to play or read or watch TV quietly, but they have to understand that others are resting.
THAT Mom: Oh I can’t do that. I don’t want to dope them up.They have to sleep. I can’t sleep if they’re awake.(Insert any other reason why they can’t or won’t do try anything you suggest.)
AND IT’S LIKE THIS FOR EVERY SINGLE POST.
See, here’s the deal. These people don’t want help. They don’t want things to improve. They want other people to support them while they feel sorry for themselves. They want pity. They are in stiff competition with the next parent over who has a harder go of things. Whose kid is worse off. Who has a more miserable existence.
It’s like being trapped in a group full of Debbie Downers; in constant competition for that “My life sucks so bad” trophy.
Here’s a newsflash for you people: If you live a miserable life, you will have nothing but a miserable life.
I choose to see the humor in this life I am living. I WANT my children to do the same. I don’t want them to think that I feel burdened with their behaviors, their need for extra attention, care and understanding.
This isn’t a contest.
I can’t stand it when people say things like, “I just don’t know how you do it, you’re amazing,” or my personal favorite: “God only gives special children to special parents.” That is complete and total BS.
We are not special parents. You are not special. You are a parent doing parent things. Being a parent. You can be a good parent, or a bad parent. You can find what works for your child, or cry because it’s just too hard and give up. I do what I do for my children because 1) they are my children 2) that’s my job as their mother and 3) I love them with all my heart.
Don’t make this any more difficult and complex than it has to be. If you want my help, I will do my best. If you want to complain, well then…. Talk to each other.
Because I’m off for a root canal.