Becoming a parent is definitely a huge milestone in a person’s life. You shift from being number 1 in your life to taking the back seat. You learn what is really of value and importance. Friends come and go as your priorities shift. You adapt and it changes you, as a mom physically, but mentally as well.
Besides the gift of their joy and love my kids have completely changed my perception and feelings about the world around me. I feel a depth of empathy and compassion I never knew existed. I’ve always been a kind person but now I will go out of my way to make sure people are safe, comfortable, and at ease when I’m present. I find myself giving everyone pep talks and I tend to mother hen them all. I used to wonder why parents would allow their children to throw tantrums. Now I realize I do not know the child’s background nor is it my place to judge. Just offer kind words and a smile.
I see every person as someone’s child. I know how it feels to have a screaming melting down kid in the store. He’ll Bug can be notorious for being loud and hard to control. I’ve had enough stares and comments come my way. I do not see the need to explain my son has ASD, but I’ve learned I have no cause to be embarrassed or shamed. My son has if anything opened my mind and heart to just love my fellow man. Bug made me a better person and with his quirks and challenges he teaches me patience is well rewarded.
Every individual and each couple has a unique approach to parenting. To anyone who has met Jack knows his approach is logic, mine is worry and anxiety.
I think good parenting is a combination of both. When I’m overly anxious and worried Jack steps in with a logical answer.
Every single day I try to wake up and start anew. To start with a fresh slate mentally and set small goals and tasks for myself to keep from being overwhelmed. Some days I do well and others I get anxious and overwhelmed quickly.
For a long time I internally doubted my parenting and decisions. How could I be raising such a defiant and destructive child. With Bug’s diagnosis I’ve learned to take a deep breath and realized this is not a blame game nor a time to wallow in guilt. As far as his defiance he doesn’t see it that way, he still has the self centered brain of a younger child. He cannot get out of me-mode. All he thinks of is his wants and how things affect him. The destruction is him not understanding that certain things are inappropriate or that once something’s ruined mama can’t magically fix it. There are times when he breaks something and is genuinely beside himself over the damage.
My son is capable of learning everything and anything, he may just need more time and patience. As a mom I’m constantly beating myself up even though I logically know the reason behind his behaviors. I know myself and I can come across short tempered and impatient about a lot of things in day to day life. I tend to be no nonsense about everything. Think of it this way, I have a child who doesn’t understand lies, sarcasm, or patience. I use up all of my patience and kindness on him.
I have very little time for myself let alone my husband. So before anyone ever thinks I’m an awful friend or I’m just making excuses, I can’t leave Bug with just anyone. I have a hard enough time just squeezing in some me time for my hobbies. Although I’ve had to learn how to enjoy portable things like crochet for that very reason.
My entire point of this is everyday is a struggle to stay patient and sane in my house. So perhaps come stop by and give us a visit. Play dates are hard since Bug is destructive and acts out in new environments. We love company but it’s easier on our home field. Going out can be super hard. Bug is a runner with no sense of fear. He climbs and runs away. So if you invite us somewhere just know unless I can bring a spare adult I may not come. Our world has become a little different than the average parents you may know. So just like I’ve learned we just need patience and understanding. To our friends and family that already show us those considerations we love you! I’m just trying to bring this to everyone’s attention for Bug and other kids like him.
Since Bug has been officially diagnosed as Autistic our lives have been a roller coaster. I’ve spend numerous hours on the phone between getting him in school, therapies, and applying for assistance. We’ve had many hurdles we’ve overcome with him, but also some difficulties. I feel like for every step forward we take one back.
I feel like now that my Bug is getting older and developing more as a person his differences are becoming more apparent. I will continue to do everything I can to help him live his best life. I find I worry so much about his thoughts and feelings now. He has daily melt downs after school. He barely eats, he refuses to use his words, and he can be moody.
When you have a baby you learn how to be a parent. When you have a second you learn how to multitask your attention and affection. When you get a diagnosis of special needs you have to relearn how to parent according to your child’s needs. I see nothing wrong with my little day dreamer. I just know how to get through to him and make things easier on him. He’s thriving and his own person as always.
My greatest asset and biggest flaw is not knowing how not to care. I can’t just turn off the worry. I don’t know how to not think about what I can do or change to help him. I see the way his brain works and I’m so proud of my little guy. He’s amazing, but I feel like I need to step up my game to be the amazing person he needs to overcome his hardships.
My current worries/internal questions:
Do I homeschool so I can really push him where he needs?
Should I be trying more to get him to eat new things?
How can we improve his after school meltdowns?
Is Tootie getting enough attention?
How can I calm my anxiety about my parenting?
How much yarn is too much yarn? (Kidding but not)
How do I afford to stay home like he needs yet still help financially?
And then I realize I’m still like everyone’s mother. I worry it’s part of the job.
Our crazy weekend started up with a preschool evaluation for Bug. It’s a special needs preschool and they screen for eligibility. Upon Bug’s screening they gave me a number to register him with the school system. They said he would do great there but to book an appointment ASAP. DONE!
No sooner did I get home and my phone rang. We have Bug on several waiting lists with Developmental and Behavioral specialists to get a firm diagnosis for his issues. I was told spring or early 2018. Surprisingly they had a last minute cancellation and wanted us downtown on Wednesday 😱
I worked all weekend but my mind is making lists of what I need to take. Papers from his other doctors. I’m excited and exhausted. The sense of near relief is lingering. As soon as I get a concrete diagnosis I can apply for help for him in several ways. Finally we’re making head way!
Yesterday my heart broke a little bit. For the first time I noticed the gaping difference between Koby and one of his best friends. The child asked why he was being weird and said they didn’t want to play with him. Granted he was squealing and running in circles holding his kindle over his head avoiding sharing. I know his behavior can be off the wall. He won’t use his words and just screams. They are 8 days apart in age and have always been as thick as thieves. I had a moment of panic, if this is his best friend what happens when he’s trying to make new friendships.
Everywhere I go and everyone we meet I feel my breath catch in my throat. How will he react? How will people react to his lack of boundaries and insatiable curiousness. He will climb onto a stranger to check out their watch. He has no volume control inside. He doesn’t take directions or corrections. I love him more than life, but I hurt for him too. He doesn’t seem to notice people’s dirty looks or comments. It scares me he will one day. How do I protect him from it all.
My mental and emotional fatigue are at an all time high. People around me what’s wrong all the time. They ask if I’m feeling under the weather when they see the bags under my eyes. I feel the weight of Bug’s world on my shoulders. I’m an anxious scared mess. He has a preschool evaluation Friday and I’m terrified of what the specialists might say
So for everyone who wants to know that’s how I am…
With my two hands I've lived a hundred truths and created more than I could have ever imagined. I've cradled both of my newborns, caught numerous animals and found them forever homes, and slayed virtual foes of all shapes and forms in video games. I create potholders, blankets, coasters, clothing, and many a meal. I've always judged myself by the deeds I've accomplished and the objects I birthed into existence. I forget that I'm a person too.
Many moms and artists seem to forget that we have to care for not only our tools and creations, but also our sanity. In the end I cannot afford to burn out. If I really love all that I care for I have to start by caring for myself. Without me what would my kids, pets, and family do?
This is just a daily reminder that YOU matter too. All of the good you're capable of isn't possible without you. Keep on keeping on.