Once or twice people have remarked that I’m an amazing mom and, while I politely thank them, I cringe inside. Not only is it untrue, it sets unrealistic expectations.
What does this mean people expect of me? I’m not sure. What would you do if you had a child with autism? Leave? Give up? Doubtful. You do what you have to. I can’t measure up to “amazing”. Mediocre, maybe. Run of the mill.
I think I’m more like a “Do what you can and move on” kind of mom.
Then I wonder if they really mean, “Thank god it’s you, not me.”
You want to know the real truth?
I don't want to be an autism mom. I’d rather be a soccer mom, a hockey mom, a helicopter mom. Hell, a Toddlers and Tiaras mom. Anything but this.
I am bitter, resentful. I am angry and frustrated. I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t volunteer. Kudos to those who foster and adopt children with special needs. They’re the ones who signed up for this, not me.
I am exhausted, sleep deprived beyond the pale. I am crabby, irritable, irascible and acerbic. I yell, am impatient.
I slam doors, go sit in my car and turn up the music to drown out the narrative in my head. (I haven’t done this since I’ve started blogging, though. Turns out writing it all down tends to silence the running narrative I’ve got going on in my brain. Lucky you.)
I’m often depressed, anxious, self-medicating on top of the doctor-prescribed medication. It’s ok; I always ask if alcohol is allowed. If not, I ask for something else.
I’m a wimp, and often wake with a sense of dread. I loathe the weekends, no school. A babysitter’s out of the question. Summer vacation is enough to send me into a tizzy.
I cry, gnash my teeth. I give in, I give up. I’m disorganized and overwhelmed.
One time, my babysitter’s friend told me I always looked like I was just trying to get through the day. Well, yeah, lady, that’s the goal, isn’t it? Put the day to bed already. Or at least the kids.
Sure, I celebrate the little joys. Usually with a glass of red wine. (See, multitasking. Self-medicating AND celebratory.) Except every time my son progresses, it’s bittersweet because I know that tomorrow he could slide back. One step forward, two steps back his doctor used to say. Forward. Back. Back. Forward. Back. Back. Like a bad foxtrot.
A truly amazing mom would embrace the challenges inherent in raising a child with a disability, rejoice mightily in his triumphs (no matter how small), let the tough times roll off her back, and wake each day ready to face what comes next, with a spring in her step and a smile on her face.
I mean, wouldn’t she?