Parenting Is Hard

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Here we go again. I missed Friday's post. Of course, I didn't have anything important or valuable to say and I had company in from out of town, so maybe it was for the best. As for tonight, I just finished up some work left over from today. I may have mentioned I am covering for a colleague when she goes out on maternity leave in four weeks? Well, her waters broke yesterday, so her leave started today. And although I am not really ready, I am going to do my best, which of course means working harder for a while to catch up. I would so much rather be writing. And before I go off on a tangent... This is supposed to be a mommy-ish post, so here goes.

Tonight I had to face a hard truth. I had to fill out a membership form for my little boy to start Lego club on Tuesday nights. Lego club is at the Sensory Centre and held for children with a disability. Tonight, for the first time, I had to admit-- if only on paper-- that my son has a disability. Although we have not been given a firm diagnosis, the team of doctors, psychologists, etc. in charge of assessing him has confirmed that he has Sensory Processing Disorder, something that deep down I already knew. They also keep referring to his symptoms and the challenges we are facing as being 'common in Autism Spectrum Disorder'. They haven't come right out and said my son is autistic, but I think again it's something we already know.

The last few months have been the hardest I think I have ever faced. He doesn't understand or even notice that he is different. In fact, most of the other children in his class don't notice it either. Their parents do, though. We have had a few months of what can only be called bullying at the hands of a few of these parents. They tell their kids not to play with him because he 'isn't right' or say that he is 'naughty and will always be naughty because he can't change'. One real gem has even referred to him-- to her son--as' that f'ing boy'. TO HER SON! The kid came in and told my son this--word for word-- and he didn't bother to censor it as I have here. What is wrong with people?!

So, needless to say, all of these kids are coming to school telling my already emotionally fragile six-year-old what their moms say about him. This has resulted in him being sad and telling me how worthless he is because 'so-and-so's mom says so'. Honest to God, it is all I can do not to go in and give these women a piece of my mind and then some. Imagine grown women-- thirty years old plus-- bullying a six-year-old in this way. If I wasn't a lady...

I can honestly say, I never teased or picked on a disabled person. Not even when I was a child. Maybe because I was bullied as a child. But I have to be honest and say that before I became the mother of a special needs child I looked at other special needs moms with pity. Pity that I really don't want to be looked at with now. I used to look at those women and wonder how the hell they got through the day. Now I look at myself in the mirror at the end of the night and wonder how the hell I made it.

Even still, it did not really hit me that my child has a 'disability' until tonight when I had to check 'ASD' on the Sensory Centre membership form. I wonder, if having a disability makes my son different, does it make me different, too? I sure feel different. I don't think most mothers go through the same daily stresses that I do. I swear, every time some chipper, not-a-hair-out-of-place, size 6 mom says to me 'well, parenting IS hard, you know' I want to kill her.

Yes, I knew parenting was going to be hard. I know now that my 22 month old won't sleep through most nights and that I have to be prepared to go to work full-time on three hours sleep. I also know that kids have tantrums. But for years I thought that surely parenting shouldn't be as hard as I was finding it. Surely I must have been doing something wrong to make things difficult on myself. Or if not, maybe I just wasn't up to the challenge. It was almost a relief when the doctor told me that he was on the autism spectrum. I could finally believe that I wasn't just the world's worst mom; that instead I just had a particularly challenging child. Parenting for me WAS harder than it could have been.

These first six years have been the hardest of my life, and not ones I would necessarily want to repeat, but now that we are getting some support I have hope that the next six will go a little more smoothly So here's to all of the mom's out there finding parenting a little harder than they expected. Whether you are the parent of a special needs child or not. Know this-- You are not alone. You are not a crappy mom! Just keep doing your best. Your best will be THE best for your child.

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