There are few things that really get to me. Working in social media, I scroll through countless offensive and generally awful things on a daily basis. You learn quickly to let things roll off your back or you’ll just feel down about things all the time. But when I came across this meme while scrolling through my personal Facebook feed, it really hit home. It says, “What if I told you autism parents are just martyr mommies?” Let me be clear: Having children with autism does not make me a “martyr mommy.”
Do you look at your kids and think, “How did you get this big?!” I can’t believe how quickly they are growing up. I want to treasure them at each age. We like to have special one-on-one time with each of our children once in a while. I think it’s important when you have more than one child to give each of them a special day that is all about them. Thanks to my parents, we had the opportunity to do that this weekend! It’s fun to see the excitement in the kids’ eyes when we give them the opportunity to choose their own adventure.
“Can we play outside?” My kids would spend all their hours outside if they could. We finally have a space for our kids to play safely. They have space to run, climb, jump and explore. We have a yard to play in and neighbors to play with, which presented a new aspect of parenting for me this week.
“I am touched out!” Raise your hand if you’ve expressed those words before. I have both of mine raised. There have been far too many times when I just CANNOT. The kids demanded two different dinners, so you made three because you need to eat, too. Then they decided that whatever you so humbly made them is inedible by the time it arrives to their plates. So you passed out bowls of yogurt and Goldfish because there’s no way you will make another meal. Why are these tiny humans so unreasonable?!
Two experiences with postpartum mood disorders, antenatal mood disorders and now situational depression. I’m a parent of two young children on the autism spectrum and realized that I am likely on the spectrum as well. I never anticipated that mental health would play such a large role in my life. But here I am, finally tapered off of a medication that caused an allergic reaction. Two other drugs ruled out due to the level of side effects that I experienced. My doctor and I have agreed on this – I’m giving myself three months to manage my mental health without medication.
We all know it to be true: comparison is the thief of joy. Parents of special children know that twinge in our gut that immediately follows a comparison. It’s a twinge of pain and guilt. I know that I can’t compare our children to yours, but sometimes I still do.