Guess what Sunshine? Neither do I. I'm not saying this in a super humble, there, but for the grace of God, go I sort of way. I am saying this in the completely burnt out, oh my god he pooped his pants twice in an hour and now I have to give him a second bath kind of way. I do it because I have no other choice but to do it. If I don't do it, I would be some sort of monster. If I do what needs to be done, this token cliche phrase gets tossed at me. Let me translate that to what that means to me when I hear it.
"Thank God that ain't me." and you know what? I'd almost appreciate that honesty a little more. You think I got it harder/worse than you? Well, I don't think so. I just have it different than you.
My parenting to my son is different because of his needs but I am doing the same job as you. Each kid is a flipping snowflake, blah blah blah, you get what I'm saying right? I'm trying to make a point on this cliche phrase. I really don't want to use one. So why do I get put on the shelf of "Parenting All Stars Most High". Just because of a medical diagnosis? That's just odd to me. Maybe it's because he's the only kid I have. I just don't see why I have to get boxed into some Donna Reed "My, isn't she stoic" sort of category.
Maybe it's because I've seen the "looks" and gotten comments from strangers about my kid that make me question my failure as a parent more times than I can count. The women that stare at me as I lead my 9 year old son into a public restroom because he still does not have the communication skills or the sense of awareness to be left by himself in a men's room. (Screw you ladies. You are all in stalls anyway. He can't see anything and guess what? He doesn't care even if he did.) The "advice" that is offered to me that folks think is so helpful is usually anything but that. ("Oh he's in your bed nightly. You should stop that you know? Really? I had no idea. I just figured we do it this way. Co sleeping till he is 34.)
Let me not forget the joy and pain that is seen in online social media. If I am ever feeling to full of myself, I can just hop on Facebook, state an opinion and sit back to watch trolls feed off it till it's been ripped to shreds. Man, what is it about hiding behind that computer screen or smart phone and folks grow a pair of brass ones don't they? At the same time, I can write something like how my son required two baths in a single hour and have countless other parents give me the cyber fist bump through the screen. They've been there. They've done that. They're still buying baby butt wipes for a baby that is rapidly approaching ten.
I don't know how anyone does it, this parenting thing. It's the hardest job I have ever done. Just learning to accept the fact that even while I think I have a moment of rest, (going to the bathroom) I'm not really. He's always there. I'm always "on call" so to speak. There is no end in sight. There is no punching out. The pay sucks and he refuses to match my 401K. Parenting is now just another involuntary action to my being. Even when I die, I will probably come back to haunt him and tell him in a ghostly tone to drink his milk and to leave the dog alone. Frankly I'd rather not think of the dying part as I can't. No really I can't. See, that's one of those different moments I was telling you about. Don't feel like you got to be sorry for me. It is what it is. Autism teaches me that every day.
How do I do it? A diet of coffee, fries and wine. An exercise routine of running after him to put on pants in the morning followed by lifting his melting down self off the floor when he's completely overwhelmed. Add a heavy dash of sarcasm and little sleep which helps keeps me a little dizzy and possibly deluded into thinking everything is going to be just fine.
Just don't put me on that Supermom pedestal. Just let me sit on the Tired Mom couch in my yoga pants watching Bravo reality TV.