Monday, March 16, 2015

St. Patrick was a saint.

I ain't. ;-)

I have a pin that says that.  I wore it in my twenties when I was feeling cheeky.  It was a good investment as it paid for itself in smiles and a round of drinks.  With St. Patrick's day upon us, I can't help thinking how it means something completely different than it did when I was trying to flirt my way for a free whiskey sour.

I am not comfortable with the way we autism parents get a halo slapped on top of our heads.  1) It really messes up my hair. 2) Didn't you all realize we can suck as parents just as much as the rest of you raising that wacky neurotypical bunch that you all have got? 3) Hell, not even autism parents. Any time a parent is facing any sort of medical or special needs challenge with their kid.  Nobody signs up for this and yet we're suppose to be some sort of saint?  Pffft! As if!

There is a relief moment when you realize that your child has autism because you finally have a direction.  You can start making a plan.  Start figuring out what works best for success.  It's promptly followed by a "Oh Shit!  They have autism!" moment.  At least it was for me.  It hit both my husband and I in different ways.  He had no experience with autism at all so it was so much unknown for him.  I had worked for nine years with special needs kids, many who were autistic. So I was completely overwhelmed and really fell apart.  There were days were I could barely get dinner made or a load of laundry done.  (And in all fairness, I still have those days.)

I can honestly say how I view autism has totally changed.  A couple of times too.  It's a new ballgame when it's YOUR kid, not just a student.  Conversations went from ones with my co workers to other just as lost and bewildered parents.  That day I stumbled across that first blog written by autistic adult kind of blew my mind.  It good and bad ways.  Good, for the insight. Bad, when I saw the anger directed at parents just in general.

I get it. I do.  Those with a shitty childhood, that blows.  However, shitty childhoods are not exclusive to autism.  Yeah, I saw my share of parents that couldn't be bothered to give a crap when I was working.  I see them now as a parent too.  I have also seen both with ALL types of parents. Not that it makes it any better but please, don't jump to assumption that we all suck.  We are trying.

I know I am trying my best with what I have got in front of me and it still in some way will fail my kid.  That's hard to swallow but it's true.  I hope my kid can understand that when he's older.  Like I do now when I think about my own childhood.  (No, it wasn't a bad one. It was quite nice actually. But what person on this planet had a perfect one?)  I may understand some of the choices my parents made now.  I may not agree with them but I understand them.  I'm hoping the Kiddo will be able to get that too.

I hope he understand how this parenting gig is such an ongoing evolving process but he might not.  These are the chances I take with this.  I hope that he can understand some day that when I expressed frustration, confusion or even disappointment, I still loved him so much.  I hope he can understand that my emotions are just as valid as his. He might not though, autism and wrapping his mind around another viewpoint.   Regardless of them being "right' or "wrong".  I'm human.  Emotions happen.

I'm trying Kiddo. I really am and maybe with the Luck of the Irish, we'll be okay.


  1. This is a great post. A perfect reminder that we, as parents, do the best we can - and sometimes? We screw up. But it's okay. We'll all be okay. Thanks for sharing this. I ain't no saint, either. ;) [And the whiskey sour flashback was too funny!]

  2. Trust me, my kids don't have autism and I know I am truly not a saint either on any given day of the week. Like you just trying my best daily to do all I can for my kids, but probably screwing up royally. So, trust me I get this in spades here, too!

  3. As a parent of a child with significant special needs I can't tell you how much I hate being called a saint!!! I realize people are trying to be nice but it drives me nuts. I too am no saint!!! Love this piece, thanks!

  4. I am the step parent (soon to be legal parent) of a little boy with FAS. Nearly every single day I hear "You're his saving grace" or "Without you he never would have come as far as he has." Or my favorite "He did such a wonderful job! You should be proud of yourself!" BS. #1 He has an amazing father. A father who made 2 of the biggest decisions in this little boy's life. Not me. Him. #2 I do not need to be proud of myself. I need to be proud of him. Despite my best efforts in assisting him reach his potential, it would never happen in a million years if HE didn't want it just as badly or even worse than I did.

    I am by no means a saint or saving grace or whatever. I ran with the same people bio-mom did, i did the same stuff bio-mom did. I cleaned up my life. She didn't. Just because bio - mom is really just a drunk, drugged out egg donor doesn't mean the credit falls to me. Dad gets the credit for taking custody and protecting him. Kiddo get the credit for doing a job well done.

  5. We're just days away from finding out if our son has autism or not and I have to say that the blogs run by autistic adults frighten me. There is a lot of bitterness there directed at parents. I love my son to pieces and I know he knows he is loved but Im scared he will grow up angry and bitter. That is more disheartening to me than anything else, to be honest. I don't want him to grow up and hate neuro-typicals Those around him who love him the most and who will protect him the hardest are all NT.

  6. I could so relate to this, I get the "saint" comment often and it never sits easy with me. Great post!

  7. I don't get the saint comment. People must know me too well. LOL. Granted, my son is not autistic (he Sensory Processing Disorder but with many autistic tendencies), so we don't have it as hard as others, but good grief, I find myself losing my cool over seemingly little things, things I feel he cannot control but which drive me batty. This past week-end, we took a five hour trip to visit my family/attend my niece's horse back riding birthday party. I pushed my kid into getting on a horse even though I had promised him he did not have to if he did not want to. I hated pushing him so far out of his comfort zone but I knew if he didn't try, he'd be upset later about it. It apparently was such a big deal (I mean, it was to us his parents) that the parents of other kids teared up with me when our son was on the horse. I was even told that I was the mom of the year for who knows what. I appreciated the gesture, but I was well aware that my pushing might backfire with a meltdown later (thankfully it did not), so it was hard to think of myself as a great mom. What kind of good mom pushed her kid's sensory boundaries like that? Me, that's who. I am glad other moms admit to not being saints, because sometimes I feel like the only devilish mom (not that I am THAT bad) out there. :)