Here’s the thing – t doesn’t matter if your child has autism, or Down Syndrome, or Sherlock Syndrome (as in our case) – every mom of a child with special needs has her moments. When the cape is on fire, the balls she’s trying to juggle get dropped, and the horrible ugly truth comes out.
I know, we’re not supposed to show these sides. We’re angels, superwomen, amazing. We’re so much more patient and calm – I mean, you see us be patient and calm All. The. Time. We seem to face all the challenges in a way that others – those without someone special in their life – couldn’t possibly ever imagine dealing with, mere mortal that they are.
Here’s the thing -
We’re humans too. We’re mortal. We say bad words, in front of our kids. We yell stuff like “Dammit child!” as our special little kiddo sits in a puddle of milk, smearing themselves with honey, or pees on the carpet - again, or is chewing up a twenty dollar bill, or whatever gem they decided to try out that day.
We’re not perfect. We have bad moments.
And yet, somehow, we’re expected to be above all that.
If we’re pissed off about something that happened to our child in school, we’re not allowed to publically vent about it. That would be Wrong. That could affect how the school treats our child.
If our child is throwing a tantrum in public, we’re not allowed to even look perturbed, or else we’ll hear the whispers of “Oh that poor child, why is her mother SO MEAN?”
We’re told we’re the “experts” on our child – until we meet with a school. Then we’re told that we must do things their way, because they know better. That is, until something goes wrong and they start grilling us with what might be causing the behavior. Or we meet with a doctor, who implies that somehow, we’re just imagining things, our child is fine. Until two years later, when you finally find a doctor who will actually treat you like an intelligent person and doesn’t gaslight you and states “Why yes, your child is this way, having these problems.”
We spent so much of our time trying to balance life out – school life, home life, our life, kids lives – and it’s impressive to watch the juggling routine – until we end up with too many things to juggle and they all fall down – then suddenly, we’re open to any and all criticisms.
We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t. We can’t complain, then we’re ungrateful. We can’t question authorities, because then we’re being uppity. We can’t show that we’re stressed because we might then be a bad parent. We can’t ask for more help because then we’re being unreasonably demanding.
We can’t win.
And then one day, we lose our cool. Usually, this is preceded by a child’s tantrum, screaming, getting thwacked in the face yet again, a meltdown in the middle of a busy store, with everyone staring.
We cry, we vent to those we can. Those few safe people who get it. Sometimes, we crack enough that we share our frustrations with the world – or at least Facebook. Only to have it bite us in the ass.
“You can’t say that!!!!”
Why can’t we say we’re tired of things? Why can’t we complain when we think our child is not getting what she deserves? Why can’t we have a moment to stomp our feet and say “It’s not fair!”
“You can’t say that!”
No, we can’t. Because if we complain, and there is fallout, our child is the one to suffer.
So we take on that suffering for our child. For our family. We cry privately, sigh, dry our tears and find our brave stoic patient faces again.
The thing is – that with everything else going on in our lives, it sometimes becomes too much. But we have to keep doing that. Because the thing is – we have no other choice.
The thing is, we do all this, put up with all of that, because we love our kids so very much. We know the obstacles they face, the confusion they deal with, the struggles they have. We know that many people in the world will never accept them. That there will be people who should be taking care of them and they will slack off. We know that we’re the only person fighting for them. We know that our child needs us so very desperately, and we can’t tell them “Sorry, it’s not worth the hassle.”
So we take it all in, make it ours. When they are in pain, we’re in pain. When they’re being mistreated, we’re being mistreated. When they don’t sleep, God knows we don’t sleep. When they’re unhappy, our hearts break. In a way, they become a part of us, our shadows, always there, by our side.
The thing is, their life is our life.
And that is a little crazy-making.
So allow us our vents, our outbursts, our moments of anger, our times when we’re not angelically patient, the times our capes slip off and we don’t handle things with grace and humor, but with curse words. Loud curse words.
The thing is, we’ve earned those moments. By God, we have earned them.