This is not my fault.
I am doing the best I can, which means acknowledging that it will never feel like enough. I am only human.
I am gaining patience, resilience, wisdom and strength. I don't see it; I don't necessarily feel it; but it's true. It just has to be true.
My home is a disaster - whether due to my Tasmanian devil child, diminishing time and money, or pure, unprecedented exhaustion (or a combination thereof). I must learn to care less.
I have lost sight of my identity, my friends, my professional drive, and my peace because I am laser-focused on my child's well-being and future readiness. Still, I can take baby steps for my own sanity. For example, today, maybe I'll shower.
I find myself saying and doing things I never imagined due to my child's absurd, unpredictable behavior, interests and needs. I want to cry on many occasions; but it always feels better to laugh.
I am overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite cures, therapies, medications, treatments and diets that I am told will help my child. Some will help; others won't. We'll unapologetically do what works best for us, when it works for us - holistically, logistically and practically.
Each year, I will continue to search for the perfect school scenario for my child; nothing will ever fit quite right. I will take it day by day, year by year.
I am my child's best advocate. I will trust my instincts. I will consult with professionals, doctors, teachers and psychologists; but mostly I have to learn to trust myself.
I will feel judged. Sometimes, I really am being judged, so I should grow a thicker skin. More important, however, I am judging myself, and I need to learn to be kinder to myself.
People will say, 'I don't know how you do it' or 'you're an amazing mom.' This inexplicably will irritate me since I wouldn't dare admit that I also 'don't know how I do it;' and usually disagree about the 'amazing' part. I do it because I am a loving mother. That is all.
I can't do this alone; it does take a village. My village should include family, friends, caretakers, teachers, health professionals and therapists. When the village I have isn't complete or up to par, I must seek a new village - like Twitter.
My child might hit me, hurt me or run from me. I cannot take this personally. It's not about me. It's about her: her frustrations, sensory differences and unfulfilled needs.
I always should be consistent, patient, firm and engaged. I frequently am not. I can always try again tomorrow.
I will realistically prepare her with the tools she needs to reach her potential. That means:
- If she can't or won't find her voice, I will teach her other ways to communicate.
- If she can't or won't be safe, I will find ways to protect her.
- If she can't or won't learn how to survive in the social wilderness, I will place her in situations where she is accepted and happy in her own skin.
*This post also is proudly featured on The Oxygen Mask Project blog, a wonderful site where special needs parents share and support each other's small steps toward taking care of themselves amid the chaos.