Being A Parent of Autistic Children
An Honest, Open Letter From The Heart
When my children were first diagnosed with autism, I had only a few moments of heartbreak. For the most part, I have been their warrior. I see the positives and celebrate the little milestones. My parents raised me with good southern morals. I was never allowed to see any differences as negative. Whether it was skin tone, disability, accent, religion, it didn’t matter. Differences are what make us unique.
My morals were shaped by shining examples. My father has been blind my whole life. Never once did he let that stand in his way. He does everything anyone else can do (except drive, lol). He has worked 40 hours a week at a factory, 50 weeks a year. My mom stayed at home with us, so he was the sole supporter of our family and I always have respected him for that. So when he said disability doesn’t mean less, I believed him and that’s how I still believe.
Being a parent of autistic children has its positives and negatives. I always do my best to put light on the positives of autism. Not often do I touch the negatives. As parents, we do have to be honest with ourselves in order to be the best parents we can be. Honesty, we all have a word or set of words that really pulls out those hard emotions. We have to come to a point though, to accept that it’s okay to have those feelings.
As a mom of two children with autism, I put on my battle gear every morning. This includes that smile that tells the world that everything is peachy in our lives. But you know what, sometimes it’s not! Sometimes, I am losing my mind! I am so stinking stress out I can barely remember my why I walked into the living room.
There are so many times where there will be many days since my last shower. Sometimes, I hide in the bathroom and cry while eating a box of Samoas and my hair is rarely not in a bun. Many days, I feel like I have completely failed as a mom because I just cannot handle it all. Being a parent is hard enough, being a parent to special needs children is even harder. Especially when you are trying to raise other children as well.
I write this because I know I am not the only parent that feels this way. At some point or another, every parent with a child with disabilities feels this way. I write this to tell, it’s okay to have those negative feelings. It’s okay to be sad, mad, angry, and all together pissed off. When we accept that we are human and not invincible, we become honest and true.
So how do you function when you get to that point. Like Nike says, you “Just Do It.” Talk it out with a friend, go for a run, hide in the bathroom and cry it out. Go into an empty field and scream! Just let it out somehow. Then, refocus on the positives. God chose you to be their parent because He knows you are the only one qualified enough to be their parent. You are strong, you are loving, you are amazing. He gave you the greatest gift in the world, your child. You get an opportunity that many never get to experience. Seeing the world through their eyes.