Many times over the years I have wondered if I am really the best mom for my child. Shouldn't my son have a mother that is more patient? One that doesn't get exasperated over constant humming and singing. A mom that doesn't mind being touched all day long. One that has more energy, one that puts that child's needs first and foremost in life? A mom that is all sacrificing. There is something wrong with this line of thinking. That type of mom does not exist!
I have come to realize that not only could I never be that type of mom, that type of mom could not be a better mom for my child or any child! A mom that only puts her child first can never have the energy or mental stamina to last for any significant period of time. There needs to be a balance. There are good days and bad days. Life is not all good or all bad. There are seasons for everything.
There are days that I have infinite patience and other days that I start out at zero. There are times that I am unhappy, everyone needs me and I have no time for myself or my needs. It's so tempting to keep putting everyone else first, that I have learned that I need to take care of me too! Even if it's taking a nap with my child, reading to myself while my child watches too much tv, or taking up my husband's offer to take more time at the store or stop and get a manicure on the way home. (or hiding in my bathroom or closet to give myself a manicure!) I know that I am beyond lucky to have a husband to help in this tumultuous journey of parenting! I'm happy to say he also understands that I need a break and I'm lucky to have someone that can relieve me of some parenting duties now and then.
Parenting is never easy, and it's exponentially more difficult when a child has different needs than those that are “typical”. It's harder to find to support and advice that actually helps. It can feel isolating and like you are against the world. If you are seeking out help and resources, advice and services, you are doing a great job! For me the key is listening to my instincts about when we need to try something new or different. You know your child, you are their most influential advocate. Being there to love and accept them is vital. Be their soft place to fall, to get empathy (especially when you do not agree with how they handled something!), to find love, understanding and compassion. If you do those things, it will get better! It may not always seem like it, but it will. There is hope and sharing that hope with your child will make a huge impact.
Please remember that you are enough. You need to take care of yourself to give those around you what they need. That can be very difficult when the one that might need you the most has the least to give in return. Sometimes what they give in return is more draining. God gave you that child for a reason! He knows that you can do this! It does take listening to Him and accepting the help that is offered. Maybe it's also pushing others to change how things are so that your child and others like them can be successful and accepted in the community. You are exactly what your child needs. You are cut out for this. You can do this! You are not alone!
When things are rough and you feel like you are in a pit of despair, breathe! It won't be like this forever. It's often hard, but share your struggle! I guarantee there are other parents that feel just like you do. Seeking out help in to a real person is ideal, but even if it's a group on Facebook, you can often find others that have been there or are there right now too. I am pretty open about my son having ADHD or that he sometimes struggles with things “typical” or “lucky” kids don't struggle with. I have found so many other moms that readily open up as soon as I tell them anything about our struggles. You can find a community of helpers. They can help you find your way to parenting your child in the best way you can. One thing I do have to say is, listen to those that encourage patience, kindness and empathy. The ones that encourage you to be stricter, harsher or more punitive will not be beneficial. We all know how to do that and it doesn't get you the long term effects you are hoping for.
(For more information about problem solving parenting and to find a like minded group of people. click here )