Monday, January 13, 2014

Autism Moms

I walked into the work room at school the other day to do some volunteer work at my little guy’s school. I truly thought I had it all together. I was dressed up, I had my makeup on and my hair done. Once again, for another day, I thought I was pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes. “Never let them see you sweat!” Isn’t that the motto? Well, that’s how I work this whole Autism Mom situation. I pull myself up every single day by my boot straps. I put on a smiling face. I try to make myself look confident and sure of myself by looking the part. I don’t do it for anyone else. I do it for myself. Probably because it is the only control I have. It is the only thing that makes me feel confident in this job I have been given. No, I didn’t ask for it. I’m sure I’m not the best at doing it. It is just the job I have right now. I don’t have the option to screw it up.

This day had been a tough one. I had spent the entire morning on the computer. Another morning of countless emails back and forth to the teachers explaining how Hunter was being dishonest again and wasn’t turning in his assignments. They didn’t know how to handle it. Was it okay to give him detention? He wouldn’t sit still. He was skipping tutoring. Another morning of situations I just don’t know how to handle. I’m not the expert. I’m just his mom, and to be honest, I don’t have a damn clue!! I just know I am spending my entire day answering these emails and my entire afternoon and evening will be spent fighting with him about homework. I only know that I am exhausted by all of this and sometimes wonder if any of the fighting is actually doing him any good or just wearing me out.

So, I walked into the work room. I put on a smile and said hi to the teachers and other mom’s there. Then, I ran into one of the other “Autism Mommy’s”. She looked at me with a sympathetic grin and said, “You are having a tough day, aren’t you?” I looked at her with a little bit of shock and embarrassment. I was sure I had covered the stress up with the mound of concealer covering my dark circles and a little bit of lip gloss. I said, “How did you know?” She just smiled and said, “I’ve had that look many times myself. I get it.” I just explained to her that it had been a tough morning dealing with the teachers, smiled, and turned to go do my work. Truth is, I turned with a tear in my eye. Truth is, my heart was warmed. Somebody got it!!

This “Autism Mom” job isn’t an easy one. I’ve yet to hear any of us ask for sympathy. Honestly, it is just a lonely place. I’ve had so many friends and family say they wish they knew how to make it better. Well, here is the formula to help your friends and loved ones raise a child with autism...love them, hug them when they need it, offer to help when you can, send kind emails and text messages and acknowledge that some days are tough. No, you can’t always make the tough days better, but just having someone else acknowledge that today sucks, and that’s ok, somehow makes the day a little easier.