Autism Cuppa

You Are a GREAT Parent!

One of my Nephews is having a kinda FB war with one of my kids.  He decided to taunt my kid with “my Mom is better than your Mom” crap and my kid wasn’t buying it.  My kid responded with “it’s easy to be a so-called *great parent* when all your kids are normal.  When you have a kid with autism, it’s a whole other thing.”  The Nephew responded with, “you people always bring up autism. I bet it’s not that big of deal except for you losers.”  Now the cousins aren’t speaking–too bad but to be expected.

My son is right–anyone can look like a great parent (from the outside) when there are no challenges.  If your kids hit all those milestones when they should, lucky you.  But you haven’t begun to be a *great* parent because–you don’t have to be.

How can you consider yourself *great* when you haven’t had to tote your kid (and his brothers) to a therapist’s office three times a week and still try and get a decent meal on the table within minutes of arriving at home? And what about the Team of Professionals it takes to coordinate your kid’s education–ever try to get five of them in a room at the same time when it’s not IEP season?  Toilet training?  It’s *fun* to get it done when he’s two or three years old  but when you’ve spent time EVERY DAY until he’s six or seven working at it so he can be toilet trained, it takes a certain kind of determination that makes a parent not just *great* but bordering on Sainthood.  I know you like “organic” and “whole foods” and “gluten-free” and use other food buzz words that make me laugh, but when foods you choose for your kid can make his autism worse or just getting the kid to TAKE. A. BITE. requires the planning of a four-star general, any preferences you may have for your perfect children and their diets makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth. How can you be considered to be a great parent when the biggest challenge you’ve had with your children is them not making Varsity on the first try?

Parenting is not for wimps but Special Needs Parents are a special breed of strong-armed, strong-stomached, strong-willed Warriors who try every day to do the best they can for their kids—ALL OF THEM—and second-guess themselves at every turn.  They take no time for themselves, or very little, and feel guilty for anything they do not related to their kids. When no one notices their sacrifices, it’s fine, until someone makes a crack, like Nephew did.  And then all bets are off.

Anyone can parent someone without problems; it’s only when there are problems you see what kind of parent they are—and what kind of person they are as well. Special needs parents are GREAT PARENTS! We’ve had to be because there is no other way to parent someone with challenges.



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Your Autism Cuppa is written by a longtime Autism Mom. A former Autism Society of America local chapter president, she is an educator and artist and has done inclusion consulting work for over 20 years. Married for 36 years to the father of her Three Sons, the eldest having autism, she wants young parents to know they are not alone. Life can be fun!

3 thoughts on “You Are a GREAT Parent!”

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