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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Life. Parenting. Grace.

Post 54.

I’ve been a mom for almost 9 years and I still have yet to receive a handbook. Neither child came with instructions. Not a single piece of paper, index card, or post it telling my husband and I what we’d be in for. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I wonder what the return policy is.

I personally avoid most parenting and mommy blogs. I have found most of them to have followers that spend more time tearing people down than supportive. I’m quite capable of doing that all on my own. How we parent may differ from how you parent; it’s not a competition. We love our children more than anything; we also want to place them on Craig’s List on occasion.Regardless of your journey to parenthood, parenting is not for the faint of heart. This is probably why there isn’t a handbook. However, if anyone has the chapter on how to get your children to clean up after themselves, please send that my way. The chapter on listening skills would also be appreciated.

As of now both children will be heading back to school five days a week at the end of August. My son has not been in a school building since March 2020; this is a terrifying reality. Our guy has autism, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, and fine and gross motor delay. This kid likes routine, consistency, quiet, familiarity, and control. He has OT, Speech, and ABA therapy each and every week totaling about 22 hours of time. Dude has a part time job. This part time job has equated to such growth and progress. The idea of dialing back any of these services when school starts is panic inducing.

I’ve entered into full mama bear mode with his school on trying to get plans in place to have a successful transition back to school. I’ve had some phone calls, lots of emails, and I have been working on one hell of an email outlining our expectations for a supportive and productive learning environment. Our advocacy is not only for our sons benefit but for the teacher and his classmates. Our son can be a disruptive, physical, loud, angry, pissed, mad, hard to calm individual. These reactions are triggered by logical things like the wind changing directions or the wrong color paper. Autism is a real gem sometimes.

Our daughter is irritated that our son gets to pick out any color folder, notebook, pencil case etc. She attends a private school which has a different set of standards. Personally, I prefer a list that tells me exactly what to buy, school supplies shopping is painful. I also love uniforms; she at least hasn’t started balking about that.

Our children have different needs and strengths and thus we have them in two different school environments. This works for us. It works for them. With our little loves being Irish twins we appreciate that this division allows for them to have their own experiences. As parents we struggle with providing equal attention to the kids. Our son requires more attention. There is no way around it. Tonight our son tossed the kitchen trash can all over the kitchen, had a meltdown over dinner, went into fight mode, all before 6:30pm; I walked in the door around 5 from work. After this adventure and baths and settling him , mopping the floor, cleaning cabinets and doing the dishes my daughter was anxious for her solid attention time. Selfishly I just wanted to be left alone to decompress. She doesn’t understand, and she shouldn’t, what parenting our son can take out of us. As we inch closer to school I’m anxious and terrified of what he is going to do. It’s exhausting on so many levels. There are many experiences we have to avoid because we know it’s not going to be a positive adventure. Another piece that isn’t fair to our daughter. I am so proud of her and the grace she shows her brother. They are also brother and sister and harass each other as such, but these two love one other something fierce. My daughters school emphasizes the importance of God first, other second, and me third. As she has attended this school for three years now her ability to practice being “third” is inspiring. This is something she routinely does with her brother. This spicy 7 year old is going to change the world in ways I can only imagine.

While I routinely feel the weight of working outside the home mom guilt, I’d like to think I’m setting an example of how you can have the career you want and a family. I’m also hoping she can’t tell how much of a hot mess I actually am with attempting to balance it all. But hey I had dinner on the table at 6 pm even with fight club and a trash covered kitchen. One kid got a bath, both kids got to watch their respective shows of choice, and both kids survived another day. Mom and Dad would like to sleep for the 12 hours, however my quiet time doesn’t start until all three of my loves are asleep. I love my husband to the moon and back however, this evening he asked me to do his laundry as I’m cleaning up trash and mopping the floor. He almost met his fate care of the mop. So now that everyone is tucked into bed and can’t break anything until morning, I decompress knowing full well I should try and sleep.

As much as I’d like to I don’t posses the skill say to “F” it. I like a clean house. I like order at work even though I work in a chaotic environment. I like things tickity boo. I also have control issues so this isn’t shocking. If you know me you are fully versed in my charming control issues. I’m terrible at asking for help. I’ll run myself into the ground trying to make it all happen. I’m a work in progress.

I’m a mom, wife, colleague, friend. I struggle with keeping a healthy balance. My home life can be hard. My husband and I can go weeks with constant struggles concerning our son. The plates are constantly spinning and it doesn’t take much for one plate to come crashing down. My husband has a big career and friendships that are dear to him. We moved to our town 3 years ago and are trying to establish roots and build a life here. Maintaining continued growth can be a challenge for us. We can’t just come over for dinner the four of us, unless you like the circus. Weekend one off babysitters aren’t an option. Date nights rarely happen.

Please know I am not complaining. We wouldn’t trade our children or the cards we were dealt for anything . We have such wonderful and amazing children. They both have the biggest hearts, empathy beyond their years, infectious belly laughs, and joyful spirits. I had no idea what parenting was actually going to entail. I had no idea I’d be a special needs mama. I have no idea what I’m doing half of the time. I had no idea how much love I would be capable of giving.

Parenting is hard. The hardest role I will ever have. A role that will evolve as I age and my children age. A role that will continue to shape me and change me for the better (I hope). I would have thought my patience would’ve increased by now; perhaps a lost cause. Everything else for the better…

We all live busy chaotic lives. Parents, non-parents, single, married, employed, unemployed, students, teachers, special needs, doctors, clowns, and everything in between. None of us are any more special then the next. There is no comparison of who has it better or worse. We all process, deal, cope, grieve, laugh, and cry in our own unique way. Sometimes a broken ice maker can become the end of the world for a person. It’s not on me to judge them for their reaction. It’s their reaction, their reality. It’s on us to show grace and simply buy them a bag of ice.

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