Its Exhausting!

Right moms? Dads?

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If you’re a parent with a neurologically typical child, during the baby stage and early formative years, you spend half your life tired. And when you’re not tired you spend a lot of time wondering when your precious child will be able to eat/ sleep/ communicate/ brush his teeth/ dress himself/ tie his shoes/ bath/”go potty”/ do homework/ study/ drive without your help.
You don’t want to wish his childhood away, but you do want to have some time to yourself sometimes.

As your child gets older you can tell him to brush his teeth or do his homework, or leave him home alone after school or over a weekend and you can probably assume that nine times out of ten, all will be well.
And each of those milestones is something to be celebrated. And then each milestone is worried over, as he gains independence and forms his own personality and spends less and less time with you.

Lets face it. A parents’ worry and stress over their child never lessens, but the work gets steadily lighter as your neuro-typical child gets older.

And it is a lot of work.

And its unbelievably rewarding.

Now if you are a parent to a neurologically atypical child you wonder about the same things any parent does, and you celebrate the milestones. And worry about the milestones. A huge issue with an atypical child though is that those milestones sometimes aren’t reached, no matter what you do. And the work you need to do to get your child through a normal day never seems to decrease.

Parenting a neuro-atypical child means that almost every interaction with your child has to be carefully managed. You know your child will not react as expected or be able to follow through with even simple instructions and you take steps to make your lives as smooth as possible, with a minimum of conflict. You can’t leave your neuro-atypical child to get dressed for school or do his homework and just assume it will be done. You can’t leave your neuro-atypical child home alone and assume that all will be well. Because in all likelihood it won’t be.

I have caught myself, now- as a parent to a neuro-atypical 20 year old- relishing the fact that I don’t have school stress anymore. No more schedules and study plans and missing stationery and lost uniforms. I am grateful that I no longer have to worry about where he is in the day, because he is working full day. We spend less time together in social settings which means I no longer have to subtly focus on helping him lower his voice and not butt-in on conversations.
But we still butt heads over unbelievably simple things like brushing his teeth and the few chores he needs to do at home.

And over the years, I found myself bursting into guilty, snotty sobs because I caught myself treasuring 15 minutes alone in a grocery store, thankful that my child wasn’t with me and I could be like everyone else for a little while. I didn’t have to worry about my child disappearing and wishing he had a leash.

The worry and stress over your child never lessens, and with an atypical child neither does the workload.

And it is a lot of work.

And its unbelievably rewarding.

As a parent to a neuro-typical child you do feel like you’re at the end of your tether sometimes. You wish you could just have an hour to yourself to do something for yourself.

For parents of neuro-atypical children this is magnified tenfold. If you know someone with a neuro-atypical child, perhaps try to cut them a little slack?

About Angel

Wife, mom, cake artist, Guide Dog puppy raiser, ADHD champion, wedding planner, and tattooed cat slave.

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6 Responses to Its Exhausting!

  1. Julia says:

    It is exhausting. And it makes me anxious for his future. On Sunday my mother and I were talking about his future relationships and we were wondering what he would be like when married. I told her that I better start praying now already for a good wife for him.
    To be honest, I am not yet at the point where I find it rewarding. I know it sounds really bad when I say this and I feel terrible to say it. I love my son more than anything. But at this moment in time I am finding it exhausting. I do hope I can start to see the rewarding bits VERY SOON. I guess it is a matter of perspective and I need to sit down and process this some more.
    Thank you for this post.
    Julia recently posted…Some Life Lessons I learnt from Mothers DayMy Profile

  2. acidicice says:

    You have done such a fantastic job with The Knucklehead! You amaze me!
    acidicice recently posted…Kirstenbosch and IllnessMy Profile

  3. becky says:

    I love how you sum it all up in a nutshell. If I can get five minutes alone in my car to drive ANYWHERE without ANYONE I’m exstatic. A trip for a gallon of milk can take me an hour of mindlesslessly wandering the aisles! (Although Hubby is figuring this out I think… since he’s been volunteering to go more..)
    becky recently posted…its hair cut timeMy Profile

  4. I am just now learning to cope with our neuro atypical boy. I have to say that now that the OT has addressed a lot of the behaviour stuff, the sleep one is the toughest still.
    cat@juggling act recently posted…Things I have learned this holidayMy Profile

  5. Terri says:

    I don’t think there’s a woman alive who hasn’t treasured 15 minutes alone in a grocery store.
    Terri recently posted…So the witch is dead What nowMy Profile

  6. Laura says:

    I escape to the shops for quiet and calm! So eventhough I have pretty typical kids I understand this!

    I try to cut all parents – even those with one child – slack!

    Its not always easy!