The one where I return to blogging, if only to defend my position as an Autism Mom
January 28, 2012
Today in my Status Updates feed I came across a blog post titled “Top Five Reasons You Should Never Piss Off An Autism Mom” and I was intrigued. Being an autism mom myself, I wanted to know what these reasons were, you know, just in case. Also, to help warn others when *ahem* I got pissed off. However, as I read the post, I became confused. I’m not going to say I got angry, because honestly? I was actually disappointed.
I get it. I do. It’s tough to be a parent and for some, it becomes even more challenging when your child is diagnosed with something that people can’t relate to; or for some not really want to understand (NIMBY mentality). For all of the press and media that Autism gets, it still is difficult for those who are not dealing with it day in and day out to understand what the person is going through, not to mention the parents. Yes, I have been looked at sideways in stores when I am with my child. I have even been criticized in my own family for either doing too much or too little to help my child which doesn’t sit well with me, but I am comfortable and confident in my decisions regarding the care and advocacy of my child. And yes, I do get frustrated and angry at the unfairness of people. But, I’m a strong believer in the “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” theory (meaning I know they would not walk a mile in my shoes if given the choice or chance). I also understand wanting to scream from the rooftops that you ARE doing the best you can; you ARE a good parent, and you ARE NOT deserving of the comments, looks and stares you get in public. I totally do. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.
That being said, in my opinion, things like this post do nothing to help anyone, least of all the Autism Moms of the world. Here’s why:
By beginning a post calling out and stereotyping other groups who you feel are wronging you, you in turn do to them what you are accusing them of. It’s counter productive. Yes, there ARE people out there that have no filter, or feel justified to give you their two cents worth. But to call specific groups out does nothing but widen the gap even more, and remind us all that no matter what situation we are in, inevitably human nature makes us do the same thing we dislike in others. It also makes your argument fall short. Every. Single. Time. More importantly, we CAN disagree. That’s also in the human nature handbook, or so I have been told.
Raging back at small minded people, either in print or in person actually solves nothing; simply because actions like that are the equivalent of battling a Medusa. Cut one head off (or down) and another one will take it’s place. This is an uphill battle, and to put it into perspective; women have been fighting for equality for decades – AND WE ARE STILL FIGHTING. A sub-group of women aren’t going to make any more headway then our sisters already in the trenches. Not like this. Save the battles for what matters, continuing to raise awareness of Autism that help our children, not ostracize them (and us) further from people.
Even if I take a step back and say that this could be viewed as a humorous post, I really can’t find too much to find funny (and I don’t really think the author really wants us to). Again, I understand the “why me?” mentality. I just can’t subscribe to it. I know why God gave me the child I have. I know because at a major life crossroads I felt I didn’t have what it took to pursue something I have always dreamed of being, mostly because I thought I had a lack of patience. I made other decisions, other choices. The Man Upstairs has a wicked sense of humor. More importantly, he has an amazing insight as to what each and every one of us are capable of and why we are here. I’m awed and grateful each and every day to be my son’s mother. I’m lucky to have been chosen to parent this amazing, beautiful creature. Autism Moms and Dads are chosen because we have an innate ability to meet the demands of raising these children. We may not THINK sometimes that we are, but the reality is that we are. It is not our jobs to convince everyone else of that fact. That’s simply a road block that takes you away from the task at hand.
Motherhood in and of itself is a rather thankless task in our male-driven society. It is even more frustrating when our own gender thinks they know best. Probably? Those people have their own insecurities that they don’t deal with because it is easier to judge others. We all have insecurities. I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t. That is how they deal, I suppose. It’s what make us human. It’s easier to judge others than look inward. This is what I took away from this post.
My point (and I do have one), is this: YOU as an Autism Mom or Dad (or Mother or Father or human) know what you are capable of, even if you might not be using it to your full potential. DO WHAT YOU DO BEST. Love your child and be proud of them. Help them to unlock their own potential in this world. Don’t worry about what others think. Fight for what is important, the best opportunities for your child in such a closed-minded society that doesn’t like to deal with anything difficult or not is society’s norm. Fight to change that each and every day for and with your child. Fighting other people’s perceptions isn’t how that gets accomplished. Remembering that your child has just as much right to participate in society, and working to help put supports into place to help them do that, is where the battle is.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Our children. We were chosen to care for and represent these wonderful creatures that can and will teach all of us so much. Even those people referenced in the blog post.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the Autism Fathers who go through the same issues that Autism Moms do, some even alone. I’m honored to be in the trenches with you. Thank you for all that you do.
See what I did there? I blew apart a stereotype that even in our own group is STILL perpetuated. That it is just us moms holding down the fort. There are more of us, male and female, raising awareness and advocating. Sometimes that gets lost in all of this. Let’s work on changing that.
That will make all the difference in the world. For everyone.
this is my opinion, just as the person who’s post I referenced is her opinion. I’m not saying she does not have a right to her feelings, she totally does. I’m just saying that not all Autism Moms feel that way, and maybe a disclaimer needs to be added. Honestly? I completely agree with the lack of sleep and knowing how to fight. I’m just in disagreement with the presentation. Sorry.