I am not going to lie and say "It's super easy, they are all great and it's all wonderful! I eat bon-bons while my kids clean the house for me and they thank me for letting them!" Um, that's a big negative....I would love that, mind you but it ain't happening. But for some reason I have been told that this is the perception of my life. Because I have six kids, a white couch, spreadsheets on the wall of chores and duties, my makeup/hair fixed and I home school that somewhere there is a golden star with my name on it because we seem to have it all together. Well my friends, this is not the case. I am not perfect, in fact I am far from it. I fail all the time...I lose my temper...I yell at my kids...and I have been known to have my very own temper tantrums! (YAY) But, that's life isn't it? Or at least in my house it is! But just as our parenting experiences mimic most of the world's with it's ups and downs I would say that the dynamics are very much different. Our daily "normal" is a little off from most people's. On any given day I have to explain to a small child why they can't see their mommy or daddy today or why people go to jail and make bad choices. I have look into the eyes of child and answer "I don't know" when I am asked the weekly question of "Am I going to live here forever?". Not too mention deal with emotional breakdowns and temper tantrums because life isn't the way they want it to be. I also then have to juggle my life around strangers who have invaded it for the sake of wanting to be connected to two small children no matter what that looks like. And that's just the icing on the cake! My eldest son struggles daily with his battle with Asperger's, OCD, anxiety and more. On any given day he will destroy something belonging to a sibling simply "because he wanted to". He steals, lies, is INCREDIBLY defiant, can be very ugly to those around him, and has to know EVERY SINGLE DETAIL of the day or he may lose his mind. Going out in public, I already know to be prepared for meltdowns, freak-outs and him demanding to leave because the stress of being out of the house drives him nuts. He can't sit in public chairs, he won't touch anything unless he has on long sleeves that he can pull over his hands, he can ONLY sit by certain people and he frequently walks off in public places leaving me roaming for him with 5 other kids in tow. Let's add that on top of the FAS child who has NO CONCEPT of what is real or what is fake. Everywhere we go there are questions.....very simple and sometimes very grandiose. He doesn't understand anything that requires common sense and acts very much like a 6/7yr old which makes it difficult because you expect him to act 11 and he can't. He believes EVERYTHING he sees, hears or reads and doesn't understand why you can't "win a free car if you call now" when it clearly advertises that you can. Try bursting that bubble. Then there are the two "normal" ones. One has a GIANT brain and uses me as a human encyclopedia to ask the most invasive questions regarding anything from weather, science to movie plots and molecular biology. And you best be ready with an answer and if you say you don't know and you have to "look it up", be prepared to do that first thing. But with all that intelligence comes a flaw....he can be INCREDIBLY emotional to the extent I question his gender! And then there is the dramatic princess. Everything hurts her feelings....everything. She can go from a diva walking the cat walk with sass and confidence to her screaming at you and running to fling herself down on the ground in distress because the way you looked at her "hurt her feelings" in 3.5 seconds. She gets it honest, I know. So factor that all together going on simultaneously and you have my life on a daily basis. Now I thought this was normal but the more time I spend around other people, especially my sister in law, I realize by their guidance that this is in fact NOT normal...LOL. And that's okay. Because this is the life God gave me and for whatever reason I know with Him, I can wake up the next morning and keep going...knowing the struggles that lie ahead. I always think back to what my mother used to say "Just wait til you become a parent! It comes back double!". Well I don't think anyone thought it would come back times 6....I would take double any day! You know what I hate though, is the fact no ones talks about their parenting struggles. There seems to be this unspoken rule that if you admit your failures that somehow that makes you a bad parent. Why is that? When did we require parents to be perfect knowing good and well that NO ONE is? Everyone guards their "parenting" afraid to show what it really looks like but are the first to point someone else out and say "well you are doing it wrong". The only real, definitive wrongs with parenting are the cases you see on the evening news. Clearly....those are wrong! But somethings you won't know are wrong until the child grows up and then you will be responsible to them for your choices. Or is it that we believe our children are flawless and perfect and well something is just "wrong" with her kids. Let me save you some time, your kids aren't perfect either. They have many flaws and will struggle in some form or fashion. Just because it doesn't look like mine doesn't mean it isn't any less a flaw. This is one that I have learned as a parent. They are many different parenting styles/techniques and just as many different children to challenge everything you think you know about being a parent. However you choose to parent, you and you alone are responsible for that outcome. My style is different then most, I have a tough love, walk it off mentality. I treat "sticky" situations different from what most parents do with my "rip off the band-aid" approach. If you steal in this house, you will tour the police station for a glimpse of the life before you. If you lie, you will reflect on your lie with a four page report. If you destroy something that doesn't belong to you, you will empty out your bank-pay for the damages and then perform that persons chores for the day in repentance. (Side note, I am really excited for the eldest to open a giant present addressed to him that is actually a small Justin Beiber CD that he will promptly hand over to his brother since he decided to break his because he was sick of hearing it. Cruel..no....lesson learned...I think so) We don't use labels as crutches...I don't care what disorder you have....that doesn't give you any right to treat someone in a way that you wouldn't want to be treated. Just because the psychologist said she has never seen anyone like you (yep I have heard this) doesn't mean that you get a "get out of jail free" card. No one is pitied, no one is treated differently, and respect isn't optional. This is life in our house.....these are the daily struggles of parenting children who aren't "Neuro-typical". As much as I struggle, want to runaway, and perhaps wish I had more freedom....I wouldn't trade it for anything. I once though that success was defined by how much stuff I had, my title on a business card, and the kind of car I drove or how big my house was. What silliness. I believe that raising another life is the highest status one can have here on Earth. To be entrusted with another soul, another human being....the honor, the stature can't be encompassed on a 3x5 card. So when I'm at the end of my life and I am bombarded with my flaws as a parent, my kids will at least know two things that I can say I successfully taught....1-Jesus has all of the answers.... 2-Every life matters and Every life counts. Everything else their therapist can bill me for :) What is your daily life like? Care to share you parenting failures?
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Parenting FAS, Asperger's Syndrome, PTSD, ODD and all the in between!
This is the reality I wake up to every morning. How am I going to parent the challenges that come my way today? How am I going to fail and how am I going to succeed? Cause let's face it, there are WAY more failures than successes on any given day but the successes are what get me to get out of bed the next morning! HA!