C2’s therapist told me that I am wishy-washy. That hurt my feelings. We have some real crap happening here at the house and I HATE that I AM wishy-washy. So, am I wishy-washy because of the culture in the house or is the culture of the house because of my wishy-washiness? And can we come up with a better term than wishy-washy because it sounds awful when I use it 5 times in one paragraph?
For so many years I have walked around on egg shells, and autism parents can feel this; I’m sure I’m not alone. I avoided situations that would throw C1 into a meltdown. We stopped eating at our local Pizza Hut because the door squeaked and would set off her supersonic, bionic hearing, leading to an under-the-table-top-of-the-lungs tantrum. We swore off restaurants all together because she would pitch a tantrum every time we went out to eat.
And here is where I know that I have become complacent, or wishy-washy, that I have lost my mojo, because there was one night where we headed out to dinner for hubby’s birthday and C1 pulled her usual performance, and I sat in the car with her while the rest of the family went in and ate dinner. Now, I could probably have picked a better night than his birthday to try the tough-love-tough-shit strategy, but that night I was strong enough to do it. I sat in that car for 90 minutes while she screamed that she wanted to go in and eat (this was after the 30 minutes of screaming the entire way there that she didn’t want to go “there”!) until, finally, she stopped. And you know what? SHE NEVER THREW A TANTRUM ON THE WAY TO OR AT A RESTAURANT AGAIN!
So, knowing this, how have I become a lazy parent? Because it’s easier and faster to just give in, that’s why. This goes for both my kids. Giving in takes 2.3 seconds where toughing it out can take hours, sometimes even days. Who has that kind of time?
And I hate conflict. I really do.
So now we’re going through non-autism issues with C2 and I am so ill-equipped for it. You know, part of me has always had that “it’s autism” excuse, but with C2 I don’t. There is no excuse other than the mansy-pansy parenting and rationalization I have employed…the self-speak of “I’m doing the best I can,” and honestly I thought I was. Now I see I could be doing better.
And I know it’s going to be hard. I need to go back to trusting my parenting instincts, to do what my head says is right, to not be ruled by worrying that I will hurt C2s feelings. I need to be a parent and to do that I need to trust myself again. I need to get my parenting mojo back, because somewhere, between IEP meetings, OT appointments, mama bear mode, my fears, my career and all the barnacles of life, I got scratched up, banged up and started to drown.
I’m coming up for air, so sorry kids; I’m washing off the wishy-washy. Mama is BACK.