Sunday, July 31, 2011

eSpecially Parents July Edition: Meg's Story

I am a mother to four year old boy/girl twins. I have a 20 year old step-daughter who has never lived with us and who we rarely see. My son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder in November 2010.

From a very early age, my children were, as the English say 'chalk and cheese' - as different as night and day. My daughter was happy, outgoing, easy to please and to play with, and constantly wanting Mommy's attention. My son was happy, but more content playing on his own. He actually taught himself to walk and now he is teaching himself to read.

My daughter has grown up listening to and dealing with my son's tantrums and repetitive play scripts. In order for her to have a playmate in him, she has had to learn to 'read' her brother and play his way, which is sometimes very difficult. I know we often expect much more from her than we do from him and this bothers me. I find myself scolding her for not telling me when he's getting into something or asking her what her brother is doing.

Our lives are so different from the other families we socialize with. We cannot just pick up and go to a new park, playground, shop, etc. We have to prepare my son for anything new with photos and social stories. Even then, we sometimes walk into a new place and walk straight out. This is extremely difficult for my daughter, and very unfair, but we know of no other way. To make up for her disappointment if an outing doesn't go to plan, we do special little things just for her. She loves to help her Daddy in the garden, planting and picking fruit and veggies in her little basket. She and I also do lots of craft projects together and occasionally go out shopping together (something her brother detests).

Because my son requires so much extra attention every waking hour, and because I spend every moment I can with my daughter to ensure she feels valued, loved and an integral part of the family, I have not tried to have any more children. I simply don't think I could manage splitting my attention any more. As it stands at the end of the day I feel split in two - and I don't usually feel like I've been the best mother I could be to either of my children. Then again, I am a perfectionist and raising my children is the biggest and most important job I will ever have. I strive to do it right, and regularly fail. The important thing for me is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. A positive attitude is imperative. It would be easy to sink into the mire of self-pity, but that is not the life I want to live or the example I want to set for my children. I have two beautiful children who are healthy, interesting, sweet, loving individuals.

Every day we do our best.

First time reading eSpecially Parents? Catch-up here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Meg, I am Michele one of the other "eSpecially Moms". What a profound but extremely true statement for me also when you said that you plan for the worst but hope for the best. My husband constantly tells me that I am a pessimist about our situtation...I hope you don't mind if I use your quote to better explain to him how I approach our daily and future life.


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