From the time my son was 3, I knew something was different about him. My gut was telling me something is not right but as most of us do, we pass it off as a normal age temper tantrum. It wasn’t until my son was 6 that my gut instinct was confirmed. My son was diagnosed as high functioning with Sensory Processing Disorder and Generalized Anxiety disorder. For two years of doctor appointments, specialists and therapists, we finally pinpointed the problem. But let’s not forget that those two years were absolute hell. Yes I said it, it was a shit show.
Let me start out by saying that having a child with special needs is difficult no matter if you’re a single parent or not, but being a single parent with no help from the other parent is a fucking nightmare.
Imagine feeling anxiety all day long, and not being able to sleep because you don’t know how your child will wake up, if it will be a good day or a bad day, if their pants, shirt or sock will feel right even though they wore it yesterday with no problem. Walking on eggshells constantly not knowing if you’re going to get a call from school that your child fell or hurt themselves because their high functioning bodies can’t calm themselves down. Imagine not being able to drop off your child at a play date or a birthday party because your child will worry that something bad will happen to you while you’re gone, imagine not being able to commit to anything because you don’t know how your child will be that day. This is a daily anxiety us parents have to struggle with and imagine having to do it on your own. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating and sometimes us as normal human beings that sacrifice every second of our life without a break, snap. Snap to the point that you feel so horrible that you cry yourself to sleep.
The reason I say that we are superheroes is because what we don’t realize no matter how bad things get, we are doing it. We are making it through each day, some good some bad. We may not be able to enjoy a full day at the zoo because we know at a certain time mid-day that our child will melt down due to lack of sleep because their bodies can only function at a certain level. When people ask me to do things that involve being somewhere for an entire day, I say no. Not because I don’t want too but because my child cannot physically and emotionally handle it and that is how we live. Then you have the people that don’t understand and say he’ll be fine there will be so many people there to help, but what they still don’t understand is that your child only wants your help not anyone else’s and then it becomes even more anxiety for the parent.
It took me two years to create a life that worked for us, I am physically exhausted with working 60 hours a week, 3 hours a week in therapy for my son and literally being out of the house for almost 14 hours a day but one thing for sure is that I am a superhero. I have abilities that I never knew existed. So while you may think that you are an asshole parent for giving in at times, you’re not, when and if you get a moment to do something for yourself, do it. You are allowed to be selfish even for an hour. When someone says I don’t understand why you just can’t come, say you don’t have too, it’s my choice. We work hard as parents to keep the structured routine to keep everything going smoothly for anyone’s opinion to fuck it up. We live day by day taking one minute at a time, we have reward charts, goal charts and visual charts all over our house to make it through one day, we sometimes have to hold our child down to brush their teeth so if we say no, its no.
Keep being that Superhero, even on days that you feel helpless and hopeless you will always be a Superhero!