To the Mom of the child with ADHD / ADD / Autism / Sensory Processing Disorder / Etc… Please know that I get it. I really, truly, genuinely get it. It’s a tough deck that we’ve been dealt, and while it is seemingly manageable (because it is what we know), it doesn’t mean that it is easy. The easy days are hard to come by.
I understand that almost everything that you do to get through the day is met with unrelenting questioning, resistance, protest, and/or arguments.
I understand that you keep your social calendar clear. Not because you don’t have friends, or your child doesn’t have friends. But because playdates and meetups usually end badly. They aren’t worth the mega meltdown, or tears from both you and your kid.
I understand that any and all transition can be debilitating for your child. They might fight you to go to school, and then they fight you to leave school. You can’t win.
I understand that by the end of the day, as much as you want to connect with people, you just don’t have it in you.
I understand that your kid doesn’t “just” have a meltdown. The screaming, the anger, the intensity, the flailing limbs, the hateful language… It is more than not getting their way. It takes thick skin to handle it.
I understand what it is like to get side-eyed by a stranger because of your child.
I understand that while you may look collected on the outside, on the inside you are a combination of dying a slow death from embarrassment, and sheer rage because of your child’s behavior. But you can’t show those emotions to the public, or to your child.
I understand that you can give your child the same instructions or directions sixteen times over and it won’t compute. It isn’t out of defiance or disrespect (most of the time). Your child literally cannot connect the dots to complete the task.
I understand what it is like to watch a child with zero impulse control. Your home has more structure and boundaries than most. But consequences do not resonate with your child.
I understand the sinking feeling when another kid starts crying and the source of the cry (your kid) isn’t far away.
I understand the energy. Oh the energy. They have so much. And when they run low, they take the little that you have for yourself. Like it was a bowl of crackers sitting on the counter. And they take that bowl, dump it on the ground, and stomp on the crackers.
I understand this whole ordeal is maddening and makes you question your own sanity regularly.
I understand what it is like to love your child unconditionally, but you might not always like them in certain moments.
I understand that you know that you shouldn’t yell, but you do. It’s okay. I do too.
I understand not wanting to make excuses for your child or their behavior. But I understand that you always feel the need to explain their behavior.
I understand that sometimes the only time in the day when you can appreciate your child is when they are asleep. It is hard not to pick them up and cuddle them in the quiet sweetness.
I understand that you try to relay to your spouse what the day was like and the trials you had. I know that they want to relate, but they can’t because they didn’t experience it first hand.
I understand that it is all very isolating.
I understand that you love your child fiercely. You know that one day they will do amazing things. They do amazing things now! Even with their different ways of thinking, they are awesome little people who give you a new perspective daily. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Thank you for this! Everyday is different and poses new challenges. My son came into the world kicking and screaming and hasn’t slowed down since. He will be 5 in June and I love his big personality. I too feel the judgement from other moms and the looks from strangers out in public make you not want to go out at all. Sometimes I feel like I am on an island! So thank you for knowing, understanding, and putting it out there for us all to read!
You expressed exactly how I have felt my sons entire life! I usually feel I’m the only mom out there with these difficulties. It’s very lonely and makes you feel so envious of moms with kids who just get through the day and play dates with ease and you put so much time and energy into helping you child and still it many times blows up. I have tried many therapys and interventions, but the only thing that has helped him is neurobiofeedback. My severely ADHD son is training his brain to slow down. We have been able to survive play dates, classes and other things I would avoid before. I know how long it took us to find this solution I hope it helps others.
Great article…thank you! Describes my daily life which is so complex. My son will be 5 in May and we are waiting some official diagnoses. Most days are very lonely, but hopefully in time we will be conquering our issues one at a time and moving forward.
I have tears running down my face as I read this…I’ve never read anything that so accurately explained my entire existence, and that’s impressive considering that I’m a writer and blogger myself! Thank you SO MUCH for writing this and reminding me that I’m truly never really alone in this!
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