When Parenting Hurts

What I wanted to title this post was, "When Parenting Doesn't Look How You Thought It Would".  But "When Parenting Hurts" was pretty close, so let me just say again, because I know we have all heard it before...parenting is not for sissies. 


Not me, but just another overwhelmed mom


I have been reflecting a lot on this lately. Mostly because I am second-guessing my every act I perform as a single parent to two special-needs kids. 

My son is autistic. Very high functioning, and such an incredible, smart, kind, loving kid. But there are the issues that come with autism that make each day a challenge: the constant perseveration, the sensitivity, the confusion trying to read people and make sense of his surroundings and company. 


My son, Grey


My daughter is ADHD and they are now testing for autism in her as well. She is loving, kind, giving, intuitive. All the wonderful things anyone could hope for in a daughter. But she must deal- as do I- as do her teachers- with the fallout of having an attention disorder and possibly autism. The defiant, headstrong, no focus, yelling, not minding, overly- emotional- hurdles. 

Dealing with these while going through a painful, difficult divorce (ever go through a divorce where your mother-in-law feels more like your husbands spouse?) and realizing that all those friends that were so quick to give their opinions on your "bad marriage" are the ones that are in hiding when you need some support or a shoulder to cry on. Literally, I reached out to these few close friends when I needed some support, and received radio silence. Thank goodness for the ones who have volunteered themselves- friends that I didn't even realize I had that have been so kind and supportive. I am reminded that God always provides- and He certainly has to me. Being without family support has been the hardest obstacle to overcome during this time. I miss my mom. I miss my aunt. I miss having a family's support and feeling like I have someone in my corner. 


Grey & Lily


Though all of these things difficulties of late, I am constantly reminded of something my mom used to say all of the time, "Never say you won't do something, because that is exactly what you will end up doing." And she was so right. I find myself having to not only accept that I am alone in parenting (and always have been, really), but that I am having to face difficult choices that I alway said I wouldn't do: like accepting my daughter needs medication for her attention and focus (or lack thereof). Like accepting we need therapy to get through the last 5 years with their dad. Like accepting my daughter may need to be retained in her grade to catch up due to inability to focus. Like accept I cannot get my children to eat only healthy, organic meals because school nutrition does not lend itself to it, an at-times non-existent budget doesn't lend itself to it, and an exhausted mom doesn't lend herself to it. So, when they develop a taste for only pre-cooked, pre-packaged foods, even getting them to eat my home-cooked meals anymore is an exhausting fight. SO MUCH that is just not what I had hoped or dreamed or planned for my family or children. 

But, I am taking one day at a time, one moment at a time, as it comes. What else can we do as parents after all?  If this wretched pandemic has taught us nothing else, at least it is teaching us that we must be willing to bend and alter plans. If we cannot bend, we will most certainly break, and our kids need us more than any of the other things that hopefully are not so big in the grand scheme of things. 

So, here's to the better days and the to all of us parents doing the very best we can, even when it hurts. 

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