June 17, 2010

Guest Blogger Thursday

Posted in Fun Stuff tagged , , at 8:45 am by autismmommytherapist

Through my Tuesday and Thursday posts I’d like to provide a more widespread forum for parents of children with disabilities to provide more practical tips for other parents, and a place to share their views on raising a child with a disability as well. These contributions will be their ideas and stories, and not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of those of autismmommytherapist.

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Today’s guest blogger is Shivon, welcome!

Good Enough

“When I waited for Ryan at the end of the school day, I would study the Good Mothers. They were amazing and marvelous, right out of a magazine. They brought cupcakes when they were assigned to bring cupcakes. They remembered gifts for the teachers on Valentine’s Day and Christmas, always wrapped in color-coordinated paper and ribbon. They exercised regularly while the kids were at school. They left successful careers to devote themselves to motherhood. They were patient and kind. Around them I felt the way I did in press boxes early in my career: I was out of my league, unable to grasp how to be as good as they were. ~

Joan Ryan “The Water Giver”

———————————————————————————————-

R and I had a “discussion” a few nights ago…well it was more like R talked and I listened.

While his approach wasn’t gentle, it was definitely an eye opener and very necessary. He says that I have become consumed with Diego’s autism and that my quest for perfection is going to send me right into a nervous breakdown. He told me that he is so concerned about me, that he thinks of it constantly.

He is right, I eat, sleep and breathe autism and have done so since we got a name for D’s issues. Logically I know that this isn’t good for me or my family, they need me at 100% and I can’t be at 100% if I am not doing anything for myself. I can’t tell you how many hours I spend researching various therapies while beating myself over the head for not being able to do more and I guess at the end of the day, that is my real problem, always feeling like I need to achieve perfection.

Not only with Diego but with all I do.

I am constantly plagued by thoughts of: the house is never clean enough, I don’t spend enough time with Lyric, I am not keeping myself up like I used to, not enough adult time with R, I’m not doing enough at work, not being a good friend….etc…you get the picture.

The problem with expecting perfection is that I let myself down often.

Why do I need to be perfect?!?!

I don’t expect perfection from anybody else!!

Who knows, but after talking to R it is all too apparent that my quest for perfection has to end. Being hypercritical of myself is leading to other issues with our relationship and that isn’t good. Somehow I have to be alright with the fact that I can’t achieve perfection.

This is way easier than it sounds, but I know it is crucial to my happiness.

So how does one become ok with being “good enough”??

Hell I don’t know, so I discussed it with Juan. Juan is the therapist that consults with me about parenting Diego. I went to see him last Saturday and the second he asked me if I was ok, the tears started flowing. I apologized and told him I had a very hard week and he simply said “don’t be sorry”. Then all of a sudden it all came out, everything I have been thinking and feeling since D was diagnosed with an ASD. I don’t think I have ever been so forthcoming with anybody about it prior to this. Juan is a very stoic man, who quotes psychological literature often and rarely says anything out of emotion, and I like him this way, seeing as how I have enough emotion for at least three people. Two people like this trying to problem solve would just be silly.

Anyway, Juan began to tell me about Dr. Daniel Winnicott’s school of thought on the “good enough mother.” You can read more at the link, but basically I am not doing my children any favors by doing everything for them. Being “good enough” means giving them the tools to deal with obstacles in life as they arise. This is in stark contrast to what I do now. If I don’t stop what I am doing, I may end up resenting my beautiful monsters and turning them into narcissists.

So with this concept of “good enough” starts a new journey, not only with parenting, but in life. Juan and I sat down and came up with some concrete ideas about how to feel alright about being “good enough”.

I can’ t control everything, so therefore I should do all I can in any given situation and then ride it out. If the result isn’t what I want, then it is back to the drawing board. I am excited about this and really think it will make me so much happier in the long run.

Happy Mommy=Happy Family

What is good enough to you??

Shivon

www.sonidoinquieto.wordpress.com

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5 Comments »

  1. Mary Craig said,

    Amen sister!! Welcome Shivon. I hope we can in some way make this journey easier for you. We all just have to let go of the June Cleaver idea of motherhood and be okay with being ourselves. I have wonderful things to offer my children yet there’s always some other mom who unknowingly makes me feel less than stellar in comparison.

    This goes back to the idea that you learned everything you needed to know in Kindergarten and perhaps that’s true. You get what you get & you don’t get upset ( I still struggle w/this regarding the Autism), if at first you don’t succeed try, try again and if you did your best that’s all anybody can ask. Its all great in theory but I struggle to swallow this bitter pill because I spent my 20’s dreaming of the mom I’d become. How was I to know that my exhausted 30 something self would be overwhelmed!!!

    I try my hardest every day, some days I’m successful & other days I’m not…I always try again as each new day dawns and as the length of time since diagnosis grows I spend alot less time getting upset BUT I still have my days! You will get there too Shivon just follow your heart!

    🙂 Mary

  2. LZ said,

    “Good enough” for me began when I accepted that I am only human, and therefore by definition, an imperfect being (OK Kim, I’m truncating, but really, it’s in the 3rd definition in my Webster’s II New College Dict, copyrighted 1995, and I EMBRACE it! 🙂 ).

    I tried to have everything sparkling, homecooked, pressed, organized, etc., but once I realized that I was the only one in the house that cared, I grudgingly began to let it go. I started to understand that my husband and the kids wanted to relax and live in a home, not have to be perfect in a museum-perfect house. When I let it go, it allowed my boys to be boys, and not so concerned about “Don’t get mud on the floor, Mom’ll kill us!” I decided that the people who came to see me could stay and visit, and the ones that came just to see my house, didn’t need to…I am very happy to say that although toys are strewn on my floor, my dining room table is covered in paper, and my kids can occasionally write their names in the dust on various household surfaces (and they do it too, the stinkers!), not a soul has gone running for the door.

    These days, I am one parent to three little boys. For a while after my husband’s death, I tried to do it all with each of them, to fill that gaping hole and give them a “normal” life. After a few years of running myself ragged, I finally realized that what they craved the most was quality time, and they weren’t getting any because I was always on the move with one or another of them. I’d already figured out how to say no to the housework, but this is what taught me to say “no” to the kids too, once in a while. It did not take them long to understand why I was doing it, and they like the Mommy Time that they each get now.

    The changes were hard to make, and it was difficult to let go of how I thought things should be. I initially thought I was failing my family if I couldn’t pull it all off. But I finally realized that in the long run, if I run myself to the ground doing a bunch of stuff that they really didn’t care about anyway, who will be around to take care of any of any of them, let alone my spectrum child? The best part is that, now that I’ve let a lot of it go, I realized it wasn’t all that important to me anyway, and I am happier. That rubs off on them, and it makes all the difference in my new world.

    Good luck to you!

    • The trick truly is finding what works. You continue to have my utmost admiration for raising those three boys alone.


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