I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Permanent Shell Shock

I've been thinking about something and how to word it. Most evenings I feel like I'm recovering from the day..each and every day feels like an achievement yet I feel like a bit of a failure....I was trying to find a way to explain it....I kind of wanted to use the PTSD term..but kind of didn't as it's strong and has associations with soldiers and combat but there is that feeling sometimes like I am in a war zone...we've survived this day, the next will be easier!!  Sometimes it is, realistically though most days are a quagmire of negotiations and dealing with situations to avoid meltdowns and mayhem. I've often felt I have to be on a constant state of high alert and 10steps ahead of game. Always trying to make life go smoothly whilst ensuring all my children feel heard and understood and worthy and wanted. Many days it feels like I needed to carefully manage and control how the day goes....an impossibility I realise with 3 kids, but with one having Aspergers it's become a necessity. So at the end of the day when all 3 are finally asleep until the next wave of night time parenting begins, I breathe and allow myself to relax...a little!

We only recently received a diagnosis so before the 2 year process began, I often questioned my parenting skills and continually looked to the future benefits of Continuum Concept parenting. Now I realise the many ways it has absolutely benefited us as a family and even enhanced our situation....never using CIO, never using naughty step or time outs or other punitive yet ineffectual techniques and punishments.

As the diagnosis became more and more  apparent I wondered wether having a label would help other people be more understanding and tolerant of Eliie's flooby behaviour...it has helped me too.

I wondered whether it would help her make more of an effort to try and control her floobiness, because she will now know that there is a reason that sometimes she can't dial herself back....I'm beginning to realise how difficult this actually is for her.

I wondered wether maybe it would stop her feeling so bad about herself being unable to dial herself back in those moments....or indeed if she even does feel negatively towards herself...I'm seeing that she rarely connects the two and thankfully has positive self esteem for the moment...apparently this will become harder for her as she gets older.

One of my goals for my children is I never want them to feel bad about themselves. This hasn't changed since the diagnosis but equally I don't want her giving up trying to be a kinder person who understands others feelings as well as her own. Saying it out loud I realise thats a difficult request of anyone let alone someone with Aspergers. Who really knows how to understand and deal with their own feelings? I clearly dont!! I realise how difficult it is for Ellie and try to help her navigate this daily.

The day we got the diagnosis I was kind of numb and kind of not surprised and kind of shocked and kind of scared and kind of wish we hadn't started the process and kind of not sure what to do next and kind of wanted to curl up and cry and I was kind of all over the place and then I realised I kind of have a reason for such a difficult parenting journey and then I started to feel sad for her and Maia who seems to handle it so much better than me.

I started to realise a few things too.....I worked out that my idea of having lots of kids playing together and keeping themselves busy and not needing my involvement much hasn't really worked because Ellie never 'played' and always needed my guidance and input and now they are older her and they spend a lot of their time on their tablets doing minecraft and poor Millie who loves imaginative play doesnt get the chance much and when they do play together it usually ends in upset because Ellie takes control and doesn't do imaginative play very well and they always have the same narrative and the whole thing ends up in arguments and fighting. I feel Maia and Millie could play well together given the chance but Maia still feels Millie is too young and Maia is on her 'safe' tablet all the time where fighting and arguments happen less.

I'm sad for what everyone has missed out on and that I haven't provide Maia and Millie with more opportunity to play. It felt like they have lost a lot of possible sibling together playing time. We have now started to organise situations where Maia and Millie can have that time together and Ellie can have 1-1 time with one of us. Finding 1-1 time individually with each child is proving more of a difficulty.

After the diagnosis I started to wonder was it purely down to rules, boundaries, fear of authority and doing the wrong thing that has allowed Ellie to go through the school system unnoticed? Questioning my parenting style again.  Every parent's evening has always been glowing academically and behaviourally and we were always left wondering how can she be SO remarkably different out of school. Is it a girl boy thing? Would it become more noticeable in secondary school? They said it may start to become more of an issue the older she becomes the whole girl high school socialising thing. ...this scared the shit out of me as I struggled SO much with bullying. I console myself that for now the lines of communication are very open, Ellie always feels able to tell us everything  (for the moment!) and the way we raise our kids is totally different to how I was raised.

Since the diagnosis nothing much has really changed....there is still that daily struggle and endless stressing. There is still the constant reminders about ok behaviour and pre-empting them, something I have always struggled with.  There is still a lot of managing and handling and dealing and sorting but now there are finally some answers to the craziness that is my life and with the support from the school and the help of outside services I am starting to worry less and less about authorities swooping in and tearing us apart...my focus is returning, the sun is returning....I can feel my resolve returning.....I feel I can maybe do this...this being a parent thing!!

Meltdowns - so glad I embraced this term and it's connotations rather than being sucked into the whole tantrum bad behaviour naughty girl slap back of knees paradigm.
Losing the Plot - it's still possible, there's a shit more parenting needs to keep happening and a shit load more crazy from me
Breastfeeding - it's been an interesting 10yrs so far and I am thankful for never having mastistis.

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