Thursday, 30 August 2012
So I’m talking to my son's teacher today, explaining that I disagree with the school district’s decision not to give one of my boys OT (Occupational Therapy)- but that I was willing to see how things progressed, when this other mom went “Mother Warrior” on me.
"You are your son's only advocate!"
"If you don't fight for him, who will?"
"You should be ashamed!"
"I know with my son, I fought tooth and nail--"
"You need to go back and tell those people that you want--"
I just got the full warrior mom smack down! lol
In all seriousness, I know where she was coming from. I understand that feeling-- that you always need to be on high alert because time and our children are just so precious. Being an Aut mom is...unimaginably difficult. Some nights when you finally get the little ones in bed, you weep with thankfulness that the day is over, right?
Maybe that's just me.
People tell me all the time that I am so "on top of it." For that, I am thankful. In fact, I was once told by one of my son's behaviorists that they admire my warrior spirit. Outwardly, I smiled, but inside I threw up a little.
I’m... a lover not a fighter. I don't fight. And I think that's the secret to any sanity (should I be deemed sane) as an Aut mom.
Do I advocate for my two Aut boys? You betta believe it. I am quick to send a note, draft an email, make a call, request a meeting or write a letter if I feel that things are amiss in their worlds. But--
Here’s the thing.
I just don't have the need, or the energy, to fight all the time.
To a warrior mom, I am sitting back doing nothing. That's just not true. Here's my "peaceful demonstration" action plan:
I choose to trust the professionals tasked with caring for my sons. I trust that they are not achieving any sort of personal satisfaction or private gain from disagreeing with my expectations.
I choose to trust that because they went into the education profession that they sincerely care about children and want to see them achieve their goals. It’s not the long hours, furlough days or cutbacks keeping them in the field...
I choose to think that maybe, just maybe, they see something in my boys that fear has kept hidden from me: a greater potential that I have not yet realized. (ouch.)
I choose to save my best energy and pour it into my husband and 3 children. I use it to produce theater, write, bake cakes, make homemade ice cream, try a new recipe or dance and spin with my family around the room. I choose not to waste it on fighting a bureaucracy unarmed.
I KNOW, being a former early childhood educator myself, that if the educational plan is not working for the teacher it will be changed Quickly.
And I don't sweat the small stuff. We work on motor skills and regulation at home and in ABA.
I chat with my son's teachers and stay updated on his progress.
I monitor and if I NEED to request a change at a later date I have data and anecdotal notes (and not just my feelings) to back up my request. (I have a behaviorist who is always saying "you can't argue with data." She's right.)
I keep my strength up for the real battles. Mine are:
Vocal stimming and pacing at 3 a.m.
Keeping the boys in their seat belts while I’m driving.
Protecting my couches from further destruction.
Not becoming one of the 80% of marriages that dissolve after the birth of a special needs child.
Warrior mom? No.
At peace mom- definitely.