This week I did some volunteer time in my daughter’s classroom. Naturally I was about 3 minutes late. When I walked in the door of the classroom I saw that our topic was politics. I cringed. My daughter is an innocent 8yr old who I kept this election from. As an adult I often felt as if even I should not have witnessed the things I did during this election and now I am expected to help with this lesson. Why oh why are we doing this? Millions of things raced through my mind. I wanted to grab my daughter by the hand and run.
Then it happened and I saw that none of the ugliness was going to be a part of this lesson and we were actually using this opportunity to show them what an election should be. Each child was asked to ‘run for President’ and build a platform. Now I was impressed.
There was no talk of why any other child should not be the President it was all about why individually they should ‘get your vote’ Now being that I was in a classroom full of 8 and 9 year olds I did not see some of their answers coming.
Our children are better people than we are. The answers coming from all these little people really did something for my soul.
I would protect our planet all of the Earth and the water. I would teach everyone how to garden so that no one would ever go without food. I would tell Americans that we all just need to be kind and care about each other. I would tell my fellow voters to vote for me so we can work together and build better communities.
These are just some of the answers our 3rd grade children were giving.
As they worked on the craft part of this project I got a chance to whisper chat with the teacher. I had been a bit worried about how we were going to make this transition with our children. Our kids have seen a lot more than we think they have over this last year and they for the most part know that we should be doing better. Well it looks like that’s where the focus will be. For now we just need to teach them to do better.
Obviously our children need to learn about Government, Constitution, Laws, etc. So now I will wait it out with the rest of our Country and see what the next POTUS and FLOTUS have to offer to our schools. I will also be waiting and looking forward to the year that those 3rd graders are old enough to run for President.
Now that the holiday has passed I’m going to declare that its fine to rant about the not so finer points.
From the 22nd to the 26th I felt like I was walking around on broken glass trying my best not to offend or make anyone angry. I have hosted family events for years and I admit I’m so jealous of those of you that have these Christmas events with beautifully decorated tables and houses filled with people who truly are having fun and are kind and respectful to each other.
I walk around so stressed out worried that I got everyone a great gift that they will enjoy as much as I enjoyed choosing it for them. I also freak out because my Autistic child is the hardest person ever to buy for. Even some family members ask if they can just give me the money to order something for him.
I also wear myself out buying, prepping, cooking, and serving a meal that everyone will enjoy. All while maintaining a certain amount of normalcy for my household as having an Autistic child a keeping regular routine is very important. Its not ‘an excuse’ its our lifestyle.
So after all the work, effort, and hoopla of the holiday why am I sitting here wondering why people act like its so hard to just be kind and courteous of each other? Nobody really seems to remember and acknowledge the true reason for the season anymore. Its all just a big show and a bunch of obligations which I already have enough of.
Its not one person individually its just people in general and its not all people but it seems the bad ones sure outnumber the good ones anymore. I’ve seen so many despicable things go on as I see lots of ‘behind the scenes’ things that the average person doesn’t notice. I attribute it to always having to be on my toes from the Autism.
I am not the person that cries poor me as someone always has it worse than I do. I’m the one who gets up makes that pot of coffee and approaches my day with the attitude that I might not want to do something and I might not even be feeling well enough to do it but its gotta get done so lets just get it over with.
That being said I don’t feel the need to explain my current situations with everyone all the time. You may not know everything that’s going on in my life and if you do I sure don’t want your pity but let me go ahead and tell you a little about the person that just put forth so much effort to have a wonderful holiday with you and buy you a thoughtful gift or cook you a delicious meal.
Autism doesn’t take a winter break and either does my Diabetes. We didn’t get a break from therapists, routines, medication times or shots. We haven’t even established a complete routine in our home yet as we just moved less than 30 days before this holiday. I’m not even unpacked yet and haven’t even changed every bill, bank, credit card, etc over to the new address yet. I recently reconnected with family members that I treasure and lost along the way of my addiction and had one pass away just a few days before Christmas. Since Oct I have had a lot going on with my own health and now after months of medications, fights with hospitals my insurance company, and lots of stressful tests I a tumor that’s concerning to the doctors involved and we will see what happens as we start to travel this path. I have my Grandmother who sits day after day in the nursing home depending on others to care for her and each time I walk in the door of that room another piece of my heart breaks. I have the Grandfather of my babies unable to walk out of his front door to the car without the assistance of two adults. I have a daughter newly diagnosed who is having a very tough time adjusting in school while they are calling her ‘extremely gifted, genius, and very mentally ill’ all at the same time.
These aren’t excuses they are my life. I am an adult and I will deal with all of it and I will be kind and considerate of others at the same time. I think I have just learned that my kindness and consideration will have to be from a distance with some in my life.
In the next year I’m looking forward to making more memories with people who have the same goals and attitude that I do.
I’m looking forward to making my New Years Resolutions this year as since my first sober New Year I started making resolutions that I actually keep.
I’ve always been honest and open about my child’s struggles in life. We are not ashamed of them and we share our struggles openly. No child comes with a handbook but I do try to provide one for mine. I recently blogged about our Back to School Nightmare Well big surprise (note my sarcasm) the school is now having trouble handling my child. Although I tried my best to provide somewhat of a handbook for my son they rejected it and have now decided that I’m just simply ‘doing it wrong’ I have been feeling the pressure of being forced to be a parent that I don’t want to be. They are shoving unsolicited ‘suggestions’ in parenting down my throat. It’s actually not just them society itself feels the need to point out what they think I am doing wrong although its a known fact that my child has less struggles at home than anywhere else. If my son is having a bad day at school and simply “just wants to be at home and is missing home” they are suggesting that home is a candyland filled with no rules, no consequences, and that I just provide to much comfort, fun, and love.
The last few days I have been struggling emotionally as I question myself. Did I miss something along the way in my quest to be a not just a good parent but a great one? Isn’t it our goal as parents to give our children such a good home environment that that’s their favorite place to be. I understand that Disney claims the title of ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ but my kids have never been there and I was actually quite content in knowing that home is their happy place.
I gave in and tried this form of what I call socially expected parenting. I gave harsher consequences to my children’s actions. I stuck with them. I offered only the praise that was suggested. I set stricter rules. I became this stern no nonsense parent. I even spanked one time. I now feel traumatized from it. I hated every second of it. None of it felt right and it made our lives miserable. For three days home was not a happy place and I am emotionally exhausted. If this is how society expects me to parent I cant do it and I don’t want my kids to ever live like that.
Today I am taking our lives back. I am giving back the handbook that society gave me and going back to my own. I will not punish my child for something he did at school. I will encourage him to do the right thing while there and reward him when he does. I cant feel good about punishing him for something related to his disabilities while he is out of my care. I don’t expect school to enforce any punishment for things that happen at home. Home and school are two different places and both have different expectations. Sure the general ones are the same but our home is our sanctuary and I am not willing to give that up. I apologize if my child wants to be home. I have always taken that as a compliment in the past and don’t appreciate school making me question myself as if it were a bad thing.
Now some might say “I was raised that way and I turned out just fine” Well let me be the first to say I was raised that way and it took years of therapy for me to be ‘just fine’ If it makes me a bad parent and its socially unacceptable for me to use a Conscious Parenting form of parenting then so be it. My kids are happy and so am I. I would rather tell my child a thousand things I love about them in a day than focus on the one mistake they made in the day. I prefer to give them rewards instead of taking things away from them. I would rather do the fun project that we had planned instead of turning it into a punishment by not allowing we do it because a mistake was made 6 hours before. I would rather talk about the mistake that was made instead of dishing out a spanking.
Maybe the problem is in society and not with me? Maybe society is so stuck in the ‘nobody cares go harder’ to get the desired results mindset that they are missing the point entirely. Maybe I care and maybe just wanna go softer and reach the same destination but be happy along my road in getting there. At the end of the day I prefer to raise a happy conscious child than one who is more focused on being socially acceptable. Right now society is just not acceptable to me.