Here we are at a familiar place, as if we go around in space and time and relive the same moments. I raise my voice and lose my patience. My son gets angry and starts flinging his body against a door, stuff breaks. Reason becomes clouded with emotions, and like ink through water, regret overwhelms positive thought. The clear vision that weighs ease against challenge becomes murky. Recovery requires everything to become slow and very still for a while. When the darkness settles, perspective returns and you tell yourself that some lessons have been learnt, until you find yourself in that familiar place again, making the same mistakes.
I know what to do and how to do it, but in the moment I submit to something other than the intended goal.
There is clearly something blocking my ability to move forward to the next level in self-discipline and control.
As a parent you have so much invested in your children, it seems an insurmountable task to suppress and swallow anger in the face of helplessness. However that is exactly what is required of a parent of a child with autism. A patient, mindful brain that rises above emotion, over and over again. Not just a surface level calm, but calm on the inside, like an open conduit through which any negative feeling just passes the moment (or maybe few moments after) it is felt.
Coming out of a series of meltdowns or a difficult few days brings with it a sort of death of productivity. Projects lying around unfinished, task lists out the window, I feel as a parent of someone with volatile behaviour you don’t just need organization of thought , but a sort of executive level compartmentalization of life. On a personal level, this has to be my biggest challenge as a parent.
Winging it, crash studying at the last moment, sprint finish and a kind of deliberate disregard for structure, just isn’t cutting it anymore. Formal planning is just not my thing, I almost stubbornly repel it, trying to prove I can live without it, but I am afraid I need to train myself to plan.
I know the difficulty and I know life is trying to train me to break out of my habits. Every time I come out of a bad place with my son, I need to be ready to pick up the pieces, and move forward faster. Reconstruction has to be quick, for everyone’s sake, so we can all move forward. These are the management skills required for this job.
I will say to new homeschooling mothers and those with similar personal challenges as myself, there is a fine line between taking it easy and irresponsible procrastination. For sure the difficulty with autism can drain you and make planning and organisation a massive struggle, but when you know you can, just do.
That sweet time in the morning with your cup of tea, that few minutes in between various children’s naps, those few late afternoon minutes when you eye the phone wanting to speak to someone, whatever you have to give up, you give up. This is the time you have to sacrifice and use to plan and establish a structure for yourself. The inside voice is telling you that you deserve a few moments, and you do, but the satisfaction of a job completed will make you feel better. That is the true joy that you deserve.
I don’t see any other way out of perpetual chaos for myself, except this:
Whenever you can, just DO however much you can. Be honest with yourself and stretch all major muscle groups at the end of every day.