Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting Real: The Fish Bowl

When we were taking our PRIDE classes to get our Foster License we were told that we would be living in a fish bowl when it came to our parenting.  Everybody would be there to judge us.  We've seen the truth of that-caseworkers, people who go to church, teachers, family, etc.  We've even sat before a judge as lawyers questioned every aspect of it.

If this is true for foster parenting its three times as true for parenting a special needs child (including the lawyer part).  I have never felt so judged and attacked in my parenting as I have when it comes to Little Man.  You have those who view you as soft parents who let his behavior get out of control.  You have others who think you are too hard on him and his autism should be an excuse for his behavior.  You have others who think that if you just provided more positive reinforcement, high expectations, structure, etc then you he would do better.

We have two therapists, a caseworker, a nurse, teachers, social worker, counselor, and more working with him on a regular basis.  Everybody has an opinion, and few of those opinions take into consideration that I'm a momma to three other kids, two of them the same age as Little Man, two of them also high needs.  They don't consider that I'm trying to not drowned my marriage in all of this, and that my husband is my number 1 priority and no child will trump that.  They don't consider that my house hangs on the balance of falling to pieces at any moment and I can't allow that to happen (not with multiple people entering my home every week).

However, there are those people: therapists, friends, family, who cast no judgement and look at the situation in its entirety, whose suggestions are just that.  Many of those people have seen the tears roll down my cheeks, have listened to random rants that are sometimes angry and sometimes sad and sometimes a bit bitter.  They have listened for hours.  I'm beyond thankful for those people, they hold me up.

And then there is Tony.  What would I do without that man?  Not one week goes by that I don't tell him I feel like it's all my fault, it must be.  Not a week goes by that I don't scream at him as a result of someone elses behavior.  Not one week has gone by that something didn't get done for him because of something else that I had to do first.  But there he stands, beside me, leading this family.  I love that man and would have fallen to pieces without him.

I know I'm not alone in these feelings, I also know the opinions won't go away.  All of it is an aspect of raising a child with special needs.  Maybe I grow a thicker skin.  I hope not though.  I hope I learn to hear it but filter it through the truth of Christ first and his value of me, of my husband second and how he views me as a mother, and then those friends and families I treasure who have seen our lives in many different aspects.

If you want an amazing special needs blog post check out this one by Kate at Apply Pie, Anyone? 

1 comment:

Caleb Beaty said...

We are jumping into the fish bowl tonight!!