Saturday, March 5, 2011


I love Parenthood, a network show on Tuesdays.  I love that one of the kids has aspergers and they are showing the world the difficulties that go along with that diagnosis.

Last week, Max and his dad, Adam played hooky and go to an amusement park.  When the ride that Adam promised Max he could ride a  million times is closed for safety reasons, Max melts down.  Max is screaming at his dad, "you promised me I could ride this as many times as I wanted, you lied."

Watching Adam get yelled at for "lying" about how many times Max could go on the ride, when it was an event outside of Adam's control really hit home for me.  You see, I lie about things like that all the time.  I say we are going to do something and then something else happens and the plans change.  I never know when it will happen, I try and protect against it as much as I can, but you never know what life will bring you.

The number of times I have been out in public with my 10 year old child and had him melt down because I promised something and it didn't work out, is staggering.  It is lovely to be out with a child that looks like he is 15 and have him have a temper tantrum like he is 5.  People judge you.  They look at you like you have done something wrong.  That you are a bad parent.

I have been doing this for 10 years now.  I am pretty insulated from the stares and comments from strangers.  When I am offered advice, I tell them, until you walk a mile in my shoes, I would appreciate it if you would please refrain from judging me.  It usually shuts them up.

The strangers I will never forget are the ones that have come to my aide.  Like the lady in the grocery store that gave my kids candy because she thought the were cute.  The were melting down, but her grace calmed them down and helped me make it through.  The other mom who watched Sam and Hannah while I chased after Mac as he ran into traffic because he was mad about something.  The untold others who have just said to me that they know parenting is hard and I am going to make it.

Sadly, the people who judge me are in a higher proportion than the ones that help me.  The number of judgy-mc-judgy pants is definately more abundant than the ones with grace.  Now that we have a kid with aspergers on television, perhaps people will realize that sometimes kids are dealing with some pretty tough things.  Perhaps they will recognize that I am not a bad parent, but a parent in a bad situation.

Kids don't come with manuals.  I would love to have some one tell me the magic words to say that would stop the bad behavior.  Every day I learn new tricks, I get better at managing Mac, but at some point Mac is going to have learn to manage himself. 

I wish my first kid had not been my hardest one.  I continue to walk into the dark alley that is parenting a child that is different.  I don't know what life will give me, or how I will deal with it.  But, as I teach Mac to be flexible and embrace change, I am also learning that you can't always get what you want.  I just hope the people with grace keep on crossing my path.  I hope as a family we all learn to treat each other with grace.

So, if you see me out and about and my kid is freaking out, offer a kind smile and word of encourgement.  Don't judge me, I am doing the best I can that day at that time.

1 comment:

  1. i hate when people judge!!! i felt like everyone thought i was a bad mom for taking my baby to the grocery store because she was screaming her head off. and yes, she had eaten already. i got asked that a lot. then the cashier told me to hold her, which i did. but try pushing a cart to the car at the same time while dealing with lots of wind. :P