One of the biggest lies we get convinced of is that everyone else has it all together and we don’t. I think this is especially true for us autism parents. We often feel like we have no idea what we’re doing, so certainly everyone else must know and we’re just clueless. Right?
This is a lie most of us in society have bought into, in no small part because marketers want us to believe this. They want us to think we are deficient compared to others so we’ll buy their stuff, and buy things so we can have all the complications and problems of life under control like those other people.
Don’t believe it. It’s a lie.
The truth is none of us really knows what we’re doing most of the time. And that’s completely OK. Being an autism parent is about accepting there’s a lot we don’t know and so much we have to learn. Sure, some of us may have more experience than you, but that’s no statement of intelligence or being a better person.
We’re all trying to figure things out as best we can. We’re all afraid of the present and future. We’re tired. We all want to do the right things for our children, but we’re afraid we’re failing them. We worry that we’re not doing enough. And these – and more – are cycles we repeat again and again.
We live at the intersection of wanting to do everything we can for our children and being finite human beings who can’t do it all. Give yourself a break. You wouldn’t expect such miracles from another person. Don’t expect such impossibilities from yourself.
You wouldn’t think it right to watch someone else beat themselves up over not being perfect. You would tell them they’re doing the best they can under the circumstances. You’d listen and offer some support. So why don’t we do this for ourselves?
Why are we so hard on ourselves?
I know this is easier said than done, but don’t engage in self-talk that’s worse than you’d ever, ever say to anyone else. It takes a lot of practice, but regularly saying to yourself, “Hey, I’m doing the best I can” is a step in the right direction.
The next best step we can take is to join together in our cluelessness and work in partnership with each other to figure out what we need to know. As the saying goes, none of us is as strong as all of us. As I’ve said before, being together with other autism parents – in person or online – is worth its weight in gold.
Lower your defenses with other parents and realize that none of us really knows everything, or even a small fraction of everything. Be vulnerable. Amazing things happen when you do.
And just be easier on yourself. You are doing the best you can. And that’s a lot right there.