Forgiving anyone is no small task, but it’s doable. Forgiving yourself…now that can be tricky. In order to forgive anyone, you have to acknowledge the hurt, pain, disappointment, and/or frustration. You can’t keep walking around acting like it’s ok. As parents we go into “it’s ok” mode quickly, it makes it easy to move to the next task. If I sit and think about how hurt I am, then I’ll start crying and then I may want to talk and I just don’t have time for that right now so let’s just push these feelings over into a nice little corner and move on. We’re good, right? On the outside we all know how to make it look like we’re good but on the inside not so much. Me being a mom (of a beautiful autistic young lady might I add), I can say that I can be extremely hard on myself as a parent. You can try to encourage me all you want but all I hear is wah wah wah wah wah (Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice). I’ve had family and friends tell me: You’re doing a great job, You can’t do it all, It’s ok, You need to take a break, You’re too hard on yourself, I don’t know how you do it…..wah wah wah wah. Because my self talk is the total opposite…I’m telling myself, You suck, You can be so stupid, You’re not a good mother, She deserves more…that’s my self talk…kind of horrible. If I talked to anyone else like this, I’d need to ask for forgiveness because it’s not acceptable…I deserve that same courtesy.
Being an autistic mom (or mom of an autistic child), there has been and will always be times when I need to be the advocate. There has been and will always be times when I see what she doesn’t and I need to be her voice. Whether it be at school, at church, or just in the grocery store. There are people that still don’t understand autism, they still stare at her (adults moreso than children), they still try to give me criticism dressed up as advice on basically what can be done to make them feel comfortable with my child being autistic & sharing space with them. I have to forgive myself for all of the times that I was too afraid to…or felt that I didn’t know enough to…or was just too shocked at the time to stand up for my daughter and be her voice. But I also have to make sure that the next time, I’m ready.
There’s so many more things that I need to forgive myself for, and until I started writing this post I never even thought about it. At the end of the day (I hate that I typed that phrase) I want to be the best mother that I can be and be the mother that my daughter needs me to be. And to do that I can’t be drained from the negative self talk and beating up myself for every decision. In the words of the oh so wise Else from Frozen I have to (sing it with me) Let It Go & embrace what is, accepting the complement sand encouragement without saying “yeah but”. Just let it go 🙂