Sometimes I let fear hold me back. Sometimes I worry too much about what others think. I struggle with making confident decisions in the midst of my day-to-day routine, and most of the time I am pretty sure my middle child feels left out. She sees her younger sister spending one-on-one time with daddy and wants a turn. She sees her older brother getting everyone’s attention because well, he requires a lot of attention, and she wonders where she fits in.
I have three kids and as much as I try to treat each one of them the same, it is just not possible. I am still learning. I am still learning how to be a mom to my son who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and anxiety. I make mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. Sometimes the punishment does not fit the crime and sometimes I pray for a new day so I can do better the next day.
In this tangled web of motherhood I create routine, structure, and a safe place for my kids to land. I do the right thing most of the time and I try to be a good example so my kids know what to do when it is their turn to lead. When you have a child with behavioral delays, sometimes all of this gets thrown out the window.
Sometimes you have to fly by the seat of your pants and fake it until you make it to bedtime. Sometimes you have to apologize and most of the time you are pretty sure you are screwing up your kids in the worst way possible. This is the lonely part of motherhood for me. If I am being honest, it is the hardest part of motherhood for me.
Parenting my son is my most vulnerable act of being a mom because it requires me to see him differently than I do my other children. It requires me to see him beyond all of his behavioral disorders. So when he tells me he hates me, I hold him. When he says he wants to run away and live with another family, I tell him his family loves him so much, and when he is too hyper to look me in the eyes when I have asked him how his day was, I get down on his level and I look right into his so that he knows he matters.
These things do not happen once in a while. These things happen every day. Every day is a struggle for our family. Listening to my friends talk about potty training and getting their kids to sleep through the night reminds me that I am in another club; a club for two where my husband and I have learned to tango through parenthood. We have relied on one another to fill in when the other is down or when the fight for power with a defiant child is just too much work. We have also learned that we are human and we are doing the best we can with a beautiful, little boy who just wants to be included, loved, and accepted like everyone else.
There is no bigger ally than a mom. There is no greater fan than a mom. There is no better advocate than a mom. It is who I am. It is in me. It is my greatest joy. You know those mom friends you have who birthed the quirky little kid? Yes, the same kid who probably makes you go, “Hmm?” invite her over for coffee, tell her an embarrassing story so she can hear you say, “me too!” and wrap your arms around her so there might be one less lonely mom in this gig of motherhood.