Don’t Pity A Special Needs Mum. Buy Them Ice Cream.
I had a stand off with a very elderly man who confronted me about my kids being noisy. He’s a neighbour who is recovering from an operation, he needs his rest. I understand. The problem was, it wasn’t my kids he was referring to.
He was confused.
This old gentlemen is the kind of unwell that causes people to forget things and put things into a twist. I felt bad for him but he continued to yell at me about kid’s who were not mine.
I guess I was angry because I’m a sympathetic person, I respect the elderly. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes, staring down the barrel of my last years. But he didn’t respect me, so we verbally kaffufled for a bit. He walked off and told another neighbour what a terrible person I am.
This upset me.
He returned hours later and apologised. Not for yelling at me. He apologised because someone told him I have a son with a disability. We talked for a while, smoothed things over. He didn’t really have the capacity to understand that I don’t control every kid in the neighbourhood.
He said he feels sorry for me. Im all alone, I have a disabled son and Im trying my best.
This is not the first time I’ve had a pity party at my doorstep. I should be grateful, but I’m not. In this scenario I can forgive. But there have been so many other times that have been so far out of line, It just baffles me.
“You’re All Alone”
Firstly. I’m not all alone. My kids fill voids that existed before they even came into this world. I’m not the Donkey from Shrek who needs an Ogre to make me feel validated.
Secondly, my son has a disability, but he isn’t a bird that I found on the side of the road that I spend my life nursing back to health.
“I’m trying my best.”
When people say they know I’m just “trying my best”….. Um, what?
What I feel this often really means. “Your kids aren’t that amazing, but we know you are doing everything you can”.
I’m doing an exceptional job. Occasionally I get positive comments from strangers about my kids, but at the same time I don’t need someone else to tell me my kids are awesome. I know it.
I think it’s pretty standard for kids to be utter turds at home sometimes, isn’t it part of the gig when you raise a family?
Recently I watched two parents wrestle their 4 year old in a games arcade. Mum & dad looked incredibly stressed while Master 4 climbed all over the games screaming for more tokens. I didn’t feel sorry for them, but I can relate. That’s also my life with kids sometimes.
I’m a parenting renegade. I might do things differently, but nobody can possibly know if they would manage things better in my shoes. My kids aren’t sports day ribbon winners, spelling bee finalists nor musically gifted. This is not a sign of bad parenting.
Instead Of Feeling Sorry For Parents Like Me, Invite Us Out For Ice Cream.
Next time you talk to a parent who you think is struggling, don’t pour pity in their face and then toodle off to the life you feel is grand in comparison.
Ask them out for Ice Cream.
Ask them out for Coffee.
Follow up with dank memes.
If you can offer support on something so deeply personal, including parenting issues that are very sensitive. You can also offer friendship and laughter.