Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That kind of mom

A Facebook friend recently posted the following: "I can't wait for summer vacation.  I'm just one of those moms who really enjoys spending time with her kids and having them home.  I just love it."

For some reason, this post has stuck with me, niggling at my subconscious, making me wonder what type of mom am I, exactly?  I can't help comparing my attitude to hers, even though her kids are much older than mine, and none of them have SPD or autism. (And she really IS a mom who adores her kids and enjoys spending time with them.  She wasn't intending her post to cause anyone to criticize themselves, truly!)

I'm the kind of mom who has allowed her toddler to wear his swimming trunks everywhere for the last 2 weeks.  And it's not because I'm all into self-expression or whatever.  My ears just cannot handle the screaming.

I'm also the kind of mom, who not 2 seconds ago, allowed her toddler to eat chocolate chips so he would just give me a bloody minute to finish blogging.

And I'm the kind of mom who is alternately thrilled and terrified at the prospect of 3 whole months with all three of my kids at home.

There are exactly two weeks until summer vacation, and I have been looking forward to May 15th with equal parts relief and trepidation.  The main reason I am counting down the days isn't as much about family fun as it is about fewer struggles. The idea of 90-some odd days of no homework fights is exhilarating.  Add to that the prospect of no IEP meetings, no parent-teacher conferences, and no high intensity, early morning searches for shoes when we are already late for school, and I could weep with relief.

And then, there's the part of me who is nervous about all the coming family togetherness. I'm the kind of mom who actually relishes peace and quiet once in a while, and though I have my toddler at home with me during the school year, we do actually have peaceful moments once in a while.  They are rare, but still happen with much more frequency than when all three of my feral monkeys are home.  For some reason, adding my two oldest kids to the mix amplifies the noise level by 1000%.

Also, I'm the kind of mom who cringes at the thought of having to provide three square meals for each of my kids every. single. day.  No school lunch to give me a break.  My kids and their supreme pickiness makes meal time tantamount to warfare for me.  The prospect makes me stabby.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am excited to spend more time with my kids; we have all kinds of adventures planned--trips to the local beach, play dates with friends, and long bike rides, along with lots of surreptitious learning that I am sneaking in.  (Don't tell Danny that the reason I am so willing to go along with his lemonade stand scheme is so I can get him to practice counting money without screaming at me.)

I have been planning our summer schedule for months. Last summer didn't go well at all, and I am trying to provide enough structure for Danny so that we have fewer struggles and enough flexibility so the kids have a break.

We have a big board with our picture schedule posted in Danny's room. I have a system all planned out.  One that is fool-proof.

Despite all that, I know that our system will likely break down in less than a week of summer break.  Because, let's face it, nothing is full-proof when you add autism to the mix.

As much as I envision sunny days filled with laughter, learning and cooperation, I'm realistic enough to admit that my summer break never even remotely resembles those glorious, craft-filled spreads in Family Fun magazine.  There are always glitches.  Always.

I think it's safe to say that my FB friend is in a totally different mothering league than I.

And I'm okay with that, because despite all the glitches, the occasional bickering, and the sensory issues, we do manage to have all kinds of fun.  Often of the messy variety:

So, maybe I'm not too bad of a mom, after all.


Flannery said...

You're an awesome mom! And I think every single mom has a bit of dread about entertaining the kids for 3 solid months, I don't care what they say.

Can't wait to hear your stories of your summer adventures!

Unknown said...

We've just scraped to the end of another month off school for Cubby- he only goes to preschool in the mornings, but they close for a total of 5 months a year! He is the child who breaks down without routine, then has to go through the long process of settling back into the school routine. It is awful, so I know just what you feel. Your photos look like you'll find lots of fun ways to fill in the time, but I question breaks this long for the good of all of us!

B1L said...

After trying to just feed these squirrels a mere 2 meals a day, I'm ready to donate my week's spending money to an "Arm Patty to the Teeth" fund: to stockpile an insane assortment of sundries, plus some life-sustaining chocolate, to be rationed and rotated for 90 days.

As the kids lose the taste for this thing or that thing, we must be absolutely prepared even if that means we clean out the Scooby-doo Ro-gurt end cap display...("Zoiks!")

I'm proud to say that despite their self-limited palettes, their coloring is still pretty good. (Reminds me, adding "Artificially Colored Gummy Bear Vitamins" to the grocery list.)

P.S. Don't judge us, unless you're ready to show us up on National T.V. before a panel of our peers, Super-Nanny. Patty could so totally take you down.

Lizbeth said...

Let me help you feel better. I let my kids run around in their underwear once it hits 75 degrees. I can't win that fight.

I let them pee in the yard and even tell them to try and "fake it."

I let them eat sugar pops for breakfast.

I hardly ever clean the toilets.

And Wendy's is a food group.

There---see how much better of a mom you are???

Lisa said...

I think we might be the same person. My 2.5 y.o. gets Starburst for a mid-morning snack if it means I can have 15 minutes to get something done. He got to wear his pj's all day yesterday because it was easier than the screaming fits he was throwing. I struggle with time at home for extended periods of time with my 3 scamps. I love them, but I need a break from them.

Karen V. said...

The kids look happy and adorable! Let me just say that I must bow to your superiority because the idea of providing three square meals a day for my one child?! - Wait - I have to stop laughing first! - Okay. He's so picky, I'm lucky he eats anything. at. all.

As for the swimming trunks - hey, you're getting lots of use out of whatever you paid for them - so that's pretty cool! And why didn't I think of using chocolate chips before?! Brilliant! ;)

Sanstrousers said...

One of the kids' teachers recently asked me "What are you guys going to do all summer?" And then laughed hysterically at the look of utter panic on my face. There's going to be some good times this summer, but I'm pretty sure I'll definitely be ready for them to go back to school at the end of it!!!

Sprite's Keeper said...

Our summer starts one week after yours. While Sprite is set up for summer camp this year, I have three days to fill at the end before she starts Kindergarten. I'm so excited for those three days since I'll get to enjoy all the fun of summer before either one of us gets bored, but I'm also envious of all the fun she'll get to have without me while I'm stuck in an office.

Mom2LittleMiss said...

Yeah... three square meals... HAH! I consider it a REALLY good day when the net food consumption for the day adds up to ONE square meal. But hey, Little Miss hasn't wasted away so I must be doing something right ;-)

But seriously, I have to head on over to your camp of equal parts terrified and elated for summer vacation. I'd love to be one of those Disney Family Fun moms too, but there are just so many days where you have to put your head down and try to plow on through. That's our lot and it's OK -- because on those other days? We are the lucky moms to some of the most amazing kids on the planet!

Blanche said...

When I read things like what your friend posted. I immediately assume she knows some lazy parents. But, obviously she isn't directing the slight in my direction.

Parents with autistic children ARE NOT lazy parents who don't want to spend time with their children. Those "perfect" parents would be just like us if their children were on the spectrum. They would be tired emotional messes;D Oh wait, that last part might just be me:)

Your children seem very happy. And it sounds like you do a lot of great stuff with them. So you are an awesome parent.