Of course I HAVE to write something about mothers on Mother’s Day.
This post isn’t going to be about me being a mother or how much I love my children or even how much I love my mom (duh).
Instead…this post is about all of the ‘real’ lessons I learned from my mom. Some of them were tough lessons to learn – but now, in retrospect, all of them helped me be a better mom to Tucker. All of the lessons have helped me learn about and ultimately, respect the spectrum.
A baker’s dozen (because my mom is a baker) of lessons from my mom. Trust me, there are plenty more – but this is a good start.
Lesson #1 – Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself
Go ahead and have a pity party. For about 30 seconds. Someone ALWAYS has it worse than you. Move on – you have a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and can get a job.
Spectrum Specific: SO many parents are dealing with much tougher issues than autism. Truth.
Lesson #2 – Every Situation You Are In Is Your Own Doing
Don’t blame others, for anything. Anything. Even if it is only partially your fault…you are still partially to blame. You got yourself in – get yourself out. Wallowing in your yuck is NEVER going to help.
Spectrum Specific: I can’t do anything about Tucker having autism, better move on with it and figure out how to make the situation better.
Lesson #3 – Take The High Road
Kill it with kindness. It’s just that simple. Being kind to someone who is a jerkwad is the best way to make them feel even worse. Yeah…now looking back – that one is kind of manipulative, mom. 😉 Never, ever stoop to someone’s ‘low level.’
Spectrum Specific: When people are rude or mean to Tucker, we are just kind back.
Lesson #4 – Don’t Swear
People won’t take you seriously if you don’t use your words well. Learn how to speak and write effectively…then the world is yours. Don’t EVER ( and I mean EVER) curse at your children or your husband.
Spectrum Specific: Anger doesn’t do any good – swearing at him will never make him be able to wear jeans.
Lesson #5 – Don’t Quit
Life will be hard. You will get sad. Everyone else does too…you’re aren’t that special. Be sad and then move on. If you continue to quit or whine when times get tough you’ll never reach a goal of any kind.
Spectrum Specific: Sometimes it’s crappy…yeah, well – sometimes life is too. Get over what it is and figure out how to do better next time.
Lesson #6 – Get Tough
The world is not always nice. You can’t break down every time someone says or does something mean. You have to let it roll off of you. Remember someone being rude, inconsiderate, or mean says nothing about you and everything about them.
Spectrum Specific: Ignore stares and whispers.
Lesson #7 – Not Everyone Will Like You, Get Over It
FYI – My least favorite lesson…but a very important one. People are rude. People will ‘screw you over.’ Nice people are sometimes nice to get something. If everyone likes you it simply shows that you really don’t stand for anything.
Spectrum Specific: Fight for Tucker when he is unable to fight for himself. I don’t worry about them liking me…I worry about doing what’s right for him.
Lesson #8 – Stand For Something
Believe in something. I don’t care what it is – but believe in it and stand tall and strong. Don’t allow the wind to just carry you from one place to another. Make a choice – being on the fence is the worst possible place to be.
Spectrum Specific: I believe Tucker will achieve great things in life. I will not believe otherwise.
Lesson #9 – Cool Your Britches
You are not that important. The world owes you nothing – don’t act as if it does. You may have a couple of college degrees…good for you. There are others who don’t have any letters behind their name that are inherently smarter.
Spectrum Specific: I am not an expert, all I have to share is our experience – it’s why I often ask others to write entries in this blog about their own experience.
Lesson #10 – No One Likes Dependence
Be independent. Do things on your own. Learn to run power tools, to mow the lawn, to put up drywall. Take a chance – but don’t EVER, EVER be fully dependent on another person. If you can read, you can do anything.
Spectrum Specific: Don’t depend on others to do the right thing for Tucker. I did/do the research myself so I know just what to do.
Lesson #11 – Act Smart
No one likes a woman who pretends to be dumb. Don’t do that to get attention, it’s not attractive. You are smart…act as such.
Spectrum Specific: Use big words in IEP meetings.
Lesson #12 – Don’t Be A Know It All
On the other hand, don’t be a know it all. No one likes a person who throws their knowledge in everyone’s face. Don’t pretend to know stuff you don’t know.
Spectrum Specific: Don’t be afraid to ask when I have no idea which ‘chew toy’ works the best.
Lesson #13 – Recognize the Lessons of Women Before You
Generations of women fought for you to have equal opportunities and (hopefully one day) equal pay. Don’t squander that away by dressing or acting like a floozy. I know that’s not fair and you should be able to do and say and behave in any way you want, but that’s the world. Dress like a respectable woman, put your breasts away. Wear pants that fit. Don’t wear shorts or skirts that show your butt cheeks (or other parts).
Spectrum Specific: To be able to advocate, I need to be a strong-willed, courageous, independent, smart woman. It’s the only way people are going to listen and act.
Thanks for these lessons mom. I know this isn’t a mushy post –
but this stuff was way more important to learn.
Thank you for knowing that and thank you for being awesome.