Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Sorry for the apologies

I'm done.
Will not back down.
I just can't do it anymore.
I refuse to apologize for past and present mistakes or the way I parent my children.
I'm over the mommy shaming, the victim blaming, the bullshit.

Things I refuse to apologize for are as follows:

1. Calling my son autistic. This is a no go for me. He IS autistic, just as he IS tall, has brown hair, and brown eyes. I'll be damned if I ever apologize or feel bad when someone goes off on me for using autistic rather than "has autism." It's just silly. Can you separate the autism from him? No? Me either.

2. My sons' actions. You know what? It's damned hard to apologize for someone else. I refuse to say "I'm sorry, but he's <fill in the blank>." Parents of totally typical kids don't apologize for their children being assholes, and I don't think I should have to, either. My kids are good kids. They're usually polite, funny, and aren't embarrassing to take out in public (well, most of the time, but we'll get to that). I'm not going to ask for forgiveness when they act like kids or have meltdowns related to their disabilities. Or when Morgan scripts all the history of Thomas the Tank engine. Or when Bay goes on and on to me about Minecraft. They're being the only type of children they know how to be and, as long as they aren't being total jerks, I'm good with that.

3. Assisting my son when he's losing his proverbial crap in public. Why did I ever feel the need to do that? He can't help that the crowds are too much, that the lights are too bright, or that the noise is too loud. When he shuts down and cries, it's my job to help him, not to explain him to someone else.

4. Speaking up for disabled people, especially my son. This extends, but isn't limited to, calling people out for bullshit ableist policies and language. I'm including this blog, too. I've stayed away from here due to a fear of being reprimanded for how I feel. Sorry, but I'm out of shits to give. I'm going to say what I want and not feel bad for it because some keyboard crusader wants my head on a platter.

5. Activism and advocacy. I used to feel just the tiniest twinge of guilt whenever I gave hell to the schools, but that's long gone. I'm not going to apologize for them pissing me off, or for them not doing their jobs. The exact same thought process applies to the below:

6. Speaking up against and calling society out for the other isms and phobias- racism, anti feminism, xenophobia, and homophobia. Granted, I don't really apologize for saying anything about this now, but, after getting trashy comments about my stance on politics and humanity, I just figured I'd throw this in- don't be a dick.

7.Teaching my children about politics and current events. I assume competence with my kids. They overhear news, they aren't blind to societal issues like homelessness or racism. I feel like it's important to address elephants in the room and I want the boys to be informed. Don't tell me I'm poisoning their minds. Rather, I'm fertilizing them with something other than horse shit.

8. Believing in applied behavioral analysis as it stands now. Look, I get that ABA can have its issues, okay? But my son is exposed to ABA as a learning style and it works. He works with licensed BCBAs at his school, not in private therapy, and they've done wonders for and with him. He's learning to tie his shoes, cook, have reciprocal social conversations, and so much more. I'm not apologizing for it working for us, nor for us having a good experience.

9. Talking/writing about my children. When I write about my kids, I'm acknowledging the struggles and shitastrophies. I'm also championing their triumphs and telling about the funny things they do. Sometimes, autism is funny. Sometimes, it sucks. And, sometimes, my youngest is being a ginger demon. Each experience is okay to talk about.

10. Being myself. I'm at a place in my life where I actually don't hate myself or the things I say and do. I'm comfortable in my own skin and I don't care if others aren't alright with that. I swear, I drop things, I mess up, and I'm quirky. I like me.

11. My kids being themselves. I'm trying to teach my kids to be their authentic selves and, so far, they seem to have a good grip on what that means. Sometimes, my kids come off as weird, indifferent, or sensitive. However, they own most of that and I'm thrilled that they do. Authenticity is hard to come by in adults, but if we teach it to our kids early, maybe they'll grow up feeling that the earth is solid beneath them rather than shaky.

At the end of the day, how is my parenting affecting you? If it's not, then move on.