I saw this prompt on Mabel’s Labels’ Facebook page today and thought it was BRILLIANT!
TODAY Moms & REDBOOK magazine have declared today ‘No Judgement Day’. What do you think of this movement and how would you fill in the blank “Don’t judge me because I _______”? Here’s the link for the article: “Give other moms a break — today is ‘No Judgment Day’”
Don’t judge me because I…have twins and one has Autism. I get judged all the time. When I tell people I have 6 year old twins, the immediate response is “Wow. One is busy enough. I can’t imagine two!”. Thankfully for me, my twins were my first so honestly, I know no other way. In fact, when I hold my friends babies, I feel awkward holding only one.
When I tell people my son has Autism (and honestly, I tell everyone I can; education = understanding = acceptance), I usually get the “I’m sorry” and “I don’t know how you do it”. I don’t want your pity. I don’t want you to apologize to me. I’m not a supermom, I’m just a mom.
Part of my reality is that I scan every new environment we enter to assess possible over-stimulus for my son. When he has a public meltdown, I can “feel” some people are judging me and my parenting skills, and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to the stage of not caring what they think. I’ll admit that I’m not the most polite to people (dependent upon age…I still live by the old adage of “be respectful to your elders) when they make a negative comment about what I “should” be doing, but in that very moment, that’s as much as I can manage.
For example, about a year ago, my son had a huge meltdown in a store, throwing himself on the floor, kicking and screaming. To others, these actions probably look like a regular tantrum. If it was a tantrum, I would have just stood by him firmly asking him “Are you done this tantrum yet?” until he calms down.
What others don’t see is him squeezing his eyes shut, banging the back of his head on the floor, while pulling on his hair. Those little actions tell me it’s a meltdown. All I can do is make sure he’s safe, and talk him down from it. I pulled my hair out of its ponytail, straddled over him to stop him kicking and flailing about so he didn’t hurt himself and others around us, covered my hair around his face trying to get rid of visual over stimulus and focusing his attention on my face. Then I calmly repeat “everything’s ok, you’re ok, mommy’s here”.
Then I hear someone say “you know, you shouldn’t be letting him stay on the floor like that. It’s dirty.” It took all my energy to NOT turn around and punch that person out. I sat up knowing that would negate all the progress my son had made to try to calm down, looked this person right in the eyes and told him “I don’t care about dirt! I care about my son not melting down further and drawing blood. It’s Autism. Learn.” In that short amount of time, he had fully escalated again, and I went back to helping him calm down again. No idea what that man did after, and frankly, I didn’t care. I was staring into my son’s face for the next 15minutes, trying to get him to calm down. By the end of it, I was exhausted, I was bleeding, and he was almost asleep.
I’m proud of my kids. I’m proud to be their mother. You can judge me all you want but at the end of the day, I don’t care about, nor do I accept the judgment.
How would you finish the prompt “Don’t judge me because I…”?