Home » Autism » Some days, he’s exhausting

Some days, he’s exhausting

Yesterday morning was not one of my more-stellar mornings in mom-land.  But let me back up a moment……

Part of high-functioning autism is not recognizing tone….at all. That skill does not come naturally to him. He’s spent years in speech and other therapies learning to take in context, what accompanying facial expressions might mean, what the most positive intentions behind the words he’s hearing may be.  It’s not an easy nor quick process for him, which is totally not functional in real-life situations.  Needless to say, he frequently takes words and interprets the most negative intent, and the spiral to meltdowns and angry outbursts is on.

Corrections, adding information, constructive criticism aren’t usually handled well.  Most days, we take it for what it is, take a deep breath, slow down, let him process. Yesterday was one of those days. Exhausted to a level I haven’t been in months, I had an in-the-red patience level. I tried to slow him down, but he was having none of it. He started raging. I yelled. I hate when I do that. It was effective in the moment, but has long-term repercussions. Not five minutes later, the same exact episode repeated. You’d think I’d have taken a breath myself, but no, it was almost exactly the same outcome. Gah!! As I walked out the door to take Big Man to school, frustrated, worn out, upset with myself, upset with him, he let one more outburst fly.  I turned, at my wits’ end, and told him, “Some days, you’re just exhausting.” Oh yeah, another mom win right there.

We talked later. I had a ridiculously long day that ended about four hours after I wanted it to end, but we did squeeze in a talk about the morning’s events. He blessedly forgave me. But honestly, some days, he’s completely exhausting. Being a parent is work. Being a parent to an autistic child….it’s a LOT of work some days…most days.  I just don’t usually tell him he’s exhausting. I can’t get that back. It’s out there. He’s heard it. He knows it. He also knows that most days, I have enough reserves to give him the grace he needs and deserves.

35 thoughts on “Some days, he’s exhausting

  1. But you know what? This, like many other things, he can learn to understand. Think of it this way: by telling him that he’s exhausting you, you can teach him empathy, which is a huge thing for an Autistic.
    Don’t beat yourself up. Everything is a learning experience for him – even your bad days. Take it from the mother of an Autistic 20 year old. Believe me, I’ve had some pretty bad days…
    Hang in there. 🙂

  2. This doesn’t even make a mark on me. No bad mom shaming to do here. Everyone is exhausting at times, and sometimes, they deserve to know just how exhausting they are.
    I’m sorry y’all had a rough morning.

  3. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    I can’t imagine so I won’t try to offer empty words that won’t help. I’ll share this post and thank you for your honest writing. A very brave write in my opinion. -OM
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

    • Thanks for the re-blog Jason, and the comments. I feel I do myself and any other person reading about parenting an autistic child a disservice if I’m not brutally honest what this life is. It helps me process and it’s given me an entire community of support.

  4. I raised a step son with aspergers from the time he was 3. he is 29 now and has his first apartment. when he was young i thought that would never be possible. Yeah, he has his quirks, but he’s doing good. But I remember those frustrating days. You are human. you may be a mom – but – you – are – human. Don’t expect to be a perfect mom. It ain’t gonna happen. Each day is a new day. We have our good days and bad days just like our children do – or did, in my case. he is fortunate he has you because some don’t have someone who cares

      • There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Funny thing, the things that fascinated him at a young age – you know how they perseverate on different things. He chose a field to get into that matched these things. He has lots of friends and seems to enjoy his life and that is the most important thing.

  5. Have you been hiding in my closet? We had one of those days recently which ended in my son kicking out a window… and yes, I said some things I wish I could take back.

    • I have two holes kicked in two walls from days like this. We have to stick together right? Thanks for reading and commenting. Helps immensely to know I’m not alone.

  6. It’s quite exhausting indeed. I don’t know if I can handle another call from school. Behavior is the worst part of autism. I’d written something yesterday. I felt that, as a parent of an autistic child, we are not told how hard it is to parent a “difficult” child. We’re expected to be patient and accepting all the time. It’s just not fair….
    Just in case you’d like to read this…
    https://zeinaelhoss.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/what-they-dont-tell-you-about-autism/
    And hey, hang in there 🙂

      • Thanks for following my blog! 😊😊 Reading your posts has been giving me lots of hope and motivation to survive another day as an autism parent. You’ve encouraged me to write about my own experience some months ago. Thank you! So glad I came across your blog through Jason Cushman. Keep writing 🙏🏻

  7. If only for your courage you should be patting yourself on the back. Yet, you make “mistakes” and turn around to face them, confront them, and call them what they are to your kid. That is the BEST kind of parent, not the worst. Don’t let those dark lies convince you otherwise (talking to me too!). I’m so glad I read this today, I’m having one of those regretful days myself. () virtual hug

  8. This will be etched in your mind,and your heart far longer than it will be in his. He knows he is loved and taken care of, and that will outweigh one bad day, one sentence spoken in the moment of exhaustion. He has forgiven you, now you need to forgive yourself.

  9. Please go easy on yourself. I’ve been known to tell both my girls, one neuro-typical and the other with a genetic disorder that they wear me out. Kids just do that. And I think by being honest with them, letting them know we’re human and make mistakes, it’s showing them that it’s okay to not be perfect, that we’re all works in progress.

  10. Don’t beat yourself up! He knows you love him.. In his own way. I think as parents, especially as moms, we constantly feel like we’re damaging our children beyond repair. I recently had a conversation with my 14 yr old son that made me realize that I’m not doing nearly as bad of a job as I thought. I realize that having a child with autism is a struggle that I’ll never truly understand, but I honestly believe that even though it may not seem like it at times, they do understand more than we give them credit for. I believe in my heart your son knows without a doubt that you love him and that you will always be his #1 fan!

    • Thank you for that. I was just talking with a friend of how we live in our heads, listening to our own negative voices, which are often louder than the voices of anyone else.
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Welcomed to the Herd!

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