Wyatt is missing a sock, Raylan’s hair needs brushed, Jaydon probably didn’t shower today, Cheyenne is well a “fashion diva” as in nothing matches, and mama is about 3 liters and an IV drip shy of enough caffeine to keep up with it all.
Most days it is a struggle and I often feel like a failure. Over the last year I kept reaching out to my friend who also is a mama of four and hers are all boys. Like me she is an Autism mom. She had been dealing with it for a bit longer than I, so every-time I was lost or upset I reached out to Lena (lay-nuh) 😉 and asked for help or just for her to listen to me complain. She’d always tell me don’t waste my time on people who aren’t worth it, don’t listen to the negatives, or even that people think they know it all, but they don’t, and most of all find my tribe.
For a while I struggled and I tried, but everyone seemed to come up short, we just did not mesh well, they really didn’t understand life with multiples or a special needs kid. Life can be different and challenging with Autism, so finding other parents or even friends who aren’t parents that are open to learn or have first hand experience with autism can be grueling.
The year leading up to Raylan’s diagnosis was dreadful and heart wrenching at times. I felt incredibly alone, stressed out, and both mentally and physically exhausted. Raylan never slept and I had a newborn baby. There were days I just never thought I would make it through. Days when both boys would cry and I would sit with tears in my eyes too. I was constantly hearing everyone’s opinions and everyone’s advice. People can be real assholes you know. Telling me what to do, but no one was here to help me. Or telling me I use my kids for an excuse….
NEWS FLASH MY KIDS ARE MOST LIKELY ALWAYS MY EXCUSE, there are four of them and ONE of me!
“Oh you just have to….”, “Maybe you should…”, “You need to….”
Seriously just put a sock in it y’all! No one really knew exactly what to say or do they just wanted to fix my kids and my situation. No one really wanted to just be there, It wasn’t until I started to really focus on figuring out how to do life with 4 kids and one who is Autistic, that I shut everyone down. I became exhausted with opinions and eventually they just went in one ear and right out the other. I had to do what I thought was right for my kiddos. I had to find my tribe.
I have a lot of “support” on facebook, but not enough actual real life connections. That’s what a tribe is though. I needed real life relationships with people that either understand or wanna understand. You cannot build connections with people who don’t want to have a true connection and you cannot force friendships.
I wasn’t looking for just other moms who had four kids or even other moms who have special needs kids. I was looking for friends who get it. You know friends who if I call saying “I have no idea how I am supposed to make it today, Wyatt just painted my walls in finger paint made from crap. I haven’t showered in 3 days and I smell like a swamp creature!” Will return by saying ” I get it girl, it is OK we can reschedule” and truly mean it in the most sincere way. Friends who if I fall off the map for weeks at a time will not let me go alone. They will message me to make sure my kids have not suffocated me or that I haven’t fallen into a black hole. I needed true friends who weren’t trying to just fix me or my kids, but really stuck by my side even on the bad days.
Y’all, I cannot tell you how important having a true and tested tribe is. Now days friends and family are many behind a computer screen. A tribe though, is bonded with understanding and unconditional love. I am proud to say I have found my tribe this past year. Some of the people in my tribe haven’t even met one another, but have proven that if tested they will pull together if I need them too. I have moms in my tribe from Raylan’s school who really get it and haven’t even known me long, but have literally jumped with out hesitation to help me. I have members of my tribe who don’t even have kids, but if I tell them I need a moment or I am going to loose it, they are at my front door as soon as I hang up.
My tribe is made up of many people, from many walks of life, but they all support me and I will support them.