Are You Autism Mom Enough?


May 15, 2012 by Marj Hatzell

Surely by now you’ve seen that ridiculous Time cover and possibly read the articles that went along with it. If you haven’t, get out from under that rock you are under and try reading a newspaper or somethin’…I’ll wait while you Google that shiz.

Anywho, I got to thinking. I was/am what you’d call “AP” or Attachment Parent.I’m not some militant freak who doesn’t shower and makes everything from scratch. I don’t stalk Dr. Sears and there’s no one single, solitary focus to my parenting style. We do what we do because it makes sense to us and it works for our family.  I do not, however, do stuff to make other people feel like they have to keep up with the Jones. Joneses. Whatevs.  I don’t berate anyone who doesn’t practice what I practice. In fact, I think those articles painted most AP parents in a very bad and unfair light. There’s no competition folks.

You wanna know what attachment parenting is? It’s about getting in tune with your child’s needs. It’s about finding ways to support them emotionally. It’s about parenting to the best of your ability WITHOUT GUILT. It’s about being truthful with yourself, educating yourself and doing what’s best for your family. Not following some cult blindly, not copping out and slacking off, not doing stuff because other people do it, not feeling like crap because you don’t.

You wanna know what I despise? Mommy wars. In my world, they don’t exist. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. You just have to be true to yourself and your family. And, remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

In the Autism and special needs worlds? Yep. Mommy Wars. I choose not to get involved. I do, however, advocate for my children to the best of my ability. I’m there for them as much as I humanly can be. I do probably do a bit more than the average parent (see? I’m making progress admitting this Special Parenting thing is HARD) but there is no Hardship Olympics. This isn’t a competition. We should be there for each other, no matter the disability. There shouldn’t be anyone made to feel inferior because they aren’t Autism Parent of the Year or because they didn’t win some list with their blog.

If you can truly say you do your best parenting, to the best of your ability? Good enough for me. If you don’t do a damn thing and you know it? This is a call to action. You can do better. Your kid needs you to do better. No excuses.  And don’t feel like I’m judging you. It’s up to you and it’s between you and your own personal demons, mmkay?

Me? I’m glad I was an AP parent. I feel that due to my children’s issues it was the best darn thing I could have done. Not the cloth diapering part (that didn’t last long) or the breastfeeding part (that did last long). The part where I attempted to parent a little differently, constantly educate myself and support them emotionally to the best of my ability while doing my best to help them developmentally. Cosleep? Yes, we did. We do. When they NEED it. Every night? No. Only when they NEED us there. Most nights my kids want to be in their own rooms, in their own beds reading or listening to music as they fall asleep. It wasn’t always that way, but we let them feel secure in their own time. And The Guy I Live With slept on the couch a lot.


A little.

But for realz, the way I parent my kids? MY BUSINESS. What you do? YOUR BUSINESS. If it isn’t working for you or for me? We need to look at what we’re doing and see where we can change things. What I do know is my kids are happy, confident and well-adjusted, considering their challenges.

And that’s ok by me.

31 thoughts on “Are You Autism Mom Enough?

  1. Parenting with Asperger's Syndrome says:

    YES!!!! YES. Exactly why I parent the way I do! I totally could have written this. Same thoughts.

  2. Jim Reeve says:

    It really is trial and error sometimes. With us, what works now might not work later. So we just do our best to stay flexable. Our son dictates how flexable we have to be, so we try to stay one step ahead. Often enough, staying ahead is impossible, but we do our best.

  3. She Started It says:

    I wholeheartedly agree, Marj. Great post.

  4. Rock ON! LOVE this! Thanks so much for writing and posting my thoughts!!!! 😉

  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I could have written this myself, I totally agree with all of what you wrote! Shared on my fb page and I hope those who engage in ‘mommy wars’ pull their heads out of their backsides. We need to bond together on this crazy ride called motherhood! Having an AWEtistic 4 yr old is not always easy but you do your best and sometimes, your best can be better, but only you can judge yourself.

  6. jillsmo says:

    I googled “shiz” and now I have regrets 😦

  7. mumstimeout says:

    Great post. I agree, forget the mummy wars! Concentrate on your kids and do what you feel is best for you and your family. I think, in our heart of hearts we know if we are doing enough or NOT! 🙂

  8. Excellent. Great post – and I am so totally over the mommy wars and the term “mommy wars” and the idea that women in general have to buy in to one version of perfection or another and spit venom at anyone who has a different perspective. If my kids end up able to tie their shoes and love animals I am a success. See? Bar low. Great for the ego!

  9. punkymama says:

    Standing up and cheering….a big standing ovation. I love your term the hardship Olympics and my sister is constantly trying to suck me into that competition but I refuse. I agree with every word of this post. Thank you

  10. Patty says:

    Awesome! Just awesome! I totally agree.

  11. Bec Oakley says:

    I totally agree. I took one look at that Time cover and thought “Pfft, this is news?” WHO CARES. Everyone’s just trying to get through this parenting thing the best way we know how. And that includes parents who don’t have special needs kids too. I hate that the Mommy Wars and Hardship Olympics mean our friends with neurotypical kids aren’t supposed to be allowed to vent about their parenting experience to us, like we’re so fragile that we’ll break if exposed to the real world.

  12. pinkoddy says:

    Oh he’ll I just blogged about this and my post looks so lame after reading this. Yes what you’ve said is what I meant but just much better put. That will teach me to blog when sleep deprived in the night lol.

  13. […] breastfeeding experiences Related post by The Domestic Goddess Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Category : […]

  14. Melinda says:

    Amen … I think it is sad sad sad that they painted AP parenting in such a bad light IMHO … I have said it a thousand times … I believe that most parents (certainly not all) but the wide majority of parents choose to do that which works best or what they think will work best for their family and should not be made to feel their decisions are right or wrong. Why or why do folks believe it has to be their way or the highway …

  15. stilettostorytime says:

    You’ve taken the words out of my mouth. I was a little upset by the time cover…it really didn’t relate to the article all that much in the first place. Purely for shock value! We do AP to an extent but more than anything we parent the way our child needs us and do what makes sense. My son is three and autistic but he is the most loving and affectionate child you’d ever meet. I think most of that is just who he is as a person but I do think parts of it come from the fact that I practiced AP and held him almost every moment of his infancy. Now at three we still co-sleep because it feels natural to us as a family. My son loves having Mommy on one side and Daddy on the other and being able to reach for us both when he needs us and I am okay with that despite what others might say. As the parent of a child with autism I thank God everyday for that blessing of touch and affection because I know so many others don’t experience it. In the end we’re all just doing the best we can and we should support each other no matter our parenting styles…we all need that pat on the back every once in awhile. And no one should ever challenge another’s methods (unless a child is in danger) because as those of use with children with special needs know…you never know what another parent is going through and sometimes you couldn’t even imagine.

  16. Anonymous says:

    well said!

  17. Just as some parents encounter unwanted and often unwarranted critique, I get the same from most of the medical community because I developed a new regimine in my 30 years of practice instead of through a double blind study or promotion by a major drug company. So here I am, reaching out to the community of special needs parents directly, letting anyone who deals with severe meltdowns know I published new information and new hope this year. Search for the book or website Hope for the Violently Aggressive Child if you need help with severe meltdowns.

  18. Thank you! Thank you!!! I’ve been thinking the same thing! What’s really important is being in tune with what your child is feeling!!! And educating yourself on how to help them and be an advocate for them in life. I have an 11yo daughter and twin 3yo boys that had developmental delays due to prematurity. I can’t say that I’m an attachment parent, as we don’t co-sleep and I breasfed our daughter for 7 months many years ago, but couldn’t do it with the twins beyond 7 weeks. But that’s not important. I’ll wake up sometimes with a 5’4″ 11yo girl in my bed some mornings because she had a bad dream. I’ll talk endlessly with her in the car when we are alone, because that is when she is the most honest. I read the queues the boys give me on whether or not they are ready to potty train. One is closer than the other. I think every parent needs to focus on what does the child need. And truly, the breastfeeding phase of a child’s life (even if you do it until they go to school), that being “Mom enough” has more to do with the 18 years and beyond that we have the job.

  19. Well put. I have a daughter with a rare autoimmune disease and certain times warrant being an AP, but there are many everyday time it doesn’t. Do what you need.

  20. […] My breastfeeding experiences Related post by The Domestic Goddess […]

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