Saturday 19 November 2016

Are my 'Children in Need' of someone better?

kids by ruins

There's no denying that being a parent is way more work than you think it's going to be. When the midwife came to see me the day after we took our first child Anthony home she found me still in my pyjamas despite it being nearly noon. Within minutes of her asking how I was I'd burst into tears. Being a mother is overwhelming. Over eight years later we now have two boys with autism and a little girl and I still get that same feeling. Sometimes it's during the simplest of circumstance.

It was half way through our daily battle with multiple school drop-offs on Friday that I found myself feeling like I wasn't doing a good enough job. As I looked over at Anthony in his school uniform I had this sudden dread that it was actually a mufti day at school. As I racked my brain I thought that it was not only getting close to the schools Christmas fair, but it was also Children in Need. Both were potential reasons that it could be a 'normal clothes' day. I tried hard to remember whether I was just getting confused with the mufti day at David's school which is next week. It's hard to keep track of two schools worth of activities. I tried to picture the calendar on our wall at home which was useless because it looks a bit like a brainstorm gone wrong.

Eventually I figured there wasn't time to go home and get changed. Anthony was going to school in his uniform whether it was a mufti day or not. I started desperately looking around for other kids who might be in uniform so I could confirm my suspicions. If I'd got this wrong I'd have to prepare Anthony before we got to the school for how I'd fix it and even then he might not cope with it. As a child with autism, dealing with change is very difficult. Anthony could collapse over such an error on my part. On 'Children in Need' day, the thought entered my mind, are my children in need .. of someone better?

Every mum must make a mistake sometime. Our neuro-typical daughter Jane might be pretty upset if I failed to get her to a toddlers music club. I might have to deal with a few tears and shrug off the cost of a session not attended. Everything will be mended by a trip to the playground or even better a baking session at home. But if I miss an appointment with Anthony's occupational therapist it can delay his treatment and have more serious consequences. Forget a speech and language appointment and I might have to wait months for another one and that's no joke if your son can't talk. Never mind the daily tasks, challenging behaviour and tight schedule I've got trying to get my kids to their respective special and mainstream schools on time. It's a lot of pressure. It's no wonder people struggle. No wonder we wonder if we are making a mess, ruining things. Maybe a better question is am I a 'parent in need'?

Of course I am. Aren't we all? I'm fortunate to be surrounded with emotional and physical support from family, various organisations, forums and even in some cases the good old NHS and Social Services. Condition charities like the NAS really helped with understanding my kids needs. Local support charities like Me Too & Co, who are supported in coincidence by Children in Need, were and continue to be so important in helping me with my worries by providing advice and emotional support from other parents. Contact a Family, Mencap, Scope and many more offer help and advice to families with disabled kids. And if you are one if the amazing people who adopts one of the four in 10 kids up for adoption who are disabled* then you will automatically get support and advise from your social worker.

And maybe it's thanks to my support that I'm not missing appointments, I'm not constantly late for school and in fact I've not yet missed a single mufti day. My children are safe, clothed, fed, mostly clean and unconditionally loved. As I think back to the day the midwife came to see me in my pyjamas and in tears I can still hear her say, "Don't worry about the crying and feeling overwhelmed. It's perfectly normal... I'd be worried if you weren't overwhelmed." 

Because thinking 'this' is a lot of responsibility is being responsible and wondering whether I'm doing enough means I'm thinking about what good enough is. My children are in need. They are in need of me; me and my worries, me and my love and me and my constant bid to do better for them. And that's just the way it should be.

*British Association for Adoption and Fostering/ CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Academy


  1. So true. If you're worrying about it, you are most probably doing a fab job. Everyone makes mistakes along the way, but we try our best to learn from them. You're a great mum x

  2. This is lovely. Being a mom really is tough - we are all just doing our best, and everyone has "Children in Need"! I still often feel overwhelmed and my kids are 5 and 8. It's natural. You're doing a good job!

  3. So very true. The fact that you are worrying so much shows you will always be enough. You are human, and so you cannot expect to never make mistakes. As long as you note them and do your best to learn by any significant ones, that's all anyone can ask. I had an awful day yesterday. I shouted at both and I have been feeling so awful for 24 hours. But today is a new day and today will be better. You are exactly what they need. xx

  4. You are always great! Best Mum they could possibly have. xxEnaj

  5. Your worry shows that you are doing everything you can for your kids. You have a huge amount of balls in the air, forgetting a non-uniform day is an innocent over sight. You are doing a great job :) #eatsleepblogrt

  6. Absolutely spot on Hun! Life is hectic and we all have a parenting fail week sometimes. I do think that worrying does show we care but I know my worrying can get out of hand and drift into anxiety and I have to trust my kids too. This parenting gig is so hard!!! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime loved this ❤️

  7. Christmas is my favourite time of yet but it can be stressful and frustrating. I have got most of my Christmas bits in the sales all throughout the year which I think is the best way to do it and also the only way we can do it! #MarvMondays

  8. Absolutely, it is so important to give yourself a break. As you say, if you're trying your best and reflecting on what you're doing, then you're doing it right. I can be a very forgetful parent but my kids are forgiving! #kcacols

  9. Sound like you're doing a great job, but we're only human after all, give yourself a break! :) #kcacols

  10. Just the fact that you are worrying means you are doing great! I think a mom who doesn't worry has more to worry about. lol I worry nonstop, it's pretty bad, but I want to be the best I can for my kids. I feel ya!

  11. Bless you.. being a parent means juggling on the go all the time. It's OK to drop a ball or so every now and again, we all do it. I agree that if you are worrying, then it's highly likely that you are doing an amazing job. Thank you for sharing with the #dreamteam xx

  12. We've all been there as parents, feeling like we aren't doing a good enough job. I know I have. You sound like an amazing Mummy. Thanks for linking up with #kcacols We hope to see you next Sunday!

  13. Such wisdom and so glad you have the support you need. You are right, we all need it and the fact we question whether we are good parents or enough means we absolutely are. Thanks for this touching and beautifully written reminder x


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