In September 2008 I wrote what is possibly one of the most difficult blog posts I have written. No one made me write it, but I felt as if I needed to. One reason was just to get it off my chest, but I also wanted to write to let other parents know that they are not alone. I am re-running that post today and next week I plan to discuss where we currently are in this journey.
Why is it that, as mothers, we will not discuss the trials and troubles we have with our children.
Is it because we are fearful it will cause people to judge our parenting skills (you know they always do). Is it because we don't want to admit our troubles because we are afraid of how to face them?
I'm not sure why it is, but I have a Mommy secret that I have been hiding. It's one that I know causes people to judge my parenting skills. Plenty of people have given me both solicited and unsolicited advice. I have taken some of the advice and researched other ideas. I know where I have failed as a mother and why I have failed. I feel miserable about it and I devote any spare time I have (as if that exists!) to educate myself to be a better mother.
I want to discuss this trial in order to encourage other mothers. I really am not seeking advice, but if you want to give some feel free. I am not casting judgment on others, but simply sharing my family's journey.
My son, Hoss (a nickname), will be 3 years old next month. For the past 9 months he has been receiving occupational therapy and developmental intervention through theFirst Steps
program (a fabulous program for children under 3 who need thearpy assistance). These struggles have been difficult, but the biggest difficulty for me has been his social skills. Hoss is a very quiet, passive child. Part of this is his natural personality and shyness, but another part of this is a lack of ability.
I struggle with this concern the most because it is one area where judgment is placed the most on me. It is suggested that I don't talk to my child or spend any time with him (you might as well slap me in the face to even think this). Or suggested that our decision to not implement day care or social activites as the cause for his lack of social skills (and maybe it is partly true). It is suggested that he is on the Autism spectrum (which, at this time, is not believed to be so).
As we have been walking the journey of intervention for Hoss I have determined my opinion. He is Hoss. Plain and simple. Take him or leave him, he'll still be Hoss. He is not going to change for you. If you approach Hoss and say hello to him he probably will not respond. He's afraid, nervous and just plain shy. Hoss is not outgoing, nor do I expect him to ever be. He is probably not going to strike up a conversation with you. Please don't take this to mean that he doesn't want to interact with you. He does, but on his own terms.
Just because Hoss lacks social skills does not mean I don't know or that I am a bad parent. I know all about his social skills, trust me, I was the one who stood in the pediatrician's office nearly a year ago and insisted something is just not right and started this journey. I want Hoss to be social. I want him to discuss his favorite super heroes with everyone, not just family. He can tell you more than you'll ever want to know. I will continue to encourage Hoss to be social. I will continue to provide him with opportunities to learn social skills. I will encourage him to respond to questions. I will keep teaching him. And I will keep learning.
He may not seem perfect to you, but he is definitely perfect to me.