When you are a working mom, part of your job is finding that balance between work and family. It takes figuring out how much time you can put into each. You have to work at making sure your family doesn’t interfere with your work and your work doesn’t interfere with your family. I found this difficult from day 1. I use to spend every night doing at least a little bit of school work but once Courtney came along, that stopped. I definitely felt like I wasn’t putting as much effort into my job as I did. And like any new mom, was always wondering how my new baby was doing without me.
That balancing act was nothing. It’s a whole different balancing act now. Of course it’s harder because now I’m a full time working mother of two, but that’s not the only reason it is harder. When Courtney was a baby, I wasn’t an autism mom. Now I’m an autism mom. I’m not only an autism mom, I’m an autism teacher. So here’s the question…how do you separate the two when they are so similar? My two worlds have merged in such a way that I’m not sure it is possible to separate the two. I spend all day at working wondering how I can incorporate what I am doing with my students with Courtney. At home, I wonder how I can incorporate what I am doing with Courtney at school. One of the hardest parts of my dual role is realizing that Courtney belongs in my classroom. I make that sound like a bad thing. It isn’t a bad thing at all, but when you teach children with pretty significant needs and you come to the realization that your daughter actually belongs in your class, that’s hard to swallow. It’s also difficult spending all day trying to work through meltdowns, overstimulated behaviors, and the all the other day to day things you have to work through with a child with autism only to go home and have to find the energy to do it at home too.
Here is where it has been really hard the past couple weeks. Courtney is in a class that I don’t feel will appropriately meet her needs. Unfortunately, this is probably making us the most talked about parents in the teacher’s lounge. I can tell you for certain, if I was the teacher and I had a parent like me, I would be sick to my stomach any time she wanted to talk to me. So this week, when my advocate asked me to send a note to her school team requesting data, I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I know as a teacher, I would feel uncomfortable if I received an e-mail like the one I sent out to Courtney’s teacher. I had a week moment. There was a moment that I asked myself if I was doing the right thing. I asked myself if I want this stigma. I asked myself if I was up for this fight. Later that day I received an e-mail from Courtney’s teacher. She has been biting. I wasn’t surprised one bit. That is what Courtney does. When she is frustrated or when she is completely over stimulated, she bites. Last years teachers new this and we talked about our concerns with this behavior at her meetings because with this new setting we have concerns it will increase. What was concerning when I got this e-mail was the biting is happening before the typical children started. I want her to succeed in this setting. I really do. But it didn’t have to be this way. So after receiving that e-mail and my advocate also sending me a message saying she could back off a little bit if it’s making me uncomfortable, I quickly replied back…don’t back off, push as hard as we need to. I need to do what’s right for my daughter.
This entry was kinda all over the place…lol. That’s how my brain works sometimes!