For Theta Mom’s 1 year anniversary, she encouraged us to “blog our behinds off” with motherhood experiences that make us Theta Moms. I can actually pinpoint the minute I realized I was a Theta Mom (someone who is not an Alpha Mom or Beta Mom…see her much better description here) It was such an “A-ha” moment for me.
When: Summer of ’08
Who: Me (still believing I was an Alpha Mom)
Jaylen, 1 1/2 year old, non verbal with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Action: Jaylen reaches out to grab the door handle to open a freezer in the grocery section. I foolishly keep moving making it impossible for him to do so. Instant tantrum. Not a normal toddler tantrum. Oh no. This is something more. A full on Autism tantrum. Screaming, he throws himself out of the cart, onto the floor. He is writhing around kicking and screeching at the top of his lungs. At this point in his life we had already had him evaluated because the smallest of things, like not getting to open that freezer door, set him off…really off.
I started dripping sweat, panicked, and did what I could to get him to stop. Toys, juice, snacks, threats; nothing worked.
As tons of onlookers stared and gawked, made faces, and muttered things, something happened. Something changed. It hit me that nothing mattered. No one else mattered. Throughout his diagnosis process one of my best friends, Dana, who is the best teacher on Earth, with the awards and credentials to prove it, had said who cares about anything except you and him. This journey will be all about you and him.
And in that moment, as my son completely lost all control of his physical and mental self, I understood. I distinctly remember things getting suddenly silent, and the store, the shoppers, the employees, the fabulous Target items all turning blurry. No, I wasn’t about to pass out from a panic attack, it was the opposite, all seemed right. I smiled and looked at my son. It WAS all about me and him. In that moment, nothing else DID matter. The fit lasted 26 minutes, I still remember that exact number so I could report it to his therapists.
I used to give dirty looks and mutter. I used to wonder why people couldn’t control their kids. And now, as a Theta Mom, I realize that you don’t know some one’s particular situation. I guarantee that many people that day thought I was a horrible mom and I couldn’t control my kid. But they were off, way off. And I didn’t care anymore. Since that day, I no longer care what happens in public. I am no longer embarrassed. I will never be embarrassed of Autism.
So when you see that kid throwing a fit, hitting their parent, screaming, kicking, or just not listening, think before shooting that look or thinking the worst. You never know what their story could be. And if you are someone getting the looks, tune it out. It is about you and your kids, NO ONE ELSE!