Today I was a bad mother. Today I said/did things I am ashamed off. Today I upset my little girl. Will she remember this day? Who knows, but if she does she will not remember that I had a bad day she will remember that she did something wrong, as that’s how a child’s brain works. So I decided to write her a letter to explain……
My beautiful, smart, kind, funny daughter. You are only 4, which is why I am not handing you this letter now. Today mummy had a bad morning. I got up late, I was annoyed at myself, I was annoyed with Daddy, I was annoyed with the daily grind. I was upset that you were going off to school when you were still a bit poorly because I had to work. But do you think I took it out on myself, on Daddy, on the alarm clock? No!! I took it out on you!!
Although you don’t know it yet, you are different from mummy and sometimes because of this mummy finds it hard to understand and forgets you see things differently from me. Your wonderful differences have a name, they are called Autism. You see/experience the world differently to those without Autism. Sometimes when I see the world through your eyes I think you see a better world than I do, thats what makes you wonderful. But due to our differences, each other behaviors can seem strange and this is where we become frustrated with each other. Sometimes I say things that make no sense to you or change something which causes you anxiety. Sometimes you seem not to listen or follow instructions or your actions seem illogical to me. Normally I am understanding of our differences and make time for you to do the things you need to do. This morning I wasn’t and I am sorry,
When I walked into the bedroom and you were hurling clean washing around the room. I shouted, I called you names I ordered you downstairs! For this I am sorry. You did nothing wrong, you were simply looking for your tights and I should have helped you. I am sorry.
When you then became upset I shouted louder. I told you that you wind me up. You don’t, once again you did nothing wrong, I did. What I should have done is held you tight, showed you how much I love you and cherish every single day with you. But I didn’t and I am sorry.
Downstairs you shouted when I dressed you hurriedly. I had forgotten about your swollen glands under your arms. I hurt you. I should have been gentler, I should have remembered your arms were sore when I was putting on your jumper. I understand touch is difficult for you and I should have given you time and patience. I am sorry.
When I ordered you to get into the car, your meltdown began. I treated it like a tantrum and carried you to the car. You did nothing wrong, your meltdown was a reaction to the car journey as we usually walk, to the fact that you had been ill and had a day of school, to the new medicine you were taking, to the harsh way I had treated you. A valid and uncontrollable reaction to which you are not at fault, I am.
As I walked you sobbing into school, it dawned on me, my temper broke. I saw the world for what it is, for who you are. And inside I died. I wanted to scoop you into my arms, to run away with you and shut out the world. Looking around the busy classroom, I knew you would take time and space to be able to calm down. I took you straight to the teacher, who took you for some quiet time. Looking around all the other children were in normal clothes, it was no uniform day. I suddenly felt even worse, then I realised something. By forgetting no uniform day, I probably gave you the one bit of normality that got you through the day, your uniform.
I spent the rest of the day with a heavy heart and a sick feeling in my stomach. All day I felt apart from you and counted down the minutes until I could pick you up. Today I was a bad mother, tomorrow I WILL be better.
I love you,