I read the open letter to Kibo on Autistic Motherhood today… and added my request to be added to the signees. I also read the response post…

As a writer myself, I understand that creative expression can take many forms and that often, we writers may deliberately portray things negatively in order to provoke a reaction and discussion. But when we are trying to portray something positively we should ALWAYS do our research properly and “write what we know”!

Autistic People are often portrayed as cold and unfeeling toward other “normal” people by Neurotypical People. This stereotype is old and outdated – because we feel emotion in the same way as Allistics, we just don’t show it in the same way.

I suppose that the single minded focus that we have when doing something that we love / obsess about / enjoy could come across as ignoring other people. It’s often the reason that our houses aren’t the cleanest in the world – we’re very good at ignoring anything like that! When I’m writing, I don’t like being disturbed by my family for anything; I get grumpy at best and very angry at worst.

TOH often has to remind me to make meals or put the washing in the machine (or from washing to dryer) and I’m glad that they have alarms to remind me when they’ve finished their cycles. I have alarms on my Fitbit to remind me to get up to let the older children out of the house in the morning and to get PW to Nursery

It’s not just me…while it’s one of NOS’s jobs to do the washing up, he has to be constantly reminded – it often sounds like I am nagging him to do it and TOH can get quite annoyed with him when he doesn’t do it daily. PT has the job of feeding the cat and cleaning her bowls / feeding mat regularly – she often forgets it or ignores it because she has trouble doing more than one job at a time and if she doesn’t get reminded, she’ll leave it…

Most Allistics would respond to this as “But they’re teenagers, you always have to nag teenagers to do their jobs.” and yes, that is true – however, NOS takes it to extremes when he is absorbed in something… and PT physically cannot do more than one thing at a time – she is Dyspraxic and her brain has trouble processing even the simplest multitask (like for example eating and talking – she stops eating to talk and then forgets to eat) so the more complicated ones have very little chance of happening.

Back to the subject at hand though…

My Children all get me when they need me – I am getting better at showing that I love them; I struggled with it for a little while but it didn’t mean that I didn’t love them, just that I had problems showing it. As an example, take PT…

She is very much my opposite in personality – extrovert, loud and very demonstrative. She was my first female child so I wasn’t sure how to handle her sometimes. When she was a baby and toddler, it was easy – I treated her the same as I’d treated NOS; feeding on demand, cuddles, clean clothes etc…

But as she got older and her hormones kicked in, my problems started. Firstly, I have a heightened sense of smell (both useful and annoying) so when it became clear that she would be one of these children that had problems with temperature and cleanliness, we clashed… and for a long while I couldn’t handle having her anywhere near me… which made her feel like I didn’t love her, and me feel like a very bad mother.

We’re still in recovery from that phase…

It’s taken me a while to realise that I’m not a bad mother, that it’s my ASD affecting these things… it’s not an excuse – just an explanation.

 

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