This is one of those posts that I may regret writing, but it will be an honest one, and hopefully some of you will relate to this and I won't come out of it looking like the world's crappest mother.
Our first two weeks went well, PDA boy was calm, we pootled along with no major catastrophes, and I was smug. I obviously had this PDA parenting malarchy down to a fine art.
Then week three began, and oh Good Lord, I dropped the smug act by Tuesday. PDA boy has started to worry about starting secondary school. And we all know about it. Reassurances are doing nothing, planning a day out has become impossible, but equally staying in doing not a lot is also impossible. Activities get too much, inactivity gets too much. We are at an impassé. Deadlock. We now wait until the strategies start to be more effective again and anxiety lessens. This could be some time.
It is during times like these where I revert to my Time Machine Dreams™.
When I was twelve (and I have to point out I was an incredibly easy teenager, happy to stay at home and do nothing but watch my beloved films whilst playing with toy horses), my ultimate dream was to be a hermit. To live in a house with my dogs, perhaps keep chickens and sheep, but I was very clear that I wanted to be alone.
Obviously I didn't carry out this wish. I met my husband when I was twenty and we now have four children. We have the chickens, the ducks, we had sheep briefly, we now have pigs (and oh my goodness, they are gorgeous! More about them soon).
We go through good patches as a family, and we go through not so good patches, but so far we have a very good track record of coming out of those rough areas, but they are still difficult to navigate without getting too bogged down with everything.
It is times like these when I daydream about what I would do if I had a time machine. And this is where it will sound incredibly selfish, because it wouldn't cross my mind to go and do something wonderful for humanity, in these times I would take myself back twenty years or so and whisper in my younger self's ear that being a hermit might be a wonderful thing. I let my daydream take hold and imagine the house I live in, the space I have, the lack of need for ear plugs, not having to watch Daggerwin on an endless loop, not having the daily forehead slapping moment when I've forgotten to plan tea yet again, not having to worry that my actions have contributed to another meltdown, and feeling close to meltdown myself, not having to plan the finer details of every day whilst simultaneously bearing in mind the boys' own agendas. It's my own private version of It's a Wonderful Life, but I've yet to include a wingless angel.
I think I need these moments of pure selfish fantasy in order to pull myself together and realise that what I have got is ok. More than ok. And given the choice, I wouldn't be without any of them, no matter how tricky things can be, and no matter how exhausting things are.
If I had to choose five people to spend the rest of my life with, to the exclusion of everyone else, it would be my husband and four children, so in that respect I am very lucky. I wouldn't change my life for the world. I wouldn't be without my amazing people.
When I'm at the end of my tether, like now, when my arms and legs are a mess from picking, when my clothes need to be washed but I can't face it yet because they feel right, when my needs are at the bottom of the heap, I need to remind myself that I need some space, I need to de-stress and recharge my batteries, and I reckon that the odd self indulgent dream that helps me to get a temporary grip can only be a good thing. Good for me, and good for my family (as long as I don't actually build said time machine and bog off back to the 1990s).
I'm often reminded that being a parent is difficult, and it is. Being an autistic parent of autistic children is also very hard, particularly when needs clash and we are going through our own individual tricky times. But where we fell today, we have clues to prevent the same happening tomorrow, and hopefully we will succeed and I will regain my irritating smugness at getting it right again.