Autistic parenthood: Living with mum guilt

woman looking at sea while sitting on beach

Content note: transphobia, death, grief, mentions of assault and murder, trauma.

I’ve been struggling with a lot of things lately and it all centres around being a mum and not feeling good enough for the job.

My feelings of mum guilt is massive. I feel I’m not doing enough for Little Man. I feel guilty that I need to go to work with other kids to pay our bills.

I feel bad we can’t do him home-cooked meals all the time. We both have chronic issues which means our energy is poor, then add working and a two year old and our energy is non-existent.

I want to work on my career but so much of academics is un / poorly paid. I’m currently working on getting my name ‘out there’ which will help when going for PhD. I want to be able to highlight very specific issues which trans+ Autistic people face, and LGBTQIA+ Disabled people face.

I do this whilst being a shit advocate for my own pronouns. There are three people in my life who consistently get them right, most people don’t bother or want a gold star when they get it right 1 time out of 100.

It’s a weird stance to advocate for authenticity when I’m not really doing that for myself.

Then there’s money which does not go anywhere near as far as it used to. Living paycheck to paycheck is very hard.

On top of all this I feel guilty for feeling guilty because the three of us are safe and healthy (chronic illnesses aside) and happy. I’m aware that the financial squeeze we’ve been feeling over the last few years is how many people all over the world have experienced for far too long. And for many it is much more dire.

I know my trans+ siblings are being murdered, bullied, trolled, harassed and assaulted in their thousands every day.

And all of these things make me feel worse.

I’ve brought a child into this world. A world that is a Hellscape. I think of school and how that might be for him as a possibly Autistic young person. About the EHCP process, diagnosis, bullying, vulnerability…

I think about this all, all the time. That’s not mentioning my own trauma which I’m slowly picking through, including the recent death of an old friend which I have very little information about. I found myself crying in the bathroom about that earlier.

No wonder I’m on the brink of tears and telling everyone to sod off all the time. Mum guilt is crushing me. If I were having this conversation with another parent or carer I’d say all the nice things and I’m trying to do that for myself too.

I’m doing my best. My son is amazing, happy and healthy. He is strong, handsome and fierce. He is confident, social and strong-minded and I’ve been a big influence on all these things.

All these things I do with my life are for him and our little family. I just want to make sure I get it right for him. In order to do that I need to be gentler with myself. I’m working on it.

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