Almost every other account you’ll read involving “autism” and “parenting” will involve autistic kids and neurotypical parents. Sometimes it’s both (both kids and parents on spectrum).
Not often is it “autistic parents of neurotypical kids” – but here we are, folks.
Are there challenges with that? Sure. I’ll save those for another post, another time.
Are there perks? A few. And here’s a major one:
I’m always ahead of the messes.
Wait, how is that—
Read a few momblogs, parenting meme pages, and “exhausted parent laments.” Parenting is hard work, and the environment and chaos left in its wake makes it harder. The scourge of mess, clutter is the great undoing that stamps out the doing.
I come away reading things like “finding my house a wreck at the end of the day,” and “this place is just always dirty and I can never get ahead” and think: Y’all need the services of AUTISTIC PARENT.
If you’ve seen WALL-E, you should recall M-O, my spirit animal, who treads around erasing dirt, mess, foreign contaminants.
I am like a mess-erasing, toy-picking, surface-cleaning, clutter-destroying machine.
It doesn’t tire me. It doesn’t crush me. I am the end of my house’s chaos. The finisher. The punisher.
It’s my nature.
I cannot help but pick things up off the floor, wipe things down, restore order where there is none, and rectify the sins caused by disarrangement.
I go beyond just being the trash picker — I’m the dad, so I’m a little autistically extreme on this even in parenting. The girls know what I’m about.
“Sorry Zo, I know you’re crying, but these dishes cannot abide in the sink another second.”
“Mo, you are not leaving that area unless you clean up that Barbie campsite and put out that fire.”
Is it work to manage the house to where you don’t make another mess until you’ve cleaned the one you made? To swoop in like a vulture and grab every errant piece of clothing left behind? The be the reverse-tornado that re-orders everything that the children and canine tornados wreck?
I’m not clean, not a neat freak; I’m just autistic. And I’m very autistic about it.
But I’m always ahead of the mess.