Community Magazine

Realizing I'm Not The Best Dad {& I'm Okay With That}

By Thibben @aspieadventures
Realizing I'm Not The Best Dad {& I'm Okay With That}   I've never been big on calling parents heroes, unless of course that parent rescued a kid from an icy lake or something like that!  This is just me though! I'm cool with the use of the word or phrases like Autism Warrior Parents & others like that. It's cool, it's just not me! Even when I was working in EMS full time, we would go into the local Walgreen's where a nice young lady worked that my partner & I worked on after a really bad car wreck. Every time we would go in she would tell everyone standing in line the story of how she crashed & couldn't remember anything but our faces as she drifted in & out of consciousness.  She insisted we saved her life, we were heroes, we were angels, but we weren't heroes…we weren't angels…we were medics & that's what medics do. I feel the same about fatherhood. A lot of time I get the 'Man, your the greatest dad' card or 'Your kids are so lucky to have such an amazing dad'. It's super flattering & I'm always as gracious as possible but in my eyes I'm not the greatest dad! The kids aren't lucky to have me! I think the word hero is thrown around to easily these days. Again, I say, just my opinion!
   This blog is a part of it as well. I get emails talking about how I'm a hero for autism or Super Dad! Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on myself I just realize that I'm not the best dad & not only is that okay but I think it's a good thing! I decided if I could point out or shine a light on my flaws & if people could see that but still realize that we get by okay, we deal with the good times, we hit the hard times head on, & in the end everything turns out just fine. Maybe, if it's clear that if this mediocre parent like me can rock the crap out of Autism & parenthood in general than who knows what you can do! I get a lot of emails asking advice during hard times. I relate the best I can, tell them how I would do it or what I did when we were in a similar situation, & I also usually make a point to tell them that I don't have any good advice! It's not easy, black & white, or the same with any two kids. All I know is if you do your best & work hard to advocate for your kid your bound to catch a break sometime! That doesn't sound to promising to a lot of parents but I find it funny that we have a different view, us autism parents are not so Glass Half Full & not so much Glass Half Empty but more "Really The Glass Is Spilled All Over The Table Again? Well At Least The Glass Isn't Broken This Time!" We can find a little glimmer of hope in just about anything! We have to! If not you'll go crazy!
     Well, I hope that came across like I wanted it to. Hope I didn't come off as a…. you know…. I had the awesome opportunity to appear on Autism-Live last week! Check out the clip below. If you've never heard of Autism-Live they have a bunch of great resources so check them out.

P.S. I realize after publishing this blog I felt really good about the message but also realized I didn't really point out any of my flaws so I wanted to address that here:
Tom's Flaws & Shortcomings As Not Only A Father But Husband:
  • I am the single most sarcastic person on the face of the planet! Yes, I have a kid with Asperger's & I can not help but use relentless sarcasm 100% of the time!
  • I sing everything I say to my wife… really like 70% of everything out of my mouth is in song form. I make up songs to tell her dinner is ready, I make up songs to tell her I need to run to the dollar store, make up wildly inappropriate songs to badger/heckle/razz her , & yes I make up songs to intense her to…. love me ;)  (HUSBANDS please note that the last song type mentioned works only about .001% of the time & even when you break out the Antonio Bandarez voice it will… still be very unsuccessful!)
  • I sometimes let the kids say bad words when mom isn't around! That's right, I said it! When my wife is out of the house we fart, say off limits words like crap, & make inappropriate jokes about nuts! (They went to see the new animated movie Nut Job & came back with a new slew of "Hey daddy, the squirrel was trying to hide his….nuts hahahaha! Yeah so that's inappropriately cute but when my youngest got in the car the other day & said to his mom "It's so cold out there! I'm freezin my nuts off!" We both got a talking to & now don't make those jokes!)
  • My full luscious head of hair! These kids think that they are gonna be okay but they're not! Every guy in my family is bald so I've just dodged a bullet but some sort of sick luck that will almost without a doubt be bald by the late twenties! (This is simultaneously a bad thing for that reason & one of the only things I still have going for me as well!)
Okay okay, you think a guy could be serious for a second but nope, I can't! Sorry! :) 

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