Parenting is hard. It may very well be the hardest job in the world, but without legally enforced breaks or work conditions. Basically these tiny people are our bosses, HR, PR and line managers all rolled into adorably squeaky packages.
My aim here is to acknowledge the fact we do and experience parenting differently to PNT (Predominant Neurotypes). There is no worth in comparing, or using the words ‘better’ or ‘worse’ here but it helps to acknowledge that our autistic brains offer a different prism through which we see the world. Now that prism is covered in sticky handprints and the toddler is threatening the dog with it.
("Okay, I'm bored of your metaphors get on with it!" I hear you say)
The vast majority of other parents are so tired they don't have the energy to even think about your parenting experience let alone reach out as much as they used to. It's quite freeing! This a great time for those who enjoy ‘tell it like it is’ conversations and friendships where gaps in communication are forgiven without questioning.
Sources of stress:
#1) The Tiny Person.
The baby itself is a ball of wonderful, but often overwhelming, sensory stimulation. They are always in earshot, loudly protesting or demanding. They want to be attached to us at all times, this is even more intense for breastfeeding mothers. The smells range from putrid to heavenly and you can't take your eyes off them for long. Every sense is activated 24/7 and it is exhausting.
#2) Other people.
Before baby even arrived, knowing your family is growing gives folk an open invite to offer advice, ask questions or judge. This doesn't change and it’s hard to resist without hurting feelings.
Kids are magnets for people who want to insert themselves into your day, too. You can be trying to avoid communicating much and some well-meaning person strikes up conversation with your little one. This happens quite a lot but, as I mention later, there are some things you can do to lessen the stress.
Next: How and who?