Can you leave your 13-year-old unsupervised while you go to the bathroom? Or take a shower? Or make a phone call?
Most people can.
Yesterday, I left my 13-year-old alone while I did those things and ended up with shit on my couch.
He’s become quite the Houdini lately with taking off his diapers—despite them being duck-taped for better security. And his most recent escape was from a diaper full of poop.
This is why special needs parenting is emotionally and physically exhausting. Do you remember how exhausting your toddlers were? Well that’s what I’m still dealing with here. And there’s no end in sight.
It’s exhausting to wonder if tonight is the night your kid will remove his backwards pajamas (because again, Houdini) and his duck-taped diaper while you’re sleeping and pee all over his room. And it sucks to research clothing and fasteners or other options for keeping diapers and clothes on a 13-year-old.
There’s so much that goes into parenting a child with special needs that most people don’t see, that most people don’t have a freaking clue about. Yes, there are the doctor’s appointments, therapies, IEP meetings, and such. But there’s also the knowledge that you are a lifelong caretaker for someone 100% dependent on you. And all the love you have for your child doesn’t change the fact that it’s really freaking hard to care for a toddler for the rest of your life.
So forgive me if I’m scattered, and can’t seem to remember anything. Apologies for not being on top of my work and for breaking promises to so many.
I’m just really, freaking, tired.
This post originally appeared on Facebook. It has been reprinted with permission.