Want to know who the world's best parent is? The one who has yet to have a child.
At least I was. Before I had a kid of my own, it was glaringly obvious - all the things parents should and shouldn't do. I tutted under my breath at what I saw at the park, the restaurant, the grocery story. I thought, 'Never will I ever do X with my child.' When it's my turn, I will do Y with my kids and they will be model children.
Are you laughing yet? You should be.
I'm here to tell you, never say never. Because one day you may find yourself standing in a bathroom with said model child as I recently did. You will watch him brush his teeth (having blobbed toothpaste all over the counter). You will hand him a small white pill, which he obligingly place on his tongue. No questions asked, so implicit is his trust in his mommy. Then you will hand him a glass of water and watch him swallow. At which point you'll fight to swallow the hard lump in your own throat.
And there, in that tiled bathroom on an ordinary school morning, you'll remember the promise you once made to yourself. Never will I ever medicate my child for his behaviour.
That was one of my cardinal parenting rules. One of the convictions hitherto held so tightly. Because drugging your child before they've even hit puberty is a cop-out. It's lazy, irresponsible.
And what the hell kind of parent does that? I'll tell you. A mom who has exhausted every other avenue, who's read every article and tried every therapy known to man but still her son can't control his body, much less understand why it does what it does. No matter how he tries, he can't stop himself from yanking that girl's curly hair (because he wanted it to be straight) or from shoving that boy who gets in his way on the stairs (and now requires stitches).
What kind of mom does that to her child? A mom who can no longer bear to look other parents in the eye in the playground, knowing her baby hurt their baby. A mom who sits across from the doctor with the glasses, while acronyms like ASD and ADHD and words like side effects swirl around her head. A mom who in spite of herself steals glances at the framed photos on the desk of smiling children (the doctor's?) - children who don't need drugs to act normal.
The kind of mom who wonders how exactly she got to this place, to this precise moment in time...To this airless room, this hard chair, this bruised heart.
The kind of mom who will do whatever it takes to help her child - yes, even if takes a prescription.
Image credit: Jamie