I’ve Had Many Jobs, but Being Your Mom is My Favorite

I am lucky enough to be Declan’s mom.

I always wanted to be a mom and thank goodness I have my one-and-only child.

I became a parent at “advanced maternal age.”

Declan is 10 years old, non-speaking, and autistic. He uses AAC (a dedicated iPad with TouchChat) to communicate.

I’m a Mom, not a warrior. I’m more of a lover than a fighter. I’m not a warrior or a mama bear. Although hibernation sounds nice.

I am working on getting more sleep. I don’t find it helpful to frame myself as battling each day and I am certainly not a fan of toxic positivity.

It’s complicated.

Nope, no way, to um, everyday.. never, ever expected to be a stay-at-home mom. Ever.

The last thirteen months I’ve been a one-on-one parapro/aide for Declan’s remote learning at home.

I cried when I thought I’d have to stay home and teach him for two weeks. That two weeks turned into over 46 weeks of remote school (plus vacations).

As hard as it was and is, Declan is my favorite person. And I’m profoundly lucky to have stayed safely at home.

If I ever have to be essentially locked up again, I pick Declan as my cell mate.

Declan has resumed in-person school with a medical mask exemption and I’m starting my blog and revving up for some freelance work. It is great to put myself out there—literally by leaving my house (I’m vaxxed) and figuratively by sharing my story.

I have had many jobs.

Since I was 11, not much older than Declan, I babysat extensively, all through my teens. I worked at a restaurant waiting tables to put myself through college. I booked political guests for a national political TV show. I wrangled celebrities at awards shows.

I have performed pretty iffy stand-up and improv comedy. I wrote much better sketch comedy. I did market research of high-profile clients for a luxury retailer. I took a brief stab at law school. I traveled the US to teach engineers and architects how to market their services. I worked extensively in the cutthroat world of advertising.

Nothing prepared me to be a mom.

How do I describe the job? I just can’t.

How do I do it? It’s probably, just simply, love for my child.

It might not make sense from the outside. And sometimes from the inside!

Despite the horrendous hours and non-existent job description, I feel fortunate.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always joyfully singing about my gratitude when things get tough. And they do. No blow-off days when “momming.”

Coming off of Autism Month in April, nothing prepared me for the fast-moving, extremely contentious communities surrounding autistic people.

And I’ve worked in advertising, so that means I’d thought I’d seen it all!

This year drained me but I will take everything with a grain of salt and move on. I have tremendous love and a kinship with the parenting communities. I have learned so much from them and felt very understood and accepted. I am humbled by their support and encouragement.

I have tremendous love, profound appreciation, and respect for the autistic and non-speaking communities. I value their emotional labor as they educate people. I am lucky to listen and learn.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms.

Especially moms of autistic children and moms of non-speakers.

Thinking of those yearning to be moms, those who have chosen not to be moms, those who have lost children, those who have lost their moms, all those with strained family relationships.

Sending love to all!

Written by, Bridget Fitzgerald

Bridget lives in suburban Chicago with her husband Patrick and her 10-year-old, non-speaking, autistic son Declan. She is a freelance writer who loves flags, hates onions, and tends a kindness rock garden. Recently retired from a crappy gig as an unpaid 1:1 remote learning aide, Bridget has started a blog called Let Me Spell It Out , Facebook and Instagram.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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