The strong, beautiful, talented, hardworking mom sat before me and said, “I’m missing out”.
She was referring to what she’s missing because her child is neurodivergent. Here’s a partial list:
- Birthday parties where no one cries
- Outings to the zoo that aren’t directed minute-by-minute by her child
- Easy spontaneous outings with the whole family for no reason
- Mealtimes where everyone sits together for more than a second
- Mealtimes where everyone eats the same food
- Afternoons when people don’t scream for no apparent reason
- A child she can talk to and reason with
If this feels heavy, there’s a good reason.
The truth is: this mom IS missing out, and Brains can easily become CONVINCED that that’s a terrible thing and a VERY BIG PROBLEM to be solved.
Except, guess what happens when we think “I’m missing out”?
We miss out on our own life because we are trying to make it be something other than what it is.
Well that feels super-icky!
It’s the same feeling that would arise if you were on an airplane thinking you were headed to Paris and when you arrived you found out you were in Bangkok. (I’m borrowing from the essay, “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley).
You would panic.
You would think: “there’s been a terrible mistake”
You would think: “get me out of here. I’m not supposed to be here!”
And then – after you realize that the plane is not taking you away from Bangkok – there would come a decision point: keep focusing on the fact that you’re missing out on Paris (which you are) OR start getting curious about Bangkok.
You can totally continue to think that you’re missing out on Paris. And you should absolutely feel (and not ignore or resist) alllll the feelings (of sadness, grief, frustration, and/or rage) that arise.
But at the end of the day, running in circles trying to figure out how to get to Paris (and not being able to) is a lose-lose proposition. You’re in Bangkok. You get to decide to learn about Bangkok.
You don’t have someone else’s life. You have yours.
And the sooner you go about living your life, the better. For everyone. Including you. Including your child. Including ME even.
Because you are uniquely qualified to be your child’s parent.
How do I know?
Because you are.
Brain does not need to look any further than that.
Which is not the same as saying that you don’t need help. You might want help navigating Bangkok itself; help navigating your feelings about Bangkok; and help finding ways to take care of yourself in Bangkok.
Coaching is really good for that.
Coaching can help you believe that you are uniquely qualified to be your child’s parent. Coaching can help you figure out how to navigate the unfamiliar and unexpected terrain of having a child who’s not doing what “all the other kids” are doing.
And coaching can help you decide what you want to think about your experience with a neurodivergent child.
So that you can actually enjoy Bangkok and stop missing out on its delights.