Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Street Creds"

"As the mother of a child with Autism..."

I don't have anything else to add to that, but I got your attention didn't I? Don't feel like a sucker. You're not the only one.

It has come to my attention that whenever I say "As the mother of a child with autism..." people instantly pay attention. They presume I'm wise and sagely, and they'll take virtually anything I say as gospel. It's quite fabulous really.

The statement could be followed with something as simple as "...I like kids chewable vitamins" and people will take this into serious consideration. "Hmmm...maybe chewables ARE better for kids than gummies. I mean, she would know, her child has autism."

I didn't ask for this. I didn't plan on having a child with autism. I didn't want to have a child with autism, but "lo and behold" I do.  And it sucks. But when you have a child with special needs and you've put in the hours and years of dedication to the process of helping that child as I have, shouldn't I enjoy a few of the perks?

Well, people thinking I am really smart is one of them.

When I say "As the mother of a child with autism, I buy mostly organic fruit."

It is met with a collective "Ooooooooooooo."

When I say "As the mother of a child with autism, I have my kids ride their bikes at least twice a week."

I hear a united"Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh."

Believe me, I don't actually think I'm saying anything interesting or even noteworthy. I'm usually not. And God knows, whatever I'm yapping about is almost always unsubstantiated. I'm a busy woman.  Sure my kid has autism, but that doesn't mean I know any more than the average bear.

But people can't help but think I have something valuable to say. It's appears to be a natural gut reaction to think "Oh, she's the mother of a child with autism.  She must know a lot about child development." Or "Wow, her kid has autism. That sucks. Even if don't agree with her, I feel sorry for her and I'm going to give her whatever she wants."

I'd love to say I'm above it, but I'm not.

It's wonderful. If I'm at school and I want my daughter to have a better seat in class I just say "As the mother of an autistic child, I think my child should sit in front." If I'm out with friends at a movie I can say with great authority "As the mother of an autistic child, I think their characters were well-drawn." Or, let's say we're driving to the valley and I just don't want to be stuck on side streets. I'll say "As the mother of an autistic child, I think we should take the 405."

I suppose I shouldn't expose myself to the world and tell people I've figured this out, and I certainly shouldn't use my own family's misfortune to take advantage of others when I can get away with it.

But I did, and I do. And now, I'm headed out to dinner with some friends. I'd like to have a couple of cocktails, so I'm thinking I'll casually ask "who wants to be the designated driver?" We'll all look at each other and then I'll point to one of them and say "As the mother of an autistic child, I really think you should be the one driving."

And it will work.

At long last, I've found my silver lining.


  1. as the boyfriend of a mother with an autistic child, i'd have to say...

    hmm, doesn't seem to have as much weight. i'll have to go with my standard -- as a super-intelligent alien life form...

    that seems to get people's attention.

  2. as the friend of a mother with an autistic child with a boyfriend as a super-intelligent alien life from, I have to say that you are brilliant.
    You think I can try using, "As a mother of a child with a really large penis..."??????????

  3. Beautiful blog and love this post! Thanks for the follow...I'm now following!

  4. Beautiful blog and I love this post! Thanks for the follow...I am now following.

  5. From MBC.Im following you!
    Like your blog!

  6. If I got that much respect and admiration from saying "As the mother of a know-it-all toddler..." I would totally use it to my advantage too.

    Following you from MBC...

  7. Laura I almost spit out my drink. Huge Penis - HA!

    Sarah - this is priceless. Silver linings rock. I am going to have to find one...maybe as the mother of a child with holes in her heart...what do you think? Will someone else drive? I mean when I am not pregnant.

    As the mother of a child with autism you sure are smart babe!

    I found you on MBC and I am now following!

  8. That's funny. I have kidney disease and I try to use that too, mostly on Hubby. But, since he knows that my form of the disease is currently asymptomatic he rarely falls for it anymore. But, at first, it was great..."Now that I have kidney disease..." or, "You know, since I've got my diagnosis...."! Nice blog you have here:)

  9. Following you from MBC.
    Love your blog!

  10. As a mother of a child with autism... I never thought to use it to my advantage! Thanks for the advice!

  11. A terrific piece, really. You have to work every angle you can! It's also a good reminder to all us moms not to be too thin-skinned when it comes to comments about our kids or ourselves. My kids go to private school and I'm had more people than I can count make comments about how they got in because I'm a minority. I just stare at them. Can you give me a witty comeback? Something sharp-edged, please!

    Love your blog!


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