Home > In Their Own Words > Thank you for judging me…..

Thank you for judging me…..

This post is by Rob, the creator and author of the “Lost and Tired” blog and founder of Android4Autism. He is also the 33 year old father of 3 boys on the autism spectrum. Gavin is 11, Elliott is 5 and Emmett John is 3.  He has been with his amazing wife Lizze  for10 years and married for the past 8. You can read his, ‘Thank you for judging me…..’ post here.

If you were to walk into my house at any given time, you would find many things. Among them, the floor covered with toys and the kitchen with a sink full of dirty dishes. If you ventured into the basement you would see a mountain of dirty laundry patiently waiting to be washed. Look around some more and you would find unmade beds, stacks of unpaid bills and even some shut off notices. Some people would look at this and judging me, say that this is a reflection of me as a parent or my ability to take care of my family.

To those people, I say thank you.

Why in the world would I thank someone for saying something like that? The answer is both simple and complex all at the same time. While under different circumstances I would be insulted, hurt or even angered by those judgmental and thoughtless comments. However, I have 3 boys on the autism spectrum and a wife with chronic and often times disabling health issues.

They require ALL of my time and energy. I’m always taking the kids to therapy or to and from school. Working on language skills and even learning and teaching ASL. I make sure they are fed and clothed and as many of their unique sensory needs are met as possible. I deal with meltdowns, nightmares, sleepless nights and I must ensure everyones safety.

I need have priorities and these things are at the very top of the list. That means everything and everyone else will take a back burner.

So when you walk into my house, see the disaster and think that it’s a reflection of me or go so far as to judge me as a parent, I say thank you. I say thank you because it means I’m doing my job. It means my priorities are in the right place. Make no mistake, I would LOVE to have a clean house and be able to pay my bills. However, raising 3 autistic boys is all consuming, especially when one parent has chronic health issues.

There is only so much time in the day and only so much of me to go around. Choices have to be made. If I have to choose between a clean house, perfect credit and my kids, I will pick my kids every single time.

So thank you.

Thank you for judging me.

Thank you for showing for me that I’m doing the right thing.

Thank you for reinforcing that my priorities are in the right place.

Thank you for pointing out that everything that doesn’t really matter in life is still there waiting for my attention because it means those that do, are getting everything I have.

  1. John Scott Holman
    November 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Rock on! This post made my day. Thank you for thanking those who judge you. You’re a soldier!

    • December 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

      I know now I have been on the right path.

  2. Cindy Forsythe
    November 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you for reminding us all what it means to have your priorities straight!

  3. Laura
    November 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    God Bless and Keep Up the Amazing Job!! God is watching and will bring peace to you!

  4. Betsy
    November 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This is a great story. It seems as if its my life. I am mother of two kids on spectrum, one child with a heart condition and a one yr old. I myself have diblitating health condition, my husband works kids get bus, i try to have a clean,house however there are days where its impossible. So thanks for sharing your story

  5. Elyse
    November 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Awesome! Just awesome.

  6. November 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I love this!

    My 21 month old identical twins have autism and they get early intervention services throughout much of the day. Whenever I tell the therapists how embarrassed I am that my house is a mess, they tell me that they are more concerned about the spotless ones… A messy house indicates that a parent is spending more time with their kids and that’s the top priority :)

    Thanks for the great post!

  7. Kristin
    November 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Enjoyed reading your post… now I can take on my day!

  8. Jennifer
    November 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Rock on, Rob! You are a star!!

  9. Sharon
    November 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you, thank you thank you!!! You have described my husband’s life to a tee. You said it so eliquently and beautifully, in addition to saying what needed to be said. You are AWESOME…just like my husband!

  10. November 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    This is just so perfect to send to my son’s school psychologist! Thank you!!

  11. Cecalee
    November 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    All I have to say is your amazing!!!

  12. November 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Perfectly said.

  13. November 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Well said! Love it!!

  14. Ian
    November 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Though I would like to say this sounds like me, it does not—This is more my wifes story, I have an Autistic 11 Yr old, a 4 yr old and I am the one with the chronic and often disabling health issues. My wife is the soldier and a truly amazing woman with all that she goes through. Thank you for your inspiring story.

  15. Elsa
    November 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    My husband just shared this on his Facebook page. All I can say is “WOW”!!!! For one, I completely respect and admire you for your devotion to your family. For seconds, I can totally relate….and I only have one child on the spectrum! Thank you for sharing this! You have motivated me to rethink my priorities!

  16. Jennifer
    November 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I would really really like to thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have 3 year old twins both with autisim, a 6 year old with quite possiible issues reguarding her health and learning disability a 17 year old step son with learning disabilities we are quite sure about a and my husband is trying to make a better life for us by going back to school. After reading this i feel much better about the things i am doing, I don’t have a clean house, i don’t get my laundry done, i bearly have time to relax. I don’t even know what that is. I Now feel i am doing the right thing. Thank you again

  17. Krystal
    November 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    What an awesome post. It really hit home with me. I’m the wife of a disabled Vet and the mother of two special needs kiddos (one Autistic) so I have an idea how you feel. Thanks for reminding me what’s important on a day when I actually was really stressing out about the state of my house.

  18. Ted paton
    November 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    As a single parent , dad to 2 boys one of which has autism I relate- and salute you !

  19. Lois Molina
    November 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Your family will always need you more than anything else. You’re doing the right thing.

  20. Alicia Gonzalez
    November 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, i am so grateful that I was able to find this forum, I feel like a belong, I feel normal! and yes my priorities are in the right place!

  21. Anne McGowan
    November 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks Rob! Love a good reminder as to why my house looks like the aftermath of a cyclone. Kids first!

  22. Milli
    November 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks you very much to help us by reminding our job as our children is our 1st priority….

  23. Lorraine
    November 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    My husband is a hero like you! Any son
    could not have a better buddy than his
    DAD! Blessings for all you do!

  24. November 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    you seem to be a wonderful parent..there are days that if someone judged my parenting on the apperence of my home I would be in trouble..but those people obviously do not know what it is like to have an autistic child never mind 3 and a sick spouce like in your case..I no how difficult my days could be so I can not even imagin what it must be like to have 3 children on the spectrum..It takes a very special person to be able to do what you do on a daily basis..I wish there were more parents like you out there..

  25. Kym
    November 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you for being a great parent and husband. Your family is extremely lucky!

  26. Barb
    November 21, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    full support for you coming from a single mom of 4 boys, 3 of which fall into the spectrum!

  27. Tam
    November 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Your a great parent. It’s not about a clean house. Enjoyed the post!

  28. November 21, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Ask them if they would like to have the privledge of doing what u do for just a couple of hours! I bow to you, I have 1son who is twelve and it takes all I have to keep him from harming himself or trying to keep him calm! If u live in Kentucky I’ll give a couple of hours, I have a cousin that helps me, I’m very lucky!

  29. Kelli Martin
    November 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Well said! Good for you! You are obviously a FANTASTIC Dad!

  30. November 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I had 7 kids, and my house was a disaster area most of the time, too – and because of the same reasons. They were more important than the house! The one good thing I was good at was drawing pictures, though, so I did finally create illustrated behavior charts which now that I am retired from the animation industry I have finally put on the web for free for anyone who wants to take advantage of them.Many parents of kids with autism say they help their kids immensely. Here’s the link: http://www.gomommygo.com/

  31. November 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    PS – Please let me know if you think of other images that need illustrating! I am always adding more…
    :)
    Thanks, Ruth

  32. Mike
    November 21, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    ROB!!!!!!!!
    We have to talk!!!!!
    I am in an almost identical situation. I have 3 autistic daughters, and my wife was very ill, up to last december when she passed away. She suffered Chrones/Colitis and Epileptic. The last few weeks were very rough as she got cancer which took her from all of us. I also have two toddlers, niece and nephew through marriage, one possible FAE or ADHD, and the little guy was born 13 weeks preemie. I would love to chat just based on that you are a dad with 3 special kids, just like me. JUST LIKE ME!!! JUST LIKE ME, WOW!
    Mike

    • November 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      Rob – My heart goes out to you. Please check out the resources at GoMommyGO.com It’s for DAD’s TOO!

    • November 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm

      Hi Mike,

      You can find me at http://www.lostandtired.com. I’d love to talk to you:-)

  33. Sudeep
    November 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I have an autistic child and there are times I think I will break down completely any moment. Thank you for instilling motivation to go ahead with my life. Your courage and focus is inspiring ! God bless you and your family.

  34. November 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Thank you!, thank you for reminding me that when I look around and can’t figure out why the house still isn’t clean, that it’s okay. Thank you!

  35. cejay1
    November 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    As the gramma of a beautiful 6 yr old girl with autism, thanks for presenting a whole new perspective to those who don’t walk in your shoes–or the shoes of my son and daughter-in-law. Dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor, and mystery sticky spots can wait. A melt down, a need for a hug, and the needs of the non-autistic siblings can’t. For those who would judge or criticize–ask them to babysit for an hour. I guarantee they’ll get over it really quick!

  36. Valerie Martin
    November 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    I’m impressed! My 4 sons do not have autism, but as a teacher and a single mom doing it on my own, I commend you for sticking around for these young men when you could have walking away from the 4 people who need you the most! Congratulations! Keep up the good work!

  37. Valerie Martin
    November 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I’m impressed! My 4 sons do not have autism, but as a teacher and a single mom doing it on my own, I commend you for sticking around for these young men when you could have walked away from the 4 people who need you the most! Congratulations! Keep up the good work!

  38. Di
    November 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Yes, the kids come first. Nice one!

  39. Cindy
    November 22, 2011 at 8:59 am

    We go through this daily as well, we have two on the spectrum and I have health issues as well
    So thank you for sharing what we feel as well, too often people are made to feel very alone in this battle and it is nice to know that you are not alone. Stay strong and positive !

  40. Ruth T.
    November 22, 2011 at 10:15 am

    You have all the right priorities! Keep at it and take care of yourself too.

  41. Josette
    November 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    This post really hit home with me as well. I have two boys who are on the spectrum. I have psoriatic arthritis. I’m a single mom and I know what its like. God bless you. You have given strength and support to more than you know. Your children are very lucky.

  42. Trudy
    November 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    As the boys get older, things will get a little easier. You are an incredible dad! I’m sending much love your way.

  43. Emmanuelle
    November 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Man I wish I could meet u in person n shake your hand my friend I have 4 kids 2boys 2 girls the oldest my boy is autistic. Its weird to hear someone in the exact circumtance as yourself . Except I was in a batle with myself not knowing if I was a bad perant or just overwelmed with responsibility but u have clarified it for me thank you so much for bringing this issue to light god bless u and your family from the Ortega family.

  44. November 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you everyone else for all the support. Feel free to stop by my blog http://www.lostandtired.com. Please have a great holiday weekend :-)

    • November 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

      Should have read, thank you everyone for all the support. :-)

  45. November 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Exactly.

  46. Cindy
    November 26, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Rob, It is wonderful to know there are men like you making your family the priority! I wish you weren’t so rare. Thank you for sharing! I remember those tough years when my son with autism was young, and I’m happy to report, life does get easier. Bless you and your wife and all your children.

  47. Laura
    December 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    You, your house, your impatient laundry ~ all beautiful!
    A friend.
    Laura
    Autistic son, Sander, 10
    Same messy home!

  48. Robin
    December 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Awesome post! I stopped making excuses for our messy home. Those that know me know my son comes first every day! I’m the one dealing with chronic issues and my husband helps where and when he can. Together we make sure everyone is clothed and fed, work on therapy goals and even fit in fun where we can. All of that comes before cleaning and if someone can’t understand that, they shouldn’t visit. Anyway, thanks for posting this and reminding us we are doing what we are supposed to be doing:)

  49. mary forget
    December 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    You won’t believe how much you struck a note that went my way as this is the way things go in my household.

  50. December 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I teach autistic children but I go home to a messy house and unpaid bills. I have no excuse for this. You don’t have an excuse you have real human individuals. Thank God you do your amazing job…it shows me how to do mine!! Thank you!! And God bless…

  51. December 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I am the mom to four kids on the spectrum, and I couldn’t have put that any better than you just did! You are awesome!! i will remember your words when I’m feeling down on myself for not getting around to _______.

  52. Seamard
    December 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I want to thank you for writing this. I have been experiencing a lot of stress because of my professional career lately. I’m getting a master’s degree and some of my professors have been pushing for me to complete a doctorate next but I have told them I simply can’t. One went so far as to tell me I was wasting my talents and life by choosing to stay home with my children. But my 3 year old is autistic and now I am pregnant again and with doubts and worries that our second child could also be diagnosed with ASD I know that getting them to a stable and healthy place before they start school is more important than anything else. My husband can support our lifestyle if we keep it simple and I can do my best to help my son and maybe our new daughter to function in a world that doesn’t go out if it’s way to accommodate them. I commend you for this post because it truly has helped ease some of my feelings of failure. You are right. Our children should be our top priority.

  53. Jennifer
    December 16, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I love this!! You are a great Dad and husband….

  54. Jael
    December 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Wow, your words were so touching. I have a son with the autism spectrum and I know for a fact that is not easy keeping anything in order. I mean, I only have one.I cant imagine what you go throughout with three boys. All I could say is WOW, keep the good work and God bless you and give you strength.

  55. mikki
    December 17, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I love this story. So true how having a kid on the spectrum changes all priorities entirely.
    Those that aren’t living it need patience, and I try to remember that when I receive thoughtless comments. Im sure we all do!. In many ways these children are such wonderful gifts….teaching us what truly is important in life!

  56. Nicoco
    December 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    What courage, I love it!!!

    A single mom with Fibromyalgia can truly appreciate where you are at, the child comes before everything.

    Thank you for putting it out there. A while back I realized that sacrifying a whole night’s rest twice a week to do what I was not able to do during the day was not worth it. My son needs me so taking care of myself to take care of him is priority over a perfect house. Also, if I had to dread the possibility of someone coming over and judging me then that meant that person had not embraced my pain. Have I ironicaly become anti-social? Well yes! Why would I want people like that around.
    Only another parent can understand us. At a recent social skills group the parents were told that having no friends over having the wrong friends has been shown in studies to be healthier long term. Ofcourse it is nice to have a couple of good ones.

    Thank you for your post. You said what I always think :-)

    Keep up the bad house keeping…hee hee!!!

    Take care

  57. Lori
    December 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I just want to thank you for sharing your story because I think I have to be perfect and take care of my two boys and keep the house clean, laundry, cook, dishes, etc. If i don’t then i’m not doing a good enough job! Thank you for lifting some weight off my shoulders! You are doing an awesome job! God bless you always!!

  58. linda xiong
    December 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    …..thank you…

    I am a mother and I think I am going through my first nervous breakdown, many to follow – but I NEEDED to read this. I need people like you in my life. thank you.

  59. December 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Wonderful post… makes me feel better that there were dishes on the stove when my son’s teacher unexpectedly dropped by this morning!!! LOL

  60. Chris
    December 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Great reminder! I have twin 4 year olds girls. One is autistic and the other has a speech disability. I work FT and it is all I can do to keep their schedules straight. I need to let the cleaning slide a bit to relieve my stress and remind myself that my time is spent where it needs to be; running them from appointment to appointment.

  61. Heidi N.
    December 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    You are doing just what you need to be doing, my husband and I work FT and manage the schedule of our 3 year old with ASD, there are days I wonder how we manage, god bless…

  62. nadineaz
    December 29, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    my son Hunter is 15, profoundly autistic and I had brain surgery in 2007… my husband is a saint for taking care of us both!!!! I feel your pain…… P.S. my sons MOTTO IS: YOU HAVE TO Sleep SOMETIME………………….. BUT I DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha

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