This is a picture of indomitable me: Look at the Cartier watch. I bought it with the stock sale from my first startup. It felt like money was falling from the sky, so ten grand for a watch was nothing. We walked through Central Park every day to get to the top nursery school for autistic kids in NYC. I got him the best speech therapist, the best occupational therapist, and I was networking to find out what was next.
A few months after we took this picture I sold the watch to pay for more therapists. More out-of-pocket expenses! More social skills!
Parenting is a social skill. A lot of my own social-skills-impaired parenting was performed in front of the TV watching iCarly with my kids. I have to distract myself from obsessing over all the conversational volleys I missed while we were playing with Elmo and Zoe.
I jumped on Jeanette McCurdy’s memoir about starring on iCarly and her mom and her eating disorders.
Yes, bad social skills and disordered eating go together: Are social situations overstimulating? Overcompensate with restrictive eating! Anyway, I relish each interview Jeanette gives where she reads another scathing email from her mother.
There should be more scathing book reviews. Scathing is so soothing. For example, in The New Yorker, Parul Sehgal discussed why Jenny Odell’s book Saving Time feels like such a time sink. I’m not linking to her book. I have to have great links so I don’t lose my job to ChatGPT.
I’m getting pickier about what I link to because now that we have ChatGPT, the quality of my writing has to go up about 400% to make sure I’m always ahead of ChatG. I’m calling it ChatG because we’re friends. Anyway we cannot use all those syllables for something we talk about all day long. And also, I’m keeping the PT for myself.
ChatG is predicting the potential mental health minefields we’ll see from ChatG. One of them is getting too attached to AI, and a sign of too attached is making pet names. Like ChatG.
Dear God, please, make attachment to AI my biggest mental problem.
I’ve spent my whole life focusing on what I did wrong, so I can be better and better. The indomitable me sees that I am not good enough but knows I am good enough to fix it.
Y has said to me more than once, “Stop, don’t say you’re a bad mom, you’re my only mom. Do you know how that makes me feel?” I thought saying that would make him feel relieved that I know I’m autistic and autistic parents are high-risk parents and I am not deluding myself, but instead I’m trying to do better.
He wants a mom who respects her own efforts. I didn’t realize this, though, until I was talking with one of my favorite autistic moms of autistic boys. And I criticized her as if she were me. I heard how I talk to myself in how I talked to her, and I wish I could snatch it all back so it disappears.
I get angry at everyone else’s incompetent parenting so that I don’t feel so alone in my own incompetent parenting.
I asked ChatG what I could do to stop. And the advice was so obvious: practice self-compassion and get support from other parents. What was not obvious to me is that these things have to go together. All this time I’ve been criticizing my own parenting as a way to win your respect, so you don’t run away from me.
Which is, of course, is probably a sign that you should have run. So thank you for staying.