The Parenting Demand
The demands of parenting can be hard for all parents. Having to look after little people all day and night for years on end, sometimes with few breaks, whilst dealing with all the emotions, frustrations, developments and changes that go along with them, can be tiring. For PDA adults, looking after PDA children, parenting can be absolutely exhausting.
Most people can handle the aspects of life without too much difficulty, some even managing to strike a nice balance between work, family and social parts of life. PDAers tend to struggle to even manage one of these aspects. When everything you do is hard and feels like wading through constant mud it can be rather strenuous to manage simple tasks, never mind big ones like work and social events. Parenting though, can be one of the hardest aspects of life.
Attempting to manage your own demands is one thing, but adding the demands of babies/children on top of that can cause even the strongest, most able PDAers to struggle. PDA children can be impulsive and controlling (a need to reduce anxiety by controlling their environment to reduce demands), trying to meet the demands of what can seem like a mini dictator can tire non-PDA adults, never mind PDAers. Of course, not all PDA kids are like that, Polar Bear can talk non-stop sometimes but he’s not very needy and is quite able to play on his own and sort his own ‘stuff’. Even with these advantages there are still demands made by him onto me.
From the moment they are babies children are demanding. They need fed, cleaned, changed, entertained, held, comforted etc. Even the best of these things (playing with the baby usually) can be perceived as demands. It can feel horrible to feel the need to avoid dealing with a helpless baby. I’ve found that it’s other demands like tidying the house which get sacrificed in favour of looking after the kids. Even if I were too remove every removable demand from my life other than dealing with the kids it would still be exhausting just dealing with parenting. Sadly some parents don’t make those sacrifices and the children do end up suffering. For some, parenting is a demand they cannot handle.
When Polar Bear was a lot younger I found the demand of parenting a lot harder. It wasn’t so much the feeding and comforting that I found hard, as most of it came naturally and, although I would sometimes delay the demand for some breathing minutes, I did manage to accomplish them. What I did find hard was the expectation from other people on my style of parenting. Outsiders expected me to punish, discipline, control and respond to my child in ways that didn’t feel natural to me and didn’t seem to work with him. It was hard to meet a demand when I didn’t want to do it and Polar Bear didn’t want it done either. So many times I would be standing trying to ‘put my foot down’ and make my child do something I didn’t think was necessary, having him retaliate negatively, all to appease a bunch of people I didn’t care about and sometimes didn’t even know. In the end it wasn’t worth the effort it took.
While I did manage many of the parenting demands placed on me by having a child, there were some I wasn’t as able to manage. I have always struggled to play with my kids. While role play may be something us PDAers do well, not all of us like people seeing us do it, even if that someone is our own child. I did force myself on occasion to play, thankfully Polar Bear often liked to play alone anyway. Another demand I struggled with was the constant demand to be taken to the park. There’s nothing quite like being moaned at for an hour to be taken outside in the rain to an empty park to watch a 4 year old sit spinning round and round in a metal tub. I did, however, manage to sing songs with him everyday on the way to nursery and back again. I did listen to him talk over, and over, and over again about the same topic. I did sit quietly as he banged a brush against my head as he played hairdresser.
Parenting is hard. PDA parenting is harder. But being a PDAer parenting PDAers is even harder.