Parenting is full of challenges and parenting a child with special needs presents a whole other set of them.
One mother is getting negative feedback from her husband and family after she reached her limit with being the only caregiver to her 13-year-old son during lockdown, so she turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit to get outsiders' viewpoints.
Redditor pollylawver asked:
"AITA for leaving my home as I need a serious break from my severely autistic child?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"Before I start, I adore and love my son with everything in me. My husband and I struggled to conceive for two years before we had our son. He's just had his thirteenth birthday."
"When my son was 4, he was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). At the time he was extremely aggressive, loud, messy and refused to make connections with other children."
"If anything was out of routine he would go absolutely ballistic and refuse to move. I left my job so that I could be there if I was needed, and my husband got promoted that same year."
The global pandemic brought everything into sharp focus.
"I love my son but lockdown with him has been what I imagine hell to be like. He constantly needs my attention, has a new obsession that I just can't cater to everyday and still throws tantrums like a toddler."
The OP said her husband was no help.
"My husband, who's now working from home, has started to see how severely our son suffers, but says that he can't help as our son is used to me helping."
"My husband will finish work at 5pm, and instead of helping me, goes into his 'den' and watches old reruns of tv shows drinking beer after beer. The den is in the garage and practically soundproof so he can't hear our son screaming and yelling."
Being the only parent 24/7 is getting to the OP.
"I've honestly been at my wits end the past few weeks."
"The other night I brought this up to my husband and said that we need to find a new occupational therapist once the world is back to normal as our son doesn't seem to like his current one. My husband agreed and said I needed to find someone 'to sort him out'."
"I scoffed because you just don't talk about a child like that and it led to a massive argument. My husband says that I have taught our son no discipline or boundaries and that's why he is the way he is."
The OP added (in a later update):
"I've never gotten a few days to myself, no. I think the longest my husband has spent alone with my son is an hour."
That was the last straw for the OP.
"I got up, packed about three things in my bag and left to go to my parents house. I was outraged and wanted my husband to see how hard it is on a daily basis."
"He rang me the next morning saying my son was seriously distressed that I wasn't there and that I needed to come home. I told him to 'sort it out' himself and hung up."
"I've been here two days now and my parents are saying I'm being over dramatic and my husband has left many texts saying I'm an awful mother."
The OP asked:
Redditors could then pass judgment, telling the OP:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"NTA - caregivers need breaks! Your husband, who is supposed to be your partner and coparent, has refused to allow you a break, so you took one. Your comeback on the phone was great as well, forcing him to eat his words."
"Having said that, once you've had enough time to decompress a bit, your son needs you. And if your husband refuses to step up after this, your marriage needs therapy."
"Don't wait for the pandemic to get better, start trying to connect with someone better able to help your son now, so at least you'll be ready to move as soon as it's a possibility. And for the love of god, start scheduling self care outside of your home."
"If a salon is open, start scheduling pedicures. Start going for a daily evening walk. Get a massage when that becomes possible. Whatever it is that will help you."
"Because to be the best mother possible, you need to take care of yourself. Don't let it get to a breaking point like this again."
"Remember, being a mother (whether or not the child has special needs) does not mean you stop being an individual woman with your own needs and desires. You're a person worthy of love and care also!" ~ Alert-Potato
"The child has two parents. Mom *and * dad. She doesn't have to do anything."
"If he can't manage the kid on his own, he should call the services and he should find a new therapist and he should be the one to discipline him and teach him boundaries if he thinks she's not doing enough."
"You're again placing all the emotional burden and childcare on her. I'm not trying to be a d*ck, but we need to stop putting all the labour on her when he's just as capable of doing those things."
"If they fail, they fail as a parental unit, not an individual contributor." ~ 1567Tor
"NTA. People saying 'think of your son,' the only reason your son is having a hard time is because your husband has massively massively let your family down."
"The only thing would be not warning your kid that you're gonna be away a few days, but this is still your husband's fault for being a sh*tty sh*tty father." ~ AmericanMadl
"For all the 'think of your son!' people- there is no guarantee that she will always be around 100% of the time 24/7 for whatever her son may need. People get sick. People die."
"Even for less dramatic reasons, what if she needs to go out of town for a family thing?"
"Never exposing their son to the possibility that mom may not be there literally every instant of every day is just asking for a HUGE shock to the system if one day something happens and she isn't there anymore. OP this isn't a callout of you in any way, you're NTA, but your husband seems to think that you're a permanent fixture in your house and that's bullsh*t." ~ Maiasaur
"This this this!!!!! He wouldn't need her 100% if his father had stepped up in regards to co-parenting. Well, he's got his shot now." ~ CordeliaGrace
"NTA. I'm so enraged reading this post. So for the past NINE YEARS since his diagnosis you're telling me that you're husband hasn't figured out how to parent his own child??"
"It should have never gotten this bad in the first place, but since it did, and you're already in this situation, I would advise you to strongly consider a separation." ~ jkt0716
The general consensus was the OP was not the a**hole in this scenario, but she definitely needs to set up a new care plan for her son that gives her a break when she needs it. She also needs to decide if she wants her husband to be part of her life going forward.
Whether her husband is part of his son's life will be a decision her husband has to make.
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