The perils of perfect parenting I’m going to be totally un-British here and say that I’m generally pretty happy with the job of parenting we do with Hardy. This certainly wasn’t always the case. I felt like a total failure for a long time. There were all sorts of issues we struggled with, but the most notable was his aggression and violence. My son, who was significantly larger than every other child his age, frequently and regularly hit and pushed other children – at nursery, in the supermarket, you name it! It was intensely frustrating to not be able to put a stop to this immediately. It was embarrassing to pick him up from nursery every day knowing you were going to hear about whatever heinous acts he’d been up to. It was devastating to be parent to a toddler bully! It actually took three very long years of constantly using our strategies, never knowing whether we were going to have any success, before we cracked it. We still have issues we’re dealing with, but they’re not socially excluding, so I finally felt strong enough a year ago to begin writing about our experiences. Ironically, this is the place where I feel most pressure as a parent. There are a lot of people writing blogs about their children and I often feel very out of step with this world. It seems to be trendy at the moment to be derogatory, both about your child and about yourself. Be it using awful words to describe your child, or joking about your alcohol dependence, I don’t think it’s a healthy way to be presenting yourself to the world. However, these types of blogs are wildly popular, far more so than mine. I have to work very hard sometimes to stay true to what I believe. When Hardy is older, I want him to be able to look back and see just how much I love him. Yes, we’ve had tricky times, and I’ve documented these, but there’s never any emotional burden placed on him. He’s simply a small child trying to navigate his way through a world that he often finds terrifying. It’s my job to support him on this journey, not tell the world that he’s been an ‘a******e’ that day, because he hasn’t. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by a group of friends on social media who are insanely generous in their responses to Hardy, even if they’re having a tough time in their own lives or with their own children. I stand in awe of their positivity and generosity and they give me the confidence and freedom to write. Much more important than these trifling differences in writing style though is the entirely wonderful fact that there’s more than enough space for all of us. As I say, there are lots of people that love the humorous, cynical take on parenting, but there are also people like me, who are a little bit earnest and a lot perfectionist. We all parent differently, we’re doing the best job we can - and that’s a pretty good definition of perfection. I read a wonderful quotation some years ago by Madeleine Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” This goes doubly for those of us raising disabled children, and never more so than in the current political climate. We need to make our voices heard. We need to fight for our children’s rights. We must support each other as parents. The concept of perfection is a dangerous one. Don’t measure yourself by other people’s standards, who knows what their journey is? You’re doing the best job you can, that makes you perfect! Cara is mum to Hardy, who is five and a half, has an autistic spectrum disorder, a complex language disorder and high levels of anxiety. She is currently taking an extended break from her career as a teacher. She fills her spare time making visual aids and resources for Hardy, and has a house full of PECS cards! She blogs at “Why My Autistic Son is Brilliant” which aims to focus on the positives of ASDs and living with a superhero who has an ASD.