Going off on a tangent…babies and altered perspectives!

I recently gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy!  He is my world and is the biggest distraction…hence why I have not updated this blog in some time.  There is still much more I would like to write about but at the moment my priorities…and perspectives…have changed dramatically.  In fact…I think having my son has changed me as a person already…so much for the better.

Having my little boy was pretty traumatic…the pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and post partum!  People say you forget!  As I am still recovering months later, it seems that my memory is still pretty much in tact…however, despite my initial insistence that I would never have another, I am already starting to think about a younger brother or sister for my little man.  Not for a little while yet though!

After childbirth, my hormones went crazy.  I knew this was normal as people had warned me…but there was no way I could have been prepared for the turbulent emotions that followed.  As elated as I was to have this miracle in my arms, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the responsibility we had suddenly undertaken.  This little person, this vulnerable little baby, NEEDED me to survive.  Everything he experiences from now on, good or bad, will essentially trail back to me…as I/we decided to create this new life.  I imagined my baby’s life…which ultimately led me to acknowledge my own mortality…as well as his.  I even thought about my son as an old man…and at this point he was barely a week old.  I couldn’t bear the idea that I wouldn’t be around for him forever!  Now, I knew in my rational mind that this is the way life works and that hopefully he would have his own family to love him at this point, but it didn’t make the thoughts any less painful. I imagined somebody hurting my child…and it triggered hysterical crying.

I’m not going to lie, my family and I thought that I may have been vulnerable to post natal depression as I had such negative ideas in my mind. However, as the weeks passed, and my hormones settled, I seemed to go back to normal. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t still have disturbing images in my mind, but I can, for the most part, shake them out of my head! Still, I am aware that I need to treasure every moment with my little boy…and believe me…I value every second! I was removing his socks from the airer a few days ago when I flashed ahead to putting washing away as an older lady, when my child was grown up. I imagined looking back to the memory of folding my baby’s socks and smiled. I would not want to look back and have any regrets about not appreciating my son while he’s little! I also appreciate that I need to start looking after myself a lot more so I can increase my chances of being around for him!

Having my little boy, from now on let’s call him Ethan, has made me reflect on my childhood so much more…as well as the work experiences I hinted at in earlier posts! I can see things with so much more clarity and feel a mixture of emotions about my life so far! I know that right now my life is wonderful…he has made me happier than I thought possible. In fact, the only regret I have is that I could not have had him earlier…that I threw myself into a career that exploited and failed to appreciate me. I believed that having a career would fulfill me…but I was wrong! I never understood these people who were happy just to be Mums… (not the sitting on Facebook all day type Mums…the proper ones who spend time interacting with and nurturing their children) …but now I do! This is now all I want to do with my life…be the best mum I can be. I can’t believe how, already, I’m a willing passenger in my own life, putting Ethan’s needs before my own. I actually enjoy it! He is my life!

While I was pregnant, I heard so many horror stories about how having children changes your life, apparently not for the better. I heard how kids make you lose your identity, mess up your home, cause you stress etc! Somebody even told me that my life was over! I imagine all of those things are true to a point (except the last one) …but I love it! My job is to hopefully raise a kind, well mannered, secure, loved, intelligent, sensitive, hard working person who will one day be a happy, successful man! I have heard how ‘girls are for life and boys are yours until they get a wife!’ Well, as much as I can imagine it will be hard to let go…I fully respect that men usually become husbands and fathers. I hope that my little man grows up to look after his family the way his daddy looks after us! I do hope that there is still room for me within his life though. People make everything seem so depressing and gloomy but I don’t feel my life is over…I feel like it is beginning!

My Story – Jobs 1

I am not embarrassed to share my identity as I see nothing wrong with having Asperger’s. However, due to some of the experiences I will be describing, it would not be appropriate to make those around me identifiable.

I can tell you that I am female and in my early thirties. I have worked since the age of 15 in jobs such as a cleaner, shop assistant, assistant manager, carer and I also assumed a couple of different roles within a bank. Each job came with its own challenges and taught me a range of skills.

I didn’t enjoy working as a cleaner. I didn’t mind the work and, despite doing little to nothing at home (the benefits of having an OCD mother – although she doesn’t see it that way), I put my all into making sure that everything sparkled. However, the manager at the hotel I worked for was extremely rude and belittling, often referring to me and the chambermaids I became friendly with as ‘scrubbers’. I was 15 at the time.

I remember breaking up from school and just randomly deciding that I wanted to earn my own income. My brother told me to ask our dad for some money to spend over the holidays before starting college, but I wanted to do it myself. I was always independent and driven from a very young age which did alienate me from my peers at times. I walked to the local newsagents, picked up a paper and started to circle available jobs. I called a few numbers, all for cleaning vacancies due to my age, and I was offered an interview the very next day. I then told my mum, as she needed to accompany me the following day, and remember that she was slightly bemused by the whole situation.

Interview day: I overdressed for the interview and recall being shown what the job entailed; it wasn’t pretty! I was too young to clean in the pub but I was allowed to clean the stairs, hallways, toilets, reception area, restaurant and attached bar. The toilets were disgusting, particularly the male toilets as there was a huge metal urinal that scaled the length of the inner wall. I was responsible for cleaning that daily. I won’t go into graphic detail as it really will turn your stomach, but a couple of memories I have include walking in on a man using the aforementioned urinal and cleaning what I then identified as ‘white goo’ and faeces from the black floor in the restaurant toilets. All this for £3.60 per hour!

I used to start work around 7am and finish around lunch time. Then I would go and help the chamber staff, for free! The chambermaids consisted of two older ladies (I wouldn’t like to insult them but I think they were in their 40’s or 50’s) who were really kind to me, so I always tried to help out where I could. The way we were spoken to was disgraceful. I respected how hard they worked but sadly the management, and many of the other staff, did not feel the same way. They looked down on us! I knew there and then that I could never do this as a job but I also felt ashamed for feeling that way! I continued to work every day in this job, switching to weekend working when college started. However, it wasn’t long before the job grew tedious and I could no longer tolerate the manager’s attitude. That, and the spiders, forced me to leave.

I then managed to get a job as a Saturday girl in a shop for £3.09 per hour. I was 16 at this point. The wages were lower but I was treated nicely by the manager and also met some friends with whom I am still close today. However, I was then thrown into the world of ‘customers’…another challenge I had to overcome!

Hello!

Hello.

Thank you for reading my blog. There is much to come but for now, let me just say a huge welcome.

As the blog title suggests, I am a teacher who recently found out that I have Asperger’s. Of course, I’ve always had it, as it is a way of thinking that doesn’t just spring upon you…but this realisation has led me to reflect a great deal on my life and suddenly…it all makes a lot more sense to me. Every experience is now viewed in a slightly different light which brings with it happiness, relief, sadness and grief!

As I am now in my 30’s, many of the social issues I experienced as a child have been overcome. However, there are some situations that I find myself in frequently and for some reason, the pattern just keeps on repeating. I am an intelligent person, but there are certain aspects of the world that seem illogical to me. Education is one of those worlds that will forever confuse me…but we will get to that later!

I consider myself a good teacher. In fact, OFSTED (and the vast majority of my observations, book scrutinies etc) deemed me to be outstanding. I suppose I do possess a lot of traits that would support this judgment but I feel uncomfortable with labels. Furthermore, I feel even more uncomfortable when I consider how judgments about teachers are made. Not all people with whom I have worked understand or agree with my methods of teaching, but there is no denying that it gets results.

SLT and OFSTED feel I am an outstanding teacher because of my attention to detail, the evidence of progress in my children’s books, my passionate and exciting lessons, my perfect planning…the list goes on!

However, I believe I am an outstanding teacher because of my empathetic nature, my passion for teaching and learning, my ability to form positive relationships with children and their parents, my spontaneity during lessons…among so many other factors. The skill I am most proud of is not a talent at all…it is merely the fact that I actually ‘care’. The children are ‘people’ to me and I believe strongly in providing nurture, making them ‘want’ to come to school and learn, and empowering them to become confident, independent individuals.

Sadly, the passion I have, or rather had, for teaching has been beaten out of me (I hope, temporarily) by the demands of the education system. I am sad to confess that I am one of many teachers who has thrown in the towel and left the profession. Well, technically I have side stepped away from it…as I am currently working as a supply teacher. It is painful not having ‘my own’ class but I am much happier in terms of decreased workload and the avoidance of ‘school politics’ which are ruthless!

This blog will further explore my experiences as an aspie, a teacher and my life before I entered the profession.

Having Asperger’s has influenced my life in more ways than I could have ever known. I wish that I knew what was ‘wrong’ with me when I was growing up. Would things have been different? Would life have been easier? I guess I’ll never know, but I do believe that your experiences shape you and I can say whole-heartedly that despite everything I have been through, I am a nice, kind and strong individual who was sadly misunderstood and taken advantage of from a very young age.

I hope that you find my posts interesting and even thought provoking. Perhaps they will offer you some comfort if you have ever found yourself in the same situations, or perhaps I can offer some insight into somebody you know or work with.

As Tony Attwood so eloquently explains, “You don’t suffer from Asperger’s, you suffer from other people.”