Have you ever found yourself struggling as a parent? Every time you feel like you finally have it figured out, whatever next age or stage hits, and you are back to square one of the struggle? Feeling frustrated, defeated, and completely unsure if you can do this.

And then, to make matters worse, every time you ask a parent who is further along (age- and stage-wise) when it is going to get easier, the hardest and most frustrating thing to hear is that it won’t.

“Not easier just different,” they answer. EVERY time.

Parenting twins with special needs has reiterated that phrase in our lives each time I have found myself questioning if I can do thisthis weekend being one of those moments. 

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The struggle is real. And each time in the heat of those peak struggle momentswhen all reasoning is gone and I am left on a mountain of built-up of frustration, fear, and angerI convince myself I can’t. I get lost in resentment, thinking if this doesn’t get easier, I will never be able to survive this. 

Not the autism . . . not the parenting twins . . . not the having a third . . . not the what feels like working three full-time jobs: in the job force, as a mom, and as a spouse. It’s the combination of trying to do it all without directions or a rule book.

Each one of those has been something I could tackle at any given moment, but the combination of all of it on any given day feels like the struggle will defeat me. 

I found myself in a pretty pathetic pity party, crying uncontrollably in the weight of it all, after a typical instance occurred on just an average Saturday afternoon. I lost perspective. I lost patience. I lost my grip. I let my child down because in a moment he needed me, I couldn’t show up.

I then took space. Took a breath. Walked away. Accepted help. And found perspective again. 

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Have you ever been in that moment of struggle? Where it feels simply impossible to tackle? If so, for the parent who’s in the struggle like I am, here’s what I’ve learned . . .

Each time it gets unbearable, it’s because soon you will have to be stronger, in a way you never realized. You are building muscle memory and agility to be able to stay calmer longer, find patience faster.

This is your work out.

This is your more than you can handle.

This is when you are thrown the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Because it’s not about if you quit. 

It’s not about if you give up.

It’s not about if the straw breaks you.

It’s about what you do in the aftermath.

You’re a parent. If you quit or gave up, it was momentarily. Reality snapped you back to where you had to keep going.

Muscle memory kicked in of needing to respond to a child’s needs. The behavioral pattern of showing up takes over, and you dojust like you have, over and over againyou show up. 

There is always a way.

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Can you find it? Can you ask for help if you can’t do it alone? Can you be proud of yourself for being willing to try? 

Remember, when working for that ever-important perspective, sometimes it’s merely a matter of can’t versus won’t, or in this case, can versus will.

In case this was merely the reminder you needed today, y’all, you CAN do this, and for your kids, you know you WILL. 

So pour a cup of coffee or matcha or espresso if you are in my boat, and go get the job done. Because this never-ending journey of parenting waits for no one, and as difficult and exhausting as the struggle can be, the moments uniquely amazing to your journey are yours, and yours alone, to savor and appreciate, only earned and created through the struggle you endured.

You’ve got this. 

Christina Young

Christina Young is a mother of three children under the age of five, two of which are autistic, twin boys. As a photographer for over a decade, she's worked to capture other people’s stories through moments in time, enhanced with editing to create timeless portraits of emotional significance. Her work in storytelling on her blog, www.twinningwithautism.com, shares The Young Family's journey through images and their real-life experiences. Fans can also follow on Instagram at @twinningwithautism.