I quite often get asked what it’s like to parent a child with additional needs. This question is normally accompanied by “I just don’t know how you do it” or “I know I couldn’t do it”. I’ve struggled for a while to explain to people just how it does feel, and how sometimes you have to persist through overwhelmingly infuriating situations to be able to take such a small step forward before being able to move on to the next thing.
Then this afternoon, I put together our new TV stand. As I fumbled around with screws and spanners, yelled at the instructions as though they understood my frustration and at one point wondered if I would actually manage to put it together, I realised that putting this TV stand up was in fact just like my parenting journey. And if went a little something like this…
The box arrived! Oooooo excitement! Just what I wanted. I’ve been waiting a while for this (maybe not as long as 9 months but you know, go with the metaphor!). I opened the box and peeked inside. Hang on, that’s not what I ordered… i ordered a ready made stand that my TV just slotted into. This has a bazillion screws and tools and a very dodgy looking set of instructions. This isn’t going to be like my friend over the road who popped her TV up in a matter of minutes. Oh well, I can’t return it, so forward I must go!
The instructions are wrong. That screw doesn’t fit there and piece A isn’t the same as piece B! Who wrote this thing? Think I might need to follow my instinct a bit. That’s better, those pieces fit now.
They fell apart. Dammit! I was missing a screw. Ok try again. And again. And again. Something here must work?!
Who can I ask for help? There’s no one here. No one will understand this model anyway, they’ve all got the easy version that you just slot your TV on to. Oh well, I’ll keep going.
Everything is a mess. I don’t know which screw goes where. How am I going to fix this? Ok, deep breath, let’s sort everything into piles.
My persistence paid off! I’ve managed to put half of it together. Oh wow, it rotates! I didn’t know it did that?! Just goes to show that if you spend a little more time and don’t end up with the easier model you can help your TV stand do things that are waaaaay cooler than the simpler versions.
Ok, half way there. Keep going…
The stand doesn’t fit my TV. It says one size fits all! It lied. How am I supposed to watch my TV if it isn’t compatible with a “one size fits all” system? Maybe I’ll have to get one made for it, or find a specialist supplier?
Hang on, if I just make a couple of adjustments that really helps! Doesn’t make a perfect fit, but from the front you can’t notice a thing! Just need to be really careful with the support at the back. If I’m not careful, it will all come crashing down. This must be treated with care. My TV won’t function at all if the frame at the back breaks.
I’m shattered. Going to have a cuppa and tell my hubby what I achieved by keeping calm (ok, maybe one or two temper tantrums), persisting and above all working with the tools I had to help the TV stand make my TV look (and function) at its absolute best.
And there you have it. My afternoon building a TV stand represents pretty much every day of my life. As a parent I didn’t get the model I was expecting, the instruction manuals were more than useless, I had no idea what I was doing most of the time, I was frustrated and worried. But then I saw how my TV stand was so much better than the one I thought i ordered. It could do things that made it a cut above the rest. It needed some extra time and help, but with the right support behind the TV, it now looks absolutely fabulous and will work far better than I thought it would.
I’m so glad I didn’t order the ready made TV stand. This is the one for me.
Thanks for reading,