Hair and Make-up darling!
No, you havent accidentally clicked on to one of my favourite fashion and photography blogs. You are here in Autism/Special needs world but suddenly Dorothy, everything has gone to color.
Hair and Make-up is a phrase coined by 2 strong ladies I correspond with; Rainbow40 and Blackcat, which refers to the need to "look your best darling, just look your best" when dealing with the powers that be.
And as my sister and I used to say in our fickle youth; "it isn't how are you are on the inside dear, it is how you look on the outside"
Because that, unfortunately is how the world percieves you.
Guys; do not tune out. Looking your best when going in to bat for your kids is just as important for you!
You see, it works in 2 ways.
1. If you feel you look good, then you feel good and you kick arse.
2. If you look good, people take you seriously and do not underestimate or attempt to bully you. And you kick arse.
And don't go around thinking that stopping to put on mascara or running a comb through your hair before you take the kids to school, makes you seem less "worthy" as a "special needs parent" (tilt your head when you say that).
A splash of aftershave, little bit of lippie and eyeliner and you will go forth feeling more confident and proud. That way when you get stopped by the principal for "a little word" as you take the kids to class, you won't feel like one of the pupils, even if you do have to sit on one of those tiny chairs!
Seriously, I grew up with a healthy respect for teachers. I was clever enough, got along well with most of them as I listened and asked questions and was cute enough to challenge the gobshite teachers sufficiently to make them think twice about bullying me.
So I was amazed when I went to my first parent and teachers meeting in my Boo's special school to see parents cowering in the presence of the Teacher and School Principal. Cowering, C.O.W.E.R.I.N.G.
(were these guys just caught smoking behind the playing sheds? I wondered)
Then, I met them all in the pub afterwards (it is the special needs way) and was even more flabergasted as they whined and bitched their way through a couple of pints (and that was the ladies) moaning about how terrible the services were for their kids.
So I wondered to myself what all the forelock tugging was about in the Staffroom?
It was of course about Confidence!
And as the song says doing anything with confidence is really a state of mind.
Stick a bunch of people in a building that reminds them of their own not very successful, probably in the spectrum themselves childhood and they will revert to the frightened children they were when they went to school.
Sure even my very bold sisters-in-law all turned very meek when Boo did his communion and the Nuns put on afternoon tea in the convent. They even sat up straight and kept their knees together! (something about that distinctive convent smell of stewed meat and over cooked vegetables...and furniture polish)
But feeling like a frightened kid yourself is not going to help you negotiate the best deals for your children.
And in the face of a beauracracy that seems to exist to protect it's own interests, rather than the child; you need to be able to kick arse!
So how do you overcome this?
The first step is to work out what it is about you, that makes you feel most like yourself. And always make sure you have that going for you when approaching potential opposition.
For some people it is good shoes, for others, a favourite handbag. Mr Hammie is fond of a good white shirt under his favourite suit. And good fragrance.
My Grandma always wears raisin colored matt lippie. Won't leave the house without it. For me it is eyeliner and mascara. If I don't have my Chrissie Hyndes eyes on I feel naked (and I look like a scarecrow). My big sis is all about the lippie too.
If that is what it takes for you then always make time to do it.
Just like little Dumbo the Elephant, we all have it in us to be bolshie and brave. We just need that magic feather to give us the confidence to try it.
And I think for special needs parents, that confidence can be needed everyday. You might be having a shocker of a day. Fractious children doing weird stuff. Nasty letters coming through the post and a spouse or partner giving you the Tom Tits.
That situation won't be improved if you find yourself going to the loo, washing your hands and looking up to see a dried out faded bag of misery with dragged through a hedge hair looking back at you in the bathroom mirror.
Just because you feel like Shit, doesnt mean you have to look that way. Wash your face, comb your hair and put on your lippie or eyeliner for you!
And remember my other rule of feeling powerful, Never leave the house in clothes that you could comfortably sleep in. That goes for guys too. Anything stretchy and elasticy is only going to make you feel sloppy and unprepared to fight your corner.
And it does not engender respect. It is much easier to bully and push around someone who does not feel good about themselves. That is how bullies work.
So put on your best version of you. Whether that be a suit and tie, or good jeans and heels or whatever it is that makes you feel confident and fabulous; Everyday!
You can change back into your sweat pants to clean the loo when you get home again.
Just present to the world a person who will take no shit when ever you leave the house and respect will quickly follow.
Hair and Makeup Dahlings.