Thursday, July 25, 2013
My Advice For the Autism Mom (Guest Post by Mrs. Bacon!)
Stop blaming yourself. We may never know in our lifetime what ultimately caused our precious child’s autism, but trying to reverse the clock or dwelling on the past is not going to be productive or helpful for you or your child.
Take time for yourself. It took me about 3 years into our autism journey to figure this out. Since I became a mom, I had always put everyone else as a priority – except for myself. I learned to say ‘no’; I set goals for myself and found a hobby I really enjoy (triathlons) and signing up for races forced me to stay committed to a work-out schedule which has been a life saver for me. I’m in better shape now then I was 20 years ago – and it’s the BEST thing I did for my mental health too. Find 3 hours a week for yourself –3 measly hours – you are worth it!
Ask for and/or accept help and be OK if things are not perfect. I’m a mom. I should be able to run the household, keep tabs on my children, still manage my full-time job, volunteer at schools, help out friends or family, and still have time to do that cute little craft project that I read about in a magazine. Well, apparently I am NOT super-woman and can’t do it all. I’m finally ok with that – laundry piles up for more than a week; the dust bunnies linger on the floors for longer than I’d like; and well those craft projects will just have to wait until another year…. I’ve been blessed to have help from family that I know not everyone has access to. Our family senses when we need a break and just gives it to us…. For that I’m grateful! But it was very important for me to learn to ASK for help when it’s needed.
Embrace the autism community. At first I couldn’t even bring myself to say the “A” word without completely crumbling into tears. I resented people mailing me articles they read, or asking me if I wanted to talk to someone’s great Aunts neighbor who knew a child with autism. In time though, I ventured into that world and have been lucky enough to make some fantastic friendships. All parents are considered “protectors” of their children – but I am regularly amazed by the mob-like support you can get from other autism parents. There is an intensity and simplicity that is shown that takes my breath away.
Live in the present. My husband had to give me this polite smack on the head sometime last year and if I remember his quote exactly it went something like “stop mourning the life you thought you would have, and start enjoying the life you do have!” I still have to battle these feelings. I often feel like I live in different time periods “before autism” “during autism” and I have an “after autism” in my head too. I know they aren’t exactly logical …. Living in the present will help you to focus on the daily victories instead of the future worries that we all have.
And lastly, my most important tip to remember…..make sure the therapy center you visit weekly with your child has a place nearby where you can get a quick pedicure while you wait for your child! ;-) Remember- taking care of YOU is important!