Monthly Archives: September 2012

Meditation For An Autism Mom

by Whac-A-Mole Mom from My Whac-A-Mole Life

This is not my fault.

I am doing the best I can, which means acknowledging that it will never feel like enough. I am only human.

I am gaining patience, resilience, wisdom and strength. I don’t see it; I don’t necessarily feel it; but it’s true. It just has to be true.

My home is a disaster – whether due to my Tasmanian devil child, diminishing time and money, or pure, unprecedented exhaustion (or a combination thereof). I must learn to care less.

I have lost sight of my identity, my friends, my professional drive, and my peace because I am laser-focused on my child’s well-being and future readiness. Still, I can take baby steps for my own sanity. For example, today, maybe I’ll shower.

I find myself saying and doing things I never imagined due to my child’s absurd, unpredictable behavior, interests and needs. I want to cry on many occasions; but it always feels better to laugh.

I am overwhelmed by the seemingly infinite cures, therapies, medications, treatments and diets that I am told will help my child. Some will help; others won’t. We’ll unapologetically do what works best for us, when it works for us – holistically, logistically and practically.

Each year, I will continue to search for the perfect school scenario for my child; nothing will ever fit quite right. I will take it day by day,year by year.

I am my child’s best advocate. I will trust my instincts. I will consult with professionals, doctors, teachers and psychologists; but mostly I have to learn to trust myself.

I will feel judged. Sometimes, I really am being judged, so I should grow a thicker skin. More important, however, I am judging myself, and I need to learn to be kinder to myself.

People will say, ‘I don’t know how you do it’ or ‘you’re an amazing mom.’ This inexplicably will irritate me since I wouldn’t dare admit that I also ‘don’t know how I do it;’ and usually disagree about the ‘amazing’ part. I do it because I am a loving mother. That is all.

I can’t do this alone; it does take a village. My village should include family, friends, caretakers, teachers, health professionals and therapists. When the village I have isn’t complete or up to par, I must seek a new village – like Twitter.

My child might hit me, hurt me or run from me. I cannot take this personally. It’s not about me. It’s about her: her frustrations, sensory differences and unfulfilled needs.

I always should be consistent, patient, firm and engaged. I frequently am not. I can always try again tomorrow.

I will realistically prepare her with the tools she needs to reach her potential. That means:

  • If she can’t or won’t find her voice, I will teach her other ways to communicate.
  • If she can’t or won’t be safe, I will find ways to protect her.
  • If she can’t or won’t learn how to survive in the social wilderness, I will place her in situations where she is accepted and happy in her own skin.

While some days I feel hopeless, I never, ever give up hope. I am her mother. And she is me.

**********

Whac-A-Mole Mom blogs over at My Whac-A-Mole Life, described as “the rants, raves, celebrations and tribulations of a crazy-busy, special-needs, mom-workaholic.” She has chosen anonymity for reasons she explains here: My Secret Identity. She will reveal, however, that she lives in the Southeastern United States and has two children under 12 with more diagnoses than she can count. Careful readers of her blog have discerned that she has worked as a journalist, corporate executive and nonprofit professional.

The post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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It’s About The Sanity

by Patty, Pancakes Gone Awry

I sat on the park bench crying inconsolably. I was too upset to go home; I didn’t feel like explaining myself to Bil or the kids, so I just sat there sobbing, so angry at Danny’s teachers.

I had just had a terribly frustrating meeting with them about how he “couldn’t focus.” The teachers gave no suggestions, only complaints. It was obvious they were giving up on him for the year. The special ed teacher kept talking about how much better third grade would be. It was only March, but they were already giving up on my kid.

I felt helpless and sad and hopeless, as I sat on that bench staring at the houses that lined the street surrounding the park. Trying fruitlessly to come up with solutions, I wracked my brain. But there was nothing. I had nothing at all. I was so drained and confused and angry. And I didn’t know what to do to feel better.

Then, I had a thought. I would go to Zumba class. That would buy me some time before I had to rehash the meeting with Bil. I just wanted to be alone, and Zumba seemed like a good place for that. Though crowded, it’s dark and noisy–no need to talk to, or even look at, anyone.

So, I composed myself and headed to the gym.

As soon the bass tones of the music filled the room, I felt relief. As I danced, I was actually overcome with a peace and an overflow of emotion. I started to get choked up, but this time it wasn’t out of hopelessness, it was blessed peace and release. I knew I still had to figure out how to help Danny, but at that moment, I could revel in the movement and how good it felt. As I cha-cha’d and shimmied, I began to feel that life was manageable again. I would figure it out.

By the time the workout was over, I felt like a new woman.

I have been working out pretty regularly, since my teens, in an attempt to manage my burgeoning weight. Aerobics videos, walking, biking all to reduce the size of my hips, thighs and stomach. I knew that if I ever wanted to look like Kate Winslet, I should be exercising everyday.

It hasn’t been until recent years that I realized exercise was about much more than my appearance and weight.

It is the one thing standing between me and depression.

I first realized this when I was pregnant with Tommy. My first trimester hit me hard emotionally. I was already overwhelmed with my parenting duties and the hormonal onslaught only made me more scared, lonely and weepy. I couldn’t make it through the day without crying. And these crying jags were not just the kind you have from watching a sappy Hallmark commercial. Oh, no, these episodes included me feeling like things were completely dismal, that I was the worst mother in the world and I would never be able to handle another child.

I had almost decided to talk to my doctor about medication when I popped in an exercise video. To my surprise, I starting smiling almost as soon as the warm-up was done, and I didn’t cry once the rest of the day. After that, I knew that if I were going to make it through the pregnancy sanity intact, working out had to be a priority.

That episode on the park bench last year reminded me that I have to make time for exercise. Though I rarely look forward to the actual work out, I always feel better afterwards. More telling is when I take a break for a week. All of a sudden, my emotions are more difficult to control. My stress levels raise exponentially, and I don’t sleep as well.

So, I try to make it a priority to work out, no matter what is happening. I sometimes feel guilty about the time I am taking away from my family, but really we all benefit from it.

I’ll never have Kate Winslet’s body, but some things are more important than looks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The mother of three kids, Patty’s eight-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter have both been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Her oldest son also has high functioning autism. Though her two-year-old son has no diagnosis as of yet, she’s pretty certain he has SPD, as well. She blogs at Pancakes Gone Awry and has contributed to OUR Journey THRU Autism. Her writing has been published in SI Focus Magazine and online at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Mamapedia. She recently started a LEGO social skills group for kids on the spectrum for those with social/developmental delays in her area.

This post was originally published HERE and was used with her permission.

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Filed under Remembering to Breathe, Taking the next step