I tend to focus heavily on the positive sides of autism. The beauty with which my son sees the world, and the fact that his uniqueness is a part of what makes him so special. All of that is true. However it’s also true that sometimes it’s really hard being an autism mama. I’m not going to go all “warrior mommy” in this post, trust me, but I think it’s important that we share all sides of our experience instead of just the rosey sides. Being an autism mama is no easy task, so it’s really important to take time for resting and self care.
This post is a part of the Autism A-Z Series for Autism Acceptance Month. You can view the rest of the posts in the series here. I’m also running a Fundanoodle Fundraiser for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and the last day to order is Friday, so get your orders in here!
Resting and Self Care for Autism Mamas
Take a Second to Breathe
This is the most basic piece of self care advice I could give, but it’s also often the most helpful. Sometimes we don’t have the time to follow the other advice given, or we simply can’t spend that much time away from our child without supervision. I use this tip as often as I can, especially when A-Man is screaming at me or aggressive towards me. Find tiny moments in your day to stop and just breathe.
One of my favorites is walking from the driver side door around the car to unbuckle the kids. It’s quiet-ish, peaceful, and I’m all by myself. No one is touching me, no one is begging me for something, no one is screaming at me. Find your few moments of quiet to collect your thoughts and breathe. It will do you wonders of good!
Try to Shower and Get Dressed
I know, you don’t have time to pee by yourself let alone a luxurious shower. Trust me, taking five seconds to jump in the shower and put on a clean pair of yoga pants will make a world of difference in your attitude. It seems cliche, but the days that I am at least presentable I feel better, I get more done, and I am more patient with my kids. Try it once and see if it makes a difference for you!
Listen to Some Music
This self care tip probably saves my life on a daily basis. I really struggle with auditory processing, and too many noises easily overwhelms me. Having ear buds in helps keep me grounded, especially when A-Man is mid-meltdown and screaming. Even better if you and your child have a few songs that you can listen to together to calm down.
We listen to music in the car to help with transitions, I listen to music as I putter around the house getting things done, and I even listen to music (or coffitivity) while I’m getting work done. Listen to music and take a few minutes to yourself to forget reality. It works magic in the soul.
Try to Leave the House
I know, this is definitely the hardest on this list. It can be hard for parents in general to get away for a date night, let alone when one of your children is autistic. Whether this means leaving your kids with your husband for a trip by yourself to the grocery store or an honest to goodness date night with a babysitter, it’s important to get yourself a break.
Many states offer respite care for parents of disabled children on SSI. I know how nerve wracking it can be to leave your autistic child with a babysitter because there’s so many things to worry about. What if they have a meltdown? What if the babysitter doesn’t know the right foods to offer your child? All of these concerns are completely valid, so I’ve put together a handy printable for you! It includes some of the basics that you’d want to make sure your babysitter to know before you leave your autistic child with them. You can find it in the This Outnumbered Mama Resource Library by filling your information out below!
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