We are all doing the best we can. We really are. If that means we ignore the laundry, or cry at an IEP, or wear the same sweats for three days and eat cookies for breakfast...so what? We are survivalists of a different sort. Put me in the wilderness with a compass and some water and I will be throwing out the white flag in two days. (I don't like bugs, or peeing outside, or cold).
But deal me a hand that includes a bible of acronyms, a child who hates showers, eats five things, has me shopping on Amazon for special shoelaces and sensory sheets, who can outrun a cheetah, and is my height and four times as strong and I will show you strength I didn't know I had.
Most of you who know me, know that as my son gets bigger and stronger the very real chance of my getting (unintentionally) injured is real. He is learning not to lash out, learning to replace those behaviors. But it will still happen. Picking him up off the ground, avoiding thrown objects when he can't find the right words, running to stop him from walking behind a car that's backing up...Routine trips to the doctors office when he's terrified of shots..or afraid of lab coats...it's called hyper vigilant parenting. And it's stressful, it's relentless, it's draining and downright painful at times.
So what do you do? Self care? Ah yes, here comes more guilt! Yes, I eat a crap diet. Yes, I should get more massages, schedule me time, and date nights and learn to paint or some fulfilling hobby. I know the value of self care. I speak it, I preach to the choir. To the moms who say "I know, I know." You are coping. You are doing what you can with what you have. Don't feel guilty. Look back on where you started...it's a journey.
My April autism month advice to you is one thing this year. Do one thing out of your comfort zone. My personal challenge is this... I signed up for a personal trainer. Not for my summer swimsuit body but to protect myself from my child: to be faster, stronger, more flexible, and more resilient. Don't feel bad for me. It's not sad. It's empowering. I will slowly build my ability to continue to care for my son. It will extend his time at home and (hopefully) lessen my stress.And I don't feel bad for waitig this long. I couldn't take it on until now. Could have, should have, would have...no!! I'm ready now. And will it be easy? No way. Will it be worth it? Of course. Slow and steady wins the race. Much love and hang in there.