Thanks to the wonderful world of discount vouchers, we have just spent a cheeky night away from the kids in a slightly dated, but lovely, and most importantly clean hotel! We weren’t even away for 24 hours, and we were and only about 10 miles away from home, but it felt like we were a million miles away from reality for just a few precious hours.
It kinda got me thinking about how important it is to just try and switch off from it all once in a while. But truth is when you have a kid with Autism you don’t ever really switch off. Well I know I can’t.....I don’t know if that’s how others mums feel, but I imagine it’s something we all struggle with. I suppose it’s a mum thing in general really, we always worry about our kids whether they have a disability or not. “It’s just what mums do,” my mum always tells me...even now! (Mind you I probably do give my mum more to worry about than most, with my tendency in needing to visit the A&E department on a regular basis; you know with me being related to Mr Bump!)
However there is something about having a kid with Autism that has turned me into this protective and slightly paranoid lioness. Even when I am not with him I never really stop worrying about him. I suppose as he gets older and more independent it will get easier?? I honestly don’t know, and I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I tend to live in the here and now and not think too far ahead to be honest.
When I sat and thought about it last night, whilst childfree sipping Pimms, I am always on standby. Always ready to deal with the next crisis, and whatever issue is gonna pop up next. Always ready to be the referee, nurse, punch bag, cook, carer, wife, sister, friend, mother, teacher, taxi, daughter, neighbour, cleaner, now blogger ha ha .. I mean blimey, the list is endless. It’s what we all do isn’t it?... Us mums, we wear many hats!
But being a mum and a full time carer is pretty tough I have to say. It’s exhausting on a whole other level. And it’s really easy to lose yourself amongst all crap and isolation. I am a 30 something year old woman who has given up everything to care for her kid. I had to put my life on hold to make sure my son didn’t seriously hurt himself, cos he was getting so stressed at school. It was a no brainer really, he is my son, and I would do the same for any of my kids. And I don’t resent him in the slightest for what I had to do.... it was completely my choice. But deep down I know there was something nice about having a job, making a difference, and being with friends at work every day. I do miss that. In a way that was a kind of respite for me. It took my mind elsewhere and I was me ... just me.
You see us mums just get on with what we have to deal with don't we, and currently this is my life. And its pushed me to start my blog, which is helping me discover that.... I am not alone in finding things tough. I am not alone in feeling alone at times. I am not alone in not always knowing what to do for the best, and I am certainly not alone in struggling through the minefield of services and crap that comes hand in hand with having a kid with a disability. And most importantly ...I need to look after myself better in order to survive.
Having that little break away last night took me by surprise at how ready I was for it. It made me see how important it is to spend time as a couple. I mean let’s be honest that’s so low down in the day to day priorities with the kids, that being together as a couple gets neglected far too often. It was nice just to sit and talk, not be rushing around, to actually be able to go in a shop!! To have a long soak in the bath, without someone banging on the door shouting.... muum!! To get a little tipsy just cos we can, and go to a nice cafe that we would never dare go to with the kids. And I didnt realise until I was away from it all, how much I need to just be me sometimes.
In order to care for my son and wear all those hats, I know I need to look after the person wearing them. So my advice to you reading this is grab the chance to do whatever you can that makes you feel like you. If you’re lucky like me, take up your families’ offer of help or babysitting whenever you can. Or if like my hubby getting out on your bike is what you need.... then do it. If reading, baking, gardening, going to church, working part time or having a night out with your mates enjoying a glass or two makes you feel like you.....Then do it!
I am determined not going to lose sight of me again. .....
So I am 36 years old
I have brown hair and wear glasses, and I love reading books
I have three wonderful kids, and a lovely hubby
And my name is Michelle, that’s me!
Nice to meet you xx