The new job I now have requires me to work one evening a week. Yesterday, was the first evening I worked. It went better than expected for Michael, even though I wasn’t able to prepare him as well as I would have liked. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, summer is a hard time for him, like for most exceptional children, and as a result it is hard for me. I’ve come to realize this week that due to it being harder on both of us, I was not asking his Dad for a break in the evenings. I was thinking he needed some sort of stability in his routine, that is, Mom putting him to bed. I was afraid to rock the boat and make change except when I had to. The trouble is that I realized this week how exhausted I was from the tantrums, the change in routine, the anxieties and worries, and how change could be the best thing for Michael and I. Yesterday was the first time in awhile that his Dad did the whole bedtime routine, and though there were a few little blips, it went well. Michael also had a great time at his grandparents house. They babysat him for the first part of my work shift while his Dad was still commuting home. They played with him, took him places, and gave him supper then drove him home. They are angels and I don’t know what I would do without them.
I’m beginning to realize that in the summer I really need to turn to people in my family and outside and ask for help. There is no crime in saying I am in over my head in doing it alone at any time of year, but summers, well they are a whole different ballgame. I’m scared I’m going to get to the point where I begin to hate summer and only see it as more challenges. In having a lot more on my plate this summer, Michael has once again helped me see how I need to find ways to get used to change too, change in working, change in childcare responsibilities, change in self-care. I also need to regain my strength so I can find ways to help Michael communicate his needs better. There is no summer vacation for autism, but that’s ok. It’s a part of who Michael is, and we both need to find the right tools to help him and I through the rough patches.
How are your Exceptional Children at handling change and downtime? Do they enjoy time at home or would they rather be busy? What strategies have you been able to adopt to help them navigate change? What strategies help you as an Exceptional Mom navigate change best? There are no wrong or right ways. Everyone is different. The important thing is that we use tools that can help us be strong for our kids, strong for ourselves, and resilient in the face of things we can’t always control. I’m learning every day to let Michael show me what I need to start tackling first. Until next time.