As you know last week started off with a bang! It was one of those weeks I don’t want to repeat anytime soon! If you read my last two blogs then you know Jake was a handful to put it mildly. Tuesday and Wednesday were better days for Jake while in school until he came home sick from school Wednesday afternoon with a cold. Poor kid was all stuffy and by Wednesday night he was running a fever. This probably explains his sensory issues he had. I am not 100% sure this is accurate but in the past right before Jake would get sick he would bounce off the walls, It explains a lot if I am right on this one. If you think about it, if he is getting sick and his body is working to fight the illness everything else going on goes into overdrive which makes sense given that his sensory needs were at high levels. It would also explain why I couldn’t give him enough sensory input to help meet those needs. Really it is all to complex for me…it goes back to me trying to figure out what is going on and sometimes I just can’t. And maybe it isn’t for me to figure out, maybe it is something I need to learn as Jake does.
The saving grace for the week was knowing I would get to spend Saturday with a group of long-time friends hanging out by the pool; I have known some of these ladies since I was in elementary school. I kept repeating to myself, only 2 more days, only 1 more day etc. It was so nice to leave the house on Saturday drive to a friend’s house alone, I didn’t have to hand Jake a drink or repeat for the millionth time where we were going. Just the short ride helped me relax. And then my friends and I just hung out by the pool, ate, talked and caught up on everything, ate, laughed and we ate some more. When you have been friends with people as long as we have (at least 30+ years) it is easy to relax. There is no fakery, we can all just be ourselves, share our struggles and celebrate our achievements without judgment. When I say it was relaxing, it really is an understatement! I kept my phone in my bag, I heard it ring at one point but just left it, I didn’t jump to see if maybe it was John needing something in regards to Jake. I think I pulled my phone out only a few times during the 5 1/2 hours I was away! And if I think about it that was one of the best feelings, letting go of that control thing I have in me to check in and make sure John and Jake are doing ok. Of course John can take care of Jake, he knows what to do and I don’t give him enough credit at times and don’t let go enough to let John take charge (something I am and have been working on). This morning I feel refreshed, content and most of all happy. I am ready to start the day and I feel more energized to handle whatever it is that needs to be handled today.
When I first started this journey I remember therapists, friends, doctors and other mom’s I had met kept telling me to remember to take time for myself. At the time I thought, okay I will but really didn’t understand how important it was at the time. You see I had just started this journey and at that time Jake was 2 and I knew I needed to put myself last because I needed to get him help, I needed to spend time with Allie, spend time with John and well there was always something more important than me. But you can only go at that pace for so long, a person needs to put themselves first every now and again because if you don’t you will become obsessed and it will eat away at you and honestly it leaves you feeling like you are alone in this journey whether it be the journey I am on or motherhood in general. Now that Jake is in school more I am finding it much easier to take time out for myself. I wish I had heeded the advice given to me earlier but at that time I honestly thought Jake needed me, which he did but what Jake, John, Allie and my friends were getting wasn’t me. Well, it was but it was an exhausted, burnt out version of me. It wasn’t fair to any of them and I was becoming resentful. Not a pretty picture. There are times I do have to force myself to do something for me but it is becoming easier. I try to remember how it makes me feel to get away for a bit, I remember that I felt like I could do more and give a better version of myself when I took that time out for myself. So it is getting easier and by taking time out for myself I am allowing John to take a more active role in working with Jake. It is helping me relinquish this control feeling I have and that is a great feeling!!!!
If I could pass along anything I have learned over the past 2 and a half years to a new mother or a mother new to the autism journey is to take time out each week for you!! You matter; I matter and we can’t do anything with no gas in the tank. We need to refuel, it makes us go with a clearer head and enables us to take better care of our families and better care of ourselves!
PS Another thing I am doing for myself is going to Florida on a girls trip in a few weeks!! We started this trip about 20 years ago, I haven’t gone since I was pregnant with Jake which means the last time I went was 5 years ago. I cannot wait! I will sit on the beach with my phone in my bag and I will be able to fully appreciate the time I get to spend with my friends and appreciate this gift of being able to get away, relax and to take care of me!!!