May 30, 2016

Get Out

Posted in Fun Stuff, Life's Little Moments, My Take on Autism tagged , at 4:19 pm by autismmommytherapist

Justin BD 2016 Scouts 028

Recently I spent twenty-four glorious hours in DC, my former stomping grounds of fifteen years. I ate Indian food, and spent hours chatting with my bestie. I got a blister walking into Georgetown, and waved to President Obama through the White House fence at night. My friend and I abandoned our kids and husbands for one fabulous weekend, and we plan to make it an annual event.

And Jeff managed an entire day-and-a-half on a weekend with both kids without help.

I’ll say it again- he managed for a day-and-a-half on a weekend without help.

Many of you who don’t know my husband may be doubting the competency of an individual who can’t watch a teen-ager and a nine-year-old for thirty hours without assistance, but my boys both have autism (my eldest is severe), and that can make things difficult sometimes. Both Jeff and I have found it challenging (sometimes that’s an understatement) to make it through an hour much less an entire day with the boys, and I’m a former educator who managed classrooms of thirty children with relative ease. There were entire years if one of us had something to do in the evening (usually it was a PTA meeting, nothing too exciting unfortunately) we’d literally have to have a sitter help with the bedtime routine, as we didn’t feel it was safe for one kid to be unattended while we put his sibling down.

As you can imagine, we didn’t get out much.

But I would say in the last two to three years there’s been a subtle shift toward independence in our household, with both boys maturing, and dare I say it, becoming much easier to manage. Three years ago I would have been able to pull off two week days in the nation’s capitol, but never a weekend, much less both weekend days. Three years ago I wouldn’t even have asked, knowing most likely complete havoc would have reigned chez McCafferty, and my little excursion to DC would have died an untimely death.

To see this one particular friend who’s flying in for our “event” we now need to see each other on a weekend, and I feel confident we can make this happen annually.

And I cannot tell you how utterly liberating this realization is to me.

I wrote this today for any parents of autistic children (or hell, any children) who may feel “stuck,” who are watching the parameters of their lives lessen, who feel the walls closing in on them. I can’t promise you it will get better, because everyone’s definition of “better” is different, and of course I don’t know your child or your family.

I will never make promises on this blog that I can’t keep.

But I will say this. You feel like you still want a life? Don’t give up. You need a night out with your hubby but you’re afraid to leave your kid with a sitter? Find someone you trust, work up to an evening out, and do it. I know most of us autistic families aren’t exactly rolling in extra funds, but one of the best ways you can be the best parent to your child is to take care of yourself.

I’ll say it again. If you want to be the best possible parent to your child you have to take care of yourself.

And that includes having fun.

So do whatever it takes, take up that nice neighbor on her offer to babysit, and go. Enjoy yourself. Have a drink (or two.) Eat too much. Put your child on the back burner for an hour or two and remember who you were before children came into your life. Recapture how much fun you used to be.

No matter what, just get out.


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  1. misifusa said,

    So glad to hear you are getting the chance to get out! ♥

  2. Libby said,

    Hooray! I love this. So glad you got out to enjoy yourself! You’ve inspired me to try getting away for a night XO. Libby

  3. Joyce F said,

    So true! Things have definitely gotten better for us and I’m able to leave for a few hours but a weekend getaway is a must-do 🙂 Glad you enjoyed your outing!

  4. Amen! So Glad you were able to enjoy some time away.

  5. NickyB. said,

    It’s awesome that you were able to get a break. I feel so much better when I get one. Totally agree with you.

    • I know, right?!?!!

      • NickyB. said,

        The hubs and I will be going away in a few weeks. It’s always so difficult for me to leave cause I worry so much but I’m always glad that I make the effort to go.

  6. Agnes said,

    I’ll remember your words every time i am assailed with guilt for wanting a time out. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome! The best advice I ever got from an autism mom (after being told to “get out”) was to let go of guilt. It doesn’t change anything and prevents you from being your best self. I work really hard on letting it all go. Hope you get out too!

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