For the past year and a half I have been facilitating a parent support group called the “Not So Typical Autism Support Group”. The name says it all.
It’s a space for autism moms and dads to focus on their own well-being. And yesterday we explored self-care.
A topic that I feel is frowned upon by society because it’s what some people relate to selfishness. Society and it’s completely shrewd standards.
What should be acknowledged and respected is the amount of patience and sacrifice us autism caregivers deal with every single day. My daughter is completely dependent on me. Completely. Without direct care she wouldn’t eat, drink, bath, dress, groom, exercise, clean up after her accidents (she’s incontinent), sleep (she will not do so without being lied down and tucked in), protected from the carelessness of others (she swallowed Saran Wrap while in a home health aides care)…drained yet? Sania is eleven years of age. And the older she gets the more she will need care. Her weaknesses have to be my strengths. I have to be all the things she isn’t able to be. And it gets tiring. Exhausting. Annoying. Upsetting. I am human. And humans burn out. And burn out leads to poor health conditions. And poor health conditions leads to the inevitable…an early grave.
Self care is the root of stability here. The “reset” button needed to help me start anew. To give my child everything she needs to survive. And so, putting myself first is exactly what needs to happen, all the time.
Autism moms and dads, no one will care for our children the way we would. On the same note, no one will care for us as we could. My external peace, happiness and my ability to lead within my community is very rewarding. But taking the time to do things for myself is more rewarding. It fuels my passions and strengths. At the core of my being–my internal being.
Put yourself first, go to the spa or take a walk in the park. Anything you love doing, do more of it. Because no matter how much you give and do for anyone else, it will drain you in the long fun. You can not be the absolute best for others if you aren’t the absolute best to yourself first.
Until next time XO,