Autism as a Full Time Single Mom

My five year old son has autism. I am currently a full time single mom, who used to be a part time dog mom, and that about sums up my little world.

We are a little over two years into the diagnosis and up until seven months ago, my son was considered nonverbal. He has made huge strides in so many areas, mostly in speech, and I am so, so, so grateful for the therapy and resources we have used to get us to where we are today.

I don’t have a village to help me out. I am not from America, this is where my ex husband is from and when we discovered we were expecting, we were newly married and planning on doing long distance. I had a great paying job where I was and we knew residency for the US would take a while so why not build up savings in the mean time, right?

Anyway, as children do, they change your carefully thought out plans, and so we decided we would have the most support here with his family. Due to extenuating circumstances, that has not been the case.

As much as I’d love to be surrounded by my friends and family, the truth is, my home country isn’t exactly first world so we have access to way better assistance and resources here.

So, autism trumped me on that one. Without a village, and being a single mom means most of the time it’s me, my son and our frenemy autism. Perhaps further down the line I will figure out how to create and maintain a functional self care regime, but for now it’s stolen moments where I get to video chat with my family and friends, or can cry in the shower by myself while my son sleeps. 

For a little while, every other weekend my son would go stay with his dad. I would miss him terribly (my son, not his dad) and spent most of that time crying, eating tasteless gluten/sugar/salt/casein/taste free snacks, wrapped in his blanket disappearing into the internet blackhole aka YouTube.

My son’s dad, for legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons, is no longer a regular fixture in his life. It is what it is – although I worry about how this will play out later on in life. 

My ex and I dealt with the diagnosis and preceding lead up in very different ways and the truth is, the cracks had started to appear not long after we became a party of three. Sleep deprivation will create a potent blend of poison, peppered with loneliness, new mom/dad anxiety and feelings of inadequacy as a parent and a partner.

Autism didn’t break us but it definitely showed our true colors, and neither of us liked what was eventually revealed.

I have joined online groups and I try to engage and relate to my fellow autism parents but I’m not having much luck. When I read about others’ experiences it makes mine seem not quite so difficult to manage. I mean, on a good day I feel like I just about cope with what is an isolating, one-step-forward-two-steps-backwards and unplanned for version of life, and then someone else’s just seems like it’s so much worse.

Cue even more intense feelings of failure, as I cry into my son’s uneaten chicken nuggets and wonder out loud, to no one, how life got so complicated, but then is it even that bad when there is another mom whose child’s eating habits and/or sleep schedule and/or autism characteristics are even more precarious than ours, or has other issues to contend with?

I have one or two acquaintances here but no one I would confide in or seek comfort or emotional support from. Mommin’ ain’t easy, regardless of whether or not you have a special needs child.

I don’t have a blog or a journey for you to read about. I don’t have any suggestions or tips on how to calm an over stimulated kiddo or explain the concept of patience to them when their iPad is taking forrrreveerrrrr to load their favorite game.

I’m just a mom, trying to accept her new omni-present, omni-annoying frenemy, autism.

Written by, An Anonymous Mother

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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