Permission to Pause

kate 14

This motherhood stuff is tough sometimes. Like cry at 3 am tough when your sweet baby refuses to sleep. But a friend of mine, Carrie Cariello, told me the most beautiful thing this weekend. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

We were on a panel. Me, her, and our friend Jackie.

We were asked what advice we would give to parents of newly diagnosed kids. It a pretty common question. I spoke of pausing. Not rushing through. Taking time to process and feel the big feelings and sit in the dark for a bit. And then finding other parents who understand. That’s what I wish I would have done in those early years.

Her response was a bit different. Unexpected really. And it shook me.

See she is in a different season than me. Her kids are older than mine. Teenagers! Some even leaving for college. (Go Jack!) She is passed the diapers and teething and the breastfeeding. We are both mamas just at different stages.

Her advice to those tender hearted parents of newly diagnosed kids…

Smell their heads. Let them have a cookie before dinner and stay up late. Kiss them. Hug them. Squeeze their cannelloni thighs. Because it goes so fast.

‘I would do it all over again. Even my hardest autism days. Just to have more time with my son.’

And I sobbed. Because I would too. My Cooper is 11 years old. Almost a teenager. And I don’t want it to be over. I’m not ready to be done with babies and toddlers. I’m not ready for him to grow up.

Thank you Carrie for giving me permission to pause today.

Smell their heads. Squish their cheeks. Hold them while they sleep.

That’s my plan for the day.

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. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding


Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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1 Comment

  1. Tara on May 9, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    Love that totally agree! I am reading your book and it’s crazy how many of us have exactly the same experiences. I just screamed and went crazy, my G (ASD) whom is 11 just now was caught spraying his 2 year old brother with the bathtub hose…. water EVERYWHERE booo even hit the insulation where we ripped out a tub… and have yet to complete a remodel. Lololol…. I have to go apologize to him…he looked like a deer in headlights and he does speak but rational was gone after “mom” went nuts seeing water all over. I’m sitting on a stool reading your blog while said 2 yo plays in that water on the floor with towels. He loves his big brother and this kinda stuff raises G a notch in his book I’m sure. Lololol. We need to have a big book written we all send in stories. We can read at night laugh cry ourselves to SLEEP HA!

    HAPPY Monday…

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