Benefits of being an Autism Mum

Firstly, the title is for effect. I’m not a big fan of the term ‘Autism Mum’ and only use it when it’s the only succinct way to describe what I’m talking about. I don’t mind other people using it, I just try not to use it myself. I’m just a mum. I have a child who has autism, so it is a big part of our lives. I’m not however a mum to autism, I’m a mum to my boy. I’m here to help him with his difficulties and celebrate his achievements. Not to label him and allow it to limit him as a result. Secondly, I use the word benefits in a loose, tongue-in-cheek way to describe the following list!

1. The ability to function on only a couple of hours sleep.

Most parents of young children will relate to this one. It’s the role of the young child to keep their parents awake or to waken them at regular intervals throughout the night. If you have more than one child they will usually take it in turns throughout the night to do this, thus keeping you awake for as long as possible with minimal disruption to their own nocturnal routines. If you are a parent of a child with autism, it’s likely this will continue long past the recommended time limit found with ‘neurotypical’ children.

2. Super strong arm muscles

If your child is anything like mine you will regularly need to lift, carry or haul them from place to place or out of harm’s way. The positive aspect of this is near super-human strength in your arms and the ability to lift heavy objects above waist height for prolonged periods of time. There’s an up-side to everything!

3. The ability to plan end execute military-style operations

Any outing anywhere requires many items and lots of forethought. You can’t just pop them in the car and head off for a surprise trip to the park or seaside. All ventures require several bags containing changing materials, clothes, various food items, drinks, new shoes and a variety of toys to amuse in the car or when you reach the destination. You also need to research your desired venue, look for the pitfalls and anticipate any opportunities for meltdown or escape. When daring to go somewhere new you require nerves of steel and an endless supply of hope and optimism that it won’t all just be some big disaster!

4. The ability to ignore stares, tuts and shakes of the head (or at least to pretend that you don’t notice)

When your child has a meltdown or even sometimes when they don’t, when they are just running around exploring their environment or having fun; you encounter the looks of horror, disgust or amazement. Sometimes it can feel like people have never seen a child play. I reason this one with myself by thinking that these people just don’t understand, they have never seen or experienced any type of special need (lucky them!) The upside of this is developing the ability to care less about what people think and just do your best, allow your child some freedom to play and ensure they are safe and having fun whilst they do. We will never educate everyone and there’s no point in arguing or highlighting their ignorance at times. A higher level of tolerance and restraint is a benefit of this one!

5. Being able to hold in the swear words when you sit or stand on yet another toy that’s been left in some random place!

I give myself major brownie points when I manage this one. There are little time bombs all over our house just waiting for an unsuspecting bare foot, hard items to kneel on or sit on when you least expect and many things just put in random places to catch us out! When you’re up cleaning puke or poo in the middle of the night (as we frequently are) the last thing you can be doing with is searing pain in the sole of your foot from an unattended Thomas the Tank or some wheels and axles that have been chewed off a now broken car. The ability to manoeuvre stairs on one foot with arms full of gooey mess is a bonus from this one, as is not screaming out in pain and waking the rest of the household!

6. The ability to have your heart broken into lots of tiny pieces, as you watch your child unable to do something and sometimes when they finally achieve something they have been trying to do for so long.

This is hard. Part of the joy of our children growing up is seeing the big and little achievements along the way. For many children with autism or additional needs, some of these achievements can take so much longer and some may never happen at all. Resilience is a benefit of this one. Getting knocked down many times by the setbacks or endless trying but getting back up and on with it regardless (this is a big thing I’ve noticed about my son. He could teach us all a thing or two about going on trying, perseverance and resilience!)

There are of course many other ‘real’ benefits I get; such as cuddles, kisses, wanting to wrap himself up around me when I lie down and sharing his joy with me at the things he loves. I marvel at his sense of excitement and the look of sheer happiness on his face when he sees something or someone he likes. I hope he can stay so innocent and keep his sense of awe and wonder. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

There are lots of benefits of being a mum (or dad!) What are yours?

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42 thoughts on “Benefits of being an Autism Mum

  1. What a lovely post! I think patience is key to most parenting challenges but I definitely struggle at times with that! Best parts are seeing our little one change and learn new things and the very occasional times he actually wants a cuddle!! As for standing on things, slippers are a must!!

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  2. Lovely post and definately takes a skill to raise an autistic person because I for one know that being an autisitc person is complicated, hard work and challenging. You do really well to stick with it and even if you don’t feel appreciated because we can’t verbally express ourselves you are just by sticking by

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  3. My sister in law (and brother obviously) have an autistic son and she has developed otganisational skills that would put millitary leaders to shame. #TwinklyTuesday xx

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  4. Such a lovely blog post. I think the thing that I’ve learned over and over again since becoming a mother is just not to judge. I was a great one for looking at a tantruming child and thinking oh my gosh those people obviously don’t discipline their child. MY oh my the humility I have learned since :-\ Every day is different when you are raising a human being but the one thing that is universal is the deep love a parent has for their child which came through so strongly in your post. Your boy is beautiful and a wonderful expression of life. I wish you both all the best x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true that you don’t know how it is until you experience it. I’ve also learned not to judge and found a bit more patience with others, that can only be a good thing. Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comments!

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  5. oh number 6 really touched me. As a mum seeing our children achieve things we wondered if they ever would is such an amazing thing isn’t it. My eldest daughter was so introverted and anti social, her anxiety was through the roof. If someone spoke to her she couldn’t ever look at them, she would cry and hide and I was always excusing her behaviour. Even my brother and his wife told me they had no feelings for my daughter when she was 2 and a half. My sister in law had a massive meltdown saying my daughter was giving her dirty looks. I felt so confused and alone I was doing my best to socialise her.

    Now she is 12 and her school teachers tell me that the other students look up to her and follow her, that she is a natural leader. I watch her speak to a group and I am amazed by her courage and her perseverance. We need to keep believing in our children and not worry about others ignorance and even there rudeness. An amazing post and I thank you for sharing it with #mg Have a great week xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww that’s amazing, your daughter has come so far! I think one of the hardest things is the lack of understanding of others at times. We all seem to feel the need to excuse our children but to be honest it’s to pacify others and make them feel better, it doesn’t do our children any favours. Thank you for your lovely comments and for hosting. I love the linky, I find a lot of reflection and positivity from it each week.

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  6. Watching my daughter achieve anything is a plus for our entire family…. whether it be something in her iep plan goals we have set for her or something a child her age should of been doing for years and those unexpected kisses and hugs or the occasional I love you too momma those are the things that get me through the day

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    1. It’s so amazing to see them achieve these things. My son has recently started some imaginative play, something we never thought he would do. It’s wonderful to watch! Aww the I love you is amazing when you hear it! Thanks for reading.

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  7. I live this, I mean I love this!! Both boys are bad sleepers, I often make a joke about baby brain and then follow it up that no expects the sleepless nights to last for eight years (so far). The mum’s on the school run used to call me muscles as I was constantly carrying at least one, often two kids. These days the arms also have some bruises though and that’s a bit sad. What else can we do but enjoy the joyful, cry at the despair and laugh at all else in between cxx #bigpinklink

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    1. All so true! Thanks so much for reading and sharing. Once J is up he thinks it’s time for the day to start, regardless of the time and regardless of how often he gets up! You certainly sound super strong in more ways than one!

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  8. Being a parent to an autistic child is a challenge, but seeing through those challenges to the upside certainly helps. My son is nineteen and one of the benefits I see is that he won’t take risks (getting him out of the house is the opposing challnge to that one). I have friends with youngsters the same age, who are out on motorbikes until all time of the night. I may have concerns about my son, but worrying where he is or what he is doing is not one of them.

    xx

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  9. Love this post. My husband and I have adopted five little ones through foster care (a sibling group of 4 and one little one by himself) Their current ages are 6, 5, 3, 3, and 1. Our 5 year old was diagnosed two years ago. Outings are hard on us no matter where or what we are doing. We get the looks and the finger pointing everywhere we go, I am still learning to deal with that but I am doing better. I am so blessed to be their mom. Our son has opened my eyes to so much beauty in the world, seeing things through his eyes has taught me so much. Thank you for your post. Today was a hard day but I know we will get through it and be better because of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. That’s such a lovely story and an amazing thing you and your husband did. I can’t imagine how hectic life with 5 must be! People can be so ignorant at times and it can be hard to rise above it. Keeping the optimism in spite of the difficult days is important. Here’s to more good days. Thanks so much for reading and for your lovely comments!

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  10. I can relate to this so well! I thought my nights of no to very little sleep would end a few years ago but no, my middle son has a different plan apparently. I’m use to not caring what others think already tho because of my oldest son who is very aberrant; however, having meltdowns compared to toddler tantrums took me by surprise. My world has totally changed since my twins… it’s a world I honestly never knew existed. I’m so glad to finally understand my older twin in some kind of way & to start to see some beautiful progress. Thank you for your post & showing me I’m not alone in this journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s great that you can understand and see progress. Things like that help me to keep going. It shows that all of the hard work is worth it. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. Hopefully you will have many more moments of progress and understanding to come.

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  11. #6…. just yesterday I was trying to teach my 2 1/2 year old autistic daughter to feed herself with a spoon. She dropped her mac n cheese on the floor Every. Single Time. And it was heartbreaking to witness how defeated she was. But I know when she finally is able to do it, I’ll be crying tears of joy 😊💜

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