I hope you can find a way to get some “Me Time”. If you have a child with autism, you need this time to relax and recharge your batteries. When PJ was younger and I was able go get some time without him, I did not relax and recharge. I was worried and fearful of all the things that could go wrong when he was not with me.
I have talked to a couple of mothers who have other children who reminded me that even when they get respite for their child with autism, they still have to take care of the others, so they don’t actually get “me time”. That’s why the parents need to get away from home for a few days so they can focus only on themselves. I know how hard that is, but the PJ Foundation wants to help if we can. One of our solutions is camp. Camp is good for the parent and for the child.
PJ is now 36. During these years, I’ ve had years when I tried to do everything by myself because of my fear and anxiety. I became so overwhelmed by autism, that five minutes short of me becoming autistic myself, I realized that I had to get respite. I don’t know how much respite is available now, but I hope you can schedule a few days of respite.
I finally realized something about PJ. He needs “me time” too! Sometimes he would be downstairs and I would be upstairs. I’d decide to go downstairs with him. Then he would go upstairs. If I go back upstairs, he will go downstairs. This has happened so much that I have finally accepted it. So now, we each have our “me time” when we need it, together, separately.
This is a poem that I wrote when I was yearning for “me time”. It was inspired by another mother of a child with a disability. I hope you can relate to it. It is also included in “Inspired By Autism”.
If I Only Had A Day
If I only had a day to wash my cares away / To soak in a tub, to get a back rub / To find the me that I used to be / Do I still have an identity?
If I had a day without this child / Would I feel that I could smile? / Maybe for a little while / I could go to visit friends / and reacquaint myself with them / and I could feel like me again.
Could I go to see a show? / Relax and laugh and let troubles go? / Could I go to dinner to see how it feels / to really sit and enjoy a meal?
If I only had a day, would I find a way / to catch up on my chores / to sweep all my floors? To make my house all neat and clean / so I could have some company?
If I only had a day, would I have a chance to say / all the things that are on my mind / To feel like I have free time / to try on my clothes / to polish my toes ? / To exhale at last/ To complete a a big task.
I’m tired of cryin’ / I want to start tryin’ / to put things back together again./ But I need a day to find my way / It’s coming, but I don’t know when.
This mothering that never ends. / I’m smothering in all the trends / I really try to do my best / but don’t know if I pass the test / in trying to manage all my stress.
So if I only had a day / Could I find the proper way? Some time to work / Some time to play / Or would I just go to bed and stay?
Until next time; May you have Peace, Love and Prosperity in your life.
I always find something in your words that strikes a chord. I’ve longed lately for “me time.” “Me” gets lost when we’re raising kids who don’t allow us time for ourselves. Other people’s kids go to friend’s houses, they spend the night, or a week, even a summer, with relatives. My son had no friend, he wasn’t welcomed by family to spend the night or invited along on trips – though one or two of them would “do us a favor” in an emergency if one of us had to go to the hospital or we went to a funeral. It seemed that no one thought we should have any break other than in times of sickness or death. When they are 18, most children go away to college or soon begin their own lives. We still have the same responsibility for our kids as when they were six. No “me” time yet. Recently, I decided that Chad, who is 35, is doing so well that I would feel comfortable hiring someone to stay at the house with him on a regular basis, so that I could go places with my husband again. Am I still a wife? I’ve been “Chad’s mom” only for so long I’m not sure about anything else. I wanted to enjoy some of the things we used to do together; go to dinner with friends, go for a drive in the mountains, even grocery shop. Before I could find someone to stay with Chad, circumstances changed. We had to move my 87 year-old mother in with us. I suppose this is a permanent situation, or at least until she might eventually need nursing home care. Now, it is more complicated to consider hiring someone who would stay here with both my son and my mother. Expensive even if possible. How many people want to sit with both a 35 year-old man with autism and an 87 year-old woman with Alzheimer’s? I feel like my fate has been sealed. The only time I’m going to see “me” again is in the next life – heaven. I know other parents get frustrated and exhausted just like I do. Many of them have greater challenges than mine. I know I am blessed and I should be grateful that I am able to take care of my son and my mother. Right now, I can’t appreciate those things. I want “me” back. I want me time too. I am discouraged and tired. I won’t stay this way and there will be a time when I can breathe again and take joy in the day that the Lord has made. I might read part of your book again, for encouragement, and I’ve come to your blog for the compassion I find here. Thank you for giving me a place to turn to. . . . . . . with love, Dianne
Now, more than ever you need to be able to get respite. We need to figure out how. Can you look into Senior Services and see what kind of help is available for your mother? I think you should look into getting two people to sit at the same time, one for your mother and one for Chad. The PJ Foundation will pay for them. That is why we formed the Foundation. I hope it is possible for you to find someone for both of them that you can use at least once a month. I know where you are. i’ve been there! I don’t want you to lose yourself. I know that you have been through enough already and don’t need another challenge. i also know that you won’t feel good about yourself if you don’t help your mother. You might not be able to find the perfect solution, but whatever sitters you find will be a momentary respite for you. Let me know what you can come up with and how the PJ Foundation can help.
You have surely earned your star in Heaven, but i want you to have some relief before then.