Being a mum….

Being a mum….

Being a mum is the hardest job in the world. I’ve described it as the best and worst thing I’ve ever done. I find it incredibly difficult I don’t get it right but I try, I try my hardest and sometimes the hardest I try the more I make mistakes. This is not because of my autism this is because I’m a mum.

But what makes it harder for me is being a mum with autism and that means sometimes I can’t cope in the right way, and I need that extra help to be a mum, and to be honest thats hard when you don’t know how to be a mum or know what help you need! 

You see being autistic you follow from what experiences you have had as a child and adapt that as a parent and that’s hard if you have had difficult experiences or parents with issues, but it can also make you go the other way.

My mum never held my hand and I found that when I became a mum I was obsessed with making sure my children always held my hand. It’s the simplest thing in life that means so much to me, I remember that feeling of wanting to connect with my mum by holding her hand but she would always let go and that made me feel incredibly sad. 

So holding my child’s hand in mine gives me the warmth I need as a parent to feel happy. But I would get too focused and worried if they let go of my hand I would lose them and that scared me. Now they are older it’s more difficult because they don’t want to always hold my hand but I still reach for it.

It can be difficult to break those routines and experiences. I had a very different childhood that has shaped me into the person I am now. I promised myself I would try harder and be a different mum so that I wouldn’t let anyone feel the way I did as a child and that’s a difficult task to live up too. I get really down when I get it wrong and feel extreme lows and some days I find it hard to shake it off but then I remember what I can do and just try. 

I also need space and quiet to think so I can process thoughts it takes me time to process certain questions and knowing how much to say and how to say it can be tricky especially with children and to be honest people in general. I struggle with people but I want not too, but it’s like I can’t help but struggle with people and expectations and it hurts.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and feel too much emotions, the senses are in over drive too much noise, too much visual and it makes me too sensitive and my children know how I feel all of the time, they know when I’m sad, when I’m hurt, when I’m angry, when I anxious, when I worried, when I’m low and when I’m happy and excited.

My children melt my heart and can make me frustrated all at the same time. I can’t process their thoughts I don’t know what they are going to say but it doesn’t matter as they accept me for me and that’s half the battle. But I feel bad as sometimes my daughter will just give me a look or rub my arm as if to say it’s ok and that shakes me to the core as at that moment she understands more than a child should. At that second she has turned from my daughter to my carer without me even noticing until it’s too late and that makes me feel low. 

But on the flip side of what makes me good as an autistic parent is the attention to details the finer points you normally glaze over because you don’t see it or are too busy. My focus means I might focus too much on the finer details and forget the bigger picture and I try to make everyone happy and that’s difficult with children and it’s more difficult with an autistic child too. Because to be happy is hard you have to feel it, you have to see it, you have to understand it too and you can’t fake it! 

But the over excitedness and the drive to get it right the extreme focus that is all about being autistic and that makes me a different mum, one I hope that my children appreciate and love and not get too frustrated at…

Empathy, Expectations and Emotions…

Empathy, Expectations and Emotions…

I am still learning about myself and how my autism effects me sometimes I don’t see it until it is too late and it hurts. 

I remember saying to my son that if there was a cure for autism I wouldn’t give it to him as his autism makes him who he is – it gives him his strengths and uniqueness. I still agree with that but if I could take away all the other issues out of the equation then I know it would make a world of difference.

Some days I watch people and how they interact and wish I could be like that. The ease of it without feeling sick with anxiety or appearing to be rude or stupid or not good enough to have the conversation with people. I know it sounds daft but I really feel like that, do I make eye contact or is that too much? shall I look away do I tell someone they are sitting too close and I feel closed in? Do I tell them they have something on their face or that I am late and need to go? I then think of random things to say because they might have triggered off a memory or a phrase that sticks in my head, and I then can’t think of anything else. Knowing how much to share in a conversation or wanting to leave but don’t know how to tell them. The thing is I struggle to read people but get it wrong I can see them looking at my shoes that might not be polished or my tights with a hole, and I fear the comments about it as I might get embarrassed or that I might then say a joke that’s it funny or I say the wrong thing and appear angry, annoyed or rude?! Or I think of what they are thinking and then don’t listen to what is being said. 

Also the simple act of making a phone call too, how people do it without thinking. I can’t answer my phone if I don’t know who it is or if I am not expecting their call. I also have to prepare myself on what to say I get nervous sick to my stomach sometimes thinking how the conversation could go remembering the social cues how are you small talk etc.. I feel like a robot trying to read it out like lines in a play. I forget what the person is saying on the phone and can’t read their body language or second guess it, so it’s harder for me to guess how they are feeling or what they want to hear?

I personally struggle to read people I don’t understand the expectations in my head and why I do it to myself and naturally people let me down, but they don’t know and don’t understand either it’s just all in my head which is worse. I try to please people too but just get it wrong and end up annoying or upsetting people without wanting too. I can see myself interact before I act and can’t seem to stop myself it drives me crazy some days. 

I have some really difficult days and I don’t know how to feel either. I need to verbalise or show my emotions it’s like they need to escape and then I feel better straight after as otherwise they are stuck inside my head and it hurts. I feel too much I have too much empathy and that hurts too. Over sensitive with interactions I get so very tired in trying to read people with too many thoughts in my head. The simple act of a hand on my shoulder saying that I am doing well or ok just makes me feel better that calmer influence from another person can really help at times as I just don’t know how to be I self doubt myself constantly. I hate the word normal but sometimes it would just be easier I feel like I am just treading water constantly and any minute I could slip under. I feel better in routines and structure and knowing what is expected of me and what is going to happen I plan everything and need to know what is going on. 

My life seems to be all about empathy, expectations and emotions…