Tag Archives: parenting

We Can Be Compassion

Today there are a 1000 voices coming together for compassion.

I’ve been excited about this project from the moment it came across my Facebook feed. It’s such a beautiful goal, and I thought it fit in nicely with my 2015 resolution to spread more kindness. And if the start to our 2015 hasn’t opened Scotty and I up to compassion and kindness, then we need a lot of help.

In my heart and mind, compassion and kindness go hand in hand. They are one, interchangeable. Maybe that’s not the way for everyone, but that’s how it is for me. And so as I sat this week working on this post, I wondered how I would approach it. I had many different ideas as I readied myself for bed last night.

Then I read this post from Tamara. And I knew what I wanted to write.

Compassion is what I strive to teach my son, what, I think, all us parents strive to teach our children. But, as Tamara pointed out, it’s so often the little ones who teach us. I read her post and was reminded of a time my son was a wee bit younger. We were picking out a Christmas gift for the Angel Tree and I was telling him how there are some children in the world who can’t have big Christmases like ours. How we share our blessings by giving to those less fortunate. I think maybe he was four at the time.

That night at home, I walked into his room to get him ready for bed and found him wrapping some of his favorite toys in his blankets. I asked what he was doing and he said,

“Mama, I want to give these toys to the angel kids who can’t have Christmas. Can we share these ones with them?”

I tried to hide my tears as I sat on his bed and praised him and his big heart. I told him we would donate his toys the next day, if he wanted to, and I helped him stack them by his bedroom door.

My heart overflowed that night.

Children are not born knowing hate or discrimination. They are not born knowing the woes of the world. They are sweet and innocent little sponges who soak up all that we show them, whether we intend it or not.

We adults have years of the world hardening our hearts, years of skepticism and judgement (however unintentional it may be) in our minds. We no longer see the world as simply as our children, but we can.

We can step back and take a lesson from those we’re supposed to be teaching. We can FEEL again, and lead with open hearts. We can show compassion and kindness, it really isn’t that hard. Nor does it require that much.

Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Smile at your neighbor and ask how they are, instead of brushing by impatiently. Leave a Star Wars Valentine at random places throughout your weekend. Pass along a blender you’re not using to someone who needs or wants one. Text that friend whom you haven’t heard from, maybe they just need to know someone is thinking of them. Hold the door open for a stranger. Take flowers to work to brighten the office for you AND all of your coworkers. Donate to your local mission. Make sandwiches and take them to the homeless on the streets.

We can all do these things, we can all be these people. We can be the change we wish to see, we can be the hope in this worn and weary world.

We can be the little boy giving his beloved Finding Nemo and Lego toys to the less fortunate.

We can be compassion.

Living Better: Tips For Parents New To Autism

LivingBetter

Welcome back for another dose of Living Better. We’re starting of the New Year with our gal Echo, who’s here to share her tips for parents new to a diagnosis of autism. So stick around and make her feel welcome. 

5 Tips For Parents Beginning The Autism Journey

My son is what most would consider a “late diagnosis”. He was not diagnosed with Autism until he was 5 and a half. He has a high functioning form of Autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome. For most, a diagnosis is a sad moment. For us, his diagnosis was a relief. We finally knew what was wrong and how to approach it. I have learned quite a bit in our three years, but there is always more to learn. I think the very beginning is the hardest part. So here are some tips for those of you that are just starting the Autism journey.

Tip #1: Don’t let the diagnosis defeat you.

Having a child with Autism is not the end of the road. You need to do what you have always done. You adapt to the situation. Yes, certain things will have to change, but now that you have a clue as to what you are dealing with, the changes are more readily known. Adapt, live, love.

Tip #2: Do not believe everything you read, hear and see.

I fell into this trap at first. I was given books, sent links to articles, listen to the stories from doctors and forums. Don’t do it. Just don’t. At least not right away. No child with Autism is like another, so all of the “advice” that people give you, is just going to scare you and stress you out at first. Nobody knows your child like you do and now, you have another layer to get to know.

Tip #3: Do start looking into programs that can help.

There are a lot of programs that can help children with Autism and their families. I’m talking about beyond the doctor. A lot of local play places will hold sensory nights for kids with special needs, there are wonderful OT groups, respite (help for parents) programs, PCA programs. There are grants and more available. The list grows everyday as the awareness does.

Tip #4: Prepare yourself for questions and judgmental stares.

I can’t even count how many times someone has asked me, “Are you sure your son has Autism?”. A lot of people fall into the cookie cutter trap. They think that if they have seen one Autistic child that they have seen them all. I get questioned all the time. It comes with the territory. I mainly get questioned by family and friends. If your child has a more severe diagnosis, you may get questioned by complete strangers. The judgmental stares happen daily. When my son shrieks in excitement because a store carries blenders. When we eat out and he has more food on his face and shirt than my 3 year old. When he can’t figure out if he should push or pull a door or how much force he needs to use. When I bend down and give him a stern warning, through gritted teeth, that he needs to knock it off. People stare. People judge. Just perfect your fake smile or, if you are like me, your major stink-eye!

Tip #5: Your child has Autism, but Autism doesn’t have to have your child.

Set expectations. Set goals. Set rules. Don’t let your child have unexpected behavior just because he has Autism. We refuse to let our son use Autism as an excuse. Yes, we know it can make things harder for him, but we know he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to. I know that my son is capable of great things, so I am not going to let him surrender to his diagnosis.

Again, adapt, live and love, but don’t let it defeat you!

You can find more Autism resources at AutismSpeaks.org

Echo is a mom, a blogger, and is a constant battle to hold on to the last shreds of her sanity. She can be found blogging at Domain of the Mad Mommy, on Twitter, on Facebook, and Pinterest. If you’d like to keep tabs on her, be sure to sign up for her newsletter

Living Better: Parenting Through Pain

My gal Echo has graciously agreed to open up about parenting through pain with me and you all. She usually spends her days trying to hold on to what’s left of her sanity while raising and homeschooling two kiddos.

She can be found writing about her life on her blog The Domain of the Mad Mommy

 

When you are a parent, there are daily struggles.
When you are a parent, there are daily triumphs.
When you are a parent in pain, there is daily chaos.

Parenting is a hard enough job on it’s own. So much to do, so much to learn, so many sacrifices to make, so many benefits to reap. Add some pain into the mix and it can throw everything into turmoil!

Pain comes in different forms. There is physical pain, like the pain that I am experiencing with my mouth and multiple dental surgeries.

There is also mental and emotional pain. The pain that can’t always be seen, but is always there.

The emotional and mental pain, I believe, is more easily managed. Counseling, coping skills, natural remedies, medication, therapy. It takes a while to get into the “groove” of things, but it can happen.

Some of the coping skills I use to parent through my depression are:

*Blogging – Yes, blogging. I come online, I type shit out and I piss and moan to all of the people on the Internet that will read it. Does it help? It helps me. It helps me vent. It helps me process. It helps me laugh.
*Humor – They say that laughter is the best medicine and I happen to agree. I love taking the daily chaos and turmoil in my life and turning it into something that can make myself and someone else laugh!
*Drugs – Caffeine is my number one drug of choice! I need it, I love it, I wouldn’t be able to parent without it. I was on Prozac and Ambien for depression and insomnia, but I have weaned myself off of those and seem to be doing pretty good!
*Cooking/Eating – I love to go shopping, buy fancy ingredients, cook a fancy ass meal and then rub it in my extended family’s face! Like ha, see, see what I can do. Fuck you.

I also yell, swear, take a hot shower, take naps (when I can), eat ice cream, eat Taco Bell and cry. Yes, I cry. Sometimes, you just have to cry!

Physical pain is harder to navigate. When you are in physical pain, everything is amplified x100. Your kid’s whining sounds like a thousand babies crying. The chocolate that just stained your carpet, didn’t “just” stain the carpet, it stained your very soul! You feel like you haven’t slept in days and no one, no one is going to help you!

I’m a parent…
It’s never just one LEGO!
It’s like this:

It’s like this all the time!
It fucking hurts!

Here are some of the ways that I parent through physical pain:

*Let it go – Seriously, I tend to let a lot more slide because I am in pain. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to get all worked up about the ALL of the toys being in the living-room.
*Sleep – I try to sleep when I can, where I can. Anytime, anywhere. If my kids are quiet and safe, I will sleep. Why? My body needs it to heal and I am less likely to bite someone’s head off when I am sleeping.

*Remedy – I try to remedy the pain in anyway possible! Seriously, I just want to stop hurting and when the doctors stop providing you with pain relief, you take things into your own hands!

It’s really about doing what you have to do for your kids and yourself. You have to parent through the pain because you have to be there for your kids. I know it sucks. Believe me. I deal with this shit everyday and although it sucks, royally, it is manageable. Give it time, make a plan and make sure that you have a strong support system. I’m not sure how I would cope if I didn’t have my husband supporting me and the support of the FABULOUS bloggers (my friends) that I have met online.

Don’t be afraid to reach out. Find a group. Online, offline, it doesn’t matter. Find someone you can talk to and not feel judged.

Write it down. Start a blog, write a journal. It really helps to get it out. To vent it. You don’t want to keep it bottled up.

Don’t be afraid to get help. Help for the emotional/mental pain and help for the physical pain. You do not need to deal with it alone!