Keeping Going; F is for friends

Hi There tiddley peeps!
Sorry, just slipped into children's television mode there. Have been at home with my tiddley peeps for more than two weeks for Spring break and my brain has slowed down a little. Hence no sensible blogging.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, and I enjoy full time parenting. But you need get out to meet the real world every now and then.

It was my choice, I get a home help allowance for babysitting my kids but I choose to use it on weekends when I can take one child out and enjoy giving 100% attention , while the other child gets the full attention of my helperangel. We have a better quality of life that way.

And So, during the holidays, I am at home every day with my 2 kids who it has to be said; are not the worlds greatest conversationalists. Mr Hammie comes home and is not much better after a day at work, and so it all gets a bit lonely!
Sure, I can log on and cyber chat with my mates but there isnt the same depth of sharing and conversation that you get face to face.
So I stayed home and drew a lot of pictures of Animal Alphabets, recited the Animal Alphabet about 17 times an hour, (for Boo) and played "nigh nigh" and tickles and fixed videos (for Bratty) At one stage I was reciting alphabets at the same time as being tucked into bed for "nigh nigh", And Boo got tucked in too. Multi-tasking? You bet.

I also managed to put on half a stone in two weeks. Out of boredom. Okay, I have recently had some good news that has removed half my worries, so I no longer have that nagging stomach acid tension about an educational placement. (More later) And I picked up a chest infection that prevented me swimming with the kids in the last week. But most of it was pure fucking boredom. And as you may have guessed from my last two posts; boredom makes you boring.

So, How do you keep going?
For me, the greatest thing about getting the kids back to school was getting out and communicating with grown ups again! I did some listening on Monday at a very inspiring presentation for Social Entrepeneurs or "Change Makers" as the Ashoka Foundation calls them. And a lot of talking today, for World Autism Awareness Day. And it was really fun to be listened to!
That is the really difficult thing I guess for a Mother of 2 kids in the spectrum. While it is a hard won gift to have any kind of communication with your kids, on any level, it is always going to be on their agenda. Nobody in an autistic household is really that interested in what you have to say. Sure, The Boo wants me to say things, but he writes the script. Fine, I am a lucky mammy that he does need me to talk with him. Bratty is a woman of few words, lots of noises and even more actions. But again, I am lucky that she wants me to interact with her, she includes me in her games and seems to like me a lot!

So, just like any other parent who has kids on the spectrum, I can become surrounded by a wall of silence during the holidays. But when school goes back I make a conscious effort to climb over that wall and reach out to anyone else who is up there.

So I will conclude this post for now by saying; Don't become isolated. Don't allow yourself to locked away and disconnected from the community that can support and inform you. If you have something to say, well, as my Boo says: "Sharing is Caring". Just by speaking out about something YOU feel, maybe someone else will fell a bit braver, and more able to share and have their load lightened. If someone else needs to talk: LISTEN. You may learn something, you will also forge a connection for that person and maybe help them break down that wall.
Imagine the sense of isolation that accompanies the Autistic diagnosis as the Berlin Wall, and chip away at it every chance you get. Sure, you might have to retreat occasionally, but be sure to put your head up over the top again as soon as possible, and see if anyone else is up there waiting to have a chat.
To make change we have to develop empathy, to do that we have to be capable of reaching out and opening up to the range of experiences of people in our situation. By sharing, by speaking AND listening, we inform ourselves and become better able to accept and convey a range of points of view. This demonstrate our respect for the views of others and makes it easier for them to listen to us, in turn. By this means will we achieve the changes we need.

So open up and share a little, listen a lot.

And by sharing I mean COMMENTS!!



Anonymous said…
Sharing…that’s a good one.

Sharing…can you share with your friends?

Sharing does not come easy to me…never has.
But now? My best friend of 20 years phoned me last night to discuss the size of her new boyfriend’s…hands (yes we are over 30, thank you). How can I ask her “what will happen to my babz after I am gone?!!”

I find that I avoid my friends. I find I can’t be as sympathetic as before that their granite on the worktop does not match the one in Taj Mahal. And I know that no matter what they will say they will not understand what we are going through. So at the moment I listen and I don’t share and I
pretend to be interested, and I know that I am really- I just have too much on my mind at the moment.

So can you share with friends? I hope so…eventually. V
Lisamaree said…
Time to get some new friends V!
Many of the parents I speak have been where you are. Me? I suddenly found that I wasnt that interested in talking about semillion and pinot noir and had to retire from wine bullshitting (oops I mean rep'ing) and become a full time Mum.
But I was lonely for a long time after that V, my new friend was my store card and I ran up huge debts in a local department store. I guess I craved the human contact of the shop assistants along with hope that this buggy, or highchair or carseat would "cure" my Boo.
When I arrived in Ireland I had to seek out services, but when we got a placement I then had to reach out and start networking. I did this much as I had as a rep' but this time it was to ensure links with fellow parents, (mostly Mums) who would not be shocked by the "poo conversation" and who could even share a joke.

I needed help in those days, I still do a lot of the time, but I also reach out and offer help when I can. And that makes me feel useful and connected.

So get on the phone to our local advocacy association,ring the helpline on 1890 818518. Find out where your local support group meets and ask them to put you in touch.

When they call, arrange to meet them ASAP. Okay, you may not "click" with this person in the same way you did with your long term friends. But you will have one thing in common and if you can start socialising with the group, you will meet others.
The point is to look outwards a bit and get connected.
Anonymous said…
Hammy, here I go, on about emphasising the positives again, but have to say one unexpected positive originating from my son's ASD, is that I have met the most wonderful people, directly because of it.

It has also introduced me to caring/understanding facets of people in my existing network of family/friends that I never knew existed.
debbie said…
hammie, again, one of the biggest reasons i enjoy your blog is sometimes you describe my life! the isolation is a killer and a bigger struggle to me than the difficulties with the children. at least when we are home, and it is just us, no one is judging or criticizing, but the lonliness definitely gets me down.
Lisamaree said…
Hi Debbie, I was wondering where you had got to. Glad that you can share how you feel, I certainly find it less lonely to know there are people around the world in the same boat and they are only as far away as my laptop!
Thanks for the comments and please stay in touch!
tabatha said…
Im lucky to have good friends and a sister worth her weight in gold but in the beginning I felt very alone and isolated until I looked for help and got friends.

Hammie were you a rep here or 'strailia', I worked in the off trade for years.

Lisamaree said…
Sydney! Boutique On Premise mainly, but I started out doing the "ma and pa" bottle shops in the outer suburbs and worked my way in and up!

Lucky girl with your sis' Mine are 17,000 miles away. But they loved the Boo when they met him a couple of years ago.
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