Time to be you! Being an original Mom on the ASD spectrum. 

One of the more challenging things about being a Mom, much less a Mom of a child on the spectrum is finding time to find your own fashion.I can hear the consortium of groans, or the mumbled excuse of “I just don’t have the time!” already.

 

Ladies, I implore you, you deserve the few extra minutes to feel GREAT about you.

 

It is not that hard.

It is not extra effort.

It does not cost you more or have to be expensive.

 

The return on your effort is priceless, and it benefits everyone!!

 

For any of you that do not know me I am a working Mom of 4 boys ages 6-11. My oldest son had Autism.

We are your typical middle class family. 2 dogs, 2 cats, 4 kids. Mortgage payments, bills. WE live smack dab in suburbia on the outskirts of Toronto.

 

I have a 2 hr commute to my job downtown where parking is $20 a day and lunch is an outing.

We don’t bother trying to keep up with the Jonses because who can afford it? And who wants that anyhow. I’m a simple person, with a flair for anything un-simple when it comes to presenting myself to the world.

 

Fashion is your chance to show the world who you are. People have a ‘personal style’ that speaks for them. Have no style, is still a style and perhaps send the wrong message. Lack of time may convey a message of lack of confidence, lack of interest or lack of creativity…which are just not true!

 

Here are a few easy tips to feel better about you!

 

Make your clothing choices matter.

 

Getting dressed takes the same amount of time regardless of which pants, top and shoes you put on. Take the time them to have clothes that fit well and are interesting and up to date. Try variety in colours, fabrics and patterns.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to try new things. 
Every time you get dressed you can recreate your look!!!

Try asking someone you don’t know about clothes you try on to get a fresh view point or a friend that will be honest. Know your strengths, and compliment yourself when you look nice. Even super models look bad in something’s….know what suits your body. As is!

 

I’m curvy, and big.

I’m not going to lose sleep over being on the high end of the size rack, I’ll simply find clothes that flatter and then ROCK THAT OUTFIT! And I have to tell you, it feels great to feel beautiful in your clothes.

 

Don’t worry about labels or cost, just makes sure the fit is right.

I have a pantsuit that cost me $8 at Walmart that I get complimented on every time I wear it. When I say “Thanks, its Walmart!” I often get “well don’t tell people!!!”

But I happy to. It proves you don’t need to break the bank to look good J

 

Don’t get hung up on a size. Im sometimes 2 sizes bigger or smaller depending on brand. Don’t sweat it. It’s a number and no one is going to care if you look good. Fit is most important.

Don’t wear baggy oversized clothes to mask things you don’t like or wear black to feel slimmer. It doesn’t work. All it does is make you look frumpy and unhappy with you. 

YOU are great! You have nothing to hide.

Pretty colours and prints and well fitted clothing will make you look chic and slimmer than the baggy sweats and “I give up” dresses.

Wear a bright, happy colour and improve your mood. Also see how many compliments you get from others. They enjoy happy as much as you!!

Both of these tops were  inexpensive but regardless of how often I wear I also get compliments on them🙂

 

Mothers have stretch marks, have not so perfect tummies after carrying children inside them, they have flabby arms and jiggly butts.

If you don’t, good on you!

If you do, Well, you’re like millions of other Moms. We have to let this go. You are not going to be perfect if you sit and pick yourself apart body part by body part.

You are PERFECT just the way you are.

 

Always Do you hair!!!!

 

We have a nation full of beautiful heads of hair that never see the light of day. They are trapped in a scrunchie indefinitely.

A high pony tail sexy- a haphazard pony tail …not so much.

Throw a brush through those golden locks OR consider a was hand go “cut” that is easy to do and looks like effort.

 

My hair cut is not for everyone but I can cut it myself AND it fast in the am. I give myself ½ h to get out the door and I always have hair and make up done.

 

ALWAYS wear mascara and lipstick. 2 mins is all it takes. And gives your face life. J

You can’t feel grumpy when you look pretty!!

 

GET RID OF YOUR GUILT!

 

A lot of parents feel guilty for caring about their appearance and outfits.

 

Your kids look to you when the decide how to be people. Show them you are proud of you and you matter.

We teach them to love themselves and to put their best foot forward. Have FUN with your clothes and be an original. After all, our ASD kids are original and we love them for it!

 

Be a good role model for that. Be you. Not a tired old version of who you used to be.

You deserve it!!

We are all just trying our best. Life as an ASD parent.

I was giggling and expressively finishing my story, arms wailing and haphazardly climbing the curb in 5 1/2 inch neon orange heels with my mind on ice cream and a smile ten miles wide, as I often have when spending time with a very dear friend.

“I have to say hello” a woman says to me from the the door or her car in the parking lot. Friendly kind face, a knowing smile. While I could have been on guard being stopped in a darkish parking lot I knew that she was friend immediately.

We stood and spoke a few minutes. I had been recognized from my Husbands Facebook site Ink4autism a Facebook group for parents, friends and ASD people.

She told me she was also an ASD Mom and told me about her great kids and how she enjoyed the site.

I gave Jack the well deserved credit for his labor of love.

When I went inside and sat down to enjoy my childhood delicacy I smiled and felt that great glow of being part of Something special. And I am.

Motherhood with a child on the spectrum is a secret knowing. There is a component of the journey that is just different and you truly have a bond with other parents that despite wanting to a non ASD parent can’t.
Sometimes we draw upon each other for strength. Others times understanding. We celebrate the wins and know just how pivotal and powerful they are, even when they seem insignificant. Especially then.

We are never alone.

As we struggle and persevere in an ASD world that sometimes seems dark remember you are never alone. The world is coloured with so many of us. Your community is highlighted with so many people like you that understand your fight and support it.

It took a late night run to DQ for me to be reminded of that but it was a gift I’ll hold with me always.

Autism again gives gifts and I count the blessing.

Madhouse or Oasis? Life on the spectrum

It can be an utter madhouse, a cacophony of loud voices, background noise, clutter and action or the purest form of beauty. The innocent timbre of a child’s wonderment, the tinker of unabashed laughter, the joy of watching them interact and learn from thier environment, the loveliness of childhood in its purest form.

Im home from a long day of work and I’m hungry so I decide on one of my childhood delicacies, a peanut butter and banana sandwich and stand at the window and watch the six children in the frontyard play the classic child pass time- a game of tag.image

Regardless of how many times I’ve warned the kids to stay off the road I’m leery as I permit the littlest one to join in the fun but I also don’t want to coddle him too much so I stand back and trust he’s heard my warnings and he’ll heed them.

My oldest son floats through the empty hallway and peers over my shoulder at his comrades, he fidgets and I can tell he’s thinking something.

“Mom?…”

“yes babe”

“can I go out too?”

A simple request. At 11 yrs old it even seems redundant as he should be allowed if the younger boys are outside already.

 

Autism  has kept him protected. At times regular kid activities are just too dangerous without supervision. Lincoln wants permission to go outside alone or he’d ask for me to come outside as he normally does. He’s testing and wanting his independence… And I want him to have it.

“of course. Please stay off the road and don’t touch the car”

“ok”

He slides his shoes on and calls to the others.

The mere fact he WANTS to play with others is exciting, I’m bursting with giddiness that outweighs the concern.

I slowly edge away from the window. As the minutes tick by my trepidation slowly wans and I slide into the couch cushion and close my eyes as I chew my sandwich and just enjoy.

It is a tricky balancing act parenting an ASD child.

Like the circus plate spinner balancing act you must slowly add another plate in order to allow your child to grow and become self sufficient.

Each spinning plate precariously turns on a ridiculously thin post, your child will venture out with the hope of being “just one of kids on the block” and the reality of it is… They are.image

The days it is a madhouse I reflect back on these simple moments and draw strength and on the days of childhood simplicity and beauty I smile and thank God for giving me the gifts I have been blessed with in my children.

And If my days are full of children playing tag out my window I will never want for anything.

Enjoy the simple things. They are the foundation of greatness.

My ASD kid still needs Mom hugs

As a busy working Mom I sometimes depend on my children to be responsible for themselves more and more as they grow and with that increased responsibility I suppose at times I forget they still need me. Perhaps, even more than ever.

As babies and toddlers I always snuggled and cuddled them. I always had my arms full of boys and a child on a hip… Sometimes both.

with independence comes a change in maternal coddling. You sneak kisses and hugs when you can but you loose the strings and allow your child to venture out on thier own, with held breath, hoping they down stumble or fall. So similar to those first trembling, unsteady steps as an infant.

My autistic boy is 11 now. He stands just shy of 5 ft and weighs in at a solid 120 lbs. He has a robust vocabulary and unquenchable thirst for knowledge. He is funny and sweet. He is sensitive and kindhearted. He comes in minutes before my alarm to mother hen me and make sure I get out of bed in time for work before he goes downstairs to take in a few of his favorite cartoons before school.

The other day he was under the weather and asked to sleep with me. I said ok and he climbed into bed. He kept pulling my arm over him and I asked softly if he wanted me to hold him.

“Yes” he answered warmly “you give the best hugs”

linckiss

The tears welled in my eyes instantly and i held him tightly to me. Rubbing his back gently.

 

“arn’t hugs the very best Mom?”

“Yes Lincoln, they really are”

They may grow. We may I courage them to be independent, but they will always be our little ones. Needing love and encouragement and just simply thier “Mom”

 

My great ASD kid.

A lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to be in a family with  autism. As a mom of a child on the spectrum there a lot of things that just happen in our home that friends and family don’t understand because they don’t experience,  and sometimes if you handle it well even close friends that understand you don’t see because you just don’t let them see you and you don’t share the struggles that sometimes do occur if we are truly honest to each other.

It’s nice though to have an opportunity such as this to share a short look into how life is with an ASD kid. Mine is being goofy in this video and it’s the end of the day is his attention span isn’t the best, he’s more interested in what he’s playing with them what is dad’s asking but you will get the jest. Here is my funny loving quirky but adorable ASD kid.

http://www.ink4autism.com/LincolnQuestions.avi

The best thing we can do for kids except them as is. Give them room to grow, and encourage them to be the best that they can be just the way they are.

I think we could do the same for each other is well. Even as adults, we all need encouragement to bs that were perfect just the way we are.

11 years on the spectrum – happy birthday to my boy!

With an audible “pop” at 6:30 am on a Saturday 11 years ago my water broke.

it was unmonumental at the time, lack lustre really, just a tiny kick and pop and I sat on the edge of the bed thoughtless… Almost as if I unconsciously knew as soon as I stood up my world would change as I basically wet my pants.

Shortly after 9pm to the most ludicrous one hit wonder ever “Tarzan boy” my 9 lb 6 oz beautiful love of my life came into the world with a hearty but peaceful cry.

For all the childhood crushes, broken hearts and love gone wrong … Love gone right and crazy love I had experienced to date, nothing prepared me for the love of a child.

The maternal bond I wondered if I’d feel with the stranger that shared my body for 9 months seized me fast and hard and has yet to let me go. He holds my heart in his smile and I am forever thankful to know what real love is.

To my boy who makes me thank god everyday for him, who makes me laugh and smile. Who holds my hand even when he is a big boy now. Who asks if it’s ok he doesn’t have a “special someone ” and loves snakes and obscure animals I thank you for making me a Mom. A role I could never appreciate the value of until I was one myself.

I am so very proud of your loveliness and strength. Adversity will not stop you and you will not bow down to any challenge.

Happiest birthday my son. May your every wish come true.

linckiss

 

2016 -A new beginning on the spectrum

Welcome 2016!

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It snuck up on me as a child might when playing tag or manhunt.

I was not prepared for the birth of a brand new year as I have been for past ones. There is a specific mental state that normally possesses me and I am prepared to begin anew with clarity of goals and desires for the next 365 days.

Perhaps it was due to the milestone birthday year of 2015 or maybe the sleepy way the year closed out but I found myself sitting 11 days in to the year feeling like a girl on a less-then-perfect blind date.

A tad uncomfortable, and unprepared. A little gipped that this was it.

It was a sobering reality to look in the mirror and evaluate the situation.

Perhaps the bleakness of the non-committal winter so far adds to the less then glamorous feel of a 40 yr old Mom of 4 boys contemplating how shes fared in parenting this year that just ended, but something felt “less than” and I was perplexed by it.

I did a little reflecting and self critiquing and found this.

Maybe I was feeling less than stellar as a parent because of the false expectation everyone seems to have on what a successful parent is.

The need to be “super parent” increases when you have a child with special needs. You feel a failure every time your child struggles but the reality is, we all struggle.

Each and everyone one of us.

That is not a failure, it is a consistent theme in life. Strife is gain. And we are not failing due to it. We are actually succeeding.

On a rainy, soggy Sunday in January I sat caged in my home with my 4 boys. All of us suffering cabin fever and a bit of seasonal depression we were a bit bonkers and wanting to spread our wings and explore as we do all summer long.

I sat pretending to read a book while studying the boys playing and asking myself why I felt so disappointed in myself.

I kept feeling like I was not doing enough with my kids. That I shouldn’t be tired after a full time job, brutal commute and house that never stays clean.

“Why is this so hard?” I ask myself. “Why can’t I do it all!”

I look around and start to inventory the situation.

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Shirtless kid, but smiling. Using imagination. Hardy and strong. –check. This is a pass.

Two kids fighting, but not to aggressive. Seem to be working it out without parental interference. Getting tall. Little boys now resemble little men. –Check. This also a pass.

House, could use a little TLC but tidy enough, nothing major out of place or needing attention. Floor, although JUST vacuumed looks like it needs it again… Iffy, but pass.

Dog, slumbering peacefully in the sunlight. ..Pass.

Cat, curled up on chair out of the way of danger. Check.

My almost 11 year old ASD superstar is in the kitchen, I hear him recieting an amusing “scooby Doo” episode to himself zestfully.

I pad out to the kitchen barefoot and peak my head in.

“Hey Mom! I am making a treasure map, do you want to see?”

I smile, and stroll over to take a look.

“Amazing Linc, it looks good” as he explains the ‘cave’ and ‘x’ and mountain ridge I smile again, pleased that he took the time to draw out a map and not insist someone do it for him. He is a big boy now. Up to my shoulders, sturdy and husky. Not too much longer until he is bigger than me.

He is perfect. And anything I feel I have failed him with is not apparent.

Mom…

Mom is?

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Mom is drinking coffee and some semblance of put together. Maybe too hard on self. Dinners get cooked. Kids are clean. Chores get done. Looks ok, hair done, dressed and out of pjs. Maybe she just gets lost from time to time, and maybe that is ok.

I look over and see my 7 year old bouncing over to me. A big smile blossom on his talk show host mouth. A perfect line of pearly whites explode in the biggest grin ever.

“I love you Mom”

“I love you Kid.”

And at that moment, I’m settled.

We are ok and I am doing ok.

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My goal for 2016 is simple.

Be kind to myself and focus on the simple things.

Kids need time and attention, not fancy gifts, a clean house or an overachieving Parent.

Welcome 2016.
And thank you for the perspective.