I just can't do without it. I can go without food and water if I must. I can go without caffeine if I have to, but just let me have a decent amount of sleep.
Our child, who has autism, did not sleep, like literally sleep, for his first 2 years. So, naturally, neither did my husband or me. I have to say that is also a period of time when my husband had 3 car accidents.
Luckily, we get more sleep now, but I often wonder about the quality of sleep. I think after you have a child, you never sleep with both eyes completely shut all the way ever again—it's just that mama thing.
It's no secret that children with autism don't sleep well. I have a dear friend whose daughter also has autism. She and I go out for dinner occasionally and compare horror stories (as we call them). She told me of how her daughter would stay up until 3 a.m., wide-awake, dancing in her tutu. I had to know what her secret was. How in the heck was she was able to stay up with her daughter until 3 a.m.? I felt better when she told me that she would nap after her daughter went to school.
Sadly, I must be at my job and the only thing lately that seems to be helping me survive is that one and only extra-large cup of coffee. My patients have even started offering me coffee as soon as they see me.
Our son is good at going to bed at a decent time but it's the noises in the middle of the night that wake him up. Then, everyone starts playing musical beds. He goes to his brother’s bed first, then mom or dad try putting him back to his bed and maybe try to lie down with him. Then we sneak out to get back to our bed. He’ll come to our bed. Then he starts snoring, so I go to his bed to try to get some sleep. And then (what seems like minutes) after my head touches the pillow, the alarm goes off and it's time to wake up.
Yep. Little sleep equals lots of coffee and everyone wondering who ended up in whose bed in the morning. I love my family and I love my coffee. I just hope that this is one of those phases that will pass.
Check the Self-Care section in Family Support.
As a parent to a child with a disability, we often must learn little tricks to get things done. Each month one parent shares some of the tips and tricks she has learned along the way.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to find the profession that is our life’s work. I did.