I have realized as a mother that I seldom get any alone time. Being a mother of a child with autism, I think I get less alone time than a parent of a typically developing child, although this theory may be untrue.
I know that even when our 20-year-old son is home, I still have knocks on the bathroom door and a child asking questions. Does anyone else feel that maybe, just maybe, these questions could possibly wait 5 more minutes until we get out of the bathroom?
Our 15-year-old son with autism seemed frantic this weekend, repeatedly asking his father, "Where's mommy?" about 20 times. I had just simply slipped into the bedroom to sweep and mop and had casually closed the door to do a thorough job. I had to laugh as I heard my husband declaring, "This house isn't that big, she has to be somewhere." I must admit I was so tempted to hide under the bed to see how long it would take before someone found me.
The same holds true while taking a shower, or the rare occasion that mommy has the nerve to take a 15-minute bath rather than the usual 5-minute shower. My dear, sweet, child notices I am missing in action. That's when the banging on the door begins. "Mommy, get out. Mommy, get out of there. I need you to get out NOW!" My child doesn't do this to my husband, so I guess I should feel honored and needed that he loves me so much that he wants my attention always.
Our latest trend is even if I need to run to the grocery store, I face the multitude of questions. "Mom, mom, mom, where are you going?" My son doesn't ask my husband this same question 20 times upon departure. Don't get me wrong, I love my children, I love spending time with them, BUT I just want 5 minutes of peace every once in a while, for the simple things in life. Things like going to the bathroom, taking my 5-minute shower, or 5 minutes to sweep the floor in peace.
Even though I have this 15-year-old who wants to be around me and know what I am doing at all times, which may be annoying, as I sit back and reflect I have realized I should be grateful. Grateful that he is verbal, happy that he loves me, and wants to know where I am and yes, that he even keeps tabs on me while I am in the bathroom.
Because if I did fall and couldn't get up, someone would know where I was!
Visit the Family Support section of the site and Connecting with Other Parents to find ways to find solutions and share ideas.
I have a friend who is full of wisdom. He has autism, and I have learned important things from him. The lessons learned include slowing down to enjoy the details.
Raising a child with a mental illness is stressful. It takes an emotional toll on the entire family. Make sure you have a strong support network. It makes a huge difference.