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The Parenting Advice That Keeps Me Moving On When Life Gets Hectic

“While truckin’ down the road of life, although all hope seems gone,
I just move on.

When I can’t find a single star to hang my wish upon, I just move on,
I move on.” 

Doesn’t it always go back to a good old fashioned show tune? Well, it does for me anyway. This one is from “Chicago.” Great soundtrack, by the way.

This is also one of my theme songs of autism. I’m not kidding. I have a whole playlist of tunes. I’m usually listening to them to maintain my sanity in a noisy therapy waiting room, cleaning the umpteenth stain my kiddo has caused or just taking a time out from him and his verbal scripting. Sensory breaks: not just for our kids.

There are so many feelings that are constantly coming at me with all this autism stuff. It’s a roller coaster, and I tend to avoid those if given the choice. I’m more of a sitting-in-an-inner-tube-floating-down-a-lazy-river kind of gal. Autism is all, “Yeah, don’t think so, girl. Let’s go!” Sometimes this is a good thing though because I can’t just dwell in my pity party for one. My kiddo’s needs just don’t afford me that kind of self indulgent time. I have to make appointments with myself for when I can be in a funk. That’s OK. I’ll just add a frowny face to my visual schedule when I get a moment.

I want to share with those who may need to read this some valuable advice I got from a friend of mine:

Feelings are information. Not instructions. 

Feelings are valid. Your feelings do not outrank mine. It’s OK to feel how you feel. It’s okay to feel like you just want to run away. Just don’t run away. You have a lot of work to do. Plus, your kid will just find you. My kiddo knows all my hiding spots now. It was a bummer day when he figured out Mama Fry hides in the laundry room “doing the wash” when she just needs a few moments with herself and a People Magazine. As frustrated as I get that my son tries to follow me into the bathroom to secure a front row seat to watch me attend to a tampon changing, I take a breath and gently remind him through gritted teeth that I need privacy. I allow myself to feel annoyed, and then I move on. So does he.

The feelings may confuse us both at times, but we move on. There’s no alternative. No calling a temp agency for another mom to fill in. No switch on his autism. We move on. Even when the day feels like all the other ones before it — and it often does — we move on. Our kids aren’t the only ones that have trouble with putting a name to the feeling. I know I often mistake frustration with anger and you know what? I don’t beat myself over that. I just take a breath and move on. The moment I realized that I struggle with my emotions just as much as he does was pretty freeing. I can feel the things, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to act on them.

Summertime regression and behaviors everywhere — i’s not fun, but we’ll deal with it. I feel like I’ve been walking on eggshells all week with the kiddo, but at least I’m still moving on .

Now I’m going to move on over to the couch and the latest episode of “Project Runway” and chill out for a while.

This post originally appeared on Autism With a Side of Fries.

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