One thing I have learned about having four children (two with autism) is to keep a sense of humor. My humor may resemble that of grandpa style jokes (my father in law is a hoot!), but it is that silly sense of humor that keeps me sane!
Jeff Foxworthy always made me laugh with his famous “you might be a redneck: routines. I’ve learned in life that things that might not be funny in the moment, will be a hilarious tomorrow. Learning to live life with a laugh instead of stress is the key to happiness & love.
So today I am going to write-up my version of “You Might be a Parent of an Autistic Child if” list. Our humorous moments over the last decade of this parenting journey!
Your Might be a Parent of an Autistic Child if..
- While at McDonald’s, you turned to find that a child has stripped down naked in the play ground only to then realize that is your child and her clothing is on the upper level of the playground
- You know every train’s name from Thomas the Train that has ever existed
- You know over 200 dinosaurs, how much the weighed, what they eat, and what time period the lived in
- You have cooked chicken nuggets everyday for the last five years
- You have visual schedules everywhere in your home
- You have watched the same episode of Sheriff Callie at least 35 times this week
- Your child’s wardrobe consists of only one color, no buttons, and no zippers
- You have a swing and trampoline, inside your home as well as outside
- You know how to strategically place food on a plate without it ever touching
- Jumping is more common than walking
- You have pinch marks all over your stomach because your child likes to “squeeze your belly” at least four times a day
- Cheese puffs are considered a dairy
- You can never put green beans on one childs plate while always having green beans on the other childs plate
- Your child has a tablet of their own by age , just so you can go to the bathroom
- There is never any toilet paper, but yet your child never uses it when needed
- Nutella needs to come in lb jars
- You have the principles cell number in your phone and he has yours in his phone
- You see your childs specialist more than you see family
- You dread answering the phone while the kids at school
- You are pretty unsure what this thing called sleep is
- Your calendar is more booked up than most doctors
- embarrassing you is impossible
- Your pharmacist knows you by name and makes sure to have red suckers available
- When ever you use sarcasm or a funny phrase, you immediately explain what it means (even when talking to other adults who are not autistic and completely understand the sarcasm)
- You have gone from saying everything three times in a row to learning to speak and then listen and wait.
Most Importantly, You Might be the Parent of an Autistic Child if..
- You delight in the little things
- Little achievements mean more to you than they would if your life was any different
- You speak your child’s language, no matter how they communicate
- You know the true meaning of love
Keeping your sense of humor
As you can see, keeping a sense of humor is such an important factor when you are the parent of an autistic child (or in our case, two). The things that happen today, won’t be the same as those that happen five or ten years from now.
Sometimes, being the parent of an autistic child can feel isolating. You have to change your world to make it their world and by doing so, isolate yourself from the outside world. Thankfully, there are so many other parents in the same exact place as you. They may not be in your own community, but you can easily find them online through Facebook groups.
Join us over on Facebook as we start a new group to connect with each other. Where we will share experiences, ask questions, have a few great laughs, and most importantly build a community! You can join us by clicking here
Alicia Trautwein is an autism parenting coach living in Missouri. She is the creator behind The Mom Kind, a website dedicated to parenting neurodiverse families. She is one of the head creators behind the #WeLoeveMoms campaign and is also featured in the “Amazing Moms” coffee table book by Hogan Hilling & Dr. Elise Ho. She shares her expertise along with her experience in parenting children, both with and without autism.