I am a single mother. I have a job. I need a job to pay the bills. I have a seven year old boy called Tudor who is on the autism spectrum. On a daily basis my life is about sending my son to school, then going off for work. Then picking him up from school, and then doing activities with him at home till both of us fall off to sleep. My son hates physical contact. He will throw a blue fit if someone tries to shake his hand, leave alone hug him. Tudor does not make friends easily and the ones he does make soon back off from him because of his unreasonable behavior and hitting sprees. Tudor does not like loud noises. He is afraid of crowds and is most at peace in his home with his mother. If I have guests at home, he gets upset and in most cases I will have a full blown tantrum on my hands.
As you can see my life is not perfect by far. Unlike my ex, I don’t have a choice. I won’t abandon my son just because he’s not what may be considered normal. I can’t afford to give up my job since that is the only means of survival for me and Tudor at the moment. In short, fighting it is my only option. Yes! There are days of exhaustion where I wonder if I am going to make it through the night. Being locked up in the house with a 7 year old boy day in and day out does get to me. But I have no options and so I go on.
Very few people know me in my building, and even fewer know me by my name. In most cases I am referred to the mom of that difficult boy and sometimes even the divorcee with that nasty boy. Tudor is anything but pleasant. He hits other kids and has even bitten them at times. Sharing is not a concept that comes easy to him and he will often say the meanest of things when in a fit of rage. But he is my son and occasionally when he does give me one of his awkward hugs, everything becomes perfect for me. When he does tell me about something pleasant in school I smile for the rest of the day. When he goes through math exercises meant for high school kids, I shine with pride. No denying that there are some difficult times, but the good times make it all worth it.
I remember when Tudor was diagnosed. It was about two months after my divorce. I did not even know what Aspergers meant at that time. Tudor was five years old that time. I was so bogged down with the divorce and all that I had fallen into a bad depression. One night I decided to end it all by taking some sleeping pills. I was lucky that the pills were no strong enough and I simply woke up to Tudor yelling for breakfast. It was way past noon. The incident shook me up badly and I decided to seek some help.
I joined a group of moms who were having kids with autism. Interacting with them, listening to their problems, sharing mine and also trying to find solutions made me feel much better. I stayed up looking on the net for ways to tackle autism. Most of it is common sense and these tips will work for almost any child. There is no denying the fact that as a single mom of an autistic kid, patience is very important in my case, which is why I try and focus on the bigger picture always. A moment of weakness can bring your entire apple cart tumbling down.
I do recommend that moms in my situation whether single or not should keep reading up on ways to combat their child’s behavioral issues. There are many articles like http://www.singlemom.com/single-mom-caring-for-an-autistic-child/ that will help to understand the situation and deal with it better. I have learned that building a support system is very important in cases like mine. I take any help that I can use. The other day a friend of mine brought me a blue tooth mobile headphone for Christmas. Of all the gifts I have been given so far, it was the ideal one. I can talk to my friends once back home and yet have my hands free so that I can cook for Tudor and keep my eye on him too. This has helped me interact with adults without causing Tudor any discomfort. The fact that this friend of mine is a mother of an autistic girl too goes to show how much it helps to join a support group.
Being a mother is in itself an overwhelming experience. Being a single mother is taking things a step further. Being a single mom of a ‘difficult’ child can be absolutely exhausting. But please do not give up hope. It does get better once the problem is identified. At least in my case it did. Today Tudor has learned to shake hands with people who he knows. He will still not make eye contact but will often pass a shy smile to someone he likes. The fact that Tudor is able to eat his meals in peace, and his ‘episodes’ are fewer, are all signs that things are getting better. So if there are any mother’s who are in my situation, please hang in there. We must not give up trying and we must not lose hope ever.