EPISODE 57: ADJUSTING TO A NEW NORMAL
Hi there! Welcome to this week’s My Autism Tribe podcast. To be honest, I’m struggling to remember what day it is, and who I was before this COVID19 quarantine existed. I’m almost positive that I’m a day late in posting this podcast, and 100% sure that I have a pile of clean clothes still in the dryer from 3 days ago that I have yet to fold and put away. The struggle is so real. I hope everyone out there is adulting at least a little better than me right now. Stay tuned as I share how we’re trying to find our new normal.
And if you have a couple of minutes and aren’t watching the latest episode of Tiger King, or Frozen 2 for the 100th time, might you give our podcast a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts? We could sure use some cheering up right about now. I kid…no, but seriously. It would be greatly appreciated.
It has been a little over two weeks since I’ve been working 100% from home, and since my son has been homeschooled. And I’m just being real…I’ve been struggling with feelings of anxiety as a single mama in keeping it all together. The first week was SUPER tough, for both my son and myself. We picked up a packet of homework from my son’s school, and I pulled all my files from my office so I could migrate under my home’s roof. I thought at the time that this wouldn’t be so bad, and it’s not because it could be a lot worse…I know that…but the anxiety starts settling in when I begin thinking about the unknown timeline. How long will we be in quarantine? How much will my son regress? How in the world am I going to work at full capacity, while also homeschooling my son, while also maintaining some of his therapy sessions, and while also making sure that my son doesn’t feel neglected because I’m not able to spend the amount of time that I would like with him? So many questions!
Other parents and I have been having conversations about this, and there’s one common theme. We all feel like we’re failing…every single day. Even though this temporarily makes me feel better about my current situation, it also makes me sad and frustrated. Now, more than ever, we parents are being tasked we rise above all doubt in our parenting efforts. We’re taking on roles that we don’t have degrees or certifications for. We’re wearing multiple hats all day, changing them up as needed to fill the title that we’ve been given in any given hour. We’re more than parents. We’re teachers, therapists, playmates. I woke up this morning and again felt anxious about fulfilling my roles today, and I heard these words. “Susan, the more you feel anxious, the more you feel stressed, the more you feel in despair, the less you will be able to give.” I felt a calmness come over me. I’ve been able to approach today with a new set of lenses. Maybe this is just me making the adjustment to my new sense of normal. So, I made a list of things that I miss…not because I want to dwell on the things that I can’t have right now, but to give me something to look forward to.
- Taking my son to the park. There are only so many days that I feel like these walls will be standing. That at any moment, my son will morph full-on into a flying squirrel. If not him, most undoubtedly me. Our space is beginning to feel extremely small.
- Seeing the faces of other family members…actually their faces…not on FaceTime…not on Zoom…but being able to touch their sweet faces and give them kisses.
- Hanging out with friends. Meeting up with them for dinner at our favorite restaurants, and getting my son together with his friends for play dates.
- Going to the movies. I’m a big fan of Netflix, and Hulu, and Disney Plus…but there’s something that I’m craving about going to the big screen and catching the latest flick.
- Hanging out at the pool. Well, we’re still in our early spring in the U.S. so the pools aren’t open yet, but I sure do hope that when they do open, we will be out of quarantine. Call me crazy, but I love the smell of chlorine paired with fresh cut grass. Surely, I’m not the only one.
- Going to the zoo and the aquarium. If my son could move and set up residence at either of these two places he would, and even if my home will feel like a zoo in another few weeks, it will hardly be the same. He’s already making the itinerary of what exhibits he wants to see first. To see his smile when we get to go back – it will make all of this crazy stuff worth it.
I understand that most of these are first world problems. There are so many people in our world that will never get to experience these. Which makes me believe that we are truly “resetting our priorities”. Don’t you think that maybe we took so much for granted? We spent so much time behind the windshield going to work, taking our children to therapy, and then back to work, and then to other appointments…maybe we just needed to slow down and truly learn to appreciate all that we have. We don’t NEED many things to live, and we truly don’t need many things to be happy. My son is a perfect example for me. He struggles sometimes, and yet he continues to have the most gorgeous smile…one that can light up any room.
So…I’ll continue to do my best and give myself grace when I feel like I’ve failed. I’ve learned that I’m not a very good Kindergarten teacher. I’m not the best therapist for my son, but you know what? I’m a mom, who loves her son so much, and at the very least, I will make sure that my son is happy, healthy, and feels love every single day. That, I feel, is what I can control the most. The rest…well…this time will pass and as cliché as it is, it will make us stronger. I truly believe that.
Thanks so much for being a part of My Autism Tribe. Hang in there, and I’ll see you next week!