I’m Lost in the Chaos, but Still Me Inside

Angela Chaos1I am a special needs mother, and single too. The single means I have no partner in my duties. I do it all with no breaks. I can’t step aside even if I want to. I can’t walk away and take a breather after a full hour of tantrums. It’s hard, but we are doing great because that is how I am choosing to look at life.

I would love to sit on my couch and sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet time when I get a chance, but it doesn’t work that way with special needs parenting, especially when you are doing it alone with two children with special needs. There are always hills to climb and holes to fill, and they must be done in order to make the next day’s challenges fewer.

Our days are made up of challenges. We never go through a day free of them, and it is very hard to deal with the trials each day. I can’t even put into words what it is like to live the same daily routine over and over. It’s hard, yet rewarding.

With that said, there are days where I have my moments. Don’t we all.

I might not always greet you with a flashy smile.

I may have a hundred other things going on in my head, thinking about how to handle a new situation that just arose in our life with autism. I may not have time to respond to your text, email, or phone call.

I may say something that might be a bit on the snappy side and it may not even come close to making sense to you. Most likely, it will leave you thinking, “What’s wrong with her today?” But please don’t ask that out loud, unless you want a detailed report of what is really wrong and then we can compare our days.

You might catch me getting antsy in the long line at the grocery store. My time is so valuable and, if I am at the store by myself, I want to get my items, get home, and breathe before the boys get home. That’s when the real hurricane starts and it’s all hailstorms from there.

I have to rearrange my days around my usual McDonald’s trips. One of my sons will only eat fresh chicken nuggets from McDonald’s daily, with lots of ketchup. When we don’t get lots of ketchup in our take-home bag, I will march right back and ask you for more. Most of the time I am not very polite because the tantrum has already started over the two ketchup packets for 20 chicken nuggets.

Sometimes you’ll see me in yoga pants every single day of the week, but it doesn’t mean I am doing yoga. I am lucky if we get out the door every morning with everything on. We have left the house numerous times without shoes, and even a time or two in our pajama tops. Yes, believe it or not, I have forgotten to put a bra on because I have been so busy with the morning autism chaos.

I sometimes go to sleep with 30 stuffed animals and 20 baby Einstein DVDs in my bed, but I know better than to move them. I’m sure you know what I mean.

I may get a haircut once a year, my nails and toenails always look ferocious, and I can barely keep track of so many other personal issues. Special needs children seriously changed my life.

My focus each day has gone to OT, ST, IEP, IDEA, and ABA. If you don’t talk to me in acronyms, I may not even understand you anymore.

So, I may not always come off as the friendliest person in the world, but I really am deep down. Somewhere in there, I am the same fun-loving person I was 10 years ago. Life just happens. Moments happen. But I am still me, with just a touch of autism in my life. It tends to take over daily.

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. She enjoys reading, exercising and helping others.

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