Saturday, April 14, 2012

Who Takes Care of the Caretaker?

I have been thinking about this for awhile. And the answer is simple. Me. The problem is that I put 100% of my energy & brainpower into those I love and care for, and I leave nothing left for me. Then I wonder why I'm so tired, stressed, and maxed out.

So, over the last several months, I have been trying to find a balance. How can I still give Ethan what he needs as well as providing a balanced life for me? It's a struggle, no doubt. When I became a parent, my life changed. My sleep patterns changed, my eating changed, my social life changed, etc. When Ethan began Early Intervention & therapy, my life has changed again. All of my waking thoughts are how to help him in this world, and I never considered how this way of life would effect me. But it has. I often joke that I should take a picture of myself from year to year & see how much that year has aged me. So, I'm trying to find a balance. Balancing between being caretaker and just me. What can I do for me that will rejuvenate my mind, body & spirit? Well.....let's brainstorm.....

1. Rejuvenating my mind -I think this calls for an occasional Girls Night Out or Date Night....I'm on it!!! Something outside of the "autism world"...just for a little while.

2. Rejuvenating my body - This is an area of true struggle. Sadly, food is my comfort. I eat when I'm stressed, tired or upset. This was the case before the word AUTISM entered my life. However, since Ethan has been diagnosed with autism, I have gained 15 pounds.....and that has been less than a year. So, my goal is to STOP IT! Lol! I have been using a calorie tracker on my phone (Fitness Pal), and that has been pretty easy for me to record what I eat. I have actually been enjoying cooking (pause for your shocked reaction), and Ethan eating more foods is really spurring me on to cook a bigger variety. The next step will be to start back working out. The hard part will be finding the time, but in order to keep my life balanced, I need to get this time back.

3. Rejuvenating my soul - This I can do every day by doing my daily devotions. When Ethan was a baby, I would spend most of his nap time reading God's Word & meditating on it. It was wonderful. But since his therapy has begun, I use nap time (when he does sleep) to either write or research ways to do at home therapy or read books about autism. Always about Ethan & his autism. This is starting to swallow me. A new friend of mine recently said on her blog that, "sometimes a momma needs a break from it all." And that is true. So, I'm going to go back to carving out time to do my devotions (now I do it first thing in the morning), as well as finding time to read for pleasure, do a puzzle, or anything that is NOT autism or child rearing related. I think I can do that.....

The autism-related challenges that we face in our daily lives is very difficult. And it has taken me about a year to realize how much it has really effected my personal well-being. And this can not be good for me & is not good for Ethan. So, I'm going to try to find some balance. Once a week, I will blog about how or what I did that week to maintain balance...whatever that might look like. I'm calling it Taking Care of the Caretaker. My ENTIRE daily life can not be all about a thing called autism, like it has been for over a year now. I have to find a balance. So, I'm letting go of somethings (like a clean house & coupon-clipping), and I'm going to find more time for me....just one more part of learning to live with autism.


  1. I think you should include that graphic on every post and encourage others to link up on their blogs with that graphic and tell how they are finding balance. We all need it. Praying for you! I will answer your email today during naptime. Have a blessed day of worship.

  2. I LOVE that idea! I'm on it!!!!