New Year Resolutions For An Autism Parent

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.

I don’t typically make New Year resolutions. Because I am never good at keeping them. But I feel like 2013 marks a turning point and changes need to be made. I don’t want to think of them as resolutions. I want to think of them as life style changes. But you can call them resolutions if you want. And I’m sharing them here because I think they may be helpful for other autism parents.

Sleep. I remember when my son Norrin was first born, everyone told me to “sleep when he sleeps.” I should have listened because it’s almost seven years later and I’m still tired. For the last few years, I’ve been going to sleep long after ten and waking up around five. It’s usually a broken sleep, since Norrin wakes in the middle of the night. I realize some nights it will be impossible for me to go to sleep at 8:30 but I want to try going to sleep early at least three nights a week.

Take time out.  Before I was a mom, I did stuff. I got my nails done, my hair done, I occasionally went out for after work drinks. But over the last few years it’s been really easy to lose myself.  It’s easy to to go months, years even, without a haircut or a manicure.  Or going out on a date with my husband.  Or out with a friend. I’ve had to tell myself that it’s okay to take a few minutes a day, a few hours a week or one day a month to do something just for me - without any guilt.  To do something that has absolutely nothing to do with being a parent or autism. Back in November, I went to movies by myself (to see Twilight) and it felt great to do something I wanted to do.

Take a lunch break. I work (outside the home) as an administration assistant. This means I sit at a desk. All. Day. Long. And lunch usually means me eating at my desk while I check emails or surf the net. I can go weeks without leaving the building during my work day. I need to make it a point to get out of the office and get some fresh air – even if it’s just for a walk around the block.

Unplug. I’m a social media mom. I sit in front of a computer all day at work. I often stay up late working on my laptop. And I love TV. Just like Norrin needs to have his screen time limited, so does mine. I need to work and can still be active on social media and still watch the TV I love but I need to learn when to step away from the screen – especially on the weekends.

Live healthierI’d be lying if I said I wasn’t  worried about getting old. I can’t stop the aging process but I can try  to live as long as I can. When it comes to Norrin’s appointments and needs, I make sure he gets everything he needs when he needs it. I make the time. When it comes to my own appointments, I am much more laid back, I forget, I put it off. No more. I need to be better about making my own doctor appointments, taking my vitamins, getting some exercise and eating better. I cannot take my health for granted.

Do you see a theme here? I want to be the best parent I can be. And part of being a better parent is being a better, healthier, happier and less tired me.

So what about you? What changes will you make in 2013?

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