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To The Busy Working Autism Mama

I see you waking up early and going to bed late.

I see you out of breath from picking up toys and scrubbing poop off the walls.

I see you assisting in every aspect of personal care– from brushing each precious tooth to tying each shoe.

I see you dressing and redressing and redressing and redressing, dodging meltdowns until your child is content in their outfit of the day.

I see you practicing feeding therapy with breakfast and praying that if you follow through, behaviors won’t follow to throw off your day.

I see you collecting fifteen favorite items to make it into the car for drop off, and yanking stickers out of their hands so they can’t destroy the windows again.

I see you looking into that therapist's or teacher's eyes when you let go of their hand and hand them off to someone else.

I see you praying to God to protect them and keep them safe while you aren’t there.

I see you rushing around to get everything accomplished you need to before the day is done and the hand-over-hand work starts again.

And if you really want to work? If you really want to make waves in something that gives you passion…something has to go. Sacrifice has to happen in order to achieve anything in life. As an autism mom, you have to sacrifice more than most. So how do you do it? It’s simple. You can’t. At least not well. You need help.

I remember the first time we started to outsource help. I felt so guilty. I felt like it made me look incompetent or like I couldn’t handle my kids, laundry, and home on my own. Pride took a front seat. But you know what that did to help my family? Nothing. So I stuffed the pride and got the help I needed.

It started with an assistant for my business, then a PCA to help with the kids, and as they have gotten older, I have learned that the more I outsource, the more effective I am at my business, and as an advocate for my children. I want to give my best. In business, in my relationships, and mostly as a mom. If mom’s cup is full… she can run through a brick wall.

I started to reflect on what takes the place of my productivity. Where am I failing? I was sick of doing everything at 50% and just wanted to do anything well.

My biggest burden was laundry. With four children it piles up. I knew I couldn’t sit and fold laundry when I am trying to stop my daughter from putting her hand in the stove or keep her from running upstairs to clog a toilet. So I outsourced a lot of it.

I added a personal care worker to help with the odds and ends of caring for our special needs kids. Anything helps. Meal prep, bathing, brushing teeth, feeding, dressing, medications, the whole gamut. For us, it isn’t one child. We have four, two with special needs, and often they need help all at once.

I hired a cleaning lady to deep clean the spaces I couldn’t get to and the creative places my kids like to shove things. I cry nearly every time she comes. It is the biggest relief of my life.

I started to utilize services like grocery pickup, grocery delivery, and even places like Imperfect Foods and Hello Fresh. I gave myself permission to order out if we needed to.

If you are reading this and picturing me sitting on the couch watching soap operas while a bunch of fairies are flying around my house doing all of my chores, you are wrong. Although that does sound nice, doesn’t it?

It is part-time help to allow me to work alongside another person, or to handle some of the harder tasks like scrubbing the bedroom walls, or bathing my children. And sometimes, they are there so I can run my business the way I want and need.

If you are thinking, but I don’t have money to outsource, I get that too. Start small. Barter if you need to, tap into county services and programs if you need to, and above all, network.

Autism mamas need to stop apologizing for working. Just because your child is diagnosed doesn’t mean that you magically have your bills and needs met financially. It’s the opposite actually. You need more money to help your kiddos, and somehow need to be available 24/7 in case your child needs anything at all. It is an impossible feat. If I didn’t have the business I have, I can’t imagine how I would be able to provide and still be available. It wouldn’t be a thing. And I would be failing all over again, or if I worked a 9-5, likely be fired.

I want to give you permission. You can have it all. You can build the business of your dreams, provide for your family, fill your cup, AND be the best mom your children could ever ask for. Mama, get the help. Get help in whatever capacity you can or in whatever way you’d find the most relief. Your attitude will change. You will walk a little lighter. Your voice will be a little softer.

Yes, you’ll still be stressed. But it helps. Every tiny gesture you can pass on… it helps.


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Hi, I'm Kacie Ko

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