Mother’s Day was created to celebrate and appreciate mom for all of her hard work. Sometimes people can take things for granted they are used to having, so the more in-tune and dedicated the mom, the more she may be underappreciated. For Moms of children with special needs it is a much more needed break, and the celebrating part can be often bittersweet.
What any ASD mom wants most is to be able to share a moment with their child, to feel that connection. Connection is something that lacks with ASD kids since they are often overwhelmed and spend much of their time trying to feel “normal” and peaceful. So for parents to get those moments of simplicity, such as looking into their child’s eyes and have them look back may feel like winning something. Depending on the child, moments like this exist quickly, quietly and randomly. One wish that should be given to all Moms with a child on the Autism Spectrum is to have this moment just for them on this special day. But in the event that this does not work out here are a few other suggestions to have a nice low stress Mother’s Day.
Don’t raise your Expectations too High
It may seem sad to say, but the reality is the higher your expectation the lousier you will feel when they aren’t met. And let’s face it, sometimes our expectations really aren’t that high. We may want a nice meal and a hug. And often we don’t get those things. It shouldn’t be this way, but we know that it is. But if it is this way for a temporary period we know we can handle it, we can for its only temporary. One of the truly debilitating aspects of autism is the unknowable, not knowing how long life will be this way. But perhaps for this one day, we should pretend it is temporary. Much in the same way we can pretend to be brave, eventually you aren’t pretending anymore. Don’t expect too much from your child or even your spouse depending on the load they are carrying, but do expect goodness and love from those who love you, who you have always been there for.
Quiet Time and Small Indulgences
Most moms want a bit of time to themselves, some time at the gym, a trip to their favorite book store to read and enjoy a nice coffee. Since most moms with children with special needs often do not have an entertainment budget or disposable income, that 4.00 coffee is an extremely rare and appreciated treat.
Whatever the mom in your life loves but doesn’t do for herself is something that she should be able to enjoy on occasion like anyone else. If your budget is stretched to the breaking point, this is a good time for friends and family to pitch in a few bucks.
Breakfast in Bed
It may be clichéd but it is still an enjoyable and very rare occurrence for someone to receive. Cook up some of Moms favorites, and don’t forget a flower from the garden. Also give her some time with the TV or her favorite book or magazine, chances are she has been trying to read the same magazine all month long.
Homemade Art Therapy Projects
Most Occupational or Art therapist do regular hands on activities with their students and the best will already arrange to make something with the child to give. However this can be suggested for the next session, or do one that has been successful in the past. Ask your therapist for what works best with the child. If your child is no longer receiving this type of therapy, and you don’t have access to anything local or even able to do yourself, consider framing an oldie but goodie.
Dining out is a rarity for autism parents. It doesn’t happen often because of the overload of sensory input from other people talking, glasses clinking and the anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen. Money is usually the next issue. Going out to eat can be a challenge if it hasn’t been practiced, but with an open mind and some ideas on how to make this successful, it could yield a magically, if not a memorable Mother’s day. You may wish to do this not on the actual day, but on the following Monday when places are more empty. However if you feel stressed out just thinking about, now is a good time to ask someone to babysit for a few hours.
Mom loves the sentimental stuff, assemble some of her favorite photos and some photos that haven’t made it anywhere specific yet and put them in a Mother’s Day photo book. Children can help select the pictures and maybe add their own art work to the photo album. If your tech savvy, put the photos into a video editing program such as Windows Movie Maker (usually comes with your PC) and add Moms favorite song to the back ground. There are also services like Shutterfly which can make something up for you and it’s a lot more reasonable then you think. (typically $20 can do the job). There you can also make ornaments, mugs, T-Shirts, even blankets.