Confessions of an #Autism Dad: It all takes its toll

Something that we don’t hear people talk about much is the toll that special needs parenting can take. There have been statistics thrown around for years and to be honest, I don’t know how accurate they are. 

All I want to do is share my personal experience as a special needs parent for over a decade. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t. 

In my experience, special needs parenting can be extremely stressful.  Every day is spent forging through rivers and moving mountains, simply to take a few steps forward.

This journey through life is full of tension, frustration and plethora of other feelings that can be challenging to cope with. It’s really easy to lash out at those around you, simply because they’re there and you’re feeling so overwhelmed.

In the case of my family, we are absolutely no exception to this. 

My wife and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary in a couple weeks.  That’s quite an accomplishment in today’s society in general, let alone being special needs parents that are under constant, crushing stress.

While we’ve made it this far, it hasn’t been easy and I don’t expect that it will get any easier in the future.

Lizze and I go to great lengths to not take out our frustrations on our kids.  That’s not an easy task, especially with how difficult some of them can be. We believe that getting angry and lashing out at the kids for something that’s most likely outside of their control is pointless and even counterproductive.

What tends to happen is that we take things out on each other. While it’s better than taking it out on the kids, it’s still not a good thing. 

I’m no saint. I’ve said things to my wife that I’m not proud of and she’s done the same. 

There are times when life becomes so heavy that it feels like we might not make it together.  The stress is just that that bad and there is rarely any relief to be found.

In truth, Lizze and I don’t really have any real problems. However, we succumb to the stress and sometimes lash out at each other.

Part of the reason I think this happens is because deep down inside, we know it’s safe.  We know that neither one of us is going anywhere and we know that no matter what, we will always be there for each other.  That’s not to say that this doesn’t create tension and even friction.

We don’t always agree on what approach to take.  The fact that Lizze’s health is so poor is another strain because the dynamic in our relationship has changed. 

She pushes herself to infinity and beyond, every single day for her family. I admire her dedication and devotion. Unfortunately, the best she can do anymore isn’t even close to being enough to more evenly distribute the responsibility.  This is a source of tension. 

I don’t blame her for being sick, it’s not her fault. 

However, that doesn’t make the reality of the situation any less challenging or frustrating. 

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All we can do is take things one day at a time.  Sometimes we have to take things minute by minute, just to make it through the day.

Our relationship has been changed by the path our life is taking. We are tested each and every day and maintaining our marriage is something that requires both of us to work very hard. 

We try to make time for each other at the end of every day.  Lately, we’ve been doing more frequent date nights.

These date nights typically revolve around chilling on the couch and watching a movie or two. This us time helps to keep us connected and heal any wounds that we get along the way. 

At the end of the day, life is incredibly challenging but I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else. 🙂 

This site is managed almost exclusively via WordPress for Android. Please forgive any typos as autocorrect HATES me. 😉


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