The unpleasant truth about #Autism Parenting and sleep

My life, such as it is, puts very real limits on what I can and cannot do.  Raising three kids with Autism, especially as a single parent is extremely challenging.  Having said that, there is something I want to clarify. 

I’m very much aware that with Elliott and Emmett at school, I’m presented with about 7 hours (on most days) with which to theoretically get things done that need to get done.  I say theoretically because that’s exactly what it amounts to. 

In theory, I have all this free time and I squander it with stupid things like sleep. 

There’s a really good reason for that.  As many parents with kids on the on the Autism Spectrum can attest to, sleep is a precious commodity.  Kids on the Autism Spectrum tend to have significant issues with sleep and as a parent to one, sometimes two kids with difficulties like this, sleep is not easy to come by. 

Frankly, even if the kids go to bed without an issue and actually sleep through the night, sleep can often remain elusive.

It seems like a cruel twist of fate but the reason for this is that it’s nearly impossible for me to maintain a regular sleep cycle. My sleep cycle is completely out of whack. It’s like I said. Even if the kids are sleeping, I have such a hard time falling asleep myself, despite being physically and emotionally exhausted.

I really need to take something to help me reset my sleep cycle but doing so would impact my ability to wake up, if and when the kids do.

There’s really no fix to this as long as my kids struggle with sleep themselves.

One of the common things I hear from Autism parents all the time is that even if they manage to fall asleep, they sleep with one eye open. In other words, they never allow themselves to sleep deeply enough to feel rested because they won’t hear their child getting out of bed and wandering around the house. I can totally relate to that…

Taking into account that sleep is essential to human beings functionality, I think it makes perfect sense that parents like myself, will gladly take sleep when and wherever we can.

If that whenever happens to coincide with the my two youngest being at school and my oldest is in a morning medication induced nap, then so fucking be it.

Where I think people tend to get confused, in regards to problem solving within the confines of an Autism family like mine, is that they apply a simple solution to a very complex problem and that just doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter how much sense it makes, from the outside looking in. They just don’t work.

Parents like myself, are actually amazing problem solvers. It’s just that sometimes, there is no practical solution. If it was as simple as just taking something to fall asleep, don’t you think we would have done that long before.

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