This week, I’m catching you up on what’s been going on with me and what you can expect from the podcast in 2024.
The Autism parent experience is filled with making hard decisions, managing feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, grief, and resentment, and generally being hyper-focused on our child and making everything right for them.
What I’ve learned is that we need to shift from this state to one of focusing on ourselves. We’ve all heard the oxygen mask analogy, but none of us really believe it. Autism moms everywhere have sacrificed our mental, emotional, and physical health to help our kids get through the day, and I’m sharing the work I’m doing this year to guide you in 2024.
You are listening to episode 97 of The Autism Mom Coach, What’s New and What to Expect in 2024
Welcome to The Autism Mom Coach podcast, I am your host, Lisa Candera. I am a lawyer, a life coach, and most importantly, I am the full-time single mother of a teenager with Autism and other comorbid diagnoses. I know what it is like to wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your child and to live in fear of their future.
I also know that constantly fueling yourself with fear and anxiety is not sustainable for you or of any benefit to your child. That is why in this podcast I will share practical strategies and tools you can use to shift from a chronic state of fight, flight to some calm and ease. You are your child’s greatest resource, let’s take care of you.
Hello everyone and welcome to the podcast. This is my first episode back after the new year and I am glad to be talking to you. In this episode I’m going to catch you up a bit about what’s going on with me and what you can expect from the podcast and from me in 2024 but before I do that I want to also share with you some exciting announcements. Mark your calendar on January 20th, I will be hosting Autism mom and author, Carrie Cariello at Beanz & Co. Café in Avon, Connecticut.
For those of you who might not be familiar with Carrie, she is the mother of five children, one with Autism, her son Jack is now 18. And Carrie has been writing about her experience as an Autism mother for the last, I would say 10 years. Her first book was called What Color Is Monday? She published this when Jack was about eight or nine, I believe, followed by Someone I’m with Has Autism, and now, Half My Sky. Where she really digs into the experience of parenting five children, keeping a marriage together and advocating for her son and some of the lessons that she’s learned.
So Carrie will be at Beanz & Co. on January 20th from 12:00 to 2:00 to sign copies of her books. There will be supplies of Half My Sky available for purchase. However, they will be limited and I do expect a big turnout. So if you want a copy of your book signed, I suggest that you be BYO. Also this is a family event. Beanz is the most inclusive place you could ever go to. In fact, their tagline is ‘everyone belongs’. Beanz & Co. was co-founded by two special needs moms who saw the need for dignified employment for their children and for people in the disabilities community.
So Beanz & Co. actually employs half people with disabilities. It offers job training and job support and it is truly the most delightful place to spend time. And I would know because I spent a lot of time there. I will leave the link in the comments and I hope to see as many of you there as possible.
In addition, I recently interviewed Carrie for the podcast and those episodes will be coming out at the end of January. So you will also get to hear a bit more from her about her journey and about the process of writing these books, why she writes the books. And a bit about the why behind why she shares the details of her family’s life, her child’s story, and her experience as an Autism mom. I am positive that you will find it delightful and inspiring, so stay tuned for those episodes.
Okay another mark your calendar, save the date. On January 31st, I will be doing a webinar. This is going to become a regular feature that you can expect from me. Each month I am either going to be offering you a webinar where I will be teaching on a particular topic or an open coaching call. We’re going to kick off the year with a webinar and the working title is Lessons from Rock Bottom. It’s a working title, we’ll see.
But really the point of the webinar is to share some of the lessons I have learned this year as a way of teaching you how to evaluate the ups and downs of your Autism journey. Because so many of us spend time either dreading, being scared of what might happen or just dealing with it, rinse and repeat. And what I’m going to offer you in this webinar is an example of how I’ve actually evaluated the past year of my life, which has been the most difficult personally, as a parent really all around.
But I’m not doing this so I can just share the woe is me, look at all that happened. No, I want to show you what I’m doing with all of these experiences. I want to show you how I’m evaluating them, the lessons that I’m taking forward from them. And I want to share them with you because no matter what your experience is, no matter if your child is two or 25, you can use these lessons and these principles and apply them to your day-to-day life to make improvements.
So Mark your calendar, stay tuned, information will be forthcoming. If you are on my mailing list, no sweat, you’re going to get all of this information in your inbox. For those of you who are not on my mailing list, get on it. The link will be in the show notes. You can find me on Facebook, on Instagram, get on my mailing list. I share weekly newsletters with my audience and my subscriber list is always the first to learn of new offerings, of open coaching calls, of webinars. So if you’re not already, get on the mailing list. That’s it right now for announcements.
So I am going to share a bit about what’s been going on with me. My son, Ben, was not with me for Christmas, sadly. He is still in the mental health hospital and this has been rough, some really rough, sad times for me, deep sadness, a lot of crying in the aisles of Target, skipping parties, leaving parties early. And as difficult as this has been, I do know that he’s where he needs to be and he’s getting the support that he needs. And in fact, even when he was with me for Christmas in the past couple of years he really wasn’t.
Ever since OCD entered our lives, he has been trapped in his brain, the prison of his brain. And so no matter where we were or what we were doing, he was always spinning in some way about the OCD. And that’s just kind of a weird place to be, is to be sad that your kid isn’t with you, but also I’m not sad that we’re not having the last three Christmases, either, where there was so much joy that was sucked out of our day because of my son’s perseverations, because of the intense, intense anxiety.
And there is a lot of relief of knowing that he is safe where he is and that he did have a really fun Christmas. I got him some really sweet gifts. He had fun with his peers in the program. He got some books that he really loves, some Legos, and that was all very, very heartwarming. The reason I’m sharing this is look, nobody wishes for this for their kid, nobody wants this but some of us experience it. And I just want to take a little bit of the stigma out of it. I am not alone.
I have clients who are in the same boat as me. Their children spent the holidays in a hospital getting the help that they need. And no, it’s not an ideal time of the year to do it. But the fact is there is no Christmas, there are no birthdays, there are no celebrations when your child’s mind is imprisoned by their perseverations, their anxiety, their OCD. And sometimes making decisions like this, hard decisions like this, it’s the right decision.
And for any of you who are experiencing this now or in the future, I want you to know that you are not alone in making these hard decisions. And that although some people may not understand it, they also have the privilege of never having to understand it. But for those of us who do, we support you. I support you. That’s it on the Ben front.
For me, I have been doing a lot, a lot of my own personal work on grief because grief has been front and center of my experience in a really big way over the last year. And I didn’t even realize it until our family therapist referred to me as a grieving mother. So I started to really research grief. I’m really wanting to understand it more. And so of course, I have hired a grief coach. I have gotten certified in grief recovery. And now I am participating in an advanced coaching certification on grief and post traumatic growth, which I’m really excited about.
The coach I’m doing this with, her name is Krista St-Germain and she coaches widowed moms. And a lot of her work has been devoted to understanding the ways in which we can not only process our grief, understand our grief, make room for our grief, but also all the ways that we can grow from our grief. And that is where post traumatic growth comes in. And I’m so excited to learn more. I’m so excited to share more about it on the podcast and to make it part of my coaching program. So there will be lots of new learning and new concepts that are coming your way that I will be sharing with you this year.
And then finally for the podcast, I am going to start sharing with you some more voices, the voices of my clients. I want you to hear about the results other people are getting from coaching, other moms, other full-time working moms, other stay at home moms, other professionals, other mothers with multiple children with disabilities, other single moms. I want you to hear more of these voices so that you can see your experience in other people.
Because I think it’s so easy, especially when you’re in a fight, flight state or you’re in grief, to think that you’re the only one, to think that your circumstances are way so different from other people’s and that you can’t get help or this work won’t help you for whatever reason.
I want to demystify this a bit for you by bringing you more voices. And to share with you more about how my own work, my own grief work, my own coaching has helped me progress, has helped me to process some of the really difficult things that I have been experiencing in the last year. The difficult decisions that I have ahead of me without completely drowning. That is all possible for you too, whether your child is two, whether they are 24. Whether or not things are smooth sailing and you’re like, “I don’t know, whatever you’re talking about, that’s not my situation.” And that’s fine.
But you can still learn from this podcast. There are lots of principles that I share that will help you whether your child is in an acute state of anxiety or whether just managing the day-to-day uncertainty of, is there going to be a meltdown, how to talk to your parents about your child’s diagnosis. How to deal with other people in your life, how to deal with your own resentment, your own compare and despair when it comes to other folks in your life.
All of those things are things that I work with my clients about and they get progress and they get progress quickly. Because when you are spending the time, your precious time, just even a little bit of your precious time to you, to your brain, to your emotions, you get progress and that is the challenge though. The challenge for all of us is to shift from the super hyper focus on our kids and fixing, helping, making everything right for them to ourselves.
And that’s the message I really want to drive home from now on. We’ve all heard of the oxygen mask. And let’s just face it, none of us really believe it, not really because we’ve all done a lot without the oxygen mask. We have all sacrificed our mental, emotional, physical health to help our children to get through the day. We are so used to doing it that I don’t know that we really believe that self-care is important. I think that we know it in terms of yeah, we’ve heard that a lot and that’s what people say. But knowing it in your bones and making it your priority, there is such a difference.
And so I want to share with you the experience of clients who have gone through my program, who went from knowing it in theory to integrating it into part of their lives, to part of who they are, to part of how they parent. I have to tell you from my perspective of being in year 16 of this, I didn’t get here until a couple of years ago. And of course I wish I knew then what I know now. But since I do know what I know now, I want to share it with you. I want to share it with as many Autism parents as I possibly can.
You do not need to run yourself into the ground. You do not need to spend your days and nights walking on eggshells, waiting for the other shoe to drop. There are proactive things that you can do every single day to help you show up as the parent you want to be no matter what your child is doing.
Alright, that is it for this week’s episode of the podcast. I hope you found it helpful. I hope you marked your calendar. I hope you save the dates. And I hope you join my mailing list so that you get all of this goodness right in your inbox. Thanks for listening and I will talk to you next week.
Thanks for listening to The Autism Mom Coach. If you are ready to apply the principles you are learning in these episodes to your life, it is time to schedule a consultation call with me. Podcasts are great but the ahas are fleeting. Real change comes from application and implementation and this is exactly what we do in my one-on-one coaching program. To schedule your consultation, go to my website, theAutismmomcoach.com, Work With Me and take the first step to taking better care of yourself so that you can show up as the parent you want to be for your child with Autism.