April 1st marks the beginning of Autism Awareness month. However, as a Mom to an autistic child, we are very much aware of Autism in this house.  It’s not just a month here…it’s an everyday thing.  But prior to his diagnosis, I was just aware of Autism.  And, I’ll admit I was also scared of it, too. Because when you’re just aware, you just know the medical model and the disorder that Doctors and Researchers will talk about but you don’t really know much about it.  Autism Awareness is easy and focuses on the differences and stereotypes. Autism Acceptance requires understanding and acknowledging that we are all different and awesome in our own way.  Acceptance is celebrating all abilities and supporting each person so everyone gets to live their best life and have opportunities to do all the things they want to do.  Acceptance is completely free of judgement but is full of kindness and respect. 

This conversation is long overdue. For some reason, we don't talk about our mental health or if we're struggling with depression in fear that we would be judged. However, it would be totally acceptable for me to tell you about my sinus infection and how I'm taking medication for that.  Because we don't talk it about it more, people suffer silently and sometimes until it's too late.

I'm only one person and if my sharing of my struggles with depression can help only one person, then I am so glad that I shared my story.  I understand how depression can have a grip on you that you can't explain.  I know what it's like to feel that as a young single woman and I also have experience in dealing with depression as a Mother.

 I share my story to give someone hope because there really is SO MUCH HOPE. I understand rock bottom and remembering that place and knowing where I am now is my why on my decision for this episode. 

Are you hard on yourself? Do you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, your day, your child, and the list goes on and on.  I have tortured myself for years and have been unneccessarily hard on myself as a woman but even more since becoming a MOM! In this episode, I talk about learning how to give yourself grace and realize that you're pretty friggin' awesome!

If you have ever wondered whether or not you are enough OR are doing enough to give your child with special needs the best chance of living to their full potential, you are not alone.  You ARE enough and an AWESOME Mom for even thinking that because only the best moms wonder that from time to time.  But now that you know you're an awesome mom, you can cut it out!  In this episode I share how I made the decision to make changes to my son's demanding schedule even though I feared making a big mistake and having to get back on an ABA waitlist. Our children are running their own race and so are we as their Moms.  We need to remember that not EVERY plan works for EVERY one. 

There are many challenges as a Mom of a child with special needs but I feel one of the hardest ones is dealing with Ignorance when it's regarding your beautiful child.  It can be really hard at times to not act on that anger as a response to cruel remarks and hurtful actions but we can face Ignorance in a way that we set an example for our children that are watching and to avoid prison time. ;)

IEP's are a way of life when you have a child with special needs.  I've never talked to one parent that enjoys attending an IEP meeting for many reasons.  I can't promise they will ever be loads of fun but I can offer tips on how to prepare for one, especially if you're new to them.

Happy 2021 my friends! What are you focusing on for the year ahead? I want us all to approach the new year with a renewed spirit even though we are tattered, exhausted and emotionally spent from the last year and still have some tough days ahead BUT YOU are tougher. I want you to pick a word, just one word, that will be a reminder to you on how you will approach 2021 and rise up from it all as a victor and not a victim. We're talking about how to choose this word today.

When things are not going as planned and obstacles are being thrown your way, one right after another, it may seem impossible to find the humor in any of it.  Life may have made you forget how to laugh and you're serious all of the time but life was meant to be enjoyed even during our struggles.  Laughter is truly the best medicine so permission granted to start seeking out the funny daily.

My middle name is Marie but I often feel like it should be "Overwhelmed" because it really captures my essence these days.  The holidays are upon us and we're wrapping up the year that most would like to forget as we head into a new year that will most likely start with much of the same.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel so we can't lose our minds now! In this episode, I'm talking about what I find helps me in feeling like I have some control of all the crazy and things that I have realized really help to reduce the stress for me and in our home!

When you are going through something tough and you're feeling discouraged, hopeless and feel as if things will never improve, you want to hear from someone who gets it and has gone through the same thing or something similar to give you hope.  When you're doubting yourself and feeling as if you cannot take much more, you need to be encouraged and I hope to be the person that can do that for you today.  You are stronger than you could ever imagine or give yourself credit for.  Everyone around you sees it and it's time you saw it for yourself, as well.

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