My business card says very little. It has my name, contact information and one statement “all yours”. It is unusual and often perplexes those who are not familiar with the dynamic of raising a child with autism or what I do and why. I chose this statement on my card very purposefully. It is there to start conversation, real conversation.
My education is rooted in working with families and children. My career for many years kept me on a focused path of working with children in crisis. As part of my role I would sit in meetings with teams of professionals representing every aspect of a child’s support trying to “fix”. As I would listen to parents (most often Moms) I would see the incredible stress, worry and pure exhaustion on their faces. I would listen as every professional at the table would pipe up with their quick solutions on how we would “fix” particular issues. What always struck me was how the needs of the Mom and what she required to be fully supported to support her child never seemed to be put on the table. It felt to me as though she was invisible in many ways. Quite honestly it made me sad. It was curious to me as to how we could truly help a child thrive when we are not fully supporting every member of a family? Was this really an effective model of community and support if we were not honoring the captain of the ship so to speak?
I gave birth to my son, Noah in 2008. I knew pretty much from the moment he arrived that he had severe sensory issues and most likely autism. By 2010 he was formally diagnosed and so my journey began. No longer as a professional in the autism community but now as a mother. I realized very quickly and often harshly what my new role was going to look like. All those times that I sat in meetings and thought to myself “are we supporting this Mom?” was now answered clearly. No.
In 2014 I started to ponder my professional role reflective of my own experiences. I loved working with kids directly and with their families. I adored it and it has always been an honor BUT something wasn’t right for me in my heart. I was almost 20 years in to my profession, I was 6 years in to parenting a child with autism and I knew there was something missing. What was missing was support for Mom. Support for me and every other Mom that I worked with. Why was this? How could I change this?
Moms of kids with autism are hands down some of the most dynamic, strong, compassionate and all around amazing women I have every come across. However, there is this other side of that exist to their reality. They are isolated, exhausted and often unnoticed. Community is often not holding them up for their incredible strength and the importance of their role. Our support structures often do not honor them so they can thrive as they should. It is frustrating and simply wrong.
So how do we change this? How could I help change this knowing what I know and with the experience I have? We change this by nurturing Moms. By seeing them and holding them up and cherishing them because damn it they are worth it! We make one another strong, we breathe life and support and in to one another because we understand each other and we build more strength and energy that way. We honor ourselves and our stories. We can’t thrive if we are not filled, honored and loved. Moms must feel this. For our kids to thrive it is imperative. We take care of ourselves and tap in to our incredible nature that already exist in each of us. THIS is how we change this.
This is why I moved in to coaching and working directly with Moms. I see me and I see you. I see our children and the importance and value they offer and our job of advocating and supporting that is crucial. I see the beautiful and I see the brutal and honor them both. We are important and our job is important. No more wasting time, money and energy on people and places that will not honor us and in turn our children. If we want the world to see how important our kids are and honor them, it starts with us. No apologies.
So, my business card reading “all yours” if for my autism Moms. I know how tirelessly you work and believe in your kids. I know the importance of that. I also know in order for you to do your job you need a person, too. Just like I needed someone. I choose to coach and support Moms of kids with autism so you can be the best you. You need to thrive because you have an incredibly important role raising a magnificent human. You say every day to your kids I am “all yours”. You need someone who also says to you I am “all yours”.
I love when I give my business card to someone who doesn’t have a lot of (or any) exposure to the autism community and they ask why it says “all yours”. Mama’s I see you and I am singing your praises. When people ask why “all yours” I let them know autism Mama’s are super heroes and to make note because I am going to help them roar!
Keep at it A-team, you are doing great and together we are going to do some amazing things. I know it.