The problem with being a Mum is that you see work everywhere. You get up in the morning and the bathroom mocks you…

There’s hair in the plughole.

There’s toothpaste all over the sink.

“I’ll clean the bathroom a bit later,” you think, “after I’ve had some coffee.”

So, you go down to the kitchen and make that coffee… and the cooker top needs cleaning… the floor needs scrubbing, the washing up is laughing at you and the washing machine reminds you of the huge pile of laundry up on the landing.

You sigh, make the coffee, and try to enjoy that little bit of peace that happens before the kids get up. You go outside to breathe in some fresh morning air and listen to the sparrows chirp in the hedge…

The grass needs cutting. There’s wind blown rubbish that needs picking up, and the flower beds need weeding…

Even the sparrows sound more like they are squabbling than chirping.

The kids get up. You get a hug and “I love you mummy” before they start their morning requests…

“Can I have scrambled eggs for breakfast?”

“I want jammy toast.”

“Mum, did you wash my XXXX?”

“Can I have X for breakfast? Is that okay?”

You sigh, suck in the last of the energy from your coffee and sort them out, pushing the other jobs to the back of your mind in order to do what is in front of you.

Having dealt with them, you remember the Laundry. So, you put a load on.

You notice that the kids have left their bowls etc from breakfast, so you stack the washing up a little bit better. Then the state of the sink mocks you, “I won’t be able to clean anything in that.”

So, you clean the sink.

By this time, the washing machine has finished. It’s a nice day, so you hang the washing out on the line and put another load in the machine.

The older children appear from somewhere.

You ask them to do some housework, hoping that it will free you up for long enough a little to get some “real work” done.

They agree and disappear, hopefully to do said housework

You’re in the middle of said “real work” and the oldest of the children appears to inform you that they’ve done X and they have to get Y done, so they won’t be able to do anything else for you until later.

You agree and add reminding them to do their own washing to the “Later List”

The two youngest begin fighting over the toys they are playing with. You separate them and send one up to their room to “tidy up the bedroom” with the second oldest… this sends them into a meltdown and means that you have to deal with that.

By this time, “real work” has been pushed to “Later”.

The youngest needs a nappy change. You chase him around the room to get the wet nappy off and clean him, then chase him again to put the clean one on…

All of a sudden, it’s lunchtime.

Now most of the people reading this will be saying “This isn’t just an autistic mum; this is a normal mum.” And they would be right in one sense, because an Autistic Mum is a normal mum. So, let’s go through it again and I’ll add in the “Autistic Mum” feelings… in Red.

The problem with being a Mum is that you see work everywhere. You get up in the morning and the bathroom mocks you…

There’s hair in the plughole. Hmm, that looks a lot like Cousin It from Addams Family. I’d better get that cleaned up as soon as I can find my rubber gloves from wherever they disappeared off to or when I have a shower later there’ll be a puddle that will soak the bathroom completely…

There’s toothpaste all over the sink.

I have to make sure that the younger two learn to clean up after themselves. I hate the smell of the cleaner that I have to use for this; it gives me the shudders and I hate feeling like that.

“I’ll clean the bathroom a bit later,” you think, “after I’ve had some coffee.”

So, you go down to the kitchen and make that coffee… and the cooker top needs cleaning… the floor needs scrubbing, the washing up is laughing at you and the washing machine reminds you of the huge pile of laundry up on the landing.

I wish that the kids had done the washing up yesterday, that would have been one job less. There are so many germs and bacteria growing here, the only way its ever going to be clean is if I do it myself and its going to take all morning, I’ll get a headache from the chemical fumes, the feel of my skin when it starts drying out from water immersion makes me gets so irritated.

You sigh, make the coffee, and try to enjoy that little bit of peace that happens before the kids get up. You go outside to breathe in some fresh morning air and listen to the sparrows chirp in the hedge…

The grass needs cutting. There’s wind-blown rubbish that needs picking up, and the flower beds need weeding…

I wish I could just ignore all this, but my feet are cold and that makes me look at the floor which is why I notice the grass and once I’ve noticed the grass, I see the rubbish and then the weeds and I’m aware of the neighbours in their kitchen which means they’ll have seen the state of the garden and I wouldn’t be surprised if they told the landlord…

Even the sparrows sound more like they are squabbling than chirping.

They sound very loud this morning, as loud as the traffic on the road. I don’t want to be outside today, it’s too noisy.

The kids get up. You get a hug and “I love you mummy” before they start their morning requests…

“Can I have scrambled eggs for breakfast?”

“Want jammy toast.”

“Mum, did you wash my XXXX?”

“Can I have X for breakfast? Is that okay?”

So noisy. The littlest one needs a nappy change; I can smell it from here. I wish that the older of the two littles would not obsess over eggs so much, it’s all she wants to eat, and I hate making them. The younger of the two older ones needs a shower and she could do her own washing – I’ll need to remember to remind her to do it. Everything the oldest one says is a question. He needs more confidence and yes, I know I told them to ask before they use stuff, but it doesn’t have to mean every time… I am so tired of the noise and the expectation.

You sigh, suck in the last of the energy from your coffee and sort them out, pushing the other jobs to the back of your mind in order to do what is in front of you.

I can’t forget about those jobs – they have to get done today, I’ll put them on my to-do list. Is that pressure in my eyes a headache or just being tired?

Having dealt with them, you remember the Laundry. So, you put a load on.

More noise. At least the smell of the chemicals for this job don’t make me feel ill and I don’t have to do it by hand. What’s next? Washing up. I still haven’t found my rubber gloves yet. I hate wearing them; I know the coating inside stops me from having an allergic skin reaction from the latex, but it feels like thousands of little pressure points and the heat of the water from the washing up makes it a hundred times worse.

You notice that the kids have left their bowls etc from breakfast, so you stack the washing up a little bit better. Then the state of the sink mocks you, “I won’t be able to clean anything in that.”

So, you clean the sink.

No rubber gloves. Now my hands feel like they’re covered in sand and are so itchy that I can’t help but scratch at them and pull the dead skin off the callouses I get from the allergic reaction to the antibacterial spray.

By this time, the washing machine has finished. It’s a nice day, so you hang the washing out on the line and put another load in the machine.

At least the air is nice and fresh out here; why does it always feel so stuffy and enclosed in the house? No matter how often I open the windows or clean through, the air feels so close and tastes dry and dusty.

The older children appear from somewhere.

You ask them to do some housework, hoping that it will free you up for long enough a little to get some “real work” done. They agree and disappear, hopefully to do said housework

I can’t hear them moving. If the bathroom isn’t cleaned, I’ll have to do it because otherwise it won’t be clean enough to have a shower in. What does “I’ll do it in a bit.” actually mean anyway? When I say it, I usually mean as soon as I have finished whatever I am doing at that second… they’re still not moving… I have to trust that they’ll do it… Oh I’ll do it anyway….

You’re in the middle of said “real work” and the oldest of the children appears to inform you that they’ve done X and they have to get Y done, so they won’t be able to do anything else for you until later.

You agree and add reminding them to do their own washing to the “Later List”

I’d better go and check what they’ve done and clean it as well. I’m not certain they did it properly, to the right standard… Hmm, it smells clean in here, but that could be the open window…

The two youngest begin fighting over the toys they are playing with. You separate them and send one up to their room to “tidy up the bedroom” with the second oldest… this sends them into a meltdown and means that you have to deal with that.

More noise. She really can go up and down octaves. That headache is coming back, and I feel like I am filling up with pressure. But I can’t meltdown as well, someone has to stay sane around here.

By this time, “real work” has been pushed to “Later”.

I can’t focus on what I need to do with all this noise around here, maybe when the little one goes to sleep… what’s that smell, it’s disgusting, I feel like throwing up… oh.

The youngest needs a nappy change.

That is awful. I’ve done this so much that you’d think I was used to it, but the smell is different every time and my brain can’t process the differences each time. Come back here! I wish he wouldn’t move so fast or spin so much, it’s making me so dizzy…

You chase him around the room to get the wet nappy off and clean him, then chase him again to put the clean one on…

I can’t take any more of this, I need some space from all the noise and just be allowed to be in my own head for a change…

All of a sudden, it’s lunchtime.

I can’t show you the visual or feel aspect to this, I wish I could; it would certainly make it easier to explain. I can describe it but trying to describe the individual pressures and feelings that go with everything… it would need a full body suit…

And that’s just from the first couple of hours in my own house, without including my Carer responsibilities… admittedly it doesn’t happen exactly like this every day, or it would be easier to cope with. Daily minor changes happen so often that even with a routine or knowing how my family will react to things. That’s not even figuring in my own mood swings and physical feelings from day to day.

To be completely honest, the idea of living with only my own needs to deal with is highly attractive. I’d pick somewhere warm with a garden. Somewhere that had human interaction nearby (say the next town) for if I needed it and for all those necessities. Eco friendly power and Wi-Fi so I don’t get lost in myself too much.

If I could afford a sabbatical, I would.

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