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Today’s topic has been intriguing me lately. I’m wondering how much can be attributed to the Asperger’s, and how much is ‘normal’. I’ve been wondering if you just get used to different activity levels and the exhaustion just goes away. I’m also wondering how much is down to work, and how much is down to family life.

This last week the baby has finally let me have some lie-ins, so I’ve been getting up at 6.20 instead of 5.20. This is absolutely a dream come true, and yet when I wake, I still feel utterly exhausted. Friday’s are the worst, because I know I have the baby at home that day. On work days and study days, I’m happy. Sometimes stressed – and frequently drinking too much coffee at work – but happy. But does my Asperger’s mean my social schedule is too much? By trying to have it all, am I compromising my physical or mental health irreparably?

I’m sure I felt this way when my first child was very small, so perhaps it’s just an unfortunate combination, Aspie mother, small child. Incidentally, my eldest is also wearing me out now. Almost every night for several weeks she’s been waking me up because of a bad dream. Aside from putting her back to bed, I have no idea what to do about this.

Even so, I know for a fact that many other parents are having a much harder time. That’s why I feel the Asperger’s must play a part in my exhaustion. If it didn’t – then what the heck is wrong with me? All the NT mothers are out there battling lung infections and night waking; working more hours; going out drinking… I just want to be in bed, usually from about 8.30. I don’t have time for romance. I don’t even have the energy to stick jacket potatoes in the microwave once the clock ticks past 7. We end up getting more takeaways.

I like to think I’m pretty competent. I like to think I can handle this thing called ‘life’. Perhaps I just have to accept this limit. I have recently decided to retire from my volunteering, so that’s one less thing to worry about. I don’t want to cut anything else though, except maybe baby-time!

Is this a common thing for people with Asperger’s? Especially parents with Asperger’s? Is this something you just have to ride out? TIA

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Another long gap between posts – and I already used the last one to apologise!

The truth is, I’ve spent the last few weeks feeling totally overwhelmed. I suspect this is a common Aspie feeling, after all we are prone to stress, at least partly because (I think) we’re also prone to over-thinking everything. But first, (well, second now) the good news.

I got a job!

It seemed to come together very easily, and if any of you have read some of my previous work-related posts, like this one, you’ll know how astonishing that is to me.

So, now I have an office job 2 days a week, plus I still do some freelance work from home, plus the kids, plus the housework, plus plus plus…

So you can see why I might be a bit overwhelmed. I am very pleased to have my new job – I really enjoy being there! But at the same time it cuts into what was already a busy week for me. I am at least 70% staying on top of everything, but it always feels like a stretch and I’m wondering if I’ll ever get really good at spinning all these plates.

Fellow plate spinners – how do you manage? Does it get better with time?

 

As I face another sleep deprived day, I am thinking about the little crutches I rely on to get me through. First, there was coffee.

I grew up watching my Dad drink it, enjoying the rich smell that seemed to fill the room when he added hot water to that brown powder, or, in later years, when he switched on the machine.

It became part of a lifestyle I aspired to: the busy person who needed a little caffeine to cope with all the stuff they have to do. And why did I want to be busy? Maybe just because that’s what Daddy did. Maybe, as a small and Asperger’s-crippled child, I just really wanted to be that useful to everyone. My Dad is sociable, confident, and he was in charge of projects that spanned continents. Who wouldn’t want to be that capable?

Now, as my daughter has decided that every night has to be interrupted between 2 and 6 times, I am relying on coffee even more. And I have added another crutch to my arsenal. Sugar. This morning, I realised my husband and I had taken only 2 days to clear a whole tub of millionaire’s shortbread bites. Each tiny bite (and they are small enough even for my mouth, which the dentist said was small) contains 89 calories and is 46% sugar. I have also been eating rhubarb crumble with salted caramel sauce and ice cream most evenings this week. Yikes.

My husband is no stranger to this particular form of diabetes-chasing. He gets through late night work sessions with half a family size bar of Cadbury’s and reruns of boxsets. As I am ‘on call’ I go to bed early, safe in the knowledge I will have more coffee in the morning. And now – a biscuit, too!

Knowing how reliant I am on coffee makes me think I should kick this sugar thing in the head before it gets just as ingrained in my life. But if I’ve been awake so much in the night I feel I deserve a treat.

So, I’m happy to keep the coffee. It was always in my life plan. I like the ritual of pouring out the frothed milk and watching the cocoa fall like a delicious snowdrift. I like the way it says “Now you can do this!” It’s my friend, my cheerleader, my cattle-prod. It punctuates my day like roses blossoming in a garden.Yes, I will be keeping the coffee. But can I step away from the sugar again without feeling deprived?

Maybe my daughter will start sleeping again and I will laugh at how I nearly emptied the patisserie section at my local supermarket. Maybe. But I think I need a more likely solution.

What gets you through the day?