Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why My Wife Doesn't Have a "Job"

2 days ago I wrote a post about how my wife went away for the weekend. And the point of the post was after 4 days of being alone with my non verbal son I realized what my wife goes thru as a stay at home mom (SAHM) with a non verbal kid.

How quiet it can be and how long she can go without having an actual back and forth conversation with another human being.

I ended that post by saying

Now I know what some of you were thinking, "why doesn't she get a job?"

Well that's what this post is about.

Why doesn't my wife get a job while my 13 year old autistic & epileptic son is in school.

It's a valid question I guess.

I'll admit that there's been points over the past year that I've wondered that as well and even suggested it to the wife.

Prior to this year wifey would drive my son to and from school each day so her school day was a lot shorter.

In an old blog post from back in 2011 I explained why she drove him...

She is a stay at home mom because she's accepted the fact that my son's crazy schedule could never be handled PROPERLY if she were to work. 
Because of this, unfortunately she lives & breathes autism 24/ 7 (where I get a 40 hour break each week at a glorious place called work). 
She drives Kyle to and from school everyday. We could get busing but this is our (her) decision and the thinking is that we can't put a non-verbal kid on the bus. You hear too many stories about non-verbal kids accidentally being left on the bus all day or worse... 

And in another old blog post from 2011 I wrote this about why my wife is a SAHM

When it comes to my wife getting a job... I honestly don't see what job that she could get for the 5 hours a day that Kyle is in school that would bring in enough money after taxes to make it worth her while...and what kind of job that she could get that would be so flexible with the weekly drama that is life with Kyle....not a week goes by where she isn't called about something... picking him up early because of an illness... going in early for a meeting.... dropping him off late after an early morning doctor appointment...  It never ends...

However, in September 2015 he switched to a new school... that we LOVE.  A new school, that is 30+ miles away.  A new school that you have to take a bridge and pay two tolls to get to.

So, since September we had to bite the bullet and put him on the school bus.

And it's quite a long bus ride. So he's out of the house from about 8am - 4pm.

So, yes on paper, she seemingly could get a job.

And every once in a while when the king is going thru a good stretch behaviorally I think "he's gone for 8 hours a day... So she could find a 6 hour a day job and still be home in time to put him on / take him off the bus"

But this week was a perfect example of why that's not always as simple as it appears to be.

He had two seizures while in school on Monday while wifey was still away with her friends so I received two calls from the school nurse. 

All those posts I wrote back in 2011 of why she's a SAHM?  Those were before he started having seizures.  Those started in 2012 at the age of 9.  Epilepsy is our bigger worry these days.

So I fielded those two calls from the school nurse and had to make that decision as to whether or not it warranted picking him up early or letting him stay for the rest of the day.

I made the executive decision (without checking with the wife) to let him finish out the school day.

However, I'm sure if it was on her watch, she would've called me at work (probably her first conversation of the day) :) and we would've debated whether or not she should go pick him up.

And wifey probably would have. And maybe I should have.

He's been going through a good stretch with the seizures lately but they always seem to come back with a vengeance. And when they happen during school hours these calls and these types of decisions can happen on a weekly basis.

So because of the Monday seizures she needs to pull him out of school early on Thursday this week to check in with the neurologist and find out why he's having more seizures. And I won't be able to take off work for that appointment so she'll be bringing him solo.  So if she had a job, she would need to take off on Thursday afternoon...

And then Monday night the king came downstairs and we realized the ring finger on his right hand was crazy swollen.  We have no idea how he did it.  But he likes to stick his finger in weird places and get it stuck, and he probably did that and yanked it out.  His two knuckles looked bruised.

We iced it and sent him to school on Tuesday, and both the school nurse and his nurse on the bus suggested that we get it x-rayed to make sure it wasn't broken.

On a side note...
God knows what they think of us at the school, not picking up our kid after two seizures and sending him to school with a possible broken finger.  But our thinking is, unless it warrants a trip to the hospital all he's going to do if he's home is sit on the couch and watch tv or nap, so he might as well be in school with more eyes watching him and a nurse right near by.

Anyway, so for a big part of the school day on Tuesday wifey was calling doctors, and getting a scrip for the xray faxed to the radiology department, etc. and we all went for the xray together when I got home from work (because getting xrays is a 2 parent job)

xray results, it's not broken

All this to say that her getting a job that meets our autism and epilepsy lifestyle isn't easy.

Could we use the money from a second income? Sure.

Do these emergencies happen all the time?  No, he can go months lately with no issues, no early school pickups, etc.  However, when they do happen it seems like they come in bunches.  And when he gets the common cold, he's usually out of school for a week.  That's just the way he is.  So she'd be taking off lots of time from work for all this stuff

Is there a job that wifey could find that could fit this crazy schedule?  Maybe, but it's not going to be easy.

And if she did get a job, she readily admits that it's got to be a job that takes her mind off of autism and epilepsy. She's not one of those moms that wants to do more autism stuff or special needs stuff as a career.  Nothing against the moms who can do that.  They are superhuman in our eyes, but she wants no part of that.

I wrote this in a previous blog post from 2013 and I think it sorta fits in here as to why wifey doesn't have a job and definitely doesn't want a job in the special needs field...

A couple of weeks back we had to bring Kyle for some medical tests in the early afternoon so I took the day off from work. 
The plan was to drop the king off to school in the morning and pick him up around 11:30am for his appointments. 
So I tagged along with the wife for her normal Friday morning routine.  
And she was full of energy. We dropped him off at school. 
Then we went for a quick food shopping trip. She was literally racing around the store. And I'm struggling to keep up.  
Me:  "Why are you running?"
Her:  "Cuz since he's only got a half day I got to fit it all in..."
Her agenda...
Food shopping, a quick breakfast, then the gym, a quick trip to costco then we pick up the kid. 
And she was on speed, full of energy... 
ME:  "Are you like this every school day?  How do you keep up this pace?  I'm getting exhausted..."
HER: "Yeah. I have a lot of energy in the morning. I gotta keep my mind busy. But late in the day I crash. Unfortunately I usually crash right before you get home from work..."
ME: "Why don't you crash during the day and save some of that energy for me, for when I get home?" 
HER: "Cuz I gotta keep myself, gotta keep my mind busy during the day. Otherwise I'd stay home and cry all day..."
She just said it completely matter of factly...
And I just nodded, smiled, and that part of the conversation ended and we went on with our day. 
But it stuck with me. 
For wifey it's about survival. She tries to find joy in the little things, in the frivolous things and she keeps her mind busy...busy with autism things, of course, but also equally busy with non-autism things.  

Anyway wifey is much better about keeping her mind busy and off of obsessing about autism and epilepsy and worry. 
And maybe if she didn't she'd do that she'd "cry all day" or more likely she'd go a little crazy or fall into a funk or a depression...which is what happens to me sometimes.  
She's always the one of her autism mom friends trying to make plans and get out into the non-autism world as much as possible. 
Movies, lunches, dinners, bars to see bands, etc. 
And it helps her a lot. 
Others might think she's being selfish. And sometimes my brain thinks that too. 
But it's about survival. And in the grand scheme of things it makes her a much better, more patient, happier mommy and wifey. 

So I'll end it there.  That's why wifey's not working.  Now if there was some high paying job that fell in her lap I'm sure we'd have a discussion and she'd go for it.  

But to try to find the perfect job to fit her schedule to bring home a few extra bucks each month just isn't worth it right now.

Unless you've got the perfect job for her in a record store, or a radio station, or a music studio I'm sure she'd be all ears...  :-)

That's it... That's all I got.  This is like one of my old school posts.  It's literally all over the place!  Hope it makes some sort of sense!



-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Life w/ a Non-Verbal Kid w/ Autism Can Be Too Quiet

So wifey went away this weekend to the NJ shore with a couple of girlfriends.  So I've kinda been like a single autism parent from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon.

And my 13-year-old son with autism and epilepsy was pretty darn great this weekend. He was mellow. And went with the flow.  I have absolutely nothing to complain about and wifey truly deserved this weekend away.

This post is just about something I noticed while kinda being a single parent over this weekend.  Basically, I leaned it's quiet when there's no other verbal person in the house for three days.

Of course I talk to the king but it's a complete one-sided conversation.

And if I'm being perfectly honest I probably don't talk to him as much as I should and definitely not as much as one would with a typical 13-year-old.

I will ask him lots of questions throughout the day and generally explain what I am doing and give him a blow by blow of what our agenda for that day is.

But I'll admit that quite a bit of the rest of the talking I do is just listing steps.

"Wash your hands, turn off the water, use the towel."

"Get your peanut  butter out of the fridge, grab a spoon, sit down..."

So when I saw my sister and her family on Saturday afternoon it dawned on me that I probably went close to 24 hours without having a conversation with another human being.

And we were home alone for most of the day on Sunday.

I took a vacation day today because wifey wasn't getting home until right before his school bus.   So while the king was in school today I was puttering around the house, doing errands, etc.  And at some point I realized that the first conversation I had with another human being in person in I don't know how many hours was with the waitress at the diner at 1pm this afternoon.

Basically having this weekend without wifey made me better appreciate what she goes through each weekday when I'm at work even more.

She's a stay at home mom (SAHM) and there are some days when I walk in the door from work at 6:45pm and she's immediately talking my ear off. Giving me a complete blow-by-blow of her day.

And I'm tired from work and probably not paying full attention to her and she gets annoyed.

 Every once in a while she'll say something like, "you're the first person I've had a conversation with all day. And you're gonna come home in a bad mood?  C'mon just fake it like you're interested for 10 minutes and let me talk.  You've been at work in meetings having adult conversations all day"

And up until today I didn't really appreciate what she was talking about or what she was going through. But after this weekend with so few conversations, I now totally get it and appreciate it.   I actually couldn't wait for her to get home from her trip so I could have somebody to have a conversation with!

And boy did she talk my ear off when she got home!  :-)

Now I know what some of you were thinking, "why doesn't she get a job?"

I'll cover that in a blog post tomorrow, but for now this is what I wanted to cover.  The fact that life with a non verbal kid with autism can sometimes be very quiet.  And you can go for long long stretches without a conversation.

Do other autism parents of non verbal kids feel this way?  You feel what I'm talking about?  Or is this something that only single parents deal with?  Or I guess if you're a single autism parent, then you have to work so you have conversations while you're working?

So maybe this is only a SAHM autism mom thing?

I dunno.

All I know is it was really quiet around here without wifey.  And I will try to be better about listening to her when she talks my ear off when I first get home.  :-)


-- If you're gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the search box above or by going to  This way I can make a little money to help pay for my son's after school & weekend therapies.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me... but I must admit that it's taking up a lot more time than I ever thought... so if I can make a few bucks it'll make it easier for me to justify....Love you all! Thanks!!


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