My Next Step….

I finished my psychology degree a few weeks ago and I feel so relieved to have a bit of normalcy back! Running my own business, studying full-time and trying to look after my family has been hard and has affected my emotional and physical health in so many ways- but I feel stronger as a result!

I completed my degree with The Open University, and to be honest, I do not think I could have managed to do everything else without having the flexibility of a distance learning course. I am very grateful for this opportunity and my graduation next month will be emotional to say the least!

I decided on my psychology career path a couple of years ago and now I am finally seeing it all come to fruition. I have gained the grade that I wanted and now have a role as an assistant psychologist. I am so excited to start my new role but equally apprehensive about full-time work out of the house while having children. Obviously, many women do this and manage, but I have had the luxury of working from home with my children for the last 8 years. This is going to be a shock to my system!!

How do other mothers manage? How does this work?! Will I continue to feel guilty?

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Autism awareness- Resilience in parenting

Today is Autism awareness day. Every year I feel compelled to write or share something on this day. Luckily for me I am now in employment where I can do my part to raise awareness and acceptance daily.

I will spend most of my day finishing the first draft of my dissertation which investigates resilience in parents of children with autism. The difficulties in raising a child with autism can affect parental functioning, yet resilience can positively influence outcomes for the child.

As a mother of a daughter with autism, it is so important to me to understand how she feels and to help her with coping mechanisms to navigate her way through this odd world. I want her to be herself and be happy and comfortable. If I cannot balance the difficulties with my own methods of coping, it will be hard for me to help her. Therefore resilience is key.

Only at this stage, 5 years after diagnosis, can I say I am confident in my resilience, but this resilience has been partly developed through support. You do not have to understand what a parent of a child with autism is going through or be one yourself to offer support. Just listening without judgement, empathising, being inclusive and positive and even offering a bit of respite if you can, goes a long way.

Mummy’s little helpers

I’ve really struggled with getting my children to tidy up and help with little things around the house. I’ve tried to think of ‘out of the box’ ways to motivate them.

I explained to them that their toys need to go back to their ‘houses’ and that if they don’t then they’ll feel like they don’t belong anywhere and no one wants to feel like that. That worked for about a week.

I had them label all of their toy boxes to help them with organisation. Again, worked for about a week.

I modelled and they just watched 😒

I showed the youngest a video of a monkey cleaning on You Tube. She now regularly cleans the kitchen table – I always knew she was a monkey 🐒

My husband, fed up of my moans and groans, bought them super girl costumes today. He told me to get them to wear them whenever I need them to help so they will feel good about what they are doing. I love love love this idea! I haven’t implemented it yet but I’m sure it will be a success!

What ‘out of the box’ ideas work for you?

Back to Uni….well I never went in the first place :/

One reason I have not blogged for so long is that I started a psychology degree in 2014. I have always been interested in psychology but never really considered it as a career. A lot of friends and family think that my interest comes from my experience of autism with my daughter but that is only part of it.

I have always been interested in why people do the things that they do and also mental disorders. How does the brain work, what happens when things go wrong? I have a broad interest and found myself reading books and googling psychological topics so I thought I might as well do a degree, right?

I did not go to university after college. It was not the right thing for me at the time and I do not regret that decision. I had a successful career in the travel industry and did not need a degree (and student debt) to achieve it. Now is the perfect time for me to continue education and I am loving it. I can apply life experience to my studies and I am working towards a clear(ish) goal.

I am now half way through my degree, literally wishing summer was over so I can start studying again. I have already chosen the PhD and university that I want to move onto afterwards and I am so excited! However the graduation gown is not very pretty 😦 lol