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    A Mother's Day Tribute to Autism Moms

    Topics: Parents

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    A tribute to all mothers, but especially the autism mothers

    Most every mom looks forward to that one day of the year when they may get to sleep in, eat breakfast in bed, receive lovely cards and flowers from their spouse and children, have dishes and laundry done for them, and above all, enjoy a much-needed break in appreciation of the amazing, full-time job of mothering they do every single day of the year.

    No, let me correct that: A recent study revealed that motherhood is not just a full-time job, but equivalent to about 2.5 full-time jobs. *

    A survey of 2,000 American moms of children aged five to 12, which analyzed the moms' weekly schedules, revealed that the average mom starts working at 6:23 a.m., ends her day at 8:31 p.m., and has 1.7 hours of free time during that shift, the equivalent of a coffee and lunch break.

    The reaction of one mom to this analysis? “A 14-hour workday? With a nearly two-hour break? Where do I send my resume for that job? Average Mom is a slacker!” Ha!

    child with autism clapping and repeating pattern with his mother

    The average mom’s working hours are filled with never ending tasks and to-do lists. Just during an average morning alone, a mother has to remember up to 26 tasks, including such things as making sure that the kids…

    • brushed their teeth
    • brushed their hair
    • are wearing clean clothes
    • are getting off to school on time
    • remembered their lunches or lunch money
    • took a drink to school 
    • ate their breakfast
    • are wearing their jackets or rain gear, if needed
    • have their signed permission slips
    • have their homework in their bag
    • didn’t forget their backpack
    • made sure their phones are charged

    And yes, there’s more!

    In addition to that 14-hour workday, demands on a mom’s time before 6:30 am and after 8:30 pm are more the norm than the exception. A sick child wakes up at night, a teenager forgot to do her science project and needs your help with it after hours, and the list goes on. I should know as a mother of six. 

    Add to this the care of a “special needs child.” Now, those moms, or grandmothers and caregivers for that matter, really deserve our admiration and appreciation. Again, I should know, as I raised a grandson with a diffability for the first six years of his life and again now during his teenage years. 

    I also often speak with mothers after the autism workshops I conduct for parents, caregivers, and educators of autistic children. They are always so appreciative of the general information and tips I provide, but they all have similar questions when they approach me afterward for “just a minute of my time.” 

    Affectionate mother helping her daughter prepare the breakfast in the kitchen“How do I get my young son to eat something different than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I am worried he’s not getting the nutrition he needs.” “My child won’t sleep! He’s up almost all night every night. I am so exhausted. Do you have any tips?” “My daughter does not want to wear long sleeves, even when it’s freezing outside. It takes hours to get her properly dressed in clothes she will tolerate. How can I get her to dress in appropriate clothes for the season?” “My teenager gets upset at school when his routine suddenly changes. I get called often to pick him up because he’s so distraught. How can I make his teachers understand his needs better?” “Johnny’s siblings are jealous of all the extra attention he gets because he’s autistic. How can I make sure my other children know that they are not less important than their autistic brother?” 

    In addition to this, mothers of children with disabilities often have to take on ignorance in the form of family members, bullies, teachers, and sometimes even people in the check-out line who don’t understand why their child behaves differently. They bravely take on the additional job of being an advocate and educator, to protect their children from being hurt, and to make sure they receive the appropriate care and education they need and deserve. 

    Yes, all moms are heroes and deserve a day off where they are spoiled and appreciated for the amazing job they do. But let’s take a moment here to appreciate the warrior moms who have the added challenge of raising a child with a diffability:

    Thank you, moms, for your ability to get down to your child’s level and see the world through your child’s eyes. For holding on and learning all you can about your child’s needs, so you will understand them and instill in them your own belief that while they are different, they’re not less. 

    Thank you for always being there, and for moving ahead no matter how bleak the future looks or how many obstacles are in your way. For fighting for your child and the next one, so they will be able to live up to their full potential, and show the world they can make meaningful contributions if given acceptance and the opportunity. 

    mothers day card child with autismThank you, moms, for never stopping, not even on Mother’s Day, to provide the special care your child needs. 

    You may not get a whole day off, or get to enjoy the traditional Mother’s Day perks, but I truly hope those around you will recognize your need for some respite from the everyday demands that are placed on you, and that those moments of rest will rejuvenate you and renew your strength for the next day, and the next. 

    And most of all, may your Mother’s Day be sprinkled with those special moments that clearly show that your unwavering care is making a difference in the life of your child. It truly is, and you are awesome!


    Happy Mother’s Day!


    We hope you enjoyed the information in this article. STAGES also offers free downloadable resources to support teaching and learning with individuals with autism. Start with our free Picture Noun Cards and see our collection of other downloadable resources here!


    Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan

    Written by Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan

    Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan is an author, public speaker, and Certified Autism Resource Specialist from the Netherlands. After working abroad as a teacher and humanitarian for 25 years, she moved to the US in 2006 and assumed the care of her then 6-month-old grandson, Logan. There were signs of autism at an early age, and the diagnosis became official in 2009. She has been his advocate and passionate about promoting autism awareness and acceptance ever since. Logan is the inspiration behind the Autism Is...? (tinyurl.com/5aj73ydd) series of children’s books she initially wrote for him and later published. Ymkje currently lives in California with her now 15-year-old grandson, and besides writing, presents autism training workshops for early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers. You can read more about her story in her newly released book, Autism on a Shoestring Budget, [Early] Intervention Made Easier (https://tinyurl.com/ysxhxbmf). For more information, you can visit www.autism-is.com, www.facebook.com/AutismIs, and/or contact her at autismisbooks@gmail.com.