Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Is How I Do It: Sunday of Extreme Parenthood


This is the fourth guest post in a series called "This Is How I Do It" that features stellar bloggers who have kids with special needs. They're giving the rest of us the scoop on how they keep it all together (and keep their sense of humor).

Blogger: Sunday Stilwell of Extreme Parenthood

Her kids: Sam, 8, and Noah, 6, who have autism

My three secrets to maintaining some semblance of sanity are...

First of all to remember that God has a plan for my my sons. At times I may feel like I can't see the forest through the trees but I know without a doubt that God can. On my toughest days I lean heavily on my faith and rest in God's promises. Secondly I try to always find a way to laugh about everything...the good and the bad. Life is way too serious on it's own to lower myself to it's level and get off track. And finally I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that some nights a couple glasses of red wine after the boys are asleep is just what this Mama needs to relax and unwind from the day.

One way I am able to relax (actually really, really relax) is...

Knowing that every other weekend the boys go to their dad's house. On those weekends my husband and I are able to reconnect as a couple, go out to dinner, and do the shopping and other errands we can't do with the boys. But my most favorite way to relax is to wrap up in a warm blanket and take a nap in the afternoon.

When I get bummed out about something related to the kids, one thing that gives me a lift is...

Venting my frustrations on Twitter. I know without a doubt that no matter how angry or sad I may be about a situation there are no less than a dozen other parents with special needs children who can empathize and relate to what I am feeling. The #autism and #specialneeds hashtags truly are my go-to support system.

If it weren’t for [fill in the blank], I am not sure I would be able to get through the day.

My husband, Mike. When I married for the second time I married for all the right reasons. I married a man who makes me go weak in the knees when he kisses me, at least once a day he makes me laugh so hard I snort my coffee, and most of all he loves my boys like they are his own. He and my younger son, Noah, have an especially close relationship and it warms my heart to see them play together.
The way my husband and I split up responsibilities for caring the boys is to just jump in when the other needs help. I am a stay at home mom and during the school year the boys are at school for 7 hours a day. During that time I recharge and do all the household duties while Mike is away at work. When Mike gets home he needs the time to unwind and decompress so I try to take care of the boys to give him that opportunity. After dinner we both do a bit of this and that to help each other out. If one of us feels stressed or overwhelmed the other is there to take over.

The way I deal if strangers stare at my boys or say something is...

To inform them that my boys have autism and that the behavior they are witnessing is normal for their diagnoses. However, I would be lying if there weren't times when someone has been especially ignorant and or rude that I haven't snapped, "My kids are autistic, what's your excuse?!"

One therapy technique I recently learned from my sons' occupational therapist is...

To buy a tabletop easel to help strengthen their arm and hand muscles. Both of my sons have very low muscle tone and therefore struggle with manipulating a writing utensil. Noah loves to write and color so a tabletop easel was right up his alley!

One great site I’ve found lots of good ideas on is...

Pinterest. Believe it or not Pinterest is not just for recipes, funny pictures, and do it yourself craft projects! One company in particular is Pedia Staff. Their Pinterest boards are full of therapy ideas, articles about special needs, and product recommendations. I especially like the PECS (picture exchange communication system) ideas.

I rock because...

Of my kids. Before I had my boys I was a doormat. I didn't know how to stand up for what I believed in and I just followed the crowd when it came time to make a decision. Today I am constantly pushing the envelope, fighting for what I believe in, and striving to make a difference for others. My boys gave me that power and that drive to never back down. I owe it to them to pay it forward.


  1. Than you Ellen for hosting this guest post and thank you EP for your honesty. It rang a few bells especially with your need for "me" time and in dealing with others. I'll look at the pinterest site you featured too.

  2. Another excellent guest post, Ellen!

    Thank you, Sunday, for sharing - you provided me a few helpful pointers to me also.


  3. Thank you Ellen for including the Trouble Brothers and myself in your series this week.
    We hope you're having a great time getting some much needed R&R with the family on vacation!

  4. Thanks for your post!

    Like you, I'm convinced that God has a plan for our son Noah and I can't wait to see how God unfolds it.

    In the meantime we are telling his story to the world on our website, by dong a DAILY (yes, daily!) video of his life. We hope by doing this we'll give the world a window into the life of a family raising a child born with Down syndrome.

    One of our prayers is that the world can see people who are born with any kind of disability as fully valued, and loved by God.

    Thanks for being a loving mom!

  5. Great guest post Ellen and Sunday! Thanks for the tip on pinterest. Must follow!!

  6. Thank you Ellen for allowing Sunday to guest post and Sunday you are enough for your boys all they need to know is that you love them regardless of the fact that they have autism.


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...