I am finding that I am not able to continue working. Now that I have two, maybe three children on the spectrum, I cannot seem to maintain my work schedule and all the therapy/family schedules. Has anyone else been forced to leave their job to take care of their autistic children? I know it is the right thing to do. My kids need me.
Financially, we already were having trouble, now with me leaving my job, things are just going to get worse. Does anyone have any advice from experience? Did any of you leave your job despite the financial constraints? And did you think it was the right decision?
It sucks when you are faced with the dilema of choosing what is best for your kids vs. what is best for your financial future. I think most Moms face this decision, it's just compounded for those of us with special needs kids. Jason and I are financially unstable too, one minor disaster away from completely being broke. I'd love to quit my job ( I think ) but financially it would spell complete disaster for us. Have you looked into SSI benefits for your spectrum kids? Might be an option, plus there are lots of programs out there to help low income families. I know that being an extremely prideful (read stubborn ) person myself how hard it is to reach out for help, but sometimes we just have to swallow it and admit we're treading water. How amazingly lucky your children are to have a mother who is willing to put it all on the line for them!!!Sounds like no matter what your family will be just fine.Good luck with your busy schedule and your big decision.
Hi Steph, due to what I believe was divine intervention, I decided to be a stay at home mom from the beginning, so I haven't worked since I was pregnant with Blake. (5 yrs. old/ autistic) I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart that I wouldn't want it any other way. There is no way I could possibly have a job and still do what I need to at home, but I bow down to the feet of the super moms who can. My advice would have to be:
Be prepared for some mild depression from lack of adult interaction and seclusion.
Be prepared for your children to push your nerves just a little too far.
Cut back on any bills that you can. DH and I cut off one of our cell phones and got a really cheap package, turn off all lights that aren't in use, keep our thermostat at 74 degrees even though I feel like blasting it on 65 degrees, we don't eat out, I pack dh's breakfasts and lunches for work so he doesn't have to buy them..........things like that REALLY add up to $$$$$savings.
NO I have absolutely NO regrets. I cherish being a stay at home mom and I know the kids love it too. My stepson is almost 11, then Blake, and I have a 9 month old son too. They're great. It is stressful sometimes, but what isn't? I hope I have helped some, feel free to ask me any questions, gotta run, baby's crying. Good luck with your decision.
I haven't gone back to work yet and it's a huge financial struggle. But It was worth to me I'd give up everything I gave up all over again because my son is doing terrific no amount of money is worth having my son being able to cope inthe world. I have started to look into work from home opportunities as Liam will be starting to go to pre-k in Sept for a full day program. You might consider that. I do agree that the lack of adult interaction can be a source of isolation but if I remember correctly your husband is very supportive so you'd be able to have a girl's night out every now and a again right?
I really appreciate all of your replies. I actually do work from home, which I thought would be great for staying at home. But the problem is that I'm working. My kids want my attention, and I'm sitting at the computer trying to concentrate as the four of them are destroying my house. I feel like a bad mom, because I can't get my work done and play with my kids at the same time. My company has huge assignments for me daily, and I struggle every day to get my assignment done by deadline. The dishes, laundry, house cleaning, etc. never get done, because I never have time. I mean, the kids get fed and cleaned, driven back and forth to camp, playdates, therapy, etc., but I don't have any time to just play with them. By the time I finish my work assignment, I crash. My husband does not get any of my time. I've recently heard that 80% of families with children on the spectrum end up in divorce. I think if I keep up at this pace, we just might.
Anyways, you guys are all wonderful support. Thank you. And, Liams Mom, working at home is harder than it sounds. It may work for you though if Liam is in school. Right now is summertime, so I'm finding it extra hard. And once school starts, I will still have two at home, and many therapists in and out all day. But it might work for you. I'm a medical coder, and lots of companies offer positions for medical coders at home. You could take classes over the Internet to train for it. Anyway, thank you all again.
mine is also a tale of financial woe. We had Liam ten months after we got married, and i taught Montessori the whole preganancy. It was okay, but I was on contract and it ended while I was on leave. So, when Liam was ten months old, I went to work doing private child care. I worked 10 hours a day, and the commute was terrible. We had a beautiful apartment in a lovely building, where I never got to spend any time, because I was always working. I got home at 7pm, and Liam went to bed at 8. The guilt wasn't worth anything. I was a zombie at work from the guilt. Then I got pregnant, and I couldn't do it anymore. When Liam was 2, I quit, and stayed home until the baby was 3 months old. We had to give up the apartment, and move into a 'cozy' 2 bedroom. Then, Autism happened. What do you do? Spend all day taking care of other people's children? I just wasn't an option. I got a part-time job working as a nanny for a great family in my neighbourhood. 6 kids. We don't have a car, and my husband works a lot of overtime. But, my son can speak in full sentances, because I'm here, with him. My kids are my job.
I don't regret anyhting. Sorry it was so long. As far as financial. I could suggest giving up your car if you live in the city. We deal with it. But, realistically, I would look into what you can get from the government. Here, there is an awful lot available to families with lower income. It just takes a while to get it.
it is better to quit your job than get fired all the timebecause of problems with your children. i got fired a couple of times due to having to call in when problems arose, now that he is almost 18 i am trying to go back to work and fund it diffucult finding a job due to my poor work history.
The last 4 almost 5 years have been a huge struggle but now that Liam is going into pre-k I'll have 6 blessed hours a day to work and start to get myself back on my feet and I have to say I'm looking forward to it. Like you said Steph it is really hard for a marriage to withstand Autism mine didn't of course there were already existing problems to begin with. In NY the programs are great Liam will be part of an integrated class and will receive his therapies during the course of the school day and he'll be bused there and back and it's free. So I just have to make through the rest of this summer and the burden lightens. Do they have any programs like that where you are? I know the summers are hard but is there not any type of programs that your kids can go to so you can have time to yourself. I know on top of everything else you have to do research. At this point going food shopping with out Liam feels like a vacation or a massage, or a frozen margarita crazy huh?
All I can tell you is from my experience going through a divorice with 3 special needs kids and NOT taking the time to be sure you are doing EVERYTHING possible to give your kids the best hope for the best most normal future possible are the 2 worst scenarios. My husband walked out, not being able to handle the stress of our 3 sick kids and me never being "there" for him. It was and still 4 years later is horrible emotionally and financially for all of us. I don,t recommend divorice. I haven't worked in 12 years and don't regret 1 minute of the time I have "been there" for my kids who are now all about 80% improved from Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, Bipolar, Anxiety and OCD. They actually have a chance at normal lives if we keep working at the therapies and medications that we started on at age 1 1/2 with my 2 boys and 5 with my daughter. I'm so proud of that even though I'm the poorest of all my friends, I figure I have the rest of my life to go back to work and make money. I would never have had those years back to "heal" my kids and would never have forgiven myself for not seeing what was possible! I have tried everything I could find! If you absolutely need to work and want to prevent divorce, GET A NANNY or au pair. You can't possible work the job you have and clean, cook, keep track of your healthy kids' needs, let alone autism and keep your husband happy! It just isn't possible. You can always hire someone to do laundry, clean, shop, watch the kids while you are working and cook for a while and see how it goes before you commit to quiting your job. Just take your time interviewing and check references to be sure it is someone trustworthy!
Thank you all for your advice. I talked with my company and was honest with them about how difficult things were right now. They suggested taking the family medical leave act for 12 weeks. They will continue to may their portion of our health insurance during that time, and I will pay my portion. Then at the end of 12 weeks if I decide not to come back I will need to make alternate arrangements for health insurance, but that gives me 12 weeks to decide for sure. They have been wonderful. They told me I could come back part time, perdiem, full time, or not at all. They said they would always have a job for me. I appreciate all your advice. I know that you cannot put a price on being there for your kids. I would trade all the money in the world to help my kids get better. I'm sure we all would. Thanks again for your advice.
Just wanted to add my two cents worth: I've always been a stay-at-home-mom and feel very blessed to be able to. It requires alot of creativity to make it on one income. (there was a time I was making my own baby wipes!) I shop the garage sales, thrift stores, etc. I envy those moms that seem to have it all-a job, "normal" kids, hubby, SUV, etc. But I know that we were given these special kids for a reason and that I need to nurture them and stay "on guard" with their problems. It is embarrassing being on food stamps and such. I always try to hide the card at the grocery store, but then I have to remind myself that this is what it is there for. I would never in a billion years have thought my life would be like this. I am so grateful to live in America where we have this help available. Best wishes!!
Just wanted to add, as far as your health insurance goes I'm in that field. You can by law go on COBRA if you end up leaving your job which means you keep the same inurance for up to 18 months and pay for it yourself. At that point if you still don't want to work you can convert to another policy pretty easily. Let me know if you need further information down the road. I'm so happy for you that you get to spend time with your kid on a trial basis and decide what commitment makes the most sense for you. Sounds like you work for an unusually nice company and that you are valued!