Living Unapologetically: Beyond Bitterness

Let's face it – none of us signed up for this. Our parenting path took a detour we never anticipated, and it's completely okay to feel a mix of emotions about it. The dreams, plans, and expectations you once had may seem like distant memories, and the constant wish for a "normal" life can be overwhelming. It's okay to feel that way; it's okay to grieve the life you thought you'd have.

I get it. I've been there too.

But here's the twist– in our autism parenting journey, normal takes on a whole new meaning.  What is normal, anyway? 

An autism diagnosis doesn’t rewrite your child’s story; it simply adds new chapters full of possibility. 

Today, I want to share a perspective shift that transformed my outlook, and I hope it does the same for you.

"When you get to the end of your life, you won't wish you'd grieved more or worried more or lived in fear more, you'd wish you had been more courageous."

Think about that for a moment. How often do we find ourselves getting caught up in grief, fear, and wishing for a different reality?

What if, instead, you embraced courage? What if you faced each day with the bravery to navigate the unique challenges our children present?

"When you get to the end of your life, you won't wish you had allowed people who don't matter to matter, you'll wish you'd been more confident and changed your perspective to embrace this journey."

It's easy to get bogged down by the opinions of others, societal expectations, and the comparison game.  Let me remind you of the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  As parents, we must believe him and keep this quote front of mind as we parent children who aren’t on a typical timeline. 

But let me tell you, confidence is a game-changer.

Confidence in your abilities as a mom, confidence in your child's unique journey, and confidence in your own resilience. Let's stop letting those who don't matter dictate our happiness and instead, let's focus on being confidently present in our own lives.

"When you get to the end of your life, you won't wish you had carried around more bitterness or envy, you'll wish you'd lived being more present in all the moments where you were distracted by the future."

Life with autism can be uncertain, and it's tempting to let bitterness and envy take hold. But what if you flipped the script? What if you embraced the uncertainty and found joy in the present moment? Our kids have an incredible ability to teach us about living in the now – let's follow their lead.

In the end, this journey you're on is uniquely yours. It may not be what you planned, but it's yours to live fully and courageously.  I encourage you to embrace it, find joy in the small victories, and celebrate the incredible children we are privileged to raise.

Remember, when you get to the end of your life, you won't wish you had worried more. You'll wish you had been more present in the moments that matter.

To all the moms feeling stuck in wishing, hoping, and dreaming for a different life – you are more than enough.  Your children are extraordinary and so are YOU. 

When we get to the end of our lives, let's look back with pride, knowing that we lived courageously, embraced every moment, and showed up with confidence in the face of uncertainty.

Your confidence can change not only your perspective but also the way the world sees and understands autism.  As we continue this journey together, let's choose courage over fear, presence over distraction, and above all, let's celebrate the amazing moms that we are.

You've got this, and I'm here cheering you on every step of the way.

This was written by Shannon Urquiola, Not Your Average Autism Mom

Shannon shares her lived experiences in hopes of creating a more inclusive world for our children and adults on the spectrum. 

Our mission is to equip families with resources, training, coaching, and community support. We believe if you are willing to expose yourself, your child, and your family to the world with kindness and honesty that compassion and understanding will follow.

She presents to organizations and businesses in person and virtually.

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