I like to work late at night and be alone with my thoughts. Work on paperwork, read, and plan. I also have a habit of playing either old country music or The New Adventures of Old Christine in the background, too: Tonight Christine was complaining to Barb: “Angela is trying to take my son away from me” “You mean Angela the nanny who doesn’t exist? Wasn’t Angela the name of your imaginary neighbor who was stealing your mail? And isn’t Angela also your mom’s name?” And I was laughing hysterically at that because my ex’s new wife happens to be Angela, and that’s what makes it hilarious. She and I will both tell you that we have had many “moments”. The good news is that we get along (a little) better now. For instance after my kid’s last outburst, I called her and gave her my full permission to discipline him. (And I meant it.)
When I had a hard time last week I was able to talk to moms of kids with AU. One of my friends told me: “You’re crazy. There are other autism moms who are doing a lot but I don’t know another one who decided to take on law school. And when your kid’s a TEEN AND being divorced and dealing with the ex? And it’s not like your kid is like some others–he needs support to be more functioning!”
So how does this divorced-and-now-remarried-mom-to-a-teen-with-autism-who’s-going-to-law-school do things? Here’s how:
- I’m an obsessive person. The key has been to channel those tendencies toward my goals. If I don’t, I will get obsessive about the wrong things.
- I listen to law lectures while driving and walking around all day.
- I test myself on legal rules by handwriting them and typing them constantly.
- I type model legal essays out constantly: after I answer one on my own, I print model essays out and type them out to see a point of law I missed or how I could have made an argument differently.
- I read constantly and use mobile things like Onenote to capture my thoughts wherever I am.
- I talk to clients on weekends and late at night and (if they are in another zip code) at ungodly hours of the morning, and am usually available for them via text.
- To that end, my clients are repeat clients (kids are growing up, needs change, schools change, etc.) or are case/file reviews which are heavy on paperwork but less on meetings. This is a necessity until I finish law school.
- This weekend, I cooked 22 meals for my son and husband and froze them all: tilapia, meatloaf, beans, rice, taquitos, salsa, dip…food is mostly done.
- When my son’s attendant called in yesterday, I made him cut coupons for me and vacuum my floors (who said childhood is all fun and games?).
- When he threw a fit on me and I had to cancel our dinner out with my friend (sorry, Marisabel), I called his dad for help (My name is not Martyr).
- I make my son’s “chores” things I need to have done for the house: today that was walking to the farmer’s market 2 blocks away with his ABA trainer and attendant (God, I love California!) and buying the house veggies for juicing and meals.
- Because I’m so time-limited, I spend every spare minute I have with my husband. Today that was opening a special needs account for my boy and having lunch at Von’s. Yeah, totally hot, I know.
- I have a husband who’s an enigma and I love that about him and it he gives me a LOT of energy (in some ways I can’t post here, sorry 😉 ). He’s forward-thinking and in some ways he’s not. Part of my attraction to him is that he’s constantly evaluating himself and that was one of my wishes when I was dating: to find someone WILLING to put energy and work into themselves. Hard to explain that, but if you’ve ever been in a stagnant marriage/relationship, you get it. I never expected perfection, just wanted someone to always want to be a better version of themselves, and I like getting to see that in him.
- I plan constantly. Call my husband to plan things out. Send him emails. Call my EX-husband to plan things out. Send emails. Write out lists, charts, flowcharts. Do it in apps, Word, Evernote, paper, and so on. Plan some more.
- I do the same with my classmates for study sessions or homework. (And yes, it’s gotten so that my professors call me and ask me what they said in class.)
- Try to keep house but accept that I am lousy at it and that’s okay.
- I nap constantly: close doors and go to sleep, Under a desk if necessary. (I recommend a sleep mask, it’s better.)
That’s really it.