Autistic parenthood: mental load burnout

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People tell you a lot about parenting but what they never explain is just how much mental load it takes up: all of it.

As an Autistic, Attention Hyperactive person I struggle a lot with mental load. I experience consistent executive dysfunction and I forget things easily. Then I am overly harsh with myself when I forget or have no energy to do things.

Having a baby has made my dysfunction, brain fog and memory issues so much worse as my brain just can’t keep up with it all.

My mental load before baby included: university study, leading two youth groups, keeping a house and running our families social schedule.

The load with the baby? All the tasks above and then all the day-to-day things which come with having a little one: feeding, changing, nap times and lots and lots of play time!

And the long term things which need to be tackled: weaning, sleep routines, encouraging walking and other developmental milestones, medical appointments, jabs, getting little man weighed and measured, nursery and the occasional play date!

I am also aware that the mental load is going to get much worse before it gets better: the appointments, sorting school, starting visits to the dentist, swimming lessons, being measured for his first shoes…

And a lot of these things need money, time and energy to do them. Money, time and energy I often don’t have.

Parenthood is the most ridiculous act of juggling known to humanity.

If I think about this all at once it becomes so overwhelming that I miss out on the here and now with my son.

So, I carry on with my diary, phone alarms, post it notes, wall calendar, reminders everywhere, because I know one day he’ll be looking after himself. And I’ll be craving for the time when I was looking after all our family, the time when he was still my little boy.

3 responses to “Autistic parenthood: mental load burnout”

  1. I was talking about this exact issue with my 8yo this morning. He got the short, sweet version, but the longer one is … my mental load has been way beyond my bandwidth for years, which shows in things like my standing in front of my locked house unable, sometimes, to suss out that what I was about to do was … unlock the door, ergo the keys in my hands.

    • Hey, I am so with you on this. I’ve been mulling through as best I can for years but I’ve had enough now, its effecting me so much. I suppose its just trying to find ways to help ourselves or get others to help but really hard to do when you’re in burnout.

  2. […] Sharing a home with my husband is the best but it’s constant work; gardening, house work, DIY and all the compromises which come from a long-term committed relationship. As the main caregiver of our baby I also take on most of his care including keeping on top of appointments, baby groups, nursery payments etc (see Autistic parenthood: Mental load burnout). […]

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