In search of respite – Jacqui’s story

I live with my two sons: 16 and 10. My 10 year old is autistic and not able to meaningfully participate in school with Covid so I’m home schooling. And working full time as an academic. I’ve hired two wonderful respite workers to work on reading, math and socialisation skills with my 10yo and my mom takes him 4 hours in the afternoon. I’m a single mom, and my youngest goes to his dad’s on the weekend. My workweek has shifted to include the weekend, though I try to spend meaningful time with my oldest during those days because he tends to get overlooked because of his younger brother’s additional needs.

I do 95% of the housework with my oldest taking care of the kids’ bathroom and doing his own laundry and dishes. He also hoovers occasionally. Although I feel exhausted most of the time, I’m grateful that my work allows for flexibility. If I had the financial means, I’d hire two more respite workers (who are students at the local college) for my son’s education and a cleaning service for my home. I try to get out for a walk or coffee with a friend once per week. What I miss most, being a single mom during Covid, is hugs from friends and quick informal chats at the office. It sounds juvenile, but I do miss being cared for in that way.

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