Meet MommyQ: Navigating the Wild World of Motherhood

Who is MommyQ? My two-year-old blog, MommyQ, is fueled by coffee and cynicism. I like to call it a parenting blog with a dash of celebrity gossip and a sprinkle of fashion advice. Over the years, MommyQ, has become my aspirational, online persona and she is all about eye-candy, fun and functionality. MommyQ might buy a pair of pair of $300 Tory Burch clogs, but I probably wouldn’t. 😉 In today’s economy where many folks are trying to help other families find deals and cut costs, I blog about upscale bathing suits for toddlers or the cool baby clothes Sandra Bullock bought for Louis. My blog is supposed to be a departure from reality in many ways – yet still honest & helpful – because life as a mother is stressful enough.

Who is the real MommyQ? I’m the quintessential mom balancing work and life and buying lots of stuff along the way. I’m an English major with an affinity for marketing and writing. I’ve always aspired to be a professional writer, but nothing motivated me enough to pursue that dream. All of that changed after I became a mother. Who knew having children could change you so completely.

Suddenly, I had endless amounts of thoughts, musings and experiences that I was truly passionate about and an engaged audience who shared my journey. I’m a self-taught WordPress junkie and social media guru, so my entry into the mom blogosphere in 2008 was a bit rocky. After a few weeks, I was hooked. I’ve been blogging, tweeting and trying to figure out the dreaded Google algorithm ever since.

Mere months before I started blogging, we got a devastating autism diagnosis for my oldest son who was three at the time. I harnessed my emotions and decided to blog about it a few months later. I cried through the entire post, but I wrote it and it was beautiful. At that moment, I realized how much my experience raising and Autism Spectrum Disorder child might help other parents struggling with the same situation. The reality of autism is not easy to talk about, so I don’t write about most of the time. When I feel strong enough to discuss it, I write a heartfelt post and hope others will gain inspiration from it.

There’s something unbelievably amazing about being a mom blogger. No matter where you are in your life, you’re always connected. It will be my legacy to my children, even if I have to beg, borrow and steal for it. I’m entering a very exciting phase of my life as a blogger because promising things are happening. It’s a huge balancing act, but it’s totally worth it. Besides there’s always Botox to help ease the permanent stress lines. As soon as my youngest is out of diapers, maybe I’ll be able to afford it. 😉

Light It Up Blue For Our ‘Distracted Ducks’

Tomorrow my family will be wearing blue – will PROUDLY be wearing blue. Myself, my husband and our two children will help promote the incredible, international, Light It Up Blue campaign that kicks off World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.

Iconic landmarks around the globe – including the Empire State Building in New York City and Willis Tower in Chicago along with the CN Tower in Toronto and Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia – as well as airports, bridges, museums, concert halls, restaurants, and retail stores, are among more than 100 structures in over 16 U.S. cities and nine countries around the world that will light up in bright blue tonight.

As the parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I cannot express how much this campaign means to me personally. I would wear blue every day of the year if it would help promote autism awareness! To me, the reason autism is so tricky is because we get a diagnosis of it and advice about  improving it, but we get nothing solid about what it means for the future.  People ask me how we deal with it and I always explain we take it one day at a time. If we sat around and worried about what the future may hold, we’d drive ourselves crazy.

On the bright side, things like speech therapy, OT therapy, family support, patient parents and loving teachers make it all better. Our autistic children make huge strides forward every single minute of the day. My heart goes out to the undiagnosed children who are struggling, the families who can’t afford the help they need and the “distracted ducks” that are living in an odd, isolated world.

Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, is launching this campaign. Since its inception only five short years ago, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $142.5 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families through 2014. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

What can you do? How can you make a difference? Wear blue with pride tomorrow. 🙂

Read more about MommyQ’s life with autistic child:

– Living with Autism Diagnosis: One Year Later

– Autism Rides Off Into The Sunset

Sandra Bullock Stays True to Herself in SUCCESS Magazine

I’m thrilled to see Sandra Bullock in the next issue of SUCCESS Magazine, available April 6th.  If you haven’t heard of SUCCESS, it’s a magazine that brings you the thought leaders and success experts, both past and present, and reveals their key ideas and strategies to help you excel in every area of your personal and professional life.

In the May issue, the Oscar-winning actress reveals that before she was one of Hollywood’s leading ladies she was picked on as a child by her classmates for a speech impediment. Can you believe that? It was her mother who encouraged her to embrace her uniqueness, “Uniqueness is something my mother pounded into me,” says Bullock. “I’ve made peace with the fact that the things that I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me, and I like them.”

As the mom of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, knowing someone as talented as Sandra Bullock had obstacles to overcome as a child gives me more hope for my own son. It helps me remember things may seem insurmountable at the moment, but in time they will just be memories. I hope we all provide our children with the ability to embrace their uniqueness.

The article is uplifting and honest, a great read for parents. Bullock’s advice for little girls? “Don’t change. Be who you are.”

Image: SUCCESS Magazine

Get more celebrity scoop from MommyQ!

Living With Autism Diagnosis: One Year Later

MommyQ is about to reach an important milestone in her mommy life. It has been almost one year since I first blogged about my son’s autism diagnosis. My first post about his diagnosis, Autism Means My Son Is Happy When He’s Flappy, was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever written. Yes, it was even harder than all of my college research papers and I was an English major, so there were plenty of those.

It is not just an important anniversary for me, but for my entire family. As for my son, he’s doing swimmingly. Literally! This summer he started taking private swimming lessons and it’s as if he was born to swim. His long, lean body glides through the water with grace and ease. His instructor is constantly amazed at his natural aptitude for it. We have to keep a very close eye on him because he thinks he can do anything in the water, which is good and bad. It will be exciting to see how well he does next summer.

His communication skills have improved so much over the past year. He asks for what he wants, identifies his feelings, interacts with others and asks about his surroundings. Thanks to my mother’s influence, he has exceptional manners too. He has fully mastered potty training with not even one accident! He and his little brother are the best of friends and play wonderfully together. He has developed a terrific sense of humor and can be quite the entertainer at times. We couldn’t be more proud.

While we are thankful for all of his accomplishments, living with autism is not easy. I still find myself wondering if he was born normal and a vaccine changed him forever.  I feel frustrated when I can’t understand him and I feel sad when I realize I may never see the world as he sees it. Thinking about the future and whether or not he’ll be fully independent one day, is too much to handle. The day a teacher, classmate or friend makes him feel inferior in any way haunts me. My brain reminds me, “One day at a time. Take it one day at a time.” My son’s smiling face and big hugs speak volumes. Tomorrow is a new day!

If you’d like to read my previous posts about autism, you can find the links below or just click on “Advocate Mommy” for all posts:

-Autism Rides Off Into The Sunset
-Swallow Your Pride: Get Your Toddler Speech Therapy

Walk for Autism and Wubbzy

autism-banner

If you’re a MommyQ blog fan, you know I have a young child with autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder). As a result, my whole family is dedicated to promoting awareness. MommyQ’s lil sis, Ms. Chatterly, will be participating in the Walk Now for Autism event in Denver, CO.

wubbster

She is currently gathering recruits to form the most elite walking group ever created, Team Wubbzy. Yes, that funny one-of-a-kind yellow marshmallow-shaped dude, also known as Wub-Z, is the guy who is gonna bring all of this together. Visit Team Wubbzy’s page to donate to this important organization.  We’re hoping to raise $250! Help us reach this goal.

Autism Rides Off Into The Sunset

Last night my 4-year-old son rode a bike. It probably doesn’t sound like a huge accomplishment to most parents, but it was a pretty special moment for us.

This time last year my son wouldn’t touch a bike. He hated all moving things – swings, tricycles, scooters, wagons, etc. We just thought he was scared, but it turns out most kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have balance problems resulting in motion aversions. It doesn’t feel right and they don’t fully understand what’s happening. Our OT therapist explained it to us as an uncomfortable feeling – like an itch you can’t scratch. ASD kids also have trouble with activities that require sequencing of little events like getting dressed, potty training or riding a bike.

My husband got home from work early yesterday, so we took the kiddos for a stroll. And a certain someone got to ride his bike. He can pedal and steer and stays on the road, although he thinks off-roading is much more fun. Watching him ride his shiny red Lightening McQueen bike (with training wheels that look like tires) and even steer it without any help, was kind of like watching autism pedal out of our lives.

Sure, he needed help from his daddy along the way when he would start going fast downhill and couldn’t quite figure out the brakes. From my perspective, he was just a normal kid riding his bike and were just a normal family enjoying a beautiful evening. These are the small triumphs that give us hope. We look forward to many more.

Who is Watching Over Our Autistic Children?

I like to end my weeks on a positive note for my readers, but that’s not going to happen today. I just read an article about Isabel Loeffler, an eight-year-old autistic girl who spent three hours isolated in a glorified closet, a “time out” room, at school. Read the full story here.

There’s also this story about Jose Gabriel, a three-year-old autistic boy who was left alone on a school bus for more than six hours. He evidently rode the bus to school and was still sitting in the back of the bus when the school day ended – scared, weak and sweating – six hours later. The bus matron was supposed to look after him.

And then there was the heartbreaking story about Alex Barton. In May 2008, his teacher kicked him out of his class saying he was “voted out” by a 14-2 margin. Alex’s classmates also told him why they didn’t like him and his teacher thought that was appropriate.

As the parent of an autistic child I am not only outraged and disgusted by these events, but also deeply saddened. Any parent with an autistic child knows the severe emotional damage these types of events cause. Autistic children are already isolated enough. Putting them in “time out” rooms, neglecting them on the bus and voting them out is EVERY PARENT’S WORST NIGHTMARE. Any one of these things can set an autistic child back for a long long time, obliterating every tiny step forward.

If a perfectly normal high-functioning child were to endure one of these horrible situations, it would scare them, hurt them, emotional scar them, etc. And they understand the world around them. So imagine how much worse it is for a child who doesn’t understand the world around them. Who doesn’t know how to communicate. Who doesn’t know how to speak up. Not to mention these children are BABIES, especially the two boys under five. Who treats young children with such disrespect and cruelty? It is despicable.

We send our ‘distracted ducks’ to school, hoping the teachers and adults in their lives will reach out, understand, protect, embrace and help them. Build their confidence. Encourage their growth. Fuel their spirit. Instead some are emotionally abused, neglected, ostracized, belittled and shattered.

I feel extremely blessed to have outstanding teachers, therapists, relatives and friends in our lives who love my son as much as we do. To Isabel Loeffler, Jose Gabriel, Alex Barton and the parents who must endure and overcome difficult obstacles – I’m rooting for you all. I understand. And to the adults who use poor judgment and let us all down, how dare you.