Meet Earth Monkeys: Entertaining with Autism!

When Sandy first asked if I’d like to be a guest contributor on her blog I thought she was joking because I openly refer to myself as the “Anti-Martha” (not by choice but by DNA.) I own one wine glass and I only bust my wrinkly, ragged table cloth out to cover the permanent maker and glitter glue that covers our dining table.

A little over two years ago our oldest son Sawyer was diagnosed with autism, a year later our middle son Thatcher was given the same diagnosis.

Autism can be a lonely place.

Sometimes friends pull away because they don’t know how to act or support your family. And sometimes (like in my case) as a mom of two special needs kids, it’s just easier not to put myself out there.  My kids are AMAZING and have taught me so much about compassion and truly cherishing small blessings. But there are many days when the meltdowns and “stemming” suck every ounce of energy from my body.

There are times when I am so exhausted and emotionally spent, that the last thing I would ever want to do is invite people over to witness our chaos.

Last June my friend and I started a mom’s blog called Earth Monkey Moms. We were getting ready to launch our company’s first line of eco-friendly baby accessories and we knew we wanted to do more than just sell cute bibs. We used the blog as a place to open up about our lives … the good, the bad and the crazy… something amazing happened.

Moms started sharing with us how much our transparency meant to them… how they had gone through similar things or shared the guilt we place on ourselves as mothers when we can’t manage to keep up the illusion that we have it all together.  As the months pass we’re still passionate about encouraging other moms to stop pretending to be something they’re not… to stop thinking that we have to have it all together and to truly celebrate the women God made us to be.

It’s been through this journey that I have realized that we stopped entertaining when I got tired. Tired of the work, tired of pretending I had it all together and tired of feeling judged by people who didn’t understand how autism has taken over our lives. Reading Sandy’s blog and book has really inspired me to feel safe inviting the people we love most into our chaos once again. It’s helped me realize that it doesn’t matter if I only own one real glass and 1,700 plastic kids’ cups, and it doesn’t matter if there’s a pile of clean laundry on the couch or a stack (well let’s be honest… a mountain) of dishes in my sink.

The key to entertaining is inviting people you really want to share your life with.

Special needs kids or not, I know I’m not alone in feeling the pressure of needing to make it look like I have it all together. If you’re tired of pretending or just want a place to read and laugh and feel at home, visit our blog anytime, and feel free to stop by our website if you’re looking for unique, affordable eco-friendly bibs, pacifier holders and changing pads. We’d love to get to know you!

Do you know  families with special needs kids, and have you supported or invited them over for dinner?

(I’m so happy to have Lindsay on board as a sponsor of RE. I really wanted her to write this post and explain their site and what EM is about. I didn’t feel I could do “it” justice. I am so proud of Lindsay and her partner. If you’re a young Mom, and you like what you read here, or you know who could benefit from Earth Monkey’s, would you share their site and the Earth Monkey love? Thanks for being here today, Lindsay! Facebook: Earth Monkeys Twitter: @EarthMonkeys)

12 comments on “Meet Earth Monkeys: Entertaining with Autism!”

  1. I SO need to read this today. Amazing how God works through blog posts, directing my heart to exactly what I need to hear. Thank you!

  2. I was wondering if i can post your blog on mine. I know a lot of people needing this support, and as for myself I love your blog, and it helped me a lot. please send me an email if it is ok. thanks

  3. Thank you both, Sandy for allowing her the opportunity, and Lindsay for writing! I have a son with autism and when he was first diagnosed, my husband and I thought that we shouldn’t make him uncomfortable by being around large groups of people – like family parties and having people over. His parents emphatically told us that we could NOT allow that and made it clear to us that they didn’t care about his reaction and we could get through this. I am so thankful they did….that was nearly 9 years ago – he is now almost 12 – and HE is the most amazing boy. We have a LOT of people over – like several times a week I have kids and parents over. I’m a piano teacher and loads of kids are here with their siblings. We have a big yard and we have all kinds of church functions here. And do you know who does the most work in helping prepare for it {beside Mom}? Our son does….he LOVES having all the kids here now. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we had given in to our first thoughts of quietly existing. He has learned to serve others, minister to others, despite his uncomfort {which now I don’t think he even is uncomfortable at all}. Wonderful!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  4. I still remember the day when one of my closest friends came over un-announced and my house looked like a tornado had just busted through… she didn’t really seemed phased and it’s freeing now to not have to kill myself to get our house looking presentable when she comes over… I love the last line in your post!!:):)

  5. What a beautiful post! I have a few friends who have children with autism (they live further away from me though), but I also know others with children who are special need and while distance and time prevent us from having them over or us over to their houses, I wouldn’t hesitate to invite them over and I think they are comfortable enough with us to have us over. It just doesn’t matter to me. They are as deserving of all the love, kindness and hospitality I can give as the next person.

    One friend from Cali, just came out with her first e-book called Deception of Disease ( Chronicling her family’s journey when both their daughters were diagnosed with autism.

    I can’t wait to head over to your blog and check it out.

  6. Great thoughts here! Our youngest son (now 9) also has autism and was diagnosed when he was under 3. The early years were toughest but now we can entertain a lot more easily. If there are a lot of kids, he usually does well for quite awhile but then likes to “escape” to our room for a little while to read or watch tv alone. We’re OK with that because we know how hard he works to play with the other kids for awhile. The families we invite all understand about differences and we rarely have issues – everyone loves him so that helps!

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  8. wonderful, wonderful, post. I’m tired of excuses from people. And in myself. You have shared how gracefully you have just been real and authentic. And that is such a huge part of hospitality!!!

  9. This is so true – and inspiring. Forget the laundry, the dirty dishes, and focus on the friendship. Last Friday night our neighbor (and friend) stopped by a little before 7 to see if we wanted to caravan to dinner – I was still working, on the phone, laundry was indeed on the couch (always) and yes, dishes piled up in the sink. I just looked at her and said “we ARE past the point in our friendship where this matters, right??” :D

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