My family – life as a single SWAN parent

Life is hard for swan mummies and daddies but for swan siblings it’s even harder.

My daughter, Claire, who is 5, is my youngest and she is my swan. I have three older daughters and a son who has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder). I look after Claire and her brother jack 24/7 and I sometimes forget the implications it has on my older kids.

“Mummy can we go swimming?” Again it’s a no.

I’m not allowed in with three kids myself and being single I can’t magic a helper. Every day I hear myself saying, ‘no we can’t today maybe another day, I’m too busy.’ Every day brings fresh challenges: how do I split myself up to spend time with all my kids? How do others manage? I’ve no family near, no close friends any more.

My middle daughter is now playing up at anything and everything. I’m trying to get some time for just the two of us together but it’s so hard and if my youngest two do eventually fall asleep I’m dead on my feet by then. Social Workers have finally seen how hard it is for me and offered three hours a week respite for each of my two. Now, do I use it weekly? Do I save it up for a full day? One over night? I don’t know.

There is no one here to help or guide me.

I’m scared in case I make the wrong choices along the way, so it’s time to ask my older girls what they would like – a couple hours a week or a day every now and then that we can actually do something together as a family.

Thank you to SWAN UK, it’s my saviour through it all. Everyone is still there- strangers who I don’t know, yet they feel like family.

We’re always looking for stories – if you’d like to share yours get in touch: [email protected].

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