The selection criteria for our Mum of the Month is very straightforward – who came up with the most thought provoking little thing that they do to contribute to their family’s health. With Lesley it was to do silly little things with her four boys with autism so they know life should be enjoyed.
When we learnt more about Lesley we realised what a selfless, buy more about inspiring example she is of a mother devoted to her children. Here’s her story.
The not-so-single life
Lesley didn’t expect she’d ever be a single mum. Now she’s realised that bringing up children is something she’s very good at. It’s just as well, healing with her life devoted to three young boys and an infant foster child, approved all with autism.
Lesley is convinced, with support, love and therapy, her children will be able to live independent lives as adults, but it’s taken a lot of work. “I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in 11 years,” she says. “As a mother to children with special needs I’m often woken during the night. I have lost count of the number of nights I have slept in chairs beside hospital beds, or held sick kids in my arms for an entire night”.
Giving up so much
The journey has not been without sacrifices, one being Lesley’s home. When her foster son was diagnosed with a medical condition that required constant attention, she had to leave her job, abandon her mortgage and move into rented accommodation. “I found it difficult to not have my own place but I was not going to turn away a child already in my care because of his health needs.”
Less of a concern was eight years spent without television. Autistic children tend to watch the same thing over and over, so any viewing time was restricted to endless reruns of the same DVDs. But Lesley says she didn’t miss it. She gets a lot more done without spending evenings glued to the TV set.
Of course, the sacrifices are far outweighed by the rewards. Lesley loves her boys, is proud of them and enjoys spending time with them. And life is getting easier. Children with autism tend to follow very restricted diets, but they’re now willing to try new tastes and textures. For Lesley that means more wholesome and nutritious food options. Day trips are also much easier and she’ll be making the most out of that this year.
She’s also hoping to return to work and raise the money to buy a hobby farm. “I would like to be able to grow our own food and have pet chickens, ducks and goats. The boys all have a list of animals and plants they would like to have,” says Lesley. “One of my boys really wants a Mango tree of his own and everyone wants a puppy”.
We’ve got no doubt that her children have a bright future. The care of a loving mum goes a long way to ensuring that you grow up to be an empathetic, balanced individual. Lesley’s kids might have had their fair share of medical problems, but it sounds like they couldn’t have picked a better mum. And we couldn’t have picked a better Mum of the Month.