I was reading a post on Facebook, just something about a seasonal craft and I decided to read the comments. A couple if things struck a chord with me in different ways.
The first thing that hit me is how creative we as women are. We can turn something simple into something wonderful, useful, purposeful and beautiful at the same time.
The second was how judgmental we can be with each other and more so with ourselves. We like to say things like: “Yeah, because you don’t have two kids nipping at your heels, you have the time to do that”; “Of course you would buy it, so much easier than making a mess all over your house”; “I could never do that, even with a step by step I would mess it up” WHY do we do this to ourselves?
If you are a parent of a kid with special needs you can do anything! Actually, you are already doing it. I can probably talk to you about your child’s disability or special medical needs and you will be able to give me a dissertation on the subject. Your child’s doctor is probably impressed or sighs every time he/she sees you because you come prepared with a list of questions, ideas, new treatments. therapies and options to try on your child.
Let’s go back to that simple craft, I want to ask you, when was the last time you did take a little time to yourself? I don’t mean make dinner by yourself, or take a 5 minute shower before the kids got up and hubby left for work. What about a hot meal, not warm, not lukewarm, hot. And how about bedtime, are you always the last one to go to bed? I know I am. After the dishwasher is running, the dryer is spinning, checking the doors and the lights, making sure the kids are tucked in, the meds have been done, clothes prepared for the next day, then I go to bed. Did you remember to take a couple of minutes to put on some lotion? Brush your hair, wash your face, breathe and be thankful for another day without complications? I know, you don’t have time. I didn’t either until I started to realize I have to be there, I can’t fail and I have to make sure I am strong.
There are a number of studies that show the correlation between being a parent of a child with special needs and depression. So what can we do? The first thing, like in any situation is know this can happen or is happening, identify it and do something about it. Talk to your doctor, ask them for a depression inventory. Ask them to help you identify if this is something that is happening to you. They might have some ideas for you. And please don’t be afraid of medication, therapy, or stigma, by now, we should be all over those feelings, we are Oh, that sounds so easy, but like they say on the airplane safety briefs “Put the mask on first before helping others”
You were not always the parent of this little one right? You were a person with likes, dislikes, hobbies, things you liked to do right? Why are you not doing any of those things anymore? I know, you don’t have time, right? But only you can make YOU happy, alive, and by recharging YOU, you will be able to the things you have to do. My dear friend from TitaniumAmy just invited me to do a 52 week photography challenge, we both enjoy this hobby and have been pretty busy to work on it, so we decided to do something about it. I know I want to get off the couch and do the things I like and enjoy doing. Like the teenagers say: “Get a life!” I would say: “Own your life!”
I know I suffered, and sometimes I still do, from the Only me syndrome. What does that mean? That I think that I am the only one that can do things for my kids. Wrong, not only can I do it, but sometimes my spouse can do them better than me. My youngest daughter learned to do things in the house like cooking, blood glucose testing, and to attend IEP meetings with me and advocate for her sister .
What about your friends? I know for Military moms like me, sometimes it is hard to have lifetime friends that live in your same neighborhood. I have been blessed by having some of those friends come back to where we are at different times during our Military career, but it is not common. These friends continue to be my lifeline for emotional support. I am able to text them, call them, and I know they are there for me. Not will be, ARE. These are the friends that learn about your child’s disability, they go to the hospital with you even when it is more than 80 miles away, bring you your pillow and makeup bag when you have to stay more than a day in the hospital with your kid, b
ring food to your home when you are sick or out of town for work. Yes, we don’t have to do it alone, because as the African proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
If you are in a committed relationship, partnership, marriage, you want to take care of it and each other. When was the last time you had a date? I know, you don’t have time. I’m going to suggest that you owe it to yourselves to take some time for yourselv
es. But we have no money? No problem. I have a couple of ideas we used to do when we wanted to have a date and were to tired to go out, or were fearful to find a babysitter that would know what to do for our girls.
I know you probably have more ideas, share those with us in the comments.
There are any number of groups that meet in person, on the internet, and are great about sharing experiences, stories, ideas. Find one that suits your personal needs. I know that some of us have kids with such unique needs that your child may be one of only 3 in the world, but there are at least two other families you can talk to. There are any number of programs sponsored by hospitals, universities, schools that welcome parents, want the parental perspective or input. Knowing you are not alone will also contribute to your ability to getting help, finding friends, and making your life not so lonely and stressful.
I have a date with my guy tonight. We are watching our favorite college football team play, so I’m off to prepare some goodies and change into my Pat Tillman jersey.
Let me know what other things you have done to take care of yourself.
Categories: Self Care