A LITTLE ABOUT ME…
I am a special needs mom, and let me tell you, it’s tough. It’s hard to raise a child with a disability, especially when dealing with everything else in this world. But it is possible! I’ve learned many lessons from raising my son, and here are some of them:
You’re used to being the only one that sees your child’s strengths and quirks.
As a special needs parent, you’re used to being the only one that sees your child’s strengths and quirks. You’re also the only one who understands how to help them. And even though it can be exhausting at times (and you may feel like no one else gets it), this unique bond between parent and child is an incredible gift.
You know what they need to be successful; they know when you need a hug or some space; together, you’ve learned how to communicate despite any differences in language or communication skills–it’s extraordinary!
You’re constantly trying to balance your health, marriage, and sanity.
You are not alone in this. You are doing the best you can. You need to take care of yourself, your marriage, and your sanity. You also need to take care of your health and the health of your children, who may have special needs themselves or be affected by those of a sibling or parent.
As a parent with a special needs child, there will be days when everything feels overwhelming–and then some days where nothing seems too difficult at all. It helps me remember that life goes on whether I’m ready for it or not; my son is still going through his ups and downs (and sometimes sideways), but so am I!
You feel like you’re always giving something up to make things easier for your child.
You’re the only one who can do it. Your child’s needs come first, and they are different than other people’s. You are the only one who knows what your child needs and how to make things easier for them.
You feel like you’re always giving something up in order to make things easier for your child: time with friends, time with family, and even sleep! We only realize how much we sacrifice once it repeatedly happens over years and years of having a special needs child (or two).
Then you fall into the self-care trap, the overwhelm trap, the perfectionism trap, and the guilt trap!
The self-care trap: You’re so busy caring for everyone else that you must remember to take care of yourself. The overwhelm trap: There is never enough time in the day, and everything is falling apart at the seams, but if I keep going at this pace, things won’t fall apart. The perfectionism trap: Life isn’t perfect, so why should our homeschooling be? And finally, guilt trap! We all know what happens when we don’t feel guilty enough about something (or too guilty)
You can’t do it all, and that’s OK.
It’s OK to feel overwhelmed. It’s normal, and you’re not alone.
It’s also OK to ask for help when needed, even if your friends don’t understand why they can’t do something for you or your child. You might have to explain why it’s so important that someone else does this task instead of you–and that’s fine! If a friend offers help without asking questions, just say “no thanks” and move on with your day (or week).
You should never feel guilty about saying no when someone asks something of you; after all, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others in life! There will be times when saying no will mean less stress overall–and that’s always worth considering before making any decisions about how much energy we want our days/weeks/months filled with on top of everything else going on around us every single day…
How do you keep it all together?
You have to focus on what you can control.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Don’t feel guilty about asking for help when you need it, and don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself when your children are safe and happy with someone else (like a babysitter or family member).
TO SUM IT UP:
Just remember … You’re not alone. We’ve all been there and we know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by the demands of our lives. You can take some small steps toward self-care, but don’t beat yourself up if you fall short sometimes! Remember that this is not just about taking care of yourself–it’s also about taking care of your family and friends who love you.