Being a special needs parent holds all kinds of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and well, myths. So I wanted to talk about taking time for yourself. I am a writer by trade and so I have been asked a lot of times how I find the time to do just that. Well I guess the simple answer is how don’t I. On weeks when I am not dedicated to my writing, I lose my temper more, I walk away from my kids when they need me more, I laugh less, and I play less.
Why is that? Because the real problem with parenting is that you are constantly giving out more emotionally then you are taking in, and when you are parenting a special needs child it is astronomically more. So I have come to a few conclusions. First, with every adoption/fostering/special needs child in your life you need a few things. Things that I think should come with that book of instructions I never got. And for me they are a gym membership, with included daycare, and if that means you go to the gym every day and sit in the hot tub and get fat, great it served its purpose. Second is a hobby, one that makes you feel like you didn’t hang the moon, but you could have. And Third, a really good friend who understands when you break, one that you can call every day for a pep talk (because admittedly I needed those every day for the better part of a year).
If you don’t have one of those things, life is going to be a lot harder and you are going to break more often, at least I did.
It’s okay to ask for help. It is okay to break. It is okay to fail. It is okay to not be at your best. It is okay to not get a shower until the kids go to bed. It is okay to pass out at the end of each day. It is okay to make food that you know you could out-do if only you had ten minutes to rub together. And it is okay to get down on yourself, so long as you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back to the grindstone.
We are parents on the front lines of the hardest battle anyone ever fought, with our hearts in our hands, clothed in the best intentions any parent ever hoped for. We are powerful and we are making a difference. Even though we depend on outside people to take note of our progress. So I am your cheerleader. Keep going parent. Go to sleep, get back up. I am standing at the battle front too. You can’t see me and I can’t see you, but I am here. And I hear you.
If you would like to tell us about what you face, drop us a line. I will write back. firstname.lastname@example.org