Blog #94~Advice for Special Needs Moms
I’ve been raising a child with special needs for 20 years. My son, Nick has Down syndrome and was later diagnosed with autism. Being a parent is rewarding but also challenging and stressful. Having a child with special needs amplifies things even more. I’ve felt ashamed, exhausted, and frustrated piling on mounds of guilt along the way. With Mother’s Day coming up I’ve been thinking about a few things. What advice would I give to that 33 year old mom back in 1994?
Advice for Special Needs Moms- 5 Things I’ve learned
1. Let go of being the helpless victim. Take back control and commit yourself to action. Ask for help and accept help from family, friends, teachers, therapists, support groups and special needs agencies.
2. Adopt a new attitude when you feel bogged down. How about this mantra? “Today I will do just one thing to move me forward to where I want to be.”
3. Learn from others but set your own course. It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you see other moms trying gluten free, casein free, organic dietary programs, experimenting with essential oils, driving all over town to ABA behavior/OT/PT/Speech therapy programs and recreational activities. Forgive yourself, let go of those feelings of inadequacy.
4. Which leads right into GUILT! Society’s expectations don’t have to be yours. Don’t let anyone pack your bags for a guilt trip.
5. Take time to breathe, pray, meditate, exercise and feed your soul. A rested mind, body and spirit will help you navigate those rough, rocky roads.
Do I follow this advice every day? Hardly, this morning I procrastinated waiting until Nick ran out of his meds before making a doctor appointment. I also threw out a package of moldy hot dog buns buried in the pantry. The floor hasn’t been mopped in two weeks and I sat around like a slug watching this movie for the umpteenth time with Nick yesterday….
Do I feel guilty about it? Not near as much as I use to. The mounds of guilt have been reduced to a few, small piles I step in from time to time.
So, to all the special needs moms out there I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. Slow down and do something you enjoy. Go have a glass of wine with your girlfriends. Take a day or at least an afternoon to do nothing but fun things you enjoy. Please carry that with you each day as you make your way down that rocky road. That’s what is in my noggin this week.