Being a parent means fully immersing yourself into that role. Children are a precious gift, making it easy to get side-tracked and neglect your own needs. And let's be honest when that happens, you're not doing anyone any favors. Being a parent is challenging, even more so when you are a special needs parent. Navigating through the day and sleeping with one eye open is tuff. It can wear you down, making you feel like you have nothing left to give. Don't let yourself get to that point.
You give your all to your children and family, why don't do the same for yourself?
If you do not take a moment to shift your focus- you will go insane. There's no way to sugar coat it. So stop, take a breath, and continue reading. Here's 3 tips I've learned to not go crazy from time to time.
Do something you love.
Do you remember the feeling you get when you do something you love? How gratifying it is to have a goal and to accomplish it? You feel good from the inside out. It's not in your head, these things are key factors in self esteem and happiness. We are human meaning we have certain needs that need to be met far beyond the a person's primary needs. If you've given up a hobby you loved, there's no time like today to pick it back up. There is something very therapeutic about doing something you're passionate about. Since we've had our children our days of fine dinning child-free, and enjoying each other's company alone have been at minimal. I mean how do you brief someone on the speical needs of your little one? Being honest, sitters were never an option. So we now spend our nights cooking up elaborate meals, enjoying each other's company, but in the comfort of our own home. It was the perfect solution, and I found a new love- cooking. Between cooking and my personal fitness journey I feel full. Moral of the story: Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, short-tempered, and drained. You and your loved ones deserve better!
Vent and vent some more.
This is mandatory for survival. Some days all we can talk about is Autism, and other days it's the last thing we've want to talk about. Regardless of what kind of day you’re having, having someone you can check in with regularly is important. This means on your good days and bad days. It can be easy to forget the importance of communicating and having someone to reflect on things with. Which brings me to my next statement: Single parents are the real M.V.P. Having the support of an understanding partner is something that must never be taken for granted. Compared to the average parent, single parents are more at risk for not having the support they need. Don't let this become a habit, not having someone to talk to can lead you to a dark and lonely place. Everyone needs a friend to talk to and help change their perception from time to time. This is so vital to your pursuit of happiness. Just know you are not alone, even when it feels like it.
Crying is more than okay, it's inevitable.
For the record, crying does not mean you are weak. I cry when I'm sad, happy, mad, scared, excited, and nervous. Crying is a display of emotion, not a measure of a person's strength. Being a special needs parent or guardian is not for the faint-hearted. There's so many up's and down's, and when you finally think you got a grip a meltdown gets hurled at you. You're going to get mad, you're going to have hard days, and yes you're going to cry. Crying is natural do not let yourself feel guilt for doing this. You are still as resilient as ever- survival rate 100%.
What you deal with on a daily basis can't compare to the 'norm'. Autism is our normal, but that doesn't make it easy. The good news is you will also cry tears of happiness. Every day you will be inspired by your child's strength. When your child begins to take strides in the right direction, it will move you. Your child's accomplishments will leave you in a tearful bliss. Like I said, crying is inevitable.