Thoughts of a Special Needs Mom
I often feel cheated on Mother’s Day because it gets lumped with my birthday. There is also my mom to think about on Mother’s Day or getting ready to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.
How do we moms treat ourselves to a “mother’s day” even if it is not on May 10? Now that I am an empty nester, I have begun to give myself permission to do things differently.
This year, I chose to use paper plates at the Passover Seder so I could more easily attend a special Birthday Seder for my sister-in-law and stay overnight out of town the night before. Using paper dramatically cut down my clean-up time and left me with a modicum of energy!
I felt empowered by my choice.
Every day, I evaluate how I am going to use my energy. I ask myself what is most important on my to-do list today. I gauge my energy and allow myself to be ok with making adjustments. It is my turn to care for me. My special needs child is learning to lead her own life and I can learn to lead mine more fully for myself.
To be truthful, my adult kids never like it when I try to control every detail and do more than is necessary. So how do we create a “mom-o-meter” and learn to gauge what works and what does not? I am trying to ask for help more often.
Sometimes asking for help seems to be the hardest thing to do. Sometimes it seems that no one else can do things “the right way”. Start to look for ways to lighten your load. What are some simple tasks that a family member can do for you? Can a spouse pitch in? Can the children have simple chores to do?
This year, I am learning to let go of the control!
At my Passover Seder, we had a guest who is studying to convert to Judaism. She arrived ninety minutes early. She had never been to a Seder before. My hubby escorted her into the kitchen, introduced her and suggested that she could watch TV while waiting for dinner.
Instead, she settled onto a seat at the counter and we began to chat. She offered to help me and to my own surprise, I said “yes”! She was an amazing assistant and I had so much fun sharing the duty of the remaining preparations while the two of us had the chance to get to know one-another a bit.
We both enjoyed our shared activity and I felt so much more relaxed at my Seder having had extra assistance.
Now, my special needs daughter calls me to see how she can support me when I can use support. I really appreciate the help and I know she feels great when she is the one to help me. How can you find support when you have special needs in the family?
Even if your special needs child is young, the child can be empowered by helping out. What can your child do to lighten your load?
Talk with your children and find out what your children want to help with. With a very young child, assign the child a simple task. Praise your children when they help you, you will both benefit from the outcome!
Even if help comes in the form of company when you could use it, this feels wonderful too.
I feel so grateful to be a mother of three fantastic grown children and to have the time to nurture myself. Keep looking for the ways to take the time to make every day, “Mother’s Day”!