I recently discovered, Hartley’s Life with 3 Boys. I am inspired by her knowledge and dedication. I am really enjoying her series on Back To School, Hartley’s IEP Guide and especially her series on First Things First.
In her series on First Things First, Hartley hosts guest bloggers writing articles about remembering to take care of the fundamentals of life, particularly life for a special needs mom. Hartley’s series reminds us that remembering yourself and remembering your marriage are fundamental.
A stable healthy marriage and a stable healthy mom is the foundation we build on every day. It is so easy to forget about maintaining those parts of our lives. The constant din of the child’s/ren’s needs drowns out the whispers of our marriage and ourselves. The guilt we already struggle with only compounds this problem.
I didn’t get Daniel’s diagnosis until he was 8. I have watched me run myself ragged trying to make up “lost” time. When I break, my husband and my other children have to catch me. This is unfair to everyone.
As cliché as it sounds, I have to make set aside “me” time, I have to make time for my marriage. I am reminded that I am teaching by example. How can I expect my children to take good care of themselves if they never saw me doing the same?
Forcing myself to step back gives opportunity for others to take a more active role. Sometimes, the “other” is my husband. Other times, it is the child, himself. I am often amazed to see Daniel putting into practice, lessons I had despaired of him ever learning. My constant participation had left no room for him to fail or succeed.
I am trying to step up to a new level of consciousness in this area this fall. Despite several weeks of research, it seems that this year the best option for our whole family will be for Daniel to attend the public school. Daniel is 12 and heading into Middle School. I have always been very hands-on and I am burnt out. As frustrated as I am with our local school district, I am looking at this as an opportunity to step back a little and let Daniel start learning to advocate for himself.
I have hired an awesome woman as a tutor. Daniel and I trust this woman and have a great rapport with her. They will be meeting twice a week. I will still be attending all IEP meetings and obviously advocating for my child there. However, I will be leaving more of the day-to-day functioning to Daniel and his tutor. My hope is that Daniel will start to find his rhythm interacting with teachers and peers outside of my influence. As my husband reminded me, Daniel needs to be able to start practicing those kinds of things while he still has the safety net of us and living at home. He is right.
I am going to put more focus on my husband, giving more time to the rest of the family and participating in activities I loved in the past. I am going to continue my search for balance.
How do you find a way to balance the different aspects of your life, whether you have a special needs child or not? How do you contend with the guilt of taking time for yourself? Do you take one big chunk of time, or do you find that more frequent small “time-outs” work better?