March 22, 2013

Parent -- Self Care

Parenting, can take just about everything a person has, to keep up with day-to-day life. Maintaining a standard of living, a clean and organized household, and the added routines of children can become overwhelming, or all consuming. I was a young, healthy 21 year old mother of two biological children in a stable relationship with my husband, and still found that there were stages during my parenting where I was lost to the routing, and consumed with all things Mommy.

There is nothing wrong with putting our whole self into being parents. But, there is something better about being parents who remember to take care of ourselves first. This is even more important for parents with children who have special needs. It's easy to allow the needs of the child to dominate life and the routine of life to be focused only on the special needs of our child. It is probably even normal for parents to become focused on Only the needs of the child, especially at those crisis points, and when changes take place.

When my 9-year old biological son, went to play one snowy day with a friend across the road, I had no clue I would become the mother of a special needs child in an instant. But, I did. He took one more unapproved sled ride down the street and ended up lifeflighted to the hospital that day. His life forever changes with a traumatic leg injury. My life thrust into parenting a special needs child, doing things I never thought I would ever do before. Facing, a future of years of surgery, therapy and pain medication for my baby boy. I still had a family, a husband, daughter and the same obligations in life as I did the day before. It was easy to lose myself during the years of recovery for my son and the grief and trauma of the whole near loss of his left leg.

During the crisis, during the months of non-stop recover or change in life routine it is easy to forget that underneath it all is still the person we are, and it is still our life we live. It is healthy to be there 100% during the crisis our children face, during the moments we must put our needs second because our child is the most important. When the dust settles it's vital we rebuild our own strengths and remain stable and strong.

Often, it does not even require a lot of time as long as we care for ourselves a parent can maintain a healthy balance. I find it's important to take some breaks and also find that DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) offers some good skills to start with  for Self Care and the Five Senses. 

Related Links: