by Kelly Wilton
There’s a lot of talk around at the moment about ‘becoming unbusy’. I was reading a post the other day where someone asked what they should do with all their child’s artwork. In my witty way, I simply suggested they just chuck it all out! It probably wasn’t the answer they were looking for but it did get me thinking, how, as special needs parents do we simplify and streamline things so we don’t crumble under all the stress & pressure of everything that is on our plate?
Is it even possible to simplify and streamline a life that’s stretched to the limit with the needs that our children have on a daily basis; needs that are very different to the needs of our other kids, who obviously all need us too!
Navigating childhood is a tricky path for all kids – each one of us has our own tales to tell; hormones, bullying, friendship dramas, worries etc. And then there are the stories of our children who have differences, whose path through growing up has additional challenges. How do we help them by helping ourselves in becoming un-busy so we can put our energies into the right stuff?
We live in an age that is driven by results, goals and orientates towards awards and rewards. However, if you are a parent of child with a disability, you know most of this looks very different for our children.
I know that with my son this year, we have had to really pull back on a lot of activities due to his neurological condition worsening and let him just safely play in the backyard instead. This has given us a lot of quality downtime together that we never had before.
Dropping A LOT of therapy was the way to do this.
And yes, I felt totally guilty for not being able to ‘keep up’ with therapy; the speech, OT, physio, behaviour psychologists, and on it goes.
Just look at that list, if anything there will be at least two of those that you also do with your child fortnightly or weekly.
How do we fit it all in? How do we find the time for meaningful relationships with our other children, our partners, our friends, our family?
There will come a time when you have to make a decision to put your own needs first (and it is really hard for me to say this as I feel pangs of mother-guilt shooting through me, because to sustain ourselves in our unique situations we absolutely have to do this.
So I ask you to ask this question of yourself – what will you strip back to give you back some peace or some ‘sanity savers’ as I sometimes call them?
- A long overdue phone call with a close friend?
- A coffee with a friend (so you actually leave the house for yourself!)?
- That mole check/breast screen check you’ve been putting off?
I hope that whatever is your ‘sanity saver’ you find the time to do it this week, then the next week and so on. Try to make it a habit and see what happens.