Learning To Ask For Help: Special Needs Parenting
I cancelled my annual doctor visit three times until I finally made it there last month.
None of these things should be that hard.
Yet, there it is.
There is never enough time to think about me.
Most parents experience guilt in raising their children.
We parents never feel like we are enough.
We are plagued by our inadequacies and frequently torment ourselves regarding our shortcomings.
Our children come first, always.
Their schedule, their needs, and their desires drive our every move, every day.
If this is true for most parents, than parenting a child with a disability is this experience times a million.
Danny just has so many needs.
He has a home physical therapy program, extensive feeding needs and a blenderized diet, vision therapy, center based therapies, doctor appointments, school, and personal care needs.
If I choose to vacuum or pick up a prescription, it ends up taking time away from something else.
I feel guilty for folding laundry with him because then I know we won’t have time to work with the light box before we go to hippotherapy.
There seems to be a constant trade-off, and it is very difficult to ever put myself ahead of my son’s needs.
This is simply not okay.
There are no awards for mothering martyrdom and I know that it will eventually catch up with me.
Everything that you read about parenting children with disabilities says that you must take care of you.
It is vital for caregivers to meet their own needs in order to have anything left to give to their children.
I couldn’t agree with that more.
My question is this: what do I sacrifice in order to take care of me?
Does that mean we don’t take that neurology appointment because I already had a haircut scheduled that day?
Do I cancel hippotherapy because it conflicts with a yoga class?
Does Danny miss his vision therapy because I want to have lunch with a friend?
These are the choices that I continually face, and when in doubt, I choose Danny.
However, I do need to resolve to ask for help.
We have a tremendous support system, and I know how lucky we are to have our circle of family and friends.
I need to evaluate how much of this Danny needs me to do, and how much I can help other people help Danny.
In order for him to develop more independence, I am going to have to learn to let others step into the caregiving role.
There is nothing more difficult for me - no one knows him like I do.
They never do it quite right.
However, that is on me.
When would they ever have the opportunity to learn if I never allow them to try?
I must learn to let go.
My entire identity has become “Danny’s Mom.”
In order to continue to do that job well, I need to become a bit more “Laura” again.