Permission for a Change of Pace
This week, I did something that felt a little crazy. I contacted nearly all the places where our children have weekly appointments/therapies and I asked to take three months off from attending. I had twinges of nervousness as I wondered if the providers would think I was being a neglectful parent. I worried that the intuition and thought that went into this decision would be doubted or scoffed at it. I felt concerned that they might tell us if we take time off, there would not be a spot for us when we are ready to return.
But you know what? None of those things happened. With each phone call and email, I explained that our family had been dealing with some challenging circumstances the last year and that we were in the middle of some big decisions and transitions. We needed time to be together and not run from place to place for a while.
Each provider responded with understanding and support. They agreed that breaks are wonderful and needed. They assured me that they have seen how dedicated we are at home to develop skills and provide a therapeutic environment. Then they simply told us to call back when we are ready to return and they would get us set up with appointments again, even if it must be at a new time than before. And that was that.
I had a new feeling of lightness and excitement.
The rest of the week, I had a new feeling of lightness and excitement as I looked at the days ahead of us. I am planning a summer full of being home as a family, spending long days outside, and taking a couple of the small vacations we have talked about for far too long. I truly don’t have any fear of my children regressing because I know first-hand how much progress we make in each hour that isn’t spent inside a clinic.
I am so thankful for our therapists, doctors, and other providers. I also trust my own intuition as a mother, and my training and experience; to parent my children with disabilities well. This will be the longest break we have taken from weekly appointments, but it won’t be forever. I fully believe that we will return to our regular schedule three months from now; renewed and more ready than ever to dive into a busier schedule, and lofty therapy goals.
Breaks are not only okay; they are absolutely needed!
As caregivers to children with disabilities; from day one we constantly hear the list of therapies, procedures, and interventions that our child “needs” in order to function their best. What we don’t hear as often is the need to sometimes step back, enter a change of scenery, pace, and know that this will not destroy all the work we have done or will do in the future. Not only will it not worsen progress, but I also truly believe it will give a needed reset and re-inspiration.
Take the break...
The excitement alone that I have felt since following through on this decision, has shown me that the right decision was made. I also know it could have happened much differently. I could have faced resistance, threats of losing services, or suspicion of making less-than-the-best decisions for my children. Even then, the validity of our needs and correctness of the decision made would not be false. Friend, you don’t need permission to prioritize rest, togetherness, fun, and refreshment. But just in case you are under the impression that you do, here is your permission: TAKE THE BREAK. You need it. Your child(ren) needs it. Your family needs it. And I know you will thank yourself later and those around you probably will too.