Practice What You Preach
When I started this business my first clients were my friends then the referrals began. I see, feel and understand the stress and anxiety in everyone I work with. Dealing with the day-to-day challenges of parenting a special needs child is physically and emotionally exhausting.
“Thirty–two percent (32%) of special needs parents spend more than 40 hours per week on special needs related issues, or time equal to a second full-time job.” (MetLife’s Survey “The Torn Security Blanket: Children with Special Needs and the Planning gap.”
Disability Scoop published an article on 11/10/09 “Autism Moms Have Stress Similar to Combat Soldiers” by Michelle Diament.
Mothers of those with autism reported spending at least two hours more each day care giving than mothers of children without disabilities. On any given day these moms were also twice as likely to be tired and three times as likely to have experienced a stressful event.
What's more, these moms were interupted at work on one of every four days compared to less than one in 10 days for other moms.
My daughter Ellie is sixteen, soon to be seventeen this coming May. It is amazing how time flies and it is petrifying. Reaching age of majority is another subject entirely, which I will discuss in another post. Since Ellie’s birth we have probably been apart 120 days. Only twice was she gone for blocks of time – once for a Special Olympics sleep over camp in July 2005 and three and half weeks in the summer of 2006 when Ellie went to Summit Camp. Since 2006 we have been dealing with the kidney issues, which resulted in two kidney transplants between June 2008 and July 2009. I have been away for two to four days at a time and since June of 2008 we have been bonded at the hip.
Whether or not we have a special needs child we need time to ourselves with significant others, other children or just being solo. If you are a single parent the intensity is double. Friends have always told me to take more time and do more things with others and to take a break from my children. It’s ironic because I often hear myself advising clients on the importance of taking time for oneself.
Taking time for me is one of the hardest things I try and do. I feel as if I am one with my two girls; we are a family yes, but we are also individuals. The whole is the strongest when the individual pieces are at their best. I stress time away from your special needs child and other children. This is the key to being the best you can possibly be. I will make this my New Year’s resolution. How about you?
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