A Bad Special Needs Today, Doesn't Make A Bad Tomorrow

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Man, today was bad, right?

I mean, today was like really bad.

A curly haired girl in both pictures. The left, she is crying with her hands covering her eyes and wearing a red shirt. On the left, she is smiling and standing in the grass, wearing teal leggings and a blue dress with llamas on it.

It's tough. It's hard to have a day, like today, and not think about how bad it could be tomorrow. Or how bad it was that one day last week. Or, crap, are we gonna have days like this for several weeks? When will it end? When will I catch a break??

It's really, really hard not to see how bad today was, and automatically expect a bad tomorrow.

But you need to. Because how bad today was, in your Special Needs world, does not have to mean a bad tomorrow. At least, it shouldn't.

I like to put a lot of focus on setting intentions and making small changes in the way we think, because taking steps like that can change, not only our world, but that of our children. When I previously spoke on setting intentions, it was mostly directed towards what we need to do for our kids, to help them successfully get through their days. But what about the intentions we set for ourselves, silently? Those intentions that get set through our behavior, mindset, focus, and the general energy we are putting out?

Holding onto the struggles of days prior, make it near impossible to enjoy or even expect good things in the future. This is not something I am 100% perfect at doing.

When my youngest was an infant & toddler, and especially when she had her verbal delay, the days her tough. Every single day was just a constant barrage of chaos, meltdowns, tantrums, and general stressed-out-existence for me. I remember messaging my husband, on the daily, complaining and on the verge of a breakdown, myself, because I just didn't get it. I didn't know what to do to change anything and I was exhausted. Even last summer, I clearly remember sending a message like that, after a long day of disappointments that led to both of my kids having meltdowns all day.

A little curly-haired girl in a blue dress, lying down on a bench.
On that particular day, though, I felt really alone. The husband was home (can't remember why) and I had basically spent 6 hours in the car with these kids (cumulatively) and gotten literally nothing accomplished. Nothing we had set out to do worked. Nothing.

So, in all my upset and desperately trying not to bawl in front of my kids, I decided to pick myself up and change the outlook for the day. We had to go to Target to get my youngest a change of clothes (because she had soiled herself again), and I felt so overwhelmed at the very idea of going into this busy retail store and I really just wanted to go home.. but, onward I went.

Rather than focusing on the upset/embarrassment/disappointment/every other bad feeling when we walked inside, I went straight to a change of clothes for her and changed her in the bathroom, then went and bought the clothes. After that, I decided to just do a relaxing shopping trip. We walked around, goofed off, got some snacks, and even bought a piece of cake. We spent like 2 hours in the store, without even really doing much of anything, but boy, did it make a difference!
A young girl on the Autism Spectrum, laying curled up in a stroller wagon.

When we left the store, we were all emotionally, physically, and mentally refreshed. We sat in the car in the parking lot, eating our snacks and cake... still laughing and goofing off. Once finished, I let the kids turn on their tablets and watch some movies while I trekked us back home. I can't describe what a relief it was to arrive home and not feel completely defeated, but since that day, I have made a conscious effort to try and not let that happen again. Because that day sucked. I had never felt so overwhelmed and alone and wanting to just give up on everything.

When you are having an exceptionally bad kind of Special Needs day, step back. Take a deep breath. Remember that these moments are just that.. moments. They cannot last forever.

Remembertomorrow, or even 10 minutes from now, has potential. To be better. To be happy. To be free of meltdowns or tantrums 9r illness. The future has potential.

Focus on what could be, rather than what is it what has been. Focus on happy. Bring that happy to you, and to your child. It will come... this moment will pass.

A bad today, doesn't make a bad tomorrow..


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