Special Needs Parents, Don't Forget Who You Are

Monday, January 6, 2020

About two years ago, I was in a position where I had to choose between finishing my college degree, and being a mom. It was a crappy situation and I genuinely hated that I had to make the decision. I felt so torn and stressed, and just wanted to do what was best for my life.

As you can imagine, I chose my mom life.

Red haired woman sitting on a bench, leaning back, and wearing a black with white polka dots dress.

There is not a day when I regret that decision, but there have been plenty of moments when I think "Man, I wish I could do something else". I had to sit back and just let things happen. I felt like I had to forget, entirely, what I once was or wanted.

Now, let me clarify, my decision wasn't literally choosing between being a mother and having a career. My reason for having to walk away from my degree & career, is because of my youngest daughter's health. It wasn't viable for me to continue going to class, doing my internship, and trying to get my foot into the career path I had chosen, when I couldn't even successfully have my child with a babysitter/daycare. She has autoimmune issues and catches just about everything she's exposed to, and spent months being ill.

Choices had to be made.
Red haired woman, looking at the camera and smiling.

But, that choice did make me sad. I wanted badly to work in the career path I had chosen and I wanted it for me. Not just as a provider in my family, but something that was for me, that I enjoyed alone. My interests. My hard work. My self-made joy. Something for me.

Fast forward those two years and I am to begin classes again tomorrow (yay!). My motivating reason being, I do need something for me. I need to remember the things that I enjoy, and have that something for me. My kids are now in ABA therapy for a bit during the week, so it's kind of the perfect time for me to focus on finishing up my degree and move forward with something I love doing.

As a Special Needs Parent, it is so important to not forget who we are.... And yet, it is so easy to do so!

We get wrapped up in all of it. The calls, appointments, advocating, arguing, crying, frustration, meltdowns (theirs and ours), stress..stress...STRESS! We also get completely absorbed even in the good things, because we know those good things are really good! No matter what it is, the special needs world is all-consuming. Or, at least, it can be. If we let it.

Don't let that happen.

I'm not saying neglect your kid to be selfish. Never neglect your child. What I'm saying is, to find something that is good for you that makes you remember you. Whether that be a job, or a hobby, or even hanging out with old friends! Because allowing one single thing in your life to consume you, will cause you to feel bitter and worn out.

How can we work on being our best selves, the best parents, if we are bitter and worn out??

When we allow ourselves to be consumed by the special needs life, we forget ourselves. I mean, it's not hard to do! "The squeaky wheel gets the oil", right? We are so focused on being everything for our kids, and handling their squeaky wheels (no offense intended, it just is), that we kind of... fall away.

Don't let that happen.

Do things for you. Yes, this goes alone with my previous post about how you deserve to be cared for, but it is a topic all on it's own. Do things for you, so that you don't lose you. So you don't forget you. Because, as good parents, it is so easily done.

What has been the biggest thing you've given up, due to your Special Needs Parent life?

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