Month: September 2016

New Mom Lessons-When To Nudge Your Child Forward and When To Hold Back

So Michael has been feeling overwhelmed lately, to say the least. He asked me the other day for “no more work on the weekends.” He wants to do only sports. I had the embarrassing task (well, embarrassing to me), to call up his tutoring teacher and our church and pulling him out of both activities. They are too much book and work for him now, and church, well, that is a whole other ball game. He started questioning God and anything religious last year. This year we are talking to him about God and I will start reading books with him on our own at home in a non-threatening way.

When he was younger, even back to two years ago, I knew when to nudge or push him forward. I would meet with resistance, but I would gently persist and it worked out. So, this Spring when I met with some resistance over the two work related extracurricular activities, I imagined this was the same thing. He resisted and was annoyed, but I thought I convinced him and off we were. Until September. It’s been a rough one for him and us. Michael has had wonderful moments of laughing and learning,  and not so wonderful moments of anger, anxiety and stress. I realized he had too much on his plate and we had to scale back. I also know though, that he is testing me like any kid does, but in an intense way. He is telling school what he is doing at home. It’s good we are working together on TEAM MICHAEL to make things easier, at least in the long run. Our exceptional children are so smart, but they need to learn boundaries for their own mental and physical safety.

Exceptional Parents, what boundaries, physical and otherwise, have you had to set for your Exceptional Children? How have they been testing you and their teachers if at all? All I know is that listening to our children, particularly listening to what they are NOT saying or by their actions, is even more important as they get older. They change. What they perceive as stressful changes too as their awareness changes. Parents need to respect that, and have their kids respect parental boundaries too. All in a day’s work. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

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Exceptional Love, Testing and Suffering: How to Weather the Sun and Storms of Parent/Child Relationships

White Lightning Heating Mountain

I don’t know what to tackle first. There is his insistence on being right, his worrying over the future, and his putting his foot down on what he wants to do and does not want to do. It is so frustrating as this is also my list and my issues too. It is hard as a parent. You have to pick your battles, stay firm, give in, and at other times, walk a tightrope somewhere in between with your child. Any child. And an exceptional child is just exceptionally challenging at times like these.  We had many fun moments yesterday, but this week there have been many more testing moments, angry moments, and moments where Michael, I could tell, was seeing how far he could push before I gave in. I pretty much stayed firm, but there have been some activities I have had to remove from his schedule. They have been academic ones, as the pressures in school have been proving to be too stressful for him lately. I feel like I have failed as a Mom. I have failed to hear him and listen to what he needed, choosing instead to challenge him. But see that’s the thing. That is what worked in the past. My little boy is changing. He is growing up and I have to be ready for some surprises. Though it has been hard, I am coming to terms too with the fact I cannot control all circumstances, all things, all life. I have to admit defeat and errors where I have made them and carry on. That’s what I tell other parents to do. Forgive yourself and move on. It is hard for me to do though. However, I am finally starting to do it.

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I am so glad that he is able to communicate so well with me about his feelings of  stress with school performance (though he is doing amazing), his anxiety over pleasing the “stimming lady” (I think she represents adults all around him that he is trying to please),  and I can see how even when he is engaged in pleasurable activities, the ability to control, predict and anticipate everything come into play everywhere. He is such a smart kid. He is so happy and full of life in so many ways, yet I see his suffering, his anxiety, and his insecurities. I don’t know how to reassure him he is enough. I tell him. I show him by hugging, kissing and laughing with him. But due to my own busy schedule, there have been times I think I have failed him. I have failed to give him the security, patience and support he needed as I have been tired, busy, stressed myself. I am re-emphasizing self-care again in my repertoire so I refill my own bucket. Love and support are a two way street, but they are ones that are difficult and challenging to follow when both parties are exhausted and at their wits’ ends.

Exceptional Parents, how do you weather your child’s storms and anxieties while staying sane yourself? If you have lost your temper and patience once in awhile, that’s ok. So have I. So have all of us. The important thing is to remember how by taking care of your needs, physically, mentally and spiritually, you will be able to show your child how best they can have balance in these areas. They need to learn to take care of their inner stresses before they can balance their outer feelings. Until next time .

 

Feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxious thoughts? You are not alone. Parenting is hard work. Try out some new tools. Download my FREE EBOOK ON “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.

New Sensory Tools in a Great Book: “The Kids Guide To Staying Awesome And In Control-Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate their Emotions And Senses” by Lauren Brukner (Illustrated by Apsley)

Toddler Blue Polo Shirt Sitting Near Boy in Green Crew Neck T-shirt

As the Mom of an Exceptional Child, even when everything is going smoothly, I am always on the lookout for new methods and ways to help Michael with his anxiety and sensory issues. As a Parent Coach, I also am happy to pass on any great resources to support parents in their special needs parenting journey. So, you can imagine how I felt when  I first heard of Lauren Brukner’s book on one of  the parent writing Facebook groups I belong to. It is called, “The Kids’ Guide To Staying Awesome and in Control: Simple Stuff To Help Children Regulate their Emotions and Senses,”and to say that it came at just the right time for me, is an understatement.

The author is an Occupational Therapist, and Mom herself to three kids, two of whom have emotional and sensory integration difficulties. What is great about the book is that it is really one that is helpful to children, parents and educators in school. There are 2 parts. Part 1 is geared to kids and helps them understand how their body works, and what tools they can use to feel better in their bodies. Part 2 is for adults and educators, and gives them tips how to set up the home and classroom to be more conducive to helping kids regulate their emotions. The author provides great charts at the back where parents and kids can check off what tools they used. It is full of great ideas and information, as well as exercises that kids and parents can both do together. I also like how she gives kids names to identify how they are feeling: “1) Slow and Tired, 2) Fast and Emotional  and 3) Fast and Wiggly.”

There are tips for educators to incorporate in the classroom so the child can carry over all of the techniques from home to school and back. It is written in language that children and adults can both understand, is clear, concise, and the tools that are suggested can be bought or often made at home so parents need not worry about expense. This book showed me ways I can incorporate more movement breaks into Michael’s routine in a way that will be fun. I highly recommend it if you as a parent are looking for new sensory and emotional regulation tools. I literally finished it in one night, and have started the groundwork for implementing some of the techniques with Michael.

Exceptional Parents, what books, articles and/or tools have you come across lately that have helped you and your child? These tools often seem to find us, and not the other way around. The Universe wants this to happen so our children can progress. It is also so we can progress as their parent and an individual. We are meant to grow, love, and spread the joy of that growth and love into the world. Happy reading. Until next time.

 

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, however, I did receive a free book for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

How Embracing Failure Has Made Me A Better Mom

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Failure. Who would ever label that a positive word, but still it can be. Why? Only when we fail and fall down, can we rise and learn from our mistakes, new ways of being and doing. I used to be so hard on myself when I would come up against challenges with Michael in the past. Now, I see that it is not me failing him, but him needing to learn the proper tools to help himself handle failure, obstacles and stress. Life is not easy for him. Life is not easy for any of us. Most of us though know how to regulate our emotions though, and look to others for our cues. For exceptional kids, this is hard. They have a more difficult time relating to people and what people are saying. Still, when I have failed in reaching Michael, or in losing my temper it has shown me something amazing.

It has shown me what I need to work on to be stronger, more compassionate and a better all around human being. It’s not that I am a bad human being when I fail. None of us is. It’s just that I have temporarily lost touch with what I need to be working on, honing my energy in taking better care of my internal compass and inner workings, so I can model that for Michael. And believe me, even though I know what I need to do to keep the balance in my life, I still sometimes fall back into old habits of ruminating, worrying, getting angry when I can’t control anything, all the things I tell Michael to not worry about. I re-learn the lesson the same time I am teaching it Michael. I also learn that it is alright to be vulnerable, ask for help, as well as offer help at the same time. It is alright to be human and to teach Michael the same thing.

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While I have been finding new ways to reach Michael and keep my own spirits strong while navigating new challenges with him, I have also had the privilege of supporting other Moms in their journey. And a privilege it is. While I help them, they help me. Just as while I help Michael, he helps me. And we all heal. We heal from the need to be perfect, untouchable, fearless. We are all afraid sometimes. We are all brave at other times. Life is a roller coaster. You can choose to ride it in full glory and brace yourself as best you can with the ups and downs, enjoying the ups and knowing you’ll figure out how to handle the downs when you get there. Or, you can choose to not ride it, fearing the downs only. As each day goes by, I know I will sometimes have down times, stressful times, times when I feel weak. But I know it is temporary and will pass. The up times are coming, and I will have what I need by then to coast beautifully. This is what I now teach Michael too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you fail as parents, as human beings? If it’s often, that’s good. It means you are human. It means you are trying. It means you will find the tools if you search and look in your heart for them. They are there. As we tell our children, they are perfect in their imperfections and so are we. So don’t worry. Treat your failure as a gift. Let it take you to new heights and help you overcome hardship. Let yourself and your child soar. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

Staying Calm in the Eye of A Tantrum-My Exceptional Lesson from My Son

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It’s been a tough month for Michael and I. We’ve both been adjusting to him being back at school, in routine, with homework. At school, Michael is calm, listens and pushes down his emotions. When I’m boiling pasta for dinner, if I forget and leave the lid on the pot, the water boils over and makes a big mess. This is similar to what Michael does when he is upset, and doesn’t let his emotions out or find strategies to handle them. I have had a hard time finding his latest triggers, and the anxiety with doing things “right” has gotten worse. He is hard on himself when he doesn’t do things perfectly, things don’t go exactly as planned, and this is manifested by the “stimming lady” as he calls her, who tells him he has to do it over and over until he gets it right. With the help of the school psychologist, I am slowly seeing that the stimming lady is essentially a representation of all the adults in his life that make him perform and who Michael feels he is letting down when he does not understand something. Now that it is becoming more clear, I am trying to tell Michael how proud I am of him and give him ways to cope when he makes mistakes. I don’t want him beating himself up and making things worse.

 

blonde, girl, golden

Another thing I am learning is how to truly stay calm myself in the eyes of the storm, which in this case is Michael’s tantrum. They are being defused more easily when I do this, and the few times I have lost my own temper and his anger flared, I would quickly remove myself from the situation. After I thought about what led up to the outburst, what words I could have chosen differently, how much sleep he had etc, I always came back to the same thing. I need to stay calm myself. I need to keep my voice level. I need to not betray how angry I feel, how powerless I feel to see Michael losing control and suffering over handling difficult emotions. And why must I do this? Because I am learning when I am the calm, it reflects back to Michael eventually. He sees I trust him. He becomes calm. He learns he has control.

Exceptional Parents, when your children are upset how do you both comfort and let them find their place in the storm of a tantrum? Anxiety and anger management are just that. It is about being there for your child as co-pilot of the ship, but letting them, the captain, determine the course, for better or worse. That is the challenging part. But the worst thing to do is rush in and save them each time. They need to learn, as we do, that saving themselves will teach resilience, strength of character, and ability to trust their own instincts. . That is what they do for us after all, guide us in trusting our parental instincts. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

 

 

4 Tips to Handle Exceptional Mommy Meltdowns

I am not proud of the way I have been handling Michael’s stress lately. In part, in large part, it has been because I have not been taking the best care of myself. I have not been sleeping, exercising and eating the way I want to. I have done my best to be present for him, but when I am not at my best physically, mentally and spiritually it is hard.

Our kids are treasures. Michael is not exception to this rule. He teaches me lessons every day about life, love, respect, faith and what really, I mean really matters. But it doesn’t make it easy. For either of us. He doesn’t always understand that Mom needs time alone. Away from him? With her writing? A blog? A friend’s book launch?  A writer’s meeting? Her business? What is this? Then, just as soon as the anger flares up, it is gone. I feel like a failure when I yell, though I know what to tell other parents about patience. It is hard to practice it myself. Still, I do tell Michael that Mom needs to work better on using her strategies to handle anger. It is fine to be angry, but we can’t let it rule us.

Michael is very forgiving. We always make up before bedtime even when we have fights at bedtime. But I hate Mommy Meltdowns. I try to avoid them whenever I can. Still, sometimes in spite of my best intentions, they happen. So here are some tips for other Moms to handle their Mommy meltdowns better:

Tips to Help with Mommy Meltdowns:

  1. Am I sleeping enough? What is happening to cause your sleep to be interrupted? Are you not delegating things so as to alleviate stress? Are you not exercising? Are you not communicating to those around you about your problems? These can all trigger stressful episodes that get worse without you being pro-active.
  2. Are you not making time for 5-10 min of “Me Time” a day: This is especially hard if you have more than one child and/or if you are a single parent. But it is essential. I have one child and a partner, and still there have been times when I tend to get overwhelmed. Take the time for you. You, you partner and/or kids will thank you.
  3. Don’t be overly strict: Yep. As I write these words now, I know this is what I am striving for, yet I still have days and weeks when I fail to practice this. Why? Because it is easy to fall back on what we learned as children. The same strategies do not work for a child with autism. I sometimes need to be reminded of that. If you forget, don’t worry. Just remember for the next time.
  4. Reach out to other parents of exceptional children: I guarantee you. Whatever story you tell to your community of how you badly handled a situation with your child with autism, they will still support you and commiserate. I have been in both positions with my Mom friends, confessing and supporting.My parent community has always rallied  around me (as I did to them), and told me that my child and I are amazing and doing the best we both can. And we are and do!

 

Exceptional Parents, do you have Mommy and Daddy meltdowns with your Exceptional Child/dren? It’s alright. We all do, just as they do with us. We are human, and even if we know better, parenting and being a child is hard work. Forgive yourself, forgive your child, and learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try new things for you and your child either that will break the dynamic of tension. You will be amazed by the results. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

Finding the Right Tools To Help Your Child Handle Their Overpowering Emotions

 

Man in White and Black Sneakers Standing Outdoor during Daytime

 

So yesterday Michael and I went on a power walk. Well, he power walked. I kept telling him to slow down. I’m in pretty good shape, but late afternoons are not the best time for me to exercise unless I’m alone and can go at my own pace. Still, I saw he needed it. He was a boy on a mission to rid himself of stress. As with other times, he walked and talked quickly, then gradually as he began to relax he slowed down his pace. I was relieved, yet as always, worried about the kind of stress he carries inside of him. Right now the main issues are about working and focusing at school, as well as  learning to sit quietly in a body that has hard time doing that due to his sensory issues. Michael also has a hard time asking for help or letting people know he is in distress.

I am experimenting with different ways to help him learn to calm down. Right now he pushes emotions down and then explodes in the evenings when things don’t go one hundred percent his way. Being told what to do all day is extremely draining and stressful, so at home he bargains and tries to change the rules on EVERYTHING. It’s been a process, and we are still teaching him that all of us have to follow rules, listen to either teachers or bosses, and find ways to manage our anxiety, stress and negative emotions. Exercise, yoga and different sensory tools can help. I am constantly adding or taking away from our toolbox. Talking too and giving him the space to share is also important.

 

Photo by: Frank Mckenna at Unsplash

 

This is challenging for adults, but even more so for kids, and exceptional kids have a more difficult time due to their very complex nervous systems. I remind him that he needs and can always turn to TEAM MICHAEL for help. It’s been tough though. Positive moments have been our talks about music, watching his agility improve climbing on park equipment, and he is interested in going on his scooter again soon. I’m also happy he is continuing with tennis. It, swimming, and soon soccer, will be great outlets for his nervous energy release. As parents, we have to find outlets for our kids. As with neuro typical ones, sports and being active is very important, but there are always other things to consider. Would they benefit from talking to a therapist privately? Do they need a new more structured home routine?  An educator can help with that. Are they sleeping enough? Parents, as teacher, caregiver and therapist have to not be afraid to try any of the above (or all) so that they can give their child the best tools for success out there.

Exceptional Parents, what’s in your toolbox to help your child regulate their emotions? Have you made any changes recently? Sometimes shaking things up a bit can be helpful. Our kids are growing all the time so what worked previously may not anymore. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches. Talk to other parents. Talk to professionals. Read books and articles. Remember, you are your child’s voice to the world and can help explain them to their team the best. In the end, it’s all about giving them success in life to be the best they can be. Until next time.

 

Looking for new tools to help with anxiety management? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

 

Strengthening Your Relationship: 5 Ways to Find Time for Exceptional Bonding With Your Child

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So I realized this morning when Michael got up a little earlier that I have become “that Mom or parent” I said I wouldn’t. You know, the one who is so focused on work and getting stuff done, she is annoyed that her child is up early when she had planned to do work. Yes folks. I have succumbed. I repeatedly say to myself, my partner, and Michael that my job is flexible and I do it around Michael’s schedule, all of which is true. But of course there are also times that I need to catch up on things. Early morning or late evening are best as that is when Michael is asleep. But as I heard his little steps outside the room I was finishing my yoga in I became nervous and sad. Nervous that we would have another “fight” about my work and sad that I was thinking that I wanted to still be alone.

And that is when it hit me. Michael missed me. He missed having time to talk in the morning, share his thoughts and just be present with me. Many of our kids want this too as do parents. But how can we do it?  Here are some ways that have worked in our family and in families I personally know:

  1. Have talk time set aside for each child with each parent at home or at a special place you go everyday: Michael has his morning time with me and evening with Dad. In families where there are two or more children, it’s obviously more complicated. Friends of mine “trade off” time with kids, and sometimes as in the case of three or four kids parents will each take two kids out and do a common activity that both kids like.
  2. Spend time talking or being available to listen in the car: This was when I had all my best chats with my Dad as did my brother, while he drove us to activities. My Mom was a stay and work at home parent who worked around our schedules so we would talk to her after school.
  3. Put aside one night for family stay in time: Ok, this does not always work in my house. My kid DOES NOT like to stay in, but we are working on doing a family stay in movie night, maybe board game night etc.
  4. Make a parent/child night or day out tradition once a month: This is one I don’t do as having one child makes it easy for Dad and I to have our alone and together time as a family with Michael, but I have friends that swear by this, Mother/Daughter movie night, pizza night out, book club etc. Go for it. Your child will love it.
  5. Cuddling up at bedtime: This is my favorite time with Michael. He has always been nervous in the evenings and at bedtime. He loves the calm predictable routine of story, Qigong massage, and me tucking him in and cuddling for a little bit before leaving the room. I like it too. It reminds me of the sweet little boy he is even when he has driven me crazy during the day as I have him. 🙂

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These are just a few ways you can strengthen the bond with your child or children. It will be well worth it. Kids, exceptional or not, who feel loved, cherished and supported handle stress and anxiety much better. They are resilient, and are fighters in every sense of the word.

Exceptional Parents, what suggestions do you have to add to this list? I would love to hear from you! Are you a hands on parent or does life sometimes distract you? Don’t worry if you agreed with distraction. As long as we show our kids how much we love them by being present as much as we can, the rest will slowly fall into place. Until next time.

 

Looking for new tools to handle anxiety, yours or your child’s?  You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

 

 

A Cry For Help: How Exceptional Child Anger Shows Where Moms Can Make Changes

 

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How many times have I wished I could take back things I have said and done. How many times have all of us felt that way as parents. Our children feel it too. Michael and I had had a really tough morning the other day. Lots of factors contributed to it. The routine changed. He had not slept well. And he has been feeling increasingly out of control, probably to adjusting to the demands of school where he has to do things he does not always like. I would like to say that I was one hundred percent present for Michael, but alas, I also have been out of sorts. I have been very busy with work, things in the house, and have been feeling my own nerves fraying at the edges. I have done my best with using strategies,  but the other morning when Michael woke up super early I knew we were both in trouble. Two stressed family members does not a good morning make.

I realized he was upset that we couldn’t plan out our after school time, but I had told him we would look at the calendar after school. Now was not the time. Michael was not happy with that and a lot of emotions had been building up. He started screaming, hitting himself and me, and banged the wall. I could not remain calm myself and started yelling and told him to go to his room. I briskly directed him there. Five minutes later he emerged and went to eat his breakfast. I stayed in the bathroom breathing and calming myself a few minutes longer than stepped into the kitchen to join Michael for the remainder of breakfast. He had let out all his anxiety,  and we talked after apologizing to one another how important it is to use our words, be in touch with how we feel in our bodies, and use these strategies to calm down not aggressive behavior. What is important for parents to realize, even when we are angry, is that anxiety and aggression are a cry for help in our child. They are feeling out of control and powerless. It is imperative for the parent or individual close by to stay calm and collected or as calm and collected as possible. If you fail at that, just own up to it. I did. And it changed things for the two of us from then on.

 

When he came home from school there were hugs for me after I repeatedly assured him I was no longer angry and reminded him that even when angry, I love him very much and never stop. He told he had been afraid to come home thinking I was still angry. I told him I was not, and that he need never be afraid to be home, but that rules need to be followed and respect worked two ways, me and him towards one another. I realized that I maybe had not been as  clear as to what he needed to do that morning. It is something I now remind myself of as much as I do other parents. We all make mistakes once in awhile.

Exceptional Parents, what has lead your Exceptional Children to be aggressive in the past? What was your child doing before the behavior, and what was the consequence for their actions in the past? Also, how have they been handling stress in general in their life? Have they looked to you as the safe port in the ocean? If not, make sure you remind them that you are always there, even with mistakes, imperfections and anything, to love, teach and accept them for all that they are. Good luck parents. You can do it. Until next time.

 

Looking for new tools to manage anxiety and stress in yourself and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

Coming Back Home: Church and Nature: My Exceptional Sanctuaries From Stress

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I sat in the Church pews for the first time in two months yesterday. I was alone. Michael was not ready to come back to church. That is a whole other blog post. In this one, I want to talk about how I re-connected back yesterday to something important to me that I had been losing over the summer in the hectic day to day life. What was it? My ability to re-connect inwards with my soul and spirit to get strong for what lies ahead with Michael, and any other life events that are coming my way. It was bittersweet and emotional for me to be at mass alone yesterday, but I needed that time. Lately, Michael has still been having growing pains adjusting to school, homework, and his ever growing need to be on the move and keep busy. His stimming people tell him he has to. I think it is due to all the worrying and stress he carries around in his head. He is literally running from it. That, and the fact as he has told us, mapping out all these destinations on Google Maps means now he has to visit the countless stores and places everyday after school that he has seen. This is part of his love and hyper focus on directions. I am proud yet exhausted, and am slowly trying to find a compromise for both of us. I have told him we stay home once a week this month, twice in October, three times in November, and then in December four days a week, and that I will show him the fun things he can do at home. It has not been easy. There have been tears, fighting and stress on both our parts, but I know we will find a compromise.

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This is why being in church yesterday was so good for me. It helped me remember how to go in ward and find strength to help Michael and myself. The next place I went yesterday afternoon that recharged me, was a park with Michael. While he played, I sat on the bench, and after taking some pictures of the trees and nature around me, I lay back, closed my eyes, and began to slowly heal from the stress of our fights over the last few days, the mental and physical exhaustion of working, taking care of Michael, making time for my marriage, and catching up in my house. I felt my old positive spirit start to emerge again slowly. I was in danger of losing it due to stress and anxiety. And that is when the word hit me: sanctuary. Nature and religion are my sanctuaries and the places I must retreat to when times get tough and stormy.

Exceptional Parents, what are your sanctuaries in times of stress and difficulty? If you don’t know offhand, try experimenting BEFORE your tension levels skyrocket. Try out taking a nature walk or sitting near a body of water, try a new exercise routine or yoga routine, go sit in a coffee shop, do whatever you need to do to heal your spirit. Make sure you show and remind it what it needs to do to recharge so that when things do swirl out of control, you know where to go. I’m sure glad I did, and now I can show Michael to do the same thing. Until next time.