So the other day Michael asked if he could show me a new way home from school. I had picked him up at school as he had a swimming lesson directly after school. The week before had been stressful at the lesson and I was tired. It had been a short, but busy work day and I had stopped in to buy groceries before picking Michael up. Maybe that was why when Michael told me to turn right like his bus did and not left, that I let out the swear word and felt my anger explode out of me. Michael grinned and then I realized my mistake. I apologized for swearing and then seeing where I was redirected myself out through the small streets and back the way he had meant to tell me. We were both tired and a little distracted and mistakes happen. Still, where did all the anger come from? I realized I hadn’t been sleeping much and was feeling a little stressed. I also realized I needed to do something for me and practice some self-care which was lacking this week. I realized I needed to get back to exercise and yoga. At least I was still meditating. That was what had given me the strength to apologize for my blunder and turn the rest of the afternoon around as I teach Michael.
But what I also realized is that that woman who was hard on herself is gone. The woman who would call herself a bad mother was gone. The one who said she couldn’t this anymore was gone. Thank God. Wow. I’d come a long way from three years ago when I was so hard on myself. And it was because I didn’t know how to be anything else. I didn’t know when I was burning out, or when I was being a martyr, a victim. Now, I recognize when I am not practicing proper self-care and when I need to get on the bandwagon of recharging my batteries. When I start thinking, “I have to cancel that lunch,” “I can’t exercise today,” or “I can’t go out.” That is my self-sacrificing side coming out which, if not tempered with a firm, “Joanne, you need to take care of you by doing this today,” will fizzle and burn out and then I’ll be no good to anybody. I was so happy I recognized I was there the other day with Michael. And I stopped, paused and reminded myself: You are going to make time for you this week. And that is what I have been doing. Lunch with friends on Thursday, and later today, I will be going to a spa near me for a Hamamm experience: hot tubs and saunas. This is what helps me recharge. I actually have made a habit to go every January to this Hamamm as it is like a reset for me. Next thing will be booking a massage in February.
Exceptional Parents, do you notice when you are running on empty? What are your signs? What are your child’s? The great thing when we notice our own signs of wear and tear is that we can teach our Exceptional Children to notice theirs and find ways that they can unwind and recharge their own batteries. You’ve come a long way as a parent when you see you can do this. It means you are seeing your own humanity and limits, and this will help you connect to your child in an even more intimate way. Until next time.
Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey? I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.
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