Today I thought for sure I would start to scream and not be able to to stop. Michael came home from his sports summer camp and was actually relatively calm. He’d had a good day, ate his snack, and talked about the days events. Then, it was like a switch went off. He became happy hyper, physically moving all around the house and started stressing out about some of his recent phobias. I literally saw all his diagnoses in a two hour span being acted out looping on each other. As I tried to redirect the ADHD hyperactivity he became rigid and inflexible about something else, stereotypical ASD. Then I could tell his blood sugar was high due to all the emotions and his sudden anger. Then came the fears and worries, his new issue. I was pretty much finished by 6 pm. We arrived home at 4:15. I was still upset at myself though, for taking some off his comments personally, particularly when he tried to get aggressive. He was clearly out of control.
After we had both calmed down, Michael and I spoke about sensory strategies he could use when he comes home from camp. After dinner he asked if he could go swimming at the local pool. It was a great way to calm his nervous system. So what was I still stressed about? Well, you see I felt bad that I was and have been feeling a little resentful lately of dealing with a lot of different issues caused by his conditions. It has been extremely stressful. That was when I reminded myself that he is the one living in his body, not me. If I can’t stay calm and focused, how will I model that for Michael?
This got me thinking that due to the level of worrying I have been doing about Michael’s latest health challenges , I have worn myself down emotionally. I have a great kid, but I have been seeing him as his problems, not his positive points as often as I want to. I started to reflect on kids with multiple needs, complex care needs. These kinds of kids and their parents need to take even better care of their mental and physical health. They need to stay in touch with beauty, laugh together, and never lose faith. Especially us parents. As we come to terms with other health conditions our child has, we must learn to still look to the beautiful child that they are. If it means taking time away from researching their current health conditions, so be it. Your child needs you present and strong. They need you to laugh with them and grow with them. They need you strong so remember to do what makes you feel strong. Remember to find joy in yourself, and in your life so you can see the joy in your child. For me lately, it has been about paying attention to mood swings for emotions and blood sugar. I have so many charts and emails that I send to professionals about Michael as does Dad. And though this is helping me understand my child’s inner world better, it is causing extra stress to me as a Mom. Today I realized I had to let go of some of that worry and take some Mommy time off. Also, when I am with my kid, I need to see his funny quirky side. Enjoy him. His enthusiasm. His amazing memory. His energy. His sense of direction. His love of food and music. And remember that though this little tween is not the boy I could cuddle on my lap, he still will ask for those kisses and cuddles occasionally, and still cherishes my opinion. I also still get the “Mommy, look at me!” It’s time I did an inventory and appreciated the moments we spend together, and when times are rough, look for easy to help Michael regulate faster and for me to do the same.
Exceptional Parents, do you ever resent handling all the stuff that comes with your child’s diagnosis? Remember, if it’s hard for you, it’s even harder for them. And they are not their diagnosis. They are boys and girls with a diagnosis or diagnoses. Instead take a deep breath. Be compassionate and help them find a way to navigate through their difficulties. Take a Mommy break for a few hours. Recharge. So when you do get back in saddle, you and your child will be heading in the same direction. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.