Month: August 2019

Taking Self-Care One Step Further-Where This Exceptional Mom Goes From Here

“What happened to you? Why are you so tense? ” The massotherapist asked me.

I go every few months for a massage, but have never been this tight before in the shoulders and neck. I have not known her very long and really did not want to go into the details of my stress, my family life, our house that needs fixing but there isn’t the time or money for it, and my worries about family health issues.  Also, everyone has their stress, their problems. And in some ways things have gotten easier with Michael. The thing that hasn’t gotten easier are my expectations for myself. I have been trying to do it all, like so many Moms, and we come to the point where our bodies just say enough. Enough carrying the load. You are tired. You need a break. This summer I have acknowledged where I have been falling short in my self-care ALL year around, not just in the summer. I have gotten good at it, but improvement can still happen.

The thing is it means getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to take the best care I can of me.  It means telling people around me I can only do this much and I will not live with anything else but this standard. It means not settling for any family communication which does not include overall respect for all its members as a whole and as individuals. It means giving myself permission to cry, get angry and feel sad if that is how I am feeling. It also means not being afraid to be happy even if others are not. It means being true to myself in every sense of the word. This is what I have been teaching Michael and I realize I need to start applying it to myself.

Haven’t we all been there as Exceptional Parents? We tell our kids all the time not to be afraid. We break down big events and scary milestones into small steps for them, show them how it is not so scary after all, how they can do it if they just believe in themselves and take it one minute at a time. When was the last time we did this for ourselves? Many of us are stuck in old patterns- destructive habits, relationships, moods, whatever it is that isn’t serving us anymore. The butterfly is my favorite symbol for regeneration and rebirth. This summer I have taken the rebirth even further. I am challenging myself with breaking out of the old mold into new things.  So this summer, take self-care to the next level. See what it is telling you to do for the rest of the year. Don’t be afraid to challenge old beliefs, thoughts, and habits. In the end, everyone in your family will win. Until next time.

ADHD Surprises-Why You Should Never Underestimate Your Exceptional Child

“Michael, is everything ok? It’s time for your shower?” I was calling to him from the living room couch to his bedroom. He had gone in to get his pajamas and shower stuff in order to start his bedtime routine.

No answer.

“Michael, are you feeling alright”

I had learned that if he was upset with me he would usually answer right away in a negative way, and I was worried that maybe he wasn’t feeling well. He could have had a low blood sugar due to his diabetes. He would not have a lot of energy.

“I’m fine Mommy. I’m cleaning my room.”
I almost fell off the couch! My son, who was one of the messiest kids I knew, was cleaning up his room. I was both amazed, excited and annoyed. He chose to do this at his bedtime. Sigh.

“Michael honey, that’s great. But you can continue tomorrow. It’s bedtime soon.”
“But I want to be able to find things. I know it’s getting late. I’m almost done.”
He  cleaned one section of his room, and then did go to do his shower. Still, one of the things I worry the most about Michael, after how he controls his anxiety and anger, are his organizing skills. Yet, here he was showing me how capable he was of handling things on his own, trying to manage something very hard for him-executive function skills. I was embarrassed that though I truly believed in my child’s potential, there are times I underestimate him. I always try and encourage him, remind him of his strengths, and believe in him. He is so strong, can handle so much. Much more than me for sure. Yet, I still make this mistake sometimes. Parenting is hard work and when your child has challenges, it is easy to get caught up in a lot of stress and turmoil.

I’ve had other moments in my life when Michael has surprised me happily. Each time I say I will keep an open mind and do for a few weeks, but then the stress of life happens and I forget to honor my promise to remind myself that my son is doing the best he can all the time, even when he is having a hard time. This is when he needs me to be at my strongest. And if I’m not, that’s ok. It just means I have to learn from the experience, be gentler with myself so I could be gentler with him too.

Exceptional Parents, when has your Exceptional Child surprised you? In most cases it was probably when you least expected it. Always keep an open mind. Don’t listen to what categories other people may put your child in. You know their uniqueness and quirks. Go with that, and always believe in them so they can continue to believe in themselves. Until next time.

Looking Within To Become Whole-How Working On Your Own Personal Quirks Helps You Parent Your Exceptional Child Better

July was an interesting month. It was a month of a lot of personal ups and downs for me where I had to come to terms with a lot of fears that were building up inside of me. As I got mentally and spiritually stronger, facing my own fears and doubts, as in the past, I found the people, the articles and the activities/places that helped me start to move forward and grow again as an individual and as an exceptional parent. I realized that I wanted to speak my mind even if the words I said were  difficult for me and for those around me. I decided that I could not tell Michael to share all his scary feelings if I was afraid to share my own. It is important to share anger, frustration and sadness with those closest to us and admit them to ourselves.  I finished off July coming to this decision, and now have started August on this right foot.

So what does this have to do with exceptional parenting, you may be asking? Well, I was having a harder time being compassionate with Michael when I wasn’t in touch with myself. I was having a hard time being patient, trying out new things. As I took self-care to a whole new level, reminding myself why I had to make changes in what I said and did with my family, things started to turn around for me personally. Our family communication improved. Things began to look brighter. It’s not to say that it is easy. Change is never easy. It is scary and uncertain but exciting too. In trying things a new way, you are showing your child that they will be ok if they do things a little differently. The thing is that kids pick up when we are feeling scared or overwhelmed. Michael would ask me, “you are ok Mommy, right? You aren’t depressed.” He’d heard me talking to Dad about when I was depressed and burnt out over six years ago. I’d assured him that no, I wasn’t depressed, but that sometimes I would feel sad or overwhelmed and that’s when using my tools helped. If I wasn’t using my tools, I would struggle, just like him.
As I’ve said before our tools as parents may look different, but as long as you are doing things that balance out your levels of stress, help keep your mood optimistic and hopeful, you are on the right track. It’s also important to remember that time alone is as important as time spent with family and friends. Even five minutes reading at night means you carved out some space for you. A short walk after dinner or watching a favorite movie is another great way to recharge. Finally, listening to a great music cd or calling up a friend. I make sure to have all or many of the above on my to do list if I feel overwhelmed or stressed.  Depending on how you feel, you’ll know which tools work.

Exceptional Parents, what do you need to tweak on the inside to feel like you can parent your best? Your heart knows what it needs. Remember to listen to it. You’ll know you did when the right people come into your life and your child’s, and things improve all around with you and with your child. Until next time.