Category: Self-Care Techniques

How Listening to and Healing Your Inner Spirit Will Help You Parent You Exceptional Child Better

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As soon as I was alone in the car the tears came, slow and gentle off on and on. I knew when I woke up Sunday morning that I was feeling tired, tired and heavy. I did not have the answers to help Michael, and though the day before had ended beautifully with Dad and I having our first date night post-diabetes and now possibly ADHD, it had been anything but beautiful until the sitter came to watch Michael that evening. Sure there were some nice pockets of moments that Michael behaved and listened, but it was not when he was alone with me or Dad. I was feeling so tired and fed up of the roller coaster of emotions we were all riding as a family, but most important of all, the mother who always trusted her own parenting instinct was having an identity crisis.

How come with all the hard behavioral work we had been doing with Michael, particularly over the last two years, but let’s face it, pretty much over the last ten years, as well as the new medication which were helping, did we still have bad days like these? Where was I going wrong? Then, another thought hit. I don’t have the energy for this anymore. I am tired, fed up. I want off this train right now and want my old pre child life back, when I only had my own stresses and strains to worry about. The life where I didn’t have to handle filling out ABC charts, carb  counting, charting side effects of drugs. Enough. I’d had enough. I wanted someone else to take over and take over being Michael’s Mom as of that moment. I did not want the stress, the heartache, and had lost trust that I could do the job in spite of so many of my Mom friends and family cheering me on and telling me what a great job I was doing. I thought back to the last time I was excited to do anything with Michael. It had been awhile. Even when things were going well, I kept waiting for disaster to strike, unfairly too. Sunday had ended up being a great day for us as a family.

Anyway, back to the drive home from church. So as my tears dried up I heard a soft voice inside whispering to me that I needed to go to the lake. We have a beautiful nature park near our house. It was not far from church or our house. I did not question this voice, but drove the lake. Once there I texted Dad that I would be home in about an hour as I needed some more alone time. I waited hoping all was well at home and I could do this. It was.  After that, more crying ensued in the parking lot, until I felt calm, serene and ready to go for a nature walk. From the second I stepped outside and heard the crunching of my shoes on the gravel, I knew the voice that was whispering to me was my spirit. She was reminding me of how I healed my feelings of exhaustion, fear and self-doubt as a mother five years earlier and was reborn. It was through meditation, yoga and walking in nature. It was through making time to charge my personal battery. As I walked I started thinking, Michael’s behaviors have not gotten worse. I have gotten more tired, burned out, and have not been able to handle them as well. He needs help, reminders to use his strategies, but none of that will happen until I get a handle on my stress and fix my health. Soon I came to a bench and I looked out at the beautiful shimmering lake. It was a cloudy cold day, but it felt so good to be out in the fresh air, in the quiet with only the odd jogger and hiker to contend with. And then I saw the ducks swimming and quacking away in the water. I smiled for the first time at one of them as he continuously dunked his head in and out of the water. I watched other bathe themselves.

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And then I started to pray. I started to pray to God to show me the way, to give me strength to be Michael’s mother, but before I could do that. help me be Joanne again. Help me be Joanne who makes time for exercise, alone time to read and unwind, as well as  writing, all my writing. Help me be Joanne and schedule regular date nights with her husband and get back to her girls’ nights out. Help me be Joanne and do what makes me feel alive, peaceful and grateful for all my blessings. I knew I had so much to be grateful for even in the challenging moments. Friends had been reaching out to me and I’d been pushing them away. This was not due to me being in denial about needing a  break, but due to total exhaustion and a bad sinus infection I am still fighting. I realized sitting there on that bench, that I would be alright. Michael and Dad would be alright. I just needed to take care of me and get strong. After that, it would all fall into place. The answers would come. And as I walked back to my car, I felt the first bit of peace I’d felt in a long time. And I felt happy, happy to be going home to see my boys.

Exceptional Parents, do you  have fantasies about running away from being parents? Do you feel tired, angry, fed up with your child, with yourself sometimes? You have every right to be feeling overwhelmed, but the best way to tackle your feelings of lack of control, are to control the one thing you can control-you. Ask yourself when was the last time you made time for things that recharged your batteries. Remember, if  you take care of you first, it will be much easier to ride out your child’s storms until you figure out the best solution to help them. Also, if you find yourself losing patience with your child, think of the last time you were patient with yourself. If it’s been awhile, this could be why you are having a harder time with your child. We can only love and support others once we are doing it one hundred percent of the time for ourselves. Take heart Moms and Dads. You are doing the best you can. Now it’s time to take care of your spirit so you’ll have that much more to give back to your child and for yourself in the long run. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

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Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First- A Lesson Learned By This Exceptional Mom

I knew as soon as the words “Put your own oxygen mask on first,” appeared in my head that it was the Universe telling me I’d messed up. I was frustrated, angry, patience gone. Michael was testing me from the minute I got up in the morning. He was “off.” We’ve all had those days, right? Things are just not working well. We are tired, sick, not feeling like ourselves. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been under the weather this week with a cold, and was still feeling sick myself today. By evening I was better, but the toll of the day, emotions riding high, a trip to the pediatrician to make sure we were both up to date on Michael’s health changes, as well as new health requests  for Michael, (more on that Monday), and well, I’d had it. But I’d pretty much had it when I woke up this morning. I did what I always tell other Moms not to do. What I tell Dad not to do. I woke up feeling negative, stressed, worried about the day and gave into that worry.

The morning insulin injection is always the toughest. Michael stalls and there is usually the pressure to make sure he does it in time, eats right away, and gets ready for the bus on time. Then it’s me running to get out the door and to work, though luckily I usually have at least fifteen to twenty minutes after his bus leaves to do that. On days like today, when he and I were home due to a doctor’s appointment, there is a different pressure for Michael. I think it is the pressure of a different schedule and the stress that produces. From the second we could not get a proper blood glucose reading due to not getting enough blood on the sample strip (sorry for the gore), both Michael’s and my nerves started deteriorating. It pretty much went down hill from there. We managed to get ready and get to the doctor’s office on time, but then the wait for the doctor caused super hyperactivity in the examination room that more stress built up. Coming home I gave in to not sending him into school as it would have only been for an hour and a half of work, and the afternoon was stressful with him not knowing how to keep busy while I had so much catch up with being sick this week. When I did talk to him he was confrontational and wanted to go out while not understanding that I had things to finish up before. With all the anger, tears and confrontation, I did not take him anywhere. We hung out in the backyard together, then I went inside to do my meditation and yoga. Michael came in shortly after, and then we did his evening injection and had dinner.

I realized that not doing my meditation and yoga this morning was a major way I did not put my oxygen mask on. Why? I was waiting stressed to get Michael calmly into the day. That was not possible though. How could I do this, when I was not calm? And then, when was I going to realize that I could guide and show Michael where his tools were, but that it was he who would decide how his day would go and which tools to use? I had to stop trying to take care of what I could not control, and control what I can, which were my emotions and thoughts. The evening flared up briefly again until Dad and I redirected Michael to strategies and told him that to live at home he needed to follow rules of respect and politeness. I think we got through to him, but most importantly Dad and I were reminded of how important taking care of our masks were. When we didn’t, we were that much more stressed and it was harder on us and the family.

Exceptional Parents, have you been putting your needs first? Don’t be embarrassed if the answer is no. We’ve all been guilty of that. Don’t beat yourself up. Start fresh the next day with doing something special just for you. It could be anything-big or small. The important thing is to show yourself self-care and self-love. Make sure your partner is doing the same thing. You and your child will feel that positive strength and it will be a talisman against any of the stress you and your child are feeling. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

Confronting Your Own Exceptional Fears for Your Child’s Diagnosis While Being Strong For Them

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The other day as I let out some more therapeutic tears, it occurred to me how though Michael’s new diagnosis has been hard on our family, it is also making Dad and I open up to one another and ourselves  about our own personal fears. My two biggest fears prior to diabetes coming in our life, was having to raise a child with a physical health issue. I always  marveled at my friends whose children were on medication and had physical as well as psychological challenges that required round the clock care. I often joked that I could never keep track on charts with numbers and hated the idea of giving needles or medication. I’m a writer and a words person, not a nurse. When Dad used to chart his food for the day when he was losing weight, I was amazed at how he had spreadsheets and logged it all. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that, I thought. Well, guess what Type 1 Diabetes requires daily of the individual affected and their caretakers. You got it. Spreadsheets to log carbohydrates and keep track of sugar, as well as many rounds of injections with needles to make sugar blood sugar is normal and that the insulin we are injecting is in doing its job. I almost laughed when I saw what would be required of Michael and me. See, he hates needles and numbers too. Yet both of us are becoming incredibly prolific with both. Michael is so brave with the injections, even when he is not comfortable doing injections, he has not refused to have them, and does it well. He is way better than I would have been with this diagnosis. He especially likes if his blood sugar is low at night. This means he has to have a little snack before we test the blood glucose number and give him his insulin so he gets to stay up later.  He makes us laugh even though we worry about his body with each high and low, a normal thing at the beginning of diabetes from what I have been reading. It is the same thing with autism. All Exceptional parents know this.

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I am incredibly overwhelmed with doctors’ appointments, diabetes and autism wise. We are working with an educator to help him with self-regulation and control, as now even more stress has entered his life and ours with the diabetes diagnosis. We are getting there though. All of us. I finally got back to self-care on Friday night. I want to my local Hamamm and then Saturday took a long, hot, bath complete with candles burning and soft meditation music  playing. Sunday morning I awoke for the first time since August 30th, the day Michael was diagnosed. I have had many beautiful happy moments since then, of course. I love my job. I love writing. I have talked to many friends and of course family who have been nothing but supportive. But I felt like I was not really touching the ground. The last time I felt this was long ago when Michael was first diagnosed with autism. The shock takes a while to adjust to, even after you have accepted a diagnosis. For me, it has been like I am watching myself going through the motions of life. I also have not really been able to relax. Where this has been most visible was in my meditation and yoga. It helped a little bit with being present centered, but again I felt like I was watching me in a detached way, and not the way I wanted to be detached. I knew once I brought self-care regularly back into my life my soul would heal along with my body. Yesterday was the first complete day that I felt healed and ready to really resume and tackle all the stuff that goes with coming to terms with another diagnosis, while continuing to help Michael with his other challenges.

Exceptional Parents, what scares you about your child’s diagnosis and why? Do you feel you can’t or don’t want to do it? It’s perfectly normal. For the last few weeks even though I know I would never act on it, I’ve had a reoccurring fantasy of driving off to the airport with a one-way ticket somewhere. This is the normal reaction to a highly stressful situation in the beginning. As you develop good self-care and coping mechanisms though, (or put old ones back in place), you will be able to face  your child’s (and your) challenges with calm, grace, and maybe even a laugh or two. I found myself laughing this weekend and making jokes for the first time in a month. That’s how I know I am doing better. Take care of yourself. Do little things to recharge your batteries. Then you’ll see that you’ll be better able to face the stresses ahead. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Recharging Parenting Batteries Builds Patience And Love For Your Child

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So today when I was sitting down after the bus left before I started getting ready for my work day, I realized why lately I have been feeling overwhelmed by motherhood and spending time with Michael. Obviously, our family has been adjusting to all the new things we have had to adjust to, but though I knew it in my mind, I had not really thought of why I was stressed. Then it occurred to me. Oh yes, self-care during this time has been non-existent for me. The more stress we feel as parents, the more we need to take time to nurture ourselves. However, most of us do the exact opposite. We tend to burn the candle at both ends trying to please children, partners, work, family, everyone but ourselves. And guess what happens Moms? It is us who feels the burnout, the resentment, the tears and stress. It is our bodies that fall apart, our minds that explode, our souls that feel depleted. Then, no one wins.

Watching Michael working with a new Educator today who was teaching him about his anger and anxiety building and how he needed to recognize it in terms of numbers, made me realize when was the last time I did this? When was the last time many of us busy parents did this? It’s ok if we didn’t prioritize it in the past. But now that we know, we need to start putting ourselves at the tops of the priority list-right up there with other family members who we care about. Why? Well, because if we burn out, what then? Who will be our child’s best advocate, cheerleader, and caretaker? Also, what kind of life would we lead? Yes, you Mom! You deserve to have fun too. You deserve to laugh, play, experience joy. Actually, not deserve but need to experience this to feel fully alive and teach your child how to feel fully alive. Why? Because that is part of what the Universe has in store for you.

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I am a big believer in the Universe or God having a plan for you, your child, all of us. This plan means that we will experience ups and downs on our life journey and that we must be strong to fulfill our destiny and help our child fulfill theirs. Life is nothing if not an adventure, and if having an Exceptional Child has taught me nothing else, it is that this child has helped me see the adventure and the beauty of the journey is even more important than the destination. For all Michael’s anxiety and stress, he will say things once in awhile that helps me open my mind and heart to how I am growing or need to grow. I know I do the same for him. He makes me laugh during the challenges most of the time, and even when I cry, tears are good. They help strengthen me, make me see where I need to heal, and help me help other parents and children on their path to healing. We all have a job and a vocation in this world. For some, the two are combined. For others they are two different things. Still, regardless we are just as much  here to help others as be helped ourselves. That is the human mission and condition set in practice.

Exceptional Parents, are you taking care of you? Are you scheduling in time to unwind and explore who you are as a parent and person? If not, it’s time to start. Your child will thank you. Your family and friends will thank you. And most importantly, you will feel so recharged that you will not be able to think anything negative no matter what happens. Your life will unfold as you practice self-care and teach the same skills to your child. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

7 Ways to Be Gentle With Yourself And Your Child When Handling Their Diagnosis

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I feel so angry right now, angry and full of self-pity. It is not a fun stage, not in the least. I am feeling angry that once again our life has been thrown up in the air and our whole family has to deal with another big diagnosis- Type 1 diabetes. Lots has started making sense. I am seeing patterns, like blood sugar highs and lows and temper tantrums in between that Michael has had. I am also seeing how healthier eating will now definitively be a part of our family life. We have no choice unless we want to watch Michael get sick and suffer again. But I also keep reminding myself daily that diabetes is not happening to me. It is happening to Michael. It is his burden to bear, not mine. I am merely an instrument to teach him how to shoulder this new challenge appropriately, as optimistically as he can, and learn how the anxiety management strategies he learned last year can be put into practice. This is not as easy as it seems. I have good days being an Exceptional Mom and not so good days. I have days when crying is what gets me through. Others where I laugh and can see the lighter side of things. More and more what this latest challenge is showing is that life is all about balance. It is about learning how to live by eating right, exercising, treating others with respect ,and living in harmony with the world. This can only be done when you are living in harmony with yourself.

Forgiving ourselves is also at the top of the list. Things don’t happen to us because we did something bad. That was something I thought when I was a kid. Things happen for us, not to us. I am really trying to embody this now in my life and teach it Michael. Our family was struggling for a few years with nutrition and food. Dad and I have both struggled, as do many married couples, with communication as parents and as a couple. Well guess what? When your kid has diabetes all you do is communicate. You have no choice unless you want your kid to get sick. For a lot of couples, when children get sick it destroys the relationship. In our case, when Michael has struggled he has grown stronger, and Dad and I have grown stronger as a couple. With autism, we were brought closer together eventually, though there were lots of ups and downs on the way. I feel the same thing happening with Michael’s diabetes. We are all growing stronger though there are definitively moments of weakness that we are all acknowledging. You can’t grow if you don’t acknowledge and live through pain. It gets easier with time.

In going through this latest challenge, I have been combing my brain remembering how I handled coming to terms with Michael’s autism seven years ago. I am remembering how I went from blame, anger and fear to acceptance, forgiveness and happiness again. I realize that a huge portion of it was due to self-care and compassion towards myself and my child. Here are 7 ways  that self-compassion and care to yourself and your child can get you and your child through acceptance of the diagnosis:

  1. Don’t fight the 7 stages: First things first, do not fight going through all the stages to acceptance no matter how long it takes. For some it is faster than others, but getting to the end will happen just like in any race.
  2. Make time to laugh and unwind: This is a tricky one especially if you are in the anger or denial stage, but laughter is so important. Watch a funny movie. Read a funny book. Spend time with your partner or a friend that makes you laugh. It will restore your soul as your mind comes to terms with something major.
  3. Remember your child is still your child-not a diagnosis: It is natural you will be focusing on helping your child handle their new diagnosis. However, remember that this diagnosis is not them, just a part of them.
  4. Do something for you alone that brings joy: What brings you joy? Is it going for a massage, a workout, a lunch? Is it meeting a friend, going for a walk, curling up with a good book? Do what makes you feel alive to remember even during difficult times you are still alive, inside and out.
  5. Enjoy doing things with your child that you did before: Don’t let a diagnosis stop you from playing with your child in a fun way, enjoying their quirkiness and doing things like going to the park, baking, watching tv together. They are still your children and you need not change how your treat them.
  6. Remind your child (if they are old enough) that their diagnosis is not THEM: If a child is old enough to understand, remind them not to use their diagnosis as an excuse not to live a full life. If they are babies, just don’t let their challenges mentally or physically mean they can’t strive for perfection, or what perfection will be for them. We all have a gift and something beautiful to offer the world.
  7. Seek support as a parent and for your child if they need it: Don’t be afraid to seek support for yourself and for your child if you both need it in dealing with a new diagnosis. Find other parents to talk to and playgroups for your child to attend where they could meet other children like them and form relationships. This is also important for healing purposes.

 

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled accepting your child’s diagnosis? Where are you now in the process? It’s ok if you are stuck at a stage. In time, you will move to the next one and may bounce around for a while before acceptance. Your child too will be struggling. Be patient with them. Be patient with yourself. You will both find your way if you take it one day at a time and remain kind and compassionate towards yourself and your child. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

How Avoiding Conflict Does Not Help You Or Your Exceptional Child

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So I have had to face something recently that I am not really proud of. I say those words, but then I add to myself what I learned in therapy many years ago, “It’s ok. We are all human. We all make mistakes. You are doing the best that you can.” What I am not really proud of is how I have slowly been letting my worry over Michael having an emotional or aggressive outburst cause me to give him chances when he has been acting up. The acting up has been more little testing her and there; rude language, minor emotional blowups, but I sat down last night and thought that I have been worried about him escalating to his aggressive point of a few months ago, and I have been unintentionally giving him the green light to be rude at times. I also have been giving up going out with friends when he would have trigger moments with Dad. I stayed home to defuse the tensions, and rightfully believed this was  helpful. I realized it was not subconsciously, and last night decided that a little tiff between Michael and Dad would not stop me from going out. It almost did, but I told them to deal with it and I left. What helped me? I’d like to say it was all my own inner resolve, but as always, Michael gave me the push I needed when he said, “Mommy, you need to stay home. Daddy and I will not be fine.” The thing is he said it with a little smile on his face. Gotcha Mom! I’d been had for  awhile. The lesson I learned is that being afraid of a reaction and putting the brakes on our children’s emotions, does not help any of us find better strategies and move forward. I was guilty of putting on the brakes.

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Several friends have recently gently chided me for backing out on plans due to worries about how Michael will do. They were all so understanding about my situation of the last six months, so I thanked them, and told them they were right. Somewhere along the line I had forgotten that we teach our child how to treat us, how resilient they and we are by our actions, and that playing peacemaker and being afraid of conflict comes at a huge price to us and our children. We send the message, unintentionally, that we and they cannot cope. Going out with friends or alone sometimes also means parents are practicing self-care which helps them become stronger and able to see when old habits that are not healthy are slipping back in. Last week, I went for my seasonal Hamaan. Yes, I now go once a season. It’s an inexpensive way for me to relax and recharge my batteries in the saunas and whirlpools. I sometimes go with friends, but love going alone too. As a close friend once commented, that is when you can truly relax and unwind-when there is no one else to talk to. And I felt not an ounce of guilt that I was doing this for me. It took me a long time to get here-four years. There are still times I do feel guilty about taking care of me. It is a process, as they say, but I am getting there.

Exceptional Parents, what bad habits have you seen creeping back into your parenting-such as avoiding conflict and not prioritizing self-care? Don’t feel guilty. We all do it Moms and Dads. We all see our friends struggling and give them great advice that we don’t follow ourselves. Next time you find yourself slipping, try this trick when you start talking yourself out of your fear and not facing it; “What would I tell my friend to do in this situation?” Chances are it will be to stay calm, direct, honest and to take good care of your self so your patience is as strong as it can be. And if it isn’t in that moment, forgive yourself and learn for the future. You’ll get there. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

Summer Camp Adventures And Mom/Son Respite

So yesterday was Michael’s first day at a new camp. He did really well, had fun, and so did I. It was great to have some time for me. I did my meditation and yoga outside, took some quiet time to read, write, and then used the time to catch up on things around the house. After all, that’s important to keep the house running smoothly. Dad was home and did some chores as well before we went to pick Michael up, and we had time to talk without any little interruptions, if you know what I mean. 🙂 What is important is that Michael and us are getting some time away from each other, family respite if you will, so we can each grow, have space, and try new things. Self-care is easier to schedule in for parents when we have a little bit of downtime here and there. It makes you a stronger and more patient parent. This helps your child grow with confidence and you as a parent to be more relaxed.

Many parents do not have the option of doing summer camp for one reason or another. If that is you, it’s still important to try and get some downtime for you whenever possible. See if there are family friends, a respite center that can spend some fun time with your child so you both get a physical break from one another and a chance to do new things. It will refresh your parenting batteries, and your child will have a chance to see you re-energized and happy and rested. It’s also good for them to build relationships with other adults and children. It exposes them to new experiences. When I was growing up, it was a different world. Kids played together in the street during the summer time. Moms or Dads (though it was mostly Moms),  were home full-time which wasn’t always exciting for them, but they would get a kid break when their child would play with peers. Kids would also be out having fun, using their imaginations, and having lots of adventures. Then there would be family time and Moms and Dads would have more patience as a result due to that break. It was far from ideal in other ways, but kids and parents each had their time together and away. Today we have to find creative ways to make this happen for the whole family’s sake.

Exceptional Parents, how do you make separate time for yourself and your child in order to be re-energized? Remember, as long as it works for you and your child, it is the right thing for you and your family. Give your child a parent break and give your self a kid break. You will both be happier and healthier as a result.  And happier people get along better, grow and have  more fun. After all, isn’t that what summer is all about?  Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

Spa Days And Recharging Burnt Exceptional Mom Batteries-Mine And My Child’s Break From One Another

 

 

This weekend was my annual Spa Weekend away with a close friend. I have been making this trip for the past four years in order to recharge my Mom batteries, which are always pretty burnt by the time of year. This particular year with Michael’s challenges it was even more welcome, though I saw it was only the beginning of what I needed to do to get myself back into shape mentally, physically and spiritually. I am seeing how all the things I tell Michael he needs to do to stay calm, balanced and able to handle what life throws his way, is also important for me as his Mom to practice. I have been sadly neglecting this area for myself because, well, life happens. And when it happens what do women and specifically Moms do? We prioritize everyone but ourselves and our needs. This eventually leads to exhaustion, frustration and burnout.

The good news is that as a seasoned Exceptional Mom, I am beginning to understand when I have overdone it and have not taken care of me. I have hit that point. And yes, the house is looking better. I am doing well at my job and prioritizing my family. But where do I fit in? Last week when I just needed to crash from all the drama that has been unfolding in our family, it was my reminder that I needed to give myself permission way before my annual girls spa trip to retreat from my family, from responsibility for a few hours each week to take time to just be. Meditation and yoga have taught me to slow down in my mind and in my actual life, but practicing this art is obviously harder than saying it. So what I am reminding myself to do is be honest with myself. Over the weekend, Michael and I had some talks about self-care, about using strategies to both stay calm and remain calm, and how if anyone feels themselves falling off track, what options do they have? Michael seemed to think he was weak if he needed strategies or lists to keep organized. I don’t know where he got that from. I spoke to him about how important lists and strategies are for everyone, adults and children alike. I showed him how I organize myself. It was a good reminder about how important balance is for all of us. Parents need to remember to practice what they preach to their kids.

 

Exceptional Parents, how do you recharge your batteries and keep on track with your life schedule? How do you know you’ve fallen off track? Remember, tomorrow is always a chance to get it right. Show your child there is no shame in learning from your mistakes, starting over and getting stronger in the process. Until next time.

Staying Sane In Insane Times-This Exceptional Mom’s Guide To Finding Her Patience Again

I love Michael to pieces. I love his smile, his sense of humor. But then there are those days, those tough parenting days when you can’t wait for bedtime slightly after 6:15 am on a Saturday morning. Yes, you heard me. Michael was up at 6 am sharp fighting with his Dad. The two of them were letting me “sleep in”. I can tell you. I was not sleeping, but trying to hide in my bed. If there had been a way to get myself a cup of coffee and climb out the bedroom window into  the car to enjoy said cup of coffee I would have done it. Alas, I sucked it in after saying a quick prayer and emerged out of the bedroom to face the music. I managed to help Dad calm Michael down, but it was just one of those days that started out hard, and ended in difficulty too. No tears or crying on my part this time, just bone tired exhaustion. Michael was extremely overtired and that didn’t help. Sunday went a little better, but there was still so much testing, so much drama. What saved me both days was a bubble bath, some wine, reading a new fiction book and my freelance article writing. Having writing be a part of my life is so important now. It helps me connect to the artist in me.

But getting back to how I handled things with Michael. I felt both discouraged and stressed. Discouraged that I didn’t hold my patience as well as I would have liked to. There was lots of raised voices and lots of frustration alongside constant reminders about using calm corners, calm cards, strategies etc. This applied to me and Michael, and I think I rebounded well for both of us in the end, but there were some moments when I just felt so tired. What got me through is remembering I am not alone. I have support. I used humor too. And I started looking at different ways I have lost patience and gained it back. I thought that this was a useful thing for me to remember the next time I felt discouraged. What were some of the things I thought of that helped? Here they are:e

  1. Let it Out: As hard as it may be to lose it, sometimes doing a little bit of letting out frustration is good. It is healthy for our kids to see us process anger, and we will see hopefully that we are being a little silly over dramatizing something our kid did. If we start unraveling further, its time for an adult calm corner. DO NOT HESITATE to set this example to your child.
  2. See the Struggle-Not The Insults: This is hard. As an Exceptional Mom, when your child is insulting you, hitting you or doing anything  he/she can to push your buttons, you may have a hard time seeing their pain, but the pain is real. After a hard night with Michael yesterday, I said at the end, “I know you don’t want this. Why are you not letting me help you Michael?” He responded to my shock, “You want to help me? You can?” Gone was the cheeky rudeness to get his way. It put a new perspective on our fight.
  3. Reward Yourself With a Treat As You Would Your Child:Moms, you’ve had a hard day. It didn’t go as you planned. You feel discouraged, stressed, like a bad Mom. You are not. You did your best. Now it’s time to give yourself some self-care. Take a bath, watch a movie, read a book. Do what makes you feel whole. And forget the housework. Give yourself the night off.
  4. Remember To Choose Love Over Being Right:If you are trying to one your kid, neither of you wins. Also let your child know you are there to help them be successful.
  5. Mediate, Exercise, Pray or Do All Three; Get in touch spiritually with your inner self. You will handle everything better when you.

Exceptional Parents, how do you find patience when you’ve lost it? How do you figure out how to rebuild your calm after the storm so it is easier to show your child how to rebuild theirs? As with anything, you need to see what works for you, your child and your family. Generally though, eating, sleeping and exercising are great ways to sharpen one’s mind. Remembering things of the spirit; prayer, yoga, meditation are great ways to also get in touch with yourself. And when you are in touch with yourself and calm, you can better help your child find their patience and self-control when they have lost it.  Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, and parent coach. As the parent of an exceptional child who is raising me to lead a bigger life and purpose, I understand the challenges nonetheless of raising a child who truly thinks out side the  box and has difficulties at times with the way many others see the world. My passion is helping parents to handle the challenges of raising their children to be fully functioning in our world, as well as teaching them the miracles that their child truly is in spite of the difficulties. I truly believe in helping parents lead lives of hope, health, and balance for their own sake and that of their children’s and family’s. For more information on my coaching programs or to book a FREE 30 MINUTE EXPLORATION session with me, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

It’s Spring. The weather is changing and sometimes exceptional children have a difficult time managing big emotions. Is your family struggling to handle emotional challenges? Maybe you need to tweak the way your family handle anxiety? If so, download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

Rediscovering Self and Partner Care In the Exceptional Parent Equation

apartment, architecture, bed

So today was a bit of a rediscovery for Michael’s Dad and I. We had a long period of time when we were together late this afternoon at a spa and then out for dinner and talking at home after dinner. Uninterrupted talk that does not center on Michael is very difficult indeed for us, as is finding activities to do as a couple when Michael is absent from home for a long period. This does not happen often in our house, as I imagine it does not happen often in other houses either, especially when there is more than one child. It is complicated for parents to get away and rediscover who they were prior to becoming parents. Michael’s Dad and I are in the process of doing that now. There are ups and downs in the process, and we are excited to embrace the ups and prepared to handle the downs. In the end,  the fact that we are having the couple “self-care” discussion is important. Seld-care  and couple-care are both integral to how you will handle your relationship with your child and yourself as well as with others.

Michael’s Dad and my partner is not a big spa guy, but for me he went and made the best of it. I love him more than words can say for that. We talked over dinner and wine 🙂 what activities he may be more interested in trying out for our next couple day/evening out. I hope it will be before Michael’s next school camp outing in a year! We will do our best to prioritize it, with securing a sitter so we could perhaps spend a night away somewhere. I know Michael is having fun at his school’s sleep away camp, even before hearing from his teacher and getting great pictures to boot. This makes me realize that Dad and I need to have our own fun too when we can. It makes us better individuals and parents when we are relaxed and feeling well put together. Michael deserves to be happy and so do we as his parents. That is what will make us all handle stress and everything in between so much better.

Exceptional Parents, do you truly make time for self-care and couple care within your family? Remember, you and  your partner deserve time alone and together in order to parent at your strongest. Don’t ever be afraid to make plans (even small ones), to prioritize  your relationship. If you as adults are strong, it will help build the whole family up. Until next time.