Category: self-care

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.

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The Importance Of Exceptional Parent Self-Care-How To Push Through Your Saboteur’s Agenda

I have been practicing very good self-care since I had a burnout six years ago,  and was quite proud of my track record in taking care of myself over the last six years. Other than a few small instances of neglecting me which I quickly fixed, I have moved forward with the tools I needed to stay in top shape as an Exceptional Mom, wife and woman.  These have been and remain; prayer, mediation, yoga, exercise, writing,  reading good fiction, time alone on nature walks, home baths with a few yearly hamamm baths and massages, and quality time with my friends and family. I also took with me tools I learned in therapy about self-love and loving kindness that I make sure to show towards myself in meditation practice and in my life.

Lately though, I have been letting things slide slowly. First, I have been neglecting my yoga stretches in the morning. Then, I did not do my nature walks for several Sundays and even skipped church for two weeks.  I have also stopped my personal exercise regime. What has been stopping me? I have been stopping me. Things at home have been challenging on the personal front, and instead of taking the time to rebuild me, I have been working against myself thinking I had to do it all.  I have been writing and meditating, but I have been feeling this block to being able to handle obstacles in my life and feel at peace with me and those around me. Today I woke up and realized the block has been me. I have been standing in my own way. I have been stopping myself from putting me first, thinking that was selfish. In truth, it has been what has been pushing me down. Putting me first is the most selfless thing I could do.

This morning as  I was sitting in the car after dropping Michael off at day camp, I had said to myself it is a beautiful cool morning to do my nature walk in a nearby park. I sat there for a good five minutes while my critical negative worrying side reminded me of all that was waiting for me at home, both pleasurable work and housework. I wrestled with my critical self and reminded her that my bursts of anger, my stress and worries all were arising more often lately due to not nurturing me. A nature walk would revitalize me for the day, and bring me inner peace so I could go back home and write, handle other responsibilities, and be the advocate and parent Michael needed. I’m happy to report that my nurturing self won, and as I walked through the trees and looked at the water around me, my mind and soul were reborn.

The birds were chirping and nature’s healing power reminded me how I was one with everything and it with me. I left reminding myself that my once a week walk must not be skipped. In fact, in summer when I have a little more freedom,  I will take advantage and go more than once. My family and I need me to be strong and positive. The thing is I was my own saboteur on the self-care journey. I thought I’d gotten past neglecting me, but when things get tough or busy at home, I, like most women, tend to put my  needs last. This is the worst thing women can do. The stress catches up to you fast. You have less patience. You get angry quickly, and you worry more. As soon as I recognized my saboteur, I very kindly spoke to her and told her, it’s time for you to chill out. You need a break. It’s time for you to let me take the wheel so you can heal. And that’s what I did.

The me that came back from that walk was calm, peaceful, and filled with hope.  Self-care is not just a cheesy catchphrase parents. It is real. It is vital. It is necessary if you are to live your best life, and help your family live their best life. You are your child’s first example of how to live. So live well.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at recognizing when you are faltering at self-care? We all make excuses and remove the things that help us when we feel it may interfere with family or work commitments. But remember, if you are not well, work and family will not get your best. You will not get your best and enjoy the gift of your life and what it is you are supposed to be doing. Don’t be afraid to say you are scared, tired, angry, need a break. Don’t be afraid to rest. Ever. Do what fuels your body, soul and mind. And listen to your gut. It will always steer you to living your most exceptional life and show your child how to live theirs. Until next time.

When You’ve Had Enough-How To Deal With Your Frustrations Before They Escalate With Your Exceptional Child

What parent hasn’t had that moment, that moment when your own frustration, stress and exhaustion causes you to lash out at your Exceptional Child’s latest meltdown? Well, I had one of those moments this afternoon. I usually make a point to check in with myself and see if I am feeling calm and in control of what I am feeling BEFORE Michael comes in through the door. This afternoon however, I skipped this step due to it being one of those days where my coming home was about two minutes before he walked through the door. It had been a busy day at work, my seasonal allergies were flaring up even with meds as they have been for the past three days, and well, as he lost his cool escalating over a fear of being in trouble with his Educator over some challenging behaviors last week that I had shared with her, and unfortunately so did I. I tried to redirect him to his room to calm down, only I forgot to redirect myself until it was too late. Then I stormed out of the room angry and frustrated and he stormed out right after me. Sigh. I failed him and myself, I thought.

When it all calmed down and I had gone outside on my patio to regroup, which for me was having a cry, then doing some meditative breathing followed by a glass of wine, I realized that I had needed to do the regrouping for me right away on the patio or in some other quiet contemplative place.  I needed to be honest with myself and see that I was in no shape to help Michael through a crisis until I was calm and he had calmed down too. Neither of us were hearing the other one, and both of us were escalating the other one, meaning each of us was driving the other’s frustration.

This brings me to talking about the importance of parents handling their own frustration, exhaustion and stress, before attempting to help their child with theirs. And yes, this is easier said than done. That is why taking stock of how we are feeling on the inside is so important. Had I done that today, I would have seen that I was not yet equipped to talk to Michael about his stress, and though he would probably have gotten upset that I was not ready to talk at that moment, had I taken even five or ten minutes only, that could have been the difference to the afternoon ending on a better note. Good things to do to check in? Take a few deep breaths. See if you are experiencing any tightness or pain inside your body. See if there are any resentments or anger from the day you are holding on to. Most importantly though, be gentle with yourself. If you are kind to yourself, it will be easier to be kinder and more compassionate to your child as you are coming from a more loving place inside.

Exceptional Parents, have your frustrations ever caused a major escalation in your child’s behavior? You are not alone. You are human and you are entitled to your feelings of anger, stress and fear too. Just remember that unless you get those feelings under control, it will be hard to help your child through their fears.  Don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve reached your limit. Take time to regroup, and you’ll come back to parenting with a fresh perspective. Until next time.

How Calm and Consistent Parenting Can Reach Different-Brained Kids

It’s been one of those weeks, one of those parenting weeks where I’ve been through the mill, as they say.  I’ve expressed fear, frustration, worry, and anger. Then, when I’ve seen that some progress was made, hope and flickers of happiness have emerged. It’s been trying for both of us, Michael and I, to say the least. But, if I’ve learned anything as an exceptional parent, is that when you hit a rough path, first breathe, second practice some self-care, whatever you need most at that moment, and third formulate a plan of action to adjust to what was not working while continuing to practice the things that were.

Spring has always been tough for Michael as it is for most exceptional kids. His hyperactivity and impulsivity go up, as well as his aggression in the last two years when that level of frustration opened up. We have new medication that seems to be helping a little bit during the day and late pm, but when it wears off at dinner time,  the psychiatrist described it as akin to him falling off a cliff. And that  is when we saw escalations in anxiety and anger, as well as meltdown after meltdown this week.  What exacerbated this more was the fact Michael is not a little boy anymore. He will not accept hugs or I love you’s from me, saying he is a big kid and doesn’t need my physical support. This was always how I helped him as a little boy, but now as a tween, this needs to change.

The thing is he very much still does need me at times, both positive and negative moments, and will call on me as he did last night. He was upset and called downstairs for me to help. I did help him by coming up, redirecting him to a safe space (his room), and then when he had calmed down, surprised me happily by asking to fill out some sheets his Educator gave him for recording how a child handled a stressful event. It was helpful for him and for me to see him do it too. We also saw his Educator this evening, and she provided excellent feedback and some new handouts to help with ongoing issues. Having a team for the family is huge.

I, for my part, also did a lot of thinking in the last five days when these incidents occurred off and on. I looked back on the good and bad methods I used to handle Michael’s meltdowns and reactions and I adjusted accordingly when I did and will now keep these adjustments in place. I also took out a great book from our local library on mindful parenting of ADHD kids. It is really helping reinforce a lot of what I already know with new material that I look forward to incorporating. Mostly though, I am proud that Michael is learning to slowly incorporate changes in how he handles stress, confrontation and talking about his feeling to his parents. It is hard as a lot of the ways ideas get stuck in his head make it hard for him to break out of that mold. I know with time and patience, he will turn things around.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle those hard parenting weeks? Remember, you are doing your best and if you lash out, learn from it. Learn what your triggers are, be open to trying new things that can help support your child, and go easy on yourself when you do it. Take everything in perspective and you will be surprised how you and your child will bounce back from the experience.

Exceptional Tween Mood Swings-5 Tools To Survive Them And Thrive As An Exceptional Family

So it’s another late afternoon at my home and Michael is angry about something small that I said that sounds like it is a criticism of him, his way of doing things, or simply a “less try things differently” approach. I am getting better at going with the flow with Michael’s mood swings. There is the I like you Mom, I don’t mind being in the same room as you Mom. This lasts about ten minutes a day, to you’re ok, but don’t try and hug or touch me, give me a high five if you’re proud of me, to get away from me and trying to control my life as you want me to stop watching my videos now! Yep. And because he’s exceptional, the rebellion is quite over the top.  A book gets tossed across the room, a swear word (or words) are uttered, and repeatedly Michael will say things like I want to be with  my friends, stop being critical or the eye rolling. I almost laugh at that one. Yep. It’s all normal, relatively speaking.

So, back to the tween mood swings and how I survive them? They are quite similar to what my mother and father used back in the day, only tweaked for exceptional kids.  Here they are:

1) Make sure to keep your sense of humor: I know. Your exceptional tween is having the meltdown of a century, how  do you laugh or even begin to? Well, you may not laugh during or right after it, but later on you remember the tumultuous hormones that is puberty. You remember how confused you were as a neuro typical youngster, imagine your child. You also say that this is just a phase. Sooner or later they will outgrow it like they did toddler and preschool behavior. And then you pour yourself a cup of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day), and say to yourself, “this too shall pass.”

2) Put yourself in their shoes: This is similar to number 1, but also a little different. Remember not feeling like you knew who you were? Remember, feeling so alone and frustrated and hormonal? Well, your exceptional child has this and their different brain affecting their outlook on the world. In Michael’s case, ASD, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes. In your child’s case, whatever challenges they face. Be patient. Give them opportunities to try again. Don’t enable them or have them use their neuro diversity and challenges as an excuse, but make sure they know they can learn and grow from their behavioral mistakes.

3) Give them space to physically and mentally vent: This is a work in progress as their interests change, but it is important for all kids to have a space in the house to let loose. Physically vent means they can have places to scream, punch a pillow, jump on a trampoline, cry, or do whatever they need to do to release pent up emotions. Mentally vent, make sure they have a journal or place to draw or sketch how they feel. Make sure when they and you are calm, the two of you can sit down and talk together about what happened. It’s important you both learn from your mistakes.

4) They are communicating! Yes!: Again, a day ago when my tween was angry and yelling at me I would not have been enthusiastically preaching this, but afterwards when he calmed down and regrouped, I realized that a meltdown, an outburst, or any display of emotion means that they are authentically communicating their needs to you and you know what they need to work on (and you too). Celebrate this and move forward with your team. Your child is telling you how they feel!

5) Self-Care: I’ve said this time and time again and will continue to do so, but only when parents are taking care of their needs (physical, mental, spiritual), can they parent from their soul and see the child as a whole. If you are tired, frustrated, depleted, you will not be strong enough to help your child through any crises. Self-care does not have to be fancy. Taking time to curl up and watch a favorite tv show, read a good book, spend time with your partner and friends, take a bath or a walk and exercise, are all important to overall mental well-being. I can’t emphasize enough how much guided meditations help too. For me, they saved my life and showed me how to remain in the moment with Michael. When I have forgotten, I would immediately think about breathing and refocusing my energy. I also would ask myself, when was the last time I had “me” time?

Exceptional Parents, how do you survive the tough times? We all have tricks of the trade, as they say. As long as they speak to what works for you as a parent and individual, you are on the right track. Until next time.

 

How Gratitude Opens You Up As An Exceptional Parent

Parenting Michael has been nothing but not interesting. We have had many ups and downs on the road of exceptional family life as I’ve shared in this blog, but one thing that has truly struck me as extraordinary has been how practicing gratitude in the rest of my life by meditating on my blessings, has helped me see all sides of Michael’s character (as well as my own) in a whole new way. It is so tempting when things are stressful or going wrong with you or your child to think all of life is doomed or that things will never be calm and happy again. This is so not true. Life, like our kids, always has its ups and downs. By practicing being grateful for the small and big things in our lives as human beings, all our lives, as individuals, parents, partners, friends etc., we are opening ourselves up to seeing everything in a more positive frame or in a growth framework.

Michael has made MASSIVE improvements in how he has been learning to self-regulate. He has grown up a lot too and shows greater maturity in how he is handling everything in his life these days. But what has helped me see all of this has been my own massive growth as an individual. Through meditating, nature walks, writing, going regularly to a spa or soaking in a bath to connecting with like minded women friends, I have been finding my center. I have been rediscovering who I am deep inside and the blessings I want to remember each day and share with the world. I know that the way I am living my life is reflecting this as I have received a lot of, “you radiate a positive energy” “you are always happy and calm.” I also think that Michael senses this ease in my mind and attitude. It has helped our relationship a lot too as it takes another turn where Michael moves away from being dependent on me for everything and moving towards relying on himself to make decisions. Yet, he still knows I am there to bounce ideas off of. I think he senses I am calmer to do this with. I do my best to reiterate this calm attitude to him by talking about my personal self-care strategies that help me be strong. Michael knows I start the day with meditation and usually yoga stretches, and that meeting my writer and Mom friends are at the top of my list of priorities for self-care. They all make up my list of things to be grateful for. Family is also on that list, and I make sure to stay in touch as much as I can with family so that Michael knows he has a center and a lot to be grateful for.

Exceptional Parents, how has gratitude or showing gratitude changed you as a parent? Do you parent better when you count your blessings? Of course you do! Don’t ever be afraid, especially in the more difficult times of parenting your child, to look at the silver lining. This does not make you unrealistic about your life or your child’s. It reminds you that though there are hardships in your child’s life and yours, you also have many beautiful happy moments in your life that complete your journey as a human being. You can share this gratitude with your child and then they will learn about balancing all emotions in life. Until next time.

The Truth And Lies About How Exceptional Children Make You Stronger

Your child’s challenges will make you stronger and more resilient.

You will wake up as an advocate when you see your child struggling.

You will learn things you never knew existed.

You will need to turn this all off eventually in order to stay strong and help everyone around you, including yourself.

As Exceptional parents of Exceptional Children, we hear all of the above repeated to us MANY TIMES, but the last sentence, about turning off talking about special needs, our children’s challenges, and our challenges as parents, we don’t often hear this, and it’s a message we need to hear. Why? Because if Exceptional Parents don’t remember what made them who they were BEFORE having their Exceptional Children, they will not be much good to anyone, including their children. Resentment, anxiety, stress, and anger will build. Feeling overwhelmed at handling unpredictability and other emotions in our child will build. And when well meaning people tell us about articles, tv shoes, videos and other such things, if we are not strong in who we were PRIOR to our child’s diagnosis, we will collapse. I know this because it happened to me. Family and friends had a hard time relating to me. I had a hard time relating to me. I was a walking, talking, exposition on autism. I did not think or talk about anything else happening in the world. You see, to do so would have meant losing time on helping my son catch up, do well, thrive. This was normal to think then.

All parents  think this at the beginning. But the truth is, it is not realistic. Our kids need us to be healthy, balanced, happy and calm. This means that our lives as exceptional parents have things in it that concern our child. We do immerse ourselves in it, but then decide at some point, I need to focus on other things. I need to see friends, watch television again, read books, go to concerts, exercise. In my case, I do not watch shows about autism at the moment. I plan to in the future, but for now, working and living in special needs, means my evenings are spent honoring the rest of my life. This is for both my sake, my husband’s and Michael’s. He needs a Mom that is whole. He needs a Mom that does what she did before having kids and is proud of it. He needs a Mom that has her own interests outside of him and how his brain works. Now, this does not for one more minute mean I do not still read up on other articles, blogs and books that talk about what it is like to be in Michael’s mind. However, I do not immerse myself in it like before. And Michael sees the difference as I do. The other day, his parting words to me as I left for an evening out with a good friend at a spa were:

“Enjoy yourself Mommy and relax.”
It was great that he is catching on and seeing who I am, what makes me whole. I hope as he grows he will find things outside of his diagnoses, to live his life whole too. He is a great kid with such a cool way of seeing the world. This is not due solely to his different brain. This is due to him being Michael.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you did something outside of research for your child? When was the last time you did something fun for yourself or with your child without thinking of milestones or catching up? If it’s been awhile, give yourself and your child a break. There is a time for therapy, and then there is a time to just be the person you are and let your child be the person they are. This will eventually bring the two of you back in balance in your life so that there is no burnout, resentment or any negative feelings on either part. And remember, don’t apologize to anyone for your feelings. Feel them, live them, work through them, and teach your child to do the same. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

The Struggles Of Being An Exceptional Parent And What It Has Taught Me So Far

Most of my posts about raising an Exceptional Child and being an Exceptional Mom have been positive and optimistic, because after all, if our kids can handle a world that is not always set up to help them succeed, then who are we as their parents to complain? Yet, there are times when as a Mom and a woman who blogs about helping special needs families and lives it, I  want to run screaming into the wilderness saying, let me out alive! These thoughts used to frighten me. Not any more. I see them now as a necessary thing, a way to balance all my sides,-mother, wife, writer, coach, woman. It’s not always easy. But once I started sharing my parenting journey and my own personal human journey on this blog, my life became even more rich, as did my fiction. But that’s another story.

I have to say that coming to terms with how Michael and helping kids like him has changed me as a person, has been quite a journey. Our kids, all kids, teach us life lessons every day. They build us up and break us down, only to build us up again. They make us realize the work we have done on ourselves and may still need to do. They help us stay honest with who we are and who we want to become. So, on that note, I want to share what parenting an Exceptional Child  has taught me so far:

  1. I am stronger than I think.
  2. Self-care is the most important thing. If I fail in prioritizing my health, I fail everyone in my circle.
  3. Being a parent  feels like a spiritual calling most days, and it’s important to treat it that way.
  4. Sometimes you want to run away from being a parent and that’s not only ok, but normal. Go deeper and see what’s missing- More alone time? More sleep? More time with friends?
  5. Your personal time will be compromised as you prioritize the child. Make sure you schedule, and I mean schedule in everything else or it will never get prioritized.
  6. Your child will open up worlds you didn’t know existed.
  7. Your child will test your beyond anything in the universe.
  8. You will grow as much from the painful moments as from the beautiful. Don’t regret either of the lessons.
  9.  You may think another parent would do better for your child when you are the parent your child needs.
  10. You are your child’s teacher and advocate. They are your teacher and spiritual guide. Together, you will do amazing things.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt overwhelmed in a good or bad way by parenthood? Both are normal states of being. Your child needs to see you experience all the emotions out there. This way they will know that it is normal and ok to be angry, happy, sad, fearful, fearless and brave. As we teach them how to navigate the world around themselves, they teach us the same. Keep striving to learn from each other and when times are rough, remember you are both human and will get through it together. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

Tackling Your Own Exceptional Impatience While Helping Your Child With Theirs

I have a problem with patience. There, I said it. I feel better now. What has been hard for me to admit is that I need to build this skill really well as an Exceptional Mom because Michael’s patience is worse than mine and that’s not saying much. Most days and nights I can reign in my impatience, stress, and anger when Michael pushes limits, but then there are those days. You know the ones I am talking about, parents. They start tough with you feeling frustrated that in spite of all your best efforts your Exceptional Child will not compromise, and they end with two meltdowns-yours and your child’s. That was Michael and I the other night. I realized some common denominators in why we clashed. We were both overtired, not taking the time to hear one another or sympathize with the other one’s viewpoint, and we both were stubbornly holding on to the fact that we had it right. As it turned out, neither of us had the situation completely correct. It was an evening that called for some negotiating, respectful listening, and patience with the other tired person. Neither of us possessed it that night as we had our own agendas. “Do you hear me, do you really hear me?” These were the words both of us were uttering while the other was clueless. Each thought the other one was uncaring when really two tried people who loved each other clashed and clashed badly.

After as I lay in bed totally wiped out by the tough evening not even having the energy to take a calm warm bath as I had planned, I thought to myself,  there were some steps I wish I had followed to stay calm and centered. As a model to Michael, I may have been able to prevent the evening from at least getting worse even if I could not have prevented the fighting we did.  I vowed to follow these steps and recognize what I needed to do the next time there was a conflict and I know that there will be conflicts with an opionated tween in the house!

  1. Evaluate my mood: Before Michael came home, I needed to recognized how tired I was and what would charge my batteries in a positive way. Then it was time to do that before the bus pulled up. Probably doing some yoga or listening to soft music my cup of coffee or tea would have helped.
  2. Review the strategies to use: The strategies would include what I would use to calm down and what I know would work for Michael. If necessary, having them on paper close by to refer to may have been a good option for both of us.
  3. Remember not to take my kid’s anger personally: This is a tough one, but most kids act out due to THEIR issues not their lack of love or respect for you no matter what they say or do. They are on the egocentric side, and so pain is all about them. As the parent and adult in the relationship, I needed to recognize that Michael was in a bad mood due to HIS issues and not MINE.
  4. Validate some of his anger and mine calmly: This is also tough, but as I tell Michael, anger is not bad, but reacting to anger with aggression of any sort in unacceptable. Just because Michael yells I do not yell back. The same goes for physical aggression. I am guilty of yelling only, though I have been known to slam doors, not my proudest moments as a Mom. As the adult, I need to model how to be angry and use tools to get control of myself. Also, it’s important to acknowledge mistakes and anger with an “it’s ok. we move forward,” and no blame game. We all make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. I may say it, but I need to do it too.
  5. Don’t make assumptions about what is being said-communicate clearly from the beginning: What got Michael and I in trouble, was that we both assumed the other one was deliberately trying to hurt and disrespect the other one. This was not the case. We had a BIG communication problem. With a neuro typical brain and an autistic one, it can happen all the time if we are not careful. Once the snowball got rolling, it was hard to stop. I saw now that I assumed falsely as did Michael  what the other one was saying, and that made things worse for both of us. Next we need to be direct right away.

Exceptional Parents, do you feel like you are losing your cool more than you want to with your child? Do you feel like you have it under wraps and then suddenly explode and you can’t see why? It’s time to look at your own parenting tools for YOUR anger and anxiety. Do they need a tune up? Do you need a reminder of what helps to calm you down? It’s ok to use bad nights as a learning curve for you and your child. That is what we do in our family. After all, if your Exceptional Child sees that you lose it sometimes and recover from mistakes, they will eventually learn not to be too hard on themselves. Take heart if you are an impatient person. There are ways to build patience- get enough sleep, meditate, exercise and eat right, and take time for you to recharge your batteries doing things alone that can center you as a person. If you need to, seek outside help. There is never any shame in doing so. You will be a more patient parent and human being because of it, and your relationship with your child will only get better. Until next time.

Are the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

 

How Prioritizing Mom Nights Out Helps You Truly Grow As An Exceptional Parent

I have never enjoyed Mom nights out as much as I have in the last two years as things got more stressful at home. What, you say? Isn’t that when it’s the worst time to go out, when your Exceptional Child’s issues are wiping you out and you feel exhausted? Well, yes and no. Though there have been times I have backed out of Mom nights due to exhaustion or stress, most of the time, I see that the best therapy for me (and for Michael and Dad), is me going out, kicking back with the girls over a good meal, a good glass of wine, and a good conversation and just bearing my heart and soul. Or sometimes it has been about laughing and forgetting it all. Whatever has worked for me has usually worked when I have gone with what my heart needs me to feel and do. Solo nights out for me have been a must to survive some of the most stressful parts of exceptional parenting and married life as an exceptional parent and spouse.  These have included my writers meetings a must to connect with other creative souls. Date nights with Dad have served another purpose to remember who we were before Michael added his own unique touch to our lives, but also took us so out of ourselves that Dad and I began forgetting what made us fall in love with one another in the first place and how we’ve changed all these years together. Nights out with my school friends, that also reminds me of a time when I was single, no partner or child, and keeps me centered in my roots. I miss that group of friends and am planning to try and see more of those wonderful ladies this year.

But my Mom friends, well, what can I say. They are my soul sisters. I have bared everything to them, and there is something about talking to a Mom like me, with challenges like me, who will not judge, will support, will laugh or rage with me, will encourage me to take the step I need for me or Michael, and will celebrate all the big and little moments that an Exceptional Child brings in only the way they can. Why? Because they are living it. Every. Single. Day. They know me in a way that no one else can or ever will, and for this, I believe that Mom dinners or outings of any kind, is part of a great string that keeps me together mentally, physically and spiritually.

Some women don’t like to go out or are tired or have other commitments. That’s fine. But I encourage you, no matter what form it takes, connect with other Moms. Do this either in person at support groups meetings, courses, online, and if you are lucky enough to form friendships with these wonderful ladies, take it to the next level. Many of the Moms who I have the privilege to meet for dinner or evenings out, once were Moms I only saw at daily support groups or at Michael’s schools. We exchanged information about therapists, education, medical issues and the ups and downs our children took us on in the course of exceptional parenting. Eventually something miraculous happened. The Moms who were my sources of information to help Michael succeed began to help me succeed not only as a parent, but as a human being. They became my sounding board when I was stressed as a parent, and my cheerleaders when things went well. I began to share other things with them, the fact that I am a writer, my new career direction, things in my family that were good and not so good. They helped me continue to grow as a woman and a human being. And now, I can truly count them as a close part of my team, team Joanne, as  I call it. I believe every woman needs a team (your name) behind you., just as your child needs a team behind them. When you have this kind of support, you have your village, your village to help raise your child AND you to be the best you can be.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you have Exceptional Mom or Dad Nights or days, if that works better for you? Remember, you are a person that needs nurturing too. You need to fill your cup so you can give to your child what they sometimes don’t get from the world- acceptance, love, room to grow, and belief that they can do anything they set their mind too as people who love them are behind them. When you as a Mom have your team behind you, anything is possible. Imagine your child feeling this same way too. So here’s to our special Moms out there who laugh, cry and celebrate with us. It’s thanks to them we can get through the tough times and move forward with courage. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive!