Tag: advocating

How Embracing Failure Has Made Me A Better Mom

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Failure. Who would ever label that a positive word, but still it can be. Why? Only when we fail and fall down, can we rise and learn from our mistakes, new ways of being and doing. I used to be so hard on myself when I would come up against challenges with Michael in the past. Now, I see that it is not me failing him, but him needing to learn the proper tools to help himself handle failure, obstacles and stress. Life is not easy for him. Life is not easy for any of us. Most of us though know how to regulate our emotions though, and look to others for our cues. For exceptional kids, this is hard. They have a more difficult time relating to people and what people are saying. Still, when I have failed in reaching Michael, or in losing my temper it has shown me something amazing.

It has shown me what I need to work on to be stronger, more compassionate and a better all around human being. It’s not that I am a bad human being when I fail. None of us is. It’s just that I have temporarily lost touch with what I need to be working on, honing my energy in taking better care of my internal compass and inner workings, so I can model that for Michael. And believe me, even though I know what I need to do to keep the balance in my life, I still sometimes fall back into old habits of ruminating, worrying, getting angry when I can’t control anything, all the things I tell Michael to not worry about. I re-learn the lesson the same time I am teaching it Michael. I also learn that it is alright to be vulnerable, ask for help, as well as offer help at the same time. It is alright to be human and to teach Michael the same thing.

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While I have been finding new ways to reach Michael and keep my own spirits strong while navigating new challenges with him, I have also had the privilege of supporting other Moms in their journey. And a privilege it is. While I help them, they help me. Just as while I help Michael, he helps me. And we all heal. We heal from the need to be perfect, untouchable, fearless. We are all afraid sometimes. We are all brave at other times. Life is a roller coaster. You can choose to ride it in full glory and brace yourself as best you can with the ups and downs, enjoying the ups and knowing you’ll figure out how to handle the downs when you get there. Or, you can choose to not ride it, fearing the downs only. As each day goes by, I know I will sometimes have down times, stressful times, times when I feel weak. But I know it is temporary and will pass. The up times are coming, and I will have what I need by then to coast beautifully. This is what I now teach Michael too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you fail as parents, as human beings? If it’s often, that’s good. It means you are human. It means you are trying. It means you will find the tools if you search and look in your heart for them. They are there. As we tell our children, they are perfect in their imperfections and so are we. So don’t worry. Treat your failure as a gift. Let it take you to new heights and help you overcome hardship. Let yourself and your child soar. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

How Dry Erase Boards Can Help End Of School Anxiety

 

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We are in the final few days of a very difficult transition time for kids: the end of school. Michael is no different. Exceptional Kids only handle the transition into the unknown with a little more of a twist than their neuro typical peers. Some of the ways Michael is handling it is very impressive. He has expressed his fears and anxieties to me by telling me that he is happy school is ending, but will miss his friends. He also has asked if he could set up the next week’s schedule on our dry erase board, a wonderful tool I was told about last year by our Psycho Educator to help Michael handle the changes that come with summer. The fact that he brought it up to me, was a huge milestone. I’m very proud of how he is starting to handle his anxieties. So yesterday afternoon, away we went on the dry erase board structuring his first week of summer vacation which starts on Thursday, June 23rd.

 

Of course there have been some pitfalls along the way. He has started more intense negotiations for things we have said no to, swearing has increased, and he has been a little more short tempered or emotional. This is all normal for all exceptional children, and as parents, we need to give them time to settle into a new routine.  Monday was a prime example of Michael acting out. After school I had taken Michael to a splash park. It’s a small one and I warned him he may be bored, but he insisted he wanted to go there. Well, guess what. He was bored with me and complained that he was not having a good time. Then he started to cry looking at all the other kids playing while he was alone. They were babies and toddlers with their siblings. I explained again about it being for a younger age group, but then realized he needed to let the emotions out by crying. He later told me he was crying because he did not try to enjoy himself when he was there and make the best of it. I was impressed again how he is picking up on these things. I shared with him a time recently when I did something similar, and had regrets. Live and learn.

 

Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use with your Exceptional Children to ease the transition from end of school to summer? Do you let your children pick the tools or is it easier for them when you do the picking? Again, like with every thing else, it is important to find what works for your child/dren, but I would say a balance of them having choice and you suggesting things is probably the best balance between the two. Remember, as a parent you need to give them more space and be more tolerant of challenging behaviors at this time of year, and they need to vent and also learn how to self-regulate too. If the two of you meet halfway, you are doing amazing. Until next time.

6 Ways Advocating For My Son Michael Has Helped Me in My Business

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As I was taking a shower yesterday, I thought of how far I’ve come in my parenting journey and in my life, and of how one thing helped me take the next step I needed to take: advocating. I started thinking that even with all the fears, mistakes and challenges, I have learned so much about how to run my life and business, actually pretty much everything, from advocating for Michael in school and life. As cliche as it may sound, we learn through our trials more than through our victories. I tell this to Michael all the time, and he now repeats it back to me as well as reminding me to “smile” and “use my strategies.” Yes, sometimes it is him talking back. At those times I take a deep calm breath, and tell Michael he is being rude and needs to apologize which he eventually does. But there are other times I can see, feel, nd hear what he is telling me: Take it easy Mom. You know what to do. Advocate for yourself. Write, talk, and live your life the way you know you need and want to. Tell others that it is in their power to change their own circumstances.

Below are 6 Ways I have learned to advocate for me while advocating for Michael (and make my life better):

  1. Trust your gut: Yes, Moms and Dads, we  are told to trust our gut when advocating for our children’s education and opportunities. Do you trust it when making choices for ourselves, personal or business? If not think of fighting for you and what you need like you fight for your child. It is the only way you will truly be happy in life.
  2. Confidence in public speaking: I was afraid to address a wall before Michael, unless it was at one of my writer’s groups. Even then, I felt like I was slipping into my characters and it was not ME reading so I relaxed. I have learned, and continue to, how to speak at conferences, workshops, events and am excited to do so. I am out of my shell whether I like it or not. And you know what, I kind of like it. 🙂
  3. Asking for time, money, help: This was another hard one for me before. Now I know when to ask for assistance, outsource help, or ask for time for me, for my writing, for other pursuits. I deserve to feel and be whole. We all do.
  4. What to let go of and what to pursue: At times I still have difficulty with this one, but for the most part, I have learned what is worth fighting for when it comes to services and help for Michael, how to play with him on his terms and mine, and now in my business and personal life, which people I want to stay in my life and which I no longer want in my life as they are not supportive to me as a person.
  5. How to enjoy the simple things: Being a Mom has helped me remember how to be playful, and how the best learning and growth take place when we do that. With Michael it has been doing the normal simple family activities. How this has translated for me in my life has meant no more guilt at taking time for walks in nature. You can learn a lot from mother ducks. They lead, their ducklings follow, but it is their good example of what to do that helps everyone. I also have learned how exercise, lunches or dinners with friends, writing for pure pleasure and singing and dancing help clear my mind.
  6. How to be happy with “me” and not be someone else: In learning how to help Michael be the best little person he could be, I have learned how I used to one of those women who thought that others had it all and I was lacking. Not anymore. I like me, and though I admire others for what they have accomplished, it is just that, admiration, not jealousy or envy anymore. One day I will have the things I like in their life, but on my terms and with my twist on it. I am in charge of my own destiny and am starting to go after things I want and need to live a happy and whole life.

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Exceptional Parents, how has advocating for your child changed your life? If you are just starting on your advocating journey and haven’t seen this change, don’t worry. It will come. When your child is born you are as much transformed as they are, as you both raise each other. You’ll see that though special needs parenting is a hard journey, bitter and stressful one day, a spiritually moving experience the next, it will equip you with skills, and help you become stronger than you ever dreamed possible. You’ll need to be to help everyone in your family grow and succeed in life. And a funny thing will happen along the way. You will find joy, purpose and a true calling and vocation that will fill places in your life that you did not know were empty. Good luck on your journey. I am here to guide you if you need it. See my website http://www.exceptionalparenting.net for further details. Until next time. 

Intimate Marital Connections And Risks

 

I am proud of the small steps Michael’s Dad and I are making in taking care of ourselves as individuals, as well as spending time with Michael. Making time for us as a couple is more difficult, but at at least we are aware of what we need to change. What works best is planning in advance for a “date night” whether that is going out somewhere and arranging a sitter, or a quiet evening in. This month has been hectic for both of us with work and with Michael’s schedule so we have not had a lot of energy by night time. Either he or will crash early, but we are finding ways to communicate, even if it’s just texting each other during the day. I have joked with my friends that my marriage is lived on “text”, but on the hectic busy days it is better than nothing, as they say.

With Michael I am seeing a smooth transition where Dad takes him to activities and they do their evening bonding during the week. I’ll step in when I have to if Michael’s Dad is having a hard day and he will do the same thing. I can see that though there is work to do still, as a couple we are getting stronger. I also see how both of us have learned to ask for what we need to be strong. For me, attending my writer’s meetings in the evenings is important, and for my husband his evening workouts and personal time is important for him. We have both learned to ask for this time around taking care of Michael, and it is working well for us. I am happy that we are both doing this. Michael has helped us see what we need to do to be strong, happy, and healthy people.

Exceptional Parents, how have your Exceptional Children helped you to grow as an individual and in your relationships? To me, Michael has helped to open my eyes to how I need to prioritize time, objectives, and things that are important to me. him being at the top of the list. Remember, when you are strong in yourself, in your  relationships, you are strong for your child to guide them to success in their life. Until next time.