Raising a child is hard work. You are always trying to do what is in their best interest and support them in being as successful and independent as possible. This is especially true if you have a child with special needs. It’s normal to feel as though you are always “on” and your child is the center of your attention. But you can’t forget to take care of yourself too. If you’re not happy and healthy, it can make caring for your child more difficult.
Make Time for You
Schedule time into your day just for you. Whether it’s a 15-minute coffee break after you drop them off for school, or a relaxing walk while they’re in therapy, make it a point to take some time for yourself. Giving yourself a brain break and doing something you enjoy can re-energize you to keep pushing through the day. It is also a reminder that you are your own person – not just a wife or mother.
Connect with Friends
Find those people who get you and make you smile. The people who understand not every day is easy and celebrate the small achievements. Some may be other parents with children who have special needs. Some may be friends you’ve known since childhood. Know who you can turn to in good times and bad. It’s not always about having the answers, but rather just being there for one another.
The last thing you may feel like doing after a long day is exercising, but it is essential for good health. It’s a great way to burn off stress and energize your body and mind. Plus, it helps to keep you strong and healthy. Find activities that you enjoy such as jogging, swimming, yoga, Pilates, biking, or doing a DVD at home. Don’t forget to complement your workout with healthy meals as well.
You don’t have to do it all yourself. If family or friends offer to watch your child for a bit (and you feel comfortable letting them), then go for it. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time off for yourself. There are great respite programs available too. Oftentimes others want to help but don’t always know how. If you could really use someone to mow the lawn, pick up a few groceries, or drive other children to school, speak up.
You are your child’s strongest advocate, but you’re not in this journey alone. And if you want to do the best for them, you have to take care of yourself. PediaPlex can make your day a little easier by being a one-stop-shop for multiple testing and therapy services. In addition, you can connect with other families and resources in the area. Raising a child with special needs takes a village, and PediaPlex can be part of that community.
Leave a comment below and let us know how you balance life as a parent of a child with special needs.