Healing Moms Newsletter June 2019
Ahh summertime! Remember how magical the warmer months of the year felt as kids? As a mom, I feel a little differently as the kids get out of school and I wonder, "What on earth will we do all summer?!"
We are one week in for summer vaykay and already I've had some minor meltdowns and a few mean thoughts about myself. I didn't expect it to be easy - but maybe I didn't expect it to be this hard? I'm not sure where my expectations were at, but reality certainly didn't match up with them. I am optimistic that we will all find our groove soon and summer will be a great time for all of us.
Trying to keep the kids busy and out of trouble is a lot of work, even without a special needs kiddo, so how do we make summer magical without losing our sanity? I've come up with some tips for keeping the kiddos (and yourself) happy as you navigate the next 3 months.
Lindsay's Summer Survival Tips
1. Getting outside
I am sure you can relate to feeling like taking your family out for the day feels like you're going on a pilgrimage to the new world sometimes.
It takes us a long time to get out of the house, but it's important to get the kiddos outside and run off some of their energy. It's also important to me that my neuro-typical kiddos don't feel like our lives revolve around what their sister can or cannot do. They all matter!
Also, mama, it's important for you to get out with your community, too. Even just a smile to a stranger can remind us we are not as alone as we sometimes feel.
2. Community connection
Facebook is a great tool for finding accessible events in your area. I will often browse the "near me" events to see if there is something my kiddos would be into. If I have any questions about accessibility I will get in touch with the event coordinator to make sure it is something I can bring Miss B to.
Most of the time they are very helpful and excited to help her participate.
In my area, we also have a parents of special needs group where local parents can connect and plan playdates or events together.
I have really loved getting to know the other moms locally, and it's a really great way to make new friends for your kiddos (and yourself)!!
I have attended picnics and group playdates with other SN moms in my area and it's a really nice feeling to know you don't have to explain ANYTHING when you get there ;)
If there isn't a special needs parent group on Facebook for your community - maybe you can start one!
I feel like a combat general trying to anticipate every potential disaster situation that could arise, even if it's just a day trip to the beach! But I have gotten pretty good at prepping for day trips.
We keep several backpacks by the door. A master backpack with sunscreen, first aid kit, bug spray, electrolyte tablets, baby wipes, and room for water bottles.
Each kid has their own backpack with a change of clothes and diapering supplies if necessary.
I can't tell you how much time this has saved for us to just grab and go!
4. Finding Support
I am lucky and grateful to have grandma step in and give me a break when I need one, and the kids love spending time with her.
What type of support do you have currently? Could you use some more? I know as mommas we like to pretend we have it all under control, but there's nothing wrong reaching out to a friend or family member for help.
One resource I have found extremely helpful is the school district. We have used Miss B's paras from class for babysitting several times over the summer. I make sure to get anyone's info who is interested before school ends.
Depending on where you live, you may have access to respite care. A service coordinator or general physician can help you find out if you qualify for some help!
5. Make sure mama is cared for too.
Don't forget you're the general of this small army and your rest, health, and sanity is probably the MOST important of the crew. I know as moms we often put our own needs on the back burner and you may have to practice taking care of yourself before it becomes a habit - but SO worth it!
Now, I'm not here to give you superficial self-care ideas. Taking care of ourselves is a lot more than bubble baths or a glass of wine.
Truly check-in with yourself multiple times during the day. Allow yourself the flexibility to make adjustments to your plans if you're feeling worn out or need some down time.
Life with a special needs kiddo can be difficult and I hope to give you some ideas that make navigation a little easier for you. The most important thing for any time of year is just remembering to give yourself some compassion and grace. No one has it all figured out, and it's ok to figure it out as you go. We know that what worked one day, may not work the next - so it's back to experimenting!
And remember, not every day has to be a production to be special. Your connection to yourself and your kiddos is what matters.
I love you and love all that you do for your world,