Who takes care of momma?
Being the parent of a child with ADHD and/or autism is exhausting, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It can be very isolating as well. This is a problem. How can we do the best for our kids if we are not feeling up to par ourselves? We simply can’t. And we have to change that.
Give up your Wonder Woman complex.
We women of the twenty-first century are trying too hard. We want to be the best at everything – work, home, marriage, friendships, hobbies, saving the world…. We feel we should be Wonder Woman, but we are only making it harder on ourselves. And most of us SOOOO don’t have it “under control,” myself included. We cannot be Wonder Woman, because she is a fantasy.
I put on a LOVELY front. But, I’m dying on the inside. I want to scream all the time.
- At my husband,
- at my kids,
- at my son’s teachers,
- at the annoying guy who sped up and cut me off on the interstate yesterday.
In life with a special needs child, there’s always going to be something to scream about.
In all the craziness of motherhood, family, financial responsibilities, and the never-ending needs of special needs, we often lose ourselves. I have no idea who I am anymore most days. With so many other people needing my attention, and so many life “chores,” the me that is just for me is MIA?
Who takes care of me?
Who takes care of momma?
Put on your oxygen mask first!
Most of us have been on an airplane and know the speech about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in an emergency, before helping anyone else. An airline passenger is to secure her oxygen mask before her child’s.
The same applies to motherhood.
It feels wrong, right? “What kind of mother takes care of herself before her child?”
Don’t think of it as “putting yourself first” or prioritizing yourself over your family. Reprogram your thinking to accept that taking care of yourself first is taking care of your family. You can’t do well for them if you’re haggard, exhausted, and hanging on by a thread. Society has programmed us to think that, but it’s completely WRONG!
What keeps us from self-care?
We know momma deserves to be taken care of too; to do something just for momma. But, we still don’t. What keeps us from taking care of ourselves? What are the barriers?
- Fear of what will happen without us – Will they get hurt? Upset? Lost? Kidnapped? Strapped with a punishment more painful to you than to them? Will they turn the house upside down?
- Financial limitations – “I don’t have money to take care of myself, I’m barely scraping by.” Stealing a few moments of peace doesn’t cost a thing.
- Lack of childcare – You might say, “I’m a single mom, who will watch my kids?” Swap with friends. Grandparent type neighbors? Hire someone. Find someone who needs some quiet as much as you and swap.
- No time/taking on too many responsibilities – Delegate. Learn to say no. Give up your Wonder Woman Complex. Even if you have to hire a babysitter so you can go for a walk around the neighborhood; it’s that important.
- Guilt – We have to stop feeling guilty about not wanting to disappear into a life of cleaning, cooking, and little people. If others in your life think you should feel guilty, that’s their feeling, don’t take that burden from them.
- Shame – If a partner or family member shames you for taking time for yourself, that’s their problem – leave their feelings with them, don’t take it on yourself.
- Resentment from others – Our kids can be little turkeys when it comes to seeing momma do for herself, because they don’t see it happen enough. Your kids seeing you take care of yourself is modeling the way you want them to care for themselves when they’re adults. I feel like ignoring resentment from others is totally appropriate.
Challenge your thinking. Is the house really going to burn down if you leave for two hours to see a movie with a girlfriend? Are your kids going to hate you forevermore because you went for a walk and told them they couldn’t come with you this time?
Don’t let money be a barrier either. An extra 5 minutes in the bathroom is free. A walk around the park is free. A cup of coffee and a good book (from the library) are cheap. And you are going to put at least a dollar a day in your self-care jar, right?
It is hard, but we have to just do it. We really have to.
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The Happy Mama Retreat
One great way to take care of momma is to attend the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat. It’s a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders, like ADHD or autism, created by moms of kids with special needs. Not just a spa weekend, not just an educational conference, not just a moms-only weekend away – it’s all three rolled into one. We want to help you gain community with other mothers who share your questions, concerns, worries, and fears. We want to provide education to help you advocate for your child and yourself, and to give you the tools to re-discover your own happiness. We want to nurture you with a beautiful setting and fun, relaxing activities. We want you to be happy, mama!
The 2016 retreat will be our fifth annual retreat. It will take place May 13-15, 2016 at Lutheridge in Asheville, NC. Check out the details on the Happy Mama Retreat website.
I hope you’ll join us!