First, let me start by telling you that you not only deserve, but you need “me” time. I know, it’s easier to say it than to practice it, but if you don’t do your best to honor your personal needs, you are headed for burnout.
I’ve been there and I understand your anxiety and your determination to stay ready and alert to meet your child’s every need. I know the feeling of exasperation when things don’t turn out as expected, and I’ve personally experienced the ecstasy that achieving a goal produces in us. It’s an intense combination of feelings that keeps us in the front seat of a roller coaster of emotions, one that we learn to love and maintain under control to best serve out children with special needs.
However, and despite of the obvious super powers that we learn to strengthen over the years, we are no super heroes. We are just devoted moms who deal with the unexpected with pride and bravery. Therefore, we are mere human beings who, just like everyone else, need rest, support and a big bowl of chocolate ice cream in bed from time to time.
How to get the “Me” time?
- Accept your humanity. Save the super-hero cape for special moments when it’s needed most and the rest of the time, recharge your body and your soul.
- Do nothing. The more overwhelmed we are, the more things we want to achieve in order to prove others wrong. At the end of the day though, this is only about you, just you and no one else, because you are the one setting your own limits! If you are or you’ve been through tough times lately, please don’t dedicate yourself to cleaning the house or slaving over laundry. Take a day off. Do nothing. It sounds like a waste of time but tomorrow you’ll feel like a million bucks and you’ll be able to achieve even more.
- Avoid the need to impress. Many times, as mothers, we have this tendency to pretend that we are perfect mothers. Remember, there is no need to impress anyone other than yourself. There is no need for pressure. Everything you do, do it for yourself and the ones you love. No one else matters.
- Use the words “NO” and “YES”, correctly. Say “YES” to accept help and support. Say “NO” to nonsensical extra stuff. Yes! You’ll benefit from a couple of hours to yourself. No! Your plate is already full, you don’t need more for now. Yes, it’s ok to be selfish, and those who really love you will respect and understand your personal situation.
- Analyze your options. Many federal agencies offer respite services and Personal Care Assistant support for children with special needs and their families. Your child may qualify. Ask, apply, and advocate for help. You need it.
Your child needs you to be strong, brave, and amazing for many more years to come. Embrace your individuality, learn to trust others, and work hard on creating a support system for you both. Your mind, your body, and your child will appreciate it.