Balance is hard to find in parenting a complex child. The needs of our children, especially those with special needs, can be so strong we may not recognize the degree we fail to meet our own needs. I was reminded of that yesterday in an unusual way.
It seems that we parents are as unique as our children, in terms of how we will handle taking care of ourselves.
Billy Ray’s long time developmental pediatrician tried for years to teach me to take care of myself. She used to say “you can’t serve from an empty bucket”. This makes great sense upon hearing it but putting it into practice has always been difficult for me.
Somewhere in my numerous boxes of books still unpacked from our move, is a book called Main Stay. I apologize that I can’t remember the author but I remember the book so well. One example, that I remember so well was the author describing pushing her husband in a wheel chair and everyone saw him but didn’t seem to know she existed. Her medical issues were less visible and unseen.
It can be that way as parents of children with special needs. Whether we walk through the door pushing a wheelchair or holding the hand of our complex child, the child is the most noticeable. We are unseen except in the context of parent. It is easy to forget who we are people ourselves.
On other hand, I have read books or talked to parents who seem to do such a good job of taking care of themselves the child with disabilities seems second fiddle. The balancing act between the healthy attitude of taking care of yourself and taking care of your child seems to be elusive point many of us fail to find.
I remember reading once that the best thing a Dad can do for his child is to love his wife. It seems to fit that an important thing a parent can do for a complex child is to love yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself you will burn out and not be able to take care of your child.
Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan