I’ll tell you a little secret about being a mom: sometimes it sucks.
Okay, that’s not really a secret. Anyone who is a mom or has ever spent time with a mom knows it’s hard. Add in a child with developmental or learning disabilities and the responsibilities grow exponentially.
I’ve read several well written blog posts this week aobut the daily grind of raising a kid (sometimes more than one) on the Autism Spectrum. If you want to read about a day in the life, read this, or this, or this.
I’m not reinventing the wheel here. I have felt and experienced what each of those mom’s have felt and experienced. The most common commonality we share is our lack of time for ourselves. Homeschool, in fact, was the nail in my self-care coffin. Any little bit of me time disappeared when I had all three kids home all the time. Which is 50% of the reason Jett, and soon Carlos, are back in public school.
When all the family’s time and financial resources are spent on therapies for the kids, there isn’t anything left for the parents. How do you take care of yourself with exercise or anything healthy when there is no money left in the budget, no time to get there, and no energy even if they other two were available?
I realized what a crisis position I was in this fall. I attended a women’s retreat with my church, and spent almost the entire weekend crying. I don’t mean the sweet tears that come from spending time with women who “get” you, I mean the ugly full body sobs that come when you are out of balance.
Several women there who also have kids on the spectrum told me I have to take care of myself. Instead of scoffing (as I normally do) I listened.
Then, in one of those the-universe-is-conspiring-with-you-instead-of-against-you a friend asked me if wanted to try a local yoga studio with her.
I am loving the yoga. It’s exactly the right kind of exercise for both my body and my mind. I come home feeling refreshed. But it is still a sacrifice. I miss dinnertime on the nights I go, and family dinner together has been a priority since Jett was born. I also miss some of the homework time with Jett, though as they say in Office Space, “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob”.
Self-care is a concept I have always considered something for other people. But as it happens, if you don’t take care of yourself you will burn yourself out. And when you are burning, you are burning the people around you, the people you love the most. And for me, my “hanging in there” had an expiration date. One I passed this fall.
So if you need me tonight, I’ll be at yoga.