9 Tips for Mothers of Autistic & Exceptional children: New Year, New Hope
Your child is your world. When you were pregnant, your only concern was having a healthy, happy baby. When your child was born, nothing could describe the feeling you experienced. Utter, pure, joy. Perhaps not only a few years later, you felt guilty, but knew something wasn't right; you began to wonder if your child was "normal."
That's when this journey began. There have been ups and downs, to say the least. There have been days you just want to throw in the towel and give up, but it's not an option. You've gotten over some massive hurdles.
We're writing this to help remind you that you are a soldier. No matter what life throws at you, you manage to make it through somehow.
So, to help remind you how much of a trooper you are, here are some things to recall when you feel like giving up.
#1 Don't underestimate your strength.
When you feel weak, remind yourself of past situations that have challenged your strength. Remember that you made it through then, when you didn't think it was possible. You will make it through now. Empower yourself with the memory of past challenges. You are strong.
#2 In a different vein, you don't always have to be strong.
It's one thing to remind yourself of your strength, it's another thing to convince yourself and put on a front. Remember that you are allowed to have moments of "weakness," meaning you can show emotion. You can cry or express frustration. Life's not butterflies and rainbows all of the time, and it's okay to express your emotions. Give it a shot!
#3 Don't be so hard on yourself.
As you help your child, take a step back and realize that you're going through a lot. Don't beat yourself up! If you were giving advice to another parent in your situation, would you talk to them the way you talk to yourself? Be gentle, take it easy on yourself. Don't give yourself guilt trips for not doing more. You're doing more than most others could possibly ever imagine. You deserve to be kind to yourself.
#4 You’re doing the best you can.
Know that you're doing the best you can. Of course, some days are better than others. That's just a normal part of life. You're a good parent, and you're in a very unique situation. What you've done so far is incredible, and you'll continue to do the best for your child, yourself, and your family.
5. One day at a time.
Don't set such high expectations for yourself - no one is capable of doing it all. You're doing so much! Remind yourself that you are incredibly important to your child, although it may not feel like it at times.
#6 Take care of yourself.
You spend so much time caring for others, that at times you may neglect caring for yourself. Your health is the first priority. Without being in good health, you won't be able to do everything you want to accomplish for your child. Take a moment to consider yourself and make small but significant changes to improve your health. It may feel impossible to find the time, but you can make the time – it's worth it for yourself and your child!
Find ways to offload your tasks to others around you. You don't have to be Wonder Woman and do it all! You can say "no" to people. Find ways to be more productive and efficient to lift part of that weight off of your shoulders. Some examples include asking a friend or loved one to simply listen when you just need to let it all out. Or think of things you've been the "yes-man" to – and avoid those in the future if they're not ultimately benefiting you in the long run.
#9 Reflect on your child's progress.
Think back to 2017 – what were the big wins for the year in terms of how your child has progressed? Think about the small milestones you have reached together, all thanks to YOU. You can do it! There is HOPE for a better future for yourself and your child. Don't dwell so much on what needs to get done, overwhelming yourself. Think about how far you've come, and take a breather knowing that you can continue on this journey, because you are strong.
What big changes or hurdles are you dealing with right know? If one of those challenges is considering changing schools, we can help. You can chat with one of our enrollment specialists, even if it's just to get some insight into what our other parents have experienced, to vent, or ask questions. We're here to help.