An Ode to the Exceptional Mom
Last week I was so excited: the weather was finally getting warmer, the sunlight beamed in our windows (maybe a little too early, but, it’s still nicer than starting and ending the day in darkness), and all of the snow had almost disappeared. I even saw a few tiny sprigs of green poking out of the spots in the garden where I had planted lily bulbs and a few perennial vegetable seeds last fall. Spring was finally here, or so I thought…
After a week of beautiful sunny, warm weather, we woke up to a small snowstorm this past weekend. Not unusual for mid-April in Alberta, but still, how frustrating! I covered up my little sprouts as best I could, dug out the winter gear again and tried to be optimistic that the storm would be winter’s final appearance. Actually, it sounds a lot like what we do as exceptional parents doesn’t it? We celebrate all the precious little gifts we receive, then do what we can to wade through the storm when trouble arises. Spring is also a time of renewal and hope, as well as a sign of good things to come.
May is a celebration, not only for the kick off to spring, but also of mothers. So I thought I would write a little Ode—from one exceptional Mama to another—to remind all the moms out there of five things to help you be your whole you:
Love who you are
You are a woman with many layers blended together to create a whole you. Tap into each of those different layers once in awhile and remind yourself that there is more to you than being a ‘special needs mom.’
Learn to let go
It’s easy to hold onto things and obsess over them. It’s also very easy to blame ourselves when things go wrong or whenever our exceptional child has had a bad day. Deal with things when they happen as best as you can but then let go of those negative thoughts to make room for the wonderful things that are happening.
Rediscover your creative side
Remember how much you loved dancing, writing poetry, art or sculpting? Do you have a novel tucked away that you ‘put aside for now’ while your thoughts needed to be with your child? Go back to those things that move your thoughts to something more creative. Even if you just do it for a short period of time each day it’s a fantastic way to recharge your batteries and channel your energy into something positive.
Keep moving forward
I often tell people I am like a shark. I need to keep moving forward because if I stay still too long, I drown in my thoughts, stresses and worries. Remember that you are strong and doing the best you can. Learn from every experience—good and bad—but don’t stand still looking back; take those experiences with you as you move toward where you need to be.
Connect with others
Reach out to other parents with exceptional children but also reach out to those who aren’t. Those in the same situation can give you an understanding shoulder to lean on, direction when you need it, and connections to important resources. But those who aren’t can help you tap into those other layers you forget about sometimes and help reconnect you to your whole self.
I, like so many other exceptional parents, often forget about ‘me’. It seems selfish to think about myself—my needs, my wants, and my hopes and dreams when my children need me so much. But you can’t be everything to your child if you aren’t everything to yourself first. So, on Mother’s Day, and every other day, I hope you’ll remember to love, learn, rediscover, keep and connect.
Right now I’m looking out my patio doors. The snow that blanketed our neighborhood yesterday is melting away in the warm sun. By tomorrow we’ll, hopefully, be able to put the winter gear back downstairs. And all of my seedlings survived the mini Spring snowstorm. I’m going to take that as a sign of good things to come—for me and for all of you.
Chynna Laird – is a psychology major, freelance writer and multi award-winning author living in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner, Steve, and their three daughters Jaimie, Jordhan, and Sophie and son, Xander.
Photos Courtesy © Andres Rodriguez/ photoxpress.com
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This post originally appeared on our May/June 2013 Magazine