Take Advantage of the Little Moments
We time. Even uttering those words to myself in my head makes me chuckle a bit. Having a special needs child makes you reevaluate and redefine many things; my ‘me time’ is just one on a long list.
The media dictates to moms into how we should relax, regroup, and refocus. Go to a spa, get a massage. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right? Do you want to guess how many unused spa gift certificates I have in my purse? Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re also a special needs mom, so you don’t have to guess. Just go to your own purse, count how many you have and my number is probably in the ballpark. I even had one in there so long that by the time I did get around to calling, the place had gone out of business. I get it. I get that well-intended family and friends want me to get away to recharge. But most days it’s just not realistic that I’ll slip away for a half-day or more. I’d be happy to go to the bathroom uninterrupted.
I take advantage of the little moments, the short blocs of time. While my son is doing his hippotherapy session, I used to sit at the window with all the other parents and watch. We’d compare war stories, talk about the different school districts and which one was better for services. Now I bring a book and find a quiet place to sit and read. Read! A real book even. Not something on interpreting IEPs or advocating for your child, a real fiction book that allows me to escape. Sometimes I pick up one of the trashy gossip magazines in the lobby and read that, cover to cover. Most of the people I’ve never heard of, but it’s fun anyway. Or I go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors.
I used to have a 45-minute commute. Instead of dreading the drive and thinking about what else I could be doing with that time, I learned to enjoy it. I got books on CD and immersed myself in them. I listened to talk radio so I could hear grown ups talk about things like restaurants, movies, politics, and music. I would pop in my favorite Carole King CD and sing at the top of my lungs with her. Sometimes I bring our other child along to different therapies and use the time as planned one-on-one time with him. He really enjoys going for a walk or to a playground during that time. There’s so much pressure on us to make sure we don’t neglect our typical kids, but it doesn’t have to be so much work. They don’t need a solo outing at an amusement park, pushing them on the swings is adequate. It’s the time with me that he wants.
I have found that giving myself several of these little bits of time throughout the week is so helpful. Taking even just a few minutes to think about something besides my kids is a much-needed recharge. Now these blocs of time are therapeutic for all of us.
Have you taken time for yourself? Tell us what you enjoy? Send to [email protected]
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2010 Magazine