Yesterday we talked about how life has changed since we learned of our child’s apraxia. I hope you had a little quiet reflection time to mull over some of those changes. Next, we tackled a brief overview of various coping skills. Do you have at least one thing on your list that you can do daily–weekly? I sure hope so! It’s hard to find the time to do something you enjoy, especially when raising kids–then throw a special circumstance on top of it and it’s darned near impossible. Look at your daily schedule and see if you can’t squeeze out 15 minutes or so of something you love–alone.
Typically, we talk about stress first and then how to cope with it. Think of yesterday’s and today’s approach as dessert before dinner. Besides who wants to hear about stress on Monday?! With that in mind, we’ll talk about stress today.
According to a book, “Married with Special Needs Children,” (Laura Marshak and Fran P. Prezant), parent’s with kids who have special needs (and those are defined broadly–from physical issues, to autism, to communication disorders), struggle with these specific stressors:
- Lack of diagnosis. What is this?! Why isn’t my kid talking like he’s “supposed” to?
- Information overloadàconflicting information from specialists, other parents you may come into contact with, family (confusion, anger, delay).
- Financial issues one parent may feel the apraxia burden more than the other (therapy appts, insurance issues), and that parent may have had to quit work; products/books/resources/testing/therapy cost $$
- Time Constraints to pay bills, cook, communicate with teachers, therapy, MD, clean house, drive kids, sibs, daycare plans, let alone find time to relax/hobbies or work outside of the home
- Mental and Physical Fatigue Exercise, take turns being “on,” respite care, teach independence
- Dealing with reactions from others Others may tend to indentifythe disability, not the kid. You may deal with pity, curiosity, rude comments.
Yep–been there. Continue to be there on some days…how about you? What would you say is one of your biggest stressors in this list?
Marriage/Relationship Enrichment: Of course there are other people in your life, too. Your spouse, your significant other, your parenting partner still need you and your support. And you need them! What do you do to stay connected? Here are some ideas:
- Go on a walk around the neighborhood while a neighbor kid babysits (if your kids are too young to be left alone)
- Have a “date night at home” –order take-out, open a bottle of wine and talk or watch a movie
- Spend 5 minutes just listening to one another–uniterrupted. It helps to get things off your chest, even if it is just 5 minutes of “unloading” time
- Work on a project together–o.k. so cleaning out the garage or detailing cars isn’t exactly fun, but you’re still together and working on a shared goal
- Read a chapter of a book aloud to one another
- Leave a little note in a spot s/he will find it–it’ll brighten their day!
Parenting is hard, hard work! No one ever said it would be easy. We all need support and understanding and a helping hand to get through it.
Only you will know if your relationship needs extra work only a therapist can help you with. If you really feel like you are slipping away from one another, please seek out additional support. Here are some books on Amazon you might be interested in.