Friday was one of those days. I woke up discouraged about a project. I started thinking about other things and anxiety crept in. I had to get ready for a weekend family trip. I made a packing list with the boys so they could learn how to pack for themselves. Of course then we get into other things.
Anxiety kept building as I found new steps to add to my list. Before I could pack I had to vacuum out my bag (long story). Before I could do laundry I had to shower so I could wash the clothes I was wearing. Before I could…
While vacuuming, I hit the ceiling fan with the nozzle as I moved the vacuum to get spider webs, and dust balls rained down on me. I went to change laundry and something had shredded all over the clothes in the washer.
I kept mulling over the things on my mind and my anxiety level increased. Intermittently a child needed to ask me this or that seemingly unimportant question. I had to wash some of my husband’s dress shirts in the bathroom sink because the washing machine has been making them look worse than when they go in…
And I still hadn’t…
This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support!
And while dust bunnies mixed into my wet hair, I thought of the title of one of Crystal Paine’s books, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode (affiliate link). I almost laughed out loud. Now, I do want to say, I have read Crystal’s book and she has many fabulous tips for you in there and she speaks from having reached a tough spot herself. It is worth a read.
It wasn’t even an “autism day”, but at that moment, I didn’t feel like survival mode would ever leave.
And I know I’m not the only one.
You see, I know a lot of special needs parents. Parents who deal with way more than I do and make my life seem easy. Some have children who can’t talk. I’ve known moms who had to agonize over the decision of putting their child in a facility for the safety of the family. Moms whose children can talk but can’t communicate their needs. Moms I consider superheroes who have multiple children with challenges and never-ending medical expenses. Parents who change their child’s feeding tube and help them stand. Moms who have had to lock refrigerators and mount alarms on windows and doors for the safety of their child. Don’t forget dads whose children are being bullied or single dads trying to care for multiple children with special needs.
And I haven’t even scratched the proverbial surface of all the things special needs parents are dealing with. In addition to those challenges that come from special needs life, you add on top regular life challenges–car problems, work stress, financial issues–the list keeps getting longer.
How can you say goodbye to survival mode then?
You can’t. Some days are just survival days. Some seasons, however long they be, are survival seasons.
But you can do what I did and take a moment to eat some chocolate and read your Bible and find this verse: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Some days, the paraphrase is, “Do not worry about ten minutes from now, for ten minutes from now will worry about itself. Each minute has enough trouble of its own.”)
And you remind yourself that God does indeed give us more than we can handle. (Over here I bust that myth.) I don’t find evidence in the Bible to the contrary. We see lots of people who are in over their heads. The whole point is to show God’s strength in our weakness.
So you hang on. You take a break if you can. You remind yourself to do some deep breathing and focus on one thing you can do (affiliate link). You keep going minute-by-minute with God’s help.
As I said earlier, Crystal’s book is a great one. My point is that sometimes we’ve done what we can and life is still hard. If you’re looking for ways to streamline and simplify to reduce stress as much as is in your power, I recommend her book (affiliate link).
Special needs parents are usually really good at putting other people first and forgetting to take care of themselves. Why not head over to my friend Sandra’s blog and check out her series on self care for special needs parents. She’s got an entire month of tips for you and a Facebook group focused on self care for special needs moms. Need to find some other special needs moms who “get it”? Check out the Facebook group Special Needs Moms Network.
I’ve got a collection of survival tips for special needs parents! Just fill out the box below and I’ll send it to you for FREE!
Save your sanity!
Make your life easier with this FREE survival guide for special needs parents!