I read another one of those “Remember to take care of yourself” articles yesterday. The author, who was busy applying for extra-curriculars for her kids, stopped to ask why she didn’t put as much time into organizing something for herself.
She acknowledged that putting themselves at the bottom of priority list is a trap many mothers fall into. It was written in an we’re-all-in-this-together vein. She did not give a list of ways to make some time for yourself, but I still found it annoying.
The last thing I need is someone telling me that I need to carve out some time to do my own thing. Most parents of disabled kids are particularly bad when it comes to focusing on ourselves – and we know it.
The question is what to do about it. While there are respite services and funding are available, it is hard to make it all together (see my post How was your summer?). For sure, taking a course, having regular date nights or taking a (short) trip so that you get a break from providing the care, the meals and the entertainment for your child are wonderful when you can swing them.
But sometimes respite comes in other forms. For Deane’s birthday, we managed to get four of his friends to a movie. We occupied the lobby afterwards for cake. Although there were some siblings, the disabled kids outnumbered them.
It was great to be able to give our kids a normal experience. For the parents, it was a chance to visit with others who share our experience and understand us without the complicated explanations.
Sure it wasn’t true respite. We were still the ones looking after our kids. But being able to relax and be one of the group created a tangible positive energy. It was a great day.
Anyone have other alternative approaches to respite?