As Mother's Day approaches, all of us at Brain Balance Achievement Centers want to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all of our amazing mothers, and an extra special thank you to special needs moms! Hard-working moms come through our doors on a daily basis ready to do whatever it takes to help their children succeed. We are often inspired by their commitment and dedication to their children, and it’s why we do what we do. While our posts usually focus on tips and information for parents that will help them care for children with neuro-developmental disorders, this post is dedicated to encouraging moms to make time for themselves. Use and share these self-care tips for special needs moms!
5 Tips for Special Needs Moms
1. Prioritize your time. Special needs moms are already short on time due to the extra care it takes to raise a child with learning or behavioral challenges. Add in work, home, and school commitments, and often moms are overwhelmed before the week even begins. Prioritize your time by recognizing that it's okay to say no to extra commitments and invitations. It is best not to offer too much information or excuses, but rather say, "Thank you for thinking of me, but my calendar is maxed out right now." There is no need to be more specific. Offer to help or attend another time when your schedule allows.
2. Try a new hobby or restart an old one. Special needs moms often lose their identity - and hobbies - when caring for their children. Take up a relaxing hobby like painting or knitting or restart an old hobby like playing an instrument or practicing yoga. Commit to spending 15 - 30 minutes a few days a week on something that challenges or excites you. If taking on one more challenge sounds overwhelming, try meditating or walking to lower stress instead.
3. Establish non-negotiable time and/or activities for yourself. Once you've found something you love to do, whether it's painting, exercising, reading, dinner out, or meditating, set non-negotiable time each week for you to do what you love. Let your entire family know that this activity is scheduled for you, just like they have scheduled activities in which they participate. Value your own time just as you do the time of your family members.
4. Schedule a sitter or mother's helper. Finding time to do what you love is easier if you have a scheduled care giver, but finding a sitter that can care for children with neuro-developmental disorders like ODD, ADHD, and Asperger Syndrome (ASD) can be a challenge. Consider asking a family member or trusted friend to help you on a recurring basis. During the summer, teachers wishing to earn extra money may be another qualified resource as well. Additionally, if your child is high functioning and funds are tight, your local high school or college may be a great resource for free sitters or mother's helpers since students often have community service requirements to fill. Provide the school with specifics about your child's needs and offer websites and other resources with more information about your child's specific challenges so your volunteer will be prepared. Volunteers will earn the service hours they need while special needs moms get a much-needed break.
5. Find a support group. Since special needs moms are often short on time, consider an online, private support group where you can connect with other parents in similar situations. If you know a few other parents in your area dealing with special needs, invite them to lunch or coffee and exchange ideas while sharing successes and challenges. Special needs moms often feel isolated, and it can help to know that you are not alone. Offering your support to parents dealing with a new diagnosis may also help you find purpose in your role as a special needs mom.
Your Brain Balance team is committed to assisting mothers as they help their children who struggle with unique challenges. Contact us today to learn more.