“How to be a HAPPY special needs parent”

Working as a team.

  1. My husband and I came up with a genius sleep schedule, and may not work for everybody, but to keep everyone happy (including Mommy) sleep is important. Since I am a stay at home mom I get up during the week days at night whenever Conner is having seizures, or whatever the issue is. On the weekends my husband takes over Friday and Saturday night. I use ear plugs to have a quiet peaceful sleep and even though it’s only two nights, it does make a huge difference!
  2. Stop keeping count of who last did what. My husband and I have done this a lot in the past. “Babe, can you please give Conner his medicine?” “But I fed him all night I thought you would do it.” “But I have to take a shower and get ready to take him to the doctor” STOP IT! All that matters is, is you are each equally contributing to your child’s needs. This will save a lot of arguments! 😉 If you know something needs to be done, why not buck up and just get it done if you can.
  3. Having disagreements when it comes to your child is only natural, but its best to express your opinion lovingly. When Joel and I were new special needs parents, Joel thought I was over reacting every time Conner did something weird. I sat him down and told him WHY I did this. I explained to him that the constant worry I was experiencing was taking its toll, and the only way I could cope was to make sure I did my very best at being in tune with Conner and if I was over reacting, I felt that it was better to be safe than sorry. After a while Joel saw that sometimes if I hadn’t been worried about it, things could have taking a turn for the worst. I don’t mean the wife is always right, sometimes the father can be right too lol, there have been lots of times when Joel had to explain how he felt about a situation. Give each other a chance to speak up, but never belittle each other in front of family, friends, or medical staff. Stay on the same page as much as possible. Come up with a plan for each situation that may arise. It will help things go smoother. That I promise!

Say no! Those of you that know me…you are going to think “Huh, she should listen to her own advice!” This is so true, but I have learned that when I say “No” to extra things I know I am doing myself a favor. I love helping people out because it helps me get my mind off of my own stress, and I know people appreciate the help! There are times though I say “Yes” too often and I end up becoming overwhelmed. So on top of taking care of my special needs son, my 4 year old daughter, being a wife, and a busy Christian (Jehovah’s Witness), I choose to put too much on myself and I just crumble under the pressure. DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF. Know your limits. Your friends and family will understand…

Beautiful inside and out. To begin with, being a special needs parent automatically makes you beautiful inside. What about outside? I’m not talking perfection here… BUT! Have you noticed when you put extra effort towards your hair and makeup it actually benefits you more than others? (Of course, I am doing everyone a favor by putting my face on, otherwise I would be ran out of town with pitchforks lol) I have noticed whenever I take a few extra minutes on my makeup, I feel at least 2x better than if I don’t. There is nothing wrong with sweats, messy buns, and naked faces! I am all for that! Try dedicating more time tomorrow for getting ready and see how you feel.

Romance. Why is romance important? Well that should be obvious! See my other blog…http://onerummymother.com/2015/01/13/never-neglect-date-nights-again/

Quiet time. Of course you all know I am a HUGE Quiet time advocate! See my other blog….http://onerummymother.com/2015/01/21/mommy-needs-quiet-time/

Ask for help. Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for help. We all need help time to time. I couldn’t be a special needs mom without the help of my family, friends, and support groups. Knowing you have people there to help you will put your mind at ease. If you keep trying to take on the world alone, you will fall apart, but with support, your peeps will keep you strong when you most need it. Even when you don’t need them, just knowing they are there for you can be really comforting.

Night out with friends. I try to make this a monthly priority. For you special needs moms and dads, you have got to take time away from home to be with your friends, and try your best not talk about your kids. Though it may be hard because they consume every second of the day usually and love them so much, but having some normal conversations is healthy and it’s okay, don’t feel bad. Remember, if you aren’t happy then your kids won’t be happy. Make time for you and your friends to just hang out.

Online support group. Since my son was first hospitalized I connected with other parents online via Facebook, Inspire, etc… The support was at times overwhelming! I would post about a bad day and I would instantly have over 20 comments posted. All to encourage and to keep us going. At times, I know you agree, you don’t even answer your family’s phone calls. Somehow getting online is my favorite way of receiving support. Not that my family doesn’t give great support because they do, but accessing the internet and talking with other parents saves my voice from cracking and emotional break downs over the phone, which I avoid at all costs. LOL

Dedicated family time. Family time, I know, can seem rare because of all the stress from therapy, doctor appointments, just everyday life with a special needs child but just take a moment to clear your mind and ask yourself these questions “How can I be happy?” This is one of my favorite quotes “Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to be like and celebrating it for everything that it is”- Mandy hale. We get so caught up with our busy lives that we forget what life is all about. My favorite thing to do is just sit and watch my kids play on the floor. I always think to myself how much time flies. I have to gobble up all of this cuteness and enjoy time with my family. We shut the TV off, and our phones and just relax, and listen to your kids play. That is how I celebrate the life I have. I listen… Also see http://onerummymother.com/2015/01/20/how-to-find-happiness-after-life-hands-your-family-lemons/

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How to find happiness after life hands your family lemons…

My family has definitely been handed a bunch of lemons but somehow we still pull through stronger than before. What is our secret? Read more to find out.

Get Fit. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” -Legally Blonde

Quality Family Time. Obviously spending time with your family is a given, but even just sitting on your couch, watching, and enjoying every moment you have with your children or your loved ones, it can help you to feel pretty fulfilled and content. That what I find anyway…I love watching my husband play on the floor with my kids. It makes me feel so blessed that 1. I have a great husband. 2. He is a great dad. 3. My kids love him so much. + 10 Happiness

No TV Sunday. This is something that I have been trying to establish for my family. We have done this 3 times so far and we love it! Of course it gets irritating at times because when you get bored your first instinct is to turn a power button on, right? This is a great way to dedicate, again, Quality Family Time together. We do this usually on Sundays when my husband is off of work. We usually make a big breakfast and chat. We catch up and visit. + 10 Happiness

Outside Tuesday. It’s awesome how fast your mood can change just by stepping outside into the fresh air. Not that you are in a bad mood, calm down! LOL Pick a day as a family to go outside and do something fun. Go kick a ball around, or play Frisbee! + 10 Happiness

Hobbies. Either finding a hobby as an individual or as a family can be healing. I actually find coloring very therapeutic and calming. My daughter and I do this a lot, and puzzles. Finishing a project together is fun, and it teaches kids not to give up. +10 Happiness

Shut off the news! This one should be a no brainer… 90% of the time, the only things casted on the news is horrible, sad, depressing things. We know this world sucks, we don’t need to be reminded of this every day. My husband and I decided from day 1 of our marriage that we would not have cable. We don’t want to see all the poo this world offers. Everyone feels differently. If you do have cable, maybe you can choose not to watch the news for a while and see how you feel? + 10 Happiness

“I’m walking on the sunshine…” Vitamin D is essential for happiness. If you live in an area where it rains often, you may want to look into Vitamin D supplements, but if the sun is out then you need to get out! +10 Happiness

Unplug yourself. Try living in the moment rather than trying to tweet pictures of every constant thing you see. One person wrote “The concept of always being reachable without any way to escape has become commonplace in our new digital society.” That is a scary thought. Not being able to escape. If you think about it, it’s true! You become so attached to electronics and networks that you feel compelled to check every few minutes if you have a text or voice mail. I find myself clicking that top little bottom of my iPhone consistently. On a day that I can’t find my phone (which happens too often) I feel relieved. It feels nice to not be reachable. You should try it! + 10 Happiness

Do more for others. There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving. Maybe all you can do is call your grandparents. You will be surprised how happy they are to hear from you! I LOVE spending time with my great grandma (Yes she is still alive and full of life). I paint her nails, and take her shopping. I have so much fun with her because I know it means a lot to her. Of course my first choice wouldn’t be to spend my afternoon in the petite older ladies section of JC Penny’s. LOL. I have so much joy in finding her cute outfits to try on. Even if your circumstances are different, you could try fostering an animal who needs love, or just simply go out of your way to bring someone you love some flowers or write a “thinking of you” card. +20 Happiness

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