They all have a common theme running through. Mom’s need personal time, exercise, time alone with a husband or significant other, etc. to be a whole person before anything else.
It all sounds great. In theory, it all sounds so easy, so seamless, so sensible. But my reality is not like that.
I wake up every morning before my kids (as suggested), but not for meditation and a quiet cup of coffee while I gaze out the window. By the time I take a quick shower, and get organized with clothes and lunches, it is time to get the kids up and going. By the time I take my kids to school, I have physically lifted my daughter’s 82 pound frame 8 different times; out of bed, into the wheelchair, into the bathroom, into her clothes, into her wheelchair again, and into and out of the car. And then on top of it I am pushing a crazy heavy wheelchair and hauling her walker.
I know my friends who have kids with more involved cerebral palsy have it 100 times harder, and I try not to complain for that very reason.
But it’s hard, and it’s constant. I silently resent (just a tiny bit) the Moms who hop out at school with their perfect little bodies and their skin tight little yoga pants – when I feel honestly beaten down and prematurely aged, before the clock hits 9:00 am.
My daughter is delightful, and fun and awesome, and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. But my muscles scream, and my shoulders and back aches, and I never, ever get a break. And I accept this reality, I do. But it doesn’t make it any easier some days.
The New York Times did an article last year called “When the Caregivers Need Healing,” talking about this exact issue, and some of the negative things caregivers face in their own mental and emotional health while filling this role for their family.
How do Special Needs Moms put themselves first or practice all of the things they are “supposed” to do to stay strong and balanced for their kids. How do they do all of that when their kids are so much more needy, so much more attention sucking, energy grabbing and anxiety causing than other kids?
And the reality is, we can’t, literally cannot, fall down on the job. We can’t “not be there” to care for our kids. They cannot do it themselves. We have so much more reason for self-care than most Moms do.