These two articles popped up in my moms group today. Both authored by mothers of special needs kids gives a brief insight into the life of parents with differently abled kids. This is the journal of a mom who describes briefly what a special needs parent’s thought process is like on a daily basis and what (s)he does/undergoes throughout the day. This is pretty much my average day. In between, we also have other stressors that don’t help us. DH and I often tell ourselves we will make ourselves priority, I’m somewhat more successful than him. His high pressure job on to of actively parenting both children does take its toll. Sometimes not having any help takes a lot from me. Special needs caretakers charge through the roof and mostly don’t show up. That plus the added stress of knowing there is nobody who can do what I do for him, keeps me on my toes. I still feel like I get better breaks than most moms in my situation. Here is a blog post that got sent too. I can relate to each of the points mentioned in this post. Every. Single. One. Even if we do everything, DH and I still come up with a long list of things we haven’t done or could have done better. It’s a never ending process. Then, how do we do this? Some of the things that helped us penned down. I hope this helps someone else in our situation. The list is neither exhaustive nor a one size fit all but hopefully others will find things they can use the same way we did reaching out to other moms and dads who have been there. 1) Accept the diagnosis and find help for yourself if you are unable to deal with the diagnosis. I’ve personally seen that kids of parents who are practical and start working with the child early help their children most. A grieving process is normal. Grieve for the child’s disability and all the future troubles (s)he will undergo but also know that being practical is the best way forward. 2) Don’t do everything, every diet, every intervention, every homeo, ayurveda, bio med, etc etc in the first year and get completely burned out. Space it out. Research research research. One spouse should be the primary researcher and the other should be able to be on the same page. I have seen so many conflicts with mom and dad not having the same beliefs on alternate meds, therapies, etc. It takes a toll on the relationship and the child’s home environment. Pick your battles and trust one another. 3) Spend time with each other without the kids. Keep conversations outside of kids and other hot button topics. Remember things you did/spoke about before the kids and start there. Take effort in deciding the venue/appearance/sitter and back up sitter. If this isn’t a possibility, make it a date night at home. Do dress up, spruce up the place and do dinner and movie after the kids are in bed. It’s necessary for all couple in this day and age and more so with couples with challenges such as ours. 4) Find your groups. It’s very important to not do this alone. There are umpteen Moms and parents groups out there. Find resources in your city and attend meetings. You will meet people who will become invaluable in this journey. I have found my tribe and those women have picked me up, counseled me and been a constant source of camaraderie. 5) Get your finances in order. Any parent should but a special needs parent must do this as a priority. There is not telling what happens so a plan in place is essential. The blog above has detailed some of the things. 6) Count your blessings. I’ve had so many setbacks - lost career, friends who were once soulmates, broken relationships, constant stress and a myriad of health issues. I’ve also seen the silver lining. I’ve met the most incredible mothers and fathers in this journey. People whom I may otherwise never have known. The lost friends seem like nothing. I’ve had the financial stability to stay home and focus on my son. That’s a huge positive. I’ve experienced my family rally around me and cocoon me in their love. I’ve known a friend who despite not knowing what it’s like has stood by me since the day I told her about my son. She’s found people for me to talk to, helped me understand that some things are typical boy behaviors and that sometimes it’s ok to just let things be. I’ve become closer to my husband and vice versa. I’ve never taken anything either of my kids do for granted ever since. I’ve been heartbroken and have stumbled more times that I can count. I’ve been able to get up and start again each time. Honestly, the grief is still there but it’s lost it’s edge. I don’t get paralyzed with sadness during milestones anymore. I’m able to see the positives. Ironically, I’m writing this on the anniversary of my son’s diagnosis. I usually spend this day in bed crying. Today I was able to wake up, hug my babies and my big baby. Tell them how much I love each of them. The kindness they have showered on me while I hold the reigns of this family together is something to be thankful for. I didn’t tell anyone about the day today is. The doomed day is just another day. Today, I’m able to see how far he has come. He ate the rice and fish curry his dad cooked before leaving with zero fuss. It’s not a big deal for most but a great achievement for a child who had to undergo feeding therapy. As I stand here, minimally supervising him, he was able to finish his shower, dry himself, hang up his towel, wear his PJs, brush his teeth, rinse his mouth and wash his tooth brush all by himself. For most parents this may seem like something that all kids do, but my son has worked on this so hard that it’s such an awesome moment. The best part is I’ve come to the end of this write up and haven’t shed a tear. I believe that’s a victory in itself. Those of you from IL who have taken the trouble to help me offline, I couldn’t have done it without you. I’m not tagging anyone but you know who you are. All of you have taken precious time out of your busy lives for me and for that I’ll be forever thankful. Thank you Malathy(@Induslady) and @Jey for the platform! Moms and Dads, take care of yourselves. We all need to stay healthy for the foreseeable future!