Me, my sister and dear friend for a morning beach date
Why did I post this picture for you? Read on…
I saw this post from a mother with a child with autism on Facebook the other day:
“I can’t stop the world, so I have stopped the roller coaster that feels like my life (at times), am getting off the ride for a while! 5 years of pretty much full time therapy and appts for **** has brought us to an impasse! We are not coping. Have been recommended to find and remember ME! If you happen to FIND me first, just drop me off at the nearest airport, I’ll find a flight to somewhere!!”
When I read this post- I stopped.
I took a moment to reflect on all that was revealed in this post (and are often key components of the lives of many of my clients) : exhaustion, desperation, determination and humor.
If you are new to my autism empowerment community (Welcome!) you might not know this about me:
I am #1- an advocate for children with autism and believer in their infinite growth AND, I am #1- and advocate for YOU, the parents of children with autism.
(I know- two #1’s- but that’s how it feels..)
You will see that my blogs, articles, seminars are BOTH about perspectives and strategies in cultivating growth for children with autism and equally about nurturing you- the parent (both so you can improve the quality of your life AND so you can best help your child).
Does any of the below sound familiar?
*Do you ever feel guilty that you are not doing enough and can’t quite relax doing something for yourself (and feel you should be doing autism research or therapies with your child instead of chatting on the phone with your girlfriend)?
*Do you run from appointment to appointment feeling sleep deprived and are living off of the scraps of food your child has left behind (only to discover, as you do a quick glace in the rear-view mirror, that you are way overdue in waxing your upper lip!)?
*Do you spend every waking moment pushing yourself to read more, learn more or cook specialized foods for your family?
*Have you forgotten what you like to do– or WHO you actually are?
If your answer is YES! to anyone of these (and my guess is that you can say yes to all 4 of them) then I am here to PUT AN END TO THE MADNESS!
Here are 4 breakthrough beliefs I invite you to seriously consider:
1. This is not a sprint. This journey with your child is not a quickie. It is a JOURNEY and will require your energy and stamina. Unless your prioritize yourself FIRST (yes, I said FIRST), you WILL burn out and be incapacitated in helping your child.
***This is why flight attendants always say that in the case of an emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child. If you don’t have oxygen- you are both in trouble.***
2. Prioritizing yourself FIRST is the biggest gift you can give your child and your whole family. This is not just some cheesy slogan that goes on a refrigerator magnet- it is true! The more relaxed, nourished and grounded you are the more present you will be with your child and your whole family. This means you will be more patient, more loving and more attentive and THIS will promote growth in interaction and communication more than anything else. I urge you to consider the importance of BEING versus DOING in helping your child (I am not saying that the ‘doing’ is not important too- but not to the extent that you sacrifice your ‘being’).
3. Model self-care. What you do is so much more powerful than what you say. The more you practice self-care in your life, the more your children will see the value in taking care of themselves (I believe they will feel it- even if they are not there). This is a crucial life skill. Model self-care so your children will more likely practice it themselves.
4. Consider the gift of your special child. Is your child here to teach you the value of running hurriedly from one appointment to the next or to put yourself on the back burner? I believe, and I invite you to join me here, that your child is here to teach love, acceptance, appreciation and wonder. Take a moment to fulfill this purpose and create more self-love, acceptance, appreciation and wonder.
So- how do you do it? I don’t think you need ideas for that. All you need is to get behind the intention (I mean really get behind the intention) of prioritizing yourself FIRST and the ‘how’ will reveal itself.
P.S. You know what I did this morning? After my kids and husband left the house, I crawled back into bed and read for a full hour! I feel totally rejuvenated and nourished AND totally in alignment as I write this article for you…
And yes, I felt the same way after my morning beach date with my girls….
What are you going to do to prioritize yourself? Post your comments and ideas below and let us celebrate YOU!