Monday, May 16, 2011

Make time for yourself

One of the most shared pieces of parenting advice is to "sleep while your child is sleeping".

With 2 boys ages 3 and 4 who are just 11 months apart, one of which has Apert Sydnrome, it goes without saying that the first few years of their lives were quite a challenge. Especially when it came to getting them both to sleep at the same time, which happened very infrequently. And if by some miracle they decided to cooperate with a coordinating nap-time, I found it almost impossible to ignore the piles of laundry, stack of unread mail and unkempt kitchen to retreat to my warm bed.

Most of the time I find myself trying to cram as many chores into their nap-time as possible, and when there are still things left on my to-do list after they wake, I admit that I (sometimes) end up ignoring the boys to try to make a little headway. After all, there are appointments to be made and insurance companies to contact which can only be done during the day.

The boys attend preschool twice per week which has been extremely helpful when it comes to getting things done. And although I should take more time on those days to kick my feet up and give my mind a break, I rarely do.

My husband Ricky is an amazing support system. He can sense when I'm overwhelmed and will help ease the load by straightening up around the house after his workday is over or offering to walk the boys to the park for an hour or so. I think it is so important to have that kind of support in your corner - whether it is a spouse, a friend, or a family member.

To celebrate our 6-year wedding anniversary, Ricky and I are heading to San Antonio this coming weekend. My dad is flying in from Kentucky to watch the boys which makes it less stressful knowing they are in good hands with a family member. When we return, I head to Dallas for Aiden's next surgery so we are hoping to really decompress on our getaway to gain some energy and perspective for the following weeks events.

For a parent of a child with special needs, the advice of "sleep while your child is sleeping" is probably going to go ignored due to the constant list of things that need to be done to coordinate their child's care. Instead, I believe everyone should be encouraged to truly carve time out for yourself. Take a morning run before the kids wake up. Schedule a monthly pedicure. Or forgo the pedicures, save some cash, and plan a weekend "stay-cation". Give yourself a free pass and don't feel guilty about it.

And for the first time in a long time, Ricky and I plan to do just that!

How do you make time for yourself?

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