With Mothering Sunday approaching, and following on from the competition that Natalie has launched on our Facebook page to find three deserving mums to win a prize, I wonder how many of us would realise that we are all Parenting Super heroes in our own right (just without that capes)?
Once we have children our focus shifts, from what and who were important before, to these new perfect little creatures.
There suddenly becomes a small person (or little people) that require our attention.
We realise that previously spontaneous events now need careful planning.
They require us to educate them with life skills.
We are in charge of their safety and wellbeing.
Suddenly we become the headline entertainer.
You are a chef, nurse, doctor, nurturer, disciplinarian, fashion stylist, washing machine junkie and usually all on very little sleep.
Often we doubt and second guess ourselves. We can regularly emotionally beat ourselves up over decisions and choices, words said or actions taken.
Add into that organising yourself, home, family, partner, school schedules (if they are old enough), managing finances and getting the balance right if you have employment too.
Goodness, it makes me feel faint just thinking about it.
There is also the worry and concern that you experience as a parent of a child with, or indeed if you have, a medical condition.
The rollercoaster ride that you unwittingly got onto when you or your child received this diagnosis is a hair raising one.
Full of up’s and downs, tears and laughter.
Sometimes a very lonely one.
From planning hospital appointments and parking, to preparing everyone for treatments, surgeries, sourcing equipment needed and the anxiety after x-rays or scans whilst awaiting consultant feedback.
The stress can be exhausting and all consuming.
So, that brings me to the question of how can you make it any easier?
I guess, in part, there is no quick fix, no simple answer or magic wand.
But there are some principles and ideas that may help, a sort of buffet to pick and choose from.
- Share the burden. Talk to family, partners, friends about how you feel, your concerns and that ever growing list of things to do. Don’t shoulder everything alone.
- Can you divide the work load with somebody? Could somebody share the school runs, or organise dinner, or babysit?
- Ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. Sometimes we assume that people realise how overwhelmed we feel, but they don’t always or they simply don’t know how to help you.
- Use our Facebook forum to connect, ask questions, vent, share or just to read other peoples stories.
- Access our one to one buddy system if you need to talk to somebody privately about DDH that has been through similar experiences.
- Find some time for you, 5 minutes, an hour, an evening, whatever you can manage.
Plan what you are going to do with that time. Read a book or magazine, play candy crush, soak in a bubble bath, get your hair blow dried, paint your nails, meditate, catch up on your favourite programme, listen to your favourite song on repeat, sing, facetime a friend, get dressed up and go out, watch a movie, do some adult colouring in, make something, order a takeaway, put on a face mask, lay down and do nothing.
Whatever it is do it for you.
You know that none of us are perfect. In fact most of us are winging it!
We try our best and sometimes we make mistakes, but in my opinion one of the biggest mistakes we can make is to forget about ourselves.
Our loved ones will always be our priority, but we must make us a priority too. Who cares for us if we don’t care for ourselves?
Remember the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”.
So, how will you fill your cup today Super Parent?