DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY?…
When people ask us how we’re doing on the roughest days, we often fake a funky grin and respond with that all-too-familiar four-letter word, ‘FINE.’
You’re fine, you say? Sure you are:
…You just got back from a midnight run to ER with a kid who’s been running a 104 temp and who’s still vomiting non stop on your one clean shirt. FINE!
…You’ve been up all night with a screaming toddler, while struggling to stay out of bed with the nasty flu bug because you have to meet your child’s on-going, never-ending health-care needs. FINE!
..You’re preparing for another nerve-wracking IEPT meeting with your less-than-friendly neighborhood school district in the morning and you aren’t the least bit prepared. FINE!
…Your family is eating crusty, leftover mac/cheese for the fourth night in a row and there’s no sign of clean laundry (or uncurdled milk) anywhere within 100 miles of your house. FINE!
…Your insurance company just denied your claim for the medication needed to improve your child’s health, behavior and well being (and yours!). FINE!
…You don’t remember when you last took a hot shower, styled your hair, brushed your teeth or changed your underwear (’cause the laundry hasn’t been done!). FINE!
You’re FINE! FINE! FINE!
But are you?
If you insist on pretending you don’t need support from others when you clearly do, then FINE, but don’t be surprised if you burn out. When you choose to remain silent about your true needs because you don’t want to bother others with overwhelming life demands, you and your family pay a high price.
When it comes to parenting, especially for a child with special needs, it’s okay and healthy to ask for help.
So here’s an effective tactic I’ve learned through trial and error (there’s lots more tips in my book!). The next time someone asks how you’re doing, try answering honestly and tell them what you need. (i.e.: childcare for some time away, a hot meal one night a week, help with all the laundry, a cleaning lady who will scrub the toilets for you, a litle time shipwrecked on a tropical island with no cell phone, time to cry in private, and how about a brand-new-stinkin life!).
The world won’t end because you utter these bold words.
True, you might scare a few people away with your new-found freedom to spout freely, and some of the questionable requests will go unanswered (complete with those have-you-completely-lost-it? stares). But then again, you might just get some of your most pressing needs met, including the need for clean underwear.
…and wouldn’t that be just fine?
Breakthrough Parenting for Children with Special Needs: Raising the Bar of Expectations.