Self Care for Parents: Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First
When I got word of a parent's death, I was stunned. I thought of myself as one of her "supports". I hadn't seen her in a number of months. We used to be occassional "walking buddies." We had since moved to another town. When I went to her funeral, I knew I would be sad, but I was suprised that I was not able to hold back my tears. I felt very out of place in my obviously overwhelming expression of grief. Other family were able to "hold it together." Why was I grieving so uncontrollably?
I was so sad for her and her children with Aspergers and Autism that she had left behind. I was also grieving for the collective "we" of all of us as parents with children affected by autism. It was then and there that I had an ephipany. I can spend years now kicking myself every time I think of her, because I did not do more for my friend.... Or I could honor her life and death, with a change of heart. I could put self care at the top of my list of priorities and not feel guilty about doing so.
As parents, our lives are not ordinary. Many of us are looking ahead to being care providers for our children for the rest of our lives and theirs. The truth is, we won't be able to care for anyone, unless we make caring for our own quality of life a top priority. This Blog is devoted to Self Care for Parents who have a son or daughter with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other life challenges. We understand what other parents are going through. We need the support of each other and all the positive encouragement we can find. Parenting a child (of any age) with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a marathon and not a sprint. Lets be loving and gentle with ourselves and not try to go it alone.