Tuesday, 19 July 2016

I'm Not Irreplacable

Sometimes I think the hardest part about being a parent of a special needs child is feeling that I need to do everything myself.  I know there are a lot of parents who feel that way but I think there's an extra justification when the consequences for delegation are more severe.  When having the sandwich cut diagonal instead of in squares can cause a two day tantrum, it's a lot harder to let go.

But it is necessary to do it, no matter how difficult.  Otherwise, things shift from an "I should be the one to do this" to "I must be the one to do this" to "I can't find anyone else to do this" and then parents find themselves burning out because there literally isn't anyone else to step into the breach.

It's a challenge.  I know that sending the boys with my parents or leaving them with my husband for a few days will mean that things are not done the way I would do them.  Some of what I do has become automatic over the years, which means I can't pass on the information.  Some of the choices I make are from years of observation and educating myself, combined with practical experience on the ground, something which can't be duplicated.  So those who haven't put in that same intensity of preparation can't be expected to be able to draw from it.

I remind myself that I'm certainly not perfect.  I can't always avoid or prevent the meltdowns, toys have been lost on my watch and I've dropped the ball on behaviour programs sometimes.  So it's okay if other people aren't perfect.  They are going through their own learning curve.

Yes, there will be long term consequences to their mistakes and I'm likely the one who has to deal with them.  But that's life and the alternative is worse.  In the end, I know that they care about Alex and Nathan and are doing their best.  So if there are mistakes, I cope with them.  It's not the end of the world if Alex's hair gets cut or if Nathan sleeps with the light on for a weekend.  I just make a note for next time and keep moving.

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