Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your Oxygen Mask

If you've ever been on an airplane, you've heard the safety speech where they instruct you to "fasten your own oxygen mask first, then fasten your child's mask."  This is great advice, not only for those times when you are flying, but for parenting in general.  This is even more true for parents raising children with special needs. 

The other day I did a search on Amazon for books on helping parents raising special needs children.  Hundreds of books about various disabilities came up, covering a wide variety of topics on specific disabilities, therapies, advocating with school districts, working with insurance companies, etc.  What I did not find were books on how to help parents take care of themselves. 

Raising a child with special needs is a roller coaster ride.  From the moment you first fear that something might be wrong, to the diagnosis, to the labyrinth of treatment options, financial stresses, dealing with schools, etc., there is always  something that needs to be done.  It is too easy for parents to lose themselves in the process. It is a recipe for burn-out.
This is a blog about helping parents of special needs children to take care of themselves.  If we do not take time for our own needs, we will not be able to offer out best to our children.  This is not a place to search for new therapies or treatment options, or to get advice on how to advocate for your child.  There a many excellent blogs and resources for that.  This is for us, the parents.  This is where we can come to share our frustrations, our joys and triumphs, and the day to day realities of raising children with special needs.  This is a place where we can let go of the guilt, and for just a little while, not be the Warrior Mom, the Advocate, or the Therapist.  This is a place where we are reminded to fasten our own oxygen mask first, so we may be better able to fasten our child's.