I recently realized that I must be destined to always be someone’s caregiver.
I started babysitting at the age of 10. Every weekend for 4 years, I took care of the same children. Shortly after that, I became an assistant preschool teacher. After graduating from college, I began my career as a lead preschool teacher. Somewhere in there I was a nanny as well.
I can remember wanting to be a mommy since I was 5 years old. I could not wait to grow up to do so. Caring for others has always been in my nature.
I did grow up and become a mommy to 3 beautiful children. Each of them has a disability.
My middle child, my daughter, had multiple disabilities. She was medically fragile and complex. I was her primary caregiver for almost 14 years. During that time, I had to force myself to take time for myself. Even if it was just 30 minutes a day, I would have everyone in the house have down time to do quiet activities in their room. This was the only thing that helped me keep my sanity.
The only thing I did during that down time was to make sure to treat myself to one thing that I enjoyed. Whether it was eating some chocolate, going outside, or just sitting in my recliner and putting my feet up. I made sure to have this time every day.
Now, my daughter is gone. She earned her angel wings at the beginning of the year. I realize that my health was compromised. I was so busy making sure she had all her appointments and medications that I put myself on the back burner.
I think as parents of children with disabilities, we have all done this. Just keep in the back of your mind that you need check-ups, too. It is important to stay healthy. If we are sick, we can’t take care of our children as well.
Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your child.
After making the difficult decision to medicate your child, with time and on occasions, old symptoms return or new ones appear. Once again, you’re faced with what felt like an already-made decision - to medicate higher or more, or not.