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.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.